Nel's New Day

September 27, 2016

Presidential Candidate: Trump Normalizes Lies, Abuse

Satire has become more and more difficult as GOP presidential candidate, Donald Trump, goes over the edge in his ridiculous behavior as shown in the first presidential candidate debate of 2016. Satirist Andy Borowitz concludes his column, “Trump Threatens to Skip Remaining Debates If Hillary Is There”with this mocking comment:

“’I have said time and time again that I would only do these debates if I am treated fairly,” [Trump] added. “The only way I can be guaranteed of being treated fairly is if Hillary Clinton is not there.’”

Borowitz’s column on the debate is almost factual—probably more factual that the lies that Trump spewed throughout the 90 minutes. NPR provided an excellent 100-word summary with six additional videos:

“The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was a contentious affair with the presidential candidates clashing on the economy, taxes and terrorism. With discipline, Clinton pushed Trump’s buttons, attacking his business practices, accusing him of not paying his contractors and stiffing the American people by not paying federal taxes. Trump replied, “That makes me smart.” Trump was vintage: a visceral debater who touted his business acumen and accused Clinton of being a professional politician — “all talk and no action.” A 30-year career in politics, Trump said, has yielded nothing.”

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According to the CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers, 62 percent gave the win to Clinton, and only 27 percent thought Trump was the winner. The majority of two TV focus groups of undecided voters largely declared Clinton the winner after the debate—18 of 20 in a CNN group in Florida and 16 of 22 in a CBS group run by GOP strategist Frank Luntz. In these groups, voters leaning toward Trump had a better opinion of Clinton than the “undecided” voters did. One panelist said that Clinton “took control of the situation.” One alt-right group concluded that Trump “sucked” and gave ideas on how he could improve.

Although Trump has fixated on Clinton’s lack of stamina, he appeared to fade after the first 20 minutes of the debate. He also skipped a post-debate victory part and went home immediately after the debate.

Trump’s own surrogates concentrated on his possible success during the first half of the debate in a rather lukewarm fashion. Some weren’t even that supportive and criticized Trump’s entire part of the debate. On the Fox network, Laura Ingraham complained that the moderator made bad topic choices. In the spin room afterward, former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani said that Trump shouldn’t participate in the remaining two debates because he was treated badly in this one.

GOP lawmakers weren’t any happier. Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) complained that Trump dragged out his answers and was frequently repetitive in his responses. Others said that he was ill-prepared and appeared too defensive. The only positive thing that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) could say about Trump is that he was “spirited.”

The low bar for Trump for last night’s debate required only that he look “presidential” and “non-sociopathic.” He failed. Trump may have looked moderately successful in a discussion about foreign trade, but his raving and incessant interrupting began immediately after that. The longest one was after Lester Holt gave evidence that Trump had supported the Iraq War at the same time that Clinton voted in favor of giving George W. Bush and ability to attack Iraq. The candidate kept shouting that people would know the Trump’s truth if they only talked to Fox network’s Sean Hannity.

A few of Trump’s failures:

  • He called the $14 million loan from his father “small.”
  • He couldn’t explain why he wouldn’t release his taxes.
  • He claimed that he didn’t pay for contractors because they had done poor work.
  • He justified denying housing to blacks by declaring that he hadn’t publicly admitted guilt.
  • He used the excuse of racist birtherism by saying that he just wanted to force Barack Obama to release his birth certificate despite Holt’s asking why he continued to be a birther. Trump finally said, “Look, it’s all words.”
  • He tried to play the victim—and miserably failed—by saying that Clinton wasn’t nice to him because she quoted many of the sexist comments that he has made about women.

Trump has lied about Clinton’s attempt to eradicate the Second Amendment by tacitly indicating that people should shoot Clinton. The Democratic candidate has consistently argued for sensible gun laws such as universal background checks. Last night, however, Trump argued that the police should take guns from minorities. In talking about his proposed unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” program, he said, “We have to take their guns!”

Every time Clinton baited Trump, he took the lure. For example, she said, “Donald was one of the people who rooted for housing crisis. He said back in 2006, gee, I hope it does collapse then I can go in and buy some and it did collapse.” In desperation, Trump answered, “That is business.”

Unlike Trump’s opponents in the GOP primary debates, Clinton always appeared dignified and used specific facts for all her arguments throughout the first debate. She appeared to be addressing the television audience with her clear explanations. In contrast, Trump continually interrupted Clinton, accusing her of lying, spoke over her answers, and extending his time over Holt’s protests. Clinton almost always patiently waited until Trump finished, just as a person might do with a petulant small child, before she returned to policy statements. Although he didn’t admit he did a bad job, he complained of having a bad microphone after the debate had finished.

About last night’s debate, the editorial board of the New York Times wrote:

“When just one candidate is serious and the other is a vacuous bully, the term [debate] loses all meaning….

“There was a fundamental asymmetry to the exercise, because of the awful truth that one of the participants had nothing truthful to offer. But seeing them on the same stage distilled exactly who they have been throughout this campaign….

“Standing at the lectern, interrupting and shouting, playing the invisible accordion with his open hands, filibustering, tossing his word salads—jobs and terrorism and Nafta and China and everything is terrible—Mr. Trump said a lot. But as the debate wore on, he struggled to contend with an opponent who was much more poised and prepared than any of the Republicans he faced in the primaries.”

Joe Klein wrote in Time: 

“Her most impressive moments came when she wasn’t talking, when she was on split-screen listening to him. She didn’t waver; she listened with a perfect combination of attention and ironic bemusement, with just the slightest hint of “What a jerk” flickering at the corners of her eyes and her mouth.

“He, by contrast, huffed and puffed and sniffled … and sighed and groaned and mugged and drank water and interrupted, rudely, repeatedly. He made not one solid, specific proposal during the course of the 90 minutes.”

In a Newsweek opinion piece, “Donald Trump’s Sniffling, Humbling Debate Debacle,” Matthew Cooper wrote about Trump’s “smirks and pouts,” his “sniffles” and how he “seemed allergic to facts.”

  • Clinton has been fighting ISIS “her entire adult life.” No, ISIS came out under George W. Bush in 2004, and Clinton was born in 1947.
  • ICE endorsed Trump? No, government agencies don’t endorse candidates.
  • He wanted to protect President Obama with the birther movement? Totally preposterous!
  • The U.S. is a Third World country. No—he’s obviously never been to a real Third World country.

The debate shows a presidential candidate who has no soul. He will cheat anyone to make more money and then take pride in his actions. He even lies about opposing “professional politicians”; he just wants the position of president to make money for his businesses.

The worst part of the debate, however, is that the country is not more horrified by what a presidential candidate openly says to 100 million people. He finished his diatribe about Clinton’s accusations of misogyny was his “defense” by talking about Rosie O’Donnell. In 2006, she criticized him on The View about his affair while he was married and about his bankruptcy. That was ten years ago, and he still obsesses about it. At the end of the debate, Trump said:

 “Somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her.”

