The Internet Is Full Of Bad Ideas

From what vat of stupid did this monumental piece of crap spring?

Lizza

Ryan Lizza is the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, also a CNN contributor. Not exactly a Fox News pundit. And yet, this is Breitbart-level stupidity. So, the Democratic nominee should willingly relinquish the crown jewel of the election to stop the Republican Party’s petard-hoisting which is providing us all so much amusement? I don’t think so, buddy.

I am so sick of this “Villager” wisdom from our betters in the political-intellectual circle jerk known as the Washington press.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, media

You’ve Come A Long Way, Maybe

The Los Angeles Times is rightfully getting some heat for running a photo of President Bill Clinton to accompany a story about Hillary’s historic nomination.

Like other newspapers, The Times illustrated its main story Wednesday on Hillary Clinton’s historic nomination for president with a photo — of her husband.

Of course, Bill Clinton is no ordinary spouse of a candidate (and neither was Hillary Clinton when her husband was president). Still, many readers detected a whiff of sexism in The Times’ decision to feature a large photo of the former president basking the adulation of the Democratic National Convention crowd when it was the former secretary of State who received her party’s nomination for president.

Gee, I’m not sure “other papers did it, too,” and, “Bill Clinton is no ordinary spouse,” are worthy excuses. And I missed the apology in these two paragraphs, too.

My God but it’s going to be a long three and a half months.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, feminism, Hillary Clinton, media

Rewarding Bad Behavior

If you are a major American brand trying to burnish your pro-GLBT bonafides with company policies that embrace inclusiveness and tolerance, I salute you.

But if you are a major American brand proud of this record of tolerance and inclusiveness, then please stop talking out of both sides of your mouth:

Nashville, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd joined Lowe’s in announcing the company will locate a new direct fulfillment center in Robertson County.

The home improvement company expects to invest approximately $100 million and create up to 600 jobs in Coopertown, northwest of Nashville.

Yes, this is huge for this community north of Nashville. And yet, Robertson County’s two representatives to the state legislature (Republicans, ‘natch) — State Rep. Sabi Kumar and State Senator Kerry Roberts — both supported the discriminatory anti-LGBT counseling bill. Both voted for it; in fact, Roberts serves on the Health And Welfare Committee which could have stopped this bill in its infancy, but every single Republican moved it forward. Shame.

This is the same bill which has caused the city of Nashville so many problems: the loss of conferences, backlash from celebrities and the like. Nashville, the first city in the state to pass an anti-GLBT discrimination ordinance, forbidding the city from contracting with companies that discriminate. Nashville, whose Democratic reps have opposed discrimination. But we’re the ones who pay, while Robertson County is rewarded for its intolerance.

I’ve mentioned it before (notably here), but boycotts don’t work if they don’t hurt the people who are doing wrong. Boycotts and bad national PR don’t work if they hurt your allies, not your enemies. And maybe we’ve reached a point where boycotts just don’t work, period (a position I have certainly stated before).

I don’t have the answer. I do know that claiming you’re pro-tolerance and pro-inclusion while rewarding the people who vote for bigots sends a mixed message. What are we to do?

Years ago I wrote:

Last year I had a conversation with a Very Famous Person™ who is generally regarded as a “forward thinker” on a lot of this stuff. He told me he sees the utter collapse of industry as we know it and the emergence of a new industry, one that is driven by these smaller communities. New products that aren’t harmful to the health or the planet will be created by members of the community. He told me social connectivity is the game-changer. Yes, walls are being put up, but as fast as they do people build ladders around them.

And I see this happening around me in a hundred different ways. We homeschool our kids, we buy food at the farmer’s market, we have 500 different channels to watch on TV instead of 10, we get our news from blogs and Tweets not just the corporate fish-wrap and Villagers in Washington. We’re starting down the path of decentralization, it’s only just begun but a profound societal shift has been put in motion.

This idea still resonates with me today. If Home Depot personifies right-wing evil (pro-tip: it does!) and Lowe’s personifies political hypocrisy, I guess the answer is for me to find that cute little liberal mom-and-pop hardware store where everyone who works there agrees with me 100% of the time. Good luck to me.

