So, 85 of 154 non-governmental meetings Hillary Clinton had were with donors to the Clinton Foundation, according to an AP story. If so, SO WHAT! Pay for play? NO! Quid pro quo? NO! Illegality? NO! More political theater as Trump goes off the rails asking for a special prosecutor etc.
She had 1,700 other meetings–during her time as Secretary of State
She drew no salary from the Foundation
She received no money, gifts or other favors from those she met with
There is no indication that any of these meetings resulted in the donors benefitting personally in any way
The Foundation is well-regarded by charity watchdog groups–getting an A from Charity Watch and a platinum rating from GuideStar
It IS a nonprofit organization; it’s not set up to make money for any member of the Clinton family
The Foundation has done great work around the world and in the US since its creation–as detailed in this story on CNN:
In more than 70 countries, according to the foundation, it helps 11.5 million people, including 800,000 children, with HIV/AIDS get their medication at 90% lower cost — more than half the adults and three-quarters of the children getting treatment in the world today.
But it does all kinds of other work as well. For instance, it helps East African farmers get better seeds and fertilizers. It supported Nepal’s reconstruction after the 2015 earthquakes. And it has connected more than 500,000 Latin Americans to job training and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The Clinton Foundation does tons of work in the US, too. Some examples: It has a school program that operates in every state, affecting more than 31,000 schools and 18 million students by its count. That program is to improve physical education, child nutrition, health education and staff wellness programs. They also work on prescription drug addiction. The foundation wants to halve the number of opioid overdoses — right now those drugs kill more Americans than car accidents.
So much anger. So much hatred. So much blame. Four days of the Republican National Convention. With only a few glimmers of light or hope. In his dystopian view of America Donald J. Trump sees the entire Country as Gotham. A lawless place where terrorists from Islamic countries, murderers and rapists from Mexico, Black Lives Matters-inspired cop shooters and other evildoers roam the streets preying on innocent Americans. Fear no more–Trump and the GOP (at least many of the delegates at the Republican National Convention who are office holders) will quickly make it safe again!
Well, in the minds of Trump, Congressional Republicans and many of the attendees at the convention, the rise of terrorism is all the fault of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The two Democrats probably recruited Osama bin Laden to organize the 9/11 attacks just to make George Bush look bad! So the first step is locking up Hillary Clinton, as the Rudelicans at the convention yelled over and over again. Or she could be shot by a firing squad if Al Baldasaro, Trump supporter and New Hampshire state representative has his way. Or she could be hung on the Mall in Washington, DC, if United Airlines pilot and member of the West Virginia House of Delegates Michael Folk has his way. United Airlines suspended Folk from flying. The Secret Service is investigating Baldasaro. If Trump is elected, Obama will be gone, of course, and Trump will change everything on Inaugural Day, January 20, 2017–instantaneously!
Seems unlikely at best but read on. The plans will come later of course; just trust him–but how can we when he lies cheats and steals so much (more on that later) and can’t even run as important an event as his own convention without screwing up so many things. Like Melania’s plagiarism, Ted Cruz taking his revenge for the Donald’s slander of Ted’s wife and father–just to mention a couple of the biggies. So if he couldn’t get this four-day event for himself right, how can he lead the country? Anyway, based on what we know now and what we might imagine could be on tap, here’s what to expect. Continue reading Make Gotham Great Again?→
It’s 17 weeks until the U.S. Presidential Election. I have tired of offering political commentary. Those few of you who regularly read this blog will note that there have been far fewer as time has passed over a few years ago. So here’s the deal: Four political posts from now until the election. About one per week. That’s it; no more.
So, an MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll says 41% find Donald Trump to be honest and straightforward. Really?! Hillary just 25%! Well, after FBI Director Comey’s no indictment broadside, looks like he’s in the low end. But let’s look at the ratings of supposedly factual statements of Donald and Hillary by the nonpartisan group, Politifact.
Politifact found that only 23% of Trump’s statements were true, mostly true or half true. The remaining 77% were mostly false, false or “pants on fire” falsehoods. Basically, he makes stuff up. Like that Rubio’s father had some involvement in JFK’s assassination. He says things and then denies he said them, like calling women “fat pigs.” He calls Hillary crooked. But how many lawsuits has he lost, settled or been involved in regarding deceptive or fraudulent business practices? Way more than Secretary Clinton. He knows little about anything other than how to start businesses with other people’s money and bail when they fail. How can anyone go bankrupt running a casino (four times!) when the house always wins? So he lies and calls other people names. Oh, his “pants on fire” percentage was 20%—one in five of the items that Politifact checked!
