Sunday, July 24, 2016

“When someone says ‘I alone can fix it,’ that should set off alarm bells in not just Democrats’ minds, but Republicans, independents, people of all ages and backgrounds. That is not a democracy,” Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton on Saturday hammered Donald Trump's Republican National Convention speech as anti-democratic, comparing him to a dictator.

At a rally in Miami where she unviled running mate Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton seized on Trump saying that he was the only person to fix the country’s problems.

“When someone says ‘I alone can fix it,’ that should set off alarm bells in not just Democrats’ minds, but Republicans, independents, people of all ages and backgrounds. That is not a democracy,” Clinton said.

She said Americans had fought for independence in order to escape authoritarianism.

“And besides, it is just nonsense,” she continued. “No one does anything alone. We don’t have a one-person military, we don’t have a one-person teaching corps. We don’t have one doctor and one nurse who fixes everything, do we?

“We work together, that is what has traditionally set us apart from places that have turned to single leaders, despots, dictators, authoritarians who have promised people, ‘I can fix it alone,’ ” she added. “You know what that says about us? That somehow we’re helpless, that we can’t do this work that needs to be done in America ourselves.”

“I reject that,” she said, promising a different message from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next week.

Full post http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/288976-clinton-trumps-i-alone-can-fix-it-message-is-not

Donald Trump reminds me of Vladimir Putin — and that is terrifying

Donald Trump’s dark and frightening speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday had pundits and historians making comparisons ranging from George Wallace in the 1960s to Benito Mussolini in the 1930s. As suitable as those comparisons may be, the chill that ran down my spine was not because of Trump’s echoes of old newsreel footage. Instead, I saw an Americanized version of the brutally effective propaganda of fear and hatred that Vladimir Putin blankets Russia with today.

This isn’t to say Trump plagiarized Putin verbatim. The language and tone were comparable the way that the Russian and American flags make different designs with the same red, white and blue. Nor was it merely the character of the text; Trump’s mannerisms and body language — toned down from his usual histrionics — were startlingly similar to the sneering and boastful delivery Russians know all too well after Putin’s 16 years in power.

Full post https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/donald-trump-reminds-me-of-vladimir-putin--and-that-is-terrifying/2016/07/23/36397692-50e5-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html

Saturday, July 23, 2016

WFP Fundraises Off Flanagan’s Trump Endorsement

The labor-backed Working Families Party wasted little time in blasting out a fundraising email pointing to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s backing on Thursday of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

The email is a harbinger of what is expected to be a pitched battle over control of the Republican-led Senate this year, with the presidential campaign between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton playing a major, over-arching role. 

Flanagan on Thursday at a breakfast meeting of the New York delegation in Cleveland reiterated his endorsement of Trump, but provided his most extensive comments to date supporting the party’s nominee. 

“I’m going to make this unequivocally clear,” Flanagan said. “I’m supporting Donald Trump for president. I’m going to do so with grace, with diplomacy, with passion and with fervor.”

For the WFP, that’s not compatible. 

“There is no way you can support a campaign based on racism, xenophobia, fear, and misogyny with ‘grace,'” the fundraising email states.

“There is no way you can support one of the most vulgar and uniquely unsuited and unqualified candidates ever to run for the office of President with ‘diplomacy.’ And there is no way you can credibly claim to represent our state if you fervently back a candidate who stands against so many of the values we all share as New Yorkers.”

Link to fill post http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2016/07/wfp-fundraises-off-flanagans-trump-endorsement/

Hillary Clinton Names Tim Kaine As Her Running Mate

WASHINGTON ― Hillary Clinton has picked Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to be her vice presidential running mate, tapping the popular former governor of a swing state over several more liberal picks on her short list.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

NBC’s Today Ignores Possible Lawbreaking In Interview With Trump Campaign Chairman

NBC Today hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie did not press Paul Manafort, chairman of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign, in an interview about whether the speechwriter who took responsibility for plagiarism in Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech was employed by the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization. If it’s the latter, that may be a violation of federal law.

The Trump campaign has come under fire for the July 18 speech by the candidate’s wife, which plagiarized portions of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention. The campaign and Manafort initially lied, claiming that “no cribbing” occurred and and to claim that it did is “crazy.” On July 20, the campaign released a statement in which an “in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization” named Meredith McIver took responsibility for the plagiarism and said she had offered her resignation but that Donald Trump did not accept it. The statement was also written on the letterhead of Trump’s conglomerate the Trump Organization, not the Trump campaign.

According to The Washington Post, if Trump’s campaign “used corporate resources” to help with Melania Trump’s speech, “that could be illegal.” The Post quoted Lawrence Noble, general counsel for the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, and reported, “If the campaign used corporate resources ‘willingly and knowingly,’ the offense is a criminal one.” The paper explained Noble’s rationale: “If she was working for the campaign,” it would have been legal, “but it seems clear that she offered to resign from her theoretically unrelated Trump Organization job.”


Full story http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/07/21/nbc-s-today-ignores-possible-lawbreaking-interview-trump-campaign-chairman/211784

Clinton launches ad using quotes of Trump praising her

Clinton launches ad using quotes of Trump praising her

Ted Cruz Didn’t Endorse Trump At Trump’s Own Convention

CLEVELAND ― Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) saw his big moment at the Republican National Convention drowned out by thunderous boos on Wednesday night as he notably declined to endorse his former foe Donald Trump for president. 

