Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trump Prepping Strategy for Debate #2 and Possibly Debate #3: Go for the Jugular and Pray for Votes

Standing Firm and Resolute Pretty Much Like a Chameleon

Trump's next big move is to go for the kill to keep his misguided base in tow as well as happy as it were. That story introduction and highlights are from here (NY TIMES).

Trump lashed out today in the aftermath of his disappointing first debate with Hillary Clinton: (1) scolding the moderator, Lester Holt; (2) criticizing a beauty pageant winner for her physique, (3) and raising the prospect of an all-out attack on Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities in the final stretch of the campaign.

Having worked assiduously in recent weeks to cultivate a more disciplined demeanor on the campaign trail, he apparently is willing to cast that aside and go for Hillary's jugular as he told a NC crowd venting his grievances in full public view.

Trump criticized Lester Holt, the NBC News anchor, for asking “unfair questions” during the debate, and then he speculated that someone might have tampered with his microphone. Trump then repeated his charge that Clinton lacked the “stamina” to be president, a claim critics have described as sexist, and he suggested that in the future he might raise former President Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions.
 


Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Time to Hold Donald J. Trump Accountable for his Lies on Top of More and More Lies

The Envelope, Please; and the Winner is ....


And Proud, too Thank You, Thank You, Thank You ...

Liar, liar, pants on fire…!! Let’s count the critical lies by Donald J. Trump, shall we? From Politifact.org and others reported here in part from Media Matters.org.

PolitiFact Found That 70 Percent of Donald Trump’s Assertions Are “Mostly False; False; or, Pants on Fire.”

Moreover, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote that because Trump “never takes anything back — and often repeats the same false claims, voters are likely to hear these time and again during the campaign season.” [PolitiFact, accessed 9/21/16; The Washington Post, 3/22/16]

Donald Trump Falsely Claimed That “The Birther Movement Was Started By Hillary Clinton In 2008.” Trump has asserted on numerous occasions that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “started and was all in” on claims that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In September 2015, Trump tweeted, “The birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in!" At the time PolitiFact rated the statement “false, noting there is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States.” Trump has continued to push the lie, most recently during a September 16 speech, where Trump stated, “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.” PolitiFact once again rated the claim “false, noting that while “Trump has repeatedly claimed that Clinton began the whole issue in the first place … PolitiFact and our friends at FactCheck.org and the Washington Post Fact-Checker have debunked this zombie claim multiple times.”

Trump Falsely Claimed That He “Finished” Conspiracy Theories about Barack Obama’s Birthplace, Which PolitiFact Rated “Pants on Fire.” In September 2016, Trump finally admitted that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,” but added Clinton’s campaign was the source of the claim, and that he “finished it.” PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim “Pants on Fire,” writing “in no credible sense is this true,” and noting that Trump continued “fanning the flames of birther conspiracies … for at least another three and a half years” after Obama released his birth certificate. 

Trump Has Repeatedly Falsely Claimed That He “Was Totally Against The War In Iraq.” Trump has repeatedly and falsely claimed that he “was totally against the war in Iraq," most recently during NBC’s September 7 Commander-In-Chief Forum. However, in 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, when asked by Howard Stern if he was “for invading Iraq,” Trump said “I guess so.” Multiple fact-checkers have called out Trump’s claim that he was “totally against the war in Iraq,” with PolitiFact rating it “False.” The Washington Post fact-checker gave it “four Pinocchios” because despite documentation of Trump’s “bogus claim, Trump repeatedly claims he opposed the war from the beginning.”

Trump Has Falsely Claimed That Clinton “Soundly Slept In Her Bed” During The 2012 Attack In Benghazi, Libya. Trump has repeatedly claimed that, while secretary of state, Clinton “soundly slept in her bed” during the 2012 Benghazi attack. However, as PolitiFact noted, the attack “took place at about 9:30 p.m. Benghazi time, or 3:30 in the afternoon Washington time on a Tuesday and that Clinton was at her State Department office at the time.” Moreover, according to PolitiFact, Mrs. Clinton “worked late into the night on September 11, 2012, and none of numerous congressional investigations into the attacks faulted Clinton for her actions as the attacks unfolded that day.”

