Friday links! Pyrrhic victories edition

Pyrrhus's war elephants in an ad for, uh, meat extract?

Pyrrhus’s war elephants in an ad for Liebig’s Extract of Meat

If one thing connects the modern age to antiquity, it is the ongoing usefulness of the phrase “pyrrhic victory.” Sometimes you win at such cost that winning defeats you. If we are willing to stray from the original context a little, sometimes what you conquer is rendered valueless by the conquest. This modern world offers us plenty of things worth having, from iPhones to Iraq, but they aren’t always worth getting. Unfortunately, the motto of 21st-century America might as well be “by any means necessary.” Today is Friday, and one more victory might ruin us. Won’t you survey the field with me?

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Trump suggests people shoot his opponent or vote against her—hard to tell

GOP 2016 Debate

Yesterday, after telling a crowd of his supporters in Wilmington, North Carolina that Hillary Clinton wanted to “abolish” the Second Amendment, Donald Trump warned that gun owners would face disaster if she won the presidency and got to appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Then he seemed to allude to the possibility of assassinating her. Here’s video:

If you can’t watch it because your work doesn’t allow videos that threaten candidates for president or the Secret Service is monitoring you or something, Trump said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is. I don’t know.”

That’s by no means an explicit call for violence against his opponent. It does, however, allude to something “Second Amendment people” can do after the general election, when democratic avenues to prevent President Hillary Clinton from appointing judges have failed. These “Second Amendment people” are presumably gun owners, but that, too, is ambiguous. Maybe these unspecified people could do some unspecified thing to prevent a duly elected president from appointing judges to the Supreme Court—Trump doesn’t know. He’s just running for president, saying these things.

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No one in Trump campaign expected Melania to get caught



It would be unfair to ask Melania Trump to write her own speech for the Republican convention. As the third wife of a billionaire 25 years her senior, she was not selected for her oratory skills. And can you imagine what it would be like to start in a Slovenian village and go on to marry the loudest asshole in America? Between Sevnica and Cleveland, she probably did some things she did not at first enjoy. My point is that Melania is through working, and we should leave her to peacefully wait out this last year of her husband’s life. In the meantime, hire a ghostwriter. Newt Gingrich would do it for lunch, I bet, and you could get somebody really good for money. This brings us to the question of whom the Trump campaign got—because, as you’ve no doubt heard, a portion of Melania’s speech sounded just like Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008.

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After bruising news cycle, Trump says he “may go a different route”

Donald Trump at Marla Maples at the US Open in 1991—photo: Timothy Clary

Donald Trump and Marla Maples at the US Open in 1991—photo: Timothy Clary

According to its FEC filing, the Trump campaign raised $3.1 million dollars in May, compared to $27 million donors gave to Hillary Clinton. That’s a startling gap, especially considering Trump clinched the nomination on May 3. Possibly in response to this dismal performance or maybe because of everything else he ever did, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski got fired yesterday. It’s fun when Trump does that on television, but political people tend to interpret it as a sign of weakness. It was such a tough day that the pathologically sanguine candidate struck a glum note. This morning, he called in to Fox and Friends and complained that he wasn’t getting enough support from Republicans. “It would be nice to have full support from people that are in office, full verbal support,” he said. “With all of that being said, I may go a different route if things don’t happen.”

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Clinton says “radical Islamism,” dealing blow to ISIS and victory to Trump

Donald Trump politely rejects Bill Clinton's offer.

Donald Trump politely rejects Bill Clinton’s offer.

In discussing the most deadly mass shooting in American history, which I guess we’ve decided to call terrorism and not gun violence, Hillary Clinton used the phrase “radical Islamism.” She used it a lot, mostly to explain why it wasn’t a big deal that she was saying it now. Quote:

[T]o me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point. I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it. It’s the same.

Calling terrorism “radical Islamism” is so much the same that she offered nearly the exact same reasons it’s not a big deal to two different morning shows. Meanwhile, after Donald Trump had congratulated himself on predicting something like the Orlando massacre, he taunted Hillary for deciding to talk like him:

So good news, voters: our lesser evil now resembles the greater that little bit more. Fretting after the jump.

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