Nel's New Day

December 27, 2016

‘Thank You, Hillary Clinton’

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 7:18 PM
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What Hillary Clinton did wrong. That’s been the pervasive issue coming from all directions since the November election. Politicians and media, both conservative and liberal, have consistently battered her for the past 50 days since she won the popular vote in the nation by almost three million votes.  Never mind that she faced fake news, constant lies, Russian interference, gerrymandering, voter oppression, threats to progressive voters, sexism, anti-Clinton sentiment, and a few other problems.

It’s long past time to honor this woman who has given much to the country that takes great pleasure in vilifying her. Fortunately, John Pavlovitz, a pastor in Raleigh (NC), has done this, and journalist/blogger/columnist Leslie Salzillo wrote a piece about his letter of thanks to Clinton. Some of my readers may remember Pavlovitz’s commentary about the current president-elect called “How the Trump Stole America.”

Thanks to both Ms. Salzillo and Mr. Pavlovitz for the following:

hillary

North Carolina Christian Pastor Writes Piercing Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

John Pavlovitz is a unique veteran pastor in Raleigh, North Carolina who has been very vocal about the 2016 election, the misogyny of men like the president-elect, and more recently his admiration for Hillary Clinton. In his most recent open letter to Clinton, he starts off giving thanks to her for the work she’s done for the past five decades, what she accomplished this year, her “dignity in the face of undignified behavior,” her seriousness at the prospect of leading our country, and her campaign of diversity, equality and shared strength — which she ran with grace and continuously reminded us of America’s greatness. He adds Hillary did everything she was supposed to do — everything she was asked:

“You were prepared and balanced and cool under pressure.

You knew what you were talking about at every turn.

You saw the big picture, and you knew the countless small details that your opponent could never be bothered with.

You endured a relentless flood of misinformation by continually, plainly speaking your truth.

You had your character assassinated over and over—and in response you simply showed that character.

You shouldered the kind of expectations that no man aspiring to the position has ever had to contend with.

You had to be both strong and sensitive, tough and warm, fierce and likable—and you were.

You never talked in nonsensical sound bites, never ranted like a lunatic at your detractors, never viciously attacked citizens on social media—and you never stooped to the inhumanity of your opponent.”

Giving more accolades, Pavlovitz continues:

“Despite the unprecedented viciousness hurled at you, you never responded in kind; you just kept on being decent, intelligent, thoughtful—Presidential. You alone had the experience and the temperament and the maturity to do the job of leading this country. That should have been enough. I’m sorry that it wasn’t.”

Pavlovitz then states some apologies to Clinton saying he’s sorry that his 7-year old daughter won’t get to see the first woman President sworn in and instead his daughter will have to see a man who has complete contempt in shaping her future. Pavlovitz is sorry his 11-year old son will be reminded every day that “you can treat women with total disregard, that you can be a vile, filthy bully—and be well rewarded for it.”

The pastor apologizes to Hillary that more people didn’t recognize her diversity, strength and how her faith has always been the real, quiet, constant bedrock of who she is — and not a “one-time, cheap, campaign parlor trick designed to appear religious to the easily fooled.” And Pavlovitz is sorry that so many people chose to endure a “terrifying circus” instead of Hillary’s steadiness. Most of all, the pastor says he’s sorry Hillary will not be his President, because like himself, he believes Hillary cares for the full breadth of American diversity and he would have been proud to have been led by her.

Pavlovitz writes about how Hillary Clinton has served this country her entire life, and he knows she’ll continue to do the daily, difficult, unglamorous work of real leadership; “the kind that your opponent will never understand” or be interested in doing behind the scenes, “away from the spotlight; not fishing for compliments or pleading for adulation or begging to noticed.”

“I know you’re a warrior and that you’re going to be fine, but I also know that you’re human and that this year must have taken a greater toll on you than anyone. I hope you realize that it wasn’t in vain; that you really have won (and not just the popular vote).”

He says Hillary Clinton won because she reminded us that our diversity is our greatest asset and through equality we really are stronger together. Hillary’s won because she “didn’t need to manufacture fear to draw people” to her, and she “didn’t have to create a villain out of someone’s religion or skin color or native language or sexual orientation.” She’s the winner because the nearly 66 million Americans voted for her “now have a vision and a reason to fight on, and we will.” Pavlovitz says, “We will be the strong, steady resistance to the bigots and the bullies.” He writes that most of all, Hillary won because she did what good people always do regardless of the cost or the pushback or the reception, she went high — where the real victory is.

In his conclusion, John Pavlovitz tells Hillary:

“So for all that you gave and suffered and endured,

for how you taught and cared and labored,

for the way you inspired and challenged and led,

for being the very best of this country and for this country—

Thank you, Hillary.

John Pavlovitz”

Pavlovitz did not mention Hillary’s opponent during his entire piece. Although social and traditional media is still consumed and obsessed with stories about the president-elect (guilty), how refreshing to read a piece that doesn’t include that person’s name and instead includes more about the good in this country and those work to make it better — and here’s to the men and women of faith who speak out for that good.

[Pavlovitz begins his letter: “I hope this finds you well. I’ve been meaning to write you for a while. I was thinking of you again today and I guess I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you.”

He wrote:

“I’m sorry that this country will be far less diverse, less civil, less open, and less compassionate than it would have been with you guiding it.

“I’m sorry that enough people chose his sideshow over your steadiness, and that we now all have to endure the terrifying circus.

“Most of all I’m sorry that you will not be my President, because like me I believe that you care for the full breadth of America’s diversity, not just the smallest sliver of it—and I would have been proud to have been led by you.”

Thank you, Hillary Clinton]

November 5, 2016

FBI Needs to Investigate Trump

The supposedly wealthy, jobs guy, Donald Trump, has been found to violate his employees’ federal labor rights by illegally refusing to bargain with his 500+ workers at the Last Vegas Trump International Hotel, according to the National Labor Relations Board. The board has ordered Trump to post notices in the hotel to admit the violation as well as immediately bargain a contract with them. He has actually broken the law while he incites his crowds regarding calls to jail Hillary Clinton—when she hasn’t violated any laws.

Yet the media continues to concentrate on the non-story of Clinton’s email, although Fox network’s  Bret Baier found himself having to make a correction on his “reporting.” After he falsely reported that investigators had determined Clinton’s private email server was hacked “by five foreign intelligence agencies,” leading to an indictment after the election, Baier admitted that “there is no evidence” for his statements. That didn’t stop Trump from constantly repeating these lies on the campaign trail.

No one has any evidence that Clinton’s emails were in any way illegal, but Clinton-hating—white, male, and conservative—FBI agents are rigging the election by spreading false information. The agents leaked so much information to the Trump campaign that the feckless FBI director, James Comey felt compelled to release information a week ago about searching for emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer—emails that were neither sent by nor sent to Clinton.

Two days before Comey sent a damning letter to members of the Congress about the emails, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani bragged about knowing a “big surprise” and then crowed about his knowledge of a revolution inside the FBI that he had learned from active agents. Yesterday, Giuliani said that he knew about the release of information before knowledge because public; today he backed down and denied that FBI agents told him about reviewing newly discovered emails before Comey made the information public. Reps. Elijah Cummings (MD-D) and John Conyers, Jr. (MI-D), the ranking members of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, have called on the Inspector General of the Justice Department to investigate “the source of multiple unauthorized—and often inaccurate—leaks from within the FBI to benefit the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.”

Giuliani is heavily linked to the FBI’s New York City office with his law firm’s ongoing business, concerning 13,000 agents, and the Trump campaign has an open pipeline with the New York City FBI bureau. FBI agents leaking information break their oaths of office, and intentionally interfering with elections violate the federal Hatch Act. Their actions are bringing up memories of Edgar J. Hoover, the first FBI director, who kept extensive files on thousands of people and blackmailed to get his way.

Trump’s super-PAC “Make America Number 1,” financed by Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, also paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past year. Trump’s campaign leader Kellyanne Conway headed up the super-PAC and was replaced by David Bossie, head of Citizens United before he was put on Trump’s campaign. Breitbart owners, Robert and Rebehak Mercer, moved former head Steve Bannon to Trump’s campaign. leading part of the super-PAC. In addition, the Mercers funds the Bannon-led non-profit Government Accountability Institute and the video producer “Glittering Steel, a front for Bannon. GAI’s president, Peter Schweizer, wrote the smear-filled book, Clinton Cash, that FBI agents used for documentation in its Clinton investigation. Even Schweizer, the author, admits that he has no proof for many of his claims. “Follow the money” shows that the Mercers control both Trump and many FBI agents, using their billions to control the upcoming presidential election.

