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elk_1l 161 posts  |  Last Activity: 10 minutes ago Member since: Jul 26, 2009
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  • Reply to

    I Was Right All Along

    by bum5353 Apr 27, 2016 3:48 PM

    O'REILLY ADMITS TO COLBERT THAT TRUMP'S 'ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT STUFF IS B.S.'

    O'Reilly even congratulated Colbert on winning the culture war—in his usual condescending manner.

    By Alexandra Rosenmann / AlterNet / May 3, 2016

    On “The Late Show” last night, Bill O’Reilly had one of the most concise examples for the rise of Trump—and it only took a few minutes for the crowd to start booing him. “Now, you’ve known Trump for years, I understand you’ve shared vanilla milkshakes with him—that you try to entice him to come back to the Fox debate,” "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert told Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

    “Yeah, I bought him a couple of milkshakes because he never has any money,” O’Reilly joked. But is Trump ready to be president—or at least the presidential nominee?

    “I’m not arrogant enough to say that this person or that person isn’t qualified," O'Reilly said. But everyone knows that O'Reilly is plenty arrogant enough.

    "The people in the Republican Party want Donald Trump for one reason, they want to blow the whole establishment up. That’s why he’s gotten where he’s gotten," O'Reilly explained, beginning to take on his familiar hectoring tone. "Republicans are angry because they perceive progressive Americans as winning the culture war; winning and the culture is changing and they don’t like it.”

    (The crowd cheered.)

    “The culture always changes," Colbert pointed out, accurately. "You don’t speak middle English.”

    “They don’t like what the country is becoming," O'Reilly explained.

    His example was, of course, specious and unique, the sad case of Kate Steinle, the young woman murdered in San Francisco by a criminal who also happened to be an undocumented immigrant who had entered the country several times illegally. How this is an example of "culture" was not at all clear.

    BUT IT WAS DO-NOTHING REPUBLICAN LEADERS THAT O'REILLY AS AFTER, THOSE WHO WON'T PASS A LAW UPPING THE PENALTIES FOR REPEAT ILLEGAL ENTRANCES INTO THE COUNTRY BECAUSE THEY INSIST ON ATTACHING OTHER MEASURES TO THE BILL.

    “THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WOULDN’T GET BEHIND IT," O'REILLY ADMITTED.

    “BUT WHY NOT?" ASKED COLBERT, ESPECIALLY SINCE "TRUMP IS RUNNING VERY SUCCESSFULLY ON AN ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT PLATFORM.”

    “BUT IT’S ALL B.S. AND THE FOLKS KNOW IT," O'REILLY TOLD HIM.

    “TRUMP’S B.S.?" COLBERT ASKED.

    “THE ANTI-ILLEGAL ALIEN STUFF IS B.S.” CONFIRMED O'REILLY.

    Hmmm, wonder what else is B.S.

  • His constant slams on women works with his ardent backers—but it will destroy him in November.

    By Amanda Marcotte / Salon / May 2, 2016

    Donald Trump never met a preposterous statement he wasn’t willing to stand by, and so it is with his apparent belief that women are unfairly advantaged over men in our society. On Fox News on Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Trump why he would say that Hillary Clinton is a talentless hack who is coasting on the “woman card,” i.e. the unearned privilege he believes women enjoy over men, and Trump defended himself by pulling his P.C.-police-suppress-the-truth card.

    “Well, I’m my own strategist and I like that—what I said and it’s true,” Trump said. “I only tell the truth and that’s why people voted for me.”

    The audacity of it is stunning, of course. If he hadn’t been born a white man in a wealthy family, Trump would be a used car salesman in Des Moines who spends his weekends on desultory Match. com dates with divorcees who never call him again. Meanwhile, a huge amount of Clinton’s appeal is that she’s a smart and talented woman who has overcome a huge amount of sexist abuse in order to get as far as she has.

    But Trump’s bleating about the “woman card” epitomizes the appeal he has to his supporters, even as he manages to alienate everyone else in the country. There’s a certain logic to his argument if you believe, as most conservatives do, that sexism is a thing of the past and that feminists are just making up stories to “play the victim” and earn the sweet, sweet cash they supposedly get from saying sexism still exists.

    The problem with the “sexism is over” argument is that women in this country are still not equal. There’s a persistent pay gap. Women are underrepresented in congress and no woman has ever been the president. While women graduate from college at greater rates than men, they are less likely to get plum jobs and promotions.

    Looking over the statistics, there’s really only two ways to explain the inequities: Either women are being treated unfairly or women are simply inferior to men. Feminists stand by the first argument, pointing out multiple studies that show that sexist beliefs about women and systematic discrimination holds women back.

    Conservatives, however, reject the notion that sexism is still a thing, forcing them to argue that women fall behind because they’re simply not as good as men. There are a lot of euphemisms for this argument—they usually say it’s because of women’s “choices” instead of bluntly claiming that women are inferior—but the gist is there: It’s not sexism, it’s that women aren’t good/smart/ambitious enough.

    Once you buy into the argument that women’s inequality is due to women’s inferiority, it’s not much of a leap to start assuming that any woman who does go far must be getting some unfair advantage. For Trump and the sexist men who support him, it’s easier to believe that Clinton’s success is due to a feminist conspiracy to promote women over more deserving men than to admit that there are women out there that are smarter and more capable than they are. It’s the same mentality that led Trump and the folks who support him to embrace “birther” theories about Barack Obama. It was easier to believe he was installed by a shadowy cabal than accept the possibility that an African-American man could be a legitimately elected official.

    Trump’s simplistic sexism has become déclassé in mainstream conservative circles. Instead, the trend has been to accept some women into leadership positions, as long as they remain firmly in the minority and don’t ever rise to the tippy-top positions reserved for men. This simultaneously props up the argument that conservatives aren’t sexist while maintaining a belief in female inferiority. The gist of things is that while a small handful of exceptional women are good enough to compete with men, most are not. And even those who are smart enough will never be quite as good as the men at the top.

    Ted Cruz’s selection of Carly Fiorina as his running mate is a perfect illustration of the delicate dance that conservatives are performing with gender politics. On one hand, he’s trying to show off how non-sexist he supposedly is by picking a woman. On the other hand, he went out of his way to pick someone who isn’t as smart as he is, as evidenced by her long history of professional and political failures. The pick allows him to appear to respect women while reinforcing conservative beliefs that women aren’t quite as capable as men. If anything, by picking someone who isn’t very good, Cruz is subtly reaffirming the belief that women in leadership are incompetents who get a leg up not because of talent but because of “political correctness.”

    John McCain did the same thing in 2008 with his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Now there is a hack who only got as far as she did because powerful men wanted to be seen as the kind of people who promote women. She was a bad pick for his campaign, but a good pick for pushing the belief that women aren’t as smart as men and can only really get far because of their supposed female privilege.

    Under the circumstances, it’s easy to see why so many voters prefer Trump. He doesn’t play these complicated games of pretending to respect women while rejecting the possibility that women really can be equal to men. His belief systems are far more straightforward: He doesn’t think women are smart and any woman’s success that challenges him will be waved away as a gimme handed to her because of “political correctness.” For those who are sick of pretending to believe things they don’t want to believe, such as in the possibility that women can be smart, the Trump method is far more appealing than the elaborate systems of B.S. that other conservatives have built.

    That, plus it’s always thrilling to misogynists to hear that, simply by virtue of being male, they are better than a woman who was her class valedictorian, an accomplished lawyer, a senator and the secretary of state. But odds are low Trump will get far with the general electorate by suggesting that even the smartest woman somehow pales in comparison to a mediocre man.

  • elk_1l elk_1l 1 hour 31 minutes ago Flag

    Re: ".. What we have is a clash of ideologies which in truth would benefit from some amalgamation of both. It is my opinion that proper controls must be applied for either to succeed. .."

    dickw, I can agree with the above. Meanwhile, however, notthat is right about the numbers.