Trump Lied That Clinton Wants To “Abolish The Second Amendment.” Trump has repeatedly lied that Clinton wants to “abolish the Second Amendment” and the right to bear arms, saying Clinton “wants to take your guns away.” That is not true. PolitiFact rated the claim false, saying, “We found no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite. She has repeatedly said she wants to protect the right to bear arms while enacting measures to prevent gun violence.” Clinton has repeatedly explained that the country can regulate guns while respecting the Second Amendment. [PolitiFact, 5/11/16; New York Times, 9/17/16, Media Matters, 9/21/16]

Trump Claimed That “Inner-City Crime Is Reaching Record Levels, Which Is False.” In an August 29 tweet, Trump asserted that “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels.” But, according to PolitiFact, “the trend in crime statistics from large cities is unmistakable: The frequency of violent crime has declined since the early-to-mid 1990s, adding that patterns for homicide are the same as they are for violent crime generally – they have been declining.” [PolitiFact rated Trump’s assertion “Pants on Fire”].

Trump Has Falsely Claimed That “It Could Be 30 Million Undocumented Immigrants Currently Residing in the United States.” And, has said that the government has “no idea what the number is.” His most recent attempt to peddle this false claim was during an August 31 speech in Arizona. But, according to PolitiFact, “HSD last estimated the size of the undocumented immigrants at 11.4 million in January 2012, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007.” Moreover, as PolitiFact notes, “Every credible estimate” approximates that the population of undocumented immigrants in the United States is “in the 11 million range, with a margin of error of around 1 million.”

Trump And His Campaign Have Frequently Falsely Claimed That Trump’s Tax Returns Are Not “A Burning Issue to Most Americans.” Trump, his campaign, and his surrogates have repeatedly claimed that Americans “don’t care” about his tax returns. Trump’s campaign manager claimed on September 13 that Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns wasn’t “a burning issue to most of Americans,” while Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, declared “I don’t hear a lot of people talking” about it. However, a recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 62 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of all voters want Trump to release his tax returns. [Politico, 9/6/16; Media Matters, 9/13/16

Trump Has Lied That, Because His Taxes Are Under Audit, He “Can’t” Make Them Public. Trump and his campaign have asserted that Trump “can’t” make his tax returns public because he is being audited by the IRS.” But, as The Washington Post noted, the IRS has “said nothing, including an audit, prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.” Moreover, the Post pointed out that Trump’s own tax lawyers have said Trump’s tax “returns from 2002 to 2008 are no longer being audited, and President Richard Nixon released his tax returns while under audit.”

Trump Has Repeatedly Falsely Claimed That the “Real Unemployment Rate is 42 Percent.” Trump has asserted that the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is “one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics, and claimed that the real unemployment rate is 42 percent.” (Think Progress: “calculating the unemployment rate doesn’t change between presidential administrations and, to get anywhere close to Trump’s 42 percent figure, you’d have to count everyone who is out of the labor force, in other words is not working, which would include: Retirees, college students, and stay-at-home parents who don’t want a job”). Ergo: More grossly inflated numbers from Trump.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned and watch the 1st debate on September 26th…



Monday, September 19, 2016

SWAT and Police Do Great Work No Doubt About That: But, Why The Military Look, Tactics, and Gear

Hard to Tell the Diff Isn't It

Really Hard to Tell the Diff

Taxpayers Pay for Military Hardware
(DOD in turn gives a lot to Law Enforcement)

I have been wanting to write on this subject for some time and this fine article gives me a lead in that direction for this post – I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. It’s a good topic for more discussion.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released the results of its year-long study of police militarization. The study looked at 800 deployments of SWAT teams among 20 local, state and federal police agencies in 2011-2012.

Among the notable findings are these:

1.  62 percent of the SWAT raids surveyed were to conduct searches for drugs.

2.  Just under 80 percent were to serve a search warrant, meaning eight in 10 SWAT raids were not initiated to apprehend a school shooter, hostage taker, or escaped felon (the common justification for these tactics), but to investigate someone still only suspected of committing a crime.

3.  In fact, just 7 percent of SWAT raids were “for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.”

4.  In at least 36 percent of the SWAT raids studies, no contraband of any kind was found. The report notes that due to incomplete police reports on these raids this figure could be as high as 65 percent.

5.  65 percent of SWAT deployments resulted in some sort of forced entry into a private home, by way of a battering ram, boot, or some sort of explosive device. In over half those raids, the police failed to find any sort of weapon, the presence of which was cited as the reason for the violent tactics.

6.  Ironically (or perhaps not), searches to serve warrants on people suspected of drug crimes were more likely to result in forced entry than raids conducted for other purposes.

7.  Though often justified for rare incidents like school shootings or terrorist situations, the armored personnel vehicles police departments are getting from the Pentagon and through grants from the Department of Homeland Security are commonly used on drug raids.

