Nel's New Day

October 7, 2017

DDT: Week Thirty-seven – Raking Up Big Numbers

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) can now take credit for the deadliest massacre in modern U.S. history—59 59 dead and at least 527 people in Las Vegas this week. These are the “secret” White House talking points in an effort to stop any talk about common sense gun laws, as indicated in a leak: pray and monitor; wait for any “political debate” until facts are known; protect the people through the Second Amendment; can’t stop a “mad man” with “new laws” because “they will curtail the freedoms of law-abiding citizens; don’t need guns for terrorist attacks; allow people to protect themselves with concealed carry; and don’t “rush toward compromising our freedoms before we have all the facts.” In other words, legislative business as usual—tax cuts!

Another leak this week that hit the comedy routines was DDT’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling DDT a “moron” in a Pentagon meeting last July. Tillerson was forced  to call DDT “smart” in a press conference, but he didn’t deny that he used that term for DDT. The comment was made after DDT’s appearance at the Boy Scouts Jamboree; Tillerson was its leader from 2010 to 2012.

Tillerson has also been frustrated because DDT’s publicly undermines him, for example, the dispute when Middle Eastern countries blockaded Qatar, sanctions on Venezuela, aid to Israel, and, most recently, DDT’s tweet that Tillerson should not negotiate with North Korea. The day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reached out to North Korea for talks, DDT tweeted that he was “wasting his time” and “we’ll do what has to be done!”  Just 37 percent trust Trump to responsibly handle the North Korea standoff.

In opposition to Tillerson, DDT indicated that he will back out of the Iranian agreement, leaving them free to develop nuclear weapons. The Nobel Committee cited this as one reason to award its Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for its efforts in advancing negotiations leading to the first treaty to prohibit nuclear arms. The world’s nine nuclear-armed powers and their allies—including the United States—boycotted the negotiations, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis threatened Sweden with retribution if the country supported the treaty. Fifty-three UN member states signed the treaty, and three of them have formally ratified it since the process started on September 20.

Tillerson has formed a “pact” with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of Treasury that all three will resign if DDT fires one of them.

DDT did get to Puerto Rico almost two weeks after Maria was the second hurricane to hit the island, stayed in populated areas, and left an hour early. [Right: DDT shows a different kind of “compassion” to hurricane victims.]

While there, DDT:

  • Refused to mention or communicate with the mayor of San Juan;
  • Complained about the cost of the two hurricanes’ damage while saying how happy he is to spend “hundreds of millions” on the F-35, a plane has never flown a mission and “you can’t see” (according to DDT);
  • Said that Puerto Rico was not a “real catastrophe like Katrina;
  • Ignored the devastation on the island;
  • Threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd of survivors in a church, perhaps appearing to “distribute” supplies;
  • Praised the place for its beautiful weather;
  • Told hurricane victims to “have a good time”;
  • Said he was doing an “A+” job.

DDT has not yet submitted a request for aid to Puerto Rico. As he bragged about the wonderful response to the disaster, over half the people have no clean drinking water, and 95 percent of them have no electricity. DDT handed out flashlights but said that the people didn’t need them. Only one of the island’s 69 hospitals is fully operational, 59 of the 69 hospitals are operating on generators. Local officials talked about the lack of assistance. The mayor in a city of 54,000 said that they had received 10,000 meals, and one woman in the city said she had seen no supplies except for a case of water after 11 days. DDT waited ten days to waive the requirement that food stamps be used only in grocery stores despite the inability of these facilities to process the stamps.

After he returned from Puerto Rico, DDT said that he might wipe out the territory’s $72 billion debt, mostly held in huge hedge funds, but his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said, “We’re absolutely not going to bail them out.” As the U.S. seems incapable of helping Puerto Rico, Germany is donating 15 microgrids around the island for power emergency centers that combine solar panels and batteries.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley voted no for a resolution calling on countries to not use the death penalty for discrimination in cases of consensual adultery and same-gender relations. Twenty-seven countries supported the resolution while the U.S. was one of 13 countries, primarily those in the Middle East and Asia, that opposed it. Seven countries abstained. Former UN Ambassador Susan Rice tweeted about the vote, “Not even Russia and Iran stooped as low as we did.” The U.S. does use the death penalty as discrimination against minorities, women, and poor people.

The congressional conclusion that Russian attempted to hack into U.S. voting machines and influenced U.S. voters through social media has been followed by DDT’s request that the Senate Intelligence Committee investigate the U.S. press. DDT’s constant attacks on the media as “fake news” has a benefit for the media. The 48 percent of people who have confidence in the press is up nine percent since last November whereas the same 48 percent having a measure of faith in DDT is down three percent.

Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is also being investigated for his reassignment of Joel Clement after Clement showed how climate change affects Alaska’ Native communities. An earlier probe came from his threats to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in an attempt to get her vote for the health care bill.

Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr. are in the hot seat with their emails, including publicity about how they barely evaded indictment on felony fraud charges in 2012 regarding their failed project, Trump SoHo, but donations to a campaign saved them. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. made prosecutors drop the case after DDT’s attorney Marc Kasowitz gave $25,000 to the DA’s reelection campaign with another $50,000 from DDT and other donors later on.

The use of official emails on Ivanka’s and Don Jr.’s personal accounts may have compromised national security:

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have shared official White House materials on the Kushner family’s private domain, in a third private account recently discovered. The emails to the third account were largely sent from White House accounts but occasionally came from other private accounts, one of these people said. Kushner set up ijkfamily.com when he joined DDT’s administration.

Apps on Kushner’s and Ivanka’s private email automatically deleted communications for official matters, an illegal action that other of DDT’s White House officials have also taken.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent a letter to White House counsel last week requesting more information about the White House staff use of private email addresses for official business, including disappearing message apps.

Both Kushner and Ivanka moved their email accounts to Trump Organization after the letter stating that the records not be destroyed, modified, or transferred. Cummings pointed out that their action also violates their pledge to not be a part of Trump Organization.

https://www.mediaite.com/online/rachel-maddow-reports-that-secret-service-is-banning-mobile-devices-from-west-wing/  More problems arose after it was discovered that the cell phone of John Kelly, former National Security Advisor and current chief of staff, was compromised with the establishment of new guidelines. Personal mobile devices—including tablets, cell phones, and smart watches—are to be prohibited from the West Wing. The question is whether DDT’s cell phone is part of this ban.