  • Re: "...there will be no justice as long as this administration controls the Justice Department. Corruption is rampant.”

    You would have been right (appropriately way right), dickw, if you had posted this back during the Bush-Cheney days.

  • “… This was a simplified discussion of the literature, but it summarizes some of the limitations of Homo economicus as the only important aspect of human behavior to consider in economic models as well as the fallacy of a free market utopia where individual freedoms and responsibility reign supreme. It also ends in the same place as the conclusions of KCEG’s report: public services, including a strong, equitable public education system, benefit us all and therefore require adequate and fair taxation as a source of revenue.

    Despite all of the evidence against the governor and ultraconservative legislators clinging to a free market utopia, despite being put on a credit watch by Standard and Poor’s, despite many previous ultraconservative legislative allies now jumping ship as the fall elections approach, the governor is standing by the tax cuts. And he continues to receive support (and likely pressure) from the Kansas Policy Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other similar groups as they persist in whipping up a sandstorm of misinformation and spin.

    As David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University, has previously stated, “[IDEOLOGICAL] ZEALOTS ARE FAMOUSLY IMMUNE TO EXPERIENCE, SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, LOGIC AND COMMON SENSE… PERVERSE [POLICIES] WITH RUINOUS CONSEQUENCES MAKE SENSE TO THE ECONOMIC TRUE BELIEVER. IF THEY FAIL, THEN THE SOLUTION IS TO PRACTICE THEM EVEN MORE ASSIDUOUSLY. THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM IS TO BREAK THE SPELL BY CHANGING THE STORY TO ONE THAT IS MORE IN TUNE WITH REALITY.”

    And that’s what I’ve tried to do here (as well as KCEG and others elsewhere), but I’ve little hope it will break the free market spell holding sway over the governor. Nor should Kansans be fooled by those ultraconservative legislators now calling for some degree of tax cut repeal. A term-limited governor who continuously threatens to veto any legislation repealing or reducing the tax cuts serves as great cover for those ultraconservative legislators with the same goals, who are also seeking re-election. …”

  • GOP zealots, enthralled by a fictitious fantasy of tax cuts and free-market nonsense, turned Kansas upside down.

    Marcel Harmon / Salon / May 1, 2016

    It’s safe to say that if Kansas’s Gov. Sam Brownback or any of the state’s ultraconservative legislators had been in fictional astronaut Mark Watney’s place (“The Martian“), they would have never survived the 543 sols that Watney spent stranded on Mars before being rescued. It’s doubtful they would have even made it back to the Hab in the first place after inadvertently being left for dead in the middle of the fateful sandstorm that drove the crew to abandon their mission. SURVIVAL DEPENDED ON LOGICALLY ASSESSING THE SITUATION AT HAND AND SUBSEQUENTLY DECIDING ON A COURSE OF ACTION BASED ON EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE, SOUND SCIENTIFIC, ENGINEERING AND EVEN ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES, AND BEST PRACTICES. THESE AREN’T KEY STRENGTHS OF BROWNBACK OR ULTRACONSERVATIVE LEGISLATORS.

    And in this case they would have essentially been responsible for creating the sandstorm that forced the astronaut team to flee Mars to begin with. Kansas is experiencing a massive “lack of revenue” storm created by the income tax cuts of 2012 and 2013, seriously jeopardizing the state’s future and quality of life for Kansans across the state. Everything from transportation infrastructure to public education are struggling to stay upright in the gale-force winds of the income tax cuts. Some Kansans are fleeing the state as if having been given the order to abandon the mission, though most fight to survive in this increasingly hostile environment.

    For Kansas, a better protagonist would be the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG), a nonpartisan organization with a much better grasp of economics and the use of empirical evidence to guide their policy recommendations. Executive director Annie McKay, senior fellow Duane Goossen and others at the KCEG are far better prepared to “science the shit out of this,” rescuing themselves and the rest of us from the desolation of the Kansas economic landscape being wrought by the “lack of revenue” storm.

    In their recent report, “Kansas Public Education: The Foundation for Economic Growth,” the KCEG effectively demonstrates a) the short- and long-term benefits of a strong public education system (everything from reduced public healthcare costs to the attraction and retention of workers/businesses), b) that K-12 education is an economic driver in Kansas with a significant return on investment and c) that K-12 public education is currently underfunded (and under threat) in the state of Kansas.

    To address this, KCEG makes the following two policy recommendations to provide better support for Kansas public education and subsequently provide broader economic prosperity across the state:

    +++++
    Repeal the unaffordable income tax changes to generate revenue and invest in schools.

    Replace the inadequate block grant with an equitable school funding formula that accounts for what it actually costs to educate and prepare students for life after high school.
    +++++

    KCEG’s report and policy recommendations are based on solid economic and education third-party research, their own data analyses (conducted by qualified individuals in an objective manner) and conversations with business, community and school leaders from across the state. Contrast this with the ideological zealotry of the Brownback administration, their ultraconservative legislative allies and organizations like the Kansas Policy Institute (KPI), who’ve been standing firm on the tax cuts, regardless of what the short- and long-term impacts on public services and Kansans will be.

    Of course if one assumes the goal is to significantly reduce the role and size of state government, and to correspondingly increase a) the burden on the individual (subscribing to the myth of the self-made “man”) as well as b) privatization, particularly for public education which composes the majority of the state’s budget, then the tax cuts are working. Unfortunately, they’ll eventually turn Kansas’s economy into a something resembling the desolate Martian landscape.

    KCEG’s report partially demonstrates from one economic perspective why such a view of the world, when actualized into public policy, doesn’t work, except for those at the top of the financial food chain. KCEG rightly points out that the tax revenues devoted to state-provided services, such as transportation infrastructure, public education and healthcare, to name a few, are in actuality investments in some very “powerful economic development tools” available to Kansas (and other states).

    LOOKING JUST AT PUBLIC EDUCATION, ACCORDING TO KCEG’S ANALYSIS, “[E]ACH DOLLAR INVESTED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS REAPS A $2.62 RETURN…” THAT BENEFITS ALL KANSANS IN TERMS OF THE QUALITY OF OUR WORKFORCE, THE EARNING (AND SPENDING) POWER OF GRADUATES, REDUCED HEALTHCARE COSTS, REDUCED CRIME CONTROL COSTS AND REDUCED WELFARE COSTS. THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT WE ALL RECEIVE FROM THE TAXES THAT GENERATE THESE MUCH-NEEDED REVENUES, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER ONE RECEIVES A DIRECT OR INDIRECT BENEFIT (I.E., PEOPLE WITHOUT CHILDREN OR WHO WERE HOME-SCHOOLED ALSO BENEFIT FROM A WELL-EDUCATED CITIZENRY) DOESN’T FIT THE ULTRACONSERVATIVE NARRATIVE OF A FREE MARKET UTOPIA WITH LITTLE GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT AND INDIVIDUALS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR SUCCESSES AND MISFORTUNES.

    And the wealthy do typically gain more than everyone else under such a system – they keep more of their wealth with reduced taxes and are able to supplement with their own resources any reduction in government services, such as sending their kids to private schools. They often benefit from the increased privatization that occurs if they are financially involved in the private entities who provide the services. Those investments relative to business growth are also focused on their own interests, and therefore the greater economic benefits are more localized and smaller relative to the benefits and services that were displaced through shrinking government. Trickle-down is an apt term – it typically is just a trickle (if that) relative to the population at large.

    Research in other disciplines strongly support this as well. Continuing with the theme of wanting to “science the shit out of this,” let’s take a look at what research from the intersection of biology, behavior, economics and the social sciences have to say (see “Evolution: This View of Life” as well as the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization Special Issue on Evolution as a General Theoretical Framework for Economics and Public Policy for a jumping-off point into this research).