Their opposition to Clinton is keeping FBI agents mum about an investigation into Trump’s connection on a private server with the largest private commercial bank in Russia. Computer scientists have been following this secretive connection since last July, but the connection disappeared hours after the New York Times asked Alpha Bank about the communication. Within four days, the Trump Organization used a new host name for communication to the same private server. Although scientists were not able to obtain emails, they noted that the conversations paralleled political occurrences in the U.S., with peaks during the two conventions.

In the lengthy Newsweek cover story, Kurt Eichenwald trailed Trump’s destruction of business documents and emails over the past four decades during lawsuits. For example, investors lost a fortune in 2011 when Trump claimed that he had no liability insurance for a failed project in Florida only to have a lawyer reveal two years later that he had a $5 million policy. This is just one of thousands of times when Trump cheated people through his destruction of records. He also destroyed documents when he was the person suing, for example a suit against Cordish Cos., regarding two Native American casinos in 2000.

How crazy is this election getting? In 2000, Ralph Nadar said he preferred George W. Bush to Al Gore. The past 16 years shows where that preference led the nation. Now Jill Stein, Green Party candidate, supports Donald Trump—who thinks that climate change is a hoax from China—to Hillary Clinton. Greens are also defending Stein for her investments in palm oil plantations, the biggest cause of deforestation in the world.

On the other hand, major conservative pundits have wholeheartedly rejected Trump. Charles Krauthammer writes: “[As] final evidence of how bad are our choices in 2016, Trump’s liabilities, especially on foreign policy, outweigh hers.” He continues to discuss the dangers of Russia, China, and Iran seeing a Trump presidency as a way  “to achieve regional dominance and diminish, if not expel, American influence.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson: “Most options are better than Clinton. But not all. And not this. The GOP has largely accommodated itself to a candidate with no respect for, or knowledge of, the constitutional order… Those who are complicit have adopted a particularly dangerous form of power-loving hypocrisy. It is almost beyond belief that Americans should bless and normalize Trump’s appeal. Normalize vindictiveness and prejudice. Normalize conspiracy theories and the abandonment of reason. Normalize every shouted epithet, every cruel ethnic and religious stereotype, every act of bullying in the cause of American ‘greatness.’”

David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush, voted for Hillary Clinton and explained:

“To vote for Trump as a protest against Clinton’s faults would be like amputating a leg because of a sliver in the toe; cutting one’s throat to lower one’s blood pressure.”

Peggy Noonan defined the GOP problem in her column for the Wall Street Journal: “The split in the party happened in the past 15 years. When you give a party two unwon wars, one a true foreign-policy catastrophe, and a great recession, it will begin to break because its members lose confidence in its leaders. When the top of the party believes in things that the bottom of the party doesn’t want (on immigration, entitlements and trade), things will break further. The bottom will begin to feel the top no longer cares about it. That will end their loyalty. Mr. Trump’s Republican foes are wrong in thinking his followers are just sticking with the party. They’re not, they’ve broken from the party.” Yet Republicans think that re-electing a GOP president and Congress will save them.

Trump hates “illegal aliens,” but it’s highly possible that his wife is one. He denied that Melania Trump came to the U.S. on a tourist visa but then worked as a professional model. Documentation has appeared that he lied about Melania Trump’s illegal status. Yet Trump supporters love their candidate in spite—or because—of his lying and illegal activities while they find Clinton, the most truthful of all this year’s candidates—to be “untrustworthy.”

October 3, 2016

Trump Supporters Love Him for His Dishonesty

Donald Trump’s tax returns have been a recurring discussion for almost a year, but the conversation hit a new high after last week’s debate. After Hillary Clinton brought up her opponent’s refusal to disclose his tax returns, he made the flippant statement, “That makes me smart.” The Washington Post reporter attending the debate heard the comment, “That’s offensive. I pay taxes.”

Even more outrage was expressed after it was learned that Trump may avoid paying taxes for almost two decades on earnings of $50 million a year because he declared a loss of almost $1 billion on his 1995 income tax returns. No one admits to providing the New York Times with this information, but no denials of accuracy have been issued by Trump and his associates at that time although Trump said that this information was “illegally obtained.”

Surrogates have praise Trump for not paying any federal income taxes. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani called him a genius for this avoidance although Giuliani has said some other very odd things. The mayor of New York at the time of the 9/11 attacks said that terrorists had not attacked the United States until Barack Obama became president. Giuliani also slammed Hillary Clinton for her husband’s affairs and then covered for his own and those of Trump by saying “everyone does it.” How can a genius lose almost $1 billion in such a short time?

New Jersey Chris Christie described the release of Trump’s tax return as “actually a very, very good story” for the Trump campaign. In an on-going lawsuit about the political closure of the George Washington Bridge, both prosecutors and lawyers for the defendants claim that Christie approved the action during the closure, and a defendant has sworn under oath that Christie was told at the time that the bridge was ordered closed.

Republicans have long described people who don’t pay taxes as parasites and worse. For example, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) described people who didn’t pay taxes as “takers” as compared to the “makers,” and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked about the “47 percent.” Trump is a member of Ryan’s “takers.”

A far more serious problem than Trump not paying taxes, however, is the revelation of Trump as a failure as a businessman during the booming economy of the 1990s through mismanaging three Atlantic City casinos, investing in an airline company, and purchasing Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel. He’s running on his boast that he’s brilliant in business and creating jobs and then declares a loss of $916 million—about $1.5 billion in today’s dollars. Either the jobs that Trump claims to have created disappeared, or he refused to pay the people he hired.

In his declared loss of $916 million,Trump also destroyed investors when share holders lost almost the entire value as shares dropped from $35.50 to 17 cents. The only winner was Trump, who could use “net operating losses” to cancel out any taxable income for the next 18 years. With a good—and expensive—lawyer, Trump can also stiff everyone he owes by declaring bankruptcy and “reorganizing” his debts. Trump bought buildings and businesses with borrowed money and then deducted interest paid on the debt and took depreciation deductions while his real estate appreciated in value. He’s right that the system is rigged, and it’s rigged in his favor.

The question swirling the internet is how Trump managed to lose $916 million in 1995, a year when the average loss among millionaires was $614,000. One theory is that he didn’t lose the money. John Hempton, an Australian hedge fund manager and former expert on tax avoidance for the Australian Treasury, theorized that Trump “parked” the debt from his bankruptcies in a dummy party offshore where it was neither collected nor officially forgiven. No one has denied this theory either.

There’s support for Hempton’s theory in how little Trump actually lost in the early 1990s. An analysis of financial reports from Trump’s businesses shows far less than the $916 million that he supposedly lost. Trump lost about $13 million from THCR (Trump Hotels, Casinos, Resorts) in a few years. He also sold the Plaza Hotel to Saudi and Asian investors for $325 after buying it for $400 million, but he may not have had any loss in the sale. The purchasers assumed $440 million in debt in addition to the purchase price, making Trump’s total closer to $765 million. In addition, banks wrote down Trump’s loan in order to make sure the sale went through. All this for a hotel that Trump never owned because he put no money down on it. The loans against the Plaza paid for Eastern Air Lines Shuttle and the construction of the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.

Another fact detracting from the people’s belief in Trump’s business acumen is that he lost $800 million last year, reducing his assets to $3.7 billion. To all of us, that sounds like a lot of money, but he lost almost 20 percent of all his assets in one year. People who admire him should consider what would happen to their own lives if they lost 20 percent of their own assets in one year.

People who want Trump’s business model for the United States don’t understand that his system doesn’t work for a country that borrows money from other countries. The end result could be that all those other countries will then own the U.S.

“We are going to protect our steel industries.” That’s what Trump told an audience today, but he bought steel and aluminum in two of his three construction projects from China during the past four years. At other times, he skipped the steel and bought less-expensive concrete from companies linked to the Luchese and Genovese crime families. These projects were not for public companies so his decision was made to line the pockets of himself and his family. Buying from China is nothing new for Trump: that’s where all the suits and ties for Trump’s Signature line are made. He also lied about not being able to buy this clothing in the U.S.

Trump also faces grim problems regarding the Trump Foundation. It was bad enough when facts emerged that he was using the charitable group, with donations totally for other people, as a personal slush fund to bail him out of lawsuits and purchase personal items. Surrogates had no defense for Trump’s actions because they immediately pivoted to talking about the Clinton Foundation—that has no illegal issues—when asked about the Trump’s foundation.

