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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Honestly, All Lives Matter: Not Age, Color, Gender, Race, Religion, National Origin, or Orientation

Except Maybe in Texas and Other “So-Called Right to Carry States”
(Outside the NAACP building in Houston, TX)

Troubling story and potentially a disturbing trend (my emphasis in red) in this article from Houston, Texas, but not about the right to protest or speak out and gather peacefully in public, but rather my focus on the points I want to emphasize).

A small group of protesters holding “White Lives Matter” signs staged a demonstration outside the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP building in Houston on Sunday.

Holding Confederate flags and assault rifles, the group of nearly 20 people gathered in Houston to protest against the NAACP for failing to condemn the perceived role of Black Lives Matter in relation to the deaths of white police officers.

“We came out here to protest against the NAACP and their failure in speaking out against the atrocities that organizations like Black Lives Matter and other pro-black organizations have caused the attack and killing of white police officers, the burning down of cities and things of that nature,” group member Ken Reed, donning a “Donald Trump 16” cap, told the Houston Chronicle. “If they’re going to be a civil rights organization and defend their people, they also need to hold their people accountable.”

Reed said the group wasn’t there to cause problems and that the Confederate flags were being flown to symbolize Southern heritage. Police cleared out the crowd around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

My Notes: Ever since the USSC ruling gave the right to carry guns in public (Heller case in 2008), like those assault rifles above which, BTW resemble in most cases AK-47 combat rifles. Worse, to openly carry them in public, well that is very troubling and disturbing to say the least. I have this one key question: Why? 

Why? Oh, just because we can (say who openly carry publicly will say). I say there is more in play than mere concern for public safety, or their self-defense. It amounts to raw public arrogance and bullying on a much larger scale. 

For example, depending on the state, we can see guns in bars. Guns in airports. Guns in daycare centers. Guns in sports arenas. Guns openly carried on city streets. Guns strapped on hips at school board meetings. Guns on campus. And, guns in church!! 

What best describes all this? Two words do come to mind quickly: “Legal insanity.”

We can can do a lot of things in America under the label of  “it is our right." That is true, but good common sense judgment is just as paramount, and keep in mind even “free” speech has limits, although I doubt the hard nose gun-toters who are narrow-minded would ever believe there is or can be limits on speech even in America. I strongly believe, too that the right to carry gun anywhere in public openly should be reversed and not allowed. Permits to carry for narrow valid reasons is understandable, but just to openly displayed guns they way we see is pretty sad commentary for us.

So, yes, all Lives Matter…!!!  Thanks for stopping by and come again.

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Symbiotic Relationship: Trump Likes Alex Jones Model and Jones Likes Donald Trump's Style

Trump's Hero on the Airwaves
(More Advisors Below)

Introduction to Trump’s campaign strategy: “If it hurts your opponent, spin it, run with it, reinforce it, and deal with the consequences later.”

Who does Trump listen to, other than himself? A snapshot of his “kitchen cabinet” outlined here.

Overall Assessment (from Vox.com): “Trump has a tendency to solicit, repeat, and retweet self-serving falsehoods served up by sycophants and hangers-on that should be taken seriously and challenged. Among the most important tasks the president has is knowing what to believe, whom to listen to, which facts to trust, and which theories to explore. Trump's terrible judgment in this regard is one of the many reasons he's not qualified for the office.”

Now the rest of the story as the late Paul Harvey used to say:

Re: Vince Foster’s death in Fort Marcy Park in VA on July 20, 1993, was examined and investigated and conducted by dozens of professional investigators, several key agencies, groups of psychologists, several doctors, and two independent prosecutors.

His death was concluded to have been a suicide by the U. S. Park Police; the DOJ; the FBI; and two Independent Counsels (DEM) Robert B. Fiske and (Republican) Kenneth Starr.

The FBI participated in the investigation conducted by Mr. Fiske. His attorneys questioned 188 persons and reviewed and analyzed thousands of documents. He concluded Vince Foster killed himself.

Mr. Starr conducted his independent investigation several years after Mr. Fiske. He relied on experienced investigators with extensive service in the FBI. His investigation took three years. He also concluded that Vince Foster’s death was suicide. 

Even today from many extreme right-wing political groups on the behalf of the GOP, FOX, and ultra-rightwing conspiracy shows like Alex Jones types, and now including Donald Trump still continue to allege that there was more to the Foster death and that Bill and Hillary Clinton are somehow involved and still covering it up as well as more recent deaths of DNC staff members.