The alternative is to try to root out the intolerance and bigotry the old-fashioned way, and just turn off all the other noise. The conundrum is that it isn’t just noise: you can’t check out of a national conversation on justice and civil rights and human rights; if someone is going to spout some intolerant BS, don’t expect me to remain silent about it.

I point all of these things out because I feel like we live in very complicated times, where the old rules about social action no longer apply. I have friends who live in Robertson County, I’m sure these jobs will uplift some really good people. But by the same time, these rural counties need to stop sending crazy people to the legislature. Because we all end up hurting in the long run.

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Filed under corporations, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

Victorious

Tonight when Chelsea Clinton introduces her mother at the DNC, I’m going to be thinking about when she first came to the White House. I’m going to be thinking about when she was just 12 years old and her father had just been elected president, but had yet to be sworn into office. And she was subjected to this:

Limbaugh began the segment by noting that the New York Daily News’ David Hinckley published a list of who’s entering and leaving the White House. Limbaugh stated: “He says, In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.’ Could — could we see the cute kid? Let’s take a look at — see who is the cute kid in the White House.”

The program then put up a picture of Millie, the Bush family’s dog. Limbaugh responded, in mock confusion, “No, no, no, no. That’s not the kid.” The program then puts up a picture of Chelsea Clinton, with Rush saying, “that’s the kid.”

After the audience had finished laughing and applauding, Limbaugh said, according to Nexis’ transcript: “No, just kidding.”

Limbaugh then related the story of how he once apologized for calling Amy Carter, the daughter of President Carter, “the most unattractive presidential daughter in the history of the country.” He added: “I apologize again. I — that’s the third time the crew makes a mistake by showing you Millie the dog when I intended to show you Chelsea Clinton, and then I followed with that terrible story.”

Then, according to the transcript, Limbaugh spanked himself. “I’ll do it with my left hand. I — I’m right-handed, so it won’t hurt as much.”

This didn’t occur on some far reaches of the AM dial accessible to just a few die-hards with a tin can and string long enough to hear it. No, this was on his syndicated television show — executive produced by Roger Ailes.

I’m remembering this, also from Rush Limbaugh:

According to Limbaugh, Clinton stopped the elevator and said, “Oh Rush, I’ve wanted to see you for so long, and nobody would believe it.”

Limbaugh continued, saying that Clinton asked him, “Would you, would you make a real woman out of me? I said, Sure, let’s take off our clothes. So I took mine off, and I pointed and I said, now fold them.”

I’m remembering this from Tucker Carlson:

Welcome to you both. Sorry, a little editorial comment had to — I mean, you’ve gotta admit, when you watch that, it does get right to heart of people’s instinctive problems with Hillary, which don’t have to do with policy. It’s not like Hillary is some communist or something. You know what I mean? She’s no more liberal than [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL]. She’s more conservative probably in some ways. But there’s just something about her that feels castrating, overbearing, and scary.

Again, this was on MSNBC. Not some obscure radio program, but on the “liberal” cable TV channel. Years and years of this shit, people. As a woman, as a professional, it’s beyond offensive. If it had been me I’d have wanted to run for the fucking hills.

But that’s not what we Democrats do. Nothing screams “I won” louder than being the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, and having your daughter introduce you to the nation on this historic night, while your detractors sink ever-deeper into irrelevance.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Outsiders

The Hillary Hate Machine has been with us for over 20 years now.

As has been well-documented (here at my place and elsewhere), it has become a cottage industry for the right-wing media machine. The professional right has found it quite profitable to peddle Hillary Hate through a string of “documentaries” and book titles, and it’s natural that after decades of this bullshit, a good bit of it has filtered into the American consciousness.

Few political figures have been served up as a national punching bag so religiously and relentlessly as Hillary Clinton. That she hasn’t retired from public life but instead continued to push forward in the political arena, finally making history as America’s first female presidential nominee of a major political party, is a testament to her strength and resolve. This in itself is impressive.