The most recent concern is that the foundation never got New York registration and annual auditing to allow it to operate as a large (over $25,000 a year) foundation. The Trump Foundation took in at least $1.67 million through his website. Trump has been told to stop soliciting donations for the Trump Foundation.

In another illegal action, a Trump-controlled company secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during a time of strict U.S. trade bans. The $68,000 spent in 1998 was prohibited without U.S. approval although the company, with Trump’s knowledge, funneled the money through a U.S. consulting firm that tried to make the expenses legal by linking it after the fact to charity. Just after this foray into Cuba, Trump told Cuban-Americans that he promised to maintain the embargo and never spend any money in Cuba while Fidel Castro.

Every time Trump opens his mouth, he says something offensive. Today the man who dodged the draft with a possible temporary bone spur charged that soldiers who suffer from PTSD aren’t “strong” and “can’t handle it.” This harsh rhetoric from Trump pairs with his statement that prisoners of war aren’t heroes because, as he put it, “I like people who weren’t captured.” He’s also bragged that attending an expensive prep school gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

A letter defending Trump published in a large Oregon newspaper today presented these claims of superiority over Clinton as facts: he’s created multiple companies and hired tens of thousands of workers; he supports the military; and he’s fact-checked when Clinton isn’t. One word about the letter, in Trump’s terminology:  WRONG.

People who write letters should research their subject matter. In the area of business, the author avoids all the facts about Trump’s fraud, bankruptcy for personal benefit, support for overseas companies by buying from them, theft from his own charity, financial destruction of people who invest in his companies, and lies about his success. Trump has shown no support for the military by denigrating members of the military and refusing to give them donations that he pretended to solicit for people in the armed services. In the matter of fact-checking, the letter’s author skips over all the fact-checking of Clinton that has shown her to be the most truthful candidate in the last decade.

This article covers many of Trump’s scandals, but his supporters will never read it.They  live in a bubble that allows them to justify all his illegal actions and maintain their fantasy image of a strong man who will protect his followers. They’re wrong, but they can’t face the truth.

October 1, 2016

Who Are the Trump Supporters?

People follow Trump because they admire him—“say it like it is,” avoid “political correctness,” make money by cheating and call is capitalism, and make up their own rules. There are some specific characteristics of Trump supporters (TS) based on his values and approaches:

A desire to be ruled, not governed: The top predictor of being a TS is a belief in authoritarianism. TS are inclined to believe in obedience; they want strong leaders and respond aggressively to outsiders because they feel threatened. Trump’s promises to close mosques, ban Muslims, build a wall, and the generality of “make American great again” rises above constitutional rights or capitalism. The model for Trump is Vladimir Putin, the dictator of Russia.

Lack of class (as in quality): TS appreciate that Trump ridicules a disabled person, calls POWs losers, denigrates women because he doesn’t find them physically attractive, makes inappropriate sexual comments about his daughter, blasts a Gold Star family, etc.

Willingness to cheat and lie to people: Trump deflates his numbers to get low taxes, incessantly tells falsehoods, defrauds his employees, rips off people for his own benefit, etc. He fits the description of a pathological liar as words automatically pour out of his mouth that contradict what he’s said earlier or just “misrepresents” reality.

Racist beliefs: Trump embraces the alt-right movement, led the birther movement, belittles minorities by accusing them of being criminals and rapists, demands that judges in his thousands of lawsuits be white, fires minorities because of their skin color, etc.

Misogynist way of life: Trump’s attacks on Megyn Kelly brought his sexist attitude to the forefront of media, and he continues to incessantly insult women. In debates he brags about the size of his genitalia and claims that female opponents are too ugly to be president. Approached about his abusive statements about women, he doubles down on the outrageous comments by blaming the women for his beliefs. An acquaintance from Trump’s days in a military academy said that they learned about women from Playboy magazine and that Trump never got over this sexism.

Deficiency in religious/spiritual ethics: Trump grew up with the gospel of prosperity and has continued this conviction throughout his life. (See “Willingness to cheat and lie to people.”)

No credence in the U.S. Constitution: Republicans have rabidly sworn for the past almost eight years that President Obama doesn’t obey the constitution, yet GOP members ignore Trump’s plans to break the First Amendment by curbing free speech while forcing one religion on the nation’s entire population. He also wants to remove due process from anyone who annoys him—which covers a large number of people—and remove birthright citizenship, both enshrined in the constitution.

Rejection of hard work: For the most recent presidential debate, Hillary Clinton studied the issues, prepared specifics, and practiced for her encounter with Trump. People, including Trump, made fun of her because she worked hard to be ready for a difficult job—that of the President of the United States. Trump came in with no preparation, almost unable to stand for 90 minutes, but was praised for his energy and excitement. No information, just rude interrupting and repetitive generalities.

A reason for Trump to not prepare might be that he suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect, an overweening confidence in his ignorant sense of superiority. With this effect, incompetents fail to recognize their own incompetence. Because they don’t understand that they are not good at something, they fail to see their personal flaws and don’t bother to work on self-improvement. The more incompetent they are, the greater their confidence.

For example, Trump is supremely confident that the solution for defeating ISIS is to steal oil from Middle Eastern countries, both a militarily impractical solution and a violation of international law. Not understanding cyber warfare, he makes a reference to “400-pound” hackers sitting on their beds. Trump thinks he can create stability in Asia by getting China to invade North Korea although both countries have nuclear weapons and China is a sponsor of North Korea. The man with no experience in politics or public policy accuses the former secretary of state as lacking “basic ability” compared to him.

People question why Clinton is only a few points ahead of Trump despite her superiority in knowledge and ability. The GOP, who now has no idea what to do with the monster they created, led its constituency into a state of racial resentment and bigotry in order to move the country’s assets to the wealthy. This audience is ripe for Trump support after watching the bullying star of a “reality” TV show for fourteen years and another year of almost all the media—not just the Fox network—promote him in a competition for ratings. At the same time, the media, both cable and mainstream, has spent 30 years constantly accusing Clinton of being “untruthful” and “untrustworthy.” Finally facing veracity, the media is helpless to change the situation that they created.

Think of “an egomaniac who ‘only loved himself’ — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization…”  A man with “bottomless mendacity” who magnifies himself with “a slick propaganda machine”—a “big mouth” who rose to power, embraced by millions for his “doctrine of hatred.” A man who promises to lead the country “’to a new era of national greatness,’ though he was typically vague about his actual plans.” A man whose “ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity” and those who found him an “evening entertainment.” Conservatives believed that they could “fence” him in.

These quotes are from a book review by Michiko Kakutani about Volker Ullrich’s new biography, Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939. The parallels between Donald Trump and the man who almost ruled the world are frightening.  

Hitler, who played on the people’s bitterness and resentments, was described as “so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth.” Editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.” Aaron Blake writes about “Trump’s tendency to make up facts, spew utter distortions and rely on innuendo.” Hitler claimed to be the visionary leader who could restore law and order just as Trump does, perhaps getting his lines from reading Hitler’s speeches. Hitler gained power from the uncompromising government dysfunction by giving his supporters the belief that they needed “a man of iron” to shake up the country. That’s what TS think that Trump will bring them.

The country has survived presidents who were hot-headed (Lyndon Johnson), dishonest (Richard Nixon), unprepared (Ronald Reagan), and overwhelmed (George W. Bush). But the U.S. has not faced a fascist who appeals to anti-immigrant sentiment, creates anger with the political and economic establishment which includes an attack on NAFTA, and expresses extreme intolerance toward non-Christian people. That’s what Patrick Buchanan did in the 1992 campaign when conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote that this mix of “nativism, authoritarianism, ethnic and class resentment” follows the classic mold of fascism.

Throughout history, fascism has started with lack of economic opportunity giving the wealthy almost the entire pie. As promoters of two political sides separate into their corners, the center vacuum leaves a space. The “center” fills with people who maintain superiority to everyone except the “right kind of people”—in the U.S., that means people born here who manage to have large salaries. The “superior” people dehumanize everyone else by calling them animals, thugs, and terrorists. If indiscriminate murderers are white, they are “mentally damaged.” All others are sub-humans.

