Prosecute the torture.

August 26, 2016

Clinton's Alt.Right Speech (And Alt.Right's Response)

You can watch the video:

Or you can read a transcript over at Vox.

Some highlights are in order.  Clinton said about the billionaire (?) bigot:
  • A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.
  • We all remember when Trump said a distinguished federal judge born in Indiana couldn’t be trusted to do his job because, quote, "He’s a Mexican."
  • He’d abolish the bedrock constitutional principle that says if you’re born in the United States, you’re an American citizen. He says that children born in America to undocumented parents are, quote, "anchor babies" and should be deported.
And so on.

Of course our friends on the alt.right responded - bringing on teh stoopid.

In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fondly eulogized Sen. Robert Byrd, a former member and recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan. Clinton called Byrd “my friend and mentor” in a video message to commemorate his passing.
But what our misguided friends on the alt.right omit is Byrd's ultimate rejection of the KKK he belonged to.

From Snopes:
It's also true that Robert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s and helped establish the hate group's chapter in Sophia, West Virginia. However, in 1952 Byrd avowed that "After about a year, I became disinterested [in the KKK], quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization," and throughout his long political career (he served for 57 years in the United States Congress) he repeatedly apologized for his involvement with the KKK
. That link leads to the same Washington Post piece that Breitbart links to. It ends with this from Robert Byrd (who, BTW, died six years ago):
I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times ... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened.
And when he passed, the NAACP issued a statement that contained this:
The NAACP is saddened by the passing of United States Senator Robert Byrd. Byrd, the longest serving member of congress was first elected to the U.S. House from in 1952 and was elected Senator in 1958. Byrd passed away this morning at the age of 92.

"Senator Byrd reflects the transformative power of this nation," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Senator Byrd went from being an active member of the KKK to a being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and many other pieces of seminal legislation that advanced the civil rights and liberties of our country."
Now go back and reread Breitbart or Infowars or whomever else tried to bring up the "Hillary's mentor was a KKK recruiter" meme to see how stoopid it really is.

August 25, 2016

Now, About That AP Article On The Clinton Foundation

The Tribune-Review (one of my all-time faves - for realsies!!) went with it this morning:
The Associated Press reports that more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton as secretary of State gave money (directly or indirectly) to the Clinton Foundation. (Clinton & Co. dispute the ratio, if not the basic assertion.) And while these meetings are said to not have violated any laws, per se, the appearance of pay-to-play looms large — as do real conflicts of interest should Mrs. Clinton be elected president [Bolding in Original]
You have to read that first sentence very carefully - this only deals with non-government people being met.  If you include all meetings...sorry, I get ahead of myself.  I'll let the experts talk now - go take a look at this from the Politico:
"Well, because they took a small sliver of her tenure as secretary of state, less than half the time, less than a fraction of the meetings, fewer than I think 3 percent, the number they've looked at of all the meetings," chief strategist Joel Benenson told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day." "This is a woman who met with over 17,000 world leaders, countless other government officials, public officials in the United States. And they've looked at 185 meetings and tried to draw a conclusion from that."
And then there's this from the AP story itself:
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009.
Note how Scaife's braintrust characterizes that part.  By legalese-ing it with a careful "these meetings are said to not have violated any laws per se", the reader is left with an impression that something certainly dirty, though not technically illegal, took place.

For all its weasel words, the AP didn't even go that far.

Matthew Yglesias has an even harsher assessment:
According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.

Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Here’s the bottom line: Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.
He adds later:
The State Department is a big operation. So is the Clinton Foundation. The AP put a lot of work into this project. And it couldn’t come up with anything that looks worse than helping a Nobel Prize winner, raising money to finance AIDS education, and doing an introduction for the chair of the Kennedy Center. It’s kind of surprising.
If the AP had better dirt, it would have written about the better dirt, he seems to be saying.

And that's absolutely true.

Something to think about when the name sake of Trump University starts talking about how the AP proved a pay-for-play over at the State Department.

August 24, 2016

From Seth Meyers - It's Worth A Watch

We all know the crap that comes out of Breitbart.

But who's this Roger Stone guy?

This is Roger Stone and this is what he said:
Now Chelsea, their daughter, who is, as I say in this book [The Clintons' War on Women], actually the daughter of Webb Hubbell and Hillary Clinton—you can see this based on a series of photographs. Hillary admits in her own book that a large football player-sized man taught her the proper way to hold a baby. Who could that be? And if you look at her, she doesn't look anything like Bill. She looks just like her daddy, despite four plastic surgeries, the youngest one when she's only 18. What 18-year-old gets plastic surgery unless you're trying to, I don't know, thin out the lips and make you look less like your daddy.
That's one third of Donald Trump's inner circle.

Hey, Pat Toomey!  How do you feel knowing that that's who has your party's nominee's ear?

Hillary Clinton is in bad health because she sits on pillows (and, according to Donald Trump, sleeps at night) and Chelsea Clinton's really Webb Hubbell's daughter.

This is what's left of the GOP, Senator Toomey - your party.  

Must make you just so proud to be a Republican, huh?