8.  SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color.

Continue reading here (Washington Post) >>>


Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wisconsin Weasel: Gov. Scott "Koch-Clone" Walker (R): Corruption Comes to Light No Surprise

His Scam Kitty Comes to Light

Documents released by the Guardian indicate that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) may have solicited and received corporate checks for the 2011 Senate recall fight and his own 2012 recall election.

The checks – cut from corporate treasuries, not granted by individuals – were deposited into the account of the dark money group Wisconsin Club for Growth, which prosecutors viewed as a “subcommittee of Walker's campaign” in violation of the state statutes (11.10 (04)) as they were written at the time. 

Moreover, it appears that Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature later took actions to benefit a number of these secret, corporate contributors and the public was none the wiser.

The Guardian expose focused on the shocking story of one corporate giver, lead pigment manufacturer Harold Simmons, who gave a $500,000 corporate check on top of $250,000 in personal contributions and was rewarded with a change to the law which would retroactively cancel the lawsuits of 173 children poisoned by lead paint. But other corporate donors got special treatment as well.

Wisconsin has had an absolute ban on corporate contributions in politics since 1905, “when Republican Governor ‘Fighting Bob’ LaFollette and the Wisconsin legislature” were battling the corrupt stranglehold of railroad and timber barons on state government.


As many people say, the truth always comes out – it may take time, but it always comes out. This classic example.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

North Korea's Nuke Program Advances: Time to Review that Insane "Leader" and Crazy Country

The Kim's: Grandfather, Father, and today Crazy Son

From Korean War, to Disunity, and Now This Goal


With latest news about North Korea and their latest nuclear testing results, I thought it was a good time to see who we are dealing with. How evil is North Korea, really? Let’s take a look.

The DMZ dividing North and South Korea has had numerous cases of incidents and incursions by the North, however the North’s government never acknowledges direct responsibility for any of these incidents. These have included these major events since the Korean War ended on July 27, 1953 (with a cease fire and never a truce … the longest cease fire in history):

October 1966 – October 1969: Korean DMZ Conflict, a series of skirmishes along the DMZ results in 43 American, 299 South Korean, and 397 North Korean soldiers killed.

January 17, 1968: 31 North Korean commandos crossed the border disguised as South Korean soldiers in the Blue House (Presidential Palace) raid, an attempt to assassinate President Park Chung-Hee at the Blue House. The failed mission resulted in 29 commandos killed (one committed suicide) and the other two captured. Two South Korean policemen and five civilians were killed by the commandos. Other reports indicated as many as 68 South Koreans were killed and 66 wounded, including about 24 civilians. Three Americans were killed and another three wounded in an attempt to prevent the commandos from escaping back via the DMZ.

October 1968: 130 North Korean commandos entered the Ul-chin and Sam-cheok areas in Gangwon-do. Eventually 110 of them were killed, 7 captured, and 13 escaped.

March 1969: Six North Korean infiltrators crossed the border near Chumun-jin, Gangwon-do and killed a South Korean policeman on guard duty.

April 1970: Three North Korean infiltrators were killed and five South Korean soldiers wounded at an encounter in Kum-chonGyeonggi-do.

November 20, 1974: The first of what would be a series of North Korean infiltration tunnels under the DMZ was discovered. The joint ROK-U.S. investigation team tripped a North Korean booby-trap, killing one American and wounding 6 others.

March 1975: The second North Korean infiltration tunnel was discovered.
June 1976: Three North Korean infiltrators and six South Korean soldiers were killed in the eastern sector south of the DMZ. Another six South Korean soldiers were injured.

August 18, 1976: The tree cutting Axe Murder Incident in the DMZ resulted in the death of two U.S. soldiers and injuries to another four U.S. soldiers and five South Korean soldiers.

July 14, 1977: An American CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down after straying into the north over the DMZ. Three airmen were killed and one was briefly held prisoner. That was the sixth such flight incident since the armistice was signed.

October 1978: The third North Korean infiltration tunnel was discovered.

October 1979: Three North Korean agents attempting to infiltrate the eastern sector of the DMZ were intercepted, killing one of the agents.

December 6, 1979: A U.S. Army patrol in the DMZ accidentally crossed the line into a North Korean minefield. One soldier was killed and four were injured.

March 1980: Three North Korean infiltrators were killed attempting to enter the south across the estuary of the Han River.

March 1981: Three North Korean infiltrators spotted at Kum-hwa, Gangwon-do, with one being killed.

July 1981: Three North Korean infiltrators were killed in the upper stream of Imjin River.

May 1982: Two North Korean infiltrators were spotted on the east coast, with one being killed.

March 1990: The fourth North Korean infiltration tunnel was discovered, in what may be a total of 17 tunnels in all.

