No There There?

found online by Raymond

From Iron Knee Political Irony:

Maybe I’m missing something. Yes, I know that there is a narrative that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy. There’s even the alt-right version where she is a criminal who should be locked up (for, among other things, assassinating 40 people).

To me, it just seems like people are taking any story about her and viewing it through that lens. This is not a question of me drinking kool-aid for Clinton (or even carrying water for her). I have been critical of both Clintons many times in the past. When they deserved it.

The scandal du jour is that, OMG, she had meetings while she was secretary of state with people who donated money to the Clinton foundation. A foundation that nobody disputes has done lots of good things around the world, including saving millions of lives.

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Don’t Be Fooled by the Libertarian Party!

found online by Raymond

From The Saturday Afternoon Post:

We are closing in on Labor Day, the holiday set up to honor the workers of this country who actually produce the goods and services we buy and use. Although the presidential campaigns have realistically been in full swing for many months now, the official start of them has always been on Labor Day. So, until Nov. 8, fully expect to be completely bombarded with political ads and spin on all candidates up for election or re-election this fall. Regrettably, we have seen a massive increase in this nonsense in recent years. We will also see more, now that the Extreme Court‘s horrifically bad pro-corporate Citizens United decision has made it virtually impossible to restrict campaign donations from billionaires and their corporations!

The great intellectual thinker Noam Chomsky summed it up best when he said, “In the US, there is basically one party – the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies.”

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Wingnut Sanctuaries?

found online by Raymond

From Infidel753:

For some time now there has been a growing feeling on the right wing that, since they are inexorably losing the culture wars, they need to carve out some sort of refuge for themselves in which their culture can survive — a place “transformed into an oasis of unfreedom and injustice”, in which traditional myths and bigotry could continue unchallenged. Two and a half years ago, Ross Douthat demanded such sanctuary in the form of exceptions to anti-discrimination laws. By now it is fairly clear that that is not going to fly. Now this post at LifeSite News, a hard-line Catholic forum, calls for actual, physical sanctuary cities for true-believing Christians, citing the precedent of sanctuary cities for illegal aliens in which local authorities refuse to cooperate with certain federal laws.

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The Back Road to Politics, Scandal, and Cover Up

I sometimes wonder what it must have been like for Jill Simpson at night on that rural road in Mississippi.

Route 431 is not a massive highway. It can’t really be said to be historic, at least not in its own right.

It goes along a hundred miles or so to the north of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Sheriff Cecil Price and few other Klansmen pulled 3 civil rights workers off a rural road in 1964. The civil rights workers were later found buried in an earthen dam.

Route 431 is pretty rural itself in most places. On some stretches, it’s not exactly a one lane road, but cars approaching in opposite directions have to navigate a little to each side to get past each other.

Jill Simpson was driving along Route 431 one evening on her way back from Birmingham Alabama, when she noticed she was being followed. She paid little mind at first. But a few miles turned into several miles, then many miles.

The car behind her sped up, overtook her, and started to pass. Then the other driver swerved into her, nearly colliding, then swerved again, this time hitting her car and forcing her off the road.

Police arrived before the other driver could leave. He was a former police officer. He admitted that he had been told to follow Ms. Simpson that night. Police thanked him for his time and let him go. Professional courtesy.

Jill Simpson was not the sort of person that would set even paranoid imagination into anything approaching panic. She was a lawyer, but not one involved in civil rights cases. In fact, she was an unlikely target, conservative, Republican. She ran in conservative circles and volunteered for Republican campaigns.

But she found herself in the middle of controversy.

She had witnessed a small but unmistakable bit of a national conspiracy involving accusations of missing emails, influence in return for contributions, misuse of official authority, and lying to investigators.

In December 2006, seven US Attorneys, all of them Republican appointees, went public. They jointly leveled a startling accusation. They had been instructed to abandon the usual standards of prosecution. When citizens are accused of crimes and taken to court, it is as a result of investigation and evidence. Investigations result from some sort of reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior.

But the seven had been instructed by the Bush administration to diverge from standard practice. They had been told that, in cases involving Republican politicians, they should hold back. Investigations were to be terminated before charges were brought.

But that was not all. They had also been ordered to target Democrats for prosecution, even where no evidence indicated wrongdoing. Those instructions, they said, came directly from Karl Rove, an intimate advisor to President George W. Bush. Of 49 US Attorneys throughout the country, only those seven had refused to obey Mr. Rove’s instructions.

All seven were fired for refusing to follow orders.

