Tuesday, August 23, 2016

President Obama arrives in Louisiana now that his visit is less likely to interrupt the delivery of services to those who are suffering due to the flooding.

Courtesy of NBC News:  

President Obama met with survivors in flooded Louisiana Tuesday, touring a hard-hit Baton Rouge suburb strewn with debris and rubble. "Sometimes when these kinds of things happen, it can seem like too much to bear. But what I want the people of Louisiana to know is you're not alone, even after the TV cameras leave," Obama said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon after walking through destroyed homes and shaking hands with residents.

Obama said Americans are "heartbroken by the loss of life" and said the floods have cost survivors more than property.

Obama signed a federal disaster declaration over a week ago, freeing up $120 million in aid.

The article is filled with criticisms concerning how long it took the President to arrive in Louisiana  but I ignored them because we know that the Governor asked the President to stay away and that Obama signed that federal disaster declaration immediately which is really the most important thing he could do in response.

This press conference only has value in bringing attention to the crisis, which everybody is already paying attention to already, and quieting those on the Right who attack the President at every opportunity.

Our President is much more concerned with helping these people get the services and help they need rather than to use their suffering as a backdrop for political purposes.

By the way Hillary is also not planning to visit the area until she knows that her appearance will not disrupt the response to the crisis.

P.S. It appears that Donald Trump's $100,000 donation (If he actually donated it.)  may have gone to Tony Perkins and his anti-LGBT ministry.
Gee, that's really helpful.

Donald Trump and his children have made over 7 million dollars so far from campaign contributions.

Courtesy of Vice: 

Republican Donald Trump has so far paid $7.7 million in campaign contributions to his own companies and children, according to a filing with the Federal Elections Commission, and as the campaign transitions to the general election those payments are increasing. In May, they totaled at least $1.1 million—nearly 20 percent of all campaign spending that month—and in July, another $800,000 came into the Trump brood. 

Campaign finance laws on the topic are hazy and contradictory, largely because no candidate for federal office has ever had such a sprawling business empire that could be employed for a campaign. The FEC allows candidates to rent themselves their own office space—as the Trump campaign does at Trump Tower—but bans them from collecting royalties on any memoirs purchased by the campaign. Money ultimately flows back to the candidate in both cases but the FEC has issued divergent rules.

In July alone, Trump's campaign paid $169,758.33 in rent to Trump Tower Corporation LLC, $48,239.77 for rent and catering at Trump National Golf Club in Weschester, $1,000 to Trump Restaurants LLC, and $428.53 worth of Trump's bottled water Trump Ice. In May, Trump's campaign spent $3,938.58 at the vineyard run by his son Eric. Campaign dollars are also funneled to allies of Trump's children. Each month, the campaign spends millions on apparel like the "Make America Great Again" trucker hats. The manufacturer, Ace Specialties, is owned by Christl Mahfouz, a board member on Eric Trump's charitable foundation.

I wonder if Sarah Palin lays awake at night and thinks to herself "Running for President and using campaign donations to make my family rich instead of PAC contributions, why didn't I think of that?"

Around the internet folks have started to call this the Trump "scampaign" and I think that hits the nail right on the head.

This is just like Trump airlines, Trump University, and Trump steaks. All the Donald is doing is marketing his name in order to line his pockets with every intention of getting out before anybody gets a chance to examine the product closely.

And after this he will take his new notoriety and use it to launch that cable TV news show we keep hearing about, a reality show, or a new product line. Or perhaps all three.

While we are on the topic of this "scampaign" according to this article by the former Commissioner of the IRS Trump's supposed audit is NO reason not to release his tax returns:

He can and should immediately release the first two pages of his Form 1040, along with his Schedule A, for the past 20 years. This would tell us how much he makes, how much he pays in taxes, and how much he contributes to charity. 

Releasing this information would have no impact on any pending or future IRS audit of Trump. Zero. None. It is a risk-free first step with no downside. While painting a far from complete portrait, it would answer a few of the questions that Trump himself has raised during the campaign: He claims that he makes a lot of money; he claims that he makes significant charitable contributions; and he claims that he reduces his tax liability as far as current law allows. 

The first two pages of his enormous tax returns, along with his Schedule A, will shed important light on these claims. The first two pages plus the Schedule A of the Clintons' 2015 tax return tell us they made $10.6 million; that they made charitable contributions of $1.0 million; and that they paid federal taxes of $3.6 million, for an effective tax rate of 34 percent. We have that same information about the Clintons for the past 20 years. The first two pages of Trump's tax returns, together with his Schedule A, would provide us with the same information for him. He can and should share that information with no audit risk whatsoever. 

