Thursday, December 29, 2016
Yesterday, December 28th, Sprint announced the addition of 5,000 jobs to its current American workforce, the first of 50,000 additional jobs, some moved from overseas. Within hours, Trump took credit for the decision, which, in fact, was announced before the election. The lie, of course, was flagrant, but Don the Con will suffer no harm. And not because his supporters will believe the lie. Trump will suffer no harm because his supporters will embrace the lie.
Monday, December 19, 2016
I won’t detail the second mountain Hillary had to scale because I’ve already analyzed Comey’s hatchet-job of a press conference in my October 30 posting. Meanwhile, new information has come to light in the last few days, which I’ll get to later. I want to discuss the polling first. On July 7, when Comey gave his press conference, and on October 28th, when Comey dispatched that letter to Congress announcing a new investigation into Anthony Weiner’s emails, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a significant lead in the polls. I’ve used the Reuters/Ipsos Tracking Poll here, but most of the other polls produce the same general trend. On July 5th, the Reuters Poll reveals an 8% lead for Hillary Clinton. That lead shrank to a virtual tie after Comey’s press conference, but soon expanded once again as voters got to know the real Donald Trump. Then, on October 28, eleven days before the election, Comey struck again. New emails had been discovered in the computer of Anthony Weiner which might incriminate Hillary Clinton and lead to an indictment. With a little luck, she’d be in jail before her inauguration. At that point, Hillary enjoyed a six percent lead, which again began to shrink. Only now, she didn’t have enough time to recover.
And all the while, from Trump’s lying mouth, it’s “Crooked Hillary”, the most corrupt candidate ever to run for the highest office. Lock her up.
On December 9, the Washington Post ran a story that included a letter from outgoing Senator Harry Reid. Early on, according to Reid, the CIA concluded that the Russians were behind the hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails because they wanted Trump to win. Further, the CIA revealed their findings to James Comey who somehow decided that the emails in Anthony Weiner’s computer were more important than an attack upon the American electoral process by a foreign country.
It seems more and more likely that Comey was motivated by purely partisan politics and not a prickly conscience. He wished to elect a Republican, any Republican. But I’m not here to convict a man already convicted by the facts. I only want to demonstrate that like Bernie Saunders’s attack on Hillary’s character, Comey, as an obstacle, was unique. No former FBI Director, not even Hoover, had dared to insert him-or-herself into an election. Comey did it twice. And Vladimir Putin? Hacking into the DNC’s computer, then selectively releasing emails in an attempt to defeat a candidate in an American election? Again, an unprecedented obstacle, one too many to be overcome. In my opinion, against anyone but Don the Con, Hillary would have lost by a wider margin.
What’s the point? Why the rant? Given the composition of most State governments, and the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, I don’t think that Democratic success depends on shifting to the left, as Bernie and the Progressive Caucus demand. Just as Southerners voted Democratic for a hundred years because a Republican ended slavery, just as Southerners now vote Republican because a Democrat ended segregation, a significant percentage of the white working-class in the north have been, and will continue, to vote against their economic interests. Perhaps when they hit bottom, when they see their children and grandchildren going hungry at the end of the month, the worms will turn. Until that day, which may be very far off, the Dems are better off with the coalition they now have.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
I’ve been listening to the election post-mortems, those of the cable news pundits and of my dearest friends, for the past two weeks. All have missed the point, blaming Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff for the loss. If only she’d done this, or that, or this, or that…. The image this debate calls to mind is of a soldier charging across an open field at a machine gun nest. If she’d zigged instead of zagged, she would have escaped the bullets that took her down. But there was no escape for Hillary, not in the face of the three obstacles placed in her path: Bernie Sanders, James Comey and Vladimir Putin. Any one of them, or even two, might have been overcome, but not all three.
