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December 08, 2015




I have a bad and a good thought for you. The bad is, fascism belongs to the Indoeuropean people now as much as it did during the days of Sparta and Rome. Fascism is the dark side of our European culture (every culture has a dark side comparable to our fascism).

The good is, that it only rarely is able to take over power like it did in the mid-twentieth century Europe, or in the classical times of Rome and Sparta. The experience in Europe is that its support is in general, limited to 1/3 of the population. But not always, see Hungary and Austria.

Another consideration is that these statements of Trump are made out of desperation. I think that Trump is realizing that he will not make it, that he is losing appeal fast. This would then be his attempt to make new headlines.

Millard Filmore

"and that even if he was President, Trump could not enact this kind of decision"

I am not so sure of that. Back in the early 1800s President Jackson did something very similar, putting American Indians on the trail of tears. To paraphrase what someone in the past said, "how many troops does the Supreme Court command?"

The success of a Trump decree could well depend on how the loyalty of various armed forces units, or maybe their commanders, pans out. For instance, there are some troubling instances of right wing Christian activities in the military:

Serving the Constitution is a rather fluid endeavor no matter what flavor of President we have.

Chris Vail

I have always seen Trump's run for the nomination as promoting the value of his name, since that is how Trump makes most of his money (through licensing his name). The backlash to his comments is building; what will chasten Trump is when he starts losing those licensing deals. So, by all means, promote a Trump Boycott.

Wayne Borean

Wayne and Tomi

I think that Donald Trump has a far better chance of getting the Republican nomination now, than he did in August. While I dislike what he stands for, he's managed to attract the attention of a fair number of Republicans I know, who seem to like him. A lot.

Then there's Republicans I know who will vote for whoever gets the nomination. They may hold their breath while doing so, but they will.

There was a strong belief that the United States couldn't survive four more years of Obama in 2012. That the United States has survived, and is in better shape doesn't matter. They are certain that the United States can't survive four years of Hillary or Bernie. And they'll be certain of the same thing in 2020...

Trump is an ass. Problem is he is also a demagogue, and a darned good one. While I'm certain that he couldn't win the general election, I think he has a decent chance of winning the nomination, depending upon when candidates start dropping out, and where their support goes.

Carson's support could go partly to Trump (many of them may dislike the Cruz version of Christianity). So could Paul's. Bush and Kasich support will probably go Rubio. Fiorina support likely goes to Trump. Huffabee support will go Cruz. Christie support will go partly Trump (who else has as big a mouth as Chris...)

Admittedly I'm playing guessing games on where the support goes, but it is based on talking to a wide range of people.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Winter, Millard, Chris and Wayne

First, thank you all for the nice comments. This was one of those very personal and emotional blog posts for me to write (as you no doubt can read between the lines). I appreciate the comments here.

Winter - thanks and really good valid points and I love the historical context. So first off, yes I agree and its been certainly worse in recent European history. Secondly we've seen recently the rise again and I am afraid ISIS (and Al Queda) will do more terrorist attacks in coming months and years, and it will take maybe a decade to get rid of them. Worst of all, as ISIS power diminishes (and that of Al Queda) they will INCREASE their 'desperate' attacks in the West where we are vulnerable. Its impossible to create a terrorist-threat-free modern city for example. They will always find some targets to get their notoriety. And the more those attacks happen, the more it fuels the xenophobia and sadly, anti-Muslim hysteria.

Where I am the eternal optimist, I do believe education and 'civilization' is the long term answer. In the 1920s Finland seriously considered a war against Sweden. Today 100 years later its totally inconceivable we would ever fight a war against our Western neighbor (or Northern neighbor Norway). Inconceivable. And am totally sure that even if some neo-Nazi Hitler-wannabe somehow became Prime Minister in either country, neither could mobilize their nation to attack Finland. We do have to fear our Eastern neighbor Russia for different reasons. But... Sweden, Norway, Finland - population are 100% literate and just about the most educated on the planet. Educate a nation and it doesn't want war. Also if obviously the nations are also fully democratic. Messy democracy yes and perhaps too high taxes haha but we won't want war. Look at the level of pacifist thinking in the Nordic countries haha...

So in the long run, education will diminish the fear of foreigners and increase understanding and open minds and lessen a chance of violence. But that is measured in decades and centuries, not years and months. The near years will be tumultuous in Europe especially as this Syrian wave settles to the EU and then inevitably there will be conflicts for whatever reasons.

What really saddened me, obviously, was the severe hatred of Trump's rhetoric (and that he keeps enjoying support after the vile statements). I lived in the USA for 12 years and while I saw some bigotry and racism, I did not see as much of it as I see in Europe. The USA seemed to me, to be genuinely a 'melting pot'. And I did live in Pennsylvania, Texas and New York so its not just the view from a liberal college campus or rich liberal city haha. Yes, September 11 did obviously change the USA and the recent long 'war on Terrorism' has hardened many views against Muslims but still, that Trump is able to say such horrible things - obviously OBVIOUSLY against the Constiution's first amendment - and not be expelled from the party and boo'ed off the stage.. this saddens me. What I take comfort in, personally, thinking long term USA maturing and/or healing of its democracy, is that this Trump destructive year will help eradicate the Tea Party from the Republican party ideology. That is good for the GOP and good for overall democracy in the USA.

I'll post this and come back with more comments. Obviously pls keep the comments coming.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Ok continuing with Winter

On the desperation side. Yeah. I sense that. Trump had just heard that he had been ecliped in Iowa polling by Ted Cruz. And voila, instantly we get the most bombastic most hateful statement from him yet, that totally rained on Cruz's parade and stole the thunder and forced all 24 hour news channels to be Trump Trump Trump all hours. I do think that Trump's motivation for this 'desperate' act was the internal campaign feeling that they were starting to lose support. What seems also very likely, is that Trump now gets another bump in his polling support. There were some transcripts of interviews of Trump supporters online waiting for his Monday event and they were also very telling. Those of his supporters who show up at the rallies and show their support openly, those are fully committed Trumpists who will not leave him, no matter who compares him to Hitler or says Trump isn't a real conservative etc.. They are now committed (or brainwashed). I blame Fox haha... In many ways Trump is Fox's and the Tea Party's creation. The natural migration from Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Ever more potent drug for the addict. Trump is now pure crack cocaine or heroin...

What I am hoping is that Trump has now hit his plateau and that the rest of the field (except probably not Ted Cruz) will attack him from all sides. That in turn should start to erode some of his less-solid support so Trump could fall to say 20% national support from the 29% it is today. If Ted Cruz is leading the polls to win Iowa, and Trump's national polling is slipping, and his New Hampshire polling lead slips to maybe a tie... And this is the scenario going into Iowa say 1-2 weeks before, then Trump might drop out, for fear of not wanting to become labeled a total loser. But if Trump sees that he can win say in NH, he would definitely stay in still with Iowa even if he can't win Iowa. Trump wants to win. If the path is clear he cannot win, I think he pulls out. And he could do that very suddenly (if you remember another eccentric billionaire, Ross Perot).

If Trump pulls out before the voting starts, the damage to the nation and US relations internally with various demographics, and externally with other nations, would not be that badly damaged. If Trump has to amp up the rhetoric at every stage then by March he will be calling for the gas chambers... Already now there are reports that many Muslim groups report increased violence spiked by the Trump racism. Similar to how Carly Fiorina's lies about Planned Parenthood harvesting brains spiked attacks at Planned Parenthood clinics. So yeah, if we think what is best for the Republican party, then the more deeply Trump wrecks the party now, the more it will be motivated to grow out of the Tea Party madness into a healthy party that wants to appeal to the masses not only be the rich white old man's party. But Trump is now doing damage to the USA overall, internally and externally, at very very alarming degrees. I am genuinely concerned that there will be riots at some of his rallies where blood will be spilled (because of some protesters).