    Free market principals and associated economic models are built in part around the view of humans as Homo economicus, making “rational” decisions based on a narrow, relatively short-term cost/benefit analysis and pursuing their self-interests relentlessly at the near exclusion of all other factors. While it’s true such “selfish” behavior (selfish relative to other individuals or the groups one is a part of) exists and manifests under a variety of conditions, it by no means fully defines human behavior.

    Our evolutionary history has also designed us to be extremely social creatures who love to congregate. In contrast to selfish behavior, “pro-social” actions benefit the larger, encompassing groups one is a part of (sometimes at the expense of the individual or smaller group). Selfish behaviors tend to be locally advantageous, particularly for the individual or smaller group conducting the behavior, and more relevant in the short term, while pro-social behaviors tend to be globally advantageous to the larger encompassing group and society, and more relevant in the long term.

    Pro-social behaviors also tend to enhance cooperation among group members. And our social/cultural norms act as a kind of “glue,” binding together unrelated individuals within larger groups and providing a measure of uniformity in their behavior. From an evolutionary perspective, cooperation and a measure of uniformity are hallmarks of successful groups.

    And so individual decisions often are made to conform with social/cultural norms and rules of interaction, typically benefiting the larger group as much as or more than the individual. There also is the potential for such decisions and actions to be a detriment to the individual relative to other group members. Paying taxes benefits the larger group structures themselves – the institutions of the state and subsequent services provided; it also benefits individual citizens to varying degrees relative to the “services” provided by the state. It may benefit the individual paying the taxes directly and immediately or it may be an indirect benefit in that group longevity, stability and prosperity are all contributed to by payment of taxes.

    Individuals (and businesses) who avoid paying their fair share of taxes (selfish behavior relative to the larger group), either illegally or through legal loopholes, put themselves at an advantage compared to their fellow group members who pro-socially pay their fair share. And wealthier individuals (and businesses) who support drastically reducing or eliminating taxes also put themselves at a benefit relative to their fellow citizens who depend to varying degrees on state services. Such actions in effect shift the level of selection from the larger group down to the level of individuals and smaller groups (including communities and businesses), creating more intragroup competition and decreasing group uniformity and cooperation.

    Our pro-social and selfish natures, and their differing manifestations relative to the dominant level of selection, developed over the course of our evolutionary history spent as hunter-gatherers living in more egalitarian groups. Social/cultural mechanisms and processes, such as transparency of behavior, public shaming, gossiping and ostracizing evolved to minimize selfish behaviors and maximize pro-social behaviors in groups that are smaller and less complex than the ones we live in today.

    Those same social/cultural mechanisms and processes can be effective in modern society. However, the much greater number of individuals and subgroups, often competing and cooperating on different levels at the same time and often hierarchically nested within each other, require additional social mechanisms to help maintain the level of selection primarily at the larger group level. Formal laws, regulations and governing structures, including those requiring taxes be paid to adequately fund services provided by the state, are examples of such mechanisms. A few years ago, David Sloan Wilson, Elinor Ostrom and Michael E. Cox provided a more detailed overview of the application of these mechanisms in modern society.

    This was a simplified discussion of the literature, but it summarizes some of the limitations of Homo economicus as the only important aspect of human behavior to consider in economic models as well as the fallacy of a free market utopia where individual freedoms and responsibility reign supreme. It also ends in the same place as the conclusions of KCEG’s report: public services, including a strong, equitable public education system, benefit us all and therefore require adequate and fair taxation as a source of revenue.

    Despite all of the evidence against the governor and ultraconservative legislators clinging to a free market utopia, despite being put on a credit watch by Standard and Poor’s, despite many previous ultraconservative legislative allies now jumping ship as the fall elections approach, the governor is standing by the tax cuts. And he continues to receive support (and likely pressure) from the Kansas Policy Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other similar groups as they persist in whipping up a sandstorm of misinformation and spin.

    As David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University, has previously stated, “[IDEOLOGICAL] ZEALOTS ARE FAMOUSLY IMMUNE TO EXPERIENCE, SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, LOGIC AND COMMON SENSE… PERVERSE [POLICIES] WITH RUINOUS CONSEQUENCES MAKE SENSE TO THE ECONOMIC TRUE BELIEVER. IF THEY FAIL, THEN THE SOLUTION IS TO PRACTICE THEM EVEN MORE ASSIDUOUSLY. THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM IS TO BREAK THE SPELL BY CHANGING THE STORY TO ONE THAT IS MORE IN TUNE WITH REALITY.”

    And that’s what I’ve tried to do here (as well as KCEG and others elsewhere), but I’ve little hope it will break the free market spell holding sway over the governor. Nor should Kansans be fooled by those ultraconservative legislators now calling for some degree of tax cut repeal. A term-limited governor who continuously threatens to veto any legislation repealing or reducing the tax cuts serves as great cover for those ultraconservative legislators with the same goals, who are also seeking re-election.

    Ultimately, the real hero in this story will be Kansas voters if they recognize what it takes to “science the shit out of this” and use their voting power to change the legislative landscape this fall.

  • elk_1l elk_1l May 1, 2016 4:05 PM Flag

    David Cay Johnston ‏@DavidCayJ
    Another reason to call @FoxNews Faux News...

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Department of Justice
    U.S. Attorney’s Office
    Eastern District of Virginia
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Friday, April 29, 2016

    FORMER FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.

    “Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone. His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country. This case is a prime example of this office’s ongoing commitment to vigorously prosecute government fraud and threats to national security.”

    “Mr. Simmons lied about his criminal history and CIA employment in order to fraudulently obtain government contracts, and separately, defrauded a victim through a phony real estate investment deal,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “With these criminal actions, Mr. Simmons abused the trust of others, both in and outside of government, for his own personal financial gain. I commend the work of the talented FBI personnel and prosecutors who vigorously pursued this case and brought about today’s guilty plea.”

    In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team. Simmons admitted making false statements about his financial and criminal history, and admitted that there are no records or any other evidence that he was ever employed by or worked with the CIA, or ever applied for or was granted a security clearance by that agency. Simmons also admitted that in order to obtain the senior intelligence advisor position, he lied about work he had done a year earlier as a team leader on the Human Terrain Systems program. Simmons admitted to making similar false statements in 2009 as well, in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service.

    As to the wire fraud charge, Simmons admitted to defrauding an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment. Simmons admitted to sending E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised, and to repeatedly lying to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud. As Simmons admitted, he simply spent the funds on personal purposes and there was never any actual real estate investment project.

    As to the firearms charge, Simmons admitted that at the time he was arrested in this case, he was unlawfully in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions, including a prior Maryland felony conviction and two prior federal felony firearms convictions.

    Simmons was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the major fraud against the government count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the felon-in-possession of a firearm count when sentenced on July 15. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

    Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and James L. Trump, along with the assistance of Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.

    A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1: 15-cr-293.

  • elk_1l elk_1l May 1, 2016 3:44 PM Flag

    GERALDO RIVERA: ONLY A ‘CRAZY PERSON’ CAN GET THE GOP NOMINATION ‘AND YOU CAN NEVER BE ELECTED’

    David Edwards / Raw Story / 01 MAY 2016

    Fox News Senior Correspondent Geraldo Rivera lamented over the weekend that Republican voters would only accept a “crazy person” as their nominee for president.

    In an interview that aired on Sunday, Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz observed that Rivera must be “a little uncomfortable” about the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from GOP front-runner Donald Trump since he had been close to the billionaire for years.

    “He is a friend of mine, I do love the guy,” Rivera admitted. “And then he said Mexican immigrants are dope dealers and rapists.”

