Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Internet of Remembering

Trinidad Head June 30, 2016.  Unfiltered, here to stay.

Reposted from Thursday, so it might last the whole weekend!

In the New Yorker this week, Casey Johnston wrote  about various social media platforms that wipe away photos and text after a brief period, like 24 hours.  Now you see it, now you won't.  This is much prized, Johnston writes, especially by younger posters whose identity is formed in the moment, and may be obsolete and even embarrassing before long.  This "satisfies a craving for immediacy and ephemerality, one that has lately grown to encompass all of social media." Johnston calls this the Internet of Forgetting.

Well, I am not young and that is not my Internet.  Time and its contents helplessly obsess me.  I crave scope, so I can maybe make some sense of it. The past has a different reality now that I have more of it myself. Rediscovering elements of the past and reflecting on them, connecting and reconciling, all add something necessary to my present.  Besides, these discoveries as well as re-discoveries in both their original context and in mine now, also constitute much of my entertainment.

So fortunately for me, there is also an Internet of Remembering.  There are search functions to vast data, various Wikis and especially YouTube.  On YouTube I can access (as I have recently) radio broadcasts from the 1940s, particular baseball or basketball games from--well, I haven't even explored how far back.  Interviews from the 50s, movies from the 30s (ever heard of the Torchy Blane series?  Neither had I. It's pretty good. Besides which, it may have been an inspiration for Lois Lane.)

Reading about past events in historical context, I can find documents and publications of the time online.  I can even see the faces and hear the voices, from at least FDR on.  The real stuff, including photos, not a description, reaching a hand back in time.

 There are surprising snippets of performances by legendary actors, though unfortunately not so many whole plays.  Can't find in any library an obscure treatise on ethics and psychology by one of the greatest classic science fiction authors (and least known outside the s/f community), Olaf Stapledon?  Search online, and ye shall find the entire text.  And so on.

A recent instance of personal memory...I remember one Saturday morning when I was 8.  I was watching "Space Patrol"--an episode in which Buzz Corey and crew used their "time drive" to travel to 1956.  They mentioned that they were traveling from the 30th century, when "Space Patrol" takes place.

My mother caught some of this.  She asked me if I knew what century we were living in.  I don't think I did, exactly.  She said it was the 20th century, and the Space Patrol people were coming from the 30th.  She mentioned that she used to listen to Buck Rogers on the radio, and he had traveled to the 25th century. I probably remember this because I learned something about time.

I recall Saturday mornings when there was one outer space show after another--"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger," "Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers" and "Space Patrol."  I researched these shows on the Internet in 2010 and discovered enough to figure out that they were probably all on during only one year: 1954.

  I was writing fiction based on my childhood, and for reasons having to do with other events in the chapter, I selected a certain October Saturday to revisit these shows, and how my friends and I used them in play.  Then I found a "Space Patrol" episode guide that described the show scheduled on the Saturday I had selected. From the description it seemed very likely it was the very one I remember, when my mother and I had that conversation.  (I blogged about this at the time.)

Well, it's 2016 and many "Space Patrol" episodes are now on YouTube, though not always under their original titles.  Also YouTube can be difficult to search systematically.  But the other night, I happened upon and saw this episode--the one I last saw with my mother in our living room in 1954.

But the Internet of remembering has more functions than revisiting personal memories.  Here's another YouTube show I watched recently.  I've been reading Arthur Miller lately--this latest Miller jag started when I read a roundtable discussion of contemporary playwrights, and one of them quoted Miller.  I then found on the Internet the interview with Miller that contained that quote, and more along that line.  That started me reading some of his nonfiction and lesser known plays, and re-reading his autobiography. So on a whim I went back and searched YouTube for television interviews.

I immediately found an interview he did with Charlie Rose in 1992.  When the conversation veered to that now historical moment--the 1992 election campaign and the rise of Ross Perot, a purported billionaire businessman outsider--I got chills, especially when Miller said: "When a leadership arises in a country that believes it can lead by using the darkness in men, it's probably unstoppable at a certain point."  He'd grown up watching Hitler's rise in Germany.