To all - funny thought. Hitler comparisons. The generally most hated human being by Western educated people is Adolf Hitler. The most hated. What did the US Nazi paper day about Trump's Muslims not wanted position? They wrote that for the first time a US politician is speaking the truth and this is what their readers want to hear (ouch). And then Trump on TV on Tuesday. He was asked what he thinks about being compared to Hitler. He said.. he doesn't mind. Wow. The most hated person in Western civilization and when you are compared to him, you're ok with it. Someone reported that Trump was once given a book of the speeches of Hitler (obviously translated into English) as a gift. He probably has read them and likes Hitler's point of view. I don't remember any other politician ever say they like such a comparison (in modern times ie after WW2). And you know me, I don't mean Trump is about to march Mexicans or Muslims into the gas chamber. But the strategy is the same of how Hitler got into power. Vilify some clearly identified demographics (for Hitler, communists and Jews) and then advocate diminishing their rights. Claim that greater police powers are needed for order and stability. And eventually its violence and so forth. This is the same pattern (with Mexicans and Muslims).

Millard - haha ok. I see that as a VERY unlikely but technically plausible scenario. But also from listening to and reading the writing of literally hundreds of US Generals (and Admirals) while in office and and retired - they are a VERY sane bunch who are remarkably honest to their oath to preserve the US Constitution and remarkably apolitical, except the few that have political ambitions. I can see that some junior ranks might love a Trump revolution but the senior ranks would never go with a coup d'etat of the US government. What I would see, almost certainly and much before the first 4 years are done, that Congress regardless of which party is in power of which house, would impeach Trump after he had wreaked similar damage to the USA nationally and internationally as he'd now been doing to Republican party reputation mostly internally. But yes, you're right, there could be some weird confluence of events that was just ripe, that got the miliatry to join Trump in seizing power and even the Supreme Court could be ignored. But no, not in modern America. Russia yes haha but not the USA. Look how they did with the gay rights issues and that moron Kentucky woman who tried to refuse...

Chris - thanks very good point yes about Trump's value in his name. That was part of the big Trump article I had been working on. What could Trump gain out of the Presidency and is there a 'cost-benefit' calculation or ROI (Return on Investment) that a businessman might make, etc... So far its pretty safe to say that up to last week, Trump brand value had not suffered and probably gained in value from his early run for the Presidency. Now, if Trump were to drop out after failing to win any states and with only a handful of delegates, then his 'winner' image would be significantly tarnished. Many pundits - and partly me - felt that if this is in the cards, Trump will quit. He can't afford the damage. What now happened over this weekend and Monday - I hope - is that Trump suddenly get boycotts and his name brand value suffers enormous collapse. At least in Canada already there are calls to have the Trump name removed from a building and in the Middle East some golf course marketing is pressured to have the Trump name and his face removed.

I would think that a 'solidarity' movement would emerge as (hopefully) many prominent Muslims speak out. Like basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar for example. Then there could well be boycotts against Trump properties (similar to how the anti-gay religious laws quickly escallated into boycotts against whole states, like Indiana and Louisiana). This is something I hope would happen that Trump sees his name 'degraded' at an alarming speed and degree. It could force him to quit the race before his name brand value is below a Billion dollars and the property values of what he owns cut maybe in half. He could go from being worth 11 Billion dollars to 3 Billion without the EXPENDITURES that most candidates have to run in TV ads haha. Would have been far cheaper for him to just buy the TV ads rather than do this hate speech. But its again me the optimist here thinking out loud. If Trump sees his brand value suddenly collapsing, worldwide boycotts and some buildings actually removing his name - then he'd be seriously hurt and he'd almost definitely pull out of the race. That is of course the type of humiliation I hope for him.

Wayne - first off, honestly, thank you! I totally appreciate it, that some of my readers like you, have diametrically opposing views on the political articles I write, and that you're still here (for the technology articles inspite of that) and now write here, I really appreciate that. Thanks!

So let me put on my 'love Republican' hat and a bit of honestly what I think. First off, some of the current field, in most recent elections, would have been formidable Republican candidates. John Kasich, Lindsay Graham, Chris Christie (George Pataki). Experienced knowledgable, moderate. Quite electable. If you listen to them, most have taken some positions where the GOP has been going too far to the Tea Party extreme and if that candidate would be the nominee, the party could fight for the Independent voters very well against Hillary. Like Kasich on guns or Graham on gays and abortion etc. Jeb Bush honestly has been surprisingly meek as a candidate so I don't think he's really up to it, I thought before we saw the field in debates, that Jeb was one of the strong candidates. Now Rubio. He is raw talent and a magnifying speaker and presence. He's too young for the GOP. This season Marco would be crucified by Hillary starting with his silly comment that Hillary is more competent than anyone on the GOP stage. Give Rubio 4 years to mature, he can be the new leader of the party. More conservative than the above but not too conservative. Roughly equivalent to say Ronald Reagan as where Rubio would sit in the party ideology, close to the right wing but not a Pat Buchanan (or Ted Cruz). And Ted, he is probably the smartest but he's too extreme to be elected. He may win the nomination this year and its a shame for him because he'd go down deeply in flames against Hillary. If Ted doesn't get the top of the ticket now, and if Hillary is going to have a lot of scandals, or a couple of disasterous wars, or a bad economy (or all three) then an 'anti-Hillary' could be the savior of the USA in 2020 - that is when Ted would have a chance (but Marco would even then be better poised). What I like about Cruz is his political smarts but I don't approve of his political views, too extreme for me.

Hopefully that helped you see that I don't really hate Republicans (I do really feel I am the perfect Independent, I've honestly preferred candidates from both sides of the aisle as evenly as is mathematically possible, over the years i've followed US Presidential politics).

On Trump I hear you and obviously we agree. Here is the thing. I want two strong and sensible parties fighting for what is best for America, not whats best only for a narrow edge voter block. I want both parties to fight rigorously for the MIDDLE of America, politically. To seek sensible compromise solutions that serve the USA in the long run and make it stronger, not extreme ideology from either side that the next party in charge will want to undo... With that, Trump is now alienating voters from the middle and activating the lunatic fringe, which in gerrymandered districts brings ever more wacko Ultra Tea Party types then also to Congress... This is totally the opposite of whats good for America and whats good for the Republican party long term. In the short term it only strengthens the Democrats' power which then opens them up ever more for over-reach and scandal (inevitable when one party has too much power in two-party system).

Incidentially you may have seen me write about this before, but I hope the long run evolution of the US system is past the two-party duopoly to first a three-party system and eventually to more parties. The birth of the Tea Party and Trump and Ted Cruz may now help bring about the actual split of the Republican party where the Tea Party goes it alone. This would be healthy in both ways. A real extreme right wing party but a minority party, to serve their interests clearly. And the Republican party could pursue the right-center as the Democrats run towards Bernie Sander's nirvana of Socialism haha... In the first few election cycles the Republicans would be devastated but not too long, they'd then be the natural one to next take power after Democrats. And the Tea Party would have to grow up a lot, and mature, to be trusted with some power later on. A few decades later haha...