A large middle class during the 1950s, more educated and financially well-off, disappeared when stagnating incomes throughout GOP leadership decreased advantages of savings, education, and healthcare. “Trickle-down economics” and deregulating Wall Street moved more wealth to the top. The two Bill Clinton terms during the 1990s started a reversal, but the appointment of George W. Bush to the presidency created a hit to the economy from lower taxes, trillions of dollars in war expenditures, and the severe recession from deregulation of borrowing.

People who support Trump come up with many excuses for casting their votes for Trump, but they could not support him if they didn’t believe that he is right in all his lying, fraudulent, racist, sexist, authoritarian, anti-constitution, nativist, incompetent, ill-prepared approaches toward ruling.

September 15, 2016

Trump Loses with Blacks, Women

Donald Trump’s appearance at a black church in Flint (MI) yesterday drew a great deal of attention—but what’s new about that! The series of events:

  • After Trump gave Flint’s mayor Karen Weaver only one day notice that he planned to tour the closed water treatment plant because of the lead, she said it was not a good time because the city was still trying to deal with the problems. She was also out of town trying to get help from Congress after the total disaster that Michigan’s businessman turned governor had caused.
  • Trump went anyway, giving his usual “Hillary hate” trash talk in a black church.
  • The pastor of the church, Rev. Faith Green-Timmons, gently stopped him by saying, “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done for Flint, not to give a political speech,”
  • Trump said, “Oh, oh, OK, OK, OK. That’s good. Then I’m going to go back onto Flint, OK.” The pastor also stopped the heckling from his audience who were bringing up specific examples of Trump’s racial discrimination in housing and employment. Green-Timmons said that Trump “is a guest in my church and you will respect him.”

trump-timmons

A video shows Green-Timmons’ graciousness and Trump’s obsequiousness. Yet Trump lied about the event on Fox and Friends this morning, describing Timmons as being a “nervous mess” and the audience as shouting “Let him speak, let him speak.” He also claimed that Timmons had planned to ambush him.

Yesterday the Senate voted 94-3 to end debate on a bill that includes $220 million in emergency assistance for communities such as Flint as well as $4.9 billion over five years to repair systems related to drinking water. They also voted 85-12 to waive a budget rule complicating the Flint funding that would take money from the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.

The problem now is the House. It has been suggested that Trump would better spend his time by calling his “friend” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to ask for this bill to be passed in that chamber. At this time, the House waterways bill doesn’t have Flint funding.

Former Michigan epidemiologist Corinne Miller has pled guilty to not reporting to the public dozens of Legionnaires’ disease at the same time that Flint changed its water source, also the cause of the high lead content in the drinking water. The water may have caused at least 91 Legionnaires’ cases, including 12 deaths. The plea deal of no contest on Wednesday to a misdemeanor of willful neglect of duty led to dismissal of felony misconduct and conspiracy charges. Eight people have been charged in the water crisis.

The day before his appearance in Flint, Trump opened up another can of worms showing his sexism. With the help of his daughter Ivanka, the GOP presidential candidate tried to woo women voters with vague promises of “maternity leave” and funding for child care. After people recovered that surprise that a Republican would endorse this action, they learned that his suggestions are not as generous as he promised. His programs favor the rich and target “well-off white women,” according to journalist Joan Walsh.

Trump introduced his program by saying in a high-pitched tone that his daughter told him, “Daddy, Daddy, we have to do this.” Ivanka Trump is under the impression that child care is a brand new idea in the United States, indicating that she hasn’t done her homework. Universal child care existed in the nation from 1943 to 1946 but disappeared until Congress passed a bill in 1971 that GOP President Richard Nixon vetoed.

A 1990 law to help subsidize child care failed during the early 21st century when GOP George W. Bush reduced its funding. Even if Republicans are willing to support child care—unlikely because they think that this increases the “nanny state”—they are always unwilling to pay for it. Parental leave has also been an issue for over two decades—always quashed by the GOP.

In Trump’s plan, “maternity leave”(not parental leave) is only for six weeks, only for women, and only through already cash-strapped unemployment insurance, thereby helping women only in the states where legislatures opt in and providing much less than most women’s salaries. Trump’s plan also requires women to quit their jobs for the “maternity leave” because of unemployment insurance guidelines.

Although Trump uses the term “tax credit” when discussing his policy, the policy on his website indicates that it is a “tax deduction,” a far different proposal. Credit means that people will get the full amount back. Salaries of the working poor are so low that they don’t itemize deductions, leaving them with nothing whereas the wealthy can deduct expensive nannies and private day-care facilities and get 15 to 30 percent return. Trump’s plan would also give stay-at-home mothers credits even if they didn’t need child care to have jobs.

An irony of Trump’s speech is that his business provides neither maternity nor child care. Although Trump and his daughter claimed that he did provide the latter, it was only for wealthy Trump hotel guests. The claim that Hillary Clinton has never had either a “maternity leave” or child care policy and “never will” is also a lie. The only maternity leave provided for Trump employees is the federally-mandated 12-week unpaid leave. Yesterday in a discussion on public radio, Trump’s economic advisor Steven Moore stated that people shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford them.

In the past, Trump has found pregnant women and mothers of newborns “an inconvenience” and more. He said that pregnancy is “an inconvenience for business” because employers get only 84% of their working moms’ brains, according to Trump. He added that women “should” feel like they will be replaced if they do not return to work quickly even if they will not necessarily be replaced. Trump also called an attorney “disgusting” when she needed a break from a deposition to pump breast milk and that working women are bad for marriages. Confronted by Trump’s statements about women in an interview with Cosmopolitan, Ivanka Trump complained about “a lot of negativity in these questions” and cut the interview short.

In contrast to Trump’s proposals, Clinton’s plan provides a paid 12-week “family leave” for fathers and family members caring for a sick relative. The costs would be covered by higher taxes on the wealthy—such as Donald Trump and his family members. Other Clinton suggestions include a wide variety of child-care and preschool programs with costs capped for the middle class at ten percent of their salaries.

No plan can be carried out without congressional legislation. Yet Trump’s plan is regressive and sexist, perhaps because his look on life is regressive and sexist. This is his perspective on men rearing their children:

“I won’t do anything to take care of [my children]. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park.”

The term “maternity leave” not only goes beyond outmoded language, but also its limits to females hold back women, lowering their wages and reducing their hiring. These policies also discriminate against men in gay couples, other men who want to take an active part in rearing newborns, and adoptive individuals and couples.

Basically, Trump is losing white college-educated women who have voted Republican, and he wants them back.

Even with the undesirability of Trump’s plan, Republicans are criticizing Trump’s plan as “an enormous new entitlement that will blow the debt,” as conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote. He further complained about “the government stepping in and telling private industry what to do.”

Be careful of all those headlines and lead paragraphs that Trump has finally admitted that Barack Obama was born in the United States. He still refuses to say those words although his campaign leaders and surrogates are swearing that this is what he believes. Asked if his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is right when she says he has reversed his almost decade-long position that the president was born outside the U.S., Trump said, “It’s okay. She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on other things.” Before that, Trump had said, “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.”

Trump still hasn’t said that he believes President Obama meets the constitutional requirements to hold the office where he has been for almost two terms. I’m still waiting for Trump to answer the question.

[Update: Trump finally actually said the words! Late yesterday, he said, “President Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.” Trump is still falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton started the birther rumor that he pushed for the past eight years.]

September 3, 2016

Media Paints False Picture of Clinton

Hillary Clinton has been the subject of a huge right-wing conspiracy for a quarter century, but it’s her fault. That’s the conclusion of the conservative Washington Post. It’s all because she is secretive, and WaPo claims it started with Clinton’s failed Arkansas real estate investment. Aides blamed President Bill Clinton’s refusal to be transparent about Whitewater on Hillary. Then came a series of other “gates” as the GOP tried to destroy both Hillary and Bill Clinton. Since then, billions of dollars have been spent in the Clinton conspiracy/scandal theories.

Over 40 anti-Hillary books are available just on amazon.com, including three of the top ten best sellers on the NYT hardcover nonfiction list. Passionate opposition to Clinton finds ulterior motives in every Clinton action. No one has any facts to hate her, but hate her many people do. They just have that “feeling” that she’s untrustworthy.

The myth of Clinton’s low likability ratings comes from both sides of the media that constantly ask why she is not likability. Her favorable rating is actually 41 percent—not as good as President Obama’s current 52 percent but far better than Trump’s 34 percent, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 33 percent, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) 16 percent, and the GOP’s overall 34 percent. Yet no asks about the lack of GOP leaders’ favorability.