These are the same words that abusive men use when they talk about their female victims: “She deserves it.” And the media made very few comments about it because Trump has normalized not only lying but also abuse and violence with the support of over 40 percent of the voters in the United States. This is a tragic commentary on the culture of the country in the 21st century.

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.”

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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 13, 2016

Media, Trump Attack Clinton for Illness, ‘Deplorable’ Description

 

When rumors circulated that Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) had died, the great writer responded, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” The same thing can be said by Hillary Clinton although right-wing conspiracy theorists won’t believe it.

“A video clip of WABC-TV Channel 7 ‘Eyewitness News’ in New York City opened [last Sunday night] with Anchorman Joe Torre saying ‘more on Hillary Clinton’s Death.’ The opening line, however, seems edited-OUT of the video archive!”

[Spoiler alert: Clinton is alive and well and going back on the campaign trail in two days.] The above lede published on a far-right conspiracy website was followed by the myths that the woman pictured in the clips following Clinton’s health episode at the 9/11 memorial was thinner, walked differently, and carried her handbag over her right shoulder. The writer claimed that the fingers were of different lengths and the wedding rings were different in the compared Clinton photos. And even more from the writer! Chelsea Clinton’s home was formerly a New York state hospital which contributes to the conspiracy theory that the Clinton Foundation is providing a private hospice for Hillary Clinton in the same building where her daughter lives.

Except the far-right has been punked. Teresa Barnwell, who has been impersonating Clinton since the 1990s, tweeted a photo that she had taken weeks earlier outside Chelsea Clinton’s building with the caption, “Maybe I was in NYC today…you never know!” Too much unwanted attention led her to delete it. Barnwell wasn’t in New York on Sunday. She said about her impersonation, “It was a lot more fun in the ’90s. People had a sense of humor no matter what their political affiliation.”

Donald Trump avoided the military because he had bone spurs on his heels while his supporters attack Hillary Clinton for powering through a case of pneumonia. As Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote, “It’s what women do” and cites examples. Diagnosed with pneumonia, Clinton attended events and campaigning for the next day, culminating in her feeling faint on Sunday when she attended the 9/11 memorial. Instead of obsessing about Clinton feeling faint, the media should praise her for continuing to do her work despite the heat, humidity, and pneumonia. Meanwhile, voters are waiting for Trump’s health record, and some people are wondering about the identity and credentials of his new doctor considering the ridiculous letter of opinion from his last one.

Dr. Oz” will “analyze” the results on his Thursday show. The doctor/entertainer will most likely present Trump as very healthy, no matter what the test results, because of his reputation for “unorthodox” claims that his show resembles an infomercial for fads. For example, he was required to testify before a Senate subcommittee claiming that “the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat [is] raspberry ketones.” Canadian fact-checkers found that half the claims are supported with evidence. Oz made news in the media after he false announced that several brands of apple juice had high levels of arsenic following improper testing. Although Oz’s claim was disproved, the warning is still circulating the internet.

After ten physicians asked Columbia University to cut ties with Dr. Mehmet Oz, he defended himself by saying that his program is actually “not a medical show” and will no longer use terms such as “miracle.” His major defense of his debunked claims, however, is “freedom of speech.” One of Oz’s colleagues, Dr. Henry I. Miller at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said that the medical community general  regards Oz “as a fraud, charlatan, and huckster, interested only in what benefits him financially.” Trump’s appearance with Dr. Oz brings up the old saying, “Birds of a feather ….”

Asked about the interview with Trump on the television show, Oz said:

“It’s his decision. You know, I–the metaphor for me is it’s the doctor’s office, the studio. So I’m not going to ask him questions he doesn’t want to have answered.”

Legendary entertainer Cher responded, “Why is Dr. Oz letting Trump pimp him out!?”

Clinton also got bad press by saying that half of Trump’s supporters are “deplorable” so she apologized:

“I regret saying ‘half’–that was wrong. But let’s be clear, what’s really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values. It’s deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices, including by retweeting fringe bigots with a few dozen followers and spreading their message to 11 million people. It’s deplorable that he’s attacked a federal judge for his ‘Mexican heritage,’ bullied a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith, and promoted the lie that our first black president is not a true American. So I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign. I also meant what I said last night about empathy, and the very real challenges we face as a country where so many people have been left out and left behind. As I said, many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them.  I’m determined to bring our country together and make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. Because we really are ‘stronger together.’ “

Trump supporters and the media are shocked—shocked! I say—that Hillary Clinton would describe his supporters as “deplorable.” Slate’s chief political correspondent, Jamelle Bouie, put Clinton’s original remarks into perspective: “If you break down the numbers and you look at the RealClearPolitics average, and it gives Trump, 43 percent of the registered voters, they’re about 30, 31 million people.” Half would be about 15 million people.

Polls showing percentages of Trump’s attitudes toward Muslims, Mexican immigrants, blacks, and LGBT people within members of the GOP indicate that Clinton may have been right:

Birtherism: 72 percent of registered Republicans still question that President Obama was born in the United States, and both VP candidate Mike Pence and Trump refuse to come out against birtherism. Both of them just say, “I don’t talk about that issue.” Trump’s surrogates claim that Trump has gotten over that conspiracy theory, but he will not personally admit it.

Muslim ban: 84 percent of Trump supports want to ban Muslims from the United States.

Islam: 58 percent of Trump supporters said they have “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” views of Islam.

Immigrants: 70 percent of Republicans agree with Trump’s statements about Mexican immigrants being “rapists” who are “bringing crime” and “bringing drugs” to the U.S. Half of Trump supporters connect more undocumented immigrants to crime than U.S. citizens.

Trump’s judge: 43 percent of Republicans agreed with Trump that he should complain about his judge being “Mexican”—although the judge is from Illinois.

Building “the wall”: 73 percent of Republicans support building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Blacks: 40 to 50 percent of Trump supporters hold at least one of these negative views about blacks: less intelligent, more lazy, more rude, more violent, and more criminal.

LGBT rights: 67 percent of Republicans oppose marriage equality. 82 percent of Republicans support laws preventing people from using facilities matching their gender identities. In the category of job discrimination, only 33 percent of Republicans oppose laws prohibiting LGBT discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodation—but that poll was last February, before the “potty police” invaded the country.

Trump calls his supporters “patriotic,” but polls show a vastly increased popularity of Vladimir Putin since Trump’s vocal support for the Russian leader. Although there is no good polling on views about gender, Trump’s supporters cheer all his sexist remarks.

