What Fresh Hell Is This?

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.

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:
David,

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 Factcheck.org 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.
And:
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.
Wait...what??

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:

WHY CAN'T SOMEONE AT THE P-G DO THIS BEFORE PUBLICATION?  WHY DO I HAVE TO KEEP DOING IT AFTERWARDS?

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.

August 19, 2016

The Emperor Has No Balls (AND...A Teeny Tiny Penis) - NSFW

In case you missed it, something anarchy-artsy happened yesterday:
A statue of Trump in the buff popped up last night in Union Square in Manhattan, assailing innocent New Yorkers with an NSFW image they surely won’t forget anytime soon: the veins, the nips, those macaroni pubes.

Identical sculptures were also spotted in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland and Seattle.
Take a look:
By 1:20pm (or so) the statue in Union Square had come down.  But not without some commentary from the NYC Parks Department.  That afternoon, they issued this statement:
NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.
Ouch.

INDECLINE, the artist collective that erected said tiny erections across the country, posted a video on the statue's creation:


Cue the right-wing/tea-party outrage.

August 18, 2016

Trump! Now with more Trump!


“I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well you’re going to pivot.’ I don’t want to pivot.”  

So said Donald Trump on Tuesday.

And if there are any members of the GOP still desperately holding out for the long promised pivot, those hopes came crashing down the very next day when Trump doubled down by choosing Steve Bannon, executive chairman of the radical right fringe Breitbart.com "news" site, as his new campaign chief -- a man called "the most dangerous political operative in America" by Bloomberg Businessweek.

How radical right fringe is Breitbart.com? Media Matters gives some of their worst headlines in an article here which include:



Sorry, GOP. Trump is who he is.

Meanwhile, Outside...(NOAA State of the Climate Report for July 2016)

Remember a coupla days ago when I said we were "still a few days away" from NOAA's July "State of the Climate" report?

Well, today's the day:
For the 15th consecutive month, the global land and ocean temperature departure from average was the highest since global temperature records began in 1880. This marks the longest such streak in NOAA's 137 years of record keeping.
And:
[S]ince July is climatologically the globe's warmest month of the year, the July 2016 global land and ocean temperature (16.67°C / 62.01°F) was the highest temperature for any month on record, surpassing the previous record set in July 2015.
So last July was the warmest month on record - until this July.

So how does your favorite municipal/statewide/congressional/presidential candidate stand on the science?

Chances are, if they're a republican, they're agin it - even though it's still getting warmer out there.

Sad.

August 17, 2016

So Where's PAT TOOMEY, These Days?

Not as interesting as Carmen Santiago, admittedly, but as his party implodes around him (thanks to their chosen leader, Donald Trump) Pat Toomey's out campaigning.

The Centre Daily has the info:
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., kicked off an eight-day, 26-county re-election bid tour on Sunday in a bus with the words “security, prosperity, independence” displayed in capital letters on the side.

The tour made two stops in the area on Tuesday — one in Spruce Creek in Huntingdon County and the other at Champs Sports Grill on North Atherton Street in State College. Security was a topic of much discussion.
Ah...but he's not alone.

Our friends at NextGen are with him.

From their press release:
On August 16, NextGen Climate PA, Planned Parenthood, For our Future, and grassroots activists will follow Senator Pat Toomey's bus tour through central PA. Traveling with a giant 10 foot friendship bracelet, attendees will highlight the similarities between the candidates on important issues and note their dangerous and extreme agenda for Pennsylvanians.

"It's hard not to notice all of the things that Senator Toomey and Donald Trump have in common. With so many similarities between them when it comes to important issues, one might even go as far as to call them 'BFFs.' It's easy to imagine them watching the game, sharing a pizza, and discussing ways to keep lining the pockets of corporate polluters rather than addressing climate change and putting the public health of Pennsylvania families first," said Pat Millham, State Director for NextGen Pennsylvania.
In case you didn't know, NextGen Climate:
...is a San Francisco-based environmental advocacy organization. Founded by businessperson and philanthropist Tom Steyer in 2013, we act politically to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for every American. Working at every level, we are committed to supporting candidates, elected officials, and policymakers across the country that will take bold action on climate change. NextGen Climate Action is a 501(c)(4) organization. NextGen Climate Action Committee is a political action committee.
Which is interesting considering Toomey's visit yesterday.