I’ll start with Bernie and his morally-bankrupt campaign. By the time Bernie jumped into the race, the Republican party had been attacking Hillary’s character, en masse, for two years. And why not? Few presidential candidates in American history, if any, had come to the races as prepared as Hillary Clinton. Her readiness could not be directly challenged and character assassination, by default, was the only play on the table. Vilification, demonization, defamation – Hillary had to be transformed from a superb Secretary of State, praised by John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Henry Kissinger, into a lying sleazebag who could not be trusted with the nation’s highest office.
I don’t blame the Republicans. They’ve used vilification - think Vince Foster, the swiftboating of John Kerry and birtherism - to win elections for decades now, a strategy that’s proven highly successful. Bernie, by contrast, might have chosen a different tactic, but I suspect the temptation was too great, the weapon too easily acquired. He attacked Hillary’s character from the outset. The campaign donations she took from the business community, especially from corrupt Wall Street sources? Her well-paid speeches, especially those made before corrupt Wall Street audiences? How could all that corruption not rub off? Clearly, the woman was tainted.
The saddest part was that Bernie’s attack continued long after all hope of his winning the nomination had been lost. Or maybe that’s not the saddest part. Bernie’s ritual denunciations, in fact, had the ring of truth only because of the several lies of omission he committed throughout the campaign.
Politicians would confine the definition of a lie to a deliberate misstatement of a fact. They exclude dissembling, obfuscation and lies of omission because these forms of deception, if applied to politician, would put them at the heels of Satan, the Great Deceiver.
So, what did Bernie’s stump speeches omit? First, that every Democrat takes money from any legal source willing to give it. If Hillary’s fundraising rendered her corrupt, the entire party, the party Bernie Sanders voluntarily joined, was corrupt. Why then would Bernie seek to be their candidate? Why not run as an independent? The answer is simple enough. If he hoped to actually win a general election, Bernie needed the party’s resources, accumulated in large part by contributions from the rich and powerful, including Wall Street wheeler-dealers. This was the part he omitted when he attacked Hillary’s fundraising. You’ll note that he didn’t attack Barack Obama who took money from the same people. Nor did he admit the obvious, that as long as the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision stands, money will continue to pour into political campaigns. More lies of omission.
Even as he challenged Hillary’s fundraising, Bernie opened a second front. Since leaving the Obama administration, Hillary had given speeches to many organizations, including the dreaded Goldman, Sachs, for which she was paid as much as $225,000. Who can forget Bernie throwing out his arms, declaring, “Here are the transcripts of my paid speeches. There are none.” It sounded great. The man of integrity refusing many thousands of easy bucks. How noble. How deceitful.
Federal law dating to 1991 prohibits federal officeholders from giving paid speeches. Had Bernie done so, he might well have been charged with a crime. And Bernie knew his claim was misleading. His own actions convict him. In a television ad, a thirty second spot aired in April, 2016, he declared that “Washington politicians are paid over $200,000 an hour for speeches.” But politicians holding office, including staffers, are not allowed to give paid speeches. Perhaps he meant ex-politicians. Perhaps he was merely dissembling, and not telling an outright lie.
The website of All American Speakers, a talent agency providing speakers for events held around the country, has a page devoted to one of its favored clients, Condoleezza Rice. Her smiling photo greets the visitor, underscored by her extensive resume. She’s ready to share her wisdom for a fee of $100,000 and above, plus expenses. Call now.
But you might not want a politician. You might want a comedian to cap off your annual convention. All American Speakers lists the resumes of 1,040 comedians willing to entertain your conventioneers. If you're willing to pony up $200,000, Jay Leno, for example, will be happy to attend your event. I could go on and on, but I believe the point is made. After-dinner speakers are entertainers. Their compensation is based, as with athletes, on supply and demand. All American Speakers lists hundreds of semi-celebrities who’ll grace your gala dinner for as little as $5,000. And by the way, just so there’s no misunderstanding. Every former Secretary of State, including Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and even James Baker, gives paid speeches. George Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches at up to $175,000 per.