But Trump's not going to do that.

Because if he did we would know for a fact that he is full of shit and that all of this is indeed a "scampaign." 

This is why I don't really care about how the Right Wing attacks Clinton over her e-mails, the Clinton foundation, and her supposed "health problems."

First off those are all complete bullshit, but more importantly they don't matter.

Ultimately we really only have ONE candidate who can win this election, ONE candidate who is preparing to do the job, and ONE candidate who is even really running a campaign.

Donald Trump is putting on a show, and trying to grift as much money as possible while doing it.

He is NOT an actual Republican candidate.

And the GOP does not have the time or the machinery in position to replace him.

In other words, and I have said this before, everybody needs to start practicing the phrase "Madame President."

Former Fox News host files lawsuit claiming retaliation after accusing Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

Andrea Tantaros, a former Fox News host, charged in a lawsuit filed Monday that top executives at the network, including the man who replaced Roger Ailes, punished her for complaining about sexual harassment by Mr. Ailes. 

The suit by Ms. Tantaros, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, is the latest round in a contentious volley that began in late winter, when Fox claimed she had breached her employment contract by writing a book without receiving network approval. 

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” Ms. Tantaros’s suit says.

Here was Tantaros's description of her experiences with Roger Ailes:  

The lawsuit goes on to say that on Aug. 12, 2014, Mr. Ailes called her into his office and asked if she was planning to marry and have children. “Ailes then started complaining about marriage in general, and also made off-color jokes about being married,” the lawsuit states. It describes Mr. Ailes as speculating on the sexual habits and preferences of 10 Fox News personalities. 

He asked Ms. Tantaros to turn around “so I can get a good look at you,” the lawsuit charges, adding that Ms. Tantaros refused. Soon after, she was moved from “The Five” to a lower-rated show, “Outnumbered,” that aired at midday.

Mr. Ailes called her back for similar sessions in December 2014 and February 2015, the lawsuit charges, and when she continued to rebuff him, she encountered hostility from the Fox News publicity department. In the February meeting, she said, Mr. Ailes talked about how she would look in a bikini, and accused her of ending a long-term relationship because she had been merely using the man. The episode brought her to tears, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also claims that Bill O'Reilly sexually harassed Tantaros as well, which I imagine is probably true of most of the women now speaking out about sexual harassment at Fox News.

I love this quote:

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.”

Do you know that segment of Real Time "I don't know it for a fact, I just know it's true?"

For me this falls into that category.

I ALWAYS got the feeling that the women of Fox News were seen as nothing more than window dressing and that they were either being sexually harassed constantly or that they were in fact trading sexual favors to further their careers.

I didn't know it for a fact, I just knew it was true.

Now if you will excuse me I have to take another one of those "covering sexual harassment at Fox News hot showers" to cleanse myself.

Hillary Clinton goes on Jimmy Kimmel to address concerns about her health and to talk about her e-mails.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

Being in the presence of Clinton allowed Kimmel not merely the opportunity to ask questions but to check if Clinton was actually still alive. Given the conspiracy theories about her health, she could very easily be a cyborg by now. 

“Oh my God, there’s nothing there!” Kimmel joked, taking her pulse. 

“Back in October, The National Enquirer said I would be dead in six months,” Clinton said, “so with every breath I take I feel like I have a new lease on life!” 

Clinton was shocked why the GOP would hope to paint her as unhealthy. “I don’t know why they are saying this. I think on the one hand, it’s part of the wacky strategy. Just say all these crazy things and maybe you can get some people to believe you. On the other hand, it just absolutely makes no sense. I don’t go around questioning Donald Trump’s health.” Clinton said, as far as she can tell, that Trump’s health seems to be physically fine. 

Kimmel cited Trump’s doctor, who says a medical examination proved the GOP nominee has the best health ever — of all time. Of all time. Clinton smiled and nodded, saying that she’d heard about that. To prove her stability, Kimmel gave Clinton the ultimate test: Open a jar of pickles. Somehow, she managed.

I am going to suggest that the pickle jar was pre-loosened or else I doubt that Hillary would have agreed to do that on live television. That's just common sense.

However when anybody argues about Hillary's poor health I always suggest that they sit and watch that eleven hour testimony before the House Benghazi witch hunt.

That would have killed Donald Trump.

Clinton also addressed the release of more of her e-mails.