Ok, I'll post this and return with more

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Continuing with Wayne

Again, I really appreciate it that you summarized your views on fighting terrorism and in many ways I agree with you on the short description you had. I'd immediately add, that I think it is an unwinnable quagmire but one that the troops involved there, Muslims on the ground and many Western nations helping mostly in the air - cannot be ended because ISIS would immediately regain their power if their challengers left Iraq and Syria. And matter have been made immensely more complex when Putin butted into the mess. I honestly have no idea how to win there. I have tons and tons of opinions on various conflicts, but the Middle East. I said I had as my best friend the son of the Ambassador of Israel to Finland. Eli was later commanding a tank that was in the lead unit that crossed into Lebanon in one of the wars. When we spoke in his home with Eli and his family about the Arab-Israeli conflict, they really honestly did not see a negotiated resolution was EVER possible. Then my room mate in college, Haitham Arafat. Yes, Arafat as in Yasser Arafat. Haitham was Yasser's nephew, studying engineering. When I spoke with Haitham about the Arab-Israeli conflict, he honestly convinced me that he thinks there can never be a negotiated resolution. When I now see Hamas and Netanyahu giving statements, I hear Eli and Haitham. Thats just Isreal. The mess in Iraq is even more messed up with more parties (add to that, Syria). So honestly, I would not want to try to negotiate that mess. And I have no idea how it can ever be resolved except, that the vacuum in Iraq is what gave rise to ISIS's power (similar to how the vacuum in Afghanistan after the Soviets left, gave rise to the Taliban), that cannot be allowed to happen. A quagmire - that Dick Cheney by the way predicted when he was against the USA staying in Iraq the first time around....

But I do think Obama overall has been weak in foreign policy especially in the Middle East and very dangerously with Syria (red lines etc). Some of the ideas advanced by the GOP like the no-fly zone and sending in special ops ground troops and arming the western-friendly rebels - those would have been smart moves long ago and now mostly are hopeless. For what its worth, I think the GOP wimped out by not debating war and giving the President a war authorization. Its the job of Congress to decide on war and peace. But that was part of the weakness of Boehner. Paul Ryan does seem to be the right man to be Speaker, far stronger (and smarter) than Boehner.

So lets go to the specific points. You say USA is fighting a TYPE of Muslim and I totally agree. The jihadists are all Muslims but obviously most Muslims are not jihadists. ISIS wants to harm Western targets (and Israel) but most of their victims are Muslims by a massive difference. And what ISIS preaches is a perversion of Islam in the way that the KKK preached a perversion of Christianity when they wanted to burn blacks. And that is why its very important to be nuanced in dealing with the war against ISIS and fundamental jihadists. Here a domestic political campaign rhetoric is diametrically opposed to US long term interests and winning that war. If the US candidates preach anti-Muslim rhetoric, it is immediately used by ISIS to recruit more volunteers because it is very easily converted into 'proof' that the USA, the 'great satan' is waging a holy war against Islam. If the USA could somehow 'win' this war without local help of Muslim nation armies with 'boots on the ground' then it would not be necessarily catastrophic. But many of the nations that are supporting the USA have governments with only a tentative hold on power. They have plenty of radicalized local citizens who support the ISIS side. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries from which largest number of foreign fighters have travelled to Syria or Iraq to fight on ISIS's side. The more the USA antagonizes those allies - the governments of UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc - the more it jeopardizes local rebellion there that could have a kind of Iran 1979 revolution replacing a US-friendly government with a fundamentalist 'death to America' rebel govermnent run by fundamentalist clerics.

Again. I don't profess to have any solution, but to see horrible amounts of things that can go wrong and several that actually are going wrong. In past Presidencies up to and including Bush 2, the other party has left the foreign policy to the President as is the generally accepted division of power in Washington, so that the USA is not seen to speak to the world in a divided way. What the Obama years have brought is a sad evolution of that long-standing tradition where the Republicans have constantly meddled in the foreign policy aspects, further hindering Obama's chances abroad (and he's been bad at it to begin with). Much of that global good will that Obama brought to US-world relations after Bush-Cheney and the two wars and Weapons of Mass Destruction, has now been wasted and USA's standing is not much better than it was back in 2008 when Bush 2 was still in power. That is sad, but it is weakness in Obama. What has made it definitely worse is the continuous meddling by Congress (including the infamous letter to Iran). In that context, Trump is now a new low.

This rhetoric plays badly in the USA domestically with Muslims and damages the Republican brand with ALL minorities who see the pattern after Mexicans are rapists. It also causes more fear and hostility towards Muslims and non-Muslims who may be thought of looking like Muslims (like Indian Sikhs for example). It is FAR FAR FAR worse abroad. This Trump statement cannot be taken back and it is the MOST powerful recruiting and motivating tool that ISIS (and Al Quada, and the Taliban of Afghanistan, and Boko Haram of Nigeria, the deadliest terrorist organization in the world in terms of total deaths caused by terrorist activity) have received. It literally makes all of us less safe because it motivates and activates jihadist terrorists. It is irresponsible hate-speech and for good cause, the British are considering banning Trump from entering Britain where hate-speech is a punishable crime.

On the USA vs Europe, totally agree. Europeans tend to be far more racist and xenophobic than Americans. But if this kind of hate speech is tolerated in the USA, some who have held their tongues now feel free to echo all that and it snowballs. Over the LONG haul, education and learning and meeting will reduce those fears and hate. But thats decades. In the short to mid term, months and years, this Trump year will have given voice to many who really should shut up and not be seen in public haha. Yes, there are bigots everywhere even in Finland and Sweden and Norway haha, but at least with time and education the tolerance is improved and the nastiness (mostly) reduced. Trump has been a sad episode that is a huge step backwards to more racist times. The sooner he is gone, the less damage he can do. And the nation, and the Republican party, has a lot of work to do to get over this sad period. The damage done to the 2016 election is (to my mind and to many even conserative pundits) irreversable.

I really also appreciate the point of standing with you. And I stand with you Wayne, it is your country and your freedoms that we, the rest of the world, look up to and aspire to. I stand with you on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and in effect, freedom of thought.

I'll post this and return on your other comment

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Ok to your second comment Wayne

Trump chances - totally agree, chances stronger now than August and there is a hardened core of supporters who would vote for nobody else if Trump drops out. I'd say two thirds of Trump supporters are likely at the decided point, ie of his 29% probably 19% to 20% are already committed and cannot be reasonably pried away to other candidates. In a prolonged battle some might be worn down or some might find a 'shiny new object' out of a candidate who happened to have a good debate (most likely someone like Chris Christie who sounds somewhat similar to Trump, or Carly Fiorina). So the floor is probably somewhere near 15% or so, maybe 12% but he has now a foundation that is very solid and they won't be scared away by Hitler comparisons or claims that Trump is not a true conservative. Almost anything reported in the press will be dismissed as 'press lies'...

On his chances to win the nomination, there is plenty more. First, there is the snowballing effect of winning a primary, and the bump it gives to the next primary. It does now seem likely that Ted Cruz will take Iowa from Trump but Trump is very strong in the other early state polling and he could very well win New Hampshire where Ted Cruz even if he wins Iowa, will not play well. If Trump wins NH, he could roll onto South Carolina, Nevada and the SEC primaries of March 1.... and become a juggernaut. If you read my delegate math modeling, I found that Cruz has the easiest path to win the most delegates, but Trump was second easiest with Marco Rubio third easiest. Its a very strong chance that Trump actually gets the nomination. Up to last weekend, I did not think this a catastrophic eventuality (while convinced Trump would lose massively in the general election against Hillary) but now with the escallation of the vitriol, I am very alarmed this can get ugly in a riots and blood type of way, plus his language can inspire more terrorist attacks which then in turn would generate backlash like today Congress passing the laws to tighten visa-free travel to the USA (that I enjoy as a Finn and would not want to see eliminated. Current changes would not harm me, we already have e-passports but other further restrictions could..)