Does anybody--even those who lived through it, as I did-- remember what it felt like with Ross Perot in 1992?  I didn't.  From 2016, Perot now looks like an early and milder version of Trump, thanks to this interview.  There's precedent, a continuum of sorts perhaps. And people were worried then.  (Miller thought America was too diverse to fall completely for a dictator of darkness, which of course may be our salvation now.)  And to add to all this co-incidence (which means things happening at the same time, like the past in the present), Miller once described the function of playwriting as "remembering."

About many things, it doesn't pay to forget.  The Internet of Remembering is important to our survival, as well as the lives of "the olds" as Johnston says that tech folks call anybody over 30.  So in my case I guess it's "the ancients."

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Mr. Erratic Rides Again

Friday August 12, 2016: The Trumpettes are asking the RNC to open field offices in all 50 states.  Aside from whether that's strategically a good idea, they need the help. Because (as an inside source told Politico) “They finally realize they need the RNC for their campaign because, let’s face it, there is no campaign.”

That may be difficult, as Politico reports in the same piece: An RNC member said discontent with the Trump campaign has hit new heights in recent days, describing “major tumult in the building and staff problems and disagreements and RNC staff on the edge of mutiny.”

Says one R strategist at CNBC in a piece titled You Can't Overstate Panic Inside the GOP : I am deeply concerned that Trump's campaign will be an extinction-level event for the GOP, wiping out hard won electoral gains built over a decade."

Trump has confounded GOPer political professionals in ignoring television advertising, voter research, even get out the vote efforts, and these days, his choices of where to take his campaign.  His trip to Utah raised alarms only because an R candidate shouldn't have to go there, but Maine? Connecticut?  No R has won there in decades.   (It must drive the pros nuts--though it will be even worse for them if he wins.)

New NBC state polls show Hillary ahead in the battleground states of Florida (44-39), North Carolina (48-39), Virginia (46-33) and Colorado (46-32).  That's all of the states they surveyed.

Without Colorado, Virginia and Pennsylvania, says the WPost analysis, Trump can't prevail.  These polls show Clinton with double digit leads in Virginia and Colorado.  The most recent PA polls show Trump down an average of 11 points.  The NYTimes suggests that Trump may have reached his ceiling in PA and other swing states.

But according to Trump, the only way he loses PA is if the Dems cheat on election day.  No, the only way Trump wins PA is if voters are intimidated by the prospect of Trump's armed vigilantes at polling places, and they don't vote.  That's one reason this stuff isn't funny.

Sat. WPost describes the absurdity of Trump's charge, and seconds my point:"What Trump is encouraging is vigilante citizens harassing voters at polling places, asking that they prove they are who they say they are. He's asking for intimidation, explicitly: Challenge suspect voters. This is a recipe for tension, if not violence -- and the lack of voter fraud incidents reveals that there's no purpose to it. "

As Trump becomes even more erratic (he really means that Obama founded ISIL, no he doesn't it was sarcasm, maybe it's not really sarcasm, etc.; he says Hillary isn't mentally sharp while twice getting the day wrong, etc.) he prevents himself from expanding his numbers.  His fate is the result of his own hands, or mouth.

With the exception of a massively surprising set of debate performances, and/or a massively successful ad blitz at the last minute, all that can change that fate now is out of his hands: a massive Hillary meltdown, or an external event, though at this point it is hard to imagine what that would be.  Even a terrorist attack, and certainly a Russian invasion of Ukraine, probably would not help his chances. People would then be looking for a steadier hand. The channel would get switched from The Apprentice.

And there's 87 more days of this.

Hey, it's Friday and you know what that means!  The Guardian's The lies that Trump told this week.

Meanwhile I'm taking the weekend off--make that a long weekend.  Gonna get me some baseball.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Even Stranger

Thursday August 11, 2016: Today's Trumped-Up charge--that President Obama is the founder of ISIL, and Hillary Clinton the co-founder--and he insisted he means that literally--makes more "sense" (so to speak) in the context of his campaign events, as explained by the Editorial Board of the New York Times:

Donald Trump’s rallies once drew their share of benign conservatives, offbeat libertarians and plain curiosity seekers. But as time and Mr. Trump’s act have worn on, many of them have no doubt gone the way of his poll numbers. Mr. Trump’s crowds remain big and loud, but they’re angrier and more malevolent, and so is Mr. Trump.