The media is so anti-Clinton that it refuses to point out that she had a 69-percent favorability when she left her job as Secretary of State, making her the most popular in this position, and topped Gallup’s list of America’s “Most Admired Woman” for the last 14 years in a row and 20 times total. As Sady Doyle pointed out at Quartz, women who “lean in” are described as “aggressive,” “pushy,” and “bitchy.” Women aren’t supposed to ask for promotions. People associate positive leadership attributes with male characteristics and punish women who aim for a male-dominated position—because it makes them unlikable, a characteristic important for women but not men.

Associated Press, long considered conservative, went so far over the edge in partisanship that even other journalists howled in anger. The press agency released a story claiming that “half of the people Hillary Clinton met with as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation donors.” It covered only 154 meetings in two years amidst thousands of Clinton meetings, however, and skipped every meeting with a “government official.” The meetings also resulted in no problematic favors. Most of the stories about the Clinton Foundation eliminate the fact that the Clinton Foundation helps provide medication for more than half of all adults and 75 percent of children impacted by HIV/AIDS worldwide. Yet the GOP is using the AP article as an excuse to investigate Clinton.

Extensive investigations found no proof that there was anything criminal in her emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation—the only foci of incessant lambasting. Media concentrating on the foundation have produced lists of people who both donated to the foundation and were able to see Clinton but no favors that were given any of these people.

RNC chair Reince Priebus asserts that he “knows” that Clinton gave away international secrets in her emails, and people believe him despite his total lack of any proof after multiple investigations. The only reason that the FBI claimed Clinton’s server was “probably” hacked is that servers are usually hacked—a situation occurring with many government servers including the one at the State Department.

The media and GOP treat Clinton in a very special way, for example demanding emails only from her and no one else. Dana Perino, who ranted about Hillary Clinton’s emails, was White House press secretary defending over five million lost emails from the George W.Bush administration in 2007 during a time of multiple scandals include deliberately compromised classified information.

hillary-clinton-laughingOne huge disappointment for Republicans is the FBI release of the interview notes with Clinton about her emails. The report showed that she didn’t delete emails, she didn’t tell her staff to delete emails, and she trusted her legal team to do what the FBI wanted–in short, she told the truth about the emails. It’s unlikely, however, that the media will report this information without twisting it into something negative about Clinton.

Although non-profit organizations are not required to release donors, the Clinton Foundation started making this information public eight years ago when Hillary Clinton ran for president the first time. The George W. Bush Foundation raised $361.8 million between 2010 and 2013  but has no disclosure for donors. The foundation for George H.W. Bush makes less money but still doesn’t release its donors. It was also taking in money during H.W. Bush’s administration, and W. Bush’s foundation was operating while brother Jeb was running for president.

If Republicans were able to find anything wrong with what Clinton had done, they wouldn’t come up with manufactured falsehoods about Clinton’s health or her supposed involvement in the 1993 tragic death of a close friend, Vincent Foster. Each time that one conspiracy fails, the GOP creates another one.

The GOP history of scandal—Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal, hostile Senate hearings of Supreme Court nominees Robert H. Bork and Clarence Thomas, etc.—led to more and more resentment from the right, that continued to rapidly move farther right. Then Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) forced out House Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX) on ethics charges in 1990. The House sank deeper into the morass of corruption as Dennis Hastert, now revealed as a serial child abuser, became Speaker in 1999 because of Rep. Robert L. Livingston’s (R-LA) extramarital affairs following the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

A conservative organization founded in 1994, Judicial Watch, is one of the most dogged groups to smear the Clintons. Now it has company from Julian Assange at WikiLeaks who is determined to destroy Clinton. Started as a way to make politics more transparent, Assange is using information from Russian hackers to influence the U.S. election as well as endangering people’s lives through providing health and sexual orientation information.

In trying to destroy Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” and “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” He projects his own corrupt nature onto her but fails to produce any proof of wrong-doing on Clinton’s part. Yet the repetition of these phrases cements them into the susceptible brains of those who desperately want to believe anything negative about Clinton. She also gets blamed for her husband’s actions.

The conspiracy theories were exacerbated by the GOP’s inability to take down President Bill Clinton; the pressure increased after he won a second term and accelerated when Hillary Clinton went into politics herself. When the Clintons accused right-wing organizations of spreading unverified stories that eventually turned up on the mainstream media, conservatives called them paranoid. In a backlash to the conspiracy theory, David Brock started Media Matters in 2004. Although conservatives had far more resources, other media such as Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo were started. And now WaPo agrees that there has been a long-term record of conspiracies against the Clintons.

Imagine a media world that ignores all these conspiracy theories in the same way that the mainstream media skips over the lawsuits against Trump for rape, corruption, racism, etc. Imagine, too, if the media published positive information about Clinton’s accomplishments during the past half century. While the media glows about Trump’s wonderful children—who were reared by their mothers and nannies—it ignores Hillary Clinton’s success as a mother and daughter. While tearing Clinton down, the media rarely points out that she tells the truth almost all the time while Trump lies almost all the time.

More special treatment for Clinton: Trump gets millions of dollars for speaking, but people complain only about Hillary Clinton’s speeches although she donates most of the money to others. Corporations and wealthy people give billions of dollars to politicians to buy their positions, but people complain about the Clinton Foundation that doesn’t financially benefit Hillary Clinton. The NRA buys legislators to prevent universal background checks despite overwhelming support for this program by gun owners and others, but only Hillary Clinton is described as corrupt despite no evidence of inappropriate favors. Trump has financial interests throughout the world and refuses to provide an information about them while he plans to continue these if he’s elected, but Hillary Clinton must divest herself from the Clinton Foundation. Trump refuses to release his tax returns while Hillary has published three decades of personal tax returns and made those for the Clinton Foundation public, but people maintain that Clinton is hiding something.

Trump convinced the GOP to remove any sanctions against Russia for taking Crimea as a favor to his Russian friends. Yet people claim that Trump is honest, and Clinton is cheating. There’s something wrong with this picture that the media paints.

September 2, 2016

Donald Trump’s Speech: ‘Make America White Again’

A trip to Mexico to meeting with president Enrique Peña Nieto followed by a bombastic anti-immigrant speech in Arizona sent Donald Trump’s mood soaring and conservative Hispanics fleeing. Trump’s advisors told him he had to take a hard line in order to keep his early followers, and Trump was also furious when Peña Nieto contradicted the candidate’s line by saying that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall. Hours after meeting with Trump, Peña Nieto Mexico’s president defended himself against criticism by saying that Trump’s “policy stances could represent a huge threat to Mexico.”

Although fact-checking Trump’s statements is a fool’s errand, I can’t resist:

Illegal immigration is about 11.4 million—not 30 million as Trump declares—based on U.S. census, and Politifact has ruled his statement as Pants on Fire. Trump falsely conflates statistics on rates of taxes, crime, terrorism, unemployment, etc. More people left than came in between 2009 and 2014, a net loss of 140,000 immigrants

Bernie Sanders—not President Obama or Hillary Clinton—said that climate change is the biggest threat to U.S. security. The president has said that fighting terrorism and keeping U.S. safe—and defeating ISIL—is the top priority.

Immigrants commit violent crime at a lower rate than those born in the United States. The Obama Administration already prioritizes the deportation of undocumented criminals. Refugees already undergo the most rigorous (extreme?) vetting process of any category of immigrants entering the United States.

Trump has praised the president in the past for an unprecedented number of deported immigrants—totally different from an “open” border.

President Obama also increased Border Patrol staffing to an all-time high of 21,444 agents in 2011, and his administration has ended the practice of “voluntary returns,” or turning back Mexicans without any consequences used by earlier presidents, including Republicans. Many of the releases have been ordered by the courts, for example when a federal judge ruled that detention of children and their mothers violated a 1997 Court settlement.

Undocumented workers in the U.S. live under the risk of removal and don’t receive most government benefits. They aren’t treated better than veterans who have all government rights.

No politician has recommended amnesty for undocumented immigrants; the Senate bill of 2013, including former GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), included many requirements on a 13-year path to citizenship including paying penalties. It also requested tens of millions of dollars to double the number of border patrol agents and greatly increase border security. According to the CBO, the bill would boost economic output and increase the GDP.

Trump’s promise to “complete the biometric entry-exit visa tracking system” doesn’t take into consideration its huge technical and financial problems. Of the 45 million people admitted annually—Trump’s wife possibly one of them—only one percent overstay their visas.