May 1992: Three North Korean infiltrators dressed in South Korean uniforms were killed at Cheor-won, Gangwon-do. Three South Koreans were also wounded.

December 17, 1994: An American OH-58A Kiowa helicopter crossed some 10 km inside North Korean territory and was shot down.

October 1995: Two North Korean infiltrators were intercepted at Im-jin River. One was killed, while the other escaped.

April 1996: Several hundred North Korean armed troops enter the Joint Security Area and elsewhere on three occasions, in violation of the Korean armistice agreement.

May 1996: Seven North Korean soldiers crossed the DMZ, but withdrew when fired upon by South Korean troops.

April 1997: Five North Korean soldiers crossed the DMZ in the Cheor-won sector and fired at South Korean positions.

July 16, 1997: Fourteen North Korean soldiers crossed the DMZ causing a half-hour exchange of heavy gunfire.

October 26, 2000: Two US aircraft observing a ROK army military exercise accidentally cross over the DMZ.

May 26, 2006: Two North Korean soldiers entered the DMZ and crossed into South Korea. They returned after South Korean soldiers fired warning shots.

October 7, 2006: South Korean soldiers fired warning shots after five North Korean soldiers crossed briefly into their side of the border.

October 27, 2009: A South Korean pig farmer, who was wanted for assault, cut a hole in the DMZ fence and defected to North Korea.

October 29, 2010: Two shots were fired from North Korea toward a South Korean post near Hwa-cheon and South Korean troops fired three shots in return.

October 6, 2012: An 18 year old North Korean Army private defected to South Korea. He was apparently not detected as he crossed the DMZ and had to knock on an ROK barracks door to draw attention to himself. The soldier later told investigators that he had defected after killing two of his superiors.

September 16, 2013: A 47-year old man was shot dead by South Korean soldiers while trying to swim across the Tanpo-cheon stream near Paju to North Korea.

In 1976, in now declassified meeting minutes, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Clements told Henry Kissinger that there had been 200 raids or incursions into North Korea from the south, though not by the U.S. military.  Details of only a few of these incursions have become public, including raids by South Korean forces in 1967 that had sabotaged about 50 North Korean facilities.

Not DMZ related, per se, but significant nevertheless:

1.  August 15, 1974: At 10:23 am, on the day which is South Korean Independence Day, First Lady Yuk, Young-soo (Mrs. Park, Chung-hee) was shot and killed by Mun, Se-gwang, a North Korean sympathizer (who had been living in Japan as part of the Zai-nichi Korean party) during an attempt by his to assassinate President Park Chung-hee at the at the Seoul National Theater during his Independence Day speech. President Park was uninjured after four shots were fired at him on stage. The third bullet it the First Lady in the head. She died later at Seoul National hospital after emergency surgery failed to save her.

2.  October 9, 1983: The so-called “Rangoon bombing” was a North Korean assassination attempt against South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. Two of the bombers were captured, one confessed to being a North Korean military officer on that North Korean ordered plan.

3.  November 29, 1987: KAL flight 858 was on a scheduled international passenger flight between Baghdad, Iraq to Seoul. The plane exploded in mid-air upon the detonation of a bomb planted inside an overhead storage bin in the airplane's passenger cabin by North Korean agents.

The two agents, acting upon orders from the North Korean government, planted the device in an overhead storage bin before disembarking from the aircraft during the first stop-over in Abu Dhabi, UAE. While the aircraft was flying over the Andaman Sea to its second stop-over in Bangkok, the bomb detonated and destroyed the Boeing 707. Everyone on board, 104 passengers and 11 crew members, most of whom were South Koreans, were killed. The attack occurred 34 years after the Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the hostilities of the Korean War on 27 July 1953.

The two bombers were traced to Bahrain, where they both took ampules of cyanide hidden in cigarettes when they realized they were about to be taken into custody. The male of the two died, but the female, Kim Hyon-hui (pictured below in 1987 and today), survived and later confessed to the bombing.

                         Kim in 1987                                      Kim in 2013

She was sentenced to death and then later pardoned by then President Roh Tae-woo, because it was deemed that she had been brainwashed in North Korea and her testimony implicated Kim Jong-il, who at that time was the future leader of North Korea.

That Kim (Kim , Jong-il) was named as the person ultimately responsible for the incident. The U.S state department specifically refers to the bombing of KAL 858 as a “terrorist act” and, until 2008, listed North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Kim, Hyon-hui still lives in Seoul, is married to her former body guard, and they have two children. At the time of her trial she was called “Bomber Kim.”