All of that hype has been patently proven false for years, but the rightwing just will not let it go for obvious reasons: Admitting it was suicide would spoil their political plan to gain the White House with Trump and keep control of Congress in this the ugliest presidential campaign in modern times.

Sustained and baseless insinuations about Hillary Clinton’s health are par for the course for Donald Trump, who has made a habit of making up rumors about his political opponents.

  1. He at one time insinuated that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in JFK’s assassination.
  2. Then after the shooting in Orlando, he implied that Obama had deeper ties to terrorists than the American public is aware of.
  3. Then he reignited conspiracies that there was something fishy  about the suicide of Bill Clinton’s close friend and former White House counsel Vince Foster (see above).
  4. Recently, he spread a fake controversy that Clinton’s emails had something to do with the Iranian government’s execution of a nuclear scientist.
  5. More and more unfounded remarks about Hillary Clinton’s health following the Alex Jones conspiracy model.

The man is not worthy to sit in the Oval Office… Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Email Scandals One After Another: Close Email Accounts, Write Letters, Call, Review Before Sending

Yep; then measure a box to put her in, right Mr. and Mrs. GOP

Original source (the NY Post).

Introduction: If the GOP and their minions worked as hard on cleaning up corruption in all areas of government and at all levels like they do while gunning for Hillary ever since 1992 basically, then we wouldn’t even need the FBI or any agency to check on government at any level. Things would be great. But, you know the rest of the story – we know what is standing in their way (this guy and his pals).

Sir, Golden Goose

Hyperbole is the NY Post style (noted): My first reaction is are these the first time anyone knew or has known about these particular emails? A simple yes or no will suffice. If yes, then stunning; if no, just smut and stuff some people, perhaps many already knew and nothing is nefarious but not criminal but politically toxic and plenty of ammo for the Trump side… which is what they thrive on – smut and hyperbole with no substance – pretty much the way even Trump deals I am sure.

Substance from the NY Post: “Hillary Clinton put the State Department up for sale,” with top aides pulling strings and doing favors for fat-cat donors to the Clinton Foundation — including a shady billionaire, according to smoking-gun emails released Tuesday.

The stunning revelations include how wealthy contributors seeking influence or prestigious government gigs could fork over piles of cash to get access to Clinton’s inner circle, including top aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

Sample from those emails: In an April 2009 message to Abedin and Mills, Doug Band, who was overseeing the Clinton Foundation at the time, urgently asked for a meeting between a top US official and Gilbert Chagoury — a major donor to the Clinton family charity.

“We need to speak to the substance person re Lebanon. As you know, he’s [Chagoury] key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon,” wrote Band, in a clear attempt to suck up to a big donor to the foundation.

“It’s Jeff Feldman,” Abedin wrote back, referring to America’s former ambassador to Lebanon who went on to become assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in August 2009. Then from Abedin: “I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to Jeff.”

Band replies 20 minutes later: “Better if you call him. Now preferable. This is very important. He’s awake I’m sure.”

The revelations drew a quick rebuke from Donald Trump’s campaign, which said: 

“This is yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton lacks the judgment, character, stability and temperament to be within 1,000 miles of public power. She views public office as nothing more than a means to personal enrichment.”

(I note: of course the Trumpettes would never use their positions to enrichment themselves, right? And that mail does not show any criminal act or intent – it merely finds a man who may have contacts to help solve a problem that no one else can – like we always do in these cases – find an intermediary – not uncommon in government at any level whether it’s dealing with North Korea or some rebel group).

“No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress. They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”

I ask honestly: Where did the emails come from? That is a key question. Are they originals or copies? Did Russia dig them up or already have them for selective release, or anyone have them for release for that matter? Key questions.

Background and Somewhat Related: And this was predicted, too.

Trump said he was joking about Russia hacking Hillary Clinton for more potentially damaging emails…

This is bad stuff folks, both ways: NY Post substance, true or not, is not criminal by most accounts except from those seeking to gain politically, i.e., the Trumpeters.

Finally, this startling statistic on a close topic from here (Reuters): 

That shows 1 in 5 Republicans say they want Trump to drop out. Stunning numbers to say the least – to be fair what about DEMS wanting HILL to drop out? Probably will be next “hot news,” right?

Worth remembering in this day and age of mass media (info age) and 24/7 instant news: “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”  ― Edgar Allan Poe 

(Note: I would add more so in these days: “... or half of what you read.”)