The mood is captured in a photo--the brief display by supporters of the Confederate flag at a rally in Florida--or in a story that goes back to an earlier campaign event, when a livid Trump castigated a woman reporter, by name, and pointed to where she was standing.  The crowd got hostile, Secret Service agents escorted her out, and she's been receiving death threats ever since.

These latest crowd-pleasers about Obama and Clinton have already incited followers to even more extreme charges, as the Times editorial found on Twitter:

Another posted a faked photo of Mr. Obama in the Oval Office, with the black flag of ISIS behind him, dressed in what appears to be Islamic clerical garb, with the message, “Founder of ISIS: Barack Hussein Obama has directly and indirectly financed and armed ISIS.”  

The "good news" is that Trump is down to his core haters. (As the Times reports, Trump no longer quiets the crowd when they start chanting "Lock her up!")  That of course is also the bad news, as he and they get more extreme and violent.  This is the core, one analyst believes, that longs for authoritarian rule.  Rolling out the Nazi flag may be next.

Here's another good news/bad news story.  A letter is circulating with at least 70 signatures so far from Republicans to the Republican National Committee demanding that the RNC essentially abandon funding the Trump campaign and pay more attention to the down-ballot races that Trump's doomed candidacy endangers.

This coupled with Republican defections, especially among national security veterans and experienced administrators means that if Trump actually won, he would not have the top tier of his own party to tap to staff his government.  Given the beliefs of many of these folks that's hardly a tragedy, but it would force him to hire less experienced people, more like him.  Certain Republicans elected President in recent decades weren't the brightest bulbs, but they had access to people with the skills to run the government.  So we face the prospect of the least knowledgeable candidate in modern history, with few credible allies to do the basic work of governing.  It really would be "I alone can do this."

Okay, let's change the subject.  Back to the absurdity.  Wednesday gave us a classic.  A campaign event at which Trump went into great detail criticizing Clinton for having the father of the Orlando shooter clearly visible at her Florida campaign event.  Her claim that she had no idea he was there was not credible, Trump brayed,  nobody gets that close without the campaign knowing who he is.

Meanwhile, just behind Trump, was Mark Foley, the disgraced former congressman famous for explicit texts to underage congressional pages.  Trump at one time looked right at him, to show how it was impossible for Clinton not to know who was at her rally.

Then there is the tale Sean Hannity tells--confirmed by the Trump campaign--of Trump coming to the rescue of Marines.  Not to shock you or anything but it isn't true, and the way it isn't true is almost as absurd as the Foley folly.

Poll news: Trump trails Clinton among Latinos--by 46 points.  More than 80% disapprove of him.

More evidence of the Clinton strategy I suggested awhile back: she does local events, gets local media, mostly stays off the national radar so Trump gets all the attention.  She has, however, forcefully called him out on his Second Amendment solution, and on accusing President Obama of being the founder of ISIL.

Clinton is about to release her tax returns--why doesn't Trump?  What's he hiding? Some shady deals and partners?  Or just the amount of taxes he actually pays?  The NY Times checks with experts who say, it could very well be zero.

On a somber international note, another story about things heating up between Russia and the Ukraine.  The Bloomberg story notes that Russia often has initiated military action in August, and not coincidentally.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Get Thee Behind Me

Both the Guardian and CNN (and possibly other outlets by now) report that a US Secret Service official said that the Secret Service has spoken to the Trump campaign about his Second Amendment remedies comment Tuesday.  Both quote the unnamed official as saying "There has been more than one conversation."

But CNN also reports that Trump himself is denying this."No such meeting or conversation ever happened," Trump tweeted in response to CNN's report.

Granted that the head of the Secret Service has not gone on the record confirming the contact, yet.  But the Trump habit of first-resort lying makes the report even more credible.  Consider that this time Trump is calling out the Secret Service--some of whom risk their lives every day to protect his sorry ass.

The Trump campaign was clearly trying to put all this behind them, and it has been pretty quiet so far today. Several media analysts tried to follow the varied excuses for the Second Amendment statement put out by Trump (it was politically organizing the Second Amendment people) and surrogates (it was a joke) while all blamed the media.  And amidst the condemnations, there were notable Republicans defending or minimizing the import of Trump's comment.