I’ve heard every horrible thing one can say about Hillary Clinton: corporate whore, warmonger, cravenly ambitious, manipulative, crooked, incompetent — and that’s the nice stuff. Let’s ignore the lesbian, murderer, cat-killer stuff. I am really going to enjoy hearing what those folks have to say when Madame President serves out her two terms and ends up not be any of the things the far-left and far-right have said about her.

Yes, Hillary Hate is a real thing, has always been a real thing, and has now been turned into an actual profit center by the right-wing establishment (the Kochs, the DeVoses, the Vigueries, the Adelsons, the Perries …). We’ve got D’Nesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America” playing at the local multiplex in my neighborhood, despite the fact that his predictions in “2016: Obama’s America” were hilariously off-base. It seems there’s no shortage of financing for a right-wing smear campaign, no matter how outrageous.

It’s a technique rarely employed by the Left, perhaps because there is no “professional Left” of the same institutional vigor as exists on the right. Regardless, now that this strategy has been institutionalized and monetized, it will be used to attack every subsequent Democratic leader — indeed, it already has. God forbid any member of the Obama family should aspire to anything in public life after January 2017; if they do, expect the Wingnut Wurlitzer to be cranked up to full speed.

But where did the Hillary Hate start? It’s a question many have pondered lately. We’re a nation of short memories, after all. So, thank you, internet, for bringing us this old piece from 1996, which is now making the rounds. (Hat tip: I saw it over at DailyKos, a place I rarely visit anymore. Might have to change that…)

So let’s jump into our time machine and go back to 1996, a year many of today’s young voters don’t even remember. But I remember it well, and this article brings it all back. Remember the time when the right feared Hillary was a far-left Socialist? Remember the establishment’s disdain for her as a feminist, at a time when feminism was under attack? Of “Backlash” and the kewl kids saying, “I’m not a feminist but …”?

The fact that Hillary was a working woman reshaping the more traditional “wifely” role of First Lady, the fact that she had an office in the Old Executive Office Building and was concerned more about policy than china patterns, was enough to set the Sally Quinns and other Washington social elites off their rockers. And it’s tempting to say that Hillary Hate was just another piece of the anti-woman/anti-feminist “backlash” making its way through the culture at the time. I think there’s some truth to this.

But I’m also reminded that Hillary Hate really started as Clinton hate: Hill and Bill were the “white trash” outsiders, who thoroughly pissed off the Washington establishment with their brashness. The Beltway media hated them from day one, and wasn’t even self-aware enough to question why.

From 1996:

Speaking more generally, a close friend of the Clintons’ brings up yet another theory: “The President thinks that they are treated so harshly because he is ‘white trash,’ as he puts it. The way somebody put it is, Imagine Washington as a country club, and Clinton as the golf pro. They think he’s perfectly competent at what he does, they think he is a good guy. You want him to have a drink at your table with you and your friends, and maybe even come to dinner. But the golf pro is never ‘one of us,’ never a real “member.”

The Clintons were never one of the Beltway establishment, and yet they had the nerve to crash the country club. I vividly remember the tsk-tsking about Bill Clinton’s McDonald’s runs. Quelle horreur! For the record, we saw the same reaction when the Obamas came to power in 2008. They were outsiders, they weren’t part of the establishment, they were different. It’s really funny to see how the outsider Clintons became the establishment — even criticized for it in 2016 — but 20 years of public service allows one to build a network. The Clintons reshaped the Democratic Party in the ’90s, and it’s the party we have today: one of inclusion, one which brought us our first African American president and, God-willing, our first female president. This is something to be proud of. The outsiders are now the insiders and yes, it took 20 years, but this is how it’s done. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is imploding into a festering cesspool of rage and hate.