    “THOUGH I HAVE A DEEP RESPECT FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY, I COULD NEVER VOTE FOR HIM UNLESS HE MODERATES THAT POSITION,” the Fox News correspondent added. “It is easy for me to draw that line, I can go that far but no further. You have to be compassionate to this [immigrant] population.”

    But RIVERA, WHO IS A REGISTERED REPUBLICAN, PREDICTED THAT TRUMP WOULD CHANGE HIS POSITION DURING THE GENERAL ELECTION BECAUSE “DONALD DOESN’T REALLY MEAN IT.”

    “I THINK YOU HAVE TO BE A CRAZY PERSON TO GET THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION THESE DAYS,” RIVERA POINTED OUT. “I THINK THAT THEY HAVE TO TOW A LINE THAT IS IN MANY WAYS INTOLERABLE FOR A REASONABLY INTELLIGENT COMPASSIONATE PERSON. YOU HAVE TO CLEAR THE [ANTI-IMMIGRANT REP. STEVEN KING] HURDLE IN IOWA TO GET ANYWHERE. STEVEN KING IS THE CONGRESSMAN THAT SAID OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS THAT THEY HAVE THE CALVES THE SIZE OF CANTALOUPES BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL CARRYING DOPE ACROSS THE BORDER.”

    “I mean, IF YOU HAVE TO PLEASE THAT PERSON TO GET PAST THE NATION’S FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION THEN YOU ARE DOOMED TO A RADICAL POSITION THAT WILL NEVER FLY WITH THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE, AND YOU CAN NEVER BE ELECTED.”

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 30, 2016 4:40 PM Flag

    DROUGHTS ARE GIVING TREES ‘HEART ATTACKS’

    Apr 29, 2016 / Tim Radford / Climate News Network

    LONDON—Scientists in the US have identified the factors that make a tree more likely to perish in a drought, after conducting an exhaustive examination of 33 separate scientific studies of tree mortality involving 475 species and 760,000 individual trees.

    The answer they come up with is that the deciding factor is how efficiently trees draw water from the ground to their leaf tips.

    This is not a surprising conclusion, but scientists don’t trust the obvious: they like to check these things.

    And William Anderegg, assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah, and colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on a list of 10 tree traits that could play a role in survival or death by drought. These include simple differences such as deciduous or evergreen, rooting depth, wood density, leaf characteristics.

    ADAPT AND SURVIVE

    Such research matters. In 2002 in the southwestern US, 225 million trees died where they stood because of drought. Texas alone lost 300 million trees in 2011. In California in the last year, 12 million trees have perished.

    WITH LOSSES ON THIS SCALE, AND MORE DROUGHT AND HEAT EXTREMES IN STORE AS CLIMATES BEGIN TO CHANGE BECAUSE FOSSIL FUEL COMBUSTION WORLDWIDE HAS INCREASED THE LEVELS OF ATMOSPHERIC GREENHOUSE GASES, FORESTERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS NEED TO KNOW WHICH SPECIES ARE MOST LIKELY TO ADAPT AND SURVIVE, AND WHAT THESE SPECIES HAVE THAT OTHERS DO NOT.

    In fact, deciding factors centre on the ability of a tree to draw water through the piping in its tissues. The forest giants may have to pump 200 litres of water every hour at a speed of 50 metres an hour to the topmost leaves, at a pressure of 30 atmospheres.

    AND THE PROCESS IS AT RISK OF INTERRUPTION DURING DROUGHT BY AIR BUBBLES. TO PUT IT HEARTLESSLY, TREES, LIKE HUMANS, CAN PERISH FROM EMBOLISM.

    “It’s a little bit akin to a tree heart attack,” Dr Anderegg says. “You can actually hear this on a hot summer day if you stick a microphone up a tree. You can hear little pings and pops as these pipes get filled with air.”

    Those species already adapted to dry climates seem to be less at risk, while those that normally flourish in wetlands are more vulnerable to drought. So far, so obvious. But not all forest physiology is so obvious.

    FOREST CYCLE

    Late last year, Dr Anderegg and his fellow researchers established that it was the increasing heat of the tropic night that was most likely to change tropical forests into carbon sources, rather than carbon sinks. What mattered was not global warming of itself, but how the warming was distributed through the forest’s diurnal cycle.

    And SINCE THE WORLD’S FORESTS FULFIL A VITAL ROLE AS CARBON SINKS—SEQUESTERING 2.4 BILLION TONS OF THE GREENHOUSE GAS CARBON DIOXIDE EVERY YEAR, WHICH IS AT LEAST A QUARTER OF ALL THE CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS FROM FACTORY CHIMNEYS, MOTOR EXHAUSTS AND OTHER HUMAN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY—WHAT HAPPENS TO FORESTS AS THE WORLD WARMS IS VITAL FOR HUMANKIND AS WELL.

    But GLOBAL WARMING IS ALSO INCREASING THE RISK OF FOREST LOSS BY DROUGHT AND WILDFIRES.

    “These widespread tree die-offs are a really early and visible sign of climate change already affecting our landscapes,” Dr Anderegg says.

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 30, 2016 4:35 PM Flag

    Re: ".....I see you guys have learned your lesson and are now using more qualifiers in your "dire predictions" program none of which have ever come true."

    Great point, dickw, they don't come true if you look the other way and live in massive denial. Keep in mind that you, as opposed to Mr. MaGoo, have to live in the real world.

  • Reply to

    I Was Right All Along

    by bum5353 Apr 27, 2016 3:48 PM
    elk_1l elk_1l Apr 29, 2016 3:33 PM Flag

    PAUL KRUGMAN: TRUMP IS APPEALING TO AGGRIEVED WHITE MEN BY LYING TO THEM

    The collision "between demography and Obama derangement" will doom the GOP for generations to come

    SCOTT ERIC KAUFMAN / Salon / 4-29-16

    Paul Krugman devoted his Friday New York Times column to discussing the sorry state of the 2016 presidential election, which he determined should give rise to A NEW CLICHÉ: “IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL CARLY FIORINA SINGS.”

    He argued that the primaries are essentially over, “definitively on the Democratic side, [and] with a high probability on the Republican side,” so that now is a fine time to evaluate how exactly it is America gave itself these two candidates. “Personalities surely played a role,” he said, before praising Hillary Clinton for her “resilien[ce] under pressure, a character trait notably lacking on the other side.”

    Krugman further noted that

    Both parties make promises to their bases. But while the Democratic establishment more or less tries to make good on those promises, THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT HAS ESSENTIALLY BEEN PLAYING BAIT-AND-SWITCH FOR DECADES. AND VOTERS FINALLY REBELLED AGAINST THE CON.

    What Donald Trump has been doing is telling the base that it can order à la carte. HE HAS, IN EFFECT, BEEN TELLING AGGRIEVED WHITE MEN THAT THEY CAN FEED THEIR ANGER WITHOUT BEING FORCED TO SWALLOW SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS, TOO…

  • Reply to

    I Was Right All Along

    by bum5353 Apr 27, 2016 3:48 PM
    elk_1l elk_1l Apr 29, 2016 2:23 PM Flag

    DONALD TRUMP’S NEW SECRET WEAPON: HOW THE MAN WHO RAN THE 'TORTURER’S LOBBY' IS SECURING THE BILLIONAIRE’S NOMINATION

    Paul Manafort has represented oligarchs and tyrants. So it makes sense that now he's representing Donald Trump.

    By Heather Digby Parton / Salon / April 29, 2016

    Perhaps one of the most unnerving political developments over these last few days has been the beginning of the reluctant acceptance of Donald Trump among the Republican establishment. Watching the likes of Senator Bob Corker on television praising his “foreign policy” and seeing influential House members like Bill Schuster endorse him is more than a little bit unsettling. It stands to reason that this would happen now that Trump is looking more and more like the winner, but considering just how unpopular Trump is among the political establishment, it’s more likely due to the hard work of his recently hired senior adviser, Paul Manafort.