So far the only other actual Trumped-up news today is the announcement of the Republicans for Clinton organization anticipated yesterday, and several more Republican defections--though they include guys I'd have to figure out what I'd done wrong to get their support.

There is always a campaign group called The Other Party for Our Party's Candidate, but this one may set a new standard.  It already has many high profile GOP names, and conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin at least believes it's going to reach down to the grassroots.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are trying to figure out how to repair their party after Trump, and this one foresees a lot of problems, because of the large Trump constituency that after all voted him into the nomination:"This is Donald Trump's Republican Party now. The rest of us are just living in it."

A substantive defection:   Billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman said on Wednesday he would work to get Hillary Clinton elected president of the United States because he finds recent comments by Donald Trump "shockingly unacceptable."  

As for some prior defections, I noted that the first several high profile ones were women, and this might provide cover for Republican women voters to dump Trump.  Whether there's any cause and effect operating yet,  the phenomenon has apparently begun: Trump is losing ground among the female Rs.

Other campaign news: a new state poll shows Clinton has tripled her lead in Wisconsin to 15 points over Trump. Bump dump on Trump: Philip Bump at WPost analyzes recent national poll numbers and finds that Trump has little potential to capture voters he doesn't already have.  There aren't that many undecideds or soft preferences."This number should be more alarming to Trump, though: Bloomberg asked people if they would consider voting for the other candidate. More than half -- 51 percent -- said that they could never support Donald Trump." 

Politico reports that a number of mostly young staffers have left the Republican National Committee because they don't want to work for Trump.  The RNC pretty much is the Trump campaign on the ground.  Trump has no TV ads, though he's working the Internet.

That Trump is losing August is an understatement.  But stuff like RNC staff defections (and there was at least one major state party defection in Florida this week) can really hurt in October and during the voting that ends on November 8.

Though all this--including polls--presupposes that at least in these respects the normal election rules pertain, which apparently is what Trump is betting against.  But in the ground level voter world, Trump already faces (at best) hostile indifference among state party stalwarts and officeholders in battleground states that include Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, as well as purple states like Maine and red states like Utah.  In a close election where turnout is key--which is now Trump's only dim hope--those folks count.

Meanwhile, the actual President of the United States saw his approval rating climb again, to 56% in one poll.  No word on whether it affected his golf game on Martha's Vineyard.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: The Second Amendment Storm Continues

file photo
The storm continues, and the sun hasn't even gone down here in California.

Echoing the warning by Senator Chris Murphy (quoted in previous post) New York Times conservative columnist Thomas Friedman adds a real historical case as he argues that loose talk like Trump's demonization of Hillary (and Obama) plus the dog whistle about the Second Amendment, is similar to the situation in Israel leading up to the assassination of its prime minister: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated...They weren’t actually telling anyone to assassinate Rabin. That would be horrible. But there are always people down the line who don’t hear the caveats. They just hear the big message: The man is illegitimate, the man is a threat to the nation..."

A BBC story made a similar point: "In a political environment where Trump supporters chant "lock her up", say Mrs Clinton should face a firing squad or worse, the Republican candidate's open-to-interpretation remarks likely throw gasoline onto a smouldering fire."

Again, a Guardian column quotes Gabby Giffords today: Gabby Giffords drove home that point and the pernicious effect those words could have on the unstable, in a statement released Tuesday. “We must draw a bright red line between political speech and suggestions of violence,” she said, adding. “Responsible, stable individuals won’t take Trump’s rhetoric to its literal end, but his words may provide a magnet for those seeking infamy. They may provide inspiration or permission for those bent on bloodshed.” Those words have special meaning coming from Giffords, whose time in political office was cut short by an assassination attempt that left six dead; she survived but with a critical gunshot wound to the head."

In its editorial denouncing Trump's statement, the New York Times noted something that everyone could see.  Just after Trump mentioned the Second Amendment people as a solution: Directly behind him, a supporter’s jaw dropped.  Suggesting that Trump's statement warranted attention from the Secret Service, the Times concluded: Seldom, if ever, have Americans been exposed to a candidate so willing to descend to the depths of biogotry and intolerance as Mr. Trump. That he would make Tuesday’s comment amid sinking poll numbers and a wave of Republican defections suggests that when bathed in the adulation of a crowd, Mr. Trump is unable to control himself.