So the next time I hear someone tell me any of the dozens of awful things about Hillary Clinton that I’ve been hearing for the bulk of my adult life, it bears remembering where this vitriol comes from. The Clintons were originally outsiders, who came in and reshaped the political establishment. Upsetting the tea tray at a time when America was undergoing a cultural shift of its own sparked a good bit of backlash. That the right was able to sprinkle all of that with for-profit fairy dust and political opportunism only cemented the deal.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton

Just Another Contractor Stiffed By Trump

I last mocked the USA Freedom Kids back in January, when I called them a “Hitler Youth/Bob Roberts mash-up.” Now Donald Trump is the one having the last laugh, as it appears they’re just another Trump vendor to get stiffed by the man himself:

The founder of viral pro-Trump tween singing group “USA Freedom Kids” now plans to sue the Republican presidential campaign for violating various unwritten agreements. The tween cheerleaders first achieved national fame after performing their song “Freedom’s Call”—with lyrics like “Deal from strength or get crushed!”—at Trump’s January rally in Pensacola, Florida. The group’s founder, Jeff Popick, father to the youngest member, claims it was at that rally that the campaign broke its promise for compensation; only to once again break financial and logistic promises at another rally at which they were scheduled to appear.

Honestly, you’d think Donald Trump would at least be trying to put to rest all of these allegations that he stiffs his contractors. But, no. It appears it’s business as usual at Camp Trump.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Music & politics

Modern-Day Watergate Break-In

[UPDATE] 2:

And now the FBI is investigating.

What the hell took so long? As I make clear in this post, it was revealed six weeks that Russian intelligence hacked not just the DNC but other political groups. Why are they only investigating now?

——————————————

[UPDATE] 1:

And then there’s this. I don’t agree that the emails show any corruption or even illegal activity. But again, it’s far more worrisome that Putin is trying to help get Donald Trump elected than that Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to help elect Hillary Clinton.

——————————————

Why is nobody concerned that the Russians are trying to influence the U.S. presidential election? Isn’t that the actual story here?

It’s been well-known for over a month that Russian hackers gained access to the DNC servers at some point and possibly had access for as much as a year. It’s been widely reported, everywhere from the Washington Post to tech blogs, that Russian intelligence was behind the hack. Indeed, the Washington Post reported that the Russians had access not just to the DNC system but all of the political campaigns, plus some Republican PACs.

At the time it was believed that:

The intrusions are an example of Russia’s interest in the U.S. political system and its desire to understand the policies, strengths and weaknesses of a potential future president — much as American spies gather similar information on foreign candidates and leaders.

So, just a little information-gathering exercise. You know, nothing to worry about.

But it appears to have been much more than that. With this strategically-timed “leak” just before the Democratic National Convention, it seems obvious that the Russians are trying to influence the U.S. presidential election. Trying to create chaos and divide Democratic voters by creating a wedge within the party and exploiting an already perpetually-aggrieved constituency known as the Bernie Sanders delegates.

To me, the fact that a foreign government is trying to influence our election with dirty tricks is far more worrisome than whatever mean things DNC staffers said to each other about Bernie Sanders in their emails.

I haven’t read all 20,000 emails but from what I have read, what we have are people pissed off at the guy who had just sued the party and set his social media attack dogs on Nevada delegates. Of course they were pissed. There’s no evidence of fraud that I’ve seen, just people tired of Bernie still going on TV and telling people he still had a chance to secure the nomination, in defiance of all logic and math. This kind of stuff is red meat to some Berners but it’s not the evidence that anything was rigged that they were hoping for.

What is worrisome is that this discord is being ginned up by a foreign government. There have also been revelations of Donald’s Trump’s deep financial ties to Russian investors and Trump’s top advisors “having spent years working in Putin’s orbit,” as Josh Marshall wrote. And I wonder how many RNC emails there are begging for anyone but Trump? Where are those emails? I’m sure it’s all a big coincidence, right?

Look, I’m sorry some Berners got their feelings hurt but grow up, people. The Russian government is trying to put their man in the White House and frankly, someone’s hurt fee-fees is the least of my worries right now.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Be Afraid, America

Are you scared, America? I mean, really, really pants-shitting terrified? Donald Trump thinks you are, and if you’re not, well, you should be! You should be in fear for your lives, America. Scared of immigrants, and black people and Muslims and ISIS and crime and all that stuff.

It’s like Trump is stuck in the ’70s. And even David Brooks isn’t buying it:

[…] A law-and-order campaign doesn’t ask voters to like Trump and the Republicans any more than they liked Richard Nixon in 1968.