August 23, 2016

Meet The New Birthers

12 years ago (around the time this blog started) it was the Swiftboaters.  They were trying to convince the electorate of something that wasn't true: that then-Senator John Kerry didn't deserve the medals for his service in Vietnam.

8 years ago, the birthers were trying to convince the electorate of something else that wasn't true: that then Senator Barack Obama wasn't eligible for the Oval Office because he wasn't born in the USA.

Another presidential race, another Democratic candidate, another conspiracy theory.

CNN calls them "the new birthers."  Take a look:
From Donald Trump and his top surrogates to the right-wing media and its engine rooms of outrage in the blogosphere, Hillary Clinton's opponents are ramping up efforts to sow doubt over the candidate's health.

The campaign -- which goes back years -- has escalated to shouting over the summer, as Trump spiraled in the polls while mostly failing to connect with voters outside his base demographic. Now, as the race enters a crucial phase, there has been a growing push to fundamentally undermine Clinton's candidacy.

Much in the way "birthers" (Trump was among the most prominent) sought similar ends by questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship, the "healthers" are using junk science and conspiracy theories to argue that Clinton is suffering from a series of debilitating brain injuries.
Just as with Obama's birthers and Kerry's swiftboaters, there's no evidence that any of it is true.

A year or so ago Clinton's actual physician issued a two page report about her health.  You can find it here.

A few weeks ago, echoing a fake Kenyan birther certificate that appeared out of no where, there was a "leak" of some Clinton medical records.  These are also fake.  In a response to those fake documents, Clinton's actual physician issued this statement 7 days ago:
As Secretary Clinton’s long time physician, I released a medical statement during the campaign indicating that she is in excellent health. I have recently been made aware of allegedly “leaked” medical documents regarding Secretary Clinton with my name on them. These documents are false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts. To reiterate what I said in my previous statement, Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as President of the United States.
Again, that was August 16, 2016.

Part of their evidence?


That's right - the fact that there are pictures of Hillary Clinton sitting on pillows is evidence she's got a brain tumor and therefore unfit for the Oval Office.  "Medical mudslinging," what Digby said.

Unfortunately, there's a local practitioner of this New Birtherism - the lovable libertarian, Dimitri Vassilaros.  For the past couple of weeks on his nightly online talk-show, he's been offering up this latest conspiracy theory like it's, you know, news.

It's not and he should know better.

But let me ask you, Dimitri - if only to get a baseline on teh crazie: Did John Kerry deserve his Silver Star and those three Purple Hearts?  Was Barack Obama born in Hawaii?  And finally, is Hillary Clinton in good health?

For that matter, were the moon landings real?  Is global warming actually occurring?

I'm hoping you think that the correct answer to all those questions is, "Yes." But, sadly, I am not so sure.

August 22, 2016

Yea, Donald Trump's Campaign Is Trudging Along Real Fine...

I've been blogging here at 2PJ for about 12 years and politics are OB-VEE-US.

And yet, even after returning every email I receive from the Trump Campaign with a clear and succinct:

Fuck You.

I'm still getting emails that run something like this one from Kellyanne Conway:

I am proud to join the team as Mr. Trump’s new campaign manager.

Yesterday I asked him to give me a list of our strongest supporters.

Your name showed up on the list as a Big League supporter.
Yea, they know what they're doing.

August 21, 2016

Jack Kelly Sunday

Wow.  In this week's column the Post-Gazette's Jack Kelly shows us how little research he actually has done in the past few weeks - and how much right-wing media spin he simply swallows and regurgitates up for his readers.

In doing so he also (now let's not be surprised here) makes some significant factual errors that should have been corrected before the column went to print.

Jack begins his error filled smear:
The Southern District of New York is the lead of three U.S. attorneys’ offices investigating the Clinton Foundation, a recently retired deputy director of the FBI told the Daily Caller. The Clinton Foundation is headquartered in New York. It was begun in Little Rock, Ark., to raise funds for the Clinton library. The office in Washington, D.C., may focus on when Hillary was secretary of state.
And then he starts the errors. For example this is his very next paragraph:
The Clinton Foundation has received more than $2 billion in contributions. More than 1,000 donors are foreigners. The foundation won’t disclose their names or amounts donated. [Emphasis added.]
Which is most interesting because when you go to the Clinton Foundation website, you can find this page that lists donor names and donor information.  To be sure, specific amounts aren't listed but resting the entire argument on that is

For example, I can see that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is at the top of the "Greater than $25,000,000" list.

But that's a foundation.  Maybe they don't disclose the names of individuals, right?

Wrong.  I see the name "Tom Golisano" in the "$10,000,001 to $25,000,000" category.  He's a Republican, by the way.

Maybe they don't disclose the names of foreigners who are donors, right?

Wrong.  Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid is on the "1,000,001 to $5,000,000" list of donors.

So Jack's assessment that the foundation won't disclose names or amounts is simply untrue.

Why was that not caught before this column went to print?