So, stay tuned – for sure, there are truck loads (probably city garbage trucks) on the way between now and November 8th – bet on it. We best start digging a new landfill right now.

It is also noteworthy that this limelight is perfect for Donald Trump – he thrives on it – he hungers for it – he loves it – he needs it every single day just like junkie needs a fix. All that he says and does and talks around is the mark of an insecure standup comedian or narcissist, which Donald J. Trump surely is — classic case.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Melania Trump: Photo Op at Home, on the Campaign Trail, and Under Cloud of Immigration Questions

Photo Op at Trump Mansion (the Golden Palace as It Were)

Her Convention Speech in Cleveland

Trump supporters and others may not like this story, but this is a growing story nevertheless. It deals with possible illegal or fraud to gain her U.S. citizenship ... BTW: As some would say, there might be some there, there:

The story from here may get legs as they say >>> Gaps in Melania Trump's immigration story raise questions

Highlights and the way I see the issue unfolding: That is if does get legs or not depending the pressure the Trump machine will or can put it including a full kibosh, which is entirely possible:

Background: Those recent nude photographs of Mrs. Trump published are raising fresh questions about the accuracy of a key aspect of her biography, and her overall immigration status when she first came to the United States to work as a model. 

(e.g., she claims she came on a tourist visa and returned home every few months for renewal – which is odd since a tourist visa is initially good for 3 years and can be renewed easily without traveling back to the home country every few months several times a year for visa renewal in the tourist category).

However, working here on a tourist visa is illegal. Tourist visas and work visas are in the same category. In short, those with tourist visas cannot seek or get work or be employed on a tourist visa; they must obtain a work permit/visa and have a sponsor, job lined up, etc. etc. To have a tourist visa and then work would be fraud and illegal.

Back to those racy photos of the First Lady Wannabe that were published in theNew York Post over a two-day period (Sunday and Monday). 

They inadvertently highlight inconsistencies in the various accounts she has provided over the years. Some immigration experts say, there’s even a slim chance that any even years-old misrepresentations to immigration authorities could pose legal problems for her since she is a naturalized citizen (i.e., not born in the U.S.) and being in that category, it can be taken away if fraud were to be proven; which is a very lengthy process.

Related to both native-born and naturalized citizens: They cannot lose their citizenship – but they can however, give it up (renounce it). But, it cannot be taken from them except in very narrow legal cases (cite: 2 below): 

Supreme Court case: Afroyim vs. Rusk (1967) 

The bottom line: This is potentially a big issue not just for Melania Trump but for anyone in that same category. So, stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Disraeli: "There Are Three Kinds Of Lies: Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics" Facts Must Prevail

Jobs Created from 1937-2013: FDR to Barack Obama
(DOL Numbers)

Jobs, the Economy, Foreign Policy, or Election Outcome
(New GOP Reality Show: The Blame Game)

Private-sector job creation since the JFK administration from various sources: DOL, Bloomberg, the Daily Beast  (Note: the numbers are from 2012 - see my note below):  

  • Democrats have held the White House for 23 of those years.
  • Republicans have held it for 28 years.
Ergo: The U.S. economy has created over 50 million private-sector jobs in the Democratic 23 years, and just short of 30 million in the Republican 28 years.

(Note: The original data was from 2012 numbers, so I adjusted them to fill the 4-year gap until now – which is much more accurate. It still shows the DEMS way out in front over the GOP). Check out charts from DOL numbers here.

  • The champion of all that job creation is Bill Clinton, with nearly 21 million (20.8 million to be precise).
  • Then under Ronald Reagan were nearly 15 million (14.7 exactly).
  • Then LBJ and Jimmy Carter.
  • Then Richard Nixon. And so on.
  • George W. Bush: Under his 8 years the private sector lost 600,000 jobs. In eight years, he did not create a single job.
  • Barack Obama took over and moved us into positive territory through very rough years even though he was handed the biggest economic catastrophe in nearly 80 years. He has now created about 15 million jobs.
What about public-sector jobs. Over those same respective 23 DEM and 28 GOP years, the results are: For all federal, state, and local government payrolls, they grew by 7.1 million under Republicans, and 6.3 million under Democrats. 

Private-sector job growth is massively greater under Democrats and the public trough favors Republicans. Who would have guessed it right … jobs for votes, campaign slogans and such – novel idea isn’t it?