Even as I write this, Bernie’s out there, urging Dems to endorse his pseudo-socialist brand. Hillary lost, he insists, because she espoused the conservative policies that failed to excite the populace. That he took the baton of vilification from the Republicans, ran with it throughout the primaries, then handed it over to Donald Trump, goes unmentioned. And, apparently, unpunished.
Go, Bernie, go.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
COMEY ALTERNATE PRESS CONFERENCE RANT
Over the past months, we at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have examined more than 60,000 documents found on Secretary Clinton’s server without finding a single classified document. Let me show you what a classified document looks like. This document I’m holding was once classified, but has since been declassified. You’ll notice that the document is clearly marked across the top of the first page with a single word: SECRET. This is called a header and it serves two purposes. First, it instructs whoever possess the document to handle it properly. Second, it warns away individuals who lack proper clearance. Again, in our examination of more than 60,000 documents taken from Secretary Clinton’s server, we did not find a single document with a header identifying that document as classified.
However, upon closer examination, we discovered 110 emails that somewhere in the body of the email discussed a matter or matters that, in our opinion, was classified at the time. In addition, we found 3 documents among the more than 60,000, that, again within the body of the document, included paragraphs that begin with a `c’ enclosed by parenthesis. This marking indicates that the following material is classified. However, we have no reason to believe that Hillary Clinton reviewed this material, or that she reviewed any particular document, since many were, necessarily, reviewed by her aides first and never referred to Secretary Clinton.
Finally, lying to the FBI is a crime. I know this because I was personally involved in the prosecution of Martha Stewart for that offense. If, in fact, we had any reason to believe that Secretary Clinton lied in the course of her voluntary interview, we would have charged her. We didn’t and we must therefore conclude that Secretary Clinton, when she told the American people that there were no classified documents in her server, was truthful, though mistaken.
You’ll note that the above presentation contains all the facts that Comey mentioned in his hatchet job. I’ve simply arranged them in a different light, one that would radically change the public’s understanding of what the FBI found on Clinton’s server. But far from showing the public an example of a classified document, Comey never used the word `header’ in his presentation. Instead, he tossed off the fact that he found no marked documents in a couple of sentences, then went on to play investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury in an all-out attack on Hillary Clinton. In effect, despite every FBI Agent and every prosecutor finding no basis for a prosecution, Comey decided that Hillary must be punished and he would be the punisher. Nice.
James Comey is a registered Republican and has been since he first began to vote. Further, he owes every appointment and every promotion to office-holding Republicans. Every appointment and every promotion. Even more to the point, this is not the first time Republicans have set their attack dog on the Clintons. Comey was deputy special counselor to a Senate Committee investigating Whitewater in 1996. Eight years later, in 2004, he headed an investigation into Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich. According to Time, his work for the Whitewater Committee provided the springboard to his later appointments.
Finally, in the eyes of Republican lawmakers, James Comey has morphed overnight from villain into hero. That must be a more comfortable position for an individual who owes his career to Republican politicians. It will also play into his post-FBI career. Only in his mid-fifties, Comey will need a job when his term expires. An upper management job at Kroll Security Group? Perhaps with a mid-six-figure salary, not including bonuses?
You gotta love a man who knows where his best interests lie.
Monday, October 3, 2016
LIBERTARIANS UBER ALLES
Though I find it inconceivable, there is clear evidence that some of Bernie’s supporters are turning to Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. I have to wonder if any of them have read the Libertarian Party’s platform? Probably not, because many of its provisions are so diametrically opposed to Bernie’s they might have been written by an evil twin.
Millennials feel especially burdened by the cost of an education at one or another of our State universities. Both tuition and interest rates are, in their opinion (and mine, as well), far too high. By way of solution, Bernie advocates free tuition at State universities, while Hillary pushes a less extreme, though still significant, reform. That said, if Gary Johnson is elected and implements the Libertarian Party’s education plank, students will no longer have to worry about costs. That’s because the Libertarian plank calls for the abolition of public education from kindergarten through medical school. You receive an education only if your parents can afford to send you to a private school. Otherwise, you grow up illiterate.