Then there's this:
Few of the funds raised have been spent on charitable works. In 2013, for instance, the Clinton Foundation took in $140 million, but spent just $9 million (6.4 percent) on direct aid. A typical charity devotes about 75 percent of receipts to aid.
This has been shown to have been false for some time.

For instance looked into this June of 2015.  It was framed in an attack by then Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who said basically what Jack said above.  Here's how Factcheck analysed, more than a year ago:
Asked for backup, the CARLY for America super PAC noted that the Clinton Foundation’s latest IRS Form 990 shows total revenue of nearly $149 million in 2013, and total charitable grant disbursements of nearly $9 million (see page 10). That comes to roughly 6 percent of the budget going to grants. And besides those grants, the super PAC said, “there really isn’t anything that can be categorized as charitable.”

That just isn’t so. The Clinton Foundation does most of its charitable work itself.
Katherina Rosqueta, the founding executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, described the Clinton Foundation as an “operating foundation.”

“There is an important distinction between an operating foundation vs. a non-operating foundation,” Rosqueta told us via email. “An operating foundation implements programs so money it raises is not designed to be used exclusively for grant-making purposes. When most people hear ‘foundation’, they think exclusively of a grant-making entity. In either case, the key is to understand how well the foundation uses money — whether to implement programs or to grant out to nonprofits — [to achieve] the intended social impact (e.g., improving education, creating livelihoods, improving health, etc.).”
So now we know that Jack Kelly doesn't understand the distinction, either.  Even though, in his criticism, he wrote as if he had full understanding - which he doesn't.

How did this get by the fact-checkers at the Post-Gazette?

Then there's this fresh pile of Kelly-poop:
An email obtained by Judicial Watch Aug. 9 indicates the head of the Clinton Global Initiative urged Ms. Abedin and Cheryl Mills, then Hillary’s top aides at the State Department, to connect Lebanese businessman Gilbert Chagoury, a major Clinton Foundation donor, with a senior State Department official. Mr. Chagoury had been convicted of laundering funds for a Nigerian dictator.

It was only 7 days ago that Jack Kelly wrote:
A top official at the Clinton Foundation told State Department aides to give special access to a Lebanese businessman who pled guilty to laundering funds for a Nigerian dictator, emails released Tuesday revealed. The dictator, Gilbert Chagoury, pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.
The was corrected a few hours after I hit "publish" on this blog post.  I'm not specifically saying the latter triggered the former, but yea it certainly looks like I made the P-G issue another correction to a Jack Kelly column.

But let me ask you Jack.  Why no reference or explanation to your readers about your previous factual error?  Is your plan to just plow forward and hope that no one notices your previous factual error?

Then this less than fresh pile-o'-Jackpoop:
Hillary approved a deal that gave Russia control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium assets after $145 million was contributed to the Clinton Foundation, reported Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute.
We dealt with this less than a month ago.  This story was debunked more than a year ago.

Do I really need to retrace my steps because Jack Kelly's rewarming the left overs of his discredited conspiracy theories?

Can't he find any new conspiracy theories for me to fact-check?

And finally:


August 20, 2016

A Few Things, I Suppose, For Senator Pat Toomey To Worry About

First, there's the Senator's drooping poll numbers.

As of this writing (Saturday August 20), Real Clear Politics has Democratic challenger Katie McGinty up by an average of about 2.5 points.

Pat had been leading in the polls until the end of June.  Solidly leading in the polls.  By the time the GOP convention was over (July 21) the numbers began to shift, if I am reading them correctly.

Since then, since Donald Trump's installation as the leader of his party, Pat Toomey has only won one Pennsylvania poll (Public Policy Polling - a slight right-leaner, according to Nate Silver) where he was up by 1%.

That's it, ever since Pat Toomey's been trailing in the polls.

Polls change, of course.  But this still has to be something the incumbent Republican candidate has to be worrying about.

Then there's how this race fits into the national picture - for example, this piece (dated August 16) from Harry Eaton over at Nate Silver's Five Thirty Eight.  In a discussion of the electoral situation following the GOP convention Eaton parks his argument right in the middle of:
Donald Trump’s post-conventions polling slump seems to be having an effect on the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate candidates. We thought this might happen: There’s been an increasingly strong relationship between how a state votes for president and how it votes for Senate over the past few election cycles. And, indeed, Trump’s tumble has coincided with worsening GOP numbers in key states. It may cost the party the Senate.
And when we finally get to Toomey, there's this:
Republicans have also seen their prospects worsen in Pennsylvania. Trump is now down 10 percentage points in the state, a headwind that may be too much for Republican Sen. Pat Toomey to overcome. Toomey, like Ayotte, had been leading in most polls before the conventions. But he has trailed in four of the five polls conducted since the conventions. Toomey’s slide, in particular, should worry Republicans. He has made it clear that he is not a Trump fan and has avoided appearing with Trump when he visits the Keystone State. And yet, their fates still seem tied. It may be that down-ballot Republicans can only do so much to keep themselves from getting swept up in an anti-Trump tide.
Toomey's non-endorsement isn't helping him.  Toomey's non-appearances aren't helping him.

That's got to be worrying Pat.