More interesting data from that same DOL site, like: Debt by President/Party plus more:

Introductory Tidbits: Blanks in 1937 and 1938 have been added to make the year markers match presidential terms. In both charts, data for 2015 includes numbers through August only. Therefore, full year numbers will be different as September – December are added.

1.     The first chart displays all jobs, including government sector jobs (i.e., in 1939, approximately 1.6 million jobs were created).

2.     The second chart displays all private sector jobs; government sector jobs are NOT included (i.e., in 1939, approximately 1.5 million jobs were created). 

The average amount of all jobs created during Democratic Presidential terms is 1,748,610 and the average amount during Republican Presidential terms is 880,500.

The average amount of private sector jobs created during Democratic Presidential terms is 1,536,560 and the average amount during Republican Presidential terms is 650,330.

Therefore, the average amount of non-private sector jobs created during DEM terms is 212,050 and the average amount during GOP terms is 230,170.

Thanks for stopping by. Facts never hurt, if truthful and not spun for political gain.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

GOP-Bush-RNC-Managed Missing Emails in 2007: The Media Basically Ducked

Can't Hide from the Public Record Despite GOP Efforts Otherwise

This story from here. My introduction is simple:

The GOP has mastered the duck and dodge PR game and this flashback proves it beyond any rational explanation. The headlines from here:

When 5 Million Bush White House Emails Were Lost (kept in RNC private accounts) It Did Not Even Trigger a Small Media Shrug, just a Yawn

I ask: Why is that? Short answer: GOP hypocrisy on a huge scale.

Even for the Geo. W. Bush White House that was badly stumbling through his sixth year in office, an on April 12, 2007, was shocking.

Responding to congressional demands for emails in connection with its investigation into the GOP/partisan firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the White House announced that as many as five million emails, covering a two-year span, had been lost.

The man at the center at that time was none other than Karl Christian Rove, Mr. Bush’s senior White House adviser.

Rove in essence says he can’t recall the contents of those lost emails. However, he has also proven that he can cite all congressional election results in percentages dating back 30 years but not what emails he had deleted recently. What is the best label for that thinking: genius or slick political operative?  Easy peasy as they say. A no-brainer in fact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Stay Scared and Angry; Get Another Gun; Don't Worry; I'm on My Way. /s/ The Donald

 Left 50; Drop 50. Shot, over; Shot out. Splash, over; Splash, out. Roger. 
Fire for Effect
(For a Fire Mission in Progress)

In this acceptance speech Trump said: “Here, at our convention, there will be no lies.” But he spewed plenty – fact-checkers found lots of instances where Trump not only twisted facts but made false claims and that site shows plenty of sources to back up their summary – will the GOP read it? Ha, doubtful.

My Introduction: In truth, Trump is textbook sociopath and compulsive liar:

Trump accuses everyone of lying, but he is sociopath: that is he has little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others as he comes across as often charming and charismatic, but skilled n manipulative and self-centered ways that average people just do not see or believe due to the lack of understanding that affliction and surely it is with Trump.

Trump is not only a sociopath but he is also be compulsive liar. That is he lies out of habit because it is normal for him. It is his reflexive way to respond to questions while skillfully bending the truth about everything large and small.

For Trump, as for all compulsive liars, telling the truth is awkward and uncomfortable, because lying feels right.

Now, a few top choices of his false claims from that acceptance speech:

1.  Trump Tax Plan: Trump is correct that he has called for substantial tax cuts — deeper than any of the other presidential candidates — that would result in lower taxes at all income levels. But the biggest cuts would come for the wealthiest taxpayers, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. While the tax cuts are undeniably large, the Tax Foundation cautioned that the loss in revenue — even with expected benefits to the economy — would “increase the federal government’s deficit by over $10 trillion” over 10 years.

2.  Trump on Heath Care (the ACA/Obamacare): Trump said that he’d repeal it and “Again you will be able to choose your own doctor.” The law didn’t take away the ability to choose a doctor, as we’ve said before. As most Americans know, and some 55 percent have private insurance — the insurers usually have a network of doctors to choose from. The ACA didn’t change that. He also claims that the government was coming between you and your doctor, but, again, false – the ACA does not come close to establishing a government-run system like Britain or Canada for example (Government telling patients which MD they have to use).
3.  Trump on Trade Deficit (Goods and Services): Trump used a bit of cherry-picking when he said, “Our trade deficit in goods reached nearly — think of this, think of this — our trade deficit is $800 billion … last year alone.” The important word here is his mention of only “goods.” The trade deficit counts both goods and services, and it is much smaller (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the value of goods that the U.S. imported was $763 billion (not $800 billion). Re: Our services exported include: travel, education, and intellectual property such as software that was $262 billion less in services than it exported — creating a positive balance in that column. Overall, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services was just over $500 billion last year/not the $800 billion he mentioned. Trump skipped over the fact that that figure peaked a decade ago having reached a high in 2006. In 2015, it was 34 percent lower and that downward trend is continuing now in 2016.

