United Kingdom

The Donald Trump Show (Rulz)

Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City on 16 June 2015. Trump, one of America's most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country's current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016. "I am officially running for Prsident of the United States and we are going to make our country great again," he said from a podium bedecked in US flags at Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue. The tycoon strode out to the strains of "Rockin' in the Free World" by Canadian singer Neil Young after being introduced by his daughter Ivanka. His announcement follows years of speculation that the man known to millions as the bouffant-haired host of American reality TV game show "The Apprentice" would one day enter politics. Trump identifies himself as a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past. But in this announcement speech he did not say explicitly if he was running for the party's nomination or as an independent. (Photo credit: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty)

This is not something we should find surprising:

Donald Trump’s campaign is still soliciting illegal donations from foreign individuals―including members of foreign governments at their official email addresses―weeks after the campaign was put on notice by watchdog groups.

Foreign members of parliament from the United Kingdom and Australia confirmed to The Hill that they received fundraising solicitations from the Trump campaign as recently as July 12―two weeks after a widely publicized FEC complaint issued on June 29 by non-partisan watchdogs Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center.

(Swan and Neidig)

Or, rather, we might simply say it sounds about right.

Because even if we somehow might set aside, just for a moment, the magnitude of the Donald Trump spectacle―you know, the whole denial and disbelief part―there remains a question of just how Donald Trump’s exponential boorishness and pointed disdain for general decency should surprise us.

____________________

Image note: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination at Trump Tower in New York City, 16 June 2015. (Photo credit: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty)

Swan, Jonathan and Harper Neidig. “Trump campaign solicits illegal foreign donations despite warnings”. The Hill. 16 July 2016.

Just a Question, You Know, for No Particular Reason

This is a pertinent question, I think: Will Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, now abdicate?

Because while the Prime Minister pretty much owes people his job, it just doesn’t seem Her Majesty is ever going to get another sign, short of death itself, that maybe it’s time to let somebody else figure out what to do next.

____________________

British Broadcasting Corporation. “Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU”. BBC.com. 24 June 2016.

A Downing Downer (Doobie Doo Double Down Downer D’oh! Mix)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in January, 2015. Detail of photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

Of all the ghosts that might haunt a would-be candidate, London is something of a heavy metaphorical monkey. And why not mix metaphors, since five months later, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trip abroad still haunts him:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says British Prime Minister David Cameron confided in him that he was concerned about the direction of American leadership. But there’s a problem with the Republican’s tidy critique of President Barack Obama: Cameron doesn’t remember it that way ....

“I heard that from David Cameron back in February earlier when we were over at 10 Downing,” Walker said. “I heard it from other leaders around the world. They’re looking around realizing this lead from behind mentality just doesn’t work. It’s just not working.” ....

As Zeke Miller makes clear for Time, while this sort of halfwitted pandering might or might not play in Deer Valley, it certainly didn’t impress Downing Street:

Walker, who has taken several trips overseas in recent months to study up on foreign policy in preparation for an all-but-certain presidential bid, told a roomful of Republican donors Friday that world leaders, including Cameron, are worried about the U.S. stepping back in the world. “The Prime Minister did not say that and does not think that,” a Downing Street spokesperson told TIME.

There is always something of a fun question, each cycle, about foreign leaders and to what degree they should involve themselves in our American elections. And the question certainly has its proper context. Still, though, it also seems an obvious and appropriate question: If you wish to drag Downing Street into an American electoral process, why do so in such a clumsy manner? After the Chatham gaffe, Mr. Walker seems prepared to double down on the D’oh!

Seriously, if one wishes to name drop a foreign government, at least do so in a way that doesn’t move them to publicly call bullshit.

Because, you know, really, it doesn’t do your foreign policy credentials any good to go out of your way to offend our nation’s international neighbors and partners.

Then again, this is Scott Walker.

____________________

Image note: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in January, 2015. Detail of photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

Miller, Zeke J. “British Leader to Scott Walker: I Never Dissed Obama”. Time. 12 June 2015.

Full Color Stupid

Write this up as user error.

No, seriously. We’re talking about the software industry, which never makes any mistakes anywhere, ever. It’s always user error.

Yes, we’re confident about that assertion, or, at least, the fact that it exists. Living in Microsoft country, we have enough friends who work in the software industry to start dropping friends when this issue comes up.

To wit, the image below is a composite of the daily stats report for This Is. In truth, we’re happy to break fifty hits a day, so thank you all for stopping by.

But do you notice the problem?

No, really. Just … look. The only reason you might need to look carefully is that what is missing is much larger than the mistake it might compel you to make.

That is to say, if you’re wondering why WordPress has the United Kingdom so far to the east, it’s because that isn’t the U.K. It is Kaliningrad, Russian Federation.

See? User error.

That WordPress apparently thinks the U.K. doesn’t exist on this planet is immaterial, or else it’s another user error. Because, you know, Automattic is a software company, and software companies never make mistakes.

It’s always user error.

Stats report for This Is, 26 February 2015.

Something About the Evolution of American Politics

London, 11 February 2015.  Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) speaks at Chatham House, a foreign policy research organization.  Photo uncredited, via NBC News.

“And so, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) arrived in London yesterday, there was a lingering fear: how exactly would he manage to screw this up? Now we know.”

Steve Benen

How?

No, seriously, I’ll bite: How does this keep happening?

First, Ned Simons of Huffington Post:

Speaking at the Chatham House foreign policy think tank London, Walker was asked: “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe in it?”

“For me, I am going to punt on that one as well,” he said. “That’s a question politicians shouldn’t be involved in one way or another. I am going to leave that up to you. I’m here to talk about trade, not to pontificate about evolution.”

There are a few things here. The first is that it’s London. The second is to note the host’s disbelief; perhaps Americans don’t realize just how strange our evolution debate sounds to our friends and neighbors around the world, such that there is a reason our homegrown Creationists find international kinship among various religious groups we tend to worry about for any number of reasons derived from their theological justifications. Additionally, Walker’s decision to punt reflects a reasonable calculation within the American political context, but that point only highlights the glaring question of what role fundamentalist myth has in asserting reality under law.

(more…)

A Note From Lyme Regis

Greetings arrive from across an ocean, as D&C tour the Jurassic Coast of southwest England. The brief notes with the picture:

• “Real ale in every pub is a worthy goal.”

• “Thatcher’s Old Rascal cider (est. 1904, so … no, not that Thatcher) and Palmer’s Dorset Gold real ale. Cobb Arms, Lyme Regis.”

Thatcher's Old Racal, Palmer's Dorset Gold; Cobb Arms, Lhyme Regis, West Dorset, England. 23 June 2014.

____________________

Image Credit: ©ADH, 2014