ACLU immediately filed a lawsuit against the government after AG Jeff Sessions announced that businesses and organizations can use religious belief or “moral conviction” to avoid providing free birth control on its insurance plans. A majority of people, even Republicans, disagree with DDT. The same excuse can also be used to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

The ACLU is also suing to lift unreasonable FDA restrictions on Mifeprex, a safe and effective method of ending an early pregnancy up to 10 weeks, from pharmacies.

DDT may also be able to take credit for the worst hurricane destruction of any president. The fourth major storm to hit the U.S. in less than nine months has killed 30 people in Central America and has now hit the Louisiana coast. Nate, the fourth major storm to strike the United States in less than two months, killed at least 30 people in Central America before entering the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and bearing down on the US South. Over 40 percent of the Gulf’s staffed oil- and gas-producing platforms were evacuated. The storm, now a Category One, still has winds of about 100 mph and possible storm surges of 10 feet but should weaken on land. It may be the worst hurricane in Mississippi since Katrina in 2005.

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July 8, 2017

DDT: Week Twenty-Four – Mostly Russia!

The last week of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was dominated by North Korea, his world trip, the fallout from his commission’s demand to garner all the states’ voting data, GOP’s lies in their attempt to destroy health care, and, of course, his tweets. But there’s more.

The U.S. is rapidly losing its world leadership: a majority of people in the U.S. have more confidence in Angela Merkel, the chancellor of the country poised to take over the U.S.’s former position, than in DDT.

The White House publication of all its employees’ salaries shows a 37 percent discrepancy in male and female median earnings. Women’s median wage is $72,650 while men get $115,000. DDT’s gap is more than double the national gap of 17 percent and the largest since 2003. Of 22 staffers paid the highest in the White House, only five are women. In April, DDT revoked President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order requiring companies with federal contracts to comply with labor and civil rights laws. DDT made it possible for all companies to pay workers unfairly.

Science has literally left the White House. The last three employees departed the science division of DDT’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Although 222,000 jobs were added in June, new manufacturing jobs were half those in February, and 59,000 of the new jobs were in health and services—the area on the GOP chopping block with Trumpcare. DDT promised at least a four-percent increase in the economy in his first year, but Wall Street is forecasting half that or lower, about the average since President Obama brought the nation out of its Bush recession. The recent slump of the dollar comes from the world view of U.S. economy. As the Fed normalizes monetary policy by raising interest rates, the government has lost its opportunity for cheap loans to repair the nation’s infrastructure. Less federal tax revenue indicates faltering personal income. Although people think that the country is in good shape because of rising stock markets, some experts have expressed concern about the future of stocks.

DDT is clinging to his travel ban, but it’s alienating people—even grandparents—because of the highly restrictive definition of “close” relatives connected to people applying to come into the country. The exclusion of grandparents as “close family members” has hit social media.

The extremist radical policies from DDT are facing courts and sometimes losing. Scott Pruitt’s EPA huge favor to the oil and gas industry last month has been overturned. The Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pruitt lacked authority to delay an Obama-era regulation cracking down on pollutants from drilling operations. /The EPA admitted that Pruitt’s two-year delay would have a bad affect on the health of children near oil and gas operations.

Tom Price’s HHS agency reported that the Affordable Care Act is “working as intended” because it protects insurers from big risks and moderates consumer premiums. The charge on plans with lower average risks that is transferred to higher-risk plans is neutral within every state. Another temporary plan, reinsurance, protects insurers from high-cost enrollees by paying companies for the first three years. Both plans are permanent in George W. Bush’s Medicare’s prescription program, Part D. Medicare Part D also assesses insurers collecting huge profits from the program and paying them to insurers with commensurate losses, but the GOP maintains that this is an insurer “bailout” for the ACA. Reinsurance reduced net claim costs by four to six percent in 2016. Stopping the program is driving up premiums for 2017 and 2018, thus the GOP is causing the infamous “death spiral” of health care.

Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia are suing Betsy DeVos because of her delay in regulations to protect federal student loan borrowers who have been defrauded by their schools. The rules, set to take effect last July 1, prohibit colleges from forcing students to settle complaints through arbitration instead of court and make it easier for the borrowers to seek debt forgiveness.

The Hatch Act prevents government officials in the executive branch from involvement in political activity; a 2012 amendment added disciplinary action to its violation. Dan Scorvino, DDT’s social media director, may have broken this law when he tweeted in April that DDT’s supporters should defeat Rep. Justin Amash (MI) in the primary. It goes far beyond his vicious tweets that almost equal those of DDT. During DDT’s campaign, Scorvino tweeted an anti-Semitic image of Hillary Clinton atop piles of hundred-dollar bills and a Jewish Star of David that read, “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” Another violator is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for her retweeting a DDT message endorsing Ralph Norman, the Republican running for Congress in South Carolina’s 5th District. Norman won the special election.

Russia stays in the news:

Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, finalized a $285 million refinancing loan from Deutsche Bank the month before last November’s election when the bank was in court answering a federal mortgage fraud case and charges that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. DDT has also garnered almost $8 million from Russian government official Igor Zorin for Florida properties.

DDT’s longtime buddy Michael Cohen has lost his place in DDT’s inner circle to separate DDT from Russian connections. Cohen bought apartments from DDT, bullied DDT’s condo board into submission, and acted as intermediary with mafia-linked DDT business partner, Felix Sater, and Ukraine parliamentarian, Andrii Artemenko, soon after DDT’s inauguration. Artemenko gave Cohen documents to deliver to Michael Flynn before he was fired for Russian connections. Cohen denies reports that he met overseas with Russian officials and operatives, but he has acquired his own lawyer and refuses to provide documents to or appear before congressional intelligence committees.

Sater, a Russia-born real estate dealmaker who allegedly has organized crime links, is agreeing to testify in an international investigation into a Kazakh family’s dealings in the U.S. including the Trump SoHo in downtown New York City. Sater is a known mob informant who fled to Russia to avoid criminal charges. He was also in prison for slashing a man’s face with a broken cocktail glass. His history is here. DDT has said, “I am not involved in Russia.” That doesn’t mean that Russia isn’t involved with DDT. Others are also willing to report on DDT’s connection with financing the Trump SoHo in a front for money laundering.