I want to once again remind everybody that neither Condoleezza Rice nor Colin Powell ever released ANY of their e-mails from when they were Secretary of State.

All standards are changed when it comes to Hillary.

While on the subject of clearing up nonsensical GOP charges against Hillary here is an article in which John Dean (Yes, THAT John Dean.), does that for the charge that she lied under oath. 

One of Donald Trump's very few campaign offices in the swing state of Colorado is run by a 12 year old. No not Sean Hannity, a REAL 12 year old.

Courtesy of KMOV: 

Donald Trump's campaign has some young blood among its leadership. 

And by young, that means 12 years old. 

In one of the most important counties in swing state Colorado, Donald Trump is relying on 12-year-old Weston Imer, who runs the Jefferson County operation for the Trump campaign. 

Jefferson County is one of the most populous counties in Colorado and is part of the Denver metro area. 

Imer is in charge of the operation where volunteers will gather and help get out the vote, and while sitting behind a desk may not be the coolest thing to do, he hopes to use the position to inspire others. 

"Get involved," Imer said. "That's what I'm going to say. Get involved. Kids need to be educated."

As it turns out Imer's mother is the person officially in charge of the campaign office, just like Vladimir Putin is the one officially in charge of Donald Trump. 

However Imer is the face of the campaign in Jefferson County and the one doing most of the work.

Actually if you think about it who better to get out Donald Trump's message than a person so close to his intellectual age?

But then again you can call me crazy but compared to most of the other folks helping Trump, like Michele Bachmann and Stephen Bannon, I think this twelve year old might be the most mature one of the bunch.

John Oliver takes on charter schools.

Courtesy of The Inquirer:

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver turned his attention to charter schools and their shortcomings on Sunday night, using Pennsylvania laws and Philadelphia schools as examples of why he believes the institutions are something of gamble when it comes to education. 

“Charter schools unite both sides of the aisle more quickly than when a wedding DJ throws on ‘Hey Ya,’ ” Oliver said to kick off his piece, further noting that the first charters emerged 25 years ago as a way to explore new approaches to education. 

Now, about 6,700 such schools exist in the United States. But, as Oliver pointed out Sunday, “around the country, there have been charter schools so flawed, they don’t make it through the school year.”

It is certainly no secret here that I have absolutely no use for charter schools, and believe that if that money were kept in local school districts that public education could be vastly improved.

Interestingly enough Oliver did not bother to get into comparisons of which is better, charter schools or public schools, and instead just dives into the problems with charter school themselves.

Which as it turns out is pretty damning.

The Green Party's presidential candidate sure has solid political instincts, don't you agree?

Gee....where have I seen an image like this before?

Oh yeah.

George W. Bush on his way to visit the devastation left behind from Katrina in 2005.
Yep, solid political instincts.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton's new campaign ad uses Trump's words against him, again.

Okay I'm not going to lie that kind of freaks me out a little.

I try really hard to not think about Donald Trump as President, and that ad just brought all of my fears right to the surface.

Thankfully as of right now the polls are showing that even if Jesus himself came down to endorse Donald Trump he would probably lose the election.

In fact the Clinton campaign is so confident that they are not even going to bother to run ads in the swing states of Virginia and Colorado.

And that confidence is understandable since Hillary is now tied with Trump in Georgia which has not voted Democratic since 1992. You know, when Hillary's husband was on the ballot.

Yeah well confidence is fine, but over confidence is how that racist conservative turtle beat that totally awesome progressive hare in THEIR race. 

Not really news, but rather just a reminder that many members of Donald Trump's campaign staff are really, really racist!

Courtesy of Time: 

Donald Trump’s paid campaign staffers have declared on their personal social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, mocked how Mexicans talk, called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war, according to a review by The Associated Press of their postings. 

The AP examined the social media feeds of more than 50 current and former campaign employees who helped propel Trump through the primary elections. The campaign has employed a mix of veteran political operatives and outsiders. Most come across as dedicated, enthusiastic partisans, but at least seven expressed views that were overtly racially charged, supportive of violent actions or broadly hostile to Muslims. 

A graphic designer for Trump’s advance team approvingly posted video of a black man eating fried chicken and criticizing fellow blacks for ignorance, irresponsibility and having too many children. A Trump field organizer in Virginia declared that Muslims were seeking to impose Sharia law in America and that “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight.” 

This article comes out at the same time that Mother Jones is reporting how Trump's new campaign chief created a haven for White nationalists over at Breitbart, and  on the heels of Rachel Maddow's report last night on essentially the same topic.

