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How in the world can Obama be blamed for the tragedy in Chattanooga?

From time to time, I surf through the right-wing blogosphere just to see what’s on the minds of people of that ilk — especially the generally overwrought folks who post comments on their favorite websites. Yesterday was the latest such occasion, and the timing could hardly have been more propitious. It was soon after the tragedy in Chattanooga, Tenn., where four U.S. Marines were shot and killed by a young man who turns out to have been a Muslim. The wingnuts were in especially high dudgeon. I expected, of course, that lots of the...

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Does Illinois Republican Mark Kirk think ugly rhetoric will save his Senate seat?

The consensus among political pundits these days is that Sen. Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican, likely will lose his re-election bid next year to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a disabled veteran of the war in Iraq. It should come as no surprise, then, that Kirk would seize every effort to attract the attention of the voting public. But his strategy in that regard went way too far the other day when he resorted to shockingly reckless rhetoric in condemning the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons. In a...

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Republicans denounced the deal with Iran before they knew what it said

My Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the term “knee-jerk” as follows: “Reacting in a readily predictable way.” It’s a perfect term for the Republican reaction to the agreement reached with Iran the other day by the United States and certain other major nations. We all knew what the Republicans would say, didn’t we? We all knew that the GOP’s warmongers would hate the agreement, didn’t we? We all knew that almost any deal brokered by the Obama administration would elicit the...

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Jeb lays to rest the notion that he’s the smarter of the two Bush brothers

We can’t be sure that he did it intentionally, but Jeb Bush offered evidence the other day that he’s not really any brighter than his brother George W. Somewhere along the campaign trail, Jeb came up with this statement: This guy — this president and Secretary Clinton and Secretary Kerry – when someone disagrees with their nuanced approach, where it’s all kind of so sophisticated it makes no sense. You know what I’m saying — big-syllable words and lots of fancy conferences and meetings — but we’re not leading, that creates chaos,...

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The NRA preaches nonsense from its bully pulpit

For many years now, as you probably have heard, the National Rifle Association has been spending tons of money to buy politicians who help spread paranoia about efforts to enact sensible gun control. The NRA is simply a bully. But it’s not on the side of truth. Susan J. Douglas explains HERE: In 1993, the bully hit a few setbacks. The Brady Act passed, requiring a five-day waiting period and background checks to buy from a dealer. The next year Congress banned the manufacture, import, use and possession of 19 types of assault weapons...

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The Republican Party’s real problem is its angry base, not Donald Trump

The chattering classes of  American politics, me included, are busy these days examining the Donald Trump phenomenon in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. How in the world, we’re all asking ourselves, did this egotistical crackpot become a factor in this contest? Perhaps the answer is that Trump is just filling a void. If it wasn’t him, it would be some other crackpot. Of course, Trump isn’t going to win the nomination. The Republican Party isn’t that far-gone. But his surge suggests that we should...

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Why doesn’t one of the GOP hopefuls challenge Trump to a debate?

If I were a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination (heaven forbid!), I would hold a news conference this morning at which I would challenge blowhard Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate on immigration and the other issues on which the real estate mogul has been offering overly simplistic rhetoric. I wouldn’t need the permission of Fox News or the GOP establishment to engage in this debate. It’s a free country. Those self-appointed guardians of campaign protocols have no God-given right to set the rules. Screw...

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Why do some right-wingers fail to understand the basic principles of free speech?

A column by Christopher Ruddy on the NewsMax website  today begins thusly: Donald Trump is the victim of political correctness gone wild in America. So wild, what is happening to him could be an important marker in the end of free speech as we know it in this country. Rhetoric like that is nonsense, of course, but it’s also fairly widespread these days in the stuff we see and hear from the right-wing noise machine. Has Donald Trump been prevented from spewing his anti-immigrant statements? No. On the contrary, the mainstream media are...

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Certain phenomena that spawn conspiracy theories explained here

One would think that the advent of the Internet, with the easy access it provides to much of the world’s knowledge, would have reduced the spread of baseless conspiracy theories. But, alas, such seems not to be the case. Indeed, conspiracy theorism seems even more commonplace these days. In an effort to allay the fears of some folks, the good people at RealClearScience have come up with explanations of six phenomena that often spawn conspiracy theories: crown flashes in cloud-filled skies, contrails spewed by airplanes, experimental...

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Trump will quit the race rather than reveal details of his finances

Shortly before Donald Trump jumped into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I predicted — wrongly, as it turned out — that he wouldn’t run. But that mistake does not deter me. I’m fearlessly ready with another prediction: The Donald will drop out long before the first primaries and caucuses. The reason for Trump’s impending withdrawal is rather simple: He doesn’t want to disclose details of his financial empire. Philip Bump of The Washington Post puts it THIS WAY: The odds that Donald Trump...

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George Will muses on the possibility that Donald Trump is a Democratic mole

Conservative pundit George Will said this yesterday on Fox News Channel:  If Donald Trump were a Democratic mole placed in the Republican Party to disrupt things, how would his behavior be any different? I don’t think it would be. There’s all this loose talk, there’s something to it about the Republican brand. Put him on stage in Cleveland [at the first GOP debate]. He says something hideously inflammatory, which is all he knows how to say, and then what do the other nine people on stage do? Do they either become complicit...

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Too many Americans think they’re more patriotic than most other Americans

As the 4th of July draws near, this seems a perfect time to reflect on some of the more curious aspects of what we call American patriotism. Most of us — 60 percent, according to a poll of a few years ago — consider ourselves just as patriotic as the next guy. But fully one-third of Americans say they are more patriotic than most other people. Forty-three percent of Republicans in general and 51 percent of self-described Tea Party types in particular feel that way. This sense of superior patriotism is also far more common among senior...

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