As usual, Trump and the media have judged Clinton on a much higher curve than Donald Trump. Charles Pierce wrote:

“In between her initial diagnosis and the disclosure, Clinton appeared at two fundraisers, ran a two-hour national security meeting, did a press event, sat down for an interview with CNN, and attended a memorial service for America’s fallen heroes. Everybody gets sick, but not everybody shows up for work—especially highly stressful work—day in and day out. She does.”

While Trump lambasts Clinton for her “deplorable” statement, people forget that Trump told Sean Hannity’s viewers last June that 50 percent of the population has to “carry” the other 50 percent.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJhsWT-MAN4    Just six months earlier, he said that Mitt Romney should have not apologized by saying that 47 percent of the people in the U.S. will vote for President Obama because he gives them things because Romney was correct.

Donald Trump tells so many lies and makes so many outrageous comments that he’s desensitized the media. Instead, they turn on Hillary Clinton when she makes one statement that they find offensive. People–and the most of the media–even ignore Trump when he promises to start World War III if Iranians make rude “gestures” from their “little bug boats.” That was just before he called Clinton “trigger-happy.”

September 11, 2016

Sad Hypocrisy of 9/11, Evangelical Christians

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Christine Todd Whitman, George W. Bush’s head of the EPA at that time, has finally admitted that she was wrong about the air around Ground Zero being just fine following the attacks. She finally said that she was “very sorry” that people are sick and some have died, but she gets upset because people blame her. Over 37,000 people registered with the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) are declared sick, many with respiratory illnesses and/or cancer. Over 1,100 people covered by  WTCHP have died. Whitman had said that air in any areas other than the place of the attack did “not pose a public health hazard.”

GOP legislators also felt the need to comment about the need to “never forget” before they left town for a long weekend with the usual comments about the “heroism of our response” (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY), the need to help people understand the sacrifices made (House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI), etc. They also failed to lead Congress in a new 9/11 health and compensation law—never even signed on as sponsors–and instead used it as blackmail to lift an oil export ban. In talking about “sacrifices,” Ryan also commented that he had to drive home to Wisconsin because he couldn’t get a flight.

McConnell managed two anti-Obama care votes this week, but thousands of babies will be born with birth defects, thanks to the GOP failure to push Zika virus funding; residents of Flint (MI) and probably other cities will continue to be poisoned with lead in its water systems, thanks to any congressional action; the Supreme Court will have only eight justices, thanks to the Senate’s intransigence; etc.

Trump scammed the government for $150,000 in 9/11 money by claiming that he helped people after the attacks. Records, however, claimed “rent loss,” “cleanup,” and “repair” that were not allowable under federal gifts. He said that he let people stay free in his building, but that claim didn’t match the reports. He admitted that his property wasn’t affected by the attacks, and there is no evidence of any Trump from charity. He also lied about having “hundreds of friends” die in the attacks and watching “hundreds of Muslims” cheering when the Twin Towers went down.

The Values Voters Summit, hosted by the Family Research Council, met this weekend, and speakers made the same dire warnings of persecution for Christians. American Family Association radio host and government affairs director Sandy Rios failed to explain why people shouldn’t vote for Clinton other than “we can’t even comprehend what life would be like” if Clinton is president. Rios did claim that those who “name the name of Christ will have trouble finding jobs” and people will have to have the “right” opinions to get into college.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) followed up on the persecution threat by saying that he was correct in his prediction that the 2009 Matthew Shepard hate crimes act would persecute Christians. Before its passage he claimed that the law would make the U.S. into Nazi Germany and legalize pedophilia, bestiality, and necrophilia. He had no examples of how the law was “used against Christians” or legalization of sex with children, animals, and dead people. After diagnosing Hillary Clinton as “mentally impaired,” he accused her of planning to “subjugating the U.S. Constitution to Sharia law.” (The purpose of the Values Voters Summit is to “subjugating the U.S. Constitution to Christian law.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told the Values audience that he was qualified to legislate on abortion because he owned a small business. When an employee tells him that she is pregnant, Scott said, then he takes her to a Christian anti-abortion clinic. Being “in the private sector” make him realize the “importance” of anti-abortion.

Actor Jon Voight gave Trump an outstanding introduction, comparing the GOP presidential candidate to Saint Mother Teresa and Nobel laureate/theologian Albert Schweitzer. The presidential candidate who came in fifth at last year’s Values Voter Summit straw poll showed himself to be the typical reality-show star as he spoke to an audience that chanted “Lock her up!” Trump followed that with a New Testament verse: “No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

Trump ridiculed the IRS regulation preventing churches from supporting or opposing candidates to maintain their tax-exempt status but ignored the fact that the law has been effect since 1954 during GOP President Eisenhower’s first term. Trump continued to lie when he declared that “pastors and ministers” cannot “talk about politics” and said that “all religious leaders should be able to freely express their thoughts and feelings on religious matters.” Religious leaders do that weekly if not daily, as proved by the religious leaders who speak at Trump’s rallies and other events.

Same-gender marriage appears to have disappeared from the evangelical radar if former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is any example. At the Summit, the politician who fought bitterly against marriage equality said, “It’s not an issue. In fact, it’s boring.” It appears that the Summit is also “not an issue” and “boring”: The internet has almost nothing about this year’s meeting.

Before cable television was overwhelmed today with Hillary Clinton’s illness, manifested at the 9/11 commemoration this morning, it concentrated on Clinton’s statement that half of Trump’s supporters are in a “basket of deplorable.” She did later apologize for having said this, and many people are saying that she was telling the truth because of a constituency for a racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic candidate.  (I’ll also add arrogant, narcissistic, and bullying, and you may have a few more adjectives.)

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, defended the GOP candidate at the Summit by saying that they are “hard-working” and “deserve your respect.” Hard-working they may be, but respect is an interesting term for Pence to use when he shows no respect for many of the people in Indiana after he was elected governor when he promoted laws against women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants, raped prisoners, poor people, religious diversity, and people at risk of HIV/AIDS. Pence’s “religious freedom” law in Indiana also permits parents to beat their children with a number of items, including coat hangers and cords. That’s a lot of missing “respect.”

These are a few of the people who Pence wants Clinton to respect:

In Alabama, a Christian pastor told an audience at a McKenzie High School football game that they should be lined up and executed by the military if they don’t stand for the national anthem. The crowd cheered and praised the pastor on Facebook.

In Ohio, a 31-year-old youth pastor sexually abused a teenage member of his church. Church leaders who discovered the abuse told the family not to return to their church until the daughter apologized to the pastor’s wife for being sexually abused.