BTW if Trump finishes second, and whoever gets the most delegates doesn't go much above 40%, then in the deadlocked convention scenario, I say Trump has best chance of becoming the nominee (lets assume he'd have something like 30% of the delegates) partly because he is the best negotiator of the bunch; partly because the guy in second place has distinct negotiating advantages, partly because everybody will hate whoever 'won' and partly - because Trump can bribe his way to the top of the ticket. He could do some secret deal with money paid into the Caymans to his VP choice at obscene amounts that the rival who finished first cannot hope to match. For Trump to pay 100 million as a bribe to get the nomination would be truly peanuts - 1% of his net worth - but for whoever is at 3rd most delegates, that is a King's ransom and unbelievable windfall to live his/her life in luxury that none of the others could hope to obtain in their careers... But Trump as VP is a non-starter. Either he is on the top of the ticket or he's not on the ticket.

I'd still say Cruz is the most likely to be the nominee and his run would be almost as catastrophic this election cycle with the headwinds the GOP has, against the Hillary wave election of 2016... Marco Rubio probably would make it the closest race.

On that strong belief that the USA couldn't survive four more years of Obama and now worse, 4 more years of the third term ie Hillary, I hear you. Its very clear from Fox and Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh and the right wing echo chamber. Some of it is par for the course and while it seems its never been this bad, actually seeing some of the campaign stuff from the 1800s, its been worse. Only not recently. But on Hillary and 2017.. Its possible that Hillary has a big enough wave election to dislodge the gerrymandered House (And in that case, easily flip the Senate). If Trump or Cruz are on the top of the ticket, this is a strong possibility even conservatives like Carl Rove say so, not just me (and the liberals) haha. In terms of horror of partisan politics, Hillary will be the most divisive and partisan politician we've seen since Reagan possibly more than Reagan. In the modern 24 hour news cycle and social media and cable news chat shows, the right wing media will go ape shit crazy with her first term. And Hillary will take it all in, and she will play real dirty for the 2018 midterms and 2020 re-election, so she'll run nasty games just to ensure she won't lose power and the DEMs can keep (or increase) their leads in both houses. There is a very real danger she over-reaches and then the DEMs are vulnerable already from the 2018 midterms. But the current Republican platform and messaging cannot win once gerrymandering is dismantled (that may come in stages that lasts till 2022). So the GOP has to adapt and evolve beyond the extreme right wing positions to more acceptable moderate Independent mid-ground positions on things like immigration, abortion, minimum wage, taxes, miliatry spending etc.. Its gonna be a rough transition but look at Bill Clinton on the Democratic side after the comprehensive drubbing that Mondale took and the weak performance of Dukakis. An optimistic young inspirational leader is needed and as Hillary will be the grumpy tired angry bitter grandma (fighting fifteen different foreign policy crises) thats where the big opportunity arises. And like Democrats fell in love with Bill Clinton even though he had lots of centrist, even 'Republican' ideas - for them - he was cheered and seen as the savior of the party. This is what awaits some young gun of the Republicans and could be as early as 2020. That moderate Republican doesn't have to sell out on everything haha, but has to lead the party out of the losing extreme positions on some major areas. Enough to be able to win again..

Trump an ass (yes) but a demagogue (yes) and a darn good one (yes indeed yes). Trump is playing this part INCREDIBLY well. I do wonder if his modest political team and Trump planned these attacks and expected him to win out of them. How much of this is dumb luck and coincidence and how much was actually planned. But I did write in some preview that Trump is a TV star and on the TV stage (and getting access now to 24h news) he is utterly in a class by himself, and the clown car nature of the long primary season will be in his corner, where TV is so critical. And yes, he is incredibly good at this, and his run will be studied by politicos on both sides, and in next elections, all candidates will adopt aspect from this run, both good and bad (sadly, lowering the bar).

On how you see the support going, I am very similar in my thinking. It does depend very much as you said, on when they drop out (if they do). A few are hopeless cases with no real money and can't continue past March and might not make it through February like Pataki, Graham, Santorum etc. But some, if they have a sugardaddy Billionaire to fund the SuperPAC and then run a tight shoe-string budgeted campaign, could last till April even with modest support, always hoping the next debate will give them their 'Gingrich moment' to rise to the top and win a primary and then hope that gives them the momentum... The Huckabees, Christies, Bushes, Pauls fall into this category.

I wrote somewhere about the 'three lanes' this cycle. Not my idea, stolen from some political chat show on TV. But whoever the smart pundit was, said there used to be two lanes for GOP, one moderate lane and one conservative lane. Now there is the third lane, Trump's lane. Its possible Trump stays in it and obviously wins his lane. Cruz likely wins the conservative lane and Rubio the moderate lane (even as he is quite conservative). Then it could be 33/33/33 in very rough terms say each of the three might end with more than 30% but under 35% of the delegates. That could be quite the negotiation then on who gets to be on top of the ticket and which will have supporters screaming bloody murder in June haha...

Hey Wayne, seriously, thanks for writing. After my personal despair, this has been a great way to unload some of my anguish, to be able to vent here on the blog and find some responses (similar to my despair about Nokia with Elop etc..)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Sheep culler

You must be quite the fool to still believe that your vote actually means anything. Or left vs right is meaningful.

Let Devid Icke educate you.


@Sheep culler
"You must be quite the fool to still believe that your vote actually means anything."

Still, people voted in Obama against all odds. How can this be if votes do not count?

@Sheep culler
"Or left vs right is meaningful."

Tell that to the supporters of Trump, Cruz, or Sanders. Or every other candidate for that matter. And if that does not matter, why all the heat here and elsewhere?

I hear enough people telling me Obama or the Democrats ruined the country, and others telling me the GOP ruined the country. So that difference seems to matter too.


Oh come on Tomi. This is not Trump views he is just saying this to get votes. If you followed hes campaign you know that he first wanted to take in Syrian refugees before he flip-flop a day later. In my opinion he is more of a democrat than republican. You should condemn all republicans and few democrats and not only Trump because they voted to halt the Syrian refugees program and now altering the Visa program, they are all guilty of fear-mongering. Donald Trump is a just saying what people want. And that you still believe that Trump is having dumb luck so many times is surprising. I followed Trump for 10 years in the news, he is a ruthless terminator, knows exactly what he is doing and will sink to any level to win.

By the way isn't the Foreign minister of Finland far worse than Donald Trump??? :)


I do not understand why you reckon that Trump has just crossed the line. He crossed the line long ago, when he averred that hispanic immigrants are rapists and criminals, and that he's going to expel 11 million from the US. To me, that's as bad as his latest on muslims - arguably worse, for the ones that are perpetrating massacres in the name of their religion are muslim, with some christians displaying a similar bent.


Let's borrow Cruz's idea for dealing with ISIS; we should carpet bomb Trump's properties around the world.

Yeah, yeah, there might be a wee bit of collateral damage, just as there would be if Cruz got to implement his plan. At least Trump Towers all have signs and we could warn the occupants a few minutes before bombing commenced.

Are there only nutcases left in the Republican party?



You were right about Trump being a Democrat agent!

Is Donald Trump a Democratic secret agent?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Thanks for the comments, I'll return to reply to them. A few quick notes about the election season developments. On the polling side, after this incident Trump is either up or flat by the polls, not down. The Real Clear Politics polling average today has Trump just a tick under 30%. So he's not been hurt at least and by some polls, he's gained. I think the big (or huge) test for Trump and the race is the next debate now on CNN tomorrow.

