Prosecute the torture.

August 31, 2016

Interesting How Things Have Shifted On Climate At The Tribune-Review

Take a look:
A media report has it that President Obama will, in effect, self-ratify the Paris climate accord in advance of Sunday's opening of the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.
And so on - the argument is about whether Obama has the authority to make an "executive agreement" (answer: he does).

But what's just so interesting about this whole editorial is the absence of  any climate skepticism on the part of the editorial board.  They just keep trying to assert that this executive agreement isn't an executive agreement and that it it, in fact, a treaty.  (Except it isn't - and such agreements have been legally recognized for decades.)

Perhaps their welcome lack of climate skepticism is just an oversight on their part.

Or perhaps they're finally accepting reality of our new warmer climate:
The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist.

This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.
Though I suspect that, within a week or so, we'll learn that it was an oversight on their part.

August 28, 2016

Jack Kelly Sunday

This one is almost too easy.

This week, the Post-Gazette's Jack Kelly ended his column with this paragraph:
Ideally, there should be a newscast both Democrats and Republicans could trust the information presented is accurate, balanced, timely and in context. No one who has an agenda other than the truth has any business being in journalism. [Emphasis added.]
Yes, my friends. Jack Kelly wrote that.

Let's take a few minutes for a collective sigh and giggle at Jack's expense.  Doesn't he read his own columns?  And if he does, how does he not understand that his own work would fail miserably at the "truth in journalism" standard he's now proffering?

I realize he's a columnist but as the man said, "You're entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts."  Stubborn things, those facts.

Jack Kelly is not someone who can possibly be among those warning us about how bad "media bias" is as he's part of the problem.

Let's get some minor business out of the way.  In this paragraph:
An educated populace and a free press are essential for the preservation of a free society, Thomas Jefferson said. “If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be,” he said. “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”
Jack fails to point out that those are two separate quotations of Jefferson, separated by almost exactly 30 years.

The first is from this letter to John Jay, dated January 1786 and the second from this letter to Charles Yancey, January 1816.  Granted, it doesn't change the meanings of either, but if we're going for a "whole truth and nothing but the truth" standard, then Jack left something out.

No biggie.

Let's look at one of Jack's examples.

He writes:
Most deplorable is the outright lie. After the police shooting of Sylville Smith triggered rioting in Milwaukee, CNN edited from the remarks of his sister her call to burn down the suburbs so they could say Sherrelle Smith was “calling for peace.”
This, in fact, happened.  But what Jack leaves out is how CNN issued a correction 24 hours later.  Did "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" Jack Kelly tell you that?

No, he didn't.  You wouldn't know that CNN make a correction to their error a day later just by reading Jack now, would you?  He left something out in order to leave you with an incorrect picture of reality - precisely what he's complaining others have been doing.

Has Jack issued a correction for saying that:
The Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team in Rota, Spain, probably could have gotten there [to Benghazi] before former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
When in fact they had to wait for 6 hours for a C-130 to arrive from Germany to take them the 2,000 miles to Libya - a flight of another 6 or so hours. There's no way they could have gotten there in time.

Has he issued a correction/apology for his Van Jones column?  A piece so wrong factually that the Post-Gazette pulled it from its website (though, interestingly enough, it's still accessible over at the Block's other paper in Toledo).

How about Jack's Swiftboating of Secretary of State John Kerry?  Any corrections for those disrespectful lies?

Then there's most anything Jack writes about climate change - how many corrections has there been?  How many more are needed for Jack to ascend from truthiness to actual truth?

No, Jack.  You don't get to lecture us on how bad the media is for presenting us a partial sets of facts (or downright non-facts) and then spinning them into a distorted weltanschauung for political gain.

You've been doing it all this time and it's sad that you just can't see it.

You don't believe me?  You need some evidence for your participation in the stinky tainting of the news media into something factually challenged?

You're looking at it right now.

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.

Breitbart:
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?

Pillows.

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.