On the other hand, there are good reasons to think that this law-and-order focus is a significant mistake, that it over-reads the current moment of Baton Rouge, Dallas and Nice and will not be the right focus for the fall.

In the first place, it’s based on a falsehood. Crime rates have been falling almost without fail for 25 years. Murder rates have been rising just recently among gangs in certain cities, but America is much safer than it was a decade ago. In the first half of 2015, for example, the number of shootings in New York and Washington hit historic lows.

Trump dwells on illegal aliens killing our children. Between 2010 and 2014, only 121 people released from immigration custody later committed murder; that’s about 25 a year. Every death is a horror, but the number of police officers killed each year as a result of a crime is about 55, in a nation of over 320 million people. The number of police deaths decreased by 24 percent between 2005 and 2015.

The main anxieties in this country are economic and social, not about crime. Trump surged to the nomination on the back of his supposed business acumen, not because he’s a sheriff. By focusing so much on law and order, he leaves a hole a mile wide for Hillary Clinton. She’ll undoubtedly fixate at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia on economic pain. Trump could end up seeming strangely detached.

David Brooks is someone I’ve spent most of my life mocking but even he gets the problem here. I mean gosh, I’m so old, I remember when fear and negativity were considered bad things in a presidential campaign. Specifically, I remember being lectured about that back in 2004: Democrats were “too angry, too bitter,” also “angry,” especially Howard Dean, whose “angry veneer” damaged him. And yes, I get that anger and fear aren’t exactly the same thing, but they fall under the same umbrella: pessimism. John Kerry was too pessimistic, “a little rain-cloud follows John Kerry wherever he goes,” editorialized one outfit.

Remember “Pessimism never created a job”?

Conventional wisdom has always been that optimism beats pessimism, even Rush Limbaugh said it back at a time when people actually gave a shit about what he had to say.

So who is buying this “be afraid, America” message Trump is sending, especially in light of the cooked -up, cherry-picked factoids?

I honestly cannot wait for the Democratic convention and I sure as hell hope that it paints a vivid contrast to Trump’s doom-and-gloom picture of a scared America.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Tennessee Gun Report

Time to check in with Tennessee’s gun crazies.

• July 13, 2016:

A Maryville man accidentally shot a woman in the stomach, then lied to police about it:

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office was called to a mobile home on Tomotley Road Thursday night around 6 p.m. where they found Kassie Deanna Hill, 34, with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Carver told deputies a man wearing black clothing and a black cap came inside and shot Hill in the stomach and then ran through a field and woods behind the home.

After conducting an investigation, Carver admitted he lied about the home invasion and said his gun accidentally discharged while he and Hill were in close contact. HIll’s and Carver’s accounts matched up.

• July 11, 2016:

After the shootings of police officers in Dallas, this lone TN National Guardsman decided to “stand guard” outside the Murfreesboro police department. Dude looks kinda stupid if you ask me.

Stand_Guard_123

TN National Guard told him he can’t do it in uniform representing the Guard.

• July 9, 2016:

Who cares if the Republicans have a supermajority in our state legislature? Tennessee Democrats aren’t sitting still when it comes to gun violence. They’ve just announced their “10 for TN” plan to tackle the issue. Some good ideas here; now, let’s get to work electing more Democrats so this can actually happen.

• July 8, 2016:

Gee, it’s almost as if having civilians armed to the teeth might be a problem for law enforcement or something:

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) – Authorities in Tennessee say a man who opened fire on a highway in Tennessee targeted police officers and others because he was troubled by incidents involving black people and law enforcement officers.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that initial conversations with the suspect, identified as Lakeem Keon Scott revealed he was troubled by incidents across the U.S. The TBI says the suspect is black; the shooting victims are all white.

Investigators say Scott killed one person and wounded three others, including a police officer. Scott had two guns early Thursday morning when he shot at a motel in Bristol, Tennessee, and then shot indiscriminately at several passing cars. When he was confronted by police, he fired at the three officers who responded.

Nobody could have anticipated….

• July 5, 2016:

1- A man in Nashville’s downtown tourist district was struck by a stray bullet, possibly from celebratory gunfire. In 2015, two people visiting Nashville for its huge Fourth of July event were hit by celebratory gunfire.