In Iowa Ted Cruz has definitely passed Trump and Dr Carson is on a downward trajectory fallen to fourth behind Rubio. As Iowa is the first state to vote, its results will be far more relevant than the modest haul of delegates from the small rural state that it is. For its voter profile, Iowa is not indicative of the nation as a while, but it is quite similar to the 'SEC Primary' or Southern Primary of March 1 when a large number of Southern, religious, conservative states vote as a block. As New Hampshire (second state to vote) is very different from Iowa (Iowa is a caucus, NH is a primary; Iowa is closed to only Republican party members, NH is an 'open primary' where Independents can vote in either party's race; Iowa is very conservative, New Hampshire is quite liberal; Iowa is very religiously evangelical-Christian; New Hampsire is quite modestly religious and more secular; Iowa is very rural, NH has plenty of urban population especially South near the border to Massachussetts and Boston). So the 'next' state(s) that would be similar to Iowa will not come until March after 3 contests in other types of environments.

Then the debate. This is now very high time for any would-be 'dragon-slayer' to emerge from the pack. The road to the White House runs through victories in TV debates. Trump has remained on the top perch for the whole race as long as they've debated on TV this time. And he has not been seriously challenged (yet). Either someone has a knock-out blow that severely hurts Trump (and it could be several who do this in one debate, not just one) but unless Trump is knocked off, he will remain on the top (inspite of how silly things Trump says regularly on his stump speeches). A likely person who could now do it is Chris Christie. He had tasted what 'almost losing' felt like being dropped from the main stage to debate on the kiddie table and he should be now motivated enough to take the gloves off and defeat Trump. Christie would project a similar 'tough guy' image so many of Trump's supporters could then like to gravitate to the newest 'Alpha Dog' and Christie no doubt would remind TV viewers that the way he handles/handled Trump in the debate, Christie would next handle Hillary Clinton. If the damage to Trump is real and stinging, then this would be a strong bid for why voters should switch to Christie. Incidentially, its what Carly Fiorina did quite well in the second debate but she spoiled it with the lies about brain harvesting. Christie won't make that kind of mistake.

But I must also note that Trump is still by far the most experienced live TV person of the race and if Trump is awake and energetic in the debate, he could theoretically face repeated attacks from six of his eight rivals and brush it all off as easily as Hillary handled her Benghazi-inquisition. Trump has memorized dozens of effective one-liner attack responses to each candidate and he can rattle them off easily. He might well emerge from a hotly contested feisty debate with even stronger credentials that he is the true alpha dog of the race and the best suited to go against Hillary next year. Equally, Trump might come in cocky, unprepared and be surprised if the attacks are coming from all sides and repeatedly and that the live audience might seem to side with his attackers. Trump doesn't usually stay focused for the full length of the debate, and if the rivals get stronger as the debate wears on, and if Trump has his mid-debate slump in concentration, he could be easy prey for a lucky dragon-slayer wannabe. Will be interesting. If the candidates are well prepped, this one should not be a snooze-fest. Their time is now, they have to get their voters energized and steal support from rivals.

One more thought - Jeb Bush has signalled - and changed his ads too - that he wants now to steal voting support not from Trump but from the other mid-field candidates so Jeb might be hunting for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (and Ben Carson) instead of Trump. But also, judging by how lame Jeb has been all along, I think the effect of that would be not much more than that of a mosquito making some noise. Still, lets see if Jeb might be able to fix it (this time).

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Sheep, Winter and Pekka

Sheep - haha well, if you believe in statistics as strongly as I do, then yes, a single voter will never matter in any election.. but if you believe in a citizen's duty to vote in democracies then it is immaterial if that vote 'matters' in a given election, the voter's duty is to voice that single opinion and make his/her voice heard. I believe in the principle that if you didn't vote then you don't have a right to be critical either (in open democracies). But statistically in an absolute mathematical sense, for any one single voter, you are correct. As an activated voter BASE (numbers of voters) the equation changes and then some single VOICES can change elections regardless of the actual act of the ballot.

Winter - thanks.

Pekka - haha ok, fair points. Flip-flops on Trump? Most definitely yes. Possibly he doesn't believe what he is saying and saying all the vile things just to get votes - you know what, Pekka, that was much of the heart of the blog article I abandoned when I felt I had to write this one instead. At this point he crossed the line into what is truly damaging to the USA, because that rhetoric now, the 'block Muslims from entry' is being used to recruit more ISIS terrorist warriors. Trump is actually helping the enemy with that rhetoric. If its a calculated lie, even so, he went too far. And judging by all what comes naturally from Trump in his interviews and off-the-cuff remarks, he SOUNDS like he really is a bigoted grumpy old man. Archie Bunker but even worse, with eleven Billion dollars.

You said the same issue is with most Republicans and many Democrats about the Syrian refugees and the changes to the visa program. No, thats not true. Syrian refugees are not one religion - there are refugees from many religions including Christians and Jews from Syria, not just Muslims. Its a NATIONAL issue that has some merit. There are various wars going on regularly that produce refugees. A generous loving nation will open doors for SOME refugees in many cases, but not necessarily always. Its also a global effort often coordinated by the United Nations especially their refugee agency. So limits to (or bans) of Syrian refugees is not at all the same thing as banning all of one religion to arrive to the USA. But I would argue that the United States bears a RESPONSIBILITY in 'if you broke it, you own it' for causing ISIS. It was the Bush-Cheney second Iraq war, the 'Greeted As Liberators' war ie 'Mission Accomplished' war of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was supposed to pay for itself and be over in weeks. That war caused ISIS. And ISIS originally did its terror in parts of Iraq, then it natually spread West to Syria over that open border where the same religious factions also exist. So the USA caused the damage that now means a massive global exodus of Syrians fleeing terror back home. And then President Obama made the Syrian mess worse with his silly red line rhetoric. Now those refugees are mostly in neighboring countries of Syria and streaming up into Europe. The USA bears a responsibility and thats partly why I think its obnoxious for any Republican to say 'no we don't take the refugees' if they caused ISIS to begin with (and as their Democratic President caused this current Syria mess, the Democrats should not say no to refugees either, but they are less likely to do so than Republicans).

The visa program changes? Did you read them? Need electronic passports and if you've been to a few of the most dangerous war zones like in Iraq or Syria, then you can't go through the system of visa free entry. I think this makes a lot of sense. They are not banning visa free entry and for most countries it makes no difference. But if you're a British citizen who visited Iraq... then there is valid cause for the USA to not give you visa free entry to the USA but force you to apply for a visa - which you'll of course get unless there is something sinister going on. But if you are a British radical youth who likes the ISIS ideology and went to Iraq to be trained... this is a smart way to stop those. Its very tightly targeted and I think its actually TOO narrow (visiting Afghanista and visiting Yemen are NOT included, that to me sounds dumb in the way this idea was implemented, those two countries are equally risky to produce domestic terrorists back home). That is totally not the same as banning all of one religion. Just because it also affects 'brown people' or is related to the Middle East does not make it as dumb or dangerous as what Trump just said. Not at all the same thing, Pekka. Not at all.

But as to Trump the terminator, haha, ok, I see that and I do think, Trump has not yet been fully tested by the field of rivals. I think Trump has not been fighting this race at his top of his potential (yet). I think Trump can turn this up quite a lot more, if he really wants the nomination (not necessarily true, he may want something else instead and is using this process for whatever that is) and if it comes down to say a 3-way race Cruz-Rubio-Trump, then we'd see far more of the 'real' and 'final' Trump way to fight. It can truly get far more nasty and vicious if yes Trump has been playing nice so far. Remember early on when Trump was suing everybody. Thats more the Trump I think is the real thing and we may see that Trump still emerge. As to Finnish politics, gosh, haha, well yeah, luckily we are a small distant obscure (and cold) province in the grand-European dream.

