Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bernie Sanders launches "Our Revolution." What's it called when the missile disintegrates on the launchpad?

Courtesy of the Washington Times:

Wednesday marks the debut of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ reinvention. The former presidential hopeful is launching “Our Revolution”, a new activist outreach to his many fans, in an online broadcast to 2,600 “watching parties” in every state — as far flung as Fort Yukon, Alaska; Gouldsboro, Maine; Brownsville, Texas; Naalehu, Hawaii, and Minot, North Dakota. The address begins at 9 p.m. ET. 

In addition, Mr. Sanders will publish a book titled “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.” The work is due on book shelves Nov. 15, primarily recapping his campaign trail experiences and underscoring his progressive ideas for America.

Oh so Sanders is helping to launch a grassroots organization for the Democrats just like that Tea Party "grass roots" organization for the Republicans.

One and he's writing a book too?

(Don't make comparisons to Sarah Palin, don't make comparisons to Sarah Palin, don't make comparisons to Sarah Palin!)

Oh that's nice.

However I understand there might be some problems already plaguing this fledgling campaign.

Courtesy of Politico:

The revolution is already tearing itself apart. 

Less than a week before its official launch on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders’ new political group is working its way through an internal war that led to the departure of digital director Kenneth Pennington and at least four others from a team of 15, and the return of presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver as the group’s new president. 

“Kenneth chose to leave the organization. He’d worked on the campaign from the very beginning … he decided to do something else I guess,” Weaver said Monday evening, but “we’re very happy to be putting the A-team back together.”

And here's more from NBC News:

The dispute is both strategic and personal. The staffers who quit had clashed with Weaver on the campaign, calling him domineering and questioning his judgement, and they joined Our Revolution only on condition he would not be involved. 

They say they envisioned Our Revolution as a small-dollar-funded group that would use grassroots organizing to help elect progressive candidates, along the lines of Democracy for America, which grew out of the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. 

Weaver has other ideas. He wanted to supplement the group's organizing and online fundraising efforts with independent expenditure TV advertising and larger checks from major donors. Internal critics say that contradicts the spirit of Sanders' movement, which was built around fighting big money in politics. 

The shakeup reflects a long-running rift in the Sanders campaign between its older leadership, like Weaver, and its younger staffers, who saw themselves as more ideologically committed to the revolution and thought the consultants at the top were using the campaign to line their pockets.

To be fair there have been plenty of very successful enterprises that started off a little shaky.

However I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that this is happening to some bodunk, doomed to fail Tea Party ripoff, and not happening to a campaign that is actually on the glide path to taking up residence in the White House.

New poll shows Hillary Clinton 12 points ahead of Donald Trump.

Courtesy of Reuters:

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican rival Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, her strongest showing this month, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. 

The Aug. 18-22 poll showed that 45 percent of voters supported Clinton, while 33 percent backed Trump ahead of the Nov. 8 election. 

Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state, has led Trump, a New York businessman, throughout most of the 2016 campaign. But her latest lead represents a stronger level of support than polls indicated over the past few weeks. Earlier in August, Clinton's lead over Trump ranged from 3 to 9 percentage points in the poll.

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that this is essentially how things are going to go from here on out. You know with a few weird outliers and false polls showing up here and there.

There is virtually no way for Trump to pick up any new voters (After all how many racists can there really be in this country?) so that leaves it up to Hillary to attract the independents and disenfranchised Republicans to beef up her numbers even more.

And once again let me remind everybody that this is good news, but ONLY if we do not get complacent and think our vote is not important.

It is, VERY important.

Here is how one online publication responded to orders from Trump attorneys to redact a story about Melania Trump being a sex worker.

I cannot believe people says such terrible things. What about me makes people think I would have sex for money?
Courtesy of Liberal America: 

Just so we’re being completely transparent here, you should know this: 

This is being written under duress because I don’t have enough money to fight a legal battle against the Trump machine. Yesterday, I wrote a story based on Melania Trump allegedly having been an escort or paid sex worker when she arrived in New York. A few hours later, the owner of Liberal America received an email threatening us with legal action if we didn’t do as the Trump attorneys instructed — remove the “false statements.” So this is my apology. 

First of all, I’m very very sorry that I wrote an article about the past of Melania Trump. I got my information from reputable sources and reported on what was being reported there, but apparently that isn’t good enough to pass muster in the version of American freedom of the press envisioned by Mr. Trump and his team of legal vultures. 