More examples of evangelical positions:

  • Linking LGBT rights to ISIS.
  • Calling gay rights activists “intolerant,” “hateful,” “vile,” “spiteful” and “pawns” of Satan.
  • Defending Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill as a “laudable” effort “to uphold moral conduct.”
  • Accusing President Obama of using the health care reform law for a private army of loyal Brownshirts.
  • Claiming that the president promoted the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the U.S. government.
  • Alleging that the health care act will deprive the elderly of life-saving treatments.
  • Insisting that bisexuality means “orgies.”
  • Believing that public school officials are getting “condom profits” from opposing abstinence-only programs.
  • Tying same-gender marriage to failing public schools.
  • Blaming President Obama for “orchestrating” protests in Ferguson (MO) to exacerbate racial tensions.
  • Suggesting that the president is having a secret gay affair.
  • Comparing people who want Confederate symbols removed from government property to ISIS terrorists.
  • Stating that blacks abused during the Jim Crow era are “singing and happy.”
  • Calling an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity.”
  • Asserting that the U.S. government is working with drug gangs and Islamic militant to create turmoil and disorder.
  • Blaming the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal on the inclusion of women in the military.
  • Fearing that the government will use the military to persecute LGBT rights opponents and murder Christians.
  • Maintaining that the president will fake an assassination attempt or “intentionally” spark an Israeli-Irnaian war to “take control of the radio, TV, and internet” and “start usurping all kinds of power.”
  • Insisting that “78 to 81” House Democrats “are members of the Communist Party” and that President Obama uses Soviet messaging.
  • Positing that the president is waging “biological warfare” against Americans through enterovirus D68 or the Ebola virus.
  • Comparing Social Security to slavery.
  • Blaming football injuries on the separation of church and state.
  • Heralding Donald Trump as God’s choice to win the election.
  • And much more!

Pence wants people to respect all the people who want to kill people for thinking for themselves, who have diverse beliefs and religions, rape with impunity, and struggle to take away the rights of everyone except evangelical Christians.

September 8, 2016

‘Special Treatment’ for Hillary Clinton

Last night’s precursor of the presidential debates shows the importance of a good moderator. Matt Lauer isn’t one. He started by grilling Hillary Clinton on her emails—taking up a full one-third of her time—that he could have used for issues such as military strategy, leadership goals, policy positions, etc. When he finally got around to the subject of the townhall—national security and veterans issues—he hurried her through her answers by interrupting her, something he didn’t do once to Trump. She was limited in discussing policy while Trump was permitted to lie without confrontation and then spend much of his time in generalities such as defining his qualifications to be commander-in-chief as having “good judgment” and “common sense.” MSNBC should be embarrassed about this debacle; it felt much like a performance on the Fox network.

Trump’s major position in protecting the country is that it has bad generals, “reduced to rubble” to be specific. Trump’s plan to defeat ISIS: he already has a plan. But then he said he’ll tell his top generals to create a plan. Which is it? And he’ll do it in 30 days. George W. Bush said “Mission Accomplished” 40 days after he invaded Iraq, and the U.S. is still in a quagmire there. Trump is also under the misguided impression that he can change all the generals to those who agree with him, but he doesn’t appoint them. He may nominate them, but the Senate has to approve his appointments.

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is better than Obama, Trump said, because Putin’s approval ratings are higher. Throughout the townhall Trump had nothing bad to say about Putin and nothing good to say about the U.S. president. Lauer also failed to point out that dictators typically have high approval ratings.

Trump claims that he’s studying policy but excuses himself from knowing anything by saying, “I’m campaigning, I’m running a business, I’ve got a lot of hats right now.” Trump doesn’t want to remove women from the military, but he blames the high number of sexual assaults in the military on the fact that men and women are serving again. Trump is unaware that 53 percent of these assaults in 2012 were of men and almost entirely by men. Over half the assaults in 2015 were still of men. Lauer appeared totally unaware of this information.

Lauer’s introductory question to Trump was what he had done to be commander-in-chief. He answered, “Well, I’ve built a great company. I’ve been all over the world.” Then he proceeded to lie about opposing the Iraq War from the beginning and the U.S. intervention in Libya that overturned late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Lauer failed to point out that Trump initially supported the Iraq War and called on the U.S. to intervene—leaving the audience with the idea that Trump was being truthful. By the finish, Lauer had failed to ask Trump about his dodging the draft, ridiculing POW Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), smearing a Gold Star family, comparing experience in prep school to serving in the military, calling on Russia to hack Clinton’s email server, and bragging about getting a Purple Heart because a soldier gave Trump his medal. Nor did Lauer ask about the affect that a Muslim ban would have on potential ISIS terrorism in the U.S. This in a discussion about national security and veterans affairs in front of an audience of veterans.

In the past, journalists believed that the truth had value. Now their position is that political candidates lie however they want with no questioning. Chris Wallace, moderator of the October 19 presidential debate, said, “I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad.” Lauer also showed his inability to handle Trump. Although he told the candidates to not be negative, Trump spent over half his time attacking Clinton and President Obama—perhaps because he doesn’t know anything about being a commander-in-chief. Lauer also failed to gather any specifics from Trump.

Trump has spent several months saying that he can’t release his tax returns because he’s being audited, despite his statement that the years 2002-2008 are no longer being audited. (Of course, no one knows for sure that any of his tax returns are being audited.) Then he switched to saying that it would be “irresponsible” to do that. The most recent statement before last night was that “I think people don’t care. I don’t think anybody cares, except some members of the press.” Actually, the man who follows polls so closely should know that 74 percent of the people think he should release them—including 62 percent of the Republicans. Even his running mate, Mike Pence wants him to make the returns public.

Last night, Trump tried a different tack. He’ll release them “immediately” if Clinton makes public personal emails that were deleted years ago. He also said that no one in business would delete emails although that’s exactly what his business did several years ago when he brought a lawsuit ten years ago.

“If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS,” Trump said last night. He suggested that the way to defeat ISIS is to “take the oil.” Asked how to do that, he said:

“Well, you—you just, you would leave a certain group behind. And you would take various sections where they have the oil. People don’t know this about Iraq, but they have among the largest oil reserves in the world.”

So Trump’s plan is to pillage a country of all resources after the U.S. idea has invaded it.

Trump has long valued Russia and Putin over the United States and President Obama, but he went over the edge in a townhall meeting on national security when he talked about his experiences at the his first classified briefing—after he talked about the dangers of Clinton’s emails. He said he was shocked by the way that the briefers disdained his political opponent and the current president and finished by saying, “Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.” With this massive breach of ethics, concerns about giving Trump classified information were accurate. This is the first time that a presidential candidate has politicized these briefings.

Members of the Trump campaign staff also leaked information about the briefing. For example, it was reported that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn interrupted the proceedings so much that Chris Christie, also invited by Trump, told him to shut up.

clinton-smileRNC Chair Reince Priebus couldn’t fault Clinton for her statements in last night’s townhall so he complained about—yes!—her not smiling. She answered, “Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like.” Priebus was also wrong: she did smile as this photo shows.