From the Centre Daily:
At an event hosted by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, for agricultural leaders, Toomey said the Iran nuclear deal “endangers us.”
Representative Thompson is a climate science denier (as is Toomey, for that matter).

In 2009, when the Democrats were the majority in the house, Thompson said this about climate science:
In the debate and most of the debate of the majority party here, it's not so much based on real science as political science or even, to some degree, science fiction.
And we all know Toomey doesn't believe human activity significantly contributes to climate change.

And we all know the leader of their party thinks it's a hoax.

As much as Toomey tries to distance himself from his party's leader, he simply can't.  And good for NextGen Climate for reminding us all how deep that friendship (that perfect blendship) really is.

August 16, 2016

Warmer, Warmer, Warmer...(This Past July Was The Warmest Month Since Records Began)

We're still a few days away from NOAA's monthly "State of the Climate" report for July but if the data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies is any indication, it's still getting warmer.

From Weather.com:
Global mean temperatures in July 2016 were the warmest on record not just for July, but for any month dating to the late 1800s, according to separate just-released analyses.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies found July 2016 was the globe's warmest July in their dataset dating to 1880.
Not only that, but this same conclusion was reached elsewhere.

In Europe, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (which is run by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) stated recently that:
Copernicus Climate Change Service, operated by ECMWF, confirms July average surface air temperature 0.19 OC higher than previous records in 2009 and 2015.
In Japan, the story from the Japan Meteorological Agency is much the same AND they have a chart:
Tell me again about this Chinese Hoax of Donald Trump.

Tell me again how Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey isn't denying the science when he voted against the idea that "human activity significantly contributes to climate change."

Meanwhile, it's still getting warmer out there.  No question about it.

Denying the scientific truth won't make it go away.

August 14, 2016

Jack Kelly Sunday (UPDATE!!)

This'll be a short one - as Jack's column this morning is mostly about how Donald Trump has ruined the GOP.

But in doing so, Jack commits one yuge error - one that right from the beginning necessitates me asking:
Doesn't anyone fact-check Jack Kelly at the P-G?
It's in this paragraph, Jack's second:
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.
He's using this example (and another about how the father of the Orlando shooter ended up at a Clinton rally in Florida) to show what Trump should have been talking about rather than the "joke" of how the "Second Amendment People" can take care of Clinton and/or her judicial appointees if she were to be able to "pick her judges" - and so on.

But look at that paragraph.  Jack wrote that an official at the Clinton Foundation told State Department aides to give special access to a Lebanese businessman.  Jack said this guy was found guilty for laundering money for a Nigerian dictator.  Jack then said that the dictator's name is "Gilbert Chagoury" and that he pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Only the name of the dictator was Sani Abacha.  "Gilbert Chagoury" is the name of the Lebanese businessman - PBS did a piece on this in early 2010.

So it's hardly a difficult-to-find piece of information.   How could Jack Kelly and/or his editor(s) get it so freaking wrong?  Doesn't anyone even look at these things before they go to press?

Now let's look at  Jack's first paragraph:
At a rally in Florida Monday, Seddique Mateen, father of Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, sat in a place of honor behind the podium where Hillary Clinton was speaking. Mr. Mateen is not responsible for his son’s horrific crime. But he has some fishy associations. Evidently Hillary Clinton — or some on her staff — have difficulty distinguishing between Muslim patriots such as Army Capt. Humayun Khan, and Islamist terrorists such as Omar Mateen.
The implication is clear: Seddique Mateen was given a place of honor.  Despite the fact that the campaign, upon learning who he was issued a statement that read:
This individual wasn't invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.
Something Jack Kelly decided not to tell you.

But that's a more or less usual sort of sin by omission that Jack Kelly makes.  The first flub, bub, is a sin of even higher proportions - didn't they teach you in Journalism class that you always have to get the easy facts right?  Not confusing a Nigerian dictator with a Lebanese businessman seems to be an easy one.

So I'll ask it yet again:
Doesn't anyone fact-check Jack Kelly at the Post-Gazette?
By Grabthar's frickin' Hammer, why do I have to do it?