Jill Simpson liked to volunteer in conservative causes. Her legal skills put her several steps beyond stuffing envelopes and answering phones. Part of one volunteer job was to contribute legal analysis of political proposals before they went into planning. She was often asked to listen in on conversations as political professionals tossed around ideas.

That was how she came to hear about orders from Karl Rove’s office. The Democratic Governor of Alabama had been targeted. Now local folks had to come up with an accusation. Did associates in Mississippi have any ideas?

Finally, a strategy was chosen. Governor Don Seigelman had a close friend who was the head of a health care company. The friend had contributed to a good-government ballot initiative that the Governor was also said to favor.

After the Governor took office, he asked his friend for a favor. The friend had volunteered and served on several occasions in the past as an unpaid member of a hospital regulatory board. He had donated his time for three previous governors.

The friend was reluctant, but the Governor insisted. The man was an expert, and the board dealt with an area of regulation that did not affect his health care company. There would be no conflict of interest. The governor finally played the idealism card. The man owed it to the public. He finally agreed.

Jill Simpson listened as instructed when all of those facts, the political donation, the unpaid regulatory board, the volunteer work, was all laid out. She was stunned by what what she heard next. The innocent interaction between a newly elected Governor and his old friend would now be put to legal use against both of them.

And that was how Karl Rove managed to put the Governor of Alabama in jail. As instructed, local prosecutors laid out the case. The head of the health care company had made a huge donation. Then he had been rewarded with a political appointment.

The health care executive was put behind bars. The Governor eventually was convicted as well.

The part of the conspiracy Jill Simpson overheard as she listened left her angry. She called anyone she could think of to protest.

After her house was set on fire (set on fire), she became cautious. A meeting with authorities was set up. She insisted it be somewhere away from Mississippi. Maybe it was silly, but she intended to take no chances. She drove out of state to Birmingham, Alabama. It was on the trip back that she noticed she was being followed, and was forced off Route 431.

She later testified in Washington before Congress. Karl Rove was also called to testify but he refused. Congress issued a subpoena for all email messages pertaining to the orders to change procedures for prosecution, and emails pertaining to the firing of seven Republican US Attorneys.

All White House communications, including emails, were required by law to be preserved. Mr. Rove sent word that every electronic record pertaining to US Attorneys had been accidentally erased, then recorded over.

Sorry about that.

It is not hard to find parallels in current events: The emails, the attempt to perform a public service at no pay, the accusations that resulted. The testimony before Congress differs a little. Conservative lawyer Jill Simpson testified back then. Most of us remember that Hillary Clinton recently testified for 11 hours. But back then, Karl Rove maintained his stand and never testified about the orders he had issued that Democrats should be arrested and Republicans should be let go.

Close friends of Hillary Clinton have donated to the charitable foundation run by her husband, the former President. The charity has been shone to be surprisingly effective at saving lives.

Not surprisingly, some of those same close friends have met with Hillary Clinton from time to time. In some cases, those with expertise in how to save lives in areas of the world experiencing drought or famine have not only contributed substantial amounts to that effort, but have also offered expert advice to Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. Her interest in saving lives is well documented.

There have been others who sought favors. To date it appears that, without exception, they were directed to go through normal channels.

The accusation against Hillary Clinton, at its root, strikes me as morally convoluted. Had it been true, then those who helped to save millions of lives would have been rewarded by meeting an important government official.

That does not strike me as an unusual or suspicious occurrence.

Some time ago, the retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff started an organization that might have been modeled after the Clinton Foundation. It is similar in many respects. When General Colin Powell became Secretary of State, he continued to run his foundation. Predictably, there was no objection from conservatives, or anyone else, to that wonderful effort.

Life goes on.

Hillary and Bill are Democrats, and the conservative cottage industry of vilification continues. The health care CEO has recently finished his time in prison. He is broke now, his company gone. Former Governor of Alabama Don Seigelman is still in jail. Recently, after speaking by phone to a reporter about his conviction, he was thrown into solitary confinement.

We can only speculate about the degree to which the Governor may regret twisting the arm of his friend the one time health care executive, or the regret of his friend at volunteering his time and knowledge. We can guess that Karl Rove has no regrets.

I am old enough to remember the days when “Murphy’s Law” was a bright new witticism, plastered on posters, regarded by most as a refreshing bit of cynical wisdom: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

That cynicism now seems naive.

The new rule for conservatives, at least as it applies to Democrats, is that no good deed must go unpunished as an immutable legal standard.