Full post http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_579019fde4b0bdddc4d31d0c


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

John Kasich: Not Supporting Trump Is ‘A Matter Of Conscience For Me’

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who is notably not speaking at the Republican National Convention being held in his home state, continued to sound the alarm against GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday.

The former GOP presidential contender told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews his reluctance to back Trump is “something that’s a matter of conscience for me,” describing the choice between the businessman and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton as “a vexing situation.”

Full post http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_578f1111e4b0f180da63a0f3

Monday, July 18, 2016

Trump fundraiser resigns in anger after floor eruption

CLEVELAND — A top donor raising money for Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee says he has resigned in disgust after the party muscled through a vote on the convention floor that squashed the “Free the Delegates” movement

Emineth says he's furious the campaign and RNC worked in tandem to keep delegates from voting their conscience. 

“I was on the Trump finance committee and I just resigned because that bully tactic is absurd,” Emineth said. “I just texted them right now. Why can’t the people be heard? I’ve been texting Reince for 10 minutes. He said we didn’t have the votes. We had 10, 11 states. They peeled people back. They were calling delegations asking people to step off the committee. You don’t do this in America. You do this in other countries.”

Insurgent delegates looking to get a vote on the floor of the Republican National Convention for a measure that would free delegates from the primary and caucus results and allow them to vote their “conscience” was denied after the members of the RNC refused to allow them to be heard on the convention floor.

Last-Ditch Rebellion Fails Against Donald Trump

CLEVELAND ― Chaos erupted on the floor of the Republican National Convention Monday as fervent opponents of Donald Trump fought and lost an ugly, public rebellion to derail him.

New Hampshire delegate Gordon Humphrey, who has been working with the Delegates Unbound and Free the Delegates groups, tried to force party leaders on Monday to approve their rules for the convention on a roll-call vote, rather than a voice vote as is normally done.

The idea was that with a public roll call, a majority of delegates might defect.

“Donald Trump is so ignorant of anything that he hasn’t a clue what is going on here in general or in detail,” said Humphrey, a former senator who backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the primary season.

Link to story http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_578d2d55e4b0c53d5cfa7a56

These Prominent Republicans Won’t Show Up At The RNC

Republicans will gather this week in Cleveland to officially choose Donald Trump as their nominee. But many of the party’s most prominent members will be missing.

Four of the last five men nominated for president by the Republican party ― George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney ― will skip the event. (Bob Dole, the party’s nominee in 1996, will attend.)

Full story http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_578936aee4b08608d3347f70

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wash. Post Editorial Board Castigates Pence For His “Hypocritical Decision” To Join Trump’s Ticket

The Washington Post editorial board lambasted Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a “hypocrite” for calling himself a “Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” yet agreeing to become the running mate of Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump, “an uncharitable man who habitually insults minorities, religions and vulnerable people.”

Many conservative media figures characterized Trump’s choice of Pence as “a nothingburger” and hold reservations about Pence’s abilities to explain away Trump’s controversies. According to Indiana jouranlists, Pence has had a “divisive” tenure as governor thanks in part to his efforts to limit reproductive rights in his home state and his support for a controversial “religious freedom” bill that could have given businesses license to discriminate against LGBT people.

In a July 15 editorial, the Post wrote that Pence’s “policy record suggests he will indeed appeal to right-wing voters” that Trump has been courting, noting that the Hoosier has “waged war against Planned Parenthood while in Congress” and is a “staunch opponent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.” The paper concluded by calling Pence a “hypocrite” because he “has called himself ‘a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.’ But he has agreed to run on a ticket with an uncharitable man who habitually insults minorities, religions and vulnerable people, who wants to economically isolate the United States and who regularly displays his ignorance of the Constitution and policy”:

Mr. Pence’s policy record suggests he will indeed appeal to right-wing voters — but perhaps not many others. He waged war against Planned Parenthood while in Congress, saying in 2011 that he was willing to shut down the government in order to defund the organization. A staunch opponent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, he favored a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. He pressed for a constitutional amendment that would cap federal spending at 20 percent of the economy, which would badly hamstring the government as baby boomers begin drawing retirement benefits. He also voted for and defended free-trade deals of the sort Mr. Trump has incorrectly blamed for hollowing out the economy.

Mr. Pence ran for governor as a fiscal rather than a social conservative, and he began his term by signing a large tax cut into law, which has made finding money for road construction a challenge. He has shown some practicality, taking federal money to expand Medicaid in his state under Obamacare as other GOP governors held out in irrational protest. His defining decision in Indianapolis, however, was signing into law a “religious freedom” bill that encouraged discrimination against LGBT people. He subsequently scaled the law back after a national uproar. Though this unnecessary foray into social issues hobbled him politically, he followed it up with a bill restricting abortions in Indiana. And while he condemned Mr. Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, he also tried to suspend the settlement of Syrian refugees in his state.