4.  Trump Refugee Policy: Trump said that “there’s no way to screen” those refugees to determine “who they are or where they come from.” That’s false. All refugees admitted to the U.S. go through an extensive vetting process that involves multiple federal agencies and can take up to 24 months to complete.

5.  Trump on the Clinton Email Scandal: Trump again twisted the facts when he said that Clinton “illegally stored emails on her private server while secretary of state, and deleted 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime.” The FBI on July 5 cleared Clinton of wrongdoing, and found no evidence of a cover-up.

6.  Trump on Regime Change in Libya: Trump criticized Clinton for her “failed policy of nation-building and regime change, especially in Libya. How about a big Rick Perry oops at this point. Why? Easy: Trump also supported the military ouster of Colonel Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, at that time.

Background: Trump denied he ever said that in one GOP debate during a heated exchange with Ted Cruz. Actually this is what Trump said in February 2011: “The U.S. should go into Libya on a humanitarian basis and knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save these lives.”

His full statement was posted on YouTube at “From the Desk of Donald Trump” on February 28, 2011 (about 1:45). Yes, that Donald J. Trump: Now the official Republican presidential candidate for the General Election, November 8, 2016.

Related from the RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus, in his remarks (call it Hillary bashing redux): He said in part that “A Clinton presidency only means more debt.”

Yes, true, with this important caveat. Her tax plan would result in a “relatively small increase in the debt,” (cite study by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget).

That same nonpartisan group also found out that the Trump/GOP tax and spending plan, on other hand, which GOPers always fail to mention and selectively forget, would cause a “massive increase in the debt.”

So, it goes on right until Election Day – kind of sad, isn’t it?  I mean that this race is perhaps the ugliest, meanest, nastiest, and ultimately probably will be the most-expensive in American history, and for what? To see how low we can lower ourselves to pick our next president?

Finally (I’m on a roll now but almost done).

In the end we must ask ourselves: What does this process say about us and not necessarily any final list of candidates? Simple I think: For example, change is the word we always here, but one that always lacks context and meaning. But, that word has to mean more than the standard flair of a typical campaign that we are somehow immune from accepting what it really means. It’s easy to say, but hard to define and on purpose too, I think. Change is far more than changing your socks daily, or changing the route you drive to work, or change that makes minor adjusts in your daily routine. Someone once said the more things change, the more they stay the same. That applies to our political system today, I think, nearly 100%.

Massive change in our political system is long overdue – to make it better that it is today. How to define that word is the key. Whatever definition is applied, it should be made by the people and our choice and not by the pros we see year in and year out who decide for us and seek and want our trust and vote.

A fair and open ballot access and process that is easy for anyone to gain and try to run for office – anywhere across the country. Cut out the big parties; stop or greatly reduce the influence of big money; and stop suppressing the vote. That is if that is what we want to define for change. A system that delivers truly representative democracy that we claim we want and not that which “someone else” tells us what they think we need.
Now, finally (whew) I’m done. May God have mercy on the United States of America should Trump win. And, please, forgive those who vote for him. 

Okay, I'm done. Really, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP Aim: Christianity Official Religion, English Official Language, Privatization, Cut Top Taxes

Live from Cleveland RNC Convention

No Place to Hide Just Duck and Run

The Republican Party platform is a wish list for what Republicans in Congress and a President Donald Trump would like to impose on America.

What’s surprising is that it goes further to the right than what’s even been heard on the campaign trail from Trump as he has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and embrace the religious right’s long-held tenets opposing abortion, LGBT rights and more.

This GOP 2016 platform would: 
  • Make Christianity the official American religion.
  •  Make English the official American language.
  •  Replace sex education with abstinence-only advice for teenagers.
  •  Privatize almost all areas of federal services.
  •  Cut taxes and regulations for the rich and titans of industry.
  •  Impose a belligerent foreign policy and military build-up.

Pray this never sees the light of day, otherwise kiss our country goodbye.  

Thanks for stopping by.