Over and over again, in the course of his primary campaign, Bernie termed global warming the great challenge of our time. We must fight against it for the sake of future generations and we can only do so by aggressive laws that limit carbon-based pollution. By contrast, the Libertarians hope to abolish all regulation of the environment. If you’re injured by pollution, you have the right to seek damages in court. That should be enough.
And why not? It’s a fair fight? Mary Smith vs. Koch Enterprises? A slam dunk if ever there was one.
I’m told that we live in an age of shortened attention spans, that we can’t expect younger Americans to concentrate longer than it takes to speed-read the 140 characters in a Tweet. But this failure on the part of Bernie’s supporters to become minimally acquainted with the positions taken by the Libertarian Party speaks volumes about the depth of their commitment. A simple Google search took me to the Libertarian platform in under thirty seconds. The document is about three pages long. Bernie’s faithless supporters clearly haven’t read it, either because they’re as lazy as others claim they are, or because they prefer an abysmal ignorance that allows them to indulge their sense of entitlement.
Let me close by saying that the worst political mistake made by many in the boomer generation, which includes this writer, was to sit on our hands while Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in 1968. The harm to progressive causes that followed is virtually incalculable.
Mea culpa, boys and girls. Mea culpa.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
I’m not chicken, so I’ll get right to it. Hillary Clinton should have added three words to her claim that no classified material passed through her server: “To my knowledge”. But, no, her statements were unequivocal and inevitably disingenuous. Given the fact that somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 emails passed through her computer, she could not have read them all and could not, therefore, be certain that no classified material was received or sent. Her many assertions were bogus from the beginning. More than likely, they were designed to secure the nomination before the roof caved in.
Though not by design, Hillary’s blanket denials have given the Republicans an opportunity to brand her a liar, a stroke of good fortune for a party nominating a man who lies virtually every time he opens his mouth. Especially because it allows the media to assert a false equivalency.
Trump claimed, on Fox News, that the families of the 9/11 hijackers were living in the United States at the time of the attacks. In fact, not a single family member of any hijacker lived in the United States. This is similar to his claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered after the towers fell. A blatant appeal of his xenophobic supporters, there exists not a shred of proof to support either claim.
A photo appearing in one of Trump’s campaign ads shows hundreds of dark-skinned people climbing over a fence. The photo is meant to illustrate the porosity of our southern border. In fact, the photo was taken in Morocco. (But you know what he means, right?)
Trump has repeatedly claimed that Obama wants to accept 250,000 Syrian refugees. The actual number is 10,000.
In May, 2014, the United States exchanged five Guantanamo prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl. Trump has repeatedly claimed that these men have returned to the battlefield. In fact, all five are living in Qatar, where they were sent upon their release.
Trump has declared that the treaty between Iran and the United States would require the United States to defend Iran in a war with Israel. There is not a scrap of evidence to support this claim.
I could go on and on, listing one lie after another, but I’ll allow PolitiFact to speak for me. PolitiFact rates SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT of Trump’s statements as mostly false, false or pants on fire. Yet, somehow, Hillary Clinton has become the liar and Donald Trump the straight shooter. As a political success, this compares with turning a genuine war hero like John Kerry into a coward, while simultaneously proclaiming George Bush, who did everything he could to avoid combat, the man who served honorably.
PolitiFact rates 72% of Hillary Clinton’s statements as true, mostly true or half-true. PolitiFact rates 75% of Donald Trump’s claims as mostly false, false or pants on fire. Enough said.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
First: There is nothing that men do with other men or that women do with other women that men and women don't do together.
Second: Show me a man who's never had anal sex and I'll show you a man whose wife wouldn't let him.
Second: Show me a man who's never had anal sex and I'll show you a man whose wife wouldn't let him.