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Member since: Tue Jun 16, 2015, 04:52 AM
Number of posts: 1,901

Journal Archives

Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy

Piece is co-written by Clint Watts, who testified today. He was saying this 2 days before the election.


Trump isn’t the end of Russia’s information war against America. They are just getting started.


And the evidence is compelling. A range of activities speaks to a Russian connection: the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign officials, hacks surrounding voter rolls and possibly election machines, Putin’s overt praise for Trump, and the curious Kremlin connections of Trump campaign operatives Paul Manafort and Carter Page.

But most observers are missing the point. Russia is helping Trump’s campaign, yes, but it is not doing so solely or even necessarily with the goal of placing him in the Oval Office. Rather, these efforts seek to produce a divided electorate and a president with no clear mandate to govern. The ultimate objective is to diminish and tarnish American democracy. Unfortunately, that effort is going very well indeed.


Until recently, Western governments focused on state-to-state negotiations with Putin’s regime largely missed Russian state-to-people social media approaches. Russia’s social media campaigns seek five complementary objectives to strengthen Russia’s position over Western democracies:

Undermine citizen confidence in democratic governance;
Foment and exacerbate divisive political fractures;
Erode trust between citizens and elected officials and democratic institutions;
Popularize Russian policy agendas within foreign populations;
Create general distrust or confusion over information sources by blurring the lines between fact and fiction

More at link.

Flawed: Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good If Youre A Female Presidential Candidate

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

Those are the words I keep coming back to after the improbable, yet all-too-cliche, election of Donald Trump. Of course we empowered the least qualified and most dangerous man to the highest office of the land. Because his female opponent wasn’t perfect.

That's what it means to be a woman Even the richest, Whitest, smartest, most elite woman with connections everywhere couldn't pull it off

 — @FeministaJones

All throughout Hillary Clinton’s historic campaign, one word followed her around everywhere she went: ”flawed.” Even when newspapers endorsed her and advocated for her promotion, they needlessly caveated Clinton with this adjective. The Chicago Sun-Times described her as “flawed, but upstanding.” The Charlotte Observer went one step further and put it in their headline: “For president: A flawed, but capable, Clinton.” And the Cincinnati Enquirer even played into the “both sides” of it all by stating: “Presidential elections should be about who’s the best candidate, not who’s the least flawed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case this year.”

The media is an easy scapegoat, but that's just bullshit. Maybe try running a candidate who isn't fatally flawed next time.

 — @Olivianuzzi

@Olivianuzzi doesn't your response reinforce the point? Journalists' belief that Clinton was "fatally flawed" was baked into the coverage.

 — @JoyAnnReid

“Flawed,” when attached to Clinton, didn’t take on the connotation of “We all make mistakes and that’s okay.” That’s reserved for men. Instead, it became an insidious reminder of the perfection that the world expects from women. This impossible standard is a trap because when we inevitably fall short of meeting it, society tells us that we only have ourselves to blame: “If only you were more of this or less of that, then you would have succeeded.”

Given that EVERYONE has flaws, I am beginning to think that "flawed candidate" is a polite way of saying B---ch

 — @dissentingj

But that framework of understanding is a farce, as Sady Doyle explains, on the myth of the Exceptional Woman:

“Patriarchy has always had room for the Exceptional Woman — the one woman smart enough, sweet enough, strong enough, soft enough, pure enough, sexy enough to satisfy all of our culture’s contradictory demands on women, and thus make it to the top of a sexist system on merit alone. Patriarchy needs that woman. She provides men with an excuse to blame women for their own pain and struggles while simultaneously assuring women that sexism only needs to be outwitted to be overcome. She tells us that the system is survivable for women — you simply have to be the right kind of woman.”

For many liberal men in the Democratic primary, that Exceptional Woman™ was Elizabeth Warren. “I would vote for a woman if it were Warren!” became the defacto “I’m not a sexist, I swear!!!” shield. As Jef Rouner observed in April:

Because Warren decided not to run, it is perfectly safe to project all our hopes for a liberal utopia on her and dump all our vague anxieties regarding the rise of a woman to the last great seat of traditionally male power on Clinton. It’s win-win because it’s imaginary and we control all the variables.