Additionally, I’m also sorry that the personal image of the wannabe first lady is so insecure that she feels the need to send her legal hell-hounds chasing after small, independent journalists such as me. I had no idea I was such a threat to the Trump campaign or family. Imagine my surprise.

The author goes to report on a number of other things he is sorry about , most of the tongue in cheek, before getting to the actual "apology":  

Specifically, based on the email from the Beverly Hills law firm being used by the Trumps for this harassment, I was ordered to remove specific statements from the article I wrote, the exact information that is on the website of my source, The Daily Mail: 

1. “Melania Trump Was A Sex Worker After Moving To United States” 
2. “Melania Trump, the current wife of the GOP nominee for the White House, worked as an escort shortly after she first moved to the United States and was a favorite of rich men such as her current husband.” 
3. “On the one hand, they [the girls] pretended to be models, but they principally earned money as elite escorts. They even had two composite cards (presentation cards held by each model) — with two photos and basic information such as measurements, eye and hair color, and agency details.” 
4. “The second card…listed whether or not the woman liked older men and what her sexual skills in the bedroom were.” 
5. “The modeling agency Melania signed with after arriving in New York was owned by Paolo Zampolli, who allegedly used the agency as a front for an escort service.” 

According to the Trump attorneys, those statements are lies and this is the truth: 

The true facts are as follows: Mrs. Trump never worked as an escort or sex worker, nor did she ever have a composite or presentation card for the sex business. Mrs. Trump had a single composite card – for modeling. Paolo Zampolli, Mrs. Trump’s former modeling agent, has vehemently and publicly denied allegations that he operated a sex business.

Well there you go then, that's all straightened out. 

As you may have noticed I never jumped onto the whole "Melania Trump was a sex worker" bandwagon.

To be honest I felt it was a little poorly sourced, and was waiting for more confirmation.

However I DID write several posts about allegations that Trump raped a 12 year old girl. (You can one of them here, and another one here.)

Oddly enough neither I nor the publications I linked to received any order from Trump's attorneys to cease and desist or retract our posts.

So really the only thing that one can surmise by these events is that Melania Trump has NEVER been a sex worker, but Donald Trump did indeed rape a 12 year old girl and sexually harass several other women.

Well, I'm glad we have THAT cleared up.

Texas GOP official will shows up to Trump rally accusing him of being a "child rapist." Update!

Courtesy of the Austin Chronicle: 

Travis County Republican Chairman Robert Morrow plans to protest Donald Trump, while the GOP presidential candidate visits Austin on Tuesday, Aug. 23. 

The jester-hat wearing iconoclast has made national headlines for his incendiary criticisms, often laced with vulgarity, against both the Republican and Democratic establishment. 

“Donald Trump’s psychopathy has been on full display on the national political stage for over a year,” said Morrow in a statement. “I want folks to know that Trump is a child rapist and that he is currently being sued in a civil action in NY federal courts for raping, slapping an 13-year-old girl at a Jeffrey Epstein party in 1994. Trump also threatened to murder the girl, now age 35 and a Jane Doe plaintiff, and also murder her family if she ever told how he (Trump) sexually abused her,” Morrow alleges.

By the way this guy is kind of a nut, and his feelings toward Hillary Clinton are not any less extreme.

However the claims he is making here are backed up by actual court filings and accusations made by the women who claim they were the victims of Trump's sexual assaults.
And true or not this is certainly not what one would call "good optics" for the Trump campaign.

Update: Well the lunatic showed up as promised and was kicked out by security.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Rabbis warn that a university education is "dangerous" for young women.

Courtesy of the Independent:  

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have banned women from going to university, The Independent has learned. 

The strict Satmar sect issued the decree, seen by The Independent, warning that university education for women is “dangerous”. Written in Yiddish, the decree warns: “It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah. 

“We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school. Also, we will not give any jobs or teaching position in the school to girls who’ve been to college or have a degree. 

"We have to keep our school safe and we can’t allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our Mosed was built.”

The day that becoming more educated threatens your belief system, that is the day that you need to change your belief system.

You know I spend a lot of time going after Christianity here on IM.

But the main reason that I single out that particular religion is because it is the one whose negative effects we feel the most strongly here in America, and that one that negatively impacts our politics and education.