UPDATE: A few hours after I posted this, I got word that the P-G issued a correction.  Here it is:
Correction (posted Aug. 14): Businessman Gilbert Chagoury pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009. An earlier version incorrectly said that the Nigerian dictator for whom he laundered money pledged the $1 billion.
You're welcome.  Now can we get someone to do this before Jack's column goes to print?  Maybe, that way, we can save the paper from all sorts of Jack Kelly inspired embarrassments.  Like these embarrassments about:
And so on.

August 13, 2016

NON-Political Posting - 2PJ Gets A Shout Out!

Occasionally, I find it necessary to take a step back and post something completely non-political.

(It helps balance out the humours, you know, so's I don't have to go for a bloodletting or some chinese cupping.)

Anyway, my good friend Gab Bonesso has a YouTube channel and once a week on this YouTube channel she posts a food review.  To make a short story even shorter, at my gentle nagging she reviewed one of my faves:


Um.  I'm not really sure what's going on with Gab in this video.  She's usually so sedate and even-tempered (I mean, HER humours are never out of balance!).  Think Ben Stein in Ferris Beuller or Eugene Levy's Perry Como and you'll get the idea of how utterly and completely low-energy Gab usually is.

While I'm a yuge fan of  the Tasty Kake Chocolate Juniors, the lovely wife isn't.  So when Gab found out, she offered to adjudicate.

How about you?  Are you on #TeamDavid or #TeamJanet?

(I should note for the record that except for the TastyKakes and her stubborn Pittsburgh-ese pronunciation of the word "gnocchi", I am and forever be on #TeamJanet.)

August 12, 2016

A Question For Senator Pat Toomey - Who's Unacceptable?

Senator, recently you said on Philadelphia radio station that, while you still have some "real problems" with some of the things Donald Trump has said on foreign policy, you think that Hillary Clinton is "completely, permanently unacceptable."

Yesterday, Donald Trump stated (and then restated) his belief that President Obama literally "founded" ISIS.

Given how completely wrong that very clear and unambiguous foreign policy statement was, can you still think that Hillary Clinton is the one who's completely and permanently unacceptable?

Remember Trump was the guy who said that:
  • Thousands and thousands of people were cheering" in Jersey City, celebrating 9/11 - Completely False.
  • The Obama administration was actively supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist group that became the Islamic State. - Completely false
  • He wants to bring back waterboarding - an illegal method of torture and thus a war crime.
Besides, Donald Trump is a birther.

The NYTimes reported:
Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

Mr. Trump, the officials warn, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”
And yet you, Pat Toomey, still think Trump's opponent is the unacceptable one?

Good God man, if all that isn't enough to sway your opinion, then your judgement has to be called into question - you're the one who's unacceptable.



August 11, 2016

The Tribune-Review Editorial Board Sides WIth Trump's "2nd Amendment People" - For A Very Weird Reason

Take a look:
And, yes, even we were tempted to join the chorus of those eviscerating the Republican presidential nominee for his comments about the future of gun rights should Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton prevail on Nov. 8. But that would have played into the Democrats' false narrative about the Second Amendment.

Said Mr. Trump on Tuesday at a North Carolina rally: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. ... If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.”

Exploiting Trump's often discombobulated speaking style, critics were quick to say he was advocating violence against Mrs. Clinton, if not her assassination. He was not, of course. Substitute any issues and those issues' advocacy groups in Trump's comments and that's easy to see.
Let's begin by going back to Trump's full quote (something I failed to do yesterday).  From Politico:
Donald Trump on Tuesday said "the Second Amendment people" may be the only way to stop Hillary Clinton from getting to appoint federal judges if she wins the presidential election in November.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” he said as an aside while smiling. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”[Emphasis added.]
By adding that last sentence (again, something I failed to do yesterday) we see that Trump could not have been talking about unifying "the 2nd Amendment people" to vote against Clinton (what - they're not already so unified??) but about what would happen after her inauguration.

John Micek over at PennLive explains the importance of that last sentence:
In a nation awash in weapons, at a time when every city street in America, including those in Harrisburg, reverberates almost daily with the sound of gunfire, that there could be no mistaking its meaning.

