Tuesday, September 27, 2016
While Donald Trump was putting the insanity of today's Republican Party on display last night, some of the party base were also busy demonstrating that they want a Christian theocracy and the execution of women - and their doctors - who have abortions. With these folks it is either there way or execution - much in the vein of how ISIS approaches non-believers and/or those with different understandings of a supposed common faith. Christian News Wire looks at the batshitery. Here are excerpts:
The political committee Abolish Abortion Florida (AAFL) has launched a ballot initiative to amend the state's constitution to punish abortion as capital murder. Under the proposed amendment, anyone who performs or procures an abortion would be charged with first degree, pre-meditated murder. "Abortion" would include any abortifacient drug or device that can kill an embryo by preventing implantation, as well as the intentional destruction of unwanted IVF embryos. The amendment would define life as beginning at fertilization rather than "conception," and declares that "abortion deprives an innocent human being of the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
According to AAFL, the idea is not only to collect enough signatures to get the measure onto the 2018 ballot, but also to encourage legislators to begin putting forward legislation to abolish abortion instead of merely regulating it. Per AAFL: "The Supreme Court cannot make murder legal. Pro-life politicians have passed incremental regulations for decades, but it's time to abolish abortion by recognizing it for what it is – cold-blooded murder – and prosecuting it accordingly."
The complete petition language can be seen atwww.abolishabortionfl.com.
As I have long said, there is really little difference between Christian fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalist. The open embrace of hatred of others and the embrace of ignorance is identical.
While some folks we know did not watch last night's presidential debate - some said it was too painful to watch, especially Donald Trump's behavior - the husband and I watched every minute of it. Overall, I thought Hillary Clinton was the clear winner, which seems to be the majority view, but more on that below. Perhaps the most laughable/frightening moment was when Trump said he thought his temperament - that of a petulant first grader - best qualified him for the presidency. Trump surrogates had claimed that he had prepared for the debate "in his own way" and had criticized Clinton for the time she took to prepare. The result? Trump came across clueless and unprepared on many points and reverted back to some of his tried and true lies. The problem for Trump is that what works at rallies filled with his demented followers does not work on an internationally viewed one on one debate. The following is a sampling of some of the critiques of last nights debate. First, the liberal perspective from Jonathan Capehart from the Washington Post:
For 90 minutes, we watched one candidate for president display the seriousness the office demands while the other did what was once unthinkable: show up unprepared for a globally televised job interview. . . . . Trump brought the vaudeville shtick that worked for him in the primaries to the main stage and bombed.Trump’s performance was the rhetorical equivalent of hurling garbage on the lawn. A question about x would lead to mentions of y, z and whatever else came to mind. For instance, a response about Hillary Clinton’s emails led to a mention about the sorry state of New York’s LaGuardia Airport. And then there were the gasp-worthy moments that would sink any other presidential aspirant.
Clinton said the only time Trump’s tax returns were seen was when he sought a casino license. “[T]hey showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax,” the Democratic nominee charged. Trump’s response? “That makes me smart.” Neither average Americans nor the Clintons (who have released more than three decades of tax returns) could get away with that.
On the conservative side from the Post, Jennifer Rubin, until this year typically an apologist for the GOP, let loose on Trump as well:If there was one undeniable truth spoken by Clinton at the debate, it came in response to Trump’s dig at her for “stay[ing] home” last week. “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did,” Clinton said. “And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.” Kaboom.
[L]like Super Bowl games to which the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump debate was frequently compared, it was not as competitive as one might have imagined. Clinton came away the winner, accomplishing what she set out to do.
She wasn’t warm and fuzzy, but she was calm, cool and in command of her facts. She hit more than once his “Trumped up trickled down” tax plan, a winner with her supporters. She made a pitch for gun control, extolled African American families and urged anti-bias training for police. She prodded Trump to agree that we should take guns away from people on the no-fly list. (The National Rifle Association won’t be pleased.) She slammed Trump when he accused her of preparing for the debate. . . . . she reamed him for his statements on nuclear weapons and willingness to allow other countries to get the bomb.
Trump was soon back to classic Trump — inveighing against trade and making bizarre comments. . . . He incorrectly stated that “stop and frisk” had not been ruled unconstitutional. At times he seemed to babble, running out of material. He still has not bothered to flesh out proposals or to broaden his grasp of issues. His meandering answer on first use of nuclear weapons suggested he had no idea what the issue was. Trump blundered accusing Clinton of lacking stamina, giving her an opportunity to boast of her own travels and recount his insults against women.