(more comments coming)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne and SDS

Wayne - ok, I hear you, you don't want 'any' refugees and worry about what will it cost to take in tens of thousands of refugees. So first off, I think its a moral obligation for the USA which caused ISIS (thanks to Bush-Cheney 'we will be greeted as liberators' war against Saddam Hussein ie Weapons of Mass Destruction ie Iraq 2 war). And yes, Obama's mission of ending military involvement did cause a vacuum that only enabled ISIS to grow and expand. And Obama's misguided Syria policy made that civil war far worse, all conspiring to make the refugee exodus a massive one. Most of the refugees are in neighboring and nearby countries, in the millions. A few tens of thousands is a drop in that bucket, and a pittance for the USA to pay for causing this mess to begin with.

But on the costs. What do refugees do? They don't want to remain in a camp or on welfare. Some will be. Most want to work, they want to help their families back home and they want to send money back home. Many want to return home (not all). After having literally nothing, most refugees are very content to take the simplest least meaningful jobs just to have some income and work, like being janitors, cleaners, drivers, cooks, waiters etc. Very low cost jobs but they will tend to accept them eagerly and do them well and then pay taxes and send money back home (or finance their family return back home, when the war is over). Please study the refugee situations around the world, Wayne, it has short-term costs but in long term almost all such situations strengthen both nations and build lasting ties between them. Like we have in Finland, out of past war refugee situations we have communities of hard-working tax-paying Vietnamese and Somalis etc. Plus yes, some who are taking advantage of the system too - but those also exist in the domestic population that is not symptomatic of one 'race' it is human laziness that all populations have in some percentage of the people.

Should there be discussion in Congress, sure. I'm all for that. Should there be public support for bringing in refugees - in any country absolutely yes. But they are the VICTIMS of ISIS, they should not be labeled TERRORISTS. That is truly adding insult to injury. Literally. Adding insults - calling you the monster who killed or raped part of your family - after the injury (death and rapes of your family). There is a historical parallel that one would hope that the USA had bothered to learn from - the refusal of the USA to take in more Jewish refugees fleeing from Hitler's Nazi Germany. If you don't learn from history you are condemned to repeat those mistakes.

Look what the new Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau the Second just did? He went to the airport to greet incoming Syrian refugees, giving them all warm winter coats to be comfy in cold Canadian winters. THAT is how you do a refugee crisis and build your country's reputation as a kind caring loving nation. But what else is new, the Canadians are just about the nicest people this side of Thailand. Do the math Wayne. 50,000 refugees, if they were given full room and board for a year - is a tiny fraction of what Hurricane Catrina cost the USA and such hurricanes hit almost annually. Yes, its more cost, I see that, fair point but the conservatives have long since lost the argument on 'let us be the fiscally resposible ones' after the ballooning debts of Reagan and Bush 1, followed by the even more enormous ballooning debts of Bush 2. But here is the point - most of those refugees will soon pay for themselves, and then become a net-positive in the tax base. This quite different from the illegal aliens who while they work, mostly do not pay taxes. Refugees are very highly committed motivated people who were fending for themselves and survived atrocities. If given peace and quiet, they will be very soon contributing members of society - including very often very highly skilled members too, plenty of engineers, teachers, doctors etc among the refugees.

As to taking care of the veterans and mentally ill (and unemployed etc) thats all good and well. This is a crisis, good government will have crisis funds (like for hurricanes) and such funds should be used. In the big picture the total cost is truly trivial compared to say the massive miliatry spending that the USA needlessly is adding to mainly driven by Republican 'hawks' even when the military says it doesn't need whatever it is that Congress buys for them like say the M1 Abrams tank (the army repeatedly has begged the extra tank deliveries to end, and parks vast numbers of the new tanks in 'mothballs' unusued but Congress keeps buying more of them).

But yeah, Wayne, for me the fundamental issue is the one I already wrote about in the above to you and others before - if you break it, you own it. The USA caused ISIS and that in turn caused the migration not just of Syrians but Iraqis and others. Therefore the USA bears a moral obligation to do its PART in helping resolve the refugee crisis. This all should go to the US voters to consider the next time they listen to Dick Cheney bitch about something or telling a war will be fast easy and cheap. Or when some other warmongerers like Lindsay Graham says that he wants to send fresh American soldiers to go die in the Middle East. Starting wars is easy. Ending wars is hard. Many wars have lasted years, even decades after all sides wanted out of the war but could not figure out how to end it. Look at Chechnya, the second war lasted 9 years past Putin's claims of the war having ended. Or Afghanistan now with the Americans. Obama was elected in promising to end the two wars, and he recently had to announce that eight years of trying to end a Bush-Cheney war in Afghanistan, Obama will not be able to, and has to bequeath that war onto his successor (ie Hillary). The costs of these refugees is what Americans should blame Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Condi Rice and their gang, inside the Bush 2 administration. Yet more costs of that disasterous war. The USA needs to learn that it should not go to war as a first resort and as long as such an institution as the United Nations, as weak and lame as it often is, is still working to resolve some matter - like are there Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq - then the USA should NOT go to war but rather wait for that process to be finished, however painfully slowly it was proceeding at the time. As we can see, the UN weapons inspector was right and Cheney and Rumsfeld and gang were utterly wrong. And still today, there are severe costs out of that war. And yes, Obama did not help things, especially on Syria's side, he made things worse (please do not write that Obama could have kept US soldiers on the ground in Iraq when he took office - you have to know your history that it was George Dimwit Bush who signed the agreement with Iraq that forced American troops out. If you comment saying Obama chose to keep troops in Iraq after he won a LANDSLIDE election mandate promising to take them out - and it was his predecessor W Bush who signed the agreement forcing the troops out - then I will delete such comments as delusional. I am not suggesting you would write that, I am just warning, I won't tolerate imaginary history on this blog, as usual)

But my point is, usually on refugees, yeah, hoping enough caring countries volunteer to take a share and that all get a new temporary (and for some, permanent) home. Like I said, most refugees dream of returning to their homeland some day when war is over. But in the case of Syria and Iraq, the USA caused this mess, it cannot turn away from the crisis. Even so, ten thousand or fifty thousand refugees is peanuts compared to the millions going into the European Union right now. But its says a lot about Obama's friendlier relations with Europe, that the EU is not bitching and moaning about why the USA caused this mess - if W Bush was in charge 'you're either with us or against us' then there would be a lot of grumbling across Europe that this whole problem was America's making (with an assistance from Tony Blair obviously).

SDS - I hear you and its a fair point of the angle you view it from. I very highly value freedom of speech. When Trump said Mexicans are rapists and murderers, he wasn't actually suggesting throwing all Mexicans into jail. He did yes propose building a wall but he wasn't suggesting taking an action against those he called murderers and rapists. For me that is demonizing a group of people - very unkind yes, but still just 'freedom of speech' even if I totally disagree with that speech. Same with his slurs against women, war veterans and the handicapped. Nasty speech but he wasn't suggesting taking voting rights away from women, taking medals or veterans' benefits away from veterans, or cutting funding for the disabled. He said nasty things but didn't advocate any laws or regulations or government action to attack those groups he was 'hating upon'. Now, on the Muslims its different, first the collective punishment and now the ban on entry. That is where I see a clear difference. But I agree with you, what he said about Mexicans six months ago was already nasty bigoted racists stuff that in most years would get you immediately eliminated from the race to become President of the USA, and I am hopeful that after this year's of nasty vitriol, the Republican party has a serious realignment of what it stands for, and stops being the racists party. This is a recent phenomenon only in the past decade or so and strongly aggravated by the election of Obama as the first black President.