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Rubes Are Rubes

found online by Raymond

From tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors:


Meet the man siphoning money from Donald Trump

A 25-year-old with no Trump ties raises $1 million by dangling ‘dinner’ with the GOP nominee.

So essentially, Ian Hawes, some 25-year old dude, set up a website that solicits donations on the promise of having a drawing to win a dinner with Hair Furer and so far he’s raised over a million Ameros. Of course, it is deceptive, but in the small print he says:

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Not The First Time ‘Dinner With Trump’ Has Fleeced Supporters

found online by Raymond

From Frances Langum at Crooks and Liars:

News broke this morning of a twenty-five-year-old man with no ties to the Trump campaign, raising over a million bucks with the promise that you can have “Dinner with Donald.”

There’s a sucker born every minute, and apparently several thousands of minutes ago a whole lot of suckers were born who these days are going to vote for Donald Trump. And they are happy to type their credit card number into a website in order to possibly “win a dinner” with the Republican nominee.

What the 25 year-old, Ian Hawes, was actually doing was giving away donor tickets to a Trump dinner event. Anyone with the right donation could buy those tickets themselves.

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Donald Trump Please Shut Up

found online by Raymond

From The Big Empty:

I’m not a sports fan so I haven’t been closely following Colin Kaepernick’s ride into the 5th level of Right-Wing Nutjob Hell. While I totally agree with Kaepernick–his act, his right, and his intent–I personally think that, from a bottom line perspective, it’s oftentimes counterproductive for an athlete or a celebrity to express his or her views openly. Whether they are left, right, or center, it always seems to impact negatively their careers as both business owners, corporations and advertisers do not appreciate controversy of any kind.

But hey, it’s certainly their choice and I wouldn’t deny (how could I?) any famous person the opportunity to express his or her opinion especially in this case where creepy Donald Trump (as always) butts in like a crazy relative, and tries to focus the attention upon himself (as always) by saying something hypocritically stupid and nonsensical (as always).

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Obamacare Has Reduced
The % Of Uninsured To 10.8%

found online by Raymond

From Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger:

The Republicans, and their current presidential candidate (Donald Trump), continue to claim that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has been a failure. As the chart above shows, that claim is ludicrous.

Before Obamacare went into effect in 2014, about 17.3% of all Americans had no health insurance — and many more had insurance plans that were grossly inadequate. Now all insurance plans must have a level of coverage that protects the insured, and the number of uninsured Americans has dropped to 10.8% in 2016. That means about 20 million Americans have insurance now over the number who had it in 2013. Those 20 million now have access to life-saving preventive care.

Obviously, Obamacare has been a big success. However, that does not mean it is perfect.

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Obama’s ‘Best Investment’
Was Crony Socialism

found online by Raymond

From libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara at Principled Perspectives:

The New Jersey Star-Ledger labeled the General Motors bailout “arguably Obama’s best investment”:

[H]istory will show that the industry is thriving because it had a government that trusted it could redefine itself back in 2009 – the year President Obama refused to let General Motors and Chrysler die by completing a $79.7 billion bailout that saved the two companies and their parts suppliers – along with the one million jobs that depended on them.

I left these comments:

It doesn’t take an economist to see the fallacy in the alleged “success’ of the GM bailout. It just takes some knowledge of basic economics, a proper moral compass, and the willingness to think.

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Trump Campaign Hopes for Reverse “Bradley Effect”

found online by Raymond

From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:

When it comes to its electoral strategy, it’s not often that a presidential campaign gives the game away so easily. This week, new Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway did it twice. Last Sunday, she personally confirmed that Donald Trump’s laughable outreach to black voters wasn’t intended for African-Americans at all. “I live in a white community,” Conway explained, “I’m white. I was very moved by his comment.” Just three days later, she insisted her losing candidate was actually winning, all thanks to what she branded “the hidden Trump voter in the country.” Claiming their numbers are “very significant,” Ms. Conway suggested the campaign’s “Undercover Trump Voter” project would help these appalled or ashamed suburban whites overcome the social stigma of publicly backing the irredeemably racist Republican nominee:

“Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the election. It’s because it’s become socially desirable, if you’re a college educated person in the United States of America, to say that you’re against Donald Trump.”

These supposed undercover Trump voters, in other words, are simply too embarrassed to acknowledge they support The Donald. But while they feel compelled to lie to pollsters now, on November 8th their secret ballots will power Trump to a shocking upset victory.

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