Mr. Pence appears to be executing his biggest mistake, by far, right now. He has called himself “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” But he has agreed to run on a ticket with an uncharitable man who habitually insults minorities, religions and vulnerable people, who wants to economically isolate the United States and who regularly displays his ignorance of the Constitution and policy. As he campaigns with Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence will have to add “hypocrite” to his list of labels.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/07/16/wash-post-editorial-board-castigates-pence-his-hypocritical-decision-join-trump-s-ticket/211618

The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.

"In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person." —Henry Louis Gates The quote above comes from a fascinating article called “Hating Hillary”, written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published, it’s a fascinating and impressive piece, and if you have a few spare moments I strongly recommend it to you. (www.newyorker.com/...)

And I’m reading pieces like this because now that Hillary has (essentially if not officially) won the Democratic Primary, I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her. In truth, I sometimes think that I find that as interesting as Hillary herself. And I can’t help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as “a cultural inventory of villainy” rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.

To conservatives she is a radical left-wing insurgent who has on multiple occasions been compared to Mikhail Suslov, the Soviet Kremlin’s long-time Chief of Ideology. To many progressives (you know who you are), she is a Republican fox in Democratic sheep’s clothing, a shill for Wall Street who doesn’t give a damn about the working class. The fact that these views could not possibly apply to the same person does not seem to give either side pause. Hillary haters on the right and the left seem perfectly happy to maintain their mutually incompatible delusions about why she is awful. The only thing both teams seem to share is the insistence that Hillary is a Machiavellian conspirator and implacable liar, unworthy of society’s trust.

And this claim of unabated mendacity is particularly interesting, because while it is not the oldest defamation aimed at Hillary, it is the one that most effortlessly glides across partisan lines. Indeed, for a surprisingly large percentage of the electorate, the claim that Hillary is innately dishonest is simply accepted as a given. It is an accusation and conviction so ingrained in the conversation about her that any attempt to even question it is often met with shock. And yet here’s the thing: it’s not actually true. Politifact, the Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking project, determined for example that Hillary was actually the most truthful candidate (of either Party) in the 2016 election season. And in general Politifact has determined that Hillary is more honest than most (but not all) politicians they have tracked over the years.

Also instructive is Jill Abramson’s recent piece in the Guardian. Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal as well as former Executive Editor of the New York Times, had this to say about Hillary’s honesty: “As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”

Notice how Abramson uses the word “surprising”? She’s obviously doing that for our benefit, because she knows that many readers will be astonished at the very thought of Hillary being “fundamentally honest”. But why? In my opinion we need to go back to the time of Whitewater in order to answer that question.

In January of 1996, while Whitewater investigations were underway but unfinished, conservative writer William Safire wrote a scathing and now-famous essay about Hillary Clinton entitled, “Blizzard of Lies”. In the piece he called her a “congenital liar”, and accused her of forcing her friends and subordinates into a “web of deceit”. He insisted (without any apparent evidence) that she took bribes, evaded taxes, forced her own attorneys to perjure themselves, “bamboozled” bank regulators, and was actively involved in criminal enterprises that defrauded the government of millions of dollars. He ended the piece by stating that, “She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.”

I am no political historian, but as far as I can tell this short essay was the birth of the “Hillary is a Liar” meme. Now to be clear, most conservatives already strongly disliked her. They had been upset with her for some time because she had refused to play the traditional First Lady role. And they were horrified by her attempt to champion Universal Health coverage. But if you look for the actual reasons people didn’t like her back at that time, you won’t see ongoing accusations of her being “crooked” or a “liar”. Instead, the most common opinion seemed to be that she was a self-righteous leftist who considered anyone with other views to be morally inferior. In short, the prevailing anti-Hillary accusation was not that she was unrelentingly dishonest, but that she was just intolerably smug.

After the Safire piece however, this all changed. Republicans, who learned from Nixon never to let a good propaganda opportunity pass if they could help it, repeated the accusations of mendacity non-stop to anyone who would broadcast or print them. And if you doubt the staying power of Safire’s piece, type the phrase “congenital liar” into a Google search along with “Hillary Clinton” and see what happens. To this day, that exact phrase is still proudly used by many on the right. This, even though Safire was eventually proven wrong about everything he had written. And despite the fact that he stated himself that he would have to “eat crow” if she were ever cleared, Safire never apologized or even acknowledged his many errors once that happened. Because as we all know, swift-boating means never having to say you’re sorry.

But while conservative propaganda and lies are a constant in “Hillaryland”, if we look at Hillary’s career, and the negative attacks so often aimed at her, it seems clear that more than just political machinations are at play. My current conviction is that the main fuel that powers the anti-Hillary crowd is sexism. And yes I’m serious. So go ahead and roll your eyes. Get it over with. But I think the evidence supports my view, and I’ve seen no other plausible explanation. And just to be clear, I don’t think it’s ONLY sexism. But I do think that this is the primary force that has generated and maintained most of the negative narratives about Hillary.