    According to this fascinating, must-read profile by Franklin Foer in Slate, Manafort “is among the most significant political operatives of the past 40 years, and one of the most effective. He has revolutionized lobbying several times over, though he self-consciously refrains from broadcasting his influence.” He’s the most important Republican campaign consultant and lobbyist the general public has never heard of.

    MANAFORT WAS MENTORED BY BUSH FAMILY CONSIGLIERI JAMES BAKER AND PARTNERED WITH THE NOTORIOUS POLITICAL OPERATIVE LEE ATWATER. HE RAN REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGNS AND CONVENTIONS FOR DECADES, INCLUDING REAGAN’S LEGENDARY “MORNING IN AMERICA” CONVENTION IN 1984. EVERYONE ASSUMED HE WAS HIRED BY TRUMP TO PERFORM THE SPECIALIZED TASK OF SUPPRESSING A CONVENTION INSURGENCY, WHICH HE PERFORMED ON BEHALF OF GERALD FORD IN THE 1976 CONVENTION. BUT THIS MAN IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

    He went on to run Reagan’s southern operation in 1980, remembered for its clever racist dogwhistle of opening the campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, famously known as the murder site of three civil rights workers 16 years before. After the campaign, Manafort and Roger Stone (along with another successful GOP operative Charlie Black) then opened their campaign consultant/lobbyist firm, perfecting the dubious business of electing politicians and then lobbying them on behalf of their corporate clients. Trump was one of them, using the firm to help him stave off the threat of Indian gaming. It was an ugly, racist campaign that culminated with Governor George Pataki fining Trump and Stone $250,000 and requiring a public apology.

    So Manafort and Trump are a match made in heaven for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is MANAFORT’S LONG ASSOCIATION WITH OLIGARCHS, DESPOTS AND TYRANTS ALL OVER THE WORLD. AS MUCH AS HE’S BEEN A GOP OPERATIVE, HIS REAL BUSINESS IS SELLING EVIL MEN TO AMERICAN POLITICIANS AND POWER BROKERS.

    Joe Conason compiled a partial list of his greatest hits at the National Memo:

    MANAFORT FIRST DREW PUBLIC ATTENTION DURING THE REAGAN ERA, WHEN HE AND HIS LOBBYING PARTNERS REPRESENTED PHILIPPINE DICTATOR FERDINAND MARCOS, A WORLD-CLASS KLEPTOCRAT WHOSE THEFT OF ENORMOUS AMOUNTS FROM HIS COUNTRY’S TREASURY I HELPED TO EXPOSE IN THE VILLAGE VOICE MORE THAN 30 YEARS AGO (WITH MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE WILLIAM BASTONE, WHO LATER CREATED THE SMOKING GUN WEBSITE). FEW OFFICIAL CRIMINALS IN THE 20TH CENTURY WERE AS AUDACIOUS AND GREEDY AS MARCOS AND HIS SHOE-FETISHIST WIFE IMELDA, BUT WHEN THEIR IMAGE CRATERED AFTER OUR INVESTIGATION, MANAFORT GLADLY TOOK NEARLY A MILLION DOLLARS TO APPLY LIPSTICK TO THOSE PIGS.

    NOT CONTENT WITH THE TAINTED MARCOS LUCRE, MANAFORT AND COMPANY ALSO ADVOCATED ON BEHALF OF INTERNATIONAL GANGSTERS SUCH AS MOBUTU SESE SEKO, THE KLEPTOCRATIC DICTATOR KNOWN AS THE “KING OF ZAIRE”; JONAS SAVIMBI, THE REPUTED CANNIBAL AND BLOOD-DIAMOND PURVEYOR WHO TRIED TO SEIZE POWER IN ANGOLA; SAID BARRE, THE AUTHORITARIAN CROOK WHO LEFT THE FAILED STATE OF SOMALIA TO PIRATES AND JIHADIS; AND UKRAINIAN OVERLORD VICTOR YANUKOVYCH, THE CORRUPT, KREMLIN-BACKED AUTOCRAT THROWN OUT BY MASSIVE STREET PROTESTS TWO YEARS AGO FOR FIXING A NATIONAL ELECTION.

    Foer’s account of the Savimbi lobbying campaign is mind boggling:

    ON A FRIDAY IN 1985, CHRISTOPHER LEHMAN LEFT HIS JOB AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL. THE FOLLOWING MONDAY, HE WAS FLYING WITH MANAFORT, HIS NEW BOSS, TO THE BUSH OF ANGOLA TO PITCH THE CHINESE-TRAINED GUERILLA JONAS SAVIMBI, WHO WANTED COVERT ASSISTANCE FROM THE U.S. TO BOLSTER HIS REBELLION AGAINST ANGOLA’S MARXIST GOVERNMENT. SAVIMBI BRIEFLY LEFT A BATTLE AGAINST CUBAN ASSAULT FORCES AND SIGNED A $600,000 CONTRACT.

    THE MONEY BOUGHT SAVIMBI A REVISED REPUTATION. DESPITE HIS CLIENT’S MAOIST BACKGROUND, MANAFORT REINVENTED HIM AS A FREEDOM FIGHTER. He knew all the tricks for manipulating right-wing opinion. Savimbi was sent to a seminar at the American Enterprise Institute, hosted by the anticommunist stalwart Jeanne Kirkpatrick, a reception thrown by the Heritage Foundation, and another confab at Freedom House. (Kirkpatrick introduced Savimbi, who conscripted soldiers, burned enemies, and indiscriminately laid land mines, as a “linguist, philosopher, poet, politician, warrior … one of the few authentic heroes of our time.”)

    That was some time ago. But Manafort’s more recent work in Ukraine with Victor Yanukovych and other former soviet bloc oligarchs is no less shocking. His relationship with Yanukovych wasn’t unique — Bernie Sanders’ consultant Tad Devine worked for him too — but Manafort became known as his closest adviser. Indeed, HE APPARENTLY HAS AN UNUSUAL AFFINITY FOR LEADERS WHO ARE CLOSE TO VLADIMIR PUTIN WHICH MAY EXPLAIN WHY HE’S ALSO SUCH A GOOD FIT WITH PUTIN’S FAVORITE AMERICAN POLITICIAN, DONALD TRUMP.

    Foer concludes his piece by explaining how Manafort’s special talents will be of use in this coming campaign:

    MANAFORT HAS SPENT A CAREER WORKING ON BEHALF OF CLIENTS THAT THE REST OF HIS FELLOW LOBBYISTS AND STRATEGISTS HAVE DEEMED JUST BELOW THEIR NOT-SO-HIGH MORAL THRESHOLD. MANAFORT HAS CONSISTENTLY GIVEN HIS CLIENTS A PATINA OF RESPECTABILITY THAT HAS ALLOWED THEM TO MIGRATE INTO THE MAINSTREAM OF OPINION, OR CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE MAINSTREAM. HE HAS A PARTICULAR KNACK FOR TAKING AUTOCRATS AND PRESENTING THEM AS DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY. IF HE COULD CONVINCE THE RESPECTABLE WORLD THAT THUGS LIKE SAVIMBI AND MARCOS ARE FRIENDS OF AMERICA, THEN WHY NOT DO THE SAME FOR TRUMP?

    DONALD TRUMP IS A WEALTHY, PROTO-FASCIST DEMAGOGUE WHO HAS HIRED THE MAN WHOSE FIRM THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY ONCE CALLED “THE TORTURER’S LOBBY” TO GET HIM TO THE WHITE HOUSE. If anyone can do it Paul Manafort can. It’s his specialty.