The Washington Post editorial focused on what some supporters might hear, regardless of Trump's actual intent (if any): What did people hear? Many no doubt assumed Mr. Trump to be recycling ugly tea party rhetoric that contemplates “Second Amendment remedies,” a term former Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle used in her 2010 campaign to suggest armed resistance to government “tyranny.” The voters rightly rejected Ms. Angle at the ballot box, and she receded from public view. But Mr. Trump’s flirtation with such rhetoric poses a greater threat. By seeming to encourage armed insurrection against a Hillary Clinton administration, Mr. Trump has recklessly magnified the danger of his previous claim that the election is being “rigged” against him. And encouraging armed resistance against the federal government is not the most worrisome of possible meanings. Other listeners assumed that Mr. Trump was encouraging supporters to train their weapons on Ms. Clinton herself."

Rolling Stone called it: In other words, what Trump just did is engage in so-called stochastic terrorism. This is an obscure and non-legal term that has been occasionally discussed in the academic world for the past decade and a half, and it applies with precision here. Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication "to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable."  This describes (it seems to me) not only what Friedman was talking about, but what ISIL does.

Evan Osnos at the New Yorker suggests that those who repudiate the implications of these remarks should include gun owners: We do not know if Trump’s remark actually endangered Clinton—or if the legal system will hold him responsible for flirting with that prospect. But it is already clear that, by impugning the character of Second Amendment believers, he is harming their cause."

It's night in California, which means that East Coast media is revving up for its morning editions.  Speaking of morning, the WPost carries an oped (posted after 11 p.m.) by Morning Joe himself, once a Trump supporter and now a dedicated opponent, who says that this was the last straw.  All GOPer party leaders must repudiate Trump.  He ends his oped with a four point plan:

We are in unchartered waters but that does not mean that the way forward is not clear. It is.

The Secret Service should interview Donald Trump and ask him to explain his threatening comments.

Paul Ryan and every Republican leader should denounce in the strongest terms their GOP nominee suggesting conservatives could find the Supreme Court more favorable to their desires if his political rival was assassinated.

Paul Ryan and every Republican leader should revoke their endorsement of Donald Trump. At this point, what else could Trump do that would be worse than implying the positive impact of a political assassination?

The Republican Party needs to start examining quickly their options for removing the Republican nominee.

A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.

My guess is that this will be a big topic on Morning Joe in a few hours.  This storm is not passing.

The Donald Chronicles: Second Amendment Storm

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The storm broke on Tuesday afternoon, responding to part of Trump's campaign speech in North Carolina.  It was a speech attacking Hillary Clinton, and specifically talking about her as President appointing Supreme Court justices.  Here's the quote:

 “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The Trump campaign immediately asserted that the comment was political--the political power of "the Second Amendment people."  But the term is widely known as a euphemism for gun violence, as in "Second Amendment remedies."

So the Huffington Post could headline: Donald Trump Suggests Shooting Hillary Clinton, Her Supreme Court Picks, Or Both.

With more temperate language, the New York Times began its story: Donald J. Trump on Tuesday appeared to raise the possibility that gun rights supporters could take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton is elected president and appoints judges who favor stricter gun control measures...".

The ensuing storm so far includes calls for a Secret Service investigation, a fundraising letter with the headline "Trump just suggested someone shoot Hillary Clinton."  But also seeing the comment in a similar light was the editor of a gun advocate newspaper.  According to Politico, he tweeted "That was a threat of violence," and condemned the comment.

The NYTimes noted the increasingly dark mood of the Trump rallies, so perhaps Democratic Senator Chris Murphy's tweet is most pertinent:  "This isn't play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you, @realDonaldTrump."

The Guardian collected early Internet response, as well as from the Trump campaign.  A later Guardian story began: Donald Trump has been accused of a making an “assassination threat” against rival Hillary Clinton, plunging his presidential campaign into a fresh crisis.

Update: Both the Washington Post and the New York Times editorial boards denounced Trump's statement, but once you've said he's dangerous and unqualified, what more is there to say?