Of course accusations of sexism always bump up against several serious impediments:
1) Almost nobody will admit to it. Conservatives decided long ago that all such accusations (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc) are standard liberal bullshit whose only real intent is to shut down debate, and liberals tend to possess a sense of moral entitlement which leads them to consider themselves automatically exempt from all such accusations. (Side note: if you did roll your eyes above, there’s a good chance I’m describing you here. Sorry.)
2) Overt sexism is significantly more likely to be tolerated in our society than overt racism. It is a low-risk form of bigotry and discrimination that rarely damages professional or political careers. Because of this, far fewer people worry about crossing that line.
3) We have formed a sort of collective blindness to sexism that allows us to pretend that we are on top of the issue while simultaneously ignoring the many ways in which it actually permeates our society. (Side note 2: There’s a reason it’s called a “glass” ceiling.)
4) Unlike men, women who make demands are still often seen as unfeminine and inappropriately aggressive, bordering on deviant. And if the people most aggressively pushing against the glass ceiling are “broken” or “deviant”, it’s easier to justify dismissing both them and their concerns.

So I’ve made a claim. Let’s look at some numbers. Take a look at the image below. On the right side you’ll see a chart. This is a chart of Hillary’s popularity over time. It was put together by Nate Silver, who based it on over 500 high-quality phone surveys dating back to the early 90’s. If we take a look at the polling data, very obvious patterns emerge.

In the early 90’s her polling was great, which was typical for an incoming First Lady. But Hillary had no interest in being a typical First Lady, and soon took charge of one of the most important policy initiatives of the Clinton Presidency: Universal Health Care. If you look at the first large red arrow I have on the graphic, you’ll see that as soon as she did that her negatives skyrocketed. And yes this was before Whitewater. In fact during the ongoing Whitewater investigations her polling improved dramatically, so she actually became significantly MORE popular during that period, not less.

Now take a look at the second arrow. This is where she declared that she was going to run for the Senate. See what happened? She was at one of the most popular periods of her life, but as soon as she declared a run for the Senate her favorables plummeted while her unfavorables rose sharply. Then once she was elected, her scores stabilized and even improved. Now look at the third arrow. Nearly exactly at the same time she withdrew from the Presidential race her favorables took off again, rising to levels that many considered remarkable. (Or are we pretending not to remember that until very recently Hillary was one of the most popular politicians in the country?) In fact the image on the left of the graph is part of the “bad-ass Hillary” meme that started during this time. And her polling stayed high right up until she decided to run for President again. Her numbers since then are not on this particular graph, but I think we all know what happened to them.

So what do we see in this data? What I see is that the public view of Hillary Clinton does not seem to be correlated to “scandals” or issues of character or whether she murdered Vince Foster. No, the one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover.

And in fact I started thinking more about this after reading an article that Sady Doyle wrote for Quartz back in February. The title of the piece was, “America loves women like Hillary Clinton - as long as they’re not asking for a promotion.” In the article Ms. Doyle asserted that, “The wild difference between the way we talk about Clinton when she campaigns and the way we talk about her when she’s in office can’t be explained as ordinary political mud-slinging. Rather, the predictable swings of public opinion reveal Americans’ continued prejudice against women caught in the act of asking for power…”

And yes this is the kind of statement that many people will find reflexively annoying. But that doesn’t make it any less true, and the data certainly seems to support it. Even NBC news, looking back over decades of their own polls, stated that, “she's struggled to stay popular when she's on the campaign trail.” If this has nothing to do with gender, then wouldn’t the same thing happen to men when they campaign? But it doesn’t. Why not?

So let’s look at the issues people are currently using to disparage Clinton. Let’s consider the issues of dishonesty, scandals, money and Wall Street.

1) Honesty — In terms of honesty, I’ve already addressed that. Hillary is a politician, and like all politicians she is no stranger to “massaging” and/or exaggerating the truth. And yes on occasion she will let loose a whopper. But is she worse than other politicians? As I’ve already discussed, the evidence suggests that she is no worse, and actually better, than most other politicians. Internet videos like the “13 minutes of Hillary lying” appear to be mostly examples of Hillary changing her position over several decades, combined with annoying but typical political behavior. But similar videos of Donald Trump exist showing him doing an even more extreme version of the same thing. Why is he not being accused of this type of mendacity? In fact there is very little dispute that Trump has been SIGNIFICANTLY less honest on the campaign trail than Hillary. According to Politifact he is in fact the least honest candidate they’ve ever analyzed! So if the issue of honesty is really that important, why are so many people (on the right and left) holding Hillary to such an obviously different standard than Trump?

2) Scandals — Webster’s dictionary defines a scandal as, “an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong.” But here’s a question: Are scandals still scandals if nobody actually did anything wrong? And I think that’s a fair question, because Hillary’s political foes love to point out all the times she has been implicated (directly or indirectly) in scandals. Not surprisingly, however, they fail to point out that she has always been cleared of any wrongdoing.

So if she’s always innocent, why then does she find herself caught up in so many scandals? For that answer, perhaps we should look at the Wikipedia definition of scandal, which states, “A scandal can be broadly defined as an accusation or accusations that receive wide exposure. Generally there is a negative effect on the credibility of the person or organization involved.” Notice the important difference? Perhaps the “negative effect on credibility” is not so much the RESULT of these scandals as it is the INTENT of those who create them.

Did you know that Republicans once spent 10 days and 140 hours investigating the Clinton’s use of the White House Christmas Card list? Because that is a real thing that actually happened. As the Atlantic recently pointed out, “No other American politicians—even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush—have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.” (And for an impressive presentation of this issue I highly recommend Hanna Rosin’s piece “Among the Hillary Haters”, also in the Atlantic.)