Politifact found this about Hillary’s “facts”: 73% were true, mostly true or half true (almost the complete opposite of Trump!) Only 27% of her statements were mostly false, false or pants on fire. Notably, on 1% fell into the pants on fire category. So who’s honest and straightforward? The winner is Hillary, even adding in FBI Director Comey’s remarks.
Just in case there’s any doubt, I am not nonpartisan. Here’s my John Oliver/HBO cap to prove it.
Yet another horrific terrorist attack has occurred. The deaths and injuries in Brussels have saddened and troubled people around the world. These all too frequent events happen across Europe, in Asia, Africa and sometimes in America as well. Most are directed or are inspired by ISIS and other terrorist groups which proclaim that their interpretation of the teachings of Islam justify them. Of course, the genuine Islamic faith practiced by millions of adherents throughout the world condemns, rather than encourages, the killing of innocent people. Likewise, the genuine believers condemn genocide perpetrated against the members of other religions, the raping and enslaving of women and girls. Despite my pacifistic beliefs, I am completely in support of killing the leaders of ISIS and their counterparts. Normally, I would prefer persuading such people of the error of their beliefs and their actions. In the case of those at the top of these groups that seems clearly futile. On the other hand, there are the bozos that would go way beyond simply targeting the leadership of such groups.
Who are they and why do I call them bozos? Well, one is Crazy Cruz. The other is Dim-Witted Donald. To call them clowns implies in one sense that they are somehow amusing. A train wreck is not funny. Nor is terrorism. Glib political responses to acts of terror and terrorism doesn’t make one a clown, but it does make one a bozo. Yes, there was a clown by that name. But the term has come to apply to someone who is stupid, rude or incompetent. Try looking it up in any number of dictionaries or Googling the term. You will see what I mean. It could take several thousand words to expand on all the ways that Cruz and Trump are bozos. So let’s just address their responses to the Brussels attack, to ISIS and to their perspective on people of the Islamic faith. That’s sufficient to qualify the epithet.
Ted Cruz says police should “patrol Muslim communities (in America) to prevent the residents from becoming radicalized!” He has also called for “carpet-bombing” ISIS inhabited areas in Syria and Iraq. Donald Trump has previously said he would quickly eliminate the ISIS threat by “bombing the s—t out of them.” In response to the Brussels attack he reiterated his proposed ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. (No matter that there are many already here—including ones serving in Congress, the U.S. military, state and local government and law enforcement) and urged the use of waterboarding (at a minimum) to extract useful information from the Paris attack suspect arrested several days ago in Belgium.
First, terrorism is a tactic and sometimes a strategy. It’s been practiced throughout the world for centuries. It’s not the same as a conventional war between one country and another. It often happens within a civil war, whether the combatants agree to the description of the conflict as a civil war or not. If it were easily ended, the war in Syria would be over. If the answer to a cessation were simple, it would not have taken a few hundred years for the Protestants and the Catholics to stop fighting (including mutual use of terrorism) in Northern Ireland. If it were simple, Russia wouldn’t have left a fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan long before the United States went there for its own very long conflict.
How much bombing will stop terrorists, a civil war or some other insurgency? In my war, Vietnam, the U.S. and its allies dropped 2 ½ times the total tonnage of bombs that tiny country that were dropped during all of WW II! No, not exactly carpet-bombing, but it left the terrain like a moonscape. We did drop a serious amount of bombs on North Vietnam. Perhaps that led to the “successful” conclusion of the Paris Peace Talks—for which U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho won Nobel Peace Prizes. Kissinger took his and Le Duc Tho refused his—perhaps because he and the North were not intending to honor the treaty. It was dishonestly called by then President Richard Nixon as “Peace with Honor.”
I bring up Vietnam to correlate with Brussels. In South Vietnam, the National Liberation Front (its members more popularly known to Americans as Viet Cong) lived in and were supported by (not necessarily voluntarily or with eagerness) by villages. American soldiers and their allies wore uniforms; even without them, they were easily distinguished from the Viet Cong and the villagers. The VC didn’t typically wear uniforms. In Brussels, as in other cities across Europe, Muslims are not well assimilated or integrated into the general population. Instead, they are concentrated in communities of fellow believers. Like the VC, the ISIS terrorists are indistinguishable physically from their less radical neighbors. It is no easy task to embed undercover operatives within these enclaves. Police can and do patrol but don’t necessarily get great cooperation from the communities. Contrast Europe with America. Here, Muslims are dispersed and relatively well assimilated. Where are the Muslim communities to patrol, that bozo Ted Cruz would keep from being radicalized? How are the Muslims here being radicalized? Well, Ted, it’s not by their neighbors, but by the sites they frequent on the internet. Stupid idea, Ted! [New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says Cruz “doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about”] Not to mention, it most likely would result in the very radicalization he thinks such patrols would prevent.