His worst moments came as he continued to defend raising the birther issue and claimed credit for prompting President Obama to produce his birth certificate. Clinton laid into him, slamming him for starting his political career by trying to de-legitimize the first African American president. “A racist lie” is what she called it. She raised the lawsuit from the 1970s for housing discrimination.
Trump needed to conceal his temper, avoid queries on his taxes and dalliance with birtherism, and appear ready to be president. He didn’t. . . . . The first debate win goes to Clinton.
Going over to the arguably less "liberal" Politico, the "insider" verdict on Trump's loss of the debate was similar. Here are highlights of that:
Score round 1 for Hillary Clinton. That’s according to The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of swing-state activists, strategists and operatives who watched the first debate here Monday night. The insiders’ bipartisan verdict: Clinton dispatched Donald Trump in their first of three nationally televised meetings.
Overall, roughly 80 percent of insiders — with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans responding to the post-debate survey — said Clinton did the better job at the debate, including 99 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans.
“No contest,” said an Iowa Democrat — who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously. “Trump held it together for 16 minutes and fell apart.”
Among Republicans, the tally was closer — but that speaks to a divided party as much as actual ambivalence about which candidate performed better on Monday night.
“Trump was an embarrassment,” an Iowa Republican said. “I'd hate to be the guy in the spin room lying about how Trump won the debate.”
“It wasn't close,” a Virginia Republican added. “Sure, our tribal politics will force it to seem somewhat close, but even the most committed of Trump supporters know, deep down, that did not go well.”
The vast majority of all insiders, 88 percent, said Clinton met expectations going into Monday night. That includes nearly three-quarters of Republicans: One Florida Republican called Clinton “calm in the face of an insane person.”
“Put plainly: he failed the presidential test,” a Virginia Republican added. “And hiding out on Fox News isn't going to fix it for him.”
Trump lost. Really, I think we can work under the assumption that when a candidate is accused of cheering for the housing crisis, it’s not a good plan to reply: “That’s called business, by the way.”
There had been some speculation that all Trump needed to do was speak in complete sentences to beat expectations, and if that was the bar, the man did great. When Hillary Clinton suggested he might be withholding his federal returns because he never paid any taxes, he responded: “That makes me smart.” Complete sentence.
There’s something terrifying in the way Trump can’t admit error, even in a case where the incorrect statement in question has become world-famous. There are undoubtedly people in Chad who know that Trump supported the invasion of Iraq before it happened. But when it came up on Monday, he denied it once again, arguing that his much-quoted interview on “The Howard Stern Show” was something else entirely:
Both of these candidates have a lot of baggage and Clinton got past her email burden by admitting she was wrong and saying she was sorry. Not the perfect apology, but it got her through the night.
Trump, for his part, could have anticipated that the business of calling women pigs, slobs and dogs would come up. The correct answer, as his advisers undoubtedly hinted, was to say he regretted it, and hoped he’d be a better example for his 10-year-old son. His actual response was to: 1) Claim that nobody likes Rosie O’Donnell; 2) Congratulate himself for not saying “something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family"; and 3) Point out that the polls are looking good.
People tuned in to see Trump and he didn’t disappoint. Not every politician would respond to a comment about how he got his start in business with $14 million in family money with: “My father gave me a very small loan.”
Remember when we made fun of Mitt Romney for his privileged background? Hahahahaha.
Monday, September 26, 2016
One thing that came up so far during the presidential debate is Donald Trump's racist track record which dates all the way back to the 1970's both in New York City and here in Norfolk, Virginia. Trump tried to blow the matter off, but the past behavior is in keeping with Trump's current raging racism and propensity to pander to white supremacists. A piece in the Virginian Pilot looks at Trump's discrimination against black Americans here in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Yes, the Trump companies settled the matter under a settlement that included regular monitoring of rental practices for a number of years. Here are highlights:
Forty-five years ago this summer, a Mrs. Jones walked into the office of the Oakdale Apartment complex near Wards Corner. The morning newspaper had carried an ad for the rental units, which were owned by Trump Management. The company president was a New York businessman, Donald Trump, according to a federal court filing.No vacancies, the apartment manager told Mrs. Jones. A unit might come available in a month. Jones and her husband could fill out an application, if they wished.