The Republicans cannot win the Presidency nor keep the majority in the Senate as long as they are the bigoted party. Those issues come home to roost now in 2016 and it will keep getting worse for the Republican party into 2018 and 2020 until they change their focus. The easy measure to detect when is the Republican party back to being sane, is when Republicans attack any silly right-wing media (or fellow candidates) for accusing (then ex) President Obama of being a Muslim or not born in the USA. When that happens the party is on the path to healing and can approach a time when they can win the race for President and start to gain seats in the Senate again. This current path against women, against Mexicans, against immigrants, against gays, against Muslims, against students, against everybody who is not a white Christian male - that is a guarantee of national election disaster (except for a conveniently gerrymandered Congress which will also see its gerrymandering disassembled by the Democrats and the Supreme Court but that takes a long time, many election cycles. Then even the Congress will flip to Democrats).

(more replies coming)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi grouch, Scott and Paul

grouch - what a luvly idea... but just on the practical implementation, carpetbombing would not be ideal for taking down a single Trump tower in any given city, precision-bombing would be the more efficient way. A couple of Tomahawk cruise missiles hitting critical structural points low in the skyscraper should easily bring one down...

but actually, the really painful part for Trump is, if his famed building gets to stand but his NAME is removed. That is what I hope to see. There was some talk in I think Toronto and at some golf course being developed in the Middle East but I'd like to see all of the Trump branded properties experience various boycotts and devaluation of their property value (as in residents not being able to sell their apartments because nobody wants to live in a Trump building) and that would be the perfect insult for the guy who wrote his name in such big gold letters everywhere... but I'd take the bombing of his buildings to rubble as a second choice haha

Scott - thanks for the comment and I am sure there are large parts of the Republican voter base plus plenty of Independents and some Democrats who feel the same way. That the USA needs to be 'tough'. And that this current mess was caused by being 'weak'. And that by being 'tough' is the only way to fix it. I see that and yes, plenty of totally sane people believe that, and there is historical precedent to this. Jimmy Carter was voted to be the first US President after the demoralizing loss in the Vietnam War. The USA needed to have its emotions 'fixed' and Carter was not the man to be able to do that. He can fix your house, haha, but the nation's despair, no. For that confidence to be brought back, the USA did need Ronald Reagan. What made the historical lesson even more pronounced was the malaise under Carter, from the Iran hostage crisis, to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the oil crisis and 'stagflation' back home.

Would a strong President have been able to stop any of those in the 1970s? Would Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan been able to stop the NATIONAL revolution against a BRUTAL dictator in Iran (the Shah of Iran who was a puppet dictator propped up by the CIA). No. the Aytollah was in the right place (in Paris) at the right time and in 1979, the Iranian Revolution happened. No US President however 'tough' could have stopped that. And then there was the Iranian hostage crisis with the embassy, for which Carter was blamed but for which he could do nothing (not to mention the rescue crisis failed due to a helicopter accident by the rescue team). What about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Could a 'tough' President have prevented it? Not in a million years, because the US spy satellites were not monitoring that border and the Soviets were in Kabul before the world knew that the war had started. What about the oil crisis? It was a reaction by the Arab nations to punish Israel and the West from the 1973 Yom Kippur war that then had several iterations of shock prices in oil, as OPEC learned of its power. Could a tough president have stopped OPEC? No. This was beyond Carter's control but it was destiny, he was the humble honest guy to replace the psychopathic criminal 'I am not a crook' Nixon. But as Carter was seen as a failure, the USA wanted something opposite of Carter - hence Reagan.

So you want a tough guy as President then? Many conservatives accuse Obama of being dictatorial for a few PUBLIC Executive Orders after Obama had for YEARS begged Congress to send him legislation on something like Immigration for example. Legislation that had bipartisan support and had passed the Senate already. That is what is supposedly 'evil' about Obama. PUBLIC and in the OPEN simple executive orders not launching wars or funding terrorists. And on issues the US population offers vast political agreement and where BIPARTISAN legislation has already passed the Senate. That is what supposedly weak Obama has had the audacity to do and the Republicans and conservative media accuse Obama of being a ruthless dictator. Meanwhile take the toughest recent President. Reagan. He was funding a rebellion in Nicaragua. He was trying to overthrow the legal and elected government there. When Congress voted in bipartisan support and ordered Reagan to stop, what did Reagan the real tough guy do? He sent in Colonel Oliver North to go sell some forbidden missiles to USA enemy Iran, who would then send the money to the 'contras' who were Reagan's allies fighting in Nicaragua. So Reagan funded terrorists trying to overthrow one government, while bypassing the laws forbidding arms sales to Iran, and yes, SUPPORTING the Muslim 'Death to America' radical government of Iran. That is what a 'tough guy' gets you.

Tough guys like Cheney who used his puppet Idiot Bush (Bush 2) to launch two wars that were never funded, ballooning the US deficit and something YOU and your kids now, 12 years later, still have to pay for. Tough guys like Rumsfeld etc, who want to go attack Iran next. Oh, and that Saddam Hussein? You know who was supporting Saddam in his ten year war against Iran? Ronald Reagan !!! Giving secret spy satellite data for example. Yeah, Saddam was a good friend to ole Ronnie and his warmongering pals like Daddy Bush who didn't want to dispose of Hussein (for fear it would result in chaos in Iraq and more violence in the region plus becoming a base for terrorists).

I understand the idea that countries want a tough leader. It is even more compelling when a nation has been a global superpower and has lost that leadership. Like Germany the world superpower a century ago, who lost World War 1, and then gave rise to Hitler. Or how Britain the world superpower in the mid-war years who was onto its knees but then found disregarded old politician Winston Churchill. Or how Russia saw the dismantling of its empire and that despair gave rise to Putin now. And there are those same worries in the USA, as China is passing the USA now as an economic power and becoming an ever stronger military power (one day will exceed US military but that will take decades still to happen). I understand the fear and worry, that once the USA was the undisputed world superpower and now some nasty struggling 'caliphate' in the Middle East is cutting off the heads of some Westerners. Being tough or strong is not incompatible with being ALSO smart (like Churchill and like Putin). Being only tough or strong is always worse than being smart (like Hitler). Everything Trump has said and done is being dumb, not smart. Then no matter how tough he might be, will be worthless and a smart choice would be far better. But its easy to project toughness. Incidentially, real toughness and pretend toughness is difficult to distinguish. Trump most likely is only pretending to be tough, as he teaches in his book about negotiations. So even if real toughness is what you want, likely Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz or Chris Christie would have REAL toughness far more than pretend-tough Trump.

On 'war going on and doing everything he can to stop it' - utter bullshit. He has repeatedly been called on this by all experts and veterans of foreign policy and military. Trump likes to do his song and dance on battleships and claim he's the toughest miliatry guy but even Carly Fiorina has more practical and effective ANSWERS to how to use US military strength. And then on HOW to 'win' in Iraq and Syria? What is it that you Scott suggest the USA do now? What is it that magical tough man Trump has said, that you think the USA should do, that it is not doing? First off, the USA cannot send another army of 100,000 soldiers there. No way will the US population accept it and the region would have a revolt and most of US allies would quit the coalition. Plus it would anger all locals and make it seem like a US occupation, only adding to ISIS recruitment.

So the locals on the ground have to be from the region, Arabs, Kurds, etc. Was this the Republicans' first idea? No. They wanted to send an invasion. What did Obama do? He worked through DIPLOMACY (initially with Hillary Clinton then with John Kerry) and the troops on the ground fighting ISIS are locals, from neighbors. Which is the ONLY WAY it can be won. Yes the USA can offer some special troops of particular technical ability and there are some, and I will immediately agree that Obama was too slow to send them in. But this is a war that cannot be won by the USA. It cannot be won by the USA. The Vietnam war could not be won by the USA, only the Vietnamese could decide that war. The Afghanistan first war with Soviets could not be won by the Soviets, only the local Afghans. The second war in Afghanistan (US and coalition) also cannot be won by the outsiders only the locals. Same across all recent conflicts from Sri Lanka to Chechenya. It has to be resolved locally with the feuding sides in any civil war. Iraq and Syria are in civil war and the USA cannot attack and 'win' in that situation. This is a messy situation and it is 'nuanced'. It takes mostly diplomatic effort.