As a matter of fact thousands of defectors from North Korea now live in the south. But, North Korea, even on that point, never admits that fully. They simply will say that they were captured by the south and now used for propaganda, or in some cases they label them as “traitors.”

My assessment and summary of this:

Each phase of the Kim's ruling family in North Korea is marked by a new and worse event ranging as listed above. However, their move into the “Nuclear Age” is by far the worse and it underscores their main purpose: To be able to sell their goods for cash to the highest bidder.

All the while they claim it’s for their own self-defense against perceived American attacks in the planning (which they say all the time), and will use those weapons if they are attacked. North Korea always plays the victim card while attacking others.

North Korea is perhaps the poorest country on earth and yet poses a dangerous military threat. They still practice hardcore communist tactics. China, their #1 trading source and “big brother” always looks the other way and more recently told us to “solve the problem we created.” What utter nonsense.

North Korea is basically the same as school yard bully or spoiled child who constantly seeks attention, but in their case with massive violence and crudeness.

One trait stands out above all others: They are totally unpredictable and very, very dangerous.     


Hope you enjoyed your visit today, and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Trump-Putin Maybe in Cahoots to Try and Hack and Rig the Election Outcome Then Avoid Blame

 Partnership – Yes, No, Maybe

Thanks Vlad — Ditto, Donald

Trump Wants this Outcome
(So, where does the GOP stand???)


Topic: Voter ID anti-fraud laws (mostly in RED states) which are a weak cover for voter suppression.

Trump and his mob (all sorts of shady characters from the new campaign CEO to the new campaign Manager to the newest Press Spokesperson, et al) are all busily setting up the country for his expected loss by preparing to blame it on “voting or voter system rigging.”

That even applies after he asked Putin to “hack" Hillary’s mails.” So, based on this assessment, apparently old Vlad is Trump orders, on much larger scale.
As reported on here from the Washington Post (damn fine piece):

U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections

This article sets the scene for any counter-disinformation which may be needed since the Russians are expect at that, and which BTW: Trump is also an expert at spreading. Thus, it seems that Trump in turn has learned that aspect from old Vlad – call it tit for tat as it were
Also, these two new and updated links on this whole saga:

1.  From here (also Washington Post): 

2.  And, from here (Truth-Out.org):

So, are Trump and Vladimir Putin partners in crime of some sort – this from Newsweek presents one view of that possibility. Hell, why not. My sources are as good as any, right?

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dumbed Down America and Voters: Look No Further Than The GOP


GOP Platform at Various Times

He must have heard it on FOX 


Q:  Is the United States a “Christian nation,” that the GOP side advocates constantly?

A:  If so and if anyone honestly believes that, then the Founding Fathers forgot to mention that little part.

The truth of the matter is that conservatives don’t want to live in a nation based on liberty and freedom – they want to live in a theocracy.  They want a nation and government based on religion – theirs and no one else’s. If that is what they want then they need to get the hell out of the United States, because we are a nation based on any form of any theocracy.  

The Founding Fathers made all that perfectly clear when they wrote the First Amendment specifically, if one wants to practice whatever religion they want or believe in (or none at all), even in the privacy of their home or church, then by all means go right ahead. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to force their narrow-minded religious beliefs on those who don’t agree with theirs – that is our system.

Examples:
  • Abortion?  Well, we disagree with it, so we can try to violate the constitutionally protected right a woman has over her own body. 
  • The Affordable Care Act?  Well, we disagree with it, so it’s okay to try and ignore that constitutionally upheld law.
  • Religion in public school?  Well, we think our country was founded on Christianity (even though the word Christianity doesn’t appear even once in our Constitution), so it’s okay to ignore the First Amendment and force religion (as long as it’s the Christian religion) into our public schools.
  • Freedom for all?  Well, not if you’re homosexual.  Then we’ll continue to violate the First Amendment by supporting laws that define marriage as between a man and a woman.  A belief that’s based on the Christian Bible — a belief of which millions of Christians don’t even support. 
  • Conservatives don’t like that minorities often don’t vote for their party, so it’s acceptable to try and change our Fourteenth Amendment and the Constitutional definition of what constitutes an American citizen. 
  • Certain demographics don’t vote for us, so let’s find ways to make it harder for them to vote. Similar to poll taxes or tests once used to discourage certain voters from voting. 
  • The only amendment they really defend without question is the Second Amendment, even as they ignore the entire first half of it and only focus on the last part.
They love what I call: “We pick and choose the rights” that they cherish for themselves while trampling on the same rights that apply to all of us.