Carpet-bombing? Well in Vietnam, because it was difficult to determine who in fact was VC, the one sure way was to observe if an individual was deceased. If dead, ipso facto he must have been VC. ISIS members live in cities and communities they have taken over by force. They weren’t welcomed in with open arms in most cases. So who dies in carpet-bombing? The innocent victims of ISIS and other civilians. Great idea, bozos Ted and Donald! Or, even more extreme, target the families of ISIS members as Donald previously suggested. They might not be 100% but that’s what’s called a war crime, bozo Trump.
So let’s just torture the suspects. Well, the Senate report concluded that doesn’t really work. Oh yes, suspects will talk. They’ll say anything to get the torture to stop. Unfortunately, what they say isn’t true. Ask John McCain about torture. He spent six years as a POW in Vietnam before becoming a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate. Well they do worse, says Donald. So why should we hold back. Wow! Remember the elementary school mantra, “just because he jumped off the cliff doesn’t mean you should.” Yup, definitely a bozo.
The bottom line? These bozos are not fit to be a President of the U.S. They are too irrational, too stupid and too immoral.
I do try to refrain from too much political commentary. Definitely less is found here than in the past. But this year, especially after last night’s 3rd Super Tuesday fairly begs for some.
The GOP convention will be in Cleveland this July, about four months from now. Will Trump be the nominee? There are many Republicans who hope not. Will they be able to stop him? Will there be a contested or open convention?
The Cleveland Browns NFL team has somewhat loyal, but dispirited fans, due to its poor record spanning many years. So what do the fans do? Some come to games with paper bags over their heads–a form of protest or perhaps to hide their identity. After all, would they want friends, neighbors or coworkers to see them actually sitting in the stands at a Browns game? Perhaps an entrepreneurial sort among them, maybe an alumnus of Trump University, will offer delegates their choice of designer bags to wear at the GOP Convention. I’m not saying anyone will actually do this, but if I were a Republican attending the convention, I very well might.
It’s been the longest running trailer for a movie or TV show, Donald Trump’s White House Campaign. Finally the truth comes out–he never really sought the presidency. Rather, Trump is launching his own cable channel with the first show being Trump’s Run for the White House. The show will premiere January 31, 2016, the eve of the Iowa Caucus. Trump will announce his “campaign” was all about boosting the ratings of the show and never about being elected. His withdrawal from the race came live at the start of the show.
Political pundits predicted at the outset of Trump’s campaign that he wouldn’t go all the way–wouldn’t file necessary papers, etc. He confounded everyone, including GOP officials as his support increased while he steadily offended people. As the punditocracy eventually accepted that he was really running, one after another confidently asserted his latest rants would doom his campaign. Instead, he gathered more and more support.
He was a Hillary Clinton/DNC plant to elevate her candidacy by making the GOP look ridiculous
He was a megalomaniac
He was simply a lunatic
As his statements grew more offensive some called him a fascist
Finally, many thought he might be “The al-Baghdadi Candidate.” That seemed the most plausible, that he had been brainwashed like the fictional Manchurian Candidate. Rather than an assassin, his virulently anti-Muslim rhetoric would enhance recruitment to ISIS/ISIL and damage America’s national security.
Of course his statements DID have that effect, despite the campaign being a promo for the TV show. He is also, of course, a megalomaniac–which is why he doesn’t care what effect his words have. And, he is, after all a bit loony.
It’s early for the political silly season but then the GOP political candidates have been pretty far out there for a while. Now their governors have joined the party. They should serve crackers and cheese with all the whining they’re doing. They whine about debate moderators. Now they’re whining about the Syrian refugees possibly bringing terror to America. They whine incessantly about everything that President Obama says. Ted Cruz says if Obama wants to insult him, do it to his face and debate him. Did Cruz buy his degree from Harvard Law or did he skip class when Constitutional Law was taught? Maybe he doesn’t know about American law because he was born in Canada. [No offense to my Canadian friends.] I’ll put my Georgetown JD up against his Harvard (?!) degree and let him know that allowing Christian refugees into America but denying Muslims entry runs afoul of that picky little detail about religion in America’s First Amendment.