No amount of backpedaling, no amount of outrage about a "dishonest" media or angry charges that "Crooked Hillary" was twisting his words could unring the bell that he had so loudly rung.
And this is how the Trib braintrust mistakes its meaning:
He was not [advocating the assassination of Hillary Clinton], of course.  Substitute any issues and those issues' advocacy groups in Trump's comments and that's easy to see.
One question: What? How?

Ok, that was two questions - but still.

The whole reason the braintrust is on the orange birther's side is because they don't want to be seen agreeing with this:
But the manufactured reaction does expose how the most extreme Democrats view the Second Amendment — as the first refuge of crazy wannabe political assassins.
That's it, ladies and gentlemen - a straw man argument if ever there was one.  That's why they're giving Trump a pass on this.

Want a clearer picture of what's going on?  Take a look at Thomas Friedman's first sentence (and all the other sentences!) from his column a couple days ago:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated.
And what Donald Trump said, joking or not, stupid or not, has no place in presidential politics.  The fact that he didn't know enough not to say it...well, that tells you enough about whether he should be president.

August 10, 2016

Donald Trump's 2nd Amendment Solutions

We usually don't do this, but the OPJ and I are blogging on the same thing - namely Donald Trump and his Second Amendment solution to a Clinton win in November.

Orange-face comb-over said this:
Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.
First off, there's no evidence Clinton wants to "abolish" the Second Amendment. So there's lie número uno.

Next notice the grammar of the next sentence.  By using "...if she gets to pick..." Trump is saying that this must be after the election since when the only way Clinton could pick judges would be if she were already president.  This exposes the Trump campaign's response:
It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.
(Since it seems to be discussing the election - that is, before Clinton would be president, if she were to win) as lie número dos.

In any event 18 U.S. Code § 879 states:
(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon...a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate...shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
So it looks like Trump may have committed a crime - whether he was joking or not.

But here's the thing: this is nothing new.  Look again at what Trump said.  It feeds into the rhetoric we've been hearing about for some time about what the 2nd Amendment is for; namely to protect "us" from a tyrannical guv'ment.

Remember this?  It's only from 5 years ago:
Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate turned Republican primary winner in Nevada, has taken heat for a number of extreme affiliations and policy positions. One of the more outlandish was a statement she made during a radio interview last January in which she floated the idea that the public would bring down an out-of-control Congress with “Second Amendment remedies.”
Or this from one of the non-Trumps in the GOP:
It's a given that every Republican presidential candidate will run for president as a strong supporter of gun rights.

But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is arguing that the Second Amendment includes a right to revolt against government tyranny, a point of emphasis uncommon for mainstream presidential candidates.

"The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution isn't for just protecting hunting rights, and it's not only to safeguard your right to target practice. It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny -- for the protection of liberty," Cruz wrote to supporters in a fundraising email on Thursday, under the subject line "2nd Amendment against tyranny."
So if you think that a Clinton win will lead to Clinton judges outlawing the 2nd Amendment and that that's guv'ment tyranny, then...

Donald Trump is not an outlier on the GOP.  He's not a usurper who's taken over the party.  He's a natural outgrowth (a cancerous one, to be sure) of some of the rhetoric that's been swirling there for some time.

Lucky us.

#HowThisElectionHasMeFeeling

It hasn't been a joke for a very long time, and no one should be surprised


Donald Trump's big economic speech on Monday at the Detroit Economic Club was supposed to be his attempt at rebooting his campaign -- pivoting away from, as CNN put it, "a week of brutal self-inflicted wounds" and looking presidential amid increasing questions about his mental stability by, well, pretty much everyone who doesn't own a "Make America Great Again" hat.

It didn't last a day.

Here's Trump on Tuesday:

   
Text: "Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." 

But no one should be surprised. It's only a hop, skip, and a jump from calling for the jailing of your political opponent to calling for their assassination. So if you didn't see this coming, shame on you!

This is a man, after all, who is going strictly by the Dictator's playbook:
  • He has demonized minorities
  • He has attacked a member of the judiciary based solely on their ethnic origin 
  • He has called for banning entry to the country based on religion 
  • He has pledged to curb press freedom through libel laws 
  • He has called for the torture and killing of civilians 
  • He has regularly praised authoritarian governments and dictators and has called for a foreign power to interfere in our elections
  • He has called for the imprisonment of his political opponentand now 
  • He has suggested that his political rival should be assassinated
  • Oh, yeah. He's also signaled his interest in using nuclear weapons.