And, as always thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

GOP Had a Woman, Latino, Black, and Voter ID Problem Then Trump Joined the Fray — Oops

Example of Outcome in the November General Election 

Rick Perry Catch Phrase Lives On



Morning of November 9, 2016 (hopefully):
  • No Black Vote or Near Zero
  • Then add the War on Women Vote (and yes, it is real)
  • Loss of Latino Votes
  • Possible Youth Lost Votes
  • Persons Blocked from Voting (due to harsh Voter ID laws)
Oh the caption for the GOP black committee above:
  • “Did you bring the black guy?”
  • “No ... did you?”
  • “I thought you had him.”
As usual, thanks for stopping by. 

P.S. for the GOP in November: Good luck, you're going to need all the luck you can muster ...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and Government Access = Blatant Corruption — Not So Fast

Hillary Clinton on Full Display - to the Delight of Most Republicans

Center of Attraction for the GOP Headhunters


Major article on the GOP push to tie Hillary Clinton to every “corruption” angle in DC as is relates to the “Clinton Foundation” and her State Department meetings with donors and others (my emphasis added in red).

This article from Law-Newz is sure to cause massive GOP strokes and double apoplexy - follows below from a legal sort of angle (excellent piece written by Meredith McGhhee, policy director, and formerly Chief Lobbyist for Common Cause).

Even if everything the Associated Press has reported so far about the link between donations to the Clinton Foundation and access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is confirmed — including the most damning allegations — nothing that has been revealed to date is likely ever to be prosecuted. That is because the current Supreme Court seems to think selling access is not illegal. This is not to say that the actions of Hillary Clinton or the functionaries she surrounded herself with are on the level. Rather, it is because the high court has all-but-legalized what most people consider to be corruption, especially in the form of pay-to-play.

So even if Clinton’s team put meetings at the State Department on the auction block, or arranged for donors to schmooze with world leaders, or pressed for policy changes that favored donors, at least so far there do not appear to be violations of current anti- corruption laws as the courts now interprets them. None of what has been reported counts as legally corrupt as far as the Roberts Court is concerned, and thus will likely never be prosecuted.

For decades, political corruption meant what most Americans think it means. The Supreme Court (in Buckley v. Valeo and McConnell v. FEC) embraced this ordinary view of corruption, holding that giving and taking bribes was only the most blatant kind of corruption. Then came a series of cases in which the Supreme Court eviscerated that meaning and replaced it with the free-for-all corruption rules that insulate today’s political candidates. 

The process began in Citizens United, where the Court significantly narrowed the definition of corruption. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority (and providing no basis for his opinion), asserted that the appearance of influence or access obtained by campaign contributions “will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.”

Then, in 2014, the Court’s majority in McCutcheon v. FEC decided that corruption only counts if it comes in quid pro quo form. In English, the Court decided that only an explicit agreement of an exchange of money for an official action qualifies — anything else is, by definition, not corruption. According to Chief Justice Roberts and four of his colleagues, “the Government may not seek to limit the appearance of mere influence or access.”

Roberts went on to say: “Government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford. Ingratiation and access are not corruption.”

In other words, if donors to the Clinton Foundation — or even Clinton’s presidential campaign — were granted meetings with the State Department, nothing in those grants of access would meet the standard of what constitutes illegal corruption according to the Supreme Court. In fact, in their view, such access and influence merits First Amendment protection.

Following McCutcheon, the Court further relaxed corruption laws in McDonnell v. United States. In that case, Governor McDonnell accepted tens of thousands of dollars in loans and gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams, who was seeking to promote his nutritional supplement. In return, the Governor set up meetings for Williams with state officials — pushing for Virginia universities to research the supplement so that it could obtain FDA approval. To most people, that not only creates the appearance of corruption, it is indeed corruption.

But not to the Supreme Court. Going beyond McCutcheon, the Court decided that only “official acts” can qualify as “quos” in an illegal quid-pro-quo system. Aspiring public servants should take note — the following actions are, by definition of the Supreme Court, no longer corrupt, no matter how much money or favors a donor gives you to do them: (1) Arranging meetings with Government officials to promote a donor’s business; (2) Hosting and attending events at the Governor’s Mansion to persuade university researchers to promote a donor’s product; and (3) Permitting donors to hold exclusive events for their business in the Governor’s Mansion.

In light of these cases, the ties between donations to the Clinton Foundation and meetings with the State Department are, legally speaking, probably untouchable.

Political corruption today, in the eyes of the law, diverges from what ordinary people consider to be corruption. It does so in ways that undermine the integrity of officials, who are – now more than ever – beholden to donors, and not constituents. That non-corruption corruption erodes the people’s faith in democracy, as they realize that donors get the chance to plead their case, while the rest of us look on from the outside.