In the past, Trump campaigned by calling NAFTA a “disaster”; now he wants to “update” and “improve” the trade agreement.

The National Border Patrol Council did endorse Trump, but many of the members disagreed with the union leaders’ decision.  But it hasn’t been without controversy. The L.A. Times noted that “the rank-and-file seem as polarized about Trump as the rest of the nation, with some going so far as to challenge their union leaders’ decision.”

President Obama’s 2012 temporary deportation reprieve to children brought illegally to the U.S. made 600,000 young people eligible for work permits. His expansion to more immigrants is on hold after a 4-4 decision in the Supreme Court.

And the other generic lies: No, Mr. Trump, Hillary Clinton has not “evaded justice.” She DOES “have the strength or stamina” to lead the country.”The military is not “depleted.” Trump’s new campaign hires—Robert Mercer’s people—and his super PACs negate his claim that “nobody owns Trump.” Plus the wild claims such as getting the Middle Eastern countries paying to resettle refugees in their area because settling 100,000 refugees in the U.S. cost as many trillions of dollars a the national debt. 

Trump Watch: Quote of the week comes from a question by guest host Joy Reid on last night’s All In with Chris Hayes: “My culture is a very dominant culture. And it’s imposing and its causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner!”—Marco Gutierrez, Mexican-born Trump surrogate. The humor about “taco trucks on every corner.” The commentary from Washington Post is perhaps the best.

jacksonThe most bizarre event of the week, a very hard choice, is a leaked eight-page script of Trump’s attempt to win over blacks. Ridiculed by not going into black communities, Trump said he was attending a Detroit church and sitting in the congregation. Then he was going to make a video closed to the public and the press. The New York Times got the information about this “infomercial” with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson (right) of Great Faith Ministries International with not only the 12 questions to be asked but also the exactly-worded responses that Trump is supposed to use to woo a population that has now increased to a two-percent or less support. Campaign aides would also be editing the video. After the embarrassment of the NYT article, Trump said he would be speaking to the congregation, but then Jackson he wouldn’t be speaking. Plans may again change again.

Only one of this year’s four presidential candidates has a foundation that was fined for breaking the law, as Trump would say “pay for play.” The IRS fined Donald Trump $2,500 for donating $25,000 to the re-election campaign of Florida AG Pam Bondi from the Trump Foundation while her office was considering a case against Trump University. After the donation, Bondi dropped the case. The “charitable” Trump Foundation violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to Bondi’s campaign that they concealed by falsely listing in the 2013 tax filings as donated to a Kansas charity with a name similar to Bondi’s political group.

The moderators of four presidential debates have been announced—Lester Holt (September 26), Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz (October 9), and Chris Wallace (October 19). Four years ago, The Guardian described Radditz as calm, articulate and relentless after she moderated the vice-presidential debate. That may have been the reason that conservatives were so critical of her. One of her strengths is asking for specifics–something that Trump will hate. The vice-presidential debate on October 4 will be moderated by Elaine Quijano.

Trump’s campaign has a new hire, Deputy Campaign Manager David Bossie—confidant of manager Kellyanne Conway, CEO Stephen Bannon, and heavy funder Robert Mercer and family. In a move closer—if possible—to the conservative community, Bossie is king of Clinton conspiracy theories, with a sole goal of tearing down Hillary Clinton. His vicious attacks began over 25 years go in an attempt to keep Bill Clinton from being a presidential candidate.

By 1998, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich forced Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), chair of the chamber’s inquiry into Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign finance practices, to oust Bossie, then an aide, because of Bossie’s unethical actions. He created the organization Citizens United Not Timid (note the acronym) that led the Supreme Court to create almost unlimited donations for campaigns through super PACs. Trump, who claims to hate these PACs, has now hired the person to make them possible. As Hrafnkell Haraldsson wrote, “New Trump Hire Proves Hillary Clinton’s Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Is Real.” This piece by Rachel Maddow is an excellent overview of Bossie.

Bossie and Bannon, along with polite Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, are members of the ultra-conservative Council for National Policy (CNP). It is so secretive that people are told not to admit their membership, name the group, or tell anyone when or where the group meets. People pay thousands of dollars to join the CNP only by invitation. As of 2014, Conway was on the executive committee, and Bannon was a general member. Other members include white supremacist leaders, birthers, and conspiracy “new” operation leaders.

New hires for Trump’s campaign may want to worry about getting paid. In the past, Trump has not paid many of his employees, and recent campaign workers, including campaign manager Paul Manafort, have not been paid months after they left. Trump’s super PAC does a better job of paying people: the firm that new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, owns was paid over $700,000 last year.

Friction is also building between the Trump and the RNC although chair Reince Priebus denies it. The discussion on this Sunday’s talk show may be lively. And beware the taco truck epidemic.

August 27, 2016

Trump: ‘Make American Hate Again’

 

The two presidential candidates dueled this past week about bigotry and hatred. Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton, and Clinton gave a speech composed greatly out of quotes from Donald Trump, his campaign leader, and his surrogates. Instead of lambasting the entire GOP, Clinton isolated him from the establishment party members by graphically describing his strong white-supremacist connections. With Breitbart’s former leader, Steve Bannon, moving over to be Trump’s new campaign CEO, the field of Trump’s offensive comments has vastly expanded—for example, Breitbart’s headline, “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”

Other issues that Clinton brought up are Trump’s praise of Alex Jones who claimed that “the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there.” She evoked Trump’s long-term birtherism when he refused to accept that President Obama’s long form of his birth certificate was authentic. There was also the attack on a judge, calling him a “Mexican” when he was born in Illinois, and his connection between Ted Cruz’s father and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Clinton gave House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) a pass when she distanced him from Trump, and she cited anti-racist behavior of past Republicans, for example when George W. Bush went to a mosque the week after 9/11 and said that “[Muslims] love America just as much as I do.” She could have attacked other Republicans, for example Ronald Reagan’s comment about “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. By making Trump a freaky aberration, however, she makes it easier for Republicans to reject him.

No media outlet even did a fact check on Clinton’s speech except for Breitbart.com, and their defense was filled with lies—for example, their belief that Trump wasn’t racist before his candidacy despite his history of keeping blacks out of his housing development in the 1970s. Everything she said in her speech was true because they were quotes and bringing together all this outrageousness required great skill. Trump’s response thus far is that it was the same old weak technique of Democrats. He also said that he’s never heard of “alt-right,” the white supremacists merged with his campaign. “We’re bringing love,” he said.

Conservative critics said that she shouldn’t have brought the white supremacists into the open, that it was better to leave them alone. Media and internet studies scholar Whitney Phillips wrote, “Sometimes silence isn’t enough, and in fact isn’t appropriate.” People who cross the ethical line continue to go farther and farther without messages that their oppressive aggression and bigotry cannot be tolerated.

After the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, Republicans—formerly Southern Democrats—developed the “Southern Strategy” to encourage racial resentments and anxieties as a method of gathering votes. Trump’s strategy puts this movement on steroids as he energizes white nationalists and supremacists and allowed them back into the mainstream of the conservative political party. Normalizing their behavior has resulted in the “Trump effect” that increases open bullying in schools, violence toward marginalized populations, and threatening the safety of everyone who opposes white supremacy.

The thundering response from GOP leaders to Clinton’s speech was silence. Asked about the lack of response, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said that “Congress is in recess.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and RNC Chair Reince Priebus all have at least one Twitter account, but nothing posted on any of these about Clinton’s speech or on the GOP.com website and blog.

GOP pundits are not as quiet about Trump. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for George W. Bush, wrote:

 “Trump has hired and elevated some of the very worst people in American politics, known for their cruelty, radicalism, prejudice and corruption. In Trump’s view, leaders elevate themselves by belittling others. They yell and abuse and bully. And their most important quality is absolute loyalty to the great leader, the star of the show. … Trump, more than most, needs to surround himself with people who compensate for his alarming weaknesses. Instead, his choices demonstrate and amplify those weaknesses, becoming one more reason to utterly reject his leadership.”