Shortly after Mrs. Jones left the office, Ellis and Klara James entered and similarly asked about renting an apartment. The manager offered them one immediately and said they could move in the following week.
The difference between the couples: The Joneses were black, and the Jameses were white.
The July 1971 incident, described in federal court papers, was one of numerous examples of “testing” by an organized group of open-housing activists. They had been battling for years against discriminatory practices in Hampton Roads that blocked blacks and Filipinos from renting or buying homes in what some viewed as whites-only neighborhoods.
The long-ago incident might have been forgotten except that it resurfaced in this year’s presidential campaign. The New York Times revisited the case in an Aug. 27 report that noted the Justice Department sued Trump Management in 1973, accusing the firm of discriminating against blacks. The now Republican presidential candidate was its president and his father, Fred Trump, its chairman.
The second Norfolk incident, according to a filing in the housing lawsuit, involved Richard Foard, a black man assigned to Norfolk Naval Station.
Foard told the FBI he had attempted in June 1973 to rent a two-bedroom unit at Ocean Air Apartments in Ocean View after learning about it from a white man, who had just rented an apartment.
Ocean Air’s rental office declined to show Foard a model apartment and told him to come back in a month or two if he wanted to fill out an application, the court document said.
The new reports about the past litigation come to light at the same time Trump has been attempting to persuade more blacks to vote for him, arguing he can do more to address issues affecting African Americans than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Trumps signed a consent decree two years after the suit was filed that did not include any admission of guilt. It did include stipulations that the company file with the federal court regular reports for several properties, including the two apartment complexes in Norfolk, listing the number of people by race seeking housing.
The two Norfolk properties cited in the suit were among several in Hampton Roads owned by Fred Trump and the family firm. Trump’s real estate holdings in the region date to World War II.
Watching the presidential debate is painful in many ways, not the least of which is Donald Trump's lies and Texas sized bull shit. Sadly, Trump's supporters are as delusional as he is and as immune from being tethered to objective reality as The Donald himself. Andrew Sullivan is live blogging the debates and here are some reflections. Here is a sampling:
9:50 p.m. What he has just said in a presidential debate is indistinguishable from what a drunk at a bar might say before he is thrown out. It’s incredible to me that this ranting, incoherent bigot is actually a nominee of a major party in the U.S.
9:47 p.m. Trump’s response to the racial divide question is simply to tout his endorsement from the police union. Then he pivots to the notion that inner city violence is caused by illegal immigrants. His answer on stop and frisk is an argument against the constitution. He has contempt for the Constitution because it might actually impede him from doing what he wants.9:43 p.m. It’s clear that Trump has no idea what a debate is and has never actually debated an equal. He rants and then shouts over and interrupts his debate partner. This is the performance of a tyrant – someone utterly unsuited to the give and take and reasoned debate that’s integral – essential– to a liberal democracy.
9:42 p.m. I have to say that Clinton’s spiel on Trump’s foul business record was effective. And what’s up with his nose? Why is he constantly sniffing?
9:40 p.m. A little fact-checking:The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.9:30 p.m. He’s now full bonkers – attacking the Federal Reserve. And then repeating the absurd lie that he cannot release his tax returns because of an audit. He’s just doubling down on the bullshit. If this performance works, it’s the end of any kind of rational discourse in a liberal democracy.
9:16 p.m. Clinton is doing far better than I anticipated. And he’s flailing – and gives us the first interruption.
9:12 p.m. A terrific response from Clinton on “trumped-up trickle down economics.” And her attempt to contrast her more modest upbringing with Trump’s astonishing privilege. Trump is responding with slogans. And suddenly it’s not “Crooked Hillary”, it’s Secretary Clinton. So he switches tactics and plays his strong card – that he is the new thing and Clinton has been around for ever.He has no answer on how to bring manufacturing jobs back.
As numerous prior posts have argued, a major role of the mainstream media is to not only report the news but also to expose outright lies and deceit. Despite this critical role of the media, the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates has stated that he thinks that presidential moderators shouldn't try to fact-check the candidates. Stated another way, he advocates for candidates to being free to live without any restraint. In my view, the man needs to be fired and replaced with someone who doesn't have his head up his ass. A piece in the Washington Post looks at this issue and the idiocy of not fact checking candidates when confronted with a pathological liar like Donald Trump. Here are highlights:
There are hard questions in life. . . . . What isn't hard, though, is what the unemployment rate is. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the answer to that every month.