The male moderator at a townhall doesn’t allow the female candidate to address the issues and constantly interrupts her while telling her to hurry up. Then he gives the male candidate easy questions and fails to correct most of the candidate’s lies. The moderator also orders the female not to attack her opponent while asking the male candidate to “keep his attacks to a minimum.” The moderator didn’t limit the male candidate’s constant attacks in any way. And finally the leader of the Republican party complains because she won’t “smile” while talking about serious issues. Might this be called sexism?

Trump may have had a pitiful performance last night in the townhalls, but Gary Johnson, the Libertarian who disaffected Republicans consider as an alternative had a worse morning. When he was asked on Morning Joe about Aleppo, Johnson answered, “What is Aleppo”? The U.S. public may not need to know about Aleppo, but the President of the United States needs to know that Aleppo is the “epicenter” of the Syrian refugee crisis, as Mike Barnicle explained to Johnson. All of Hillary Clinton’s opponents are pathetic, and almost all the “journalists” focus on how she is perceived as not “likable.”

The bar is so low for Donald Trump that he’s admired if he doesn’t drool on his shoes—to quote Democrat Eugene Robinson and Republican Nicole Wallace. That means that Hillary Clinton definitely gets special treatment the way people claim—it’s just that she cannot achieve their high standards no matter the extent of her knowledge and preparation. Trump would have disappeared a year ago, if expectations for him were only one-fourth what they are for Hillary Clinton.

September 4, 2016

Trump ‘Off Rhythm’

trump among church goers

“Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith…. Some politicians come and clap—off rhythm—to the choir. We don’t need that.” Barack Obama made this statement in 2006, but it holds true for Donald Trump’s appearance yesterday in Great Faith International Church, a black church in Detroit.

After the NYT leaked the script for his private infomercial with Bishop Wayne Jackson of Great Faith Ministries, plans changed a little. Trump taped a private conversation with Jackson that may be released on Thursday after Trump’s campaign edits the video and then talked with the media. Trump shook some hands and held a baby. Trump sat in the front row next to Ben Carson and Carson’s wife along with Theresa “Omarosa” Manigault, his head of black outreach and former Apprentice contestant before he spoke for about 12 minutes. Trump left the service before it was half over. At 70, Trump, who infrequently attends church, made his first visit to a black church.

[The view from the back of the church.]

Trump black church

Trump began his speech with words reminiscent of his wife’s plagiarized speech at the GOP convention:

“I just wrote this the other day, knowing I’d be here, and I mean it from the heart and I’d like to just read it and I think you’ll understand it maybe better than I do in certain ways. I am here today to listen to your message.”

People inside and outside the church were skeptical of Trump’s words. Many thought he came for a photo-op instead of to listen. Denaria Thorn said that she had expected an apology for Trump’s treatment of blacks, but that didn’t happen. Thorn said that the speech “was pretty negative and it was very, very hurtful in fact.”

Kim Witten, who has belonged to the church for 20 years, said:

“When somebody wants something from you, and they say the right words—I would have liked to hear him say those things before he wanted something. It was a very good speech. Whoever helped him did a good job on it. But I know that he wants something.”

Trump said that “those who seek office do not do enough to step into the community and learn what’s going on,” yet Hillary Clinton has been doing that for over a half century. He accused Hillary Clinton of not being religious, but this is her answer to a woman about her faith in a town hall meeting last January:

Clinton Mount Zion church “Thank you for asking that. I am a person of faith. I am a Christian. I am a Methodist. My study of the Bible … has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do. And there is so much more in the Bible about taking care of the poor, visiting the prisoners, taking in the stranger, creating opportunities for others to be lifted up … I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith…. I am in awe of people who truly turn the other cheek all the time, who can go that extra mile that we are called to go, who keep finding ways to forgive and move on.”

Clinton began her social activism over 50 years ago in her local Methodist church, thanks to its youth pastor. The photo below shows Clinton preaching at the Foundry United Methodist Church, which she started attending with her family during her husband’s presidency. Clinton preachingTrump is now trying to picture himself as a “unifier,” a person who will bring “civil rights” to the nation. This is the same man who began his long history of racism by discriminated against blacks in the buildings he owned, a violation of the Fair Housing Act. In the 1980s he had all blacks ordered off the floor when he and his wife Ivana went to the casino, and he lobbied to demand the death penalty for four black and one Latino teenager after a jogger was raped in Central Park. After they were exonerated, Trump refused to apologize because, according to him, they were probably committing other crimes that night. His record at The Apprentice also demonstrates his prejudice against blacks. Until a few months ago, Trump pushed the idea that President Obama, born in Hawaii, was actually born in Kenya and that he was a good enough student to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School.

Trump is an equal opportunity bigot: he’s also made racist statements against Native Americans, Muslims, Hispanics, Asians, etc. Until a few months ago, Trump pushed the idea that President Obama, born in Hawaii, was actually born in Kenya and that he was a good enough student to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School. This running list of Trump’s racism shows a long-term pattern.

Part of his pandering to black voters uses the same claim that other Republicans use:

“Becoming the nominee of the party of Abraham Lincoln … has been the greatest honor of my life.It is on his legacy that I hope to build the future of the party, but more importantly, the future of the country.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 3, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Technically, he might be correct, but party philosophy changes. Democrats in the early 20th century were a combination of Southern white bigots and northern blacks and white progressives. The Dixiecrats flooded into the GOP after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater used his opposition to this law as part of his platform. Goldwater won only six states in the general election so the GOP used their “Southern Strategy”—race-baiting, discriminatory voter-ID laws, and opposition to affirmative action—to build the Republican party. Democrats were on the wrong side of history in the decades after the Civil War, but that was over a century ago. Now the Republicans are a party of exclusion and white supremacy.

The mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, said, “The difference between Donald Trump and Detroit is Detroit’s only gone through bankruptcy once.” Duggan also asked why Trump has converted to using scripted answers when he prides himself on speaking what he thinks.   Chuck Westbrook, a lifelong Detroit resident who attended the service, said Trump’s tone was unfamiliar, “like a weak little whisper from Donald Trump.”

Trump’s stop by Ben Carson’s old home in a Detroit suburb gave a touch of humor. When Trump talked with the house’s current resident, Felicia Reese, he told her that “this is a nice house” and that it’s “worth a lot of money.” She suggested that he might “come up with something associated with The Art of The Deal so I can sell it,” referring to the ghostwritten books published under Trump’s name. Asked how long he spent with her, Reese said, “Oh, just a minute or so. He was here briefly just to take some pictures.” The reporter asked what Reese might want people to know. She said, “Be polite.” And then, “go to vote.” She paused and added, “Democratic.”

The funniest piece of the visit can be seen on this 13-second clip as CNN’s Jeremy Diamond tries to interview Carson:

“We just saw Mr. Trump here and I asked him how did it go and he said ‘Great.’ He said he learned a lot of things. What do you think he took away from today?”