Compare for example the treatment Hillary is getting due to her private email “scandal” to that of General David Petraeus. Hillary has been accused of hosting a personal email server that “might” have made classified documents less secure, even though the documents in question were not classified as secret at the time she received and/or sent them. (Side note: some government documents receive secret classifications “at birth”, while other can be retroactively classified as secret.) In order for Clinton to have committed a criminal act, she would have had to knowingly and willfully mishandle material that was classified at the time she did so. After months of investigation no one has accused her of doing that, and it doesn’t appear as if anyone will.

General Petraeus on the other hand, while he was Director of the CIA, knowingly gave a journalist, who was also his mistress, a series of black books which according to the Justice Department contained, “classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions quotes and deliberative discussions from high level National Security Council meetings and [Petraeus’] discussions with the president of the United States of America.” Petraeus followed that up by lying to numerous government officials, including FBI agents, about what he had done. And lets not forget that according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery is itself a court-martial offense. And I remind you that none of this is in dispute. Petraeus admitted to all of it.

Petraeus’ violations were significantly more egregious than anything Clinton is even remotely accused of. And yet Republicans and other Hillary foes are howling about her issue, wearing “Hillary for Prison 2016” t-shirts while insisting that this disqualifies her from public office. Meanwhile even after pleading guilty to his crimes Petraeus continued to be the recipient of fawning sentiments from conservatives. Senator John McCain stated that, “All of us in life make mistakes and the situation now, I hope, can be put behind him…” Politico quoted a former military officer who worked with Petraeus as calling the entire situation “silly”. Prominent Republicans have already made it clear that they would call him back to work in the highest levels of government if they win the Presidency. And some are still attempting to convince him to seek the Presidency himself.

Why is Hillary Clinton being held to such an obviously different standard than Petraeus? Is it really only politics?

3) Money — OK let’s talk about her money. Hillary has a lot of it. And she has earned most of it through well-paid speaking fees. And the idea of getting paid $200,000 or more for a single speech seems so ludicrous to many people that they assume that it simply must be some form of bribery. But the truth is that there is a large, well-established and extremely lucrative industry for speaking and appearance fees. And within that industry many celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and former politicians get paid very well. At her most popular for example, Paris Hilton was being paid as much as $750,000 just to make an appearance. Kylie Jenner was once paid over $100,000 to go to her own birthday party, and to this day Vanilla Ice gets $15,000 simply to show up with his hat turned sideways.

And let’s talk about the more cerebral cousin of the appearance agreement, which is the speaking engagement. Is $200k really that unusual? In fact “All American Speakers”, the agency that represents Clinton, currently represents 135 people whose MINIMUM speaking fee is $200,000. Some of the luminaries that get paid this much include: Guy Fieri, Ang Lee, Carla Delevingne, Chelsea Handler, Elon Musk, Mehmet Oz, Michael Phelps, Nate Berkus, and “Larry the Cable Guy”. And no that last one is not a joke. And if you drop the speaking fee to $100k, the number of people they represent jumps to over 500. At $50,000 the number jumps to over 1,200. And All American Speakers are obviously not the only agency that represents speakers. So there are in fact thousands of people getting paid this kind of money to give a speech.

For millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills, the very idea that someone can make $100,000 or more for just giving a speech or hanging out at a Vegas nightclub is obscene. But as Richard Nixon used to say, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Hillary didn’t invent the speaking engagement industry, and she isn’t anywhere near the first person to make a lot of money from it. And while her fees are in the upper range of what speakers make, neither they nor the total amount of money she has made are unusual. It’s just unusual FOR A WOMAN.

And yes, I’m back on that, because I feel compelled to point out that before he ran for President in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was making about $700,000 a month in speaking fees with an average of $270k per speech. It’s estimated that in the 5 years before his run he earned as much as $40 million in speaking fees. Nobody cared, no accusations of impropriety were made, and there was almost no media interest. So why did Giuliani get a pass, while Hillary stands accused of inherent corruption for making less money doing the same thing?

And speaking of corruption, after leaving the Florida governor’s office Jeb Bush made millions of dollars in paid speeches. This includes large sums he collected from a South Korean metals company that reaped over a BILLION dollars in contracts from his brother’s presidential administration. Speaking to an Indian newspaper about this type of thing Bush said, “This is the life of being the brother of the president.” Do you remember reading all about that while Jeb was running for President? I didn’t think so. Jeb got a pass too.

So if this discussion is really about money in politics that’s fine. But I’m going to need someone to explain to me why we only seem to focus on it when the person making the money has a vagina.

4) Wall Street — First things first. No, the majority of the money Clinton has made from speaking fees did not come from Wall Street. In fact it’s not even close. She has given nearly 100 paid speeches since leaving the State Dept., and only 8 were to “Wall Street” banks. Nearly all of her speeches were to organizations like American Camping Association, Ebay, Cisco, Xerox, Cardiovascular Research Foundation, United Fresh Produce Association, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, California Medial Association, A&E Television Networks, Massachusetts Conference for Women, U.S. Green Building Council, National Association of Realtors, American Society of Travel Agents, Gap, National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, etc.