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 29, 2016 10:43 AM Flag

    He might be all the way up there at around 3+1/4, notthat.

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 29, 2016 10:00 AM Flag

    LARGE SWATHS OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN MAY ACTUALLY SUFFOCATE IN JUST 15 YEARS

    Take a wild guess what the culprit is.

    04/28/2016 | Chris D’Angelo | HuffPost

    It should come as no surprise that human activity is causing the world’s oceans to warm, rise and acidify.

    But an equally troubling impact of climate change is that IT IS BEGINNING TO ROB THE OCEANS OF OXYGEN.

    While ocean deoxygenation is well established, a new study led by Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, finds that CLIMATE CHANGE-DRIVEN OXYGEN LOSS IS ALREADY DETECTABLE IN CERTAIN SWATHS OF OCEAN AND WILL LIKELY BE “WIDESPREAD” BY 2030 OR 2040.

    Ultimately, Long told The Huffington Post, OXYGEN-DEPRIVED OCEANS MAY HAVE “SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS ON MARINE ECOSYSTEMS” AND LEAVE SOME AREAS OF OCEAN ALL BUT UNINHABITABLE FOR CERTAIN SPECIES.

    While some ocean critters, like dolphins and whales, get their oxygen by surfacing, many, including fish and crabs, rely on oxygen that either enters the water from the atmosphere or is released by phytoplankton via photosynthesis.

    But AS THE OCEAN SURFACE WARMS, IT ABSORBS LESS OXYGEN. AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, OXYGEN IN WARMER WATER, WHICH IS LESS DENSE, HAS A TOUGH TIME CIRCULATING TO DEEPER WATERS.

    For their study, published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Long and his team used simulations to predict ocean deoxygenation through 2100.

    “Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, IT’S BEEN CHALLENGING TO ATTRIBUTE ANY DEOXYGENATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE,” LONG SAID IN A STATEMENT. “THIS NEW STUDY TELLS US WHEN WE CAN EXPECT THE IMPACT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE TO OVERWHELM THE NATURAL VARIABILITY.”

    And we don’t have long.

    Deoxgenation due to climate change is already detectable in some parts of the ocean. New research from NCAR finds that it will likely become widespread between 2030 and 2040. Other parts of the ocean will not have detectable loss of oxygen due to climate change even by 2100.

    By 2030 or 2040, according to the study, DEOXYGENATION DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BE DETECTABLE IN LARGE SWATHS OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN, INCLUDING THE AREAS SURROUNDING HAWAII AND OFF THE WEST COAST OF THE U.S. MAINLAND. Other areas have more time. In the seas near the east coasts of Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia, for example, deoxygenation caused by climate change still won’t be evident by 2100.

    Long said the EVENTUAL SUFFOCATION MAY AFFECT THE ABILITY OF OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS TO SUSTAIN HEALTHY FISHERIES. THE CONCERN AMONG THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, HE SAID, IS THAT “WE’RE CONCEIVABLY PUSHING PAST TIPPING POINTS” IN BEING ABLE TO PREVENT THE DAMAGE.

    Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, shared these concerns, telling The Washington Post that THE NEW STUDY ADDS TO THE “LIST OF INSULTS WE ARE INFLICTING ON THE OCEAN THROUGH OUR CONTINUED BURNING OF FOSSIL FUELS.”

    “JUST A WEEK AFTER LEARNING THAT 93 (PERCENT) OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF HAS EXPERIENCED BLEACHING IN RESPONSE TO THE UNPRECEDENTED CURRENT WARMTH OF THE OCEANS, WE HAVE YET ANOTHER REASON TO BE GRAVELY CONCERNED ABOUT THE HEALTH OF OUR OCEANS, AND YET ANOTHER REASON TO PRIORITIZE THE RAPID DECARBONIZATION OF OUR ECONOMY,” Mann said.

    Unfortunately, this reason is unlikely to be the last.

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 28, 2016 4:09 PM Flag

    WHAT JAPANESE MONKS AND FINNISH MERCHANTS ARE TEACHING US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

    by Take Two April 27, 2016

    You wouldn't think that a Japanese monk and a merchant from Finland would have much in common, but it turns out they do: Climate change.

    The men — and others — kept meticulous records dating back almost 700 years, and are now providing scientists with the earliest evidence of global shifts in the environment.

    The data has been crunched and more details are now available in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

    Sapna Sharma is a professor at York University in Toronto, Canada, and John Magnuson is a professor emeritus of limnology and zoology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. They authored the report, and Magnuson joined host A Martinez to tell more about what they found.

    INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

    How the records were discovered:

    "Well in the 1990s, NSF (National Science Foundation) sponsored a workshop that we did in which we gathered scientists from lake areas around the northern hemisphere that had long ice records... and one of the records was this record from Lake Suwa, and Dr. Arai brought that record, and another record was from River Torne, and then we've stayed with these scientists and interacted with them, and updated them, so that we could do this paper using the most current data."

    On the original purpose of these records:

    "The Japanese priests were keeping the records as part of a legend in the Shinto religion in which they had tried to explain these ridges that would form across the lake, ice ridges which we call them, they called them omiwatari... and it was a god, one of the male gods, would cross the lake when the lake was frozen to visit the female god on the other side of the lake, and the steps caused this ridge to form. Also those early Shinto priests were probably the intelligentsia of those communities, and they were trying to use these records to see if they could predict whether the rice crop would be good the next year. In the case of Finland, the gentleman who started the records was a businessman, and when the river was frozen, there weren't any bridges at that time, all of a sudden you could get across the river, it was important to commerce and trade, and when he no longer made the records, other people carried it on for the same reason."

    What these records tell us about climate change:

    "Basically what we did is we had records with human observers that went to before the Industrial Revolution began. And so we thought that a reasonable thing for us to do would be to analyze how fast the ice dates were changing for the period of time we had before the start of the Industrial Revolution, and then the period after the start of the Industrial Revolution. And IN BOTH SYSTEMS WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT THE RECENT RECORDS AFTER THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, THE ICE DATES WERE MOVING TOWARDS A WARMER CONDITION, MEANING THE LAKE FROZE LATER AND THE RIVER BROKE UP EARLIER IN THE CASE OF THE FINNISH ONE. AND SO IN BOTH CASES, THE ICE DATES AFTER THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION STARTED WERE CHANGING MORE RAPIDLY THAN BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION BEGAN. I thought this was a pretty key finding."

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 28, 2016 3:24 PM Flag

    Great refudiation, acehole.

  • elk_1l elk_1l Apr 28, 2016 3:20 PM Flag

    Largely because of a near total worldwide economic collapse brought to us by Bush-Cheney after two very disastrous and very costly destabilizing invasions of the Middle East. Once again, acehole, consider:

    THE BUSH-CHENEY ACHIEVEMENTS

    9/11
    3000 dead

    LYING OUR COUNTRY INTO TWO INVASIONS AND LENGTHY WARS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
    May 1, 2003 [Total US casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq at this time
    were 223 killed and 910 wounded]

    AFTER MISSION ACCOMPLISHED [i.e. THE QUAGMIRE, that wasn’t supposed to be there]

    US SOLDIERS KILLED IN BOTH WARS
    more than 7200

    US SOLDIERS WOUNDED IN BOTH WARS
    more than 50,000
    [with record numbers of returning para and quadriplegics]

    CIVILIANS KILLED
    more than 1,000,000

    EMBASSY AND OTHER DIPLOMATIC FACILITY ATTACKS
    60 dead

    DETAINEES FREED
    532

    DOW
    6627

    EXECUTIVE ORDERS

    Bush: 291

    Obama: 199

    OSAMA BIN LADEN
    alive

    SPENT ON TWO WARS
    more than $5 Trillion which helped create a worldwide financial meltdown that was almost fatal and continues to drag upon the US and other world economies.