Yes I know this should not be terribly surprising considering these people are working for a candidate who launched his campaign by accusing Mexicans of being rapists.

But I thought he was supposed to pivoting.

Remember this?
Silly me for not realizing that he was pivoting toward being MORE racist.

Nate Silver warns about those polling numbers showing Donald Trump in the lead.

Of course those of us who pay close attention to politics have seen this before.

Courtesy of Salon:  

The biggest laughing stock of the 2012 presidential election wasn’t Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan. In fact, compared with the current GOP nominee, the Romney-Ryan team ran a well-oiled, disciplined, respectable campaign. Though that’s not saying much, given how the bar’s been lowered to subterranean depths. Nevertheless, the biggest laughing stock of the previous go-around might’ve been a guy named Dean Chambers. 

Chambers was a self-styled, self-funded poll denier. His entire mission was to literally “unskew” the polls, believing that every polling outfit, minus, perhaps, Rasmussen, was skewed in favor of President Obama. Chambers served as a convenient security blanket for Republicans who insisted that pollsters were biased in favor of the Democrats and that Mitt Romney was actually winning. Regarding the “security blanket” aspect of Chambers’ feverishly misleading public service, his “unskewed polls” provided much needed confirmation bias for inside-the-bubble Republicans who were too terrified to contemplate a second Obama term. It was comfort food, though entirely cosmetic and inaccurate. Contrarily, anyone who followed Nate Silver, the Anti-Chambers, retained a strong grasp on forecasting the outcome. At the end of the day, Nate Silver was nearly 100 percent accurate and Chambers, Silver’s completely unworthy nemesis, was all but laughed off the stage.

What is Einstein's definition of insanity again?

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? 

If you thought Stephen Bannon and Michele Bachmann were bad get a load of who else is advising Donald Trump.

:I never claimed to be a journalist."
Courtesy of the New York Times:

During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with). 

But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel. 

That person is Sean Hannity. 

Mr. Hannity uses his show on the nation’s most-watched cable news network to blare Mr. Trump’s message relentlessly — giving Mr. Trump the kind of promotional television exposure even a billionaire can’t afford for long. 

But Mr. Hannity is not only Mr. Trump’s biggest media booster; he also veers into the role of adviser. Several people I’ve spoken with over the last couple of weeks said Mr. Hannity had for months peppered Mr. Trump, his family members and advisers with suggestions on strategy and messaging.

When confronted about this Hannity did not even bother to deny it:

Mr. Hannity is unapologetic about his aim. “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States.” After all, he says, “I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Nor has anyone else made that claim.

So let's see.

So far Donald Trump is being advised by the head of Breitbart News, the former head of Fox News, a talking head from Fox News, a nutjob who once represented Minnesota, and some woman named Kellyanne Conway who is trying to get him to control his impulse to insult people on Twitter.

I have no idea why his campaign is failing.

By the way, that Twitter thing? Not working.

Oh yeah, they have him right on message.

GOP pollster and wordsmith Frank Luntz talks to group of former Trump supporters who explain how he lost them.

Courtesy of Raw Story:  

Pollster Frank Luntz is the GOP darling when it comes to his focus groups for conservatives, but not even Luntz can polish the steaming pile Trump has handed him. 

“He was my first choice. But just along the way, he has — I guess you can say he’s lost me,” one focus grouper told Luntz in a video that aired on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “I’m not saying there’s no chance of turning but he’s become outrageous. I mean, we all have thoughts, but I think he speaks without thinking.” 

The collection of respondents come from Pennsylvania voters where recent polling numbers show a lead for Clinton in the swing state. 

“When he initially began to run, he gave voice to a lot of the frustrations that I was feeling about how government is working or more to the point not working,” focus group member Michael said. “But since then, he’s been running as a 12-year-old and changes his positions every news cycle, so you don’t even know where he stands on the issues.”

I think that "running as a 12 year old" comment is spot on.

Despite what it might say in the Russia media THIS is the reality of what is happening with Donald Trump's popularity in this election cycle.

However I am less than impressed that many of these idiots suggest that if Donald Trump suppresses his personality and stays off Twitter that they might still consider voting for him.

It is almost like they WANT to be tricked into voting for the worst possible candidate. 

Good news for Donald Trump, the media says poll numbers are up and the campaign is making a comeback. Bad news, it's the Russian media.