I suppose we could excuse non-lawyers Trump (shut down the mosques) and Ben Carson (no Muslim president) for being unaware of American constitutional provisions. But as President of the US, there really is no excuse. Many, if not most of those Republican governors that want to keep out suffering Syrians are probably lawyers as well. They should know better. For all those supposedly evangelical and otherwise devout types among GOP presidential candidates and their supporters there is another little problem–what the actual religious leaders say about the matter.
“I am disturbed . . . by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris.
. . .
Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.” Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration
Ah, but those politicians know what voters want, forget what the religious leaders think–what do they know anyway!
Hey, if it were up to Trump and some of the others, if they were in the White House they would probably round up all the Muslims and put them in an internment camp annex to Guantanamo. Too dangerous to lock them up in America! None have proposed that publicly (yet) but you know some of them are thinking it. It worked for the Japanese Americans in WWII; why not the Muslims now, eh? I suppose I shouldn’t be giving Trump, Carson or Cruz ideas–but if you happen to be Muslim, you should just hope none of them are living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year. Maybe the DSM will add Islamophobia to its list of psychiatric disorders soon.
This week should be the next instalment on the series about shootings in America. But we will take a break from that and return with part 4 next week. Instead, it’s time to mock the news media—especially cable news. Why? Well it all starts with the typical obsessive coverage of “breaking news.” Why do I call it obsessive? Early coverage reports that a plane is missing, possibly down but they cannot say where, when or why. So instead, they call upon their stock of former aviation experts to speculate on what might have happened. Or it’s a shooting incident and little is known so they call upon former FBI, ATF and other law enforcement types to offer generic comments on how the matter will be investigated—surveillance videos, interviews with eyewitnesses, etc. All of which observations are already well known to watchers of police procedurals and the same newscasts which have paraded the same “experts” before viewers on multiple prior occasions. They might also add a shrink to explain such behavior. What could be done instead? A simple synopsis of what happened as known at the moment, with a promise of updates to come as more information becomes available.Eventually, of course, the additional information does come in but only after hour upon hour of speculation and background commentary that gets more and more repetitive as time wears on.
So now, for your reading pleasure, let’s get on to the mockery using less tragic events—fictional but equally obsessive coverage of the ever popular Donald Trump. NOTE: this is all FICTION; both regarding Trump, the names of the news personnel, etc.
Anchor Ted Barnes opens with, “In breaking news, we just learned that Donald Trump was heard to pass wind at a campaign appearance in Dubuque. Our reporter Jackie Sims is on the scene. Jackie, what can you tell us?“ [Jackie is doing a standup at the campaign stop location]
“Well Ted, we are all used to Donald Trump’s bombastic and often offensive comments, but this is something really out of the ordinary. Trump supporters in the front row let out an audible gasp and soon a few wrinkled noses appeared on the faces of the listeners.”
“Were you able to talk with any of them to get their reaction? “
“Most of them denied hearing—or smelling, anything, Ted. One man did, however, respond with this, ‘the news media keeps saying bad stuff about Donald; hey, he tells it like it is and if he wants to have a burrito now and then, more power to him, he’s man enough to accept the consequences!’ “
“So, Jackie, the man who has insulted Mexicans had a burrito today?”
“Well, that may have been speculation on the man’s part. But we know his breakfast stop this morning was at a Mexican restaurant.”
“All right, then. Thanks Jackie.”
“Let’s bring back our panel of political commentators to assess what effect this gassy gaffe, if you will, might have on the Trump campaign. Fred, do you think this will finally be the issue that causes a drop in the polls for Trump?”
“It’s too early to tell, Ted, but I doubt it. I think it’s fair to say that conservatives and liberals alike cut loose now and then.”
Shirley jumped in, “Ted, I agree with Fred but I think there’s a time and place for farts. Behind the podium at a campaign appearance is not one of them. It’s rude and crude.”
“But isn’t that acceptable, if not relished by Trump supporters,” Ted asked, “all part of his persona; right, Max?”
“Sure it is, Ted. If anything, I think his numbers may go up from this incident.”
“Thanks everyone, please stick around for more campaign discussion but first more on this breaking story. After the break we will hear from gastroenterologist Nathan Butz on what causes gas episodes like this. Also, an update from our Jeff Adams at the restaurant for a report on what Mr. Trump had to eat this morning—burrito or not. Stay tuned for more coverage of this incident. “