That being said, would a no-fly zone have helped early on in Syria? Yes. Obama was weak n not implementing it, but now its no longer viable without Russia's explicit acceptance. Again, now its diplomacy. Not something for 'tough guys' but for the smart nuanced guys like Obama's way. Slow and tedious and will be messy and will not be perfect but its the ONLY way the war can be ended. It cannot be won by outsiders, because it is a civil war. If the USA had in the current crop real serious foreign policy competence (at the main debate stage) then Trump's silly views would be decimated. A Daddy Bush or John McCain etc would put Trump to his place on the nonsense of being the tough guy in real world geopolitics. But I hear you, the USA is hurting (thanks in large part to the propaganda on Fox, not the reality of the world) and they want a tough guy to be the daddy to sort it all out. Luckily that is not the majority of Americans so Trump doesn't have a prayer of winning the general election, even if he manages to take the nomination (Cruz has a better chance than Trump to win the GOP nomination but either will lose in a landslide to Hillary)

On me being a liberal. Haha, yeah, thats typical, similar to how I am often accused in tech blog views for being biased, I hate Apple, I love Apple, then I again hate Apple; I love Nokia too much, then I hate Nokia; and on and on. Same in politics, over the years (not this cycle only) my friends often have concluded I must be a conservative, or I must be a liberal, at any given one point. It all comes down to three things - first, I am politically very 'independent' roughly in the middle for US politics or quite much to the right wing of European politics. Secondly, I call it always how I see it, and am able to see good in the parts I don't like and bad in parts I do like. I am not dogmatic. And thirdly I am willing to evolve my view as new facts come to light. So I am willing to (but not regularly engaging in) changing my opinion(s). So I learn and adjust. So sometimes an idea which seemed good at the time turns out bad, or vice versa.

On the recent blogs. No, not because I might be a liberal haha, look and read those blogs, they were 100% on the money at the time. That Trump has shifted to being a fascist. Not something that Democrats accuse a given Republican politican, but totally unheard-of in modern politics (I can only remember back to Nixon, so I can't comment on Goldwater) that the members of the same party - Republcians - would accuse the leader of their candidates of being a fascist of Nazi. I was correct on that blog. What about Dr Carson being a total buffoon? When I wrote that blog Carson was exposed for all the lunatic things like Egyptian Pyramids are for grain storage. He's a lunatic and will never be elected. What about the blog about Hillary? It was right after the Benghazi witch-hunt and after the first Democratic debate. Many conservatives had held to the delusional hopes that Benghazi will bury Hillary and it didn't. Now most conservatives admit that Hillary is a formidable candidate and like Marco Rubio said, she has the most experience of anyone running on either side. Again, its not that I'm a liberal writing that, it is fair honest truth of what is going on. I don't deny that some of the positions I hold are liberal (and others conservative, which is why I would be an Independent) but those blogs were not posted out of a liberal agenda, but one - like all blog postings here on CDB blog - because I felt that is the truth that needed to be said by someone. Often my blogs are also the first, or one of the first, to make a given point.

Paul - haha thanks yeah there is a lot of that conspiracy theory going on. Thanks for the link

Tomi Ahonen :-)


To estimate the chances of a divisive populist candidate like Trump we can look to the Front National of (now) Marie Le Pen. Marie Le Pen is the long running French example for Trump. Same message, same type of supporters.

In the first round two weeks ago, the Front National of Marie Le Pen got 30% of the votes in regional elections in France and her party was the biggest in 6 out of 13 regions (provinces). In the second round, her party failed to win in a single regions. The rest of the parties and their voter banded together to deny her even a single region.

That is the harvest from hate politics. Trump is vilifying all other parties and their news media and their voters. Just like Le Pen’s Front National does in France. The result is that they harvest unity from their opponents and do not win the elections.

I expect something similar from Trump.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Winter

Good point and valid comparison. Its even more stark when we look at Trump's support. He is upside down on female support (the largest voting block) while Hillary is above the norm for Democrats. Trump is below the abysmal Republican average now for Hispanics (he is lowest of any Republican) the largest minority vote. He does even worse with blacks as is usual, Democrats own that demographic. Trump's support is weak among college-educated voters and among the youth. So the only group where Trump outperforms is.. white men. Its impossible to win with that alone. Impossible to win. Which is why even in today's head-to-head matchups Trump is utterly wiped out by Hillary. This before Hillary has even started her attacks on him that come in the general election. Remember most of Trump's positions are still pretty well unknown, the Republican field has been lame and weak at attacking him much because Trump hits back so hard that only the weakest who have nothing left to lose, even try anymore. And nobody is paying attention to what Lindsay Graham says haha...

Yeah in the general election a twenty point bloodbath Hillary 60% to Trump 40% is roughly how it would play out. Hillary's coat-tails would deliver a filibuster-proof 60 Senator majority to the Democrats and flip the House so the DEMs would control both chambers of the Congress and with no filibuster, there would be nothing the Republicans could do to stop Hillary from appointing the most liberal judges to all open seats in federal courts, passing sweeping voter fairness laws, outlawing unlimited campaign donations and rapidly undo the last Republican firewall of gerrymandered districts - most likely with a national law saying voting districts cannot be gerrymandered and by some measure like 2% deviation if one district is unfair - the actual vote cast will just be REASSIGNED so that the fair result is counted instead... Haha the Republicans would go to a fringe party overnight.

That being said, the longer Trump runs, the more the mainstream Republican party understands they have to defeat him in the primary season and not go to a deadlocked convention. They already had a meeting of 20 senior party officials last weekend about what to do if they will have a deadlocked convention. The horror is now becoming real, as Trump is steady at 30% and looks like after losing Iowa (but picking up some delegates there too, as it is proportional delegates) Trump is likely to win in New Hampsire, South Carolina and Nevada next - with strong leads in all those states. Trump even leads in Texas against home boy Ted Cruz and in Florida against TWO local heroes, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Trump is now looking like he is on a steamroller through most of February. The party is really panicking. And Senators who are up for re-election in 2016 are really fearful now. Members of Congress still believe their gerrymandered seats make them safe. That will start to change as Trump starts winning in February haha...

But the French election is a perfect prototype of how Trump's hate campaign will go and all polls about Trump or match-ups to Hillary suggest that is so.

Then the WORSE outcome for the Republicans is, if they anger Trump and he decides to break with the party and run as an Independent (and Dr Ben Carson just said over the weekend that if the party is unfair - to TRUMP - that Carson will also quit the party - suggesting he might want to be Trump's VP choice).

If the Republicans fight all spring and then nominate Ted Cruz - already general election poison - but Trump is angered and departs the party with Dr Carson - something like a third to half of Republican-leaning voters could to with them - plus plenty of Independents and even some modereate Democrats. Hillary would win with say 45% of the vote, Trump could come second with 30% and Ted Cruz with 25% haha... Now Hillary would bring most state-houses and Governorships also to the Democrats for 2016...

As I've been saying, the Republicans are diseased with Tea Party syndrome. They have to get over it. Only way that happens is a total election drubbing. And its possible the cure is for the 'Freedom Caucus' ie Tea Party to formally split away from the Republicans and become the genuine third party as the ultra-nationalist racists foreigner-hating party of the USA, to become exactly like Le Pen in France. With Donald Trump as the chairman of the party and Sarah Palin as the secretary haha..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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