Why would Trump say something like this?  I add up the threads of analysis that have made the most sense to me: Trump channels the most popular issues on right wing talk radio, his model is Roy Cohn, his method derives from studio wrestling, he's a classic bullshitter/troll out to get reaction and attention.

 And right now there's one more that pertains: Benjamin Wallace-Wells at the New Yorker points out that Trump has a lot of time to fill in his campaign speeches, and he now he very little to say.  He used to spend a significant portion of his speech bragging about polls, but he can't do that anymore.  And he has none of the usual campaign speech topics: his record and accomplishments in office,  his party's philosophy, etc. "He does not recount the suffering of ordinary individuals because he has not met many of them."

Trump cannot go into detail about Obama policies or Clinton proposals or his own proposals because he knows no details.  His speeches are word salads of simple assertions, that he is a winner and will change everything for the better, and that his opponents are complete disasters.  Trump appears to absorb bits of information from cable television, right wing talk radio and the work of very rabid right authors, probably as described to him, and then he riffs.  He has a lot of time to fill on the campaign trail and nothing else to fill it with.  No wonder he gets in continual trouble.

But this Second Amendment comment suggests even more the extent of Trump's desperation and the violence he casually summons as a result.  Ed Kilgore:

Donald Trump managed to descend to new depths today by repeating a tedious gun-lobby argument that Hillary Clinton wants to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment” and then turning it into a “joking” suggestion that “Second-Amendment people” might hold the only way to deal with that threat. Nothing like a little assassination humor to liven things up on the campaign trail, eh?

Kilgore's column places this reference in context of the rabid right approach to the Second Amendment as an instrument of potential insurrection.  He considers Trump's comment to be "thinly veiled sedition."

The remark threatens to turn this week into an even worse week that last for Trump. As this storm continues, other elements of the Trump catastrophe also continue.  New state polls show Clinton ahead in Ohio (+5) and Iowa (+4) and increasing her lead in PA (+11.)

CNN reports that: Two former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency under Republican presidents endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, citing her plan to tackle climate change and Donald Trump's "profound ignorance of science."

A major Republican donor is going to work for Clinton's election: Hillary Clinton on Tuesday added another name to the rapidly growing list of major Republican donors she has taken away from GOP nominee Donald Trump -- former MGM CEO Harry Sloan. Sloan is a mainstay of Republican fundraising, having served on national finance committees for John McCain and Mitt Romney.

It seems significant to me that these GOP defectors are not doing so quietly, but are all dumping on Trump in the same way.  Sloan: "He is unprepared and temperamentally unfit to be our President. Most of my Republican friends feel the same way. As a businessman, a father, and a conservative it is clear to me that Hillary Clinton is the right choice in this election."

Politico reports that the Clinton campaign has been encouraging Republican defections for months, and that an organization "Republicans for Hillary" may be unveiled as early as tomorrow.

Several articles, including this one by Jonathan Chait, suggest Trump may fail to show up for one or more of the scheduled presidential debates.

Monday, August 08, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Frankenstein Economics, GOPer Defections

So, Monday August 8, 2016, and the Donald campaign is moving in what they hope is a new direction, but the blowback from last week's events is not over.  So we're simultaneously in something like a normal campaign, and still in one that is extraordinary.

After making his pro forma Republican endorsements and turning his full lying attention on Hillary Clinton, Trump tried to up the serious candidate quotient today with an address on the economy.  Early reviews has it a mishmash (or Frankenstein monster) of ideas from everywhere, and an attempt to toe the Ryan conservative line.  That latter view is expressed by Eric Levitz, who saw it as a particular pitch to the GOP donor class:

But in his big speech on economic policy in Detroit, a bored-looking Trump just read GOP boilerplate off a teleprompter...The agenda Trump outlined Monday was virtually identical to the standard GOP plan for redistributing wealth to its donor class, save for the tycoon’s opposition to all trade deals and refugees (at one point Trump argued that “our roads and bridges fell into disrepair” because we “resettle millions of refugees at taxpayer expense”).

That latter claim is off by geometric measurement, by the way.  In its fact checking (which finds most of Trump's claims typically false) ABC provides the numbers: over the past 8 years, the US settled about half a million refugees at a cost of $1.2 billion a year, .03 of the federal budget.  Repairing and replacing infrastructure will cost about a trillion and a half.  That's, you know, more.  In addition to ABC's checking, the WPost goes into detail about Trump's enormously false claims on energy.