    COMMITTED THE WORST CRIME OF THIS CENTURY, THE INVASION OF IRAQ WHICH LED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF IRAQ AND THE SPREAD OF THE SECTARIAN CONFLICT THAT SET THE FOUNDATION FOR ISIS [A GROUP LARGELY MADE UP OF SADDAM’S FROMER SUNNI SOLDIERS+GENERALS], GREATLY INCREASED POWER IN THE MIDDLE EAST FOR IRAN AND DANGEROUS DESTABILIZATION OF THE WHOLE REGION.

  • Reply to

    I Was Right All Along

    by bum5353 Apr 27, 2016 3:48 PM
    elk_1l elk_1l Apr 28, 2016 10:42 AM Flag

    RECIDIVISM WATCH: TRUMP’S EIGHT REPEATED FALSEHOODS IN 16 HOURS

    By Michelle Ye Hee Lee / Washington Post / April 28, 2016

    Donald Trump is now closer than ever to clinching the Republican nomination on the first ballot. But what hasn’t changed since he entered the presidential race is his propensity for Pinocchios and Pinocchio recidivism.

    We know politicians repeat falsehoods — on purpose or by mistake. So last year, we launched a feature to track politicians who repeat claims that we previously found to be incorrect. The Fact Checker Recidivism Watch columns are usually short summaries of previous findings, with links to original fact-checks. (Suggestions are always welcome.)

    Tracking every repeated falsehood by Trump would be a full-time job. But we couldn’t help but notice that in a roughly 16-hour period after his sweeping victories in the I-95 primaries, Trump repeated numerous untruths, like a “Best of” citation of his Pinocchio ratings. (Our running list of Trump’s Four-Pinocchio ratings can be found at: wapo.st/Trumps4Ps)

    For the first time, we have compiled a mega-roundup Recidivism Watch of eight claims Trump repeated on April 26 and April 27, 2016. Each summary includes links to the full fact-check.

    “As soon as Kasich gets hit with the first negative ad — he’s had none — bing, that’s the end of that.”

    –primary night speech, April 26, 2016

    It’s fine to say far more ads have aired attacking Trump than Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but Trump goes further to say that no ads have attacked Kasich. That’s just not true. In fact, his own campaign has run a four-Pinocchio ad attacking Kasich.

    Outside groups have spent nearly $5 million opposing Kasich in direct mail pieces, digital ads and TV ads, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of filings with the Federal Election Commission.

    Attack ads sponsored by candidate committees and outside groups were fairly consistent earlier in the primary cycle, especially ones contrasting Kasich’s record with other governors in the race. We fact-checked some of them —here, here and here. We awarded this claim four Pinocchios.

    “I was asked a question recently by Wolf Blitzer on CNN, and he talked about NATO. I gave a great answer. I gave an answer that at first people didn’t like, and then they said, ‘You know what, Trump is right,’ experts said. I said it’s obsolete and too many people are getting a free ride because we’re funding 72, 73 percent of NATO.”

    –primary night speech, April 26, 2016

    Actually, the United States pays just 22 percent of the cost of NATO in direct funding. He begins to have a point when talking about indirect spending on NATO: The U.S. defense expenditure represents about 72 percent of the spending on defense by all countries that are NATO members. U.S. defense spending far exceeds the spending of other NATO members, and that imbalance is driven by America’s role as a world power. It makes little sense to count defense spending in Asia as part of “NATO funding.” We awarded this claim three Pinocchios.

    To his credit, Trump more precisely described NATO spending in his prepared foreign policy speech the next day: “In NATO, for instance, only four of 28 other member countries besides America are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] on defense.”

    Donald Trump vowed to put U.S. security first during a rare foreign policy speech April 27. Trump warned allies they'd be left to defend themselves if they don't "pay their fair share." (AP)
    NATO documents show that the majority of members fail to meet the guideline. The United States and four other countries currently exceed the guideline, established in 2006.

    “I’ll stick with my feelings on immigration. If you look at what’s going on with immigration, and just look at the record numbers of people right now that are pouring across the borders of this country.”

    –primary night speech, April 26, 2016

    He can stick with his feelings all he wants. But the illegal immigration flow across the U.S.-Mexico border has been declining for years, as we’ve repeatedly noted.

    The flood of undocumented immigrants from Mexico peaked in 2000, when more than 1.6 million people were apprehended, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Those numbers have steadily decreased since then. In fiscal 2015, there were 337,117 apprehensions — the lowest since fiscal 2000. Apprehensions of people from Mexico have decreased to 188,122 in fiscal 2015, from 1.6 million in fiscal 2000.

    Apprehensions in fiscal 2015 were the lowest since 1972 (321,326), with the exception of fiscal 2011, when the number of undocumented immigrant apprehensions along the southern border dipped to 327,577.

    George Stephanopoulos: “You were for it [the Iraq War], though, before you were against it.”

    Trump: “No, I wasn’t. I was never for it. I was against it — before it ever started, I was against it. And I was against it from before 2004. I was against the war in Iraq, and I was against it for years. And [President George W.] Bush used to hate me for being so against it, and they sent people from the White House to try and convince me. All I’d say is, ‘It will destabilize the Middle East, and Iran will take over the Middle East.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”

    —exchange on “Good Morning America,” April 27, 2016

    This is blatantly false.

    Trump did not oppose the Iraq War before 2004, as we and countless other media outlets have found. We compiled a complete timeline of all his public statements in 2002 and 2003 relating to the Iraq invasion and found no evidence to support this. In fact, in a September 2002 interview, Trump gave lukewarm support for the war.

    Trump has said since October 2015 that the White House tried to hush his (nonexistent) opposition ahead of the invasion. Trump never answered our request for the names of White House officials he supposedly met with. We checked with a dozen former Bush White House officials, and none could recall a meeting with Trump, concerns about his opposition, or even Trump’s views being on their radar prior to 2004. We awarded this claim four Pinocchios.

    “I don’t play by the traditional rules. I’m self-funding my campaign, which maybe has an impact on them [the media].”

    –MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” April 27, 2016

    While Trump has provided the majority of funds raised by the campaign committee so far, he has raised money from individual donations, as we’ve written. Of the $48.4 million raised as of April 16, 2016, 75 percent ($36 million) was money from Trump. The rest came from mostly individual donations, according to FEC data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. As of April 16, 2016, outside groups contributed $2.8 million to the Trump campaign.

    “Clinton blames it all on a video, an excuse that was a total lie, proven to be absolutely a total lie. Our ambassador was murdered, and our secretary of state misled the nation.”

    –foreign policy speech, April 27, 2016

    The Fact Checker has written 20 fact-checks about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed.

    We looked into allegations that Hillary Clinton had told two stories after the attacks — a private one that it was a terrorist attack and the public one that blamed Muslim outrage over a YouTube video. The evidence was mixed, open to interpretation, but we concluded that there was not enough for GOP rivals to make definitive judgments that she lied.

    We also reached out to family members to get their side of the story. Their recollections fell into three camps: Clinton talked about the video; Clinton said something odd; Clinton never mentioned the video. This is difficult to fact-check, since the conversations weren’t recorded and memories can evolve over time. Most family members interviewed said she did not mention a video — but we’ll leave it up to readers to draw their own conclusions.

    “And now ISIS is making millions and millions of dollars a week selling Libya oil.”

    –foreign policy speech, April 27, 2016

    The terror group known as the Islamic State has, at times, disrupted the flow of oil. But the Islamic State does not control any oil fields and is not “making millions” from Libyan oil. Not a single expert or news article we consulted said that the Islamic State has grabbed a oil field in Libya.