Although Peter Smith, the man who may have been involved in Russian hacking, has died, the news about his attempts to get Hillary Clinton emails continues. A document of involved people lists senior members of DDT’s campaign, some of them now serving in the White House. Included are white supremacist Steve Bannon. DDT’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, senior Agriculture Department adviser Sam Clovis, and the fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.  Security consultant Matt Tait, a Smith colleague, gave reasons “that the group was formed with the blessing of the Trump campaign.” The UK cyber-analyst wrote about how Smith recruited him to verify the accuracy of emails.

What has DDT’s Department of Homeland Security to investigate Russian cyber attacks on U.S. voting machines? Nothing.

Hackers from a foreign government—probably Russia—hacked at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including a nuclear facility in Kansas. DDT still hasn’t addressed the problem with Russian president, Vladimir Putin. After DDT’s talk with Putin in Hamburg (Germany) this past week, Putin came away with the impression that DDT agreed that there had been no hacking into the U.S. election.

The company that provides cybersecurity for the U.S. government, including the Pentagon, may lose its contract. Kaspersky Lab, based in Moscow, has certifications issued by the Russian Security Service (FSB) which allows the Russian government to examine anything from Kaspersky. Its security software is also sold at U.S. retail outlets such as Target and Walmart. U.S. intelligence is increasingly concerned that Kaspersky software could cyberattack U.S. infrastructure such as the electric grid, airlines, water utilities, etc. Former CIA station chief in Moscow, Steve Hall, pointed out the Russian control over all of Kasperky’s data:

“Any time [Russian President Vladimir Putin] wants Kaspersky to do something – anything – he’ll remind them that’s where their families are and where their bank accounts are. There’s no doubt in my mind it could be, if it’s not already, under the control of Putin.”

Last Sunday, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said, “I get so frustrated when we get focused on tweets.” DDT is responsible for Cassidy’s frustration, and over two-thirds of people in the United States wish that DDT would stop the tweeting. The miserable attacks on Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were followed by a view of DDT’s fat ass in the air while he pummels a character labeled CNN. He didn’t create the video, but he retweeted it which makes it an official communication from the White House.

While in Germany, DDT attacked Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, claiming that all the foreign powers were talking about her email serve and tweeting that he “refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA.” A few DDT mistakes: Podesta’s emails were not on the DNC server; he was not involved with the DNC; the CIA spies on foreign governments and wasn’t investigating cyber-attacks on Clinton.  And DDT continually says that Russia wasn’t involved in the hacking.

“‘The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. The president is the spokesman for democracy and liberty. Isn’t it time we brought back the pomp and circumstance and the sense of awe for that office that we all held?’”

The above quotation is from DDT’s 2015 book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. He should read it sometime.

 

February 17, 2017

DDT: Week Four – Part 1

The judges overturning Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) Muslim ban was his most obvious disaster last week. This week it was, to swipe the words from Judith Viorst, DDT’s “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” press conference. But I’ll avoid talking about that for this post because his entire purpose was to “detract, deflect, and deflect” attention from the Russian scandal that led to the resignation of DDT’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Not only did the Russians help DDT win the presidency, but Michael Flynn talked to them about President Obama’s sanctions immediately after they were placed in late December before DDT was inaugurated and then lied about it—at least to the public.

DDT claims that no laws were broken, not even the Logan Act banning U.S. citizens from trying to influence foreign policy, but Flynn resigned after 24 days in office because DDT asked him to step down, according to Press Secretary Sean Spicer. DDT also said his only problem was that people learned about the discussion regarding sanctions. Despite the possibility that Flynn was giving secrets to Russia, he sat in on national security briefings and deliberations until a few hours before his resignation.

DDT knew about the problem before he was inaugurated because Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told DDT about Flynn’s lies weeks before he was inaugurated, yet last week, DDT fired Yates because she would not defend his unconstitutional actions in the Muslim ban. White supremacist Steve Bannon is the winner in Flynn’s resignation because of his increase in power. Watch for the disintegration of Reince Priebus, most likely Bannon’s next target.

Other disasters during DDT’s past week:

security-key

Lack of Security: A photo from the Oval Office shows a key left in a packet with intelligence documents while DDT was hosting a number of people. The smart phone DDT uses for tweets is also unsecured, with the Internet connection making it vulnerable. It’s the same phone he used to tweet about his daughter Ivanka during his intelligence briefing. Some White House staffers are still using personal email addresses, and others have private email accounts with the RNC.  The biggest GOP hypocrisy—for the moment—is that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is demanding a grand jury or charge against Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state. The so-called chair of the House Oversight Committee has also refused to address any of DDT’s conflicts of interest or his involvement with Russia although he’s investigating Sid the Science Kid.

At Mar-a-Lago DDT was surrounded by waitpeople and other diners at the terrace dining room table while he took a call about North Korea launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile and then moved on to a strategy session.  Then he proceeded to have a sensitive intelligence meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo while club members with no security clearance snapped photos and put them on social media. Aides used phone camera lights to illuminate the national-security documents that DDT and Abe were reading which allows others to see the objects. The morning after that event, DDT tweeted a complaint about all the “leaks.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) responded:

“I would suggest that the president get a briefing on the handling of classified information.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), leader of legislators with heads in the sand, tweeted last summer, “Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ with classified information should be denied further access to such info.”  That belief is gone; he can’t cross DDT because he needs the president to sign his lovely bills.

White House Leaks to Russia: Earlier the U.S. intelligence community expressed concern that DDT would “tell all” to Russia. Now, according to the Pentagon, Russia has “ears” in the administration’s situation room. A senior Pentagon intelligence official said, “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point.” U.S. intelligence officials were so concerned about DDT’s leaks that they have withheld sensitive intelligence from the president.

Miller’s Declaration of DDT as Supreme Leader: Last Sunday, white supremacist White House aide Stephen Miller said on Face the Nation “that the powers of the president to protect our country will not be questioned.” On ABC he said, “The judiciary is not supreme.” To Fox’s Chris Wallace, Miller said, “The president’s powers here are beyond question.” He also declared that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was “always” 100 percent correct and repeated the lie that thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to vote.