Corporations and Associations pay large fees for important speakers all of the time. And Hillary got booked fairly often because she is interesting and popular, and because there’s a great deal of status attached to having her speak at an event. Ignoring all of this however, a large contingent of anti-Hillary people continue to insist that all speaker’s fees from Wall Street banks were bribes, and that because of this they “own” her. But by that logic shouldn’t we all be asking what the fuck the American Camping Association is up to?

Also, with the possible exception of one speech given to Deutsche Bank, all of Hillary’s 8 speeches to Wall Street were for a speaking fee of $225,000. That does not even break the top 20 of her highest paid speeches. For example she received over $275,000 each in three speeches she gave to The Vancouver Board of Trade, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, and Canada 2020. So apparently Canadians also “own” her. And I don’t know what those nefarious Canadians are up to, but it probably has something to do with goddamn poutine. Which would really piss me off except I just remembered that I kind of like poutine so never mind.

Listen, does Wall Street have influence with Hillary? Grow up, of course they do. Wall Street is one of the key engines of the American economy, and as such has enormous influence with everyone. EVERYONE. Don’t kid yourself on that point. And aside from anything else, she was a 2-term Senator of New York, and this made Wall Street an important corporate member of her constituency. The issue is not influence. The issue is whether or not paid speeches and campaign donations alone are proof of corruption. And they’re not. And the last time I checked there was an important difference between association and guilt, between proof and slander.

And again: why is Hillary being held to a standard that never appears to be applied to her male counterparts? Am I not supposed to notice that a media frenzy has been aimed at Hillary Clinton for accepting speaking fees of $225,000 while Donald Trump has been paid $1.5 MILLION on numerous occasions with hardly a word said about it? Am I supposed to not notice that we are now in an election season in which Donald Trump, a proud scam artist whose involvement in “Trump University” alone is being defined by the New York Attorney General as “straight-up fraud”, is regularly calling Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and getting away with it?

What the actual fuck is going on here? What’s going on is what we all know, but mostly don’t want to admit: presidential campaigns favor men, and the men who campaign in them are rewarded for those traits perceived as being “manly” - physical size, charisma, forceful personality, assertiveness, boldness and volume. Women who evince those same traits however are usually punished rather than rewarded, and a lot of the negativity aimed at Hillary over the years, especially when she is seeking office, has been due to these underlying biases. There is simply no question that Hillary has for years been on the business end of an unrelenting double standard. And her battle with societal sexism isn’t going to stop because of her success anymore than Obama’s battle with racism stopped once he was elected. These are generational issues, and we are who we are.

And actually, this only makes her victory all the more amazing. And maybe it’s OK if we pause for a moment from the accusations and paranoia and just acknowledge her enormous accomplishments. In the entire history of our nation, only 6 Presidents have also served as Secretary of State. Only 3 have served both as Secretary of State and in Congress. By any objective measure Hillary Clinton is not just the most qualified candidate this season, she’s one of the most qualified people to ever seek the office. The New York Times in endorsing her stated that, “voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in history.” Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg stated that, “she is probably the best qualified presidential candidate ever.” Even Marco Rubio, one-time choice of the GOP establishment (and tea-party love-child) stated in a Republican debate that, “If this is a resume contest, Hillary Clinton is going to be the new President of the United States.”

Hillary is nobody’s idea of perfect. Fine. But in my view if a man with her qualifications were running in the Democratic primary, Bernie would have been done before he even started. And if a man with her qualifications had been running for the Republicans, they’d be anointing him the next Reagan while trying to sneak his face onto Mount Rushmore.

Most of the people who hate Hillary when she’s running for office end up liking her just fine once she’s won. And I have every confidence that history will repeat itself again this November. As for myself, I have been watching Presidential elections since Nixon. And never in my life has there been an easier or more obvious choice than now. Trump is not merely a bad choice, he is (as many leading Republicans have already admitted) a catastrophic choice, unfit in every possible way for the office of the Presidency.
As such, I happily voted for Hillary in my primary. And I will proudly vote for her in November. Yes she will disappoint us all on occasion. Who doesn’t? But I think she’s also going to surprise a lot of people. She will fear neither consensus when possible nor ass-kicking when necessary. She will safeguard us from the damage a right-wing Supreme Court would inflict on the nation. She will stand for the rights of women, LGBT Americans, and minorities. She will maintain critical global relationships, and she will react to dangerous situations with the temperament of a seasoned and experienced professional. And in a nation that didn’t even allow women to vote until 1920, she will make history by shattering the very highest glass ceiling, and in doing so forever change the way a generation of young women view their place in our Republic. 

She’s going to be a fine President. 

I’m with her.

http://m.dailykos.com/story/2016/6/11/1537582/-The-most-thorough-profound-and-moving-defense-of-Hillary-Clinton-I-have-ever-seen

Donald Trump fails the commander-in-chief test

Thursday, July 14, represented Donald Trump’s first test as the would-be commander-in-chief of the United States. He failed it badly. Facing the unexpected need to react to the carnage in Nice, France, on the eve of his vice-presidential announcement, Trump stumbled, froze, raged, and ultimately beclowned himself on a global stage. The man who would command America’s armed forces couldn’t keep a secret, waffled on his decision, and rushed to declare war on an unknown enemy.