To expand upon this point further, Tara Saurus asserted:

Whenever I hear or read, “I just wish it were a different woman, not Clinton,” I want to laugh. There is not a woman on this earth who wouldn’t be hated and villainized for encroaching on territory that has belonged to men for centuries. Oh, you like Warren? Me too. Run Warren through this machine and see how she comes out. Remember just a couple of years ago when Clinton was a beloved meme, texting on a plane in her shades? And her decades voted as one of the most admired people on earth? No woman gets to ride a white horse to high-level leadership positions. No, you get dragged in the mud for making choices that differ from the system, then you get dragged in the mud when you fall in line with the system. There isn’t a single female face in American politics that would reach her level of candidacy without ploughing through rabid misogyny veiled as ethics and dissent. Women don’t walk into male spaces unmarred, unhated. We straddle the daily work of uplifting ourselves and others and operating under the leaders that push us down, balancing choices precariously. We come in scarred, injured, bleeding and still — WE PUSH IN. For decades straight. Unwanted, unwelcome, and often at a disadvantage, we persevere because we **must** make room for ourselves; that invite to the table never comes. That’s how this works, not just at the presidential level, but at every level of superlative power. 240 years of keeping us out. I assure you, there’s not a single one of us that wouldn’t wind up the same.

And as if overcoming a patriarchal system that has shut women out of executive power wasn’t enough to contend with, Clinton faced unprecedented obstacles along the way, including a foreign power (Russia) hacking our election and a domestic agency (the FBI) interfering with it at the 11th hour. Yet despite the extreme nature of these roadblocks, we *still* blamed the woman for failing to clear this skyscraper of a bar. Because she was “flawed,” we didn’t ask how our country could elect this horrible man, but instead wondered why the woman didn’t run a pitch-perfect campaign.

Faced with subversion of American democracy by foreign govt and rogue FBI, "Hillary should have run a better campaign" not a good response

 — @paulkrugman

Mission accomplished, I guess. If your vote was influenced by the DNC or Podesta hacks, you played into their plan.

 — @ParkerMolloy

As Kara Calavera so articulated laid out, “Ironically, Hillary Clinton’s ‘fatal flaws’ were due to her transparency, and not, as the media claims, her secretive nature.” When it came to decisions around public disclosure, Clinton was stuck between a rock and a hard place: Decades-long attacks had produced little evidence of wrongdoing, yet they had imprinted so many negative — and often false — notions on the electorate. This put her in a precarious position: As a public official, she wanted to overcome the “untrustworthy” label that had plagued her for years, but as a woman she knew that any information she put out there would be ruthlessly examined through a microscope.

And indeed, Clinton was arguably the most forthcoming presidential candidate of 2016; she released her full tax returns, she supplied doctor’s notes about her health, and she was open about the inner workings of the Clinton Foundation. But it was the worst of both worlds: Everything she offered up turned into a witch hunt to find corruption that did not exist, and when she became understandably protective in reaction to those efforts to undermine her, she was labelled as too guarded. Clinton just couldn’t win.

After following & investigating her since the 1970s I can say "Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest & trustworthy" - Jill Abramson https://t.co/GGJsotJTDx

 — @MargaretEWard

So while (white, male) pundits give the same mediocre take over and over again on how “Russia didn’t prevent Clinton from visiting Wisconsin,” I’ve been ruminating on the word “flawed” and how it was wielded like a weapon against Clinton. What is the path forward for female candidates when we just witnessed the most qualified woman lose out to the least competent man? For women who aspire to be President, will they continue to drown in double standards, or will they be able to assert their equal humanity to men without being trapped by it? I don’t think there’s a single answer for every woman. Like anything, one’s life circumstances and social standing as they intersect with history matter.

But here’s what I think all women can take away from the 2016 election: There’s no room for superfluous self-doubt anymore. Strangely enough, I think that Hillary’s loss can embolden us to act more confidently and deliberately than ever before. There’s something oddly freeing about witnessing a woman with the utmost privilege do everything “right” and not be rewarded. It means that we don’t have to second-guess ourselves all the time or play by the rules anymore; we can re-write them any way we damn please.

One thing America's crushing of women this year did for me is remove all within me that stood in the way of being a woman with self esteem

 — @xeni

If you thought I was an angry feminist bitch before I hope you're ready for me the next four years.