DDT praised Miller for his performance, but even DDT-supporter Joe Scarborough thought Miller was out of line. On Morning Joe, Scarborough said:

“Oh my God. It’s so much worse than I ever thought…. It’s called ‘judicial review.’ Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote about it in the Federalist Papers; it was enshrined in Madison’s Constitution.”

DDT’s Counselor Violation of Law: The director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Schaub, called on disciplinary action against White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, for her television hawking of Ivanka Trump’s product line.

Border Checks: No one knows if ICE has stopped detaining people from the seven magic countries, but border agents are still threatening people if they won’t give up the passwords for their cell phones. Natural-born U.S. citizen Sidd Bikkannavar has never visited any of the targeted countries, but he was forced to give up his PIN number and cell phone after he returned from Chile where he drove a solar-powered car in a race. Despite his being a member of the Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program that waves people through after scanning their passports and fingerprints, the NASA scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over a decade was threatened with detention and seizure—even after he told border agents that the phone belonged to NASA and contained sensitive information. It is not known whether the border agents copied the information. The law: agents can detain people, but they cannot legally force them to unlock their phones. A U.S. judge has also ruled that people cannot be forced to use their fingerprints to open electronic devices.

Immigrants with green cards have also been threatened with deportation if they don’t sign a form that was actually a I-407 form that erases their lawful permanent residency in the U.S. Border agents falsely claimed that not signing these forms would bar them from entering the U.S. for five years; in reality it does just the reverse. Although the goal was to deport criminals and rapists, ICE is still detaining an immigrant vetted and protected under President Obama’s DACA program for over a week although DDT did not overturn that order.

Violation of Law Preserving White House Records: Members of the DDT administration are using an app called Confide that encrypts messages and destroys them after they are read. Using Confide violates the Presidential Records Act passed by Congress, mandating that all official business correspondence be carried out on White House email so that it can be preserved. A year ago, the GOP and DDT screamed about the “missing 30,000” Hillary Clinton emails after the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails on a private email server owned by the RNC while they used false claims to plan wars and fired U.S. attorneys for no clear reason. A major criticism of Clinton was that she “destroyed” emails.

The Great Negotiator: While president-elect, DDT raised hackles by congratulating Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for his win, directly conflicting with the position of “One-China” policy:

“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things.”

Last week, DDT told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he will honor the so-called “One China” policy—at the request of President Xi. No negotiation, nothing from China, just acceptance of China’s “request.” DDT owns business ventures in China.  He was negotiating with one in Taiwan, but it may have fallen through.

Labor Department Nominee Resignation: On the home side, Andrew Puzder, well-known for his abuse of his own workers and employing an undocumented immigrant as housekeeper, withdrew his name after the surfacing of a video showing his ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, describing her husband’s physical and emotional abuse. Although Fierstein later denied the abuse, the description of the abuse on the video may have been too close to the domestic violence that white supremacist Steve Bannon, the man running the White House, perpetrated on his wife. Wife abuse is something that the White House men want to sweep under the carpet. Puzder was the first nominee to withdraw.

DDT’s Refried News: The new Intel factory in Arizona, scheduled to employ 3,000 workers, was first announced by President Obama in 2011. As for the creation of jobs, Intel is still down 9,000 jobs in Oregon during the past year, making DDT a net loss of 8,000 jobs with Intel. DDT takes credit for jobs already considered, including the January job increase while he wasn’t president, and ignoring other job losses.

National Security Advisor Non-replacement: Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward told a friend that chaos and dysfunction in the White House meant that DDT’s offer to make him national security adviser amounted to “a sh*t sandwich.” It’s another example of the new abnormal as a senior military officer rejects the commander-in-chief’s request and gives cover to other patriots who take the same path. Death by a thousand cuts.

trump-cover-finalDDT has always bragged about the number of times that he has been on the cover of Time. Once again, he has received this placement, but he may not be bragging about it this time. Brooklyn-based Tim O’Brien said that his intent was to show the chaos surrounding the White House. Time explained the cover: “In the first month of his presidency, the New York billionaire has witnessed the lesson of Samson: toppling the temple can be painful if you try it from the inside.” Nothing to See Here.

[Update: This post has been changed to reflect a ruling on February 23, 2017 that prevents law enforcement officials from demanding people open their electronic devices using their fingerprints without having a warrant for those specific people.]

“Indifference about the distinction between truth and lies is the precondition of fascism. When truth perishes so does freedom.”—Simon Shama, British historian

November 6, 2016

Vote for Clinton, Save the Nation

Filed under: Presidential campaign — trp2011 @ 6:10 PM
Tags: , ,

Two days before the 2016 presidential election, FBI James Comey has announced in a letter to 16 Congressional members that his agency has found nothing illegal regarding Hillary Clinton in the 650,000 emails found on Anthony Wiener’s laptop. The news comes at a time when Clinton stays four percent above Trump, and the odds in her favor are rising in polls and betting. The FBI’s review of these emails has been completed, according to Comey’s letter.

Clinton’s email has always been a big deal because the media uses the topic to make money by pushing the idea that she’s “untrustworthy,” again addressed this morning on Meet the Press. The fact that Trump’s unfavorable rating is far higher than that of Clinton is rarely raised. Instead the supposedly “liberal” media has spent whatever time they don’t concentrate on Trump to brainwash the public about Hillary hatred.

In April 2015, Clinton had a 50-percent favorability rating. Within four months of announcing her candidacy, the majority switched to unfavorable. One reason for the shirt is misogyny: many people in the country think that a woman should not be president shown by her favorability rating of 25 percent among white men.

Both NBC and PBS, supposedly “liberal,” presented pre-debate programs talking about how both candidates go “low” while complaining about how Clinton boringly concentrates on the specifics of policy and fails to have some sort of “message” such as the false one from Trump. Clinton behaves like a serious candidate and Trump acts like a realty show huckster, but the media constantly equates them.

While Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump received positive  coverage, the media tore down Clinton—an average of 10 negative stories to one positive one, worse when one considers the email stories. The fascination of Clinton’s emails on the profit-focused media also serious errors such as the FBI conducting a criminal investigation into Clinton. That myth returned with Comey’s announcement last week; even a serious journalist from the Washington Post falsely claimed that Comey had “re-opened” the email case. NBC failed to look at its own reporting when professing to lack understanding in her popularity drop.