Trust me when I say I have the same disdain for ALL religions which argue against both men and women learning more about the world and universe which surrounds us.

And that certainly includes Judaism Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and even some forms of Buddhism. (Yes, I realize there are other religions, but I don't have all day to list them all.)

If I have any belief at all it is that as human beings it is our right and our responsibility to learn as much as we can and to help push forward the limits of human understanding.

If any religion interferes with that, then it is undermining who we are as sentient beings.

Al Gore has a message for voters and those worried about Climate Change. Vote.

Courtesy of Think Progress:  

First of all I understand their feelings and misgivings. But if they are interested in my personal advice. I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I urge everyone else to do the same. 

I particularly urge anyone who is concerned about the climate crisis, sees it as the kind of priority that I see it as, to look at the sharp contrast between the solar plan that Secretary Clinton has put forward, and her stated commitment to support the Clean Power Plan, and the contrast between what she has said and is proposing with the statements of the Republican nominee, which give me great concern.

You'll notice that Gore does NOT suggest that anybody vote for a third party candidate, which probably is not a surprise considering his experience in 2000 with Ralph Nader. 

And of course he is correct here.

If we care about the environment, education, equal rights, gun violence, or pretty much ANY issue we can think of, then Hillary Clinton is the only sane choice.

To do otherwise is to demonstrate a lack of seriousness during a very serious time in our country.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

President Obama arrives in Louisiana now that his visit is less likely to interrupt the delivery of services to those who are suffering due to the flooding.

Courtesy of NBC News:  

President Obama met with survivors in flooded Louisiana Tuesday, touring a hard-hit Baton Rouge suburb strewn with debris and rubble. "Sometimes when these kinds of things happen, it can seem like too much to bear. But what I want the people of Louisiana to know is you're not alone, even after the TV cameras leave," Obama said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon after walking through destroyed homes and shaking hands with residents.

Obama said Americans are "heartbroken by the loss of life" and said the floods have cost survivors more than property.

Obama signed a federal disaster declaration over a week ago, freeing up $120 million in aid.

The article is filled with criticisms concerning how long it took the President to arrive in Louisiana  but I ignored them because we know that the Governor asked the President to stay away and that Obama signed that federal disaster declaration immediately which is really the most important thing he could do in response.

This press conference only has value in bringing attention to the crisis, which everybody is already paying attention to already, and quieting those on the Right who attack the President at every opportunity.

Our President is much more concerned with helping these people get the services and help they need rather than to use their suffering as a backdrop for political purposes.

By the way Hillary is also not planning to visit the area until she knows that her appearance will not disrupt the response to the crisis.

P.S. It appears that Donald Trump's $100,000 donation (If he actually donated it.)  may have gone to Tony Perkins and his anti-LGBT ministry.
Gee, that's really helpful.

Donald Trump and his children have made over 7 million dollars so far from campaign contributions.

Courtesy of Vice: 

Republican Donald Trump has so far paid $7.7 million in campaign contributions to his own companies and children, according to a filing with the Federal Elections Commission, and as the campaign transitions to the general election those payments are increasing. In May, they totaled at least $1.1 million—nearly 20 percent of all campaign spending that month—and in July, another $800,000 came into the Trump brood. 

Campaign finance laws on the topic are hazy and contradictory, largely because no candidate for federal office has ever had such a sprawling business empire that could be employed for a campaign. The FEC allows candidates to rent themselves their own office space—as the Trump campaign does at Trump Tower—but bans them from collecting royalties on any memoirs purchased by the campaign. Money ultimately flows back to the candidate in both cases but the FEC has issued divergent rules.

In July alone, Trump's campaign paid $169,758.33 in rent to Trump Tower Corporation LLC, $48,239.77 for rent and catering at Trump National Golf Club in Weschester, $1,000 to Trump Restaurants LLC, and $428.53 worth of Trump's bottled water Trump Ice. In May, Trump's campaign spent $3,938.58 at the vineyard run by his son Eric. Campaign dollars are also funneled to allies of Trump's children. Each month, the campaign spends millions on apparel like the "Make America Great Again" trucker hats. The manufacturer, Ace Specialties, is owned by Christl Mahfouz, a board member on Eric Trump's charitable foundation.

I wonder if Sarah Palin lays awake at night and thinks to herself "Running for President and using campaign donations to make my family rich instead of PAC contributions, why didn't I think of that?"