2- A judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the wacko Tennessee Firearms Assn. and Bill Goodman Shows over a ban on gun shows at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

3- Too many “responsible” gun owners are too cavalier with the storing of their weapons, leaving them in unlocked cars or unlocked houses, where they inevitably end up used in crimes. Can’t say that’s where all of these 9,000 gun originated but it’s safe to say a hefty percentage did:

Nearly 9,000 guns seized across U.S. in 2015 have been traced back to original TN owners Most were used in crimes

Law enforcement agencies across the United States picked up almost 9,000 guns during 2015 that traced back to original owners in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Most of the 8,841 guns were seized after they were used in crimes, while some of the weapons may have been found or turned in to law enforcement agencies voluntarily.

The guns were recovered from 49 states, and the states closest to Tennessee saw the most guns from Tennessee, according to a new report from ATF. Mississippi topped the list with 392 guns, followed by Georgia with 256.

On average, it took 10.5 years for a gun to go from its first owner to being used in a crime and recovered by law enforcement, according to the report.

That “time to crime” statistic helps ATF agents recognize when someone is purchasing weapons and intentionally selling them to be used in crimes, said special agent Michael Knight. A quick turnaround is suspicious, he said.

Interesting stuff.

• July 3, 2016:

A 17-year-old girl in Chattanooga accidentally shot herself.

• July 2, 2016:

Accidental shooting deaths are on the rise in Tennessee. Just as we allow more guns, everywhere. Hmm… what a coinky doinky!

• July 1, 2016:

1- A toddler in Clarksville shot himself in the face and died:

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 3-year-old has died after he accidentally shot himself in the face.

It happened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday on Samantha Lane in Clarksville.

The toddler was taken to Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville in critical condition but later passed away.

Clarksville officials told News 2 this appears to be an accidental shooting.

The house was “Protected By 2nd Amendment Security”:

Screen-Shot-2016-07-03-at-12.46.12-PM

That gun sure kept that kid safe. Except that one time.

2- A Greene County man was driving home from work when his van was struck by a stray bullet.

• June 24, 2016:

Three people, including a Cleveland TN restaurant owner, were shooting an AR-15 and pistols at a jug on top of a trailer, and learned first-hand why that’s a really bad idea:

The weapons — described by the shooters as an AR-15 rifle and two pistols — were aimed at a 5-gallon water jug sitting on top of a trailer on Majeske’s property, according to a police report.

Beyond the trailer are woods, and behind the woods are three houses a “substantial distance away,” Bradford said.

“As they were shooting, bullets were actually going into multiple residences,” Bradford said. “Our deputies who got to the scene observed bullets striking trees and various objects around those residences. People were woken up by the gunfire that happened around midnight.”

Deputies found bullet holes in three homes, including the bedroom wall of one house and near the kitchen and back door of another home, where an adult and four children live.

The neighbors were evacuated from their houses as deputies tried to figure out where the bullets were coming from, Bradford said.

Are we safer yet?

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

The Gentleman From Indiana Has Me LMAO

[UPDATE]:

LOL. Guessing this marriage, like so many of Trump’s others, won’t last:

bash

It appears Indiana Gov. Mike Pence drew the short straw and is Donald Trump’s choice for VP. The irony that a fundie-gelical, “born again Catholic” is taking the second chair to thrice-married, “Two Corinthians” Trump is hysterical.

The idea that the “pro-gay” Trump would pick a guy who signed the country’s most anti-gay “religious freedom” bill, launching damaging and expensive corporate boycotts, is hilarious.

That Donald Trump, who claims he’d be terrific for women, would tap the governor who just signed a spate of anti-choice, anti-woman bills into law (including one requiring funerals for miscarried or aborted fetuses), is comical.

Honestly, I don’t see what Mike Pence brings to the ticket except to take a controversial, divisive figure off Indiana Republicans’ hands.

Anyone who likes Gov. Pence was already on board with Trump, no? Indiana is reliably red, no?

I don’t get it.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Mike Pence