A favorite media ploy  is to avoid showing people who love and admire Hillary Clinton. Its message is that the only reason to vote for Clinton is that the alternative is worse. Yet millions of voters admire her hard work and her intellect. They realize that a good president does need to be charming  like George W. Bush or funny  like Barack Obama or even perfect candidate like—I don’t know any. These people know Clinton’s past—the woman who fought for the rights of migrant farmworkers, the lawyer who worked with the Children’s Defense Fund and forced the state of Alabama to allow disabled students to attend school, the First Lady who created a plan to make health care accessible for all people in the country, a plan destroyed by Republicans because they were afraid that Democrats might get credit for it.

Clinton was elected twice to the U.S. Senate, and her colleagues respected her and got along with her. Her favorability was 60 percent when she was Secretary of State.

People see Clinton as flawed because she always has dreams and vision, she considered herself as her husband’s equal when she scuttled her plans to move to his home state, she was never a traditional First Lady when she reformed the state’s public education system and tried to expand healthcare. Some people hate Clinton for her ambition, yet prize that characteristic in her opponent. Writers call her a liar when she has the highest truth-telling rating of any presidential candidate for decades and of almost all other politicians. Opponents know that the only way she can be defeated is to be guilty of something—anything. When they can’t find the guilt, they make up offenses or just use terms in a general way with no backing.

Clinton used a private server because the State Department IT system was out of date, possibly hacked which it was. No one broke into Clinton’s system although opponents claimed they did, using the excuse that any server used that much had to have been hacked. She committed no crime, but she apologized—again and again. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is fond of accusing Clinton for breaking up her Blackberry with a hammer, but that’s State Department policy. She was following the guidelines.

In her article in Atlantic, Chimamanda Adichie wrote:

“Hillary Clinton is a knowledgeable, well-prepared, reasonable, experienced, even-tempered, hardworking candidate, while her opponent is a stubbornly uninformed demagogue who has been proven again and again to be a liar on matters big and small. There is no objective basis on which to equate Hillary Clinton to her opponent.”

People complain that Clinton is too cautious, yet the media always turns against any spontaneity. Journalists take her words out of context and turn them against her before they accuse her of being insincere because she appears stiff. In one interview, Clinton has talked about how she learned how to control her emotions when she was a young women because her career was primarily male. She had to work hard to not look “weak” because she wouldn’t show the strength to accomplish what men do, but then she’s accused of being hard and unemotional.

Since Trump went down the escalator and announced his candidacy, the media has graded Trump on a low curve and raised the bar high for Clinton. CNN’s Dana Bash was blunt about the way the media favors Trump:

“The stakes are much higher in this debate and all the debates for Hillary Clinton because the expectations are higher for her because she’s a seasoned politician. She’s a seasoned debater. You know, yes we saw Donald Trump in the primaries debate for the first time, but he is a first-time politician. So um, for lots of reasons. Maybe it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. The onus is on her.”

In essence, having an amateur as the president of the United States is just fine with the media. After the second town hall following the first presidential candidate, any “bar” for Trump totally disappeared. He “won” the debate because he wasn’t the total buffoon from the first debate.

During just one week in September, Clinton gave speeches about her mental health plan, foreign policy, and U.S. exceptionalism. The media focused on Trump’s immigration flip-flopping. This week was the pattern for all the media coverage as it gave Trump billions of dollars of free air time, mostly positive or neutral until the media panicked in late summer, and bashed Clinton.

Last summer, the conservative Washington Post finally realized how bad Donald Trump is  and endorsed Clinton for president.  These are excerpts from the editorial board’s endorsement:

“There is no equivalence between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton—as even responsible Republicans should be able to recognize. Ms. Clinton is a knowledgeable politician who has been vetted many times over. She understands and respects the U.S. Constitution. She knows policy. She can cite accomplishments in the public interest, such as pressing through an important children’s health insurance program during her husband’s administration. As a senator, she was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She completed four years as secretary of state to generally positive reviews. She began her presidential campaign by rolling out a series of serious policy papers.

“Mr. Trump, by contrast, has waged a campaign based on bigotry, ignorance and resentment. He has no experience as a public servant, and his private record of bankruptcies and exploitation should be disqualifying. He regularly circulates falsehoods. He has no discernible interest in or knowledge of policy…. He called one sitting senator a loser and threatened another while proving that he lacks even a passing familiarity with the Constitution. He praised one of the most vile dictators of the 20th century….

“Even if Mr. Trump flipped his agenda — not a problem for a man with almost no fixed beliefs — he would still be the candidate who mocked a disabled reporter, proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, attacked a judge based on his ethnicity, celebrated violence at his rallies, demeaned women and promised to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants . He would still be the candidate who vaulted to political prominence with race-based attacks on the incumbent president and launched his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists.”

For the first time in its history, Foreign Policy broke tradition and endorsed Clinton:

“She is an extraordinarily gifted woman who would make an excellent president. She would come to office with more foreign-policy experience than any president since George H. W. Bush….  Moreover, since her earliest days as a lawyer and advocate, she has been known and respected for her brilliant mind, her studiousness, her mastery of her brief. She is known to engender great loyalty among her staff. She is a listener, an empowerer, someone who has a reputation for wanting to be told the truth. I have met with her many times and have cultivated this view over years of writing about her and the administrations in which she has served. I can honestly say that she may be the most impressive candidate for president and one of the most impressive public figures I have ever met. If she were running against the best of the Republican Party, she would deserve to win.”

The media should have figured that out a year ago instead of making money by taking cheap shots at one of the best presidential candidates in history. Hopefully, it’s not too late for them to salvage the nation.

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.”

July 1, 2016

Phoenixgate: Only Clinton Can’t Use Private Emails

 

On the presidential campaign trail, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, said,”I turned over my email, both professional and personal, to all of the investigators who asked for them. And said, ‘Look at whatever you want to look at.'”  No, he didn’t. He slammed Hillary Clinton about using a private email account and asked his audience to imagine what would happen if he had done the same thing while being accused of closing the George Washington Bridge. Court documents show that he did exactly that. Christie’s personal email account he shared with his wife, Mary Pat, was never searched although he used it for government business.  Christie’s cellphone that he used during Bridgegate is also missing. And New Jersey taxpayers paid Christie’s lawyers $13 million to hide all this information. Christie is no longer a presidential candidate, but he’s in the top tier to be Trump’s VP.

