Cleveland had a good week, especially on the transgender front

There has been a lot of praise for the way Cleveland handled the Republican National Convention. Everything seemed to go smoothly and many of the visitors, either first timers to the city or people whose last visit was decades ago, seemed surprised to find that it was not the gritty, crime-filled scene that they anticipated to see but was instead a pleasant place with friendly and helpful people and many things for visitors to do and see. There have been long-standing plans to improve the downtown and all those efforts were pushed to completion because of the convention. The city had put its best face forward and it showed.
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The Democrats start getting their act together [Updated with full speeches]

The first day of the Democratic convention got off to a rousing start. As I am still away from home and have had to do a lot of other stuff, I could not watch the speeches but did find time to read about them online. It looked like the proceedings had a somewhat rough early start with some of the Sanders supporters booing Hillary Clinton’s name and some even picking up the Republican chant of “lock her up”.
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“If you feel it, it is true”

John Oliver reviewed the Republican convention and was astounded, as many of us were, at how the party has entered into a fact-free world. It recalls how a member of the Bush administration (suspected to be Karl Rove) derided those of us he described as being part of the “reality-based community”, saying “That’s not the way the world really works anymore, We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality”. Of course that was rubbish then and this belief that raw power could achieve anything led to hubris on an enormous scale and has got the nation stuck in one unwinnable war after another,
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Neoconservative warmongers are enthusiastic about Clinton

Rani Khalek reminds us about something that many of us already knew and that is that Hillary Clinton is a neoconservative war hawk. Further evidence of that is that pretty much the entire neoconservatives and Republican foreign policy are gung-ho about her, seeing her as even more likely than the Obama to threaten to use of force against other nations, even though the Obama administration has hardly been restrained in its willingness.
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The Clinton-Kaine ticket

The choice of Virginia senator Tim Kaine to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate was not really a surprise. She was unlikely to pick the other names being dropped (Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker) because they are all senators from states that have Republican governors which means that if Clinton wins, the appointee who replaces the senator will be a Republican. Since the Senate has been so obstructionist of Barack Obama, you have to think that Clinton would not take any action that harms her chances of getting a Democratic majority.
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The Republican convention fiasco

I have been catching up on the news while traveling and it seems to me like the Republican convention was, by most measures, a rage-filled fiasco. While the Trump campaign clearly wanted to portray the nation as going to hell with the only possible salvation occurring in Donald Trump being elected president, their message got lost in the mistakes, often self-inflicted, that riddled the proceedings.
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Cruz’s curious move

I have been traveling a lot since Wednesday and so have not been blogging and only occasionally catching up with news. This sporadic blogging will continue until I return home.

When I found time to catch up recent events, the big news politically was of course Ted Cruz’s extraordinary speech at the Republican National Convention where he not only refrained from endorsing Donald Trump, he went so far as to urge people to ‘vote their conscience’. By itself, voting one’s conscience is what anyone should do in any election so it should not be controversial. But in this context, it was clearly meant to suggest that people not vote for Trump, a curious call at an event that was meant to be a springboard to propel the party candidate towards the general election.
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Republican convention: So far, so blah

We have entered day two of the Republican convention and so far things have been peaceful, at least outside the convention hall. Inside the basic message of the first day in the speeches was that we are all going to die horrible deaths unless Donald Trump is elected president, and that Hillary Clinton should be in jail because she is directly responsible for the deaths in Benghazi.
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