With a panicky look, Carson said, “Oh my luggage. Um—hold on.” And then he ran away. Other Trump surrogates might take notice of this method of avoiding embarrassing questions.

Trump’s constituency and the media have a very low bar for his “success.” He can read a speech, and the GOP leadership sighs with relief. He goes to a black church for the first time when he is 70, and all are agog. Hillary Clinton has been attending black churches, even preaching in them, for over 50 years, and the media focus on the what they perceive as the problems of her connection with the Clinton Foundation—which does very good work with 89 percent of donations contributed to charity.

Soledad O'BrienFormer CNN host Soledad O’Brien talked today about how the media has “normalized white supremacy”:

“I’ve seen on-air, white supremacists being interviewed because they are Trump delegates. And they do a five-minute segment, the first minute or so talking about what they believe as white supremacists. So you have normalized that.”

As she said, Trump claims that “Hillary Clinton, she’s a bigot,” and the media appears to make the two candidates equal as if the argument is simply “he said, she said” instead of one of them lying. O’Brien added that news outlets are rewarded for bad behavior because they like the big audiences for “hateful speech.” In effect, the media is responsible for Trump’s successes after he had only a ten-percent following during the primaries. And they continue to do it: over and over today, I heard about Clinton’s “unlikability” but nothing about Trump’s greater unfavorable ratings. The media will control the 2016 presidential election.

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.

August 30, 2016

Trump’s Campaign Manager Decries Lack of ‘Substance’

“We want substance!” That’s the cry from Donald lovers and Hillary haters. During an interview with Rachel Maddow, Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, voiced the complaint that “no substance [is] being discussed” in the 2016 race.

Yesterday Hillary Clinton provided substance—and the media ignored her. She presented a mental health package to help improve the condition of the 20 percent of people in the United States who suffer from mental illness and initiate a White House conference about the subject during her first year as president. Her plan integrates mental health services into health-care system and includes a national suicide prevention initiative, higher payments for Medicaid providers, emphasis on treatment over jail for low-level criminal offenders with mental health issues, and new housing and job opportunities. She also promised increased investment in brain and behavioral science research as well as enforcing existing laws that mandate mental health coverage be an essential benefit in health insurance plans. This agenda overlaps with her plan to address drug and alcohol addiction and addresses the problems of military veterans who experience PTSD and depression.

Plans like this sound boring to anyone except policy wonks like Clinton. Anti-Hillary people would rather have the media throw them red meat so that they are comfortable with hating Clinton. Much as Trump’s campaign manager calls for a discussion of “substance,” her candidate doesn’t want anything except innuendo and false assertions.

Yesterday, Conway’s candidate blamed Clinton for Anthony Weiner sexts because the former congressman and onetime mayoral candidate is married to Clinton’s senior adviser Huma Abedin who is leaving her husband after the most recent sexts. Trump wrote:

“I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity [sic] to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”

Throwing out this criticism is bad judgment from a man who left his first wife for another woman and then left her for a Central European model who posed nude and may have violated immigration law. After his first divorce, his own mother said, “What kind of son have I created?” He also seeks advice from Roger Ailes, recently fired from his position as chair and CEO of Fox network because of sexual harassment for dozens of women. Trump’s pick for campaign CEO is Steve Bannon, who was charged with physically assaulting his ex-wife. Weiner hasn’t been charged with any criminal acts, but Trump wants him listed as a sex offender. And Trump has no proof for his assertions; he just wants to rile up his audience.

While ignoring Clinton’s health plan, Trump waded into the issue of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who didn’t stand for the national anthem and said that the football player should leave the United States. Colin Kaepernick said that he was protesting the nation’s racial inequality when he sat during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The NFL league does not require players to stand during the national anthem. It’s a matter of free speech, just the Supreme Court says about donating unlimited sums of money to candidates.

Conservatives who want limited ownership of firearms claim that killings could be solved by addressing mental health issues, but no Republican, including Donald Trump, has responded to Clinton’s new plan. If Conway’s candidate tries to address “substance,” he’ll be farther down in the polls that he is now.

Trump Watch: Pastor Mark Burns, a black supporter of Donald Trump, has used his freedom of speech to attack Clinton by tweeting a vile cartoon of the Democratic presidential candidate in black face. [I included the cartoon because it’s the only way to see how horrible it is.] blackfaceTrump’s surrogate and advisor, a proponent of the “prosperity gospel” that champions money and celebrates great wealth for people, called his intentions in the tweet “honorable.”  Burns’ benediction at the GOP convention has been called the most partisan convention prayer in modern history. He called Democrats as “the enemy” and asked for God to “defeat” Clinton and her party. Trump’s favorability with blacks is zero: 97 percent of blacks view Trump unfavorably and the remaining three percent is undecided.

The Washington Post has made public much of the raw reporting used in the development of Trump Revealed, its new biography of the GOP presidential nominee. The archive contains 398 documents–interview transcripts, court filings, financial reports, immigration records, etc.

Dr. Harold Bornstein may come to regret the five minutes that he spent typing up his letter with the glowing description of Trump’s fine health. After GOP members started putting out fake videos and other reports falsely purporting that Clinton’s health is bad, journalists started digging into the Bornstein’s background. The interview with him was damning enough, especially when he said, in an egregious violation of medical ethics, “I know her physician and I know some of her health history which is really not so good.”

Additional information shows that Bornstein paid $86,250 in 2002 to the husband of a former patient to settle a wrongful death case alleging that Bornstein had contributed to the woman’s addition and resulting death by overmedicating her with unnecessary prescriptions. This case was one of three lawsuits since 1992, with another one alleging improper administration of  powerful drugs leading to the patient’s death.

In one of the complaints, Kenneth Levin alleged Bornstein “was negligent, careless, and unskilled in failing to properly diagnose the plaintiff” and in treating his wife, Janet Levin. It also alleges that Bornstein was negligent “in failing to make a referral to a mental health professional; in wrongfully prescribing tuinal, morphine, and valium, particularly in light of the history of drinking; in improperly and negligently seeing the patient without providing treatment; and in overmedicating the decedent.” Kenneth Levin has died since the lawsuit was filed and settled through a payment.

Malpractice suits aren’t uncommon among medical professionals, but Bornstein’s response to the letter of clean health he wrote for Trump has raised questions. For example, he said of the letter,“In a rush, I think some of those words didn’t come out exactly the way they were meant.” About the language, Bornstein said, “I think I picked up [Trump’s] kind of language and then just interpreted it to my own.” Arthur Caplan, founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, pointed out that “a gastroenterologist should not be offering an assessment of Trump’s overall health.” Caplan also said:

“You don’t do an assessment in a few minutes, and you don’t do it without having the person in front of you. You don’t write a letter without examining the patient.”