Ten years ago, a judge ordered Donald Trump’s casino operation to turn over emails from 1996 to 2001. He was told that they had been erased. Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld had a “concern about credibility” in this claim because of Trump’s high-speed Internet provider, and defendants in the case brought by Trump said this was destruction of evidence. The charge was never resolved because  the case was settled before a court decision. Now Trump wants Hillary Clinton to “go to jail” even after she turned over all the business-related emails in her private server. Ten years later, Streitfeld, now retired, said that he remembered the claim because he was “incredulous that an organization of that significance doesn’t do email.” Both Trump and Clinton used private servers, but Trump’s emails permanently disappeared.

While governor of Florida, presidential candidate Jeb Bush used a private server for emails and didn’t release them until he was forced to do so, seven years after he left the office despite Florida law that he release them immediately. Like Clinton, Jeb Bush made personal decisions about what should be released, choosing not to share some related to “politics” and “campaign donors asking for favors”—topics relevant in a presidential campaign.

Many politicians use private addresses through commercial servers, more accessible to the public than private servers.  although they may not have private servers. During their time in office, presidential candidates Bobby Jindal (LA) and Rick Perry (TX), used private email accounts when they were governors. Mitt Romney, another presidential nominee, and his top aides used private email accounts for state business despite warnings against the practice from his own administration. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called Clinton’s use of private email an “outrage” after being part of a fund-raising controversy about his running a secret email network for his inner circle of advisers when he was Milwaukee County executive. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), past and perhaps future presidential candidate used his personal email to conduct business and then deleted the emails.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell used a private email address while in office, as did Condoleezza Rice, although she did not email extensively. Even Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the Benghazi Committee that highly criticized Clinton for her email situation, used a private address rather than a government one.

During the George W. Bush administration, as many as 22 political advisers to the president, including Karl Rove, used RNC email accounts for White House-related business. Because the RNC automatically purged emails after 30 days, as many as five million emails may have been lost from the White House’s official server.

The White House has no archived emails for many of its  offices, including president and vice president, for 473 days  between 2003 and 2005, according to the summary of an internal White House study that was disclosed yesterday by a congressional Democrat. All these days with missing emails were when VP Dick Cheney or his staff were in the news,, especially the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and Cheney’s secret dealings with oil and gas executives who were directly influencing national energy policy.

As Clinton emails continue to dribble out and fascinate people, the GOP—which ignored all Republicans who concealed their own business emails—now claims to have another “smoking gun” against Clinton. When I heard about this mysterious “secret meeting” yesterday, I wondered what was said. Googling the GOP fury about the meeting, I discovered nothing. Actually, that’s what is known about what was said by this supposedly nefarious duo. Steve Benen describes the situation far better than I do:

When news reports surfaced yesterday about a private meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, Republican outrage went from 0 to Hair-On-Fire with remarkable efficiency. It wasn’t long before Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) actually called for an independent prosecutor to investigate the “controversy.”

Given the apoplexy, one might have assumed that Lynch and Clinton arranged some kind of secret meeting in an undisclosed location to plot some nefarious scheme. The truth–the two crossed paths at an airport–appears to be far less interesting.

Ms. Lynch said at a press conference that the Clinton meeting was unplanned. Mr. Clinton was apparently waiting to fly out of the Phoenix airport when Ms. Lynch’s plane coincidentally landed there. The former president then walked over to the attorney general’s plane to speak to Ms. Lynch and her husband.

“Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels,” Ms. Lynch told reporters in Phoenix on Tuesday.

I realize there’s nothing the political world loves more than a Clinton “scandal,” but as an objective matter, it’s tough to get worked up about a casual chat at an airport between a president and an A.G. If your first reaction to Bill Clinton talking about his grandchildren is, “I hear Ken Starr is unemployed, so let’s give him something to do!” you might be a little too eager to exaggerate the significance of harmless social interaction.

The trouble is, the political world remains deeply invested in the idea that Hillary Clinton’s cabinet-level email server management is one of the most important issues in the country right now. Folks hear about Bill Clinton saying hello to Loretta Lynch, and their first reaction is to assume that this was an effort to prevent an indictment.

But that’s silly. For one thing, an indictment is ridiculously unlikely. For another, if Bill Clinton intended to launch some kind of back-channel pressure campaign to interfere with an investigation, he’d probably take steps less overt than a public chat at an airport.

The obvious explanation may sound naive, but it’s also the easiest to believe: the former president wanted to say hello to a prominent official he knows so he could talk about his grandkids. He wasn’t considering “media optics,” because as far as Clinton is concerned, there was no reason to care – why would anyone make a fuss about something so innocuous?

Nevertheless, the Attorney General will reportedly announce today that she will remove herself from any decision making role in the email matter, and will “accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make.”

And with Benghazi conspiracy theories having been discredited again this week, the far-right suddenly has something new to obsess over for a while.

The day after Clinton testified for 11 hours before the Benghazi committee, Sen. Mitch McConnell—yes the same Republican who is Majority Leader—said about Clinton, “She’s an intelligent and capable person, no question about it.” He added that he worked well with her in the Senate and could work with her as president.  About Trump, McConnell says that the candidate needs to change to be a “credible candidate.” Arguments against Clinton have nothing to do with her honesty and integrity. All the GOP has left against “an intelligent and capable” person who has more experience for the presidency than any other candidate during the past 260 years is a chance social meeting at a Southwest airport.

The GOP demonstrates their desperation when they believe that two leading politicians would have a secret meeting on the airport tarmac in full view of everyone. Just call it Phoenixgate.

In an aside, is it not curious that all the men who used private email accounts and destroyed the emails get a walk for doing so while a woman is held far more than accountable?

 

April 13, 2016

Press Has No Justification to Hate Clinton

One of my good friends is a registered Republican—although she recently told me that she’s considering a switch to being independent after the events of the last few months. She also hates Hillary Clinton. Last Sunday I asked her what was wrong with Clinton politically, and she said she’d make a list. What’s wrong with Clinton is the media. Bernie Sanders complains about how they ignore him, but he’s lucky.