Despite that, the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates thinks that this is the kind of issue that moderators shouldn't try to fact-check the candidates on. "If you and I have different sources of information," she asked CNN's Brian Stelter, "does your source about the unemployment rate agree with my source?"
The problem is, of course, that there aren't different sources of information about the unemployment rate any more than there are different sources of information about what two plus two equals. There's the BLS, and then there are conspiracy theorists. But that's a lot different from saying, as Trump does, that the unemployment rate is "really" 23 percent or 42 percent or another made-up number. Even the broadest possible definition of under- and unemployment — people who can't find work, people who have given up looking for work, people who "should" be working but for whatever reason aren't, and people who can only find part-time work — wouldn't even be half as much as what Trump is saying. The fact — there's that word again — is that Donald Trump has a penchant for saying things that are false. He's lied about opposing the Iraq War from the beginning, suggested that vaccines cause autism, said that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, claimed that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering on 9/11, insinuated that Ted Cruz's father had something to do with the JFK assassination, and, of course,questioned whether President Obama was really born in the United States — continuing to do so even after Obama released his birth certificate. It isn't partisan to point out that none of these are true. Nor is it to say that the unemployment rate isn't worse than it was during the Great Depression.
Letting untruths go unchallenged is, though. It's implicitly taking sides against reality.
The journal, Scientific American, does not ordinarily write political endorsements or condemn political candidates. Its principal concern is science and the fostering of scientific advances and discoveries that have the potential to better the human condition and foster progress. However, this year, given Donald trump's embrace of ignorance and denial of scientific truths - something not surprising given Trump's Christofascist, natvist, white supremacist base of support - the journal has felt compelled to make the case why Trump is unfit for the presidency. Here are highlights:
Four years ago in these pages, writer Shawn Otto warned our readers of the danger of a growing antiscience current in American politics. “By turning public opinion away from the anti-authoritarian principles of the nation's founders,” Otto wrote, “the new science denialism is creating an existential crisis like few the country has faced before.”
Otto wrote those words in the heat of a presidential election race that now seems quaint by comparison to the one the nation now finds itself in. As if to prove his point, one of the two major party candidates for the highest office in the land has repeatedly and resoundingly demonstrated a disregard, if not outright contempt, for science. Donald Trump also has shown an authoritarian tendency to base policy arguments on questionable assertions of fact and a cult of personality.
A respect for evidence is not just a part of the national character. It goes to the heart of the country's particular brand of democratic government. When the founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, scientist and inventor, wrote arguably the most important line in the Declaration of Independence—“We hold these truths to be self-evident”—they were asserting the fledgling nation's grounding in the primacy of reason based on evidence.
Scientific American is not in the business of endorsing political candidates. But we do take a stand for science—the most reliable path to objective knowledge the world has seen—and the Enlightenment values that gave rise to it. For more than 170 years we have documented, for better and for worse, the rise of science and technology and their impact on the nation and the world.
[O]ver the past few decades facts have become an undervalued commodity. Many politicians are hostile to science, on both sides of the political aisle. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has a routine practice of meddling in petty science-funding matters to score political points. Science has not played nearly as prominent a role as it should in informing debates over the labeling of genetically modified foods, end of life care and energy policy, among many issues.
The current presidential race, however, is something special. It takes antiscience to previously unexplored terrain. When the major Republican candidate for president has tweeted that global warming is a Chinese plot, threatens to dismantle a climate agreement 20 years in the making and to eliminate an agency that enforces clean air and water regulations, and speaks passionately about a link between vaccines and autism that was utterly discredited years ago, we can only hope that there is nowhere to go but up.
In October, as we did four years previously, we will assemble answers from the campaigns of the Democratic and Republican nominees on the public policy questions that touch on science, technology and public health and then publish them online. We will support ScienceDebate.org's efforts to persuade moderators to ask important science-related questions during the presidential debates. We encourage the nation's political leaders to demonstrate a respect for scientific truths in word and deed. And we urge the people who vote to hold them to that standard.