The Clinton Foundation is not the first institution in which these issues have arisen. Other politicians have associated with nonprofits or universities that served a similar purpose—to provide donors a way to funnel money through tax-exempt entities as a means of gaining the attention and favor of politicians.

1.  Former Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS), who formed a foundation to work on disability issues, was among the first to figure out this trick. The Dole Foundation, like the Clinton Foundation, did terrific work. That was not the problem. The problem was that word spread around Washington that the way to get on Senator Dole’s radar screen was to donate to the Foundation. Donating was better than giving to Dole’s campaign committee because the amounts could be larger, and he had little electoral competition back home.

2.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) took a different tack. Senator McConnell lends his name to McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, while Senator Leahy has his namesake, the Leahy Center at Lake Champlain. But the message is the same—give to our favored cause and your generosity will be noticed.

While the Clinton Foundation story dominates today’s headlines, the underlying story is that the buying and selling of access by politicians is too often the ordinary course of business in politics. And the weightier concern is that the Roberts Court is putting its imprimatur on a steady march toward legalizing what the vast majority of Americans consider to be political corruption.

I would add in conclusion as my summary: Stay tuned or as Yogi Berra would say, “It’s ain’t over till it’s over.” Hint: There will be tons of disappointed GOPers at the finish line. Bet on it – a sure thing I believe.


Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

“Alt-Right” vs. American Values: They Want Trump to Win at Any and All Costs

New movement or old racists with new label???

A lofty goal or weak campaign vote gimmick


Startling headlines from here (Alternet.org).

The Racist Alt-Right Dictionary” – seven terms you need to know to understand Trump's most-hateful supporters.

This old white supremacist fringe is rebranding itself with its own special code that labels Trump as its “… glorious leader.”

A few highlights from the story:

Since Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump went public with his embrace of the so-called “Alternative right” — which happened when he hired alt-right promoter Stephen K. Bannon as his campaign chief — who is a self-styled renegade offshoot of cultural conservatism, is getting a whole lot of attention.

What’s so renegade about the alt-right? It puts on bold display the racism and misogyny that has always fueled the so-called conservative movement, but which has typically been rationalized through themes involving the word “freedom,” employed to justify a right to discriminate, whether against members of races or creeds other than your own, or by gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The alt-right hordes on Twitter and other Internet haunts dispense with the obfuscation, declaring (1) the superiority of white people, (2) demonstrating contempt for blacks and Jews, (3) hating women, and (4) preposterously whining that they are the targets of a “white genocide.”

The alt-right encompasses a range of right-wing hate groups and ideologies, from the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer crowd to the more buttoned-down wanna-be-wonks at the National Policy Institute. As Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton prepared to deliver a speech Thursday devoted to Trump’s exploitation of the alt-right, the movement’s denizens erupted in a stream of vitriol and fevered attempts to define their own movement before Clinton’s definition took hold.

Like all political movements, the alt-right has its own lexicon and memes, as well as its own interpretation of news events. 

In the article you'll find a brief list of terms you may use as a guide if you care to visit the swamps in which adherents to this 21st-century version of white supremacist ideology reside. 

Wow – ouch — what story. 

So, “Make America Great Again,” or more apropos: “Make America White Again.”

Not a good choice either way in my view. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton Media Witch Hunt Continues With "Full Monty" — Hang on Tight

Hillary Clinton Focus of GOP for Decades
(just like Salem, DC)

Opinions and Views on Talk Radio and TV Are Not Sufficient
(Except on Fox News)



Major Update from here on the following story and post that follows below (original post was August 23, 2016):  

Many people and agencies (working on behalf of the GOP mostly) continue to pile on Hillary Clinton. Well, now it’s time for critical-thinking people to return those piles (FYI: fill-in the blank with your own pile name:  ____). This latest is just for headlines and red meat attention. 

The basic question is simple: Who do you believe and trust on this story that keeps seeking more legs: – a press that uses social media stark red meat headlines to gain attention and then offers basically misinformation or worse, false, misleading and disinformation? Or do you trust a variety of others who have done excellent and in depth analysis of the whole picture for fair and accurate reporting, and your own research?

The answer is self-evident – that is for rational thinking and logical people who are not simply seeking political gain in this nasty ugly presidential race.
  
From this recent aspect: The AP blasted out a 114-character breaking news alert (Tweet actually) this week with “a hot scoop” – an analysis of publicly available data showed that while Secretary of State, more than half of Hillary Clinton’s meetings were with individuals who also donated to the Clinton Foundation. One huge problem: their statistic and report is false.