Both wings of the media, love to bash Clinton while they give Sanders a walk. A prime example is the massive number of complaints about Clinton supporting the omnibus crime bill in 1994 that included the federal “three strikes” provision. Sen. Sanders voted in favor of the same bill—as did many other liberals—but the media ignores that vote. Trevor Noah, the un-funny replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, has declared open season on Clinton, but Sanders gets Noah’s weak “heh heh.”

Alternet, a progressive website self-described as a “syndication service and online community of the alternative press,” almost exclusively prints anti-Clinton and pro-Sanders articles. Just Google the two names separately with “alternet” to see the difference. (Caveat: it did reprint Gabler’s article referenced below about media attacks on Clinton.)

Some of the Alternet’s puff pieces about Sanders might have shreds of truth, but the reprint of Arturo Garcia’s article from Raw Story about Chris Hayes’ joint interview with former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and economist Robert Reich uses a headline about how “Reich “schools” that was a blatant and total misrepresentation of the information. Reich was unable to answer Frank’s questions about banks “too big to fail.” Frank kept asking “how big is too big,” and Reich just said, “They are already too big to fail.” Garcia failed to give Frank’s detailed information in comparison to Reich’s generalizations.

As Neal Gabler wrote on Moyers & Company, the media is sticking to its standard position that Clinton can do nothing right. After it destroyed Donald Trump, it had more time to devote to the next candidate they love to hate, Clinton–“the media’s national pinata.” Over and over, the media declares that she lies, she is a pawn of the rich, she is dishonest. They repeat the same mantra over and over with little basis.

The entire focus on emails from private servers is directed at Clinton, despite the fact that it has been a common practice even by the most recent Secretary of Defense. George W. Bush’s White House destroyed tens of millions of emails, and the GOP said “good” because they were run through private accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee.  Karl Rove used RNC email servers for 95 percent of his communications, and all the emails have disappeared with no congressional investigations. GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie hid thousands of emails concealing his part in “Bridgegate,”  dangerously closing the busiest bridge in the world with no objection from Republicans.

The media obsesses about the “classified” emails on the private server although these emails were not “classified” until much later. Yet every release of emails results in more headlines claiming Clinton’s wrongdoing. According to the media, 147 FBI agents have been assigned to Clinton’s emails because an unnamed “lawmaker” said so. Investigation revealed the possibility of fewer than 50, and FBI experts told NBC that this number is largely overstated. But the media continues with the later number.

Another attack on Clinton comes because of the four people killed during the attacks at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Again, more and more investigations from 32 congressional hearings resulting in 11 written reports, all costing over $20 million. During Ronald Reagan’s first reign, 254 servicemen were killed at a Lebanese diplomatic outpost after the military command left a vehicle gate open and ordered sentries to keep weapons unloaded. Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill asked for one investigation which made recommendations for better security measures. Less than five months later, CIA’s station chief in Beirut, Bill Buckley, was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. Reagan’s response to the lack of safety measures leading to Buckley’s death was that a kitchen can’t be quickly remodeled. There were no public hearings and no investigations. Perpetrators, not political rivals, were blamed.

Sally Quinn, the wife of conservative Washington Post’s executive editor Ben Bradlee, basically called the Clintons country bumpkins who had sullied the White House and Washington. The Clintons were always punished for trying to enter the Washington society. The media jumped on NYT’s accusation from Jeff Gerth, either implausible or false, to accuse the Clintons of fraud in Whitewater. This non-scandal led to more stories that created the myth of untrustworthiness, perpetrated by the media for almost 25 years. Instead of looking for truth, the media made money.

The accusations continue. Clinton takes money from the coal and oil industry, according to Sanders, and the media leaped on his statement. Even the conservative Washington Post fact-checker gave the claim three “Pinocchios” out of four because Clinton’s money comes only from the industry’s employees—just as some of Sanders’ money does.

The media keeps falsely communicating that Clinton might not win the presidency even if she is the candidate because people don’t like her or they’re not enthusiastic. Gallup Poll checked up and found that Clinton supporters are extremely or very enthusiastic by 54 percent as compared to only 44 percent of Sanders supporters for him.

A year ago, Politico’s Dylan Byers said, “The national media has never been more primed to take down Hillary Clinton.” The same press corps, he added, is poised to “elevate a Republican candidate.” No one objected to his comments that Clinton faces a tougher press than her opponents. Gone are the days when journalists thought their job was to report on what happens rather than destroy a viable candidate. Make that a Democratic candidate. The press didn’t attack Trump until the GOP establishment made clear that they wanted another candidate.

Eight years ago, Dana Milbank stated, “The press will savage [Clinton] no matter what.” Journalists simply “dislike” her. When Clinton answered tons of media questions early in her run, the press attacked her and stated that her answers were all wrong. No matter what she does, the press’s goal is to take her down.

Hillary Clinton should smile more. She should be friendlier. Her voice is too loud. She shouts. She sounds angry. She should pick John Kasich for a vice-presidential candidate if she wins the candidacy. This last one from Chris Matthews may be one of the craziest comments I’ve heard about her.

All the presidents who had sexual affairs—including Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy—got a walk for them. Republicans decided to impeach Bill Clinton for consensual sex. George W. Bush started a permanent war in the Middle East that has thus far cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars with no intelligence that Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction. His actions killed hundreds of thousands of people, and even people who know he was wrong just say we should forget it because it’s in the past. Ted Cruz has threatened to “spank” Clinton.

The conservative media want Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate so that they can trash him in the general election. The so-called liberal media, owned by big corporations, either want the same thing or they just continue their tradition of hating the Clintons.

What makes the press the angriest is that they can’t find anything wrong with her policies. They have to trash her personality, appearance, past votes, etc. Like Sanders, Clinton is progressive, but Sanders makes visionary statements about a political revolution with no plans to carry it out in a time when the GOP refuses to compromise on anything. Clinton keeps fighting for causes, admitting that she can’t always achieve perfection. (Sanders admits the same thing, but his supporters overlook how he agrees with Clinton.) Clinton wants to build on past successes; Sanders wants to tear down what’s happened and start over. The media just wants to tear down Clinton. We all want idealism, but if we don’t settle for pragmatism—and fight the media—we’ll get GOP destruction.

[Update: An earlier version of this blog stated that “Clinton voted in favor of the omnibus crime bill.” In 1994 she was First Lady, not Senator. In fact, she has been recently criticized for “supporting” the bill. The blog has been changed to reflect that correction.]