Trump’s first operation—selecting and announcing a running mate—revealed a complete lack of command, control and communications. After endlessly attacking Hillary Clinton over her email practices, the Trump Army couldn’t keep The Donald’s evangelically-blessed choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence secret for even 24 hours before the planned Friday morning unveiling. When the news leaked before Trump had even formally extended the offer to Pence and his fellow contenders, Trump decided to use the bloodbath in France as a smokescreen for his bungling. As Kelly O’Donnell reported for MSNBC, the supposedly  tough-talking, $10 billion man moved his announcement event to Saturday not out of respect for the dead, but out of cowardice:

Sources tell NBC News that Donald Trump was watching news coverage from his Beverly Hills home Thursday and was described as surprised and "irritated" that news organizations were identifying Pence as his choice early in the day. 

Those sources said that by mid-afternoon, after the initial news reports, he had still "not informed" the other two men on his final list -former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- that a final decision had been reached. Trump spoke to Gov. Christie after 4:00pm in what was described as a "tense" conversation where a Pence pick was discussed but a final decision was not communicated. 

By about 5:00pm, sources said Trump had not personally made the offer to Pence to join the ticket. But by that time, other signals, movements and the Indiana governor's arrival in the New York City area on a private plane appeared to signal that the choice had been made.

Full story http://m.dailykos.com/stories/1548723

Clinton campaign hits Trump on nukes in new ad

Clinton campaign hits Trump on nukes in new ad

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

An Open Letter From Technology Sector Leaders On Donald Trump’s Candidacy For President

We are inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector. We are proud that American innovation is the envy of the world, a source of widely-shared prosperity, and a hallmark of our global leadership.

We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline.  We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation.  His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy—and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.

Let’s start with the human talent that drives innovation forward.  We believe that America’s diversity is our strength.  Great ideas come from all parts of society, and we should champion that broad-based creative potential.  We also believe that progressive immigration policies help us attract and retain some of the brightest minds on earth—scientists, entrepreneurs, and creators.  In fact, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.  Donald Trump, meanwhile, traffics in ethnic and racial stereotypes, repeatedly insults women, and is openly hostile to immigration.  He has promised a wall, mass deportations, and profiling.

We also believe in the free and open exchange of ideas, including over the Internet, as a seed from which innovation springs. Donald Trump proposes “shutting down” parts of the Internet as a security strategy ― demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works. His penchant to censor extends to revoking press credentials and threatening to punish media platforms that criticize him.

Full post http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5787996ae4b03fc3ee4f6be2

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sanders endorses Clinton as Dems join forces against Trump

Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday, standing side-by-side with the presumptive Democratic nominee at an event intended to unify Democrats.

In congratulating Clinton on her victory, the Vermont senator effectively ended his own long primary campaign against Clinton, which had been much more successful than anticipated.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/287328-sanders-endorses-clinton

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Why Can Rep. Jason Chaffetz Use Personal Email, But Hillary Clinton Can’t?

tense hearing on Thursday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) grilled FBI Director James Comey about his decision to recommend against indicting Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The hours-long hearing re-hashed a familiar debate over whether Clinton lied about sending classified information over her personal e-mail account, and whether she should be granted future security clearances in light of what Comey called “extremely careless” behavior.

The hearing also re-hashed another interesting fact: That Chaffetz himself uses a personal email address to conduct professional business.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Trump's healthcare 'plan' would kick 18 million off their insurance

Donald Trump has one Republican-approved talking point down: repeal Obamacare. He's also provided his Republican bona fides with a replacement "plan" that amounts to a cobbled together bunch of ideas. Two for two as a Republican. Let's make it three for three: the scraps of his plan that can be analyzed would be really bad for a lot of people.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An independent study says Donald Trump's health care plan would make 18 million people uninsured, but it also would significantly lower premiums for policies purchased individually by consumers.

Those policies generally would be stingier than what's sold now.

The study comes from the nonpartisan Center for Health and Economy and tries to put numbers to the health care ideas outlined on the GOP presidential candidate's website.

http://m.dailykos.com/stories/1546111

Thursday, July 7, 2016

FBI Director Dismantles Most Damaging Claims Against Hillary Clinton

WASHINGTON ― FBI Director James Comey on Thursday defended his decision to forgo a criminal case against Hillary Clinton, and in the process managed to dismiss a series of the most damaging claims against the former secretary of state.

Comey announced Tuesday that he’d cleared Clinton from potential prosecution over her use of a private email server, saying her actions were “extremely careless” but that no “reasonable” prosecutor would pursue the case. Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed with him on Wednesday. Comey’s most damning finding was that Clinton had more than 100 classified messages on her system, including eight that were deemed “top secret.”

Almost immediately after the announcement, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called Thursday’s hearing on the issue.

“We’re here because we’re mystified and confused by the fact pattern you laid out,” Chaffetz said. He added that based on Comey’s facts, if an “average Joe” had done what Clinton did, “they’d be in handcuffs.”

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_577e59e4e4b0c590f7e81f19

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Trump Praises Saddam Hussein Again — This Time For Killing Terrorists ‘So Good’

Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican presidential nomination, once again lauded deposed Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein during a campaign stop.