Trump recently appointed Steven Bannon, former head of extreme right Breitbart.com, for the new campaign CEO. The media found serious problems with Bannon:

  • He was charged for an appalling act of domestic violence against his then-wife in 1996. The case was dismissed after she left town because Bannon threatened her if she stayed.
  • He may be guilty of voter fraud, a problem that the GOP and Trump attribute to minorities. Bannon is registered to vote in swing state Florida at an empty house emptied for demolition. Willfully submitting false information on a Florida voter registration is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. From the 1980s until 2014, Bannon was registered to vote in California from the 1980s until 2014 when he cancelled that registration and then registered in Miami. Residency in Florida is attractive because the state has no income tax. As recently as last week, Bannon was reportedly a resident of Laguna Beach Orange County, CA) where he owns a house although he hosted a talkshow live seven mornings a week from Washington, D.C. or New York City.
  • He may have exchanged money for favorable articles on Breitbart.com. The $2.4 million townhouse in Washington, D.C. that he describes as “his” is actually owned by Egyptian businessman, Mostafa E.-Gindy. Bannon refuses to disclose the financial ties between Gindy and Breitbart.
  • He refused to send his daughters to a private school because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.” In a 2007 court filing, Bannon’s ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard reported that Bannon “said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiney brats.'”

Also on Trump’s payroll is Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s daughter, Lauren. LePage is well-known for his extreme racist statements, but a recent expletive-filled voicemail threatened a state legislator. Earlier this week, he said that he keeps a binder of mugshots for all drug dealers arrested in Maine. He claims that 90 percent of them are black or Hispanic; Maine is 95 percent white. He then declared that people of color in Maine are “the enemy.” About LePage, conservative RedState wrote:

“Donald Trump collects idiots the way Velcro collects lint. That is who he hires…. He has attracted racists and bigots to his campaign in a way I would never have thought possible. He encourages them. He validates them. He inspires them.”

With Trump sinking in the polls, Republicans in Western states fear that he will sink the GOP in their region of increasing numbers of Hispanic, Asian, and younger voters. Trump is also unpopular with educated white professionals who have resettled in Denver, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. Once the deep blue state of California was staunchly red; the same thing can happen in Colorado and Nevada. Trump is rapidly losing “friends” among Republicans. Sean D. Reyes, Utah’s attorney general, called Trump’s campaign to register discontent after Trump referred to people from the Philippines as “animals.” Reyes is part Filipino.

Arizona may have the biggest problem as Clinton has almost tied Trump, and senior senator John McCain faces a difficult election this year. Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, whose sister is a close friend of Trump’s new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, is donating big money to defeat McCain. The incumbent will probably defeat his extremist right-wing opponent, Kelli Ward, in Tuesday’s primary, but Democratic Ann Fitzpatrick will give him a strong run in the general election. Although Arizona still has more Republicans than Democrats, the latter are registering people at a faster rate. Junior Sen. Jeff Flake, also a Republican, gave this advice: “Distance yourself from Donald Trump.” Even Alaska may not stay red for long: people of color will be 40 percent of voters by 2032.

Yesterday, Trump’s Arizona director said that the candidate had canceled an event this next week in downtown Phoenix, but two hours later, Trump tweeted that the event was on—and would be really big. Earlier this week Trump canceled a Las Vegas rally and called off other scheduled events, including in Colorado.

If John McCain wants to get the vote of people of color, he might want to quit lamenting that “one of the sad things in American politics today is that you can’t tell any ethnic jokes except Irish jokes.” Or at least keep his disappointment about not ridiculing people of color to himself.

August 22, 2016

Trump’s Travails

Weston-Imer-Trump-Cweston imerMuch has been said about the problems of Trump’s ground game, but nothing describes it like the director of his campaign office in Jefferson County, part of Denver metro and one of the most populous counties in Colorado at over one-half million people. Trump says that he hires only the best people, and Weston Imer (right) may be one of those—but he’s only twelve years old. His mother, the county’s official campaign coordinator, thinks that the experience will build her son’s character. Fox polls, which tend to favor conservatives, reports that Trump trails Clinton by ten points in the state. Imer plans to run for president in 2040 with Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron.

Even Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, had to laugh at Trump’s declaration that he would have the support of 95 percent of black voters in four years. At this time, the highly conservative poll from Fox gives Trump one percent of black voter support.

Data scientist David Robinson has discovered the reason that some of Trump’s tweets are rabid and others are almost benign. Using visual effects artist Todd Vaziri’s idea that campaign staff also use Trump’s Twitter account, Robinson performed a quantitative analysis to test Vaziri’s theory—and found that he is right. Trump’s Android tweets are the angry, negative outpourings, and the campaign’s iPhone  messages from four different people lack the menacing tone of Trump’s own statements and are 38 times more likely to include an image or link. Trump himself tends to ignore the “retweet” and instead copies and pastes tweets that he then puts into quotation marks.

Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned two days after the GOP candidate hired Steven Bannon as his campaign CEO last week. Manafort had “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012 in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.” Politico also reported Manafort’s links with Russia and its Ukrainian allies.In the 1990s Bannon, the king of conspiracies on Breitbart, failed to pay some of his taxes. With the news of Bannon’s hiring, former Klan leader David Duke agreed with Stormfront-friendly white supremacist Don Advo, who said that “We’ve taken over the Republican party.”

Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is working hard to soften the candidate’s image, but no one knows how long she’ll last. Last April she told CNN’s Don Lemon that it was unacceptable for Trump to not make his tax returns public. Now she’s pivoted: she asserted that now she is “on the inside” she believes that he shouldn’t make his returns public. Last spring she  said that Trump’s rhetoric was “unfortunate for children.” At the same time, she said that Trump “actually built a lot of his business on the backs of the little guy” and that Trump is known for “not paying contractors after [they have helped him] build something.” Now that doesn’t seem to be a problem for her.

Another advisor to Trump’s campaign may not last long after the publicizing of Joseph Schmitz’s anti-Semitic philosophy. Named as one of Trump’s five foreign policy advisers in March, Schmitz is accused of bragging that he pushed out Jewish employees while Defense Department Inspector General for George W. Bush. Schmitz also told Pentagon official John Crane that “the ovens were too small to kill six million Jews” during the Holocaust.  As a former board member for the private military outsourcing company Blackwater, Schmitz left the government after he obstructed an FBI investigation of John A. Shaw regarding contracting improprieties in Iraq.

Whirling dervish Trump succeeded in a pivot for three days after he calmly read from his teleprompter last Friday evening:

“Sometimes in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”

Trump didn’t specify what “may have caused personal pain”—a long, long list if he means what he said. He also said in his speech that “sometimes I can be too honest,” meaning that he hasn’t changed his position, just sorry that he’s going down in the polls. The bar is so low for Trump that he is highly praised for being able to poorly read off a teleprompter a speech someone else wrote.

In the speech,Trump also said, “I will never lie to you.” That was immediately before he lied when he said that Hillary Clinton “has proven to be one of the greatest liars of all time.” Clinton has been judged to lie less than any other presidential candidates for the last three terms while Trump has the highest record of lying—over 80 percent of the time.

One of Trump’s lies comes from his promises to give money to charities and then never following through with these promises. Whenever he fired a character on The Celebrity Apprentice, he said he would give money “out of my own wallet” to a charity of the person’s choice. Evidently he never did—not to Khloé Kardashian’s pick of the Brent Shapiro Foundation or the choices that Aubrey O’Day and comedian Lisa Lampanelli made.  Any money the selected charities received came from the TV production company that paid for the show’s prizes or a non-profit that Trump controls but receives its money from other donors.

Another Trump lie is how much he owes. The man who takes pride in being a superb business man owes almost $3 billion, unlike the statement the amount of debt he cited in his public filings. Trump has ranted against China as a U.S. economic enemy and Goldman Sachs as the controller of Hillary Clinton, but China and Goldman Sachs hold part of the $950 million on a a building that he partially owns. Trump holds over $650 million in debt, at least twice as much as he has admitted.

Trump went to flood-devastated Louisiana for a photo-op without clearing the visit with the governor. He said that he intended to help people “in need” but never explained how.

Washington Post’s Friday quote of the day: In an attempt to prove that Trump has always been a conservative, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) cited Trump’s 1989 newspaper ads advocating the death penalty for five men of color wrongly convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park:

 “He bought an ad 20 years ago in the New York Times calling for the death penalty. How many people in New York, that liberal bastion, were willing to do something like that?”

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski wrote:

“Trump spent more than $85,000 to publish controversial full-page newspaper ads … The five men who were sentenced for the rape were later exonerated, but only after they had served their full sentences. The men convicted were all black and Latino and in their mid-teens. Their wrongful conviction settlement, which ran into millions of dollars, was sharply criticized by Trump.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is blaming Trump for the GOP’s “death spiral.” As Graham said, “Nobody knows where the bottom is.”