In another part of collateral damage in the Clinton health situation, Fox fired Dr. Drew Pinsky after he made a diagnosis of Hillary Clinton on his program although he had not seen her or her doctor.

Another Trump discovery is that his modeling agency, Trump Model Management, hired underage foreign models in the early 2000s without proper documentation. Interviews have shown low wages, horrible living conditions, and fear of being deported because they didn’t have work visas. For example, “the agency charged as much as $1,600 a month for a bunk in a six-person room in New York’s East Village in 2004.” As many as 11 girls, ages 14 and 15, and women would live in this room.

Models said that agency reps coached them in how to pass immigration:

“When you’re stuck at immigration, say that you’re coming as a tourist. If they go through your luggage and they find your portfolio, tell them that you’re going there to look for an agent.”

The girls and women were also told to send their portfolios ahead so that they didn’t get caught with them. More successful models received H-1B work visas; others not offered visas were sent home. Last March, Trump said he would “end forever the use of H-1B as a cheap labor program,” adding he will require companies to hire American workers before opening the pool to visa holders.

Trump gained part of his popularity by claiming that undocumented immigrants–like the ones his agency imported–are “taking our jobs” and “taking our money.” He promised to deport all of them and build a wall on the Mexico border–although he shipped these models into the country through New York airports. Tomorrow, Trump is presenting his latest immigration position in a speech to be given in Arizona.

Two people discussing Clinton and Trump on a local public radio station yesterday highlighted the differences between their approaches toward candidate selection. A woman claiming to be highly educated said that, based on her feelings, she wouldn’t even trust Clinton to walk her dog. A respondent, who described himself as a Goldwater Republican, said that he wouldn’t trust Trump with his bank account. His viewpoint was based on fact whereas the woman had been absorbing the “feelings” from the media. The man wanted discussion based on substance—important issues such as nuclear weapons and Russian involvement in U.S. elections. But the Hillary haters just want to keep on hating, and the media feeds them what they want.

August 17, 2016

Whither Trump?

Donald Trump read from a teleprompter last night for the third time in the past month in an attempt to woo the black voters, but all his effort was wasted as today’s publicity focused on his shift in campaign leaders—the third time in five months. Paul Manafort is out except in name only, and Stephen Bannon is in, perhaps using Trump’s philosophy that “you have to be smarter” than people you hire.

Bannon, Trump’s new campaign CEO, is the far-right executive chair of conspiracy-ridden Breitbart News as his campaign CEO, and GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway has been moved to the new campaign manager. Trump supposedly made the changes because he has grown to feel “boxed in” and “controlled” by people who barely know him. With his new team, Trump plans to stop pulling his punches—not that he ever has—and focus more on rousing his voters at rallies and media appearances. The candidate is under the impression that he has been constrained in the past few months.

bannon

Already worried about their candidate, Capitol Hill Republicans are displeased about Trump’s selection of Bannon (above), partly because he’s an enemy of GOP congressional leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Breitbart News has called Ryan the “absolute worst choice for Speaker.”

White supremacists, however, are delighted: Breitbart News brings them the racist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant fear-mongering that they love. Among other “nationalist” support, Bannon has given positive coverage to the white supremacist Alt Right movement. Richard Spencer, leader of the white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute, said that “Breitbart has acted as a ‘gateway’ to Alt Right ideas and writers.”

Bannon also highlights Jason Richwine, forced out of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation for his belief in a connection between race and IQ. The new campaign leader called Richwine “one of the smartest brains out there on demographics, demography this whole issue of immigration, what it means to this country.” Another favorite of Bannon is Pamela Geller, an anti-Islam activist.

A past Goldman Sachs investment banker, Bannon has never had any connection with campaigning. He is known as a propagandist, producing far-right and anti-Clinton movies. GOP consultant Rick Wilson said about the transition in leadership:

“If you were looking for a tone or pivot, Bannon will pivot you in a dark, racist and divisive direction. It’ll be a nationalist, hateful campaign. Republicans should run away.”

Behind the change may be donors Robert Mercer, hedge fund billionaire, and his daughter Rebekah who have funded Bannon and worked with him on the “Clinton Cash” movie based on Peter Schweizer’s book. (Mercer became famous in Oregon when he bank-rolled losing U.S. representative candidate Art Robinson, who collected urine from his wished-for constituents for a research project in just one of his kooky beliefs.)

More information about Bannon.

One of Trump’s accusations that Clinton wants to be “America’s Merkel” also panders to the white supremacists who hate Germany’s leader. They accuse Angela Merkel of trying to make Germany “a minority White country” and call her a “crazy childless bitch,” “Anti-White Traitor,” and “patron saint of terrorists.” And they ask, “Why would you allow a woman to run a country, unless you were doing it as a joke?” Trump’s complaints are directly taken from white supremacist writings which refer to Trump as their “glorious leader.” Early in his campaign, Trump called Merkel “fantastic” and “probably the greatest leader in the world today,” but that was before she said that Germnay would take in hundreds of thousands of refugees.

In other Trump news, he got his first classified intelligence briefing and said that he won’t pay attention to any of his briefings if he’s president. “They’ve made such bad decisions,” he said. It is assumed that staffers from the office of the director of national intelligence provided information about concerns around the globe, including threats.

Trump has suggested that Hillary Clinton not get these briefings because of her private email server. Yet Trump has recommended that Russia hack into Clinton’s affairs, thinks that Crimea should belong to Russia, suggested that the U.S. should not back NATO members against invasion, and hired a campaign manager who has shady dealings with Russia. Last August he told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that he gets his military advice from watching television. Asked in March who he consults regarding foreign affairs, he responded, “I’m speaking with myself, No.1, because I have a very good brain.”

Also several of the 64 members of Trump’s new Agriculture Advisory Committee have strongly supported legal status for undocumented workers. They have a concern about a shortage in the U.S. agricultural labor pool. Wonder how that will work with Trump’s immigration policies?

Several years ago, Trump not only scammed New York City in taxes but also bilked New Jersey. Early in Chris Christie’s first gubernatorial term, he and his appointed attorney general, Paula T. Dow, dropped Trump’s almost $30 million debt in taxes on casinos to $5 million—17 cents on the dollar. The week after the settlement, Christie appointed Dow to the counsel’s office of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey until he could find the judgeship that she wanted. The next month, the Christies and Trumps double dated.

Recently the right-wing, including Sean Hannity on Fox, started to distribute fake information stating that Clinton is suffering from poor health including seizures. Then became the “pillow attack,” claiming that she needs pillows in her chairs. This attack on her health has brought attention back to the truly bizarre letter he submitted to show his own health. Purported to be from Dr. Harold Bornstein, the letter has problems far beyond the poor grammar and typos and the fact that .