    This hasn't been a joke for a very long time. And, no one should be surprised anymore at anything Trump has to say.

    August 9, 2016

    Rightwing Smear Machine Smears And Smears Again

    I'm sure, by now, you've seen the photo of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton being helped up a set of stairs (the implication being that she's in frail health).

    Too bad the picture's from last February and there's nothing in it to indicate any bad health news.

    But of course to our friends on the right facts (whether about climate or evolution or whatever) have any validity whatsoever.

    The CNN places this current smear into a broader context:
    The photos were forgotten -- until Saturday. What happened then, when a cadre of pro-Trump Twitter accounts started reposting the pictures as evidence that Clinton has a hard time walking, shows how easily photos can be distorted to take on a new and more sinister meaning.

    In conspiratorial corners of the conservative media, doubts about Clinton's health and stamina have persisted ever since she had a health scare in 2012. Some armchair commentators even predicted Clinton wouldn't be able to run for president in 2016.

    They were clearly wrong, and the health concerns are largely considered a fringe issue. Her personal physician said one year ago that she was physically fit to serve as president.
    Smear, smear, smear.

    August 7, 2016

    State Of The Climate - American Meterological Society

    From the website:
    An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the State of the Climate is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.
    Here are some highlights - the first paragraph from the chapter titled "Global Climate":
    Following the warmest year on record in 2014 according to most estimates, 2015 reached record warmth yet again, surpassing the previous record by more than 0.1°C. The considerable warmth, protracted strong El Niño, and new record levels of greenhouse gases provided climatological highlights for the year.
    And:
    Atmospheric burdens of the three dominant greenhouse gases (CO2, CH 4, N2O) all continued to increase during 2015. The annual average CO2 mole fraction at Mauna Loa, Hawaii (MLO), exceeded 400 ppm, a milestone never before surpassed in the MLO record or in measurements of air trapped in ice cores for up to 800,000 years.
    And so on.

    August 2, 2016

    What Is WRONG With Trump??

    By now we all know the Trump/Khan smack-down.

    I've tried to think about how to approach the story but each day the story shifts and Trump does something even more disgusting.

    Case in point.  Today in the Post-Gazette, Tony Norman has a thoughtful yet angry, succinct yet indepth description of Trump's behavior:
    When asked to define “hard-core pornography,” in the 1964 case of a French film that the state of Ohio had banned as obscene, the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart gave us an immortal rejoinder: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within the shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so,” he wrote. “But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

    That’s how most Americans, regardless of politics or ideology, feel about indecency. They know it when they see it. And on this one point, we are mostly agreed — Donald Trump is no longer just a second-rate Bond villain manque. In a fractious, pluralistic political environment, he’s become the personification of indecency itself. We all know this because we can see it in all of its terrible orange-ish majesty.

    Last week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, an American Muslim named Khizr Khan made the case that Muslim Americans have made sacrifices for this country, too. It was a simple proposition that should have been a given, but isn’t thanks to hateful demagogues who have convinced many of their fellow Americans that patriotism and Islam are incompatible
    And so on.  It's a good read.  Go read it.

    The operant word here is: indecency.

    And this being Donald Trump's indecency, there's been more in the news since Tony filed this story.

    For example this:
    In an interview today with a local ABC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, Donald Trump suggested that what angered critic Khizr Khan was Trump's aggressive efforts to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

    "It's a very big subject for me, border security is very big. When you have radical Islamic terrorists probably all over the place, we’re allowing them to come in by the thousands and thousands. And I think that’s what bothered Mr. Khan more than anything else. And, you know, I’m not going to change my views on that. We have radical Islamic terrorists coming in that have to be stopped. We’re taking them in by the thousands.” [Emphasis in original.]
    Yes, of course that's the case!  Khan's grief had nothing to do with the death of his son.  In Trump's mind, Khan is more upset about Trump's plan to stop the thousands and thousands of radical Islamic terrorists that he thinks are streaming over the border.

    Because, you know, they're both Muslim and we all know about those people, amirite?

    For some guidance, let's go to someone wealthier than Donald Trump:


    But I guess we know the answer: Donald Trump has no decency.