But Trump trying to change the subject collided with other significant stories that extend last week's narrative of serious people, including Republicans, publicly declaring him unfit and unqualified.  WPost's Carol Morello:

A group of 50 former national security officials, all of whom have served Republican presidents from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush, have signed an open letter calling Donald Trump unqualified to be president and warning that, if elected, “he would be the most reckless President in American history.”

The letter offers a withering critique of the GOP nominee, saying he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president. The signatories declare their conviction that he would be dangerous “and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” They state flatly that none of them intend to vote for Trump in November. Some have decided to vote for Hillary Clinton..."

Commenting on the letter--full of GOP neocon names--the subtitle to Lucia Graves' piece in the Guardian proclaimed: There’s rarely a great deal of agreement in Washington, but the importance of keeping Trump’s fingers off the nuclear button is fast becoming a consensus.

Fresh batch of Republicans defect to Clinton reads the Politico headline.  They include a former Bush II official and a former governor of New Hampshire who called Trump: a “defective nominee” who is “deranged” and whose “psyche is sick...”  Politico speculates whether the next batch might include Condi Rice and Henry Kissinger.

Another Republican defector who went public Monday is Frank Lavin, "an official in every Republican administration since Reagan" who wrote: "Trump falls short in terms of the character and behavior needed to perform as president. This defect is crippling and ensures he would fail in office. Trump is a bigot, a bully, and devoid of grace or magnanimity. His thin-skinned belligerence toward every challenge, rebuke, or criticism would promise the nation a series of a high-voltage quarrels. His casual dishonesty, his policy laziness, and his lack of self-awareness would mean four years of a careening pin-ball journey that would ricochet from missteps to crisis to misunderstandings to clarifications to retractions."  Lavin said he would vote for Hillary Clinton.

Another major defection Monday evening in a WP oped: Senator Susan Collins of Maine: I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president... With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize. But it was his attacks directed at people who could not respond on an equal footing — either because they do not share his power or stature or because professional responsibility precluded them from engaging at such a level — that revealed Mr. Trump as unworthy of being our president."

Late Monday the New York Times commented:Ms. Collins is the most senior senator to split publicly with Mr. Trump, and her message of censure could send a message to other Republicans that it is safe to shun the party’s presidential nominee."  

Meanwhile the last polling cycle results continue to show Clinton strong in formerly competitive places like Virginia, and even GOPer strongholds like Georgia where two polls say she leads, the latest by 7 points.

Some kind of a Trump rebound seems almost inevitable, but the details of the ABC/WPost poll over the weekend that gives her an 8 point lead are devastating:

79 percent of Americans polled say he doesn't show enough respect for people he disagrees with, 70 percent express anxiety about a Trump presidency, 67 percent think he lacks the personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively, 64 percent doubt his understanding of world affairs, 63 percent see him unfavorably overall, 62 percent say he's not honest and trustworthy, 61 percent think he's unqualified for office, and 60 percent think he's biased against women and minorities.

The Virginia poll probably also reflects much else that's been happening, as many in VA work at the Pentagon and for the federal government.  That Clinton leads 49-37% is less significant than that she leads the commander-in-chief test 57-36, or that she has 95% of Virginia's Democrats while Trump has but 79% of VA GOPers.

Now the first national poll of the new cycle--though not a major one--gives Clinton a 13 point lead among likely voters. Politico's report: "Hillary Clinton’s post-convention bounce has been amplified through the weekend, giving the Democratic presidential nominee a double-digit lead among likely voters, according to a new poll released Monday."  The Monmouth University poll shows only 3% of likely voters are undecided.

 "Likely voters" is at once the most potent and the most problematic category in polling, as it depends on what the pollster decides makes a voter "likely."  But Politico says the poll is especially significant since it was taken Thursday through Sunday, after the ABC/WPost national poll.  If polls taken later this week come close to matching this, Clinton's lead is likely to remain at least into the late September debates.

But a victory of 10 points or more would mean a landslide, and Republicans, already fearful of the downticket dragged down by Trump, worry that in this case they would probably lose the Senate and could lose the House as well.