The web address leads to a political advertisement, and no one has reached the good doctor at his email address, information that almost no doctor includes in correspondence. Lennox Hill has no “Section” of Gastroenterology, and Bornstein isn’t listed with the “Division” of Gastroenterology. In addition, the letter lists tests as “only positive results”—a very bad thing for many diseases or disorders, and counts are numbers, neither positive nor negative. Doctors would not use the term “astonishingly excellent,” and they don’t write such vague, quasi-medical letters. The statement “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” would require a medical historian who operates a presidential health archive which could not even include the first century of presidents.

Dr. Jennifer Gunter called the letter “medically illiterate.” Trump himself may have written the letter; after all he pretended to be his personal publicist.

After Republicans demanded the FBI interview notes regarding Clinton’s emails, the GOP Congress is again involved in “much ado about nothing,” as Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) described it. Jason Herring, who directs the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs, had to admit “that even three emails marked as classified did not originate with her and that State had determined two of them did not contain classified information.” This letter shows how Herring struggled to find that Clinton had broken the law and failed to do so. The information given the House Oversight Committee is classified, but GOP members are noted for leaks. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles E. Grassley thinks it’s okay to release the material.

Richard Cross, III, the man who wrote the speech for “Benghazi Mom” Patricia Smith at the GOP convention, has decided that he will vote for Hillary Clinton. In an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, he wrote: “The only prospect more terrifying than voting for Hillary Clinton is not voting for her.”

August 12, 2016

Equal Pay for Women’s Soccer Team; ACA Makes People Healthier

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has won three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals, but they are still get paid just 72 percent per game as the U.S. men’s team—that didn’t even qualify for the current Olympics. The women’s team generated almost $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team, and their World Cup final last year was the most watched soccer game in history. Liza Bayless wrote:

“The US women’s national team collectively earned $2 million for their 2015 World Cup win. The US men’s national team — who has not made it past the quarterfinals of a World Cup in more than eight decades, and has never won — earned $9 million for their loss in the round of 16 at the 2014 Men’s World Cup in Brazil. Germany, the winning team, collected $35 million….

“The women’s team brought in more revenue in the 2016 fiscal year (granted, a World Cup year) and is also projected to outperform the men in revenue and profit in 2017, when neither team is playing a World Cup. US Soccer expects they will bring in almost twice as much as the men–$17.6 million versus $9 million. And yet the federation pays its female players $1,350 for winning an exhibition match while the men receive up to $17,625 for doing the same. For a loss, men receive $5,000. Women receive nothing. For making the World Cup roster, a male player makes $68,750 while a woman makes $15,000.

“The women do receive a base salary of $72,000 for playing on the national team and some benefits that the men do not. However, if both teams were to win all 20 exhibition games–the matches they play outside of tournaments–in a year, a female player would be paid $99,000 total (including base salary) while a male player would be paid $263,320. Additionally, sponsors compensate men hundreds of dollars more per game appearance.”

If you think that the women deserve equal pay for their winning as the men do for their losing, please sign this petition.

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While Republican candidates march around claiming that they will do away with the Affordable Care Act, ACA has provided health insurance to about 20 million people and made people healthier.

  • People are less likely to have medical debt or postpone care because of care.
  • People are more likely to have a regular doctor and get preventative health services.
  • Low-income people in Arkansas and Kentucky, which expanded Medicaid insurance to everyone below a certain income threshold, are healthier than peers in Texas, which did not expand.

These are the findings from a study during the last two years. A 2015 survey found that the people in Arkansas and Kentucky, states with Medicaid expansion, are almost five percent more likely than peers in Texas, a state without Medicaid expansion, to say they are in excellent health, a bigger difference than the 2014 survey. Another study in Oregon tracked people for two years who received Medicaid insurance and those who remained uninsured. People with insurance were much more likely to be in good or excellent health as well as more financially secure. The most recent state to expand its health care program, Louisiana, became the 31st in the nation.

Trump - New Yorker - leftTrump Watch: Two covers reflect Trump’s downward trajectory since the GOP convention only three weeks ago. The New Yorker shows rain falling on Trump to indicate the increasing disaster of his campaign. Time is considering Trump as “person of the year,” defined as a person, group, idea or object that “for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year.”

 

Trump - Time cover

 

Message to Republicans and Bernie supporters who plan to vote for Trump: The risk of having Donald Trump for president is far worse than Hillary Clinton’s nominating liberals to the Supreme Court. That message comes from conservative legal scholars. They claim that Trump is totally unfit to deal with “foreign affairs and domestic crises”—much of a president’s job—and that it’s doubtful that he’ll keep his word about his justice nominees.

According to Ilya Somin, Trump’s picks could undermine the constitution and turn the country into “a big-government xenophobic party hostile to civil liberties and opposed to most constitutional constraints on government power–much like the far-right nationalist parties of Western Europe, whose platforms are very similar to his.”

Republicans who defiantly defended Donald Trump’s statement that President Obama is the “founder of ISIS” found themselves thrown under the bus after Trump said that he was just joking—two days after he repeated the statement over and over. It the same thing that he says after many of  his statements bringing negative publicity–yelling at a baby to leave his rally, calling violence on Hillary Clinton and her supporters, etc.

Trump may have listened to Clinton’s criticism that his entire economic team is male; he has added nine names to the group, eight of them female. Still no people of color, however. And still as conservative.

People who listen to Trump touting his program for child care need to realize that this is only for guests at his resorts. Although he said that he provides on-site child-care service for employees, called Trump Kids, no one can find evidence of such programs. Yet this service, also called Trumpeteers, caters to his hotel and gold club patrons.

For the people who believe that Trump will stop outsourcing, here’s a list of countries where Trump product are manufactured: furniture – Turkey; shirts – Bangladesh and other Asian countries; vodka – Netherlands; suits – Mexico; tie clips – china; barware – Slovenia; glass and building materials – China; elevator parts – Japan; shampoo – Hong Kong; beach furniture – China; artificial turf – United Kingdom; marble – Italy; pens – Norway; slippers and cutlery – China. Trump could make all these things in the U.S., as this website shows. Yet Trump swore he would never eat Oreo cookies again after Nabisco moved to Mexico and said, “Our people should have more pride in buying made in the USA.”

Repeating his accusation that he might lose Pennsylvania because the voting is rigged, Trump told his audience that the people need to “go down to certain areas … and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times.” Donald Trump declared today that there’s only one way he could lose the state of Pennsylvania: if he’s cheated out of it. At this time, Clinton is ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania polls by ten points.

A team at the conservative Washington Post will publish Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power on August 23. Amazon is offering pre-orders, and it’s sure to instantly hit the best-seller list! An excerpt is available on-line for impatient readers.

What makes Trump the angriest? The media repeating his words. His description for journalists doing their job makes them “the lowest form of life.” He said, “I tell you, the lowest.”They are the lowest form of humanity.”

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