 

March 17, 2015

Clinton Not Alone with Private Emails

Filed under: Surveillance — trp2011 @ 9:01 PM
Tags: , , ,

The war of the senatorial 47 percent signing a mutinous letter to Iran last week was accompanied by the war of the emails. First came the news that Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, used her private server for emails rather than the government server. By today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had called on Clinton to turn over her email server to a “neutral third party” for review. He also attacked her for not signing a “separation statement,” a recommendation for State Department staff to acknowledge that they have submitted all appropriate records to proper officials.

State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, stated that there was no record of Clinton signing such a statement and that she had not violated any rule by not doing so. Psaki added that there is no record of Clinton’s immediate predecessors signing the form.

It is expected that two House panels will provide “rigorous oversight”–the Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Gowdy has issued a subpoena for emails related to the 2012 attacks on a diplomatic outpost that killed four U.S. citizens and agreed to the March 27 deadline for the emails.

Oversight committees into Clinton’s email might want to take a good look at the email addresses for Gowdy and Jaffetz, two men who also deal with sensitive information. Chaffetz’s business card lists a Gmail address, and Gowdy uses his own domain, treygowdy.com. AlterNet asked Gowdy’s office how the representative separates work through his personal domain and through his congressional work as well as where his personal email server is stored. More than two days after both the office and Gowdy campaign manager George Ramsey were contacted, AlterNet received no response to the questions. David Brock of The Record also received no response to these questions.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush isn’t the only GOP presidential wannabe to complain about Clinton’s email situation, but he may be the most vulnerable. Bush claimed:

“For security purposes, you need to be behind a firewall that recognizes the world for what it is, and it’s a dangerous world, and security would mean that you couldn’t have a private server. It’s a little baffling, to be honest with you, that didn’t come up in Secretary Clinton’s thought process.”

The media has largely ignored the fact that Bush used his private e-mail account as Florida governor to discuss security and military issues such as troop deployments to the Middle East and the protection of nuclear plants. Required to turn over records pertaining to official business “at the expiration of his or her term of office,” Bush waited more than seven years to meet these obligations. The search for a Clinton email “scandal” may eventually bring its similarity to Bush’s inactions to public notice because he did exactly what Clinton has done. Bush and his team examined the emails to determine the ones that should be released and the ones that should be kept private.

Perhaps they should have kept a few more emails private. Among the 275,000 e-mails Bush released, some of them showed a pattern of favors for donors. Although that doesn’t come as a shock in politics, the electronic trail doesn’t give a positive spin on Bush’s actions. An example is Bush emails is this one from GOP-donor William “Bill” Becker, Florida citrus grower: “Many thanks for an expedited and wonderful appointment.” People for the American Way, Every Voice, Public Citizen, Demos, the Brennan Center, and Common Cause jointly issued the statement:

“The emails reveal what most voters already know: Elected officials grant special favors and access to big donors that everyday voters can only dream about.”

As Jeb Bush started his meetings with major donors last December, the wealthy were telling him what they want in exchange for support and fundraising. These donors have a history from the 1999 meetings with George W. Bush with CEOs before his campaign was “officially” launched. At that time, a GOP lobbyist for Silicon Valley tech firms said that they were “educating” W. on the issues. Their “education” led to bundling millions of dollars for W., and the lobbyist became a liaison to the tech sector after Bush’s appointment to president in 2000.

States are fighting the same battle of the private emails:

  • Although the most recent issue came up in Oregon, the state Supreme Court in California is reviewing a lower court’s ruling that public officials’ communications on private accounts are not subject to the state’s public records law.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that the records on former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter are not public, prompting a dissenting opinion from two justices who said the court gave public officials a path to conceal public business “for the price of a monthly cellphone plan.”
  • The emails of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin weren’t released for three years after the request. She used three different accounts and regularly communicated with top aides who also used their own personal accounts.
  • Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has repeatedly fought with public record advocates, media organizations, and others over whether he has followed the state’s transparency law, one of the broadest in the country. Although denying that he used private accounts for state business, emails found after his re-election last November show that email exchanges with top aides and others included topics such as vetoes, the state budget, and his speeches. Florida law allows private email accounts but requires the emails be turned over if requested. Scott is currently being sued for flouting the law and ignoring public record requests.
  • Another Florida politician, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, deleted emails from his private account while serving in state government at the same time that he used this personal account for business related to his official duties.
  • Kansas has a bill would require disclosure of official emails from private accounts in response to the budget director for GOP Gov. Sam Brownback using a private email account at least twice in December to circulate a summary of budget proposals being considered by the administration. Two lobbyists with ties to the governor were in the group receiving the emails, weeks before lawmakers saw details of the governor’s budget proposals.
  • In New Mexico, GOP Gov. Susana Martinez has been sued by news organizations seeking access to her work and travel schedules, cellphone calls, and expenses of her security detail. A state district judge ruled last month that Martinez’s personal and political calendars are not public records because the documents were maintained by Martinez on her personal devices.
  • While calling Clinton’s use of a private email address an “outrage,” Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker is in the midst of a controversy surrounding his use of a private email address.
  • In New Jersey, GOP Gov. Chris Christie’s administration communicated through private emails and was chastised by lawyers hired by his team to investigate the lane closing at the George Washington Bridge.
  • Both Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry conducted official business from their private email accounts and have not released the emails for public scrutiny.

The GOP attack on Clinton’s emails managed to draw attention from another important progressive position. She was at the UN to celebrate the effects of the 1995 U.N. Women’s Conference for the grassroots empowerment of women. The attack on Clinton at that specific event was a parallel to Fox network’s reporting on President Obama’s speech in Selma about the during struggle for voting rights: the entire conservative focus was how George W. Bush’s was supposedly cropped out of official White House photographs. Jeb Bush was governor of Florida during the voting debacle in a state that actually voted for W. Bush’s opponent but was given to W. by Republican judges.

The controversy about Hillary Clinton’s emails is not irrelevant. Neither is the massive hypocrisy that has emerged from the criticism. The Bush/Cheney White House lost millions of important emails, Mitt Romney spend a great deal of time to hide his public emails during his most recent presidential campaign, and previous Secretaries of State send emails that the public will most likely never see. A “fair and balanced” media would highlight those issues with the same fervor that it has with the Clinton emails.

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