Speaking at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday evening, Trump praised what he said was Hussein’s innate ability to kill terrorists “so good.” While it’s not the first time he’s mentioned the former leader, this time Trump elaborated that he appreciated Hussein’s authoritarian take on civil liberties.

“You know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump said. “They didn’t read them the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorist, it was over.”

Trump went on to call Iraq the “Harvard for terrorism,” to scattered laughter.

Story http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_577c626ae4b09b4c43c18be2

Former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Harassment Suit Against Roger Ailes

NEW YORK — Former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson alleged in an explosive lawsuit filed Wednesday that Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes fired her for rebuffing his sexual advances and challenging a sexist newsroom culture. 

Carlson, who spent 11 years at the network, described being ostracized and marginalized by Fox News for pushing back against condescending treatment. After seven and a half years as a co-host on “Fox & Friends,” the top-rated cable morning news show, Carlson was reassigned in 2013 to an early afternoon time slot. Fox News terminated her employment on June 23. 

In the suit, Carlson claims she tried addressing what she considered to be discriminatory treatment during a September 2015 meeting with Ailes, who allegedly responded that their problems could have been better solved if they had a sexual relationship. 

“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” Ailes told Carlson, according to the suit. 

Link to story http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_577d22c1e4b09b4c43c1c624

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Clinton cleared on email scandal by FBI –

FBI Director James Comey announced Tuesday that the FBI will not recommend federal prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to store what turned out to be thousands of classified documents in her emails.

The U.S. Justice Department has the final say, but Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that she 'fully expects' to act on whatever the FBI recommends. The FBI doesn't expect any criminal charges to result, Comey said.

'We are expressing to the Department of Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case,' he said.

'In looking back into our investigations into the mishandling or the removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.'

Full story http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3675351/Could-big-Hillary-reveal-Washington-edge-FBI-director-schedules-morning-press-event-just-days-Clinton-sits-3-1-2-hour-grilling.html

Monday, July 4, 2016

Trump facing Romney-like gap in NY polls

ALBANY -- This year's presidential candidates both call New York home, but it hasn't made much of a difference in state-level polls.

Presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump trailed Democrat Hillary Clinton by a 23-point margin in a Siena College poll released Thursday, with 54 percent of registered New York voters backing Clinton and 31 percent backing Trump.

Trump, the Manhattan businessman, has repeatedly said he expects to compete in his home state. Clinton, the former secretary of state, represented New York in the Senate and resides in Chappaqua, Westchester County.

The candidates' New York ties, however, haven't shifted the polls in the state, which hasn't backed a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Link to full story http://www.wgrz.com/mb/news/trump-facing-romney-like-gap-in-ny-polls/262661712

Public Employee Salaries

This database contains wage information for more than 440,000 public employees in New York State, individuals who work for roughly 3,000 municipalities or local government agencies. Earnings information includes salary, overtime pay, vacation payouts, and other compensation for the year. The data was provided by the Office of the State Comptroller and is based on the state's fiscal year, which runs from April 1 to March 30.

See our separate databases of salary information for state employees and for teachers and school administrators.

County location is not specified for some agencies.


Link to page here http://lohud.nydatabases.com/database/public-employee-salaries

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Republicans don’t seem to care about his big money flip-flop, but it’s a problem for independents — and donors.


ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — If a candidate solicits big money from special interests, that candidate is on the take.

Or so argued presidential candidate Donald Trump — the same Donald Trump who now, as the presumptive Republican nominee and despite that year-long stance, is nevertheless soliciting big money from those same special interests.

Developer Llwyd Ecclestone and his wife, Diana, gave the Trump “Victory” fund $768,000. Real estate investor Thomas Barrack gave $299,600, while casino magnate Phillip Ruffin kicked in $284,600.

Those donations were from May, when just 51 individuals giving a minimum of $19,600 contributed $3.1 million to Trump’s fund for transfer to the Republican National Committee, according to Federal Election Commission filings. 

Full story http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57782c5de4b09b4c43c0b5b9

Friday, July 1, 2016

Trump products made outside US


Man Who Wants US Nuclear Codes Donald Trump Spent Charity Funds On A Tim Tebow Autograph

Donald Trump appears to have spent thousands of dollars in charity funds to purchase sports memorabilia at a 2012 Susan G. Komen breast cancer fundraiser, potentially violating IRS law and providing yet another example of the faint stench of immorality that often lingers around Trump’s charitable endeavors.

The items in question were a jersey and a helmet, the latter signed by the then-popular NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. And while Trump himself raised the proverbial auction paddle and placed the $12,000 winning bid, research by The Washington Post indicates it was the Donald J. Trump Foundation — not The Donald himself — that foot the bill.

Whether or not this was an explicit breach of tax law hangs on what the presumptive GOP nominee did with the football gear after that January night in Palm Beach, California.

If Trump kept the items for himself, it is indeed a violation — after all, those dollars surely weren’t donated to help a billionaire freshen up his jersey collection. Trump likely would have needed to repurpose the signed memorabilia by donating it to another charity in order to avoid, per The Post, “self-dealing” IRS regulations, “which are designed to keep nonprofit officials from using their charities to help themselves.”

Link to full story http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57769648e4b04164640fc1f8