Melania Trump is now on the hot seat for perjury. While testifying in court under oath that she graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. In fact, she only attended classes before become a model and coming to the U.S., possibly using illegal visas.

GOP candidate Donald Trump has been well-known for “changing his opinion” (i.e., saying whatever he thinks that his audience wants), but since the new campaign leadership, he has gone overboard in his shifts. During the past few days, he seemed to transition to being the “nice guy” who wants to protect blacks and even move toward leaving undocumented immigrants in the country after promising to throw all of them out. There was even an announcement that he would be giving an “immigration speech” in Colorado. Now, however, he has cancelled not only that speech but also appearances in Nevada and Oregon. A few hours ago, he said at a rally in Akron (OH) that he’ll build that wall on the Mexico border and that Mexico will pay for it. We’ll see what his campaign staff says about his declaration tomorrow.

Early voting for the 2016 general election starts in five weeks, and voting finishes in 77 days.

August 8, 2016

Stein, Trump – Bad for the Country

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 9:09 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Some grumpy supporters of Bernie Sanders keep saying that they’ll vote for Donald Trump and blow up the world or pick one of the two third-party candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Jill Stein. Stein supports much of Sanders’ positions, many of them also ones that Hillary Clinton espouses. But many of her claims, such as not taking corporate money, are bogus:

  • Stein’s top five contributors are corporations—AON,  Xoom Global Money Transfer, IBM, Thoughtworks, and UPS.
  • Stein and her husband, Richard Rohrer, are worth at least $3.9 million. Their stock holdings include at least $100,000 worth of Disney, $100,000 worth of Home Depot, and $50,000 worth of Merck.
  • Stein’s personal choice for vice-president is Ajamu Baraka who refers to Sanders as a “white supremacist” and labels Sanders supporters as naive shills.  americablog.com/…
  • Stein is collecting money to run against Elizabeth Warren in 2018, thereby giving the Massachusetts senate seat to the GOP by draining votes from Warren.
  • Stein’s political experience matches that of Trump—i.e., none. An ex-musician and medical professional, she has won one election—a town meeting representative in Lexington (MA)—with 539 votes.
  • Stein matches Trump in foreign policy positions as pro-Russian, follows his “simplistic” approach, and frequently changes her position as in being for Brexit and then against it.
  • Stein opposes mandatory vaccination policies and implied that vaccinations can cause disorders such as autism.
  • Stein claims that wireless signals are dangerous for children despite evidence that FM radio and television provides five times more of RF signals than base stations.
  • Stein’s job is running for office. For example, she raised about $1.3 million for her 2012 campaign, including $370,000 in public funding.
  • Stein has refused to release her tax returns for the past five years.
  • And more.

Sanders urges his followers to vote for Hillary Clinton, and some of his grumpy supporters have said that they will do anything that Sanders wants them to do—except vote for Clinton. If they implicitly believed him, why aren’t they trying to follow him now?

Trump Watch:  This morning, Donald Trump carefully read his plan for “America First” from a teleprompter in a flat, low-energy voice. He plans to drastically reduce taxes, emulating George W. Bush who started today’s deficit by reducing taxes for the wealthy and starting wars. Other goals are to spend billions and billions of dollars on the infrastructure, but he didn’t say where he’s find the money.

Trump promises a moratorium on any new regulations, like Mike Pence supposedly did as governor of Indiana. The purpose was to help the economy, but the state’s GDP growth was behind the national average in 2012, 2014, and 2015 while barely beating the average in 2013. Indiana ranks 38th in the nation for per capita income, and its unemployment rate is above the national average. Pence, unlike Trump and Clinton, supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump also promises unlimited deductions for child care which, like his other plans, provides far more help for the wealthiest because they can deduct their nannies. The poorest people, who need help with child care, don’t itemize their deductions. In his promise to bring all jobs back to the United States, Trump struck a cheery note missing at the Republican convention although he talked about how this nation doesn’t “win” anymore.

Trump’s common misrepresentation about Clinton is her support of NAFTA. First Lady when Bill Clinton signed the trade pact into law early in his presidency, Clinton was not in any position to stop the NAFTA trade pact. The law, passed by more Republicans than Democrats, was negotiated and signed by George H.W. Bush. Then House Speaker and current Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich supported NAFTA. And like Trump, Clinton wants to renegotiate NAFTA. Factchecker gave Trump Two Pinocchios for his lie. Trump also repeated his lie that Clinton would immediately change her rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Instead of presenting a concrete jobs plan, Trump repeated old lies about how Hillary Clinton killed 100,000 jobs. She failed to get half the jobs she promised because of the George W. Bush economy, but she didn’t “kill” the jobs. The jobs that Trump brags about providing were three decades ago because of his construction in New York, but many of these were for immigrants, some of them undocumented. He also caused bankruptcies in small companies after he failed to pay them for work on his construction projects until they sued to get part of what they were due.

Trump also uses the nation’s visa system to hire foreign workers at low wages, for example, at Florida’s Mar-A-Lago Club which Trump calls home. While the resort worked to get over 500 work visas for workers, it hired only 17 of 300 U.S. residents who applied for work there. “I’m a businessman,” Trump said about the hiring of people who he talks to political audiences about taking jobs of U.S. residents.

Trump repeated—several times—his declaration about “93 million out of the workforce” that Politifact ruled “false” a year ago. It includes everyone of retirement age—65 and older (37.8 million people)—and every teenager at least 16 years old—high schoolers (9.7 million) and college students (5.7 million). Trump’s figure also includes disabled people who cannot work, parents wishing to stay home to take care of children, and people living off investments. The number “out of the workforce” is closer to 21 million: 8.3 million officially unemployed, 6.4 million people who haven’t looked for work recently enough to qualify as being “in the labor force,” and another 6.5 million people working part-time would rather have a full-time job.

Trump consistently gets a “pants on fire” for his lie about Clinton raising taxes on the middle classes. The GOP put a caption saying she wanted to raise taxes under a video of Clinton stating “we aren’t going to raise taxes on the middle class.” Repealing the death tax always gets cheers, but it applies  to only those estates worth over $5.45 million; last year one in 500 estates—0.002 percent—were subject to this tax. Supporters talk about protecting the family farm, and Trump promises that he’ll protect “workers” from this tax. Yet that’s never been a problem for either of these categories. Once again, Trump is protecting his wealth in a speech delivered in poverty-ridden Detroit.

According to Moody’s Analytics, Trump’s economic plan would:

  • Cost the economy over three million jobs;
  • Raise the unemployment rate by 40 percent;
  • Cost $9.5 trillion during the next decade;
  • Increase the national debt by almost 80 percent in two decades;
  • Lead to a recession and global economic panic;
  • Keep child care out of reach for working families.

Trump brags about saving New York City by building expensive structures, but he also cheated the city out of almost $3 million in taxes in just 1986 through “failures in basic bookkeeping, the seemingly sudden adoption of irregular accounting methods, and efforts to stymie officials,” according to a CBS “Moneywatch.” Among missing items for the audit were monthly ledgers detailing over six months of income and expenses—supposedly lost because of a flood in New Jersey and missing in a Chicago office.

More fact-checking on the speech from NBC. Plus a funny analysis from the NY Daily News.

Summary of the GOP’s presidential speech today: Trump thinks Clinton lies, he wants to lower taxes for the wealthy, he plans to do away with all regulations, and he won’t explain how his plans work—like where the money comes from to give to the wealthy. Nothing new as Donald Trump tries mightily to appear presidential.

The second most popular senator in the United States, Susan Collins (R-ME), announced that she will not vote for Trump. She’s joined in this opinion by at least ten other members of Congress and two GOP governors. In addition, 50 top GOP national security officers, mostly from the George W. Bush administration, signed a letter opposing Trump, declaring that he would be “the most reckless president in American history.” In their fervor to keep Trump from being president,  however, most of them stop short of saying that they will vote for Hillary Clinton, leaving the blame on them if he is elected president.

[Note: Conservative host on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, repeated the myth of Clinton’s dishonesty on yesterday’s program and failed to talk about Trump’s constant lying and the increasing percentage of people who doubt his honesty. A new poll puts Clinton and Trump even on trustworthiness but finds her higher in being temperamentally fit and knowledgeable about the world. After Todd trashes Clinton, he ponders about why people think that Clinton is dishonest. Let’s see: Todd says a large number of people think that she is dishonest, he has conservative guests who repeat what he says, and then he’s confused about the reason for this perception.]

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