Courtesy of Sputnik News:

Donald Trump appears to have made a political comeback for the ages, but the media has gone silent about a major new poll that shows the Republican has catapulted back into the lead instead showing their viewers polls from three weeks ago. 

Following a major shake-up in his campaign’s leadership with the hiring of seasoned political operative Kellyanne Conway to manage the effort and controversial Brietbart CEO Steve Bannon to consult on messaging, Donald Trump has seen a meteoric rise in daily tracking polls jumping eight points to somersault past Hillary Clinton calling the corporate media’s coronation of the former Secretary of State into question. 

The poll, released by USC/LA Times asks a portion of 3,000 US citizens randomly across all households and demographic groups who they prefer for president. The poll is conducted each day to measure any volatile shifts in the candidates’ performance and to gauge the momentum of the race. 

The poll finds that Trump now holds a two point lead over Clinton, nationally. The poll found Donald Trump seven points ahead of Hillary Clinton at the start of the Democratic National Convention marred by WikiLeaks revelations of a coordinated effort by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC, and the mainstream media to undermine the electoral chances of opponent Bernie Sanders. The press were actually told to report spoon fed lines from political operatives “without attribution” in order to create a false narrative. Esteemed journalists such as dean of the Nevada political press corps and MSNBC correspondent Jon Ralston happily did as they were told.

Wow! That sounded like it could have come directly from Breitbart News instead of a Russian new outlet.

As you might imagine that USC/LA Times poll is an outlier and a quick check over at Real Clear Politics shows that most of the polling has Hillary up significantly over Trump in every other poll.

Of course to get the straight poop the best source is Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight: 

Hillary Clinton moved into a clear polling lead over Donald Trump just after the Democratic convention, which ended on July 28. Pretty much ever since, the reporters and poll watchers that I follow have seemed eager to tell the next twist in the story. Would Trump’s numbers get even worse, possibly leading to the first double-digit victory for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964? Or would Trump mount a comeback? As of last Tuesday, there wasn’t much evidence of an overall shift in the race. Trump was gaining ground in some polls but losing ground in a roughly equal number of them. 

Since then, Trump has gotten some slightly better results, with national polls suggesting a race more in line with a 5- or 6-percentage-point lead for Clinton instead of the 7- or 8-point lead she had earlier in August. But state polls haven’t really followed suit and continue to show Clinton with some of her largest leads of the campaign. Trump received some decent numbers in Iowa and Nevada, but his polls in other swing states have been bad. 

Overall, Trump has gained slightly in our forecasts: He’s up to a 15 percent chance of winning the Electoral College in our polls-only model, up from a low of 11 percent a week ago. 

In other words Trump is still getting slaughtered, but the slaughter is only slightly less bloody.

However for the Russian news agency that signifies a "comeback."

Is this the moment in time that we can stop arguing that Russia is NOT trying to get Donald Trump elected? 

That's right, nobody ever sheds a tear for the lost Blockbuster jobs.

So I saw this the other day on Reddit, and like a lot of you I thought it was pretty funny.

But then I started to think that it was also a great commentary on progress and the importance that folks place on only certain lost jobs from certain industries.

Now I was not sure if Blockbuster ever really had a workforce of 60,000, but as it turns out it did: 

At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had 60,000 employees and 9,000 stores worldwide with a market value of $5 billion and revenues of $5.9 billion. 

So the meme is accurate in that regard.

However its larger point is that changes in technology, consumer tastes, and even government regulations often means the loss of certain jobs that communities have relied upon.

The example that always occurs to me is the impact that automobiles had on the buggy manufacturers, not to mention the ranchers who raised horses to pull them, and the farmers who grew hay to feed those horses.

That is at least three industries that suffered in the wake of the new technology, and yet I would bet that very, very few of us are sorry that those advances were made.

So yes coal miners are going to lose their jobs, and in the short run that is going to cause a negative economic impact to those families and to the states that rely on that industry.

However in a hundred years from now will any of our great, great grandchildren REALLY shed a tear for the coal industry or regret the move toward renewable clean energy sources?

No, I seriously doubt that they will.

Besides that you can bet that in a hundred years Netflix will have gone the way of Blockbuster and there will be some new entertainment giant that has taken its place. (Probably one that sends movies and television shows straight into our brains via microchips we will have surgically implanted for that very purpose.)

So yes progress will continue forward, and I am sure that politicians will continue to argue against it for the sake of their constituents still laboring in the soon to be obsolete industries, but that does not mean it will not happen. Nor does it mean that it should not happen.

By the way, where is my damn flying car?