Around the internet folks have started to call this the Trump "scampaign" and I think that hits the nail right on the head.

This is just like Trump airlines, Trump University, and Trump steaks. All the Donald is doing is marketing his name in order to line his pockets with every intention of getting out before anybody gets a chance to examine the product closely.

And after this he will take his new notoriety and use it to launch that cable TV news show we keep hearing about, a reality show, or a new product line. Or perhaps all three.

While we are on the topic of this "scampaign" according to this article by the former Commissioner of the IRS Trump's supposed audit is NO reason not to release his tax returns:

He can and should immediately release the first two pages of his Form 1040, along with his Schedule A, for the past 20 years. This would tell us how much he makes, how much he pays in taxes, and how much he contributes to charity. 

Releasing this information would have no impact on any pending or future IRS audit of Trump. Zero. None. It is a risk-free first step with no downside. While painting a far from complete portrait, it would answer a few of the questions that Trump himself has raised during the campaign: He claims that he makes a lot of money; he claims that he makes significant charitable contributions; and he claims that he reduces his tax liability as far as current law allows. 

The first two pages of his enormous tax returns, along with his Schedule A, will shed important light on these claims. The first two pages plus the Schedule A of the Clintons' 2015 tax return tell us they made $10.6 million; that they made charitable contributions of $1.0 million; and that they paid federal taxes of $3.6 million, for an effective tax rate of 34 percent. We have that same information about the Clintons for the past 20 years. The first two pages of Trump's tax returns, together with his Schedule A, would provide us with the same information for him. He can and should share that information with no audit risk whatsoever. 

But Trump's not going to do that.

Because if he did we would know for a fact that he is full of shit and that all of this is indeed a "scampaign." 

This is why I don't really care about how the Right Wing attacks Clinton over her e-mails, the Clinton foundation, and her supposed "health problems."

First off those are all complete bullshit, but more importantly they don't matter.

Ultimately we really only have ONE candidate who can win this election, ONE candidate who is preparing to do the job, and ONE candidate who is even really running a campaign.

Donald Trump is putting on a show, and trying to grift as much money as possible while doing it.

He is NOT an actual Republican candidate.

And the GOP does not have the time or the machinery in position to replace him.

In other words, and I have said this before, everybody needs to start practicing the phrase "Madame President."

Former Fox News host files lawsuit claiming retaliation after accusing Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

Andrea Tantaros, a former Fox News host, charged in a lawsuit filed Monday that top executives at the network, including the man who replaced Roger Ailes, punished her for complaining about sexual harassment by Mr. Ailes. 

The suit by Ms. Tantaros, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, is the latest round in a contentious volley that began in late winter, when Fox claimed she had breached her employment contract by writing a book without receiving network approval. 

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” Ms. Tantaros’s suit says.

Here was Tantaros's description of her experiences with Roger Ailes:  

The lawsuit goes on to say that on Aug. 12, 2014, Mr. Ailes called her into his office and asked if she was planning to marry and have children. “Ailes then started complaining about marriage in general, and also made off-color jokes about being married,” the lawsuit states. It describes Mr. Ailes as speculating on the sexual habits and preferences of 10 Fox News personalities. 

He asked Ms. Tantaros to turn around “so I can get a good look at you,” the lawsuit charges, adding that Ms. Tantaros refused. Soon after, she was moved from “The Five” to a lower-rated show, “Outnumbered,” that aired at midday.

Mr. Ailes called her back for similar sessions in December 2014 and February 2015, the lawsuit charges, and when she continued to rebuff him, she encountered hostility from the Fox News publicity department. In the February meeting, she said, Mr. Ailes talked about how she would look in a bikini, and accused her of ending a long-term relationship because she had been merely using the man. The episode brought her to tears, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also claims that Bill O'Reilly sexually harassed Tantaros as well, which I imagine is probably true of most of the women now speaking out about sexual harassment at Fox News.

I love this quote:

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.”

Do you know that segment of Real Time "I don't know it for a fact, I just know it's true?"

For me this falls into that category.

I ALWAYS got the feeling that the women of Fox News were seen as nothing more than window dressing and that they were either being sexually harassed constantly or that they were in fact trading sexual favors to further their careers.

I didn't know it for a fact, I just knew it was true.

Now if you will excuse me I have to take another one of those "covering sexual harassment at Fox News hot showers" to cleanse myself.