The implication, though never stated, was that in order to get an audience with Hillary Clinton, you had to pay up first. That Tweet sought their audience with this:






BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.

3:24 PM - 23 Aug 2016 – 6,952 re-tweets and 5,109 likes

Tweets that over-promise in the service of stories that then under-deliver is par for the course in journalism these days, but even if a reader wanted to get more details, the tweet has no link to be clicked.

The article they did publish is a lot less flashy than the tweet suggested. As Matt Yglesias outlines in Vox (see my next post below that heads up this overall issue). The actual numbers used by the AP to arrive at their widely shared claim of “more than half” of Clinton’s meetings are cherry-picked down to almost nothing.

The Clinton campaign brought their objections to the AP, and asked them to remove the false tweet. According to the campaign, the AP refused, arguing that even if the tweet is inaccurate, they stood by their reporting and the story that it links to. (My note: I still can’t decide to laugh or throw up … if the AP tweet was false? Wow – what an admission, sort of).

Continue with this update and the original story which starts below. Thanks for stopping by.

Misleading headlines from ABC News (my emphasis and key parts are in RED): 

New Docs Show Clinton Foundation Donors “Sought Access” to State Department

Note the key word: “Sought” but not necessarily mean access was given, or it were, that it was not for official state department business and NOT Clinton foundation business (see update and analysis below).

Thus, it is inaccurate to talk about the “Clinton emails in relation to the latest related to Hillary Clinton's tenure at State” at least without proof possible of some sort of quid pro quo, which seems very unlikely.

That aspect is here from Crooks and Liars.com: The latest emails are actually those to and from Huma Abedin, i.e., internal mail and not outside distribution. 

In the last 24 hours, CNN, the Washington Post, and ABC News have all published emails released by Judicial Watch. They show that Clinton is in under fire because of her troubling connections between State and the Clinton Foundation donors. NBC News called for an investigation of the Clinton Foundation.

How many pundits and journalists have actually read the Emails? If they had, they would have noticed, as Kevin Drum has and pointed out how absurd the whole thing is.

If some of the efforts had succeeded, that would hardly be noteworthy. It's the kind of thing that happens all the time. What's really noteworthy about the most recent Email releases is that they demonstrate a surprisingly high level of integrity from Hillary Clinton's shop at Foggy Bottom. Huma Abedin for example was tasked with running interference on favor seekers, and she seems to have done exactly that. 


Not only was there absolutely no demonstration of “pay-to-play” in the Clinton Foundation communications with Abedin, but it seems the news media seems to have forgotten that the Clinton Foundation is a charitable organization.

Among other things, it provides low-cost access to HIV drugs for over 8 million people a year. That's in addition to the work it does creating schools, helping farmers, and its various clean energy and environmental efforts.

The media also has done a poor job of noting that none of the Clintons financially benefit from the Foundation (see their financial filing). Yes, Chelsea Clinton is on the board and payroll, but she only get a salary of exactly $0.00 (yep, zero).

That's $15 dollars less, an hour, than what the Democrats want to implement as a minimum wage. The media has a problem with math. Case in point, there is a handful of emails between the Clinton Foundation and Abedin. A handful of emails, in four years. There's not a mathematician in the world who could deduce a pattern of behavior with that small a sampling.

But that doesn't stop there. NBC News reported on Donald Trump demanding a special prosecutor be set up to investigate the Emails, plus his demand to shut down the Clinton Foundation down.

Donald Trump is the man who will not release his IRS tax forms. The man who will not create a blind trust for his businesses. The man who would leave his children in charge of the businesses. His children who have been deeply involved in his Presidency. The man whose only act of charity is that he used his Trump Foundation money to bid on a Tim Tebow autographed helmet, which evidently he kept.

Of course, the smart thing to do would be to file a FOIA with State Department under Kerry, to see if the Clinton Foundation also contacted State Department employees during his tenure. A look at international foundation contacts during Clinton's tenure would reveal that the Abedin Emails are not unusual, and pretty standard for the State Department, as the State Department has stated.

Judicial Watch and its 100+ FOIA lawsuits are helpful to show that Federal judges seem to think that the State Department can magically create more FOIA workers, and have the State Department's FOIA processes so tied up that none of us will be able to get any request through for the next four years.

So, shy aren’t CNN, ABC, NBC, the Washington Post, and the others covering this? (Oh, some are, but in a slanted fashion and that is the problem – fair and accurate reporting).

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned - it’s apt to get far worse.