    A review of recent news articles confirms that while some fields have been temporarily closed in response to Islamic State attacks, not a single field has been taken by the terrorist group. We awarded this claim four Pinocchios.

    “NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the United States and has emptied our states — literally emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs.”

    –foreign policy speech, April 27, 2016

    Trump was not as specific as usual in terms of claiming that 900,000 jobs have been lost to Mexico because of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But in some ways, he was more sweeping, claiming states have been “literally emptied” because of the 1993 trade pact.

    As we have noted before, economists generally have been skeptical of such claims, as it is difficult to separate out the impact of trade agreements on jobs, compared with other, broader economic trends. The Congressional Research Service in 2015 concluded the “net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest, primarily because trade with Canada and Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP.” The report, however, noted that there were “worker and adjustment costs” as the three countries established a single market. That means there were some losers — but also winners.

    Nearly a quarter-century later, as a result of NAFTA, the United States, Canada and Mexico constitute an economically integrated market, especially for the auto industry. Auto parts and vehicles produced in each country freely flow over the borders, without tariffs or other restrictions, as thousands of part suppliers serve the automakers that build the vehicles. This is known as the “motor vehicle supply chain.” In fact, a prospective Ford plant in Mexico that Trump often complains about appears to be intended to produce cars for export from Mexico — and thus would free up production to produce more trucks in the United States.

  • Reply to

    I Was Right All Along

    by bum5353 Apr 27, 2016 3:48 PM
    elk_1l elk_1l Apr 28, 2016 10:10 AM Flag

    MAYBE DONALD TRUMP HAS REALLY LOST HIS MIND: WHAT IF THE GOP FRONTRUNNER ISN'T CRAZY, BUT SIMPLY NOT WELL?

    We've become familiar with his ramblings, and at ease mocking them. But they might be the sign of someone unwell.

    By Sophia A. McClennen / Salon / April 27, 2016

    The Donald Trump gaffe track keeps playing. The GOP frontrunner seems to literally spew out a doozy almost daily. Campaigning in Pittsburgh, he recently blathered, “How’s Joe Paterno? We gonna bring that back? Right? How about that—how about that whole deal?” While his campaign suggested he was referring to the former Penn State football coach’s statue, it was hard to shake the sense that Trump was unaware that Paterno died in 2012 and that Pittsburgh has no direct tie to the sports program at Penn State, which is located three hours east.

    Then there was the time that Sean Hannity asked Trump which government agencies Trump would shut down, “The Department of Environmental,” Trump replied. That exact sort of gaffe killed Rick Perry’s entire campaign, but despite some biting Stephen Colbert mockery, the mistake hasn’t seemed to hurt Trump at all. He won New York despite suggesting September 11 happened on 7/11.

    But here’s the thing, the Trump campaign seems to be filled with more than just gaffes. Channeling his inner Sarah Palin, Trump’s rants often seem to lose any connection with reality at all. Take the example of Trump’s interview with the Washington Post editorial board in March. During that exchange one of the editors asked Trump if he would consider using a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS.Check out Trump’s reply:

    TRUMP: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way, he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting [MUFFLED]…

    RYAN: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?

    TRUMP: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?

    We have become so accustomed to these sorts of ramblings that we don’t really register them as anything more than standard nonsensical Trump-speak—a pattern of speech we have seen crop up across the GOP in recent years, most notably in Palin’s gibberish. But I urge you to re-read the exchange above and register the range of nonsense—the lack of basic grammar, the odd syntax, the abrupt shift in topic, the disconnect from reality, the paranoia, and the seeming inability to even grasp the question.

    As we scratch our heads and wonder how someone who says and does such things can still be a frontrunner, I want to throw out a concern. What if Trump isn’t “crazy” but is actually not well instead? To put it differently: what if his campaign isn’t a sign of a savvy politician channeling Tea Party political rhetoric and reality TV sound bites? What if it’s an example of someone who doesn’t have full command of his faculties?

    We’ve watched both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton come under fire for potentially being unfit medically to run, but have we wondered enough about Trump? There is far more media coverage about Clinton’s health at 68 than Trump’s at 69.

    There could be a good reason why. At times it can be very hard to distinguish between extreme right-wing politics and symptoms of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that if two of the following core mental functions seem impaired then it is time to seek medical help: Memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, visual perception. Alzheimer’s carries other symptoms besides memory loss including difficulty remembering newly learned information, disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes.

    Scholars of the recent trends in GOP politics point to some of the very same tendencies happening across the extreme right-wing faction of the party. (See this and this for example.) Much to the chagrin of the reasonable conservatives who wonder what has happened to their party, it is now often difficult to distinguish Republican rhetoric from the ravings of someone suffering from diminished mental capacity.

    The first time I wondered at something being not quite right with Trump’s brain was during the first debate in August 2015 when Trump said “We need brain in this country to turn it around.” Even my 10-year-old son noted that Trump had suggested we need intelligence in government in a really stupid way. But it was more than stupid; it was ungrammatical. It wasn’t simply a basic use of language; it lacked the grammar structure that even a third grader has readily available. And for all of the ease with which we Trump bash, it’s worth remembering that he did, in fact, graduate from Wharton as an undergraduate in economics. He might have been full of bluster back then, but I’m guessing he still could speak in a complete sentence.

    The next real warning sign was the doctor letter Trump trotted out to show that he was in fine shape. The Daily Beast jokingly said that the letter was more insane than Trump’s campaign. But, at the time, no one expected him to still be the frontrunner today. I urge you to take a look and re-read the letter now.

    One might wonder how a physician could mess up the phrase “to whom it may concern” and not be asked for a revision from the Trump team, but the really disturbing tells are the reference to “positive” results (which in medicine means actually finding an ailment) and Trump being the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” (a statement that can’t be proven).

    Last October, Death and Taxes ran a piece wondering if Trump had dementia. They pointed to the fact that Trump’s father, Fred, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years prior to his death. They also highlighted Trump’s aggressive late-night tweets, his childish behavior, his name-calling and mood swings. They explained that it would be really easy for Trump take some tests and prove that he is mentally fit. “Because if Trump can prove he’s not suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder that has left him with a damaged mind devoid of all shame or self-awareness, he might just be an asshole.”

    Now it may seem like I’m taking this in a flip manner and not respecting the real health challenges that face those that suffer these ailments. But that’s actually my point. I need to be reassured that Trump is indeed OK so that the jokes about him remain funny. Public mockery has been the only way to stay balanced this election. And, of course, the best jokes about Trump have come from political satirists because satire does more than poke fun. It encourages critical thinking in the face of blind acceptance. It doesn’t just make Trump look silly and stupid; it points out that he’s dangerous to democracy. It’s the difference between jokes about his orange face and jokes about his demagoguery.

    One excellent example was John Oliver’s brilliant piece on Trump that ended by outing that Trump’s name had originally been Drumpf—a truth that was extremely ironic since Trump himself likes to mock others for their names. In the bit Oliver called Trump a “serial liar,” who had “a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader, who he can’t decide whether or not to condemn.” It was Oliver’s most watched segment from “Last Week Tonight.” But it’s not funny if Trump really can’t actually remember his family history, his business past, or who David Duke is.

    Satirical humor only works if it is punching up. Humor that punches down is just mean. A joke about Trump’s brain is amusing; one about an Alzheimer’s patient is twisted and cruel.

    There are countless other excellent examples of Trump comedy takedowns—all of which depend entirely on the idea that Trump is not someone who actually needs medical attention. For more, see these examples from Larry Wilmore, Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert.

    Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight reminded viewers that Trump speaks at a fourth grade level. That makes him, according to Camp, scientifically proven to be the dumbest candidate of them all. But Camp’s joke is only funny if Trump is talking that way to attract voters who respond to his simplistic rhetoric. It’s not funny if he really has lost the ability to speak like a healthy adult.