Hillary Clinton goes on Jimmy Kimmel to address concerns about her health and to talk about her e-mails.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

Being in the presence of Clinton allowed Kimmel not merely the opportunity to ask questions but to check if Clinton was actually still alive. Given the conspiracy theories about her health, she could very easily be a cyborg by now. 

“Oh my God, there’s nothing there!” Kimmel joked, taking her pulse. 

“Back in October, The National Enquirer said I would be dead in six months,” Clinton said, “so with every breath I take I feel like I have a new lease on life!” 

Clinton was shocked why the GOP would hope to paint her as unhealthy. “I don’t know why they are saying this. I think on the one hand, it’s part of the wacky strategy. Just say all these crazy things and maybe you can get some people to believe you. On the other hand, it just absolutely makes no sense. I don’t go around questioning Donald Trump’s health.” Clinton said, as far as she can tell, that Trump’s health seems to be physically fine. 

Kimmel cited Trump’s doctor, who says a medical examination proved the GOP nominee has the best health ever — of all time. Of all time. Clinton smiled and nodded, saying that she’d heard about that. To prove her stability, Kimmel gave Clinton the ultimate test: Open a jar of pickles. Somehow, she managed.

I am going to suggest that the pickle jar was pre-loosened or else I doubt that Hillary would have agreed to do that on live television. That's just common sense.

However when anybody argues about Hillary's poor health I always suggest that they sit and watch that eleven hour testimony before the House Benghazi witch hunt.

That would have killed Donald Trump.

Clinton also addressed the release of more of her e-mails.

I want to once again remind everybody that neither Condoleezza Rice nor Colin Powell ever released ANY of their e-mails from when they were Secretary of State.

All standards are changed when it comes to Hillary.

While on the subject of clearing up nonsensical GOP charges against Hillary here is an article in which John Dean (Yes, THAT John Dean.), does that for the charge that she lied under oath. 

One of Donald Trump's very few campaign offices in the swing state of Colorado is run by a 12 year old. No not Sean Hannity, a REAL 12 year old.

Courtesy of KMOV: 

Donald Trump's campaign has some young blood among its leadership. 

And by young, that means 12 years old. 

In one of the most important counties in swing state Colorado, Donald Trump is relying on 12-year-old Weston Imer, who runs the Jefferson County operation for the Trump campaign. 

Jefferson County is one of the most populous counties in Colorado and is part of the Denver metro area. 

Imer is in charge of the operation where volunteers will gather and help get out the vote, and while sitting behind a desk may not be the coolest thing to do, he hopes to use the position to inspire others. 

"Get involved," Imer said. "That's what I'm going to say. Get involved. Kids need to be educated."

As it turns out Imer's mother is the person officially in charge of the campaign office, just like Vladimir Putin is the one officially in charge of Donald Trump. 

However Imer is the face of the campaign in Jefferson County and the one doing most of the work.

Actually if you think about it who better to get out Donald Trump's message than a person so close to his intellectual age?

But then again you can call me crazy but compared to most of the other folks helping Trump, like Michele Bachmann and Stephen Bannon, I think this twelve year old might be the most mature one of the bunch.

John Oliver takes on charter schools.

Courtesy of The Inquirer:

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver turned his attention to charter schools and their shortcomings on Sunday night, using Pennsylvania laws and Philadelphia schools as examples of why he believes the institutions are something of gamble when it comes to education. 

“Charter schools unite both sides of the aisle more quickly than when a wedding DJ throws on ‘Hey Ya,’ ” Oliver said to kick off his piece, further noting that the first charters emerged 25 years ago as a way to explore new approaches to education. 

Now, about 6,700 such schools exist in the United States. But, as Oliver pointed out Sunday, “around the country, there have been charter schools so flawed, they don’t make it through the school year.”

It is certainly no secret here that I have absolutely no use for charter schools, and believe that if that money were kept in local school districts that public education could be vastly improved.

Interestingly enough Oliver did not bother to get into comparisons of which is better, charter schools or public schools, and instead just dives into the problems with charter school themselves.

Which as it turns out is pretty damning.

The Green Party's presidential candidate sure has solid political instincts, don't you agree?

Gee....where have I seen an image like this before?

Oh yeah.

George W. Bush on his way to visit the devastation left behind from Katrina in 2005.
Yep, solid political instincts.