 — @shutupgunther

So will we see a female Commander-in-Chief in our lifetime? I honestly can’t say. Throwing the patriarchal playbook to the wind doesn’t mean that institutionalized barriers will disappear overnight. And certainly there is a lot less flexibility for women who aren’t white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, etc.

But here’s what I do know: If and when a woman does break that highest and hardest glass ceiling, it sure as hell won’t be pretty.

Taking on Corporate Media’s Well Paid Hillary-Bashers

I am regularly asked why Andrea Mitchell still has a job at NBC. The complaint is: “She’s so biased against Hillary Clinton, she may as well be campaigning against her. It’s all sneer, smear and innuendo.” True. But the medium is the message. TV networks pay many millions of dollars per year to pundits, dressing them in tony outfits to sit behind imposing desks in an effort to convince that their opinion has more value than yours. Why does Andrea Mitchell still have a job? Because NBC likes the rubbish she’s pushing. Look at Matt Lauer, who just shamed himself with his sexist, rude, interrupting treatment of Secretary Clinton at NBC’s recent CiC Forum. What was the reason for his conduct?

Follow the money.

Ms. Mitchell, Chuck Todd, Lauer and their media brothers and sisters are following the money (and orders) given them by their corporate masters. If network owners didn’t want to cynically focus on the nothingburger click-bait of Hillary’s emails 24/7/365, if they didn’t want to daily, and bizarrely, bash the A-rated Clinton Foundation, an organization that has saved millions of lives, they would stop. Nothing is accidental here.

Local media, on the other hand, has been far better, actually discussing Clinton’s policies. But they get a lot less play.

Alex Castellanos is a commentator on CNN. In 2008, he referred to then-Senator Clinton as a “white bitch.” Last week, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Castellanos ignored her qualifications and referred to her as “Nana Clinton” – framing her as a drab grandmother who’s candidacy excites no one. Clinton has been voted America’s most admired woman a staggering 20 times. In both the 2008 and 2016 primaries, she won more votes than anyone. Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, two-term Senator and popular Secretary of State did this despite constant media bashing and the most misogynistic, disrespectful coverage on record. Clearly, someone is excited to vote for her despite efforts to kneecap her.

Further, Castellanos made the vile comment that there is an “otherness” to President Obama by way of excusing Donald Trump’s vile 5-year “birther” conspiracy. Is anyone naïve enough to believe network bookers put operatives like Castellanos on the air only to be blindsided by their rhetoric?

The New York Times has been a notorious culprit this election cycle, all but ruining their reputation with false or at the least, faulty, stories on Hillary Clinton. My letter to the NYT Public Editor lays out their many sins. Even decent features have a negative taint much of the time. Read NYT reporters Maggie Haberman, Amy Chozick or Patrick Healy. What do they have in common? The same set of negative frames and narratives sprinkled throughout the paragraphs of every article they write about her, whether the “adjectives” used to describe her have anything to do with the particular topic being covered or not. Why?

To keep the brainwashing going.

If I write the word “untrustworthy” about someone in every article over a period of years, whether or not it’s true, after seeing it enough times, that word becomes an automatic association with that subject. (Pulitzer prize winning Politifact has deemed Hillary Clinton to be the most honest of any candidate in either party this entire election cycle.)

Networks and major print publications can hire anyone they want. Ms. Haberman offered up the same subtle negativity about Clinton when she worked for Politico, so when she got hired by The New York Times to cover Clinton in the 2016 election, don’t you think they knew what they were getting – and wanted it that way?

A 2016 Harvard study has proven that Hillary Clinton has gotten more negative coverage by far than any candidate of either party. Is it an accident that she also happens to be the most qualified, accomplished candidate with a strong progressive platform? It’s gotten so bad that NYT columnist, the Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, wrote an article bashing his own paper.

So why are they thrashing her, especially if there is supposedly a liberal bias in the media?

Follow the money.

Hillary Clinton is often derided as being the “tool of corporations.” If that were true, then the corporate-owned media would not work so hard to defeat her.

As noted previously, she has been smeared by Republicans for 25 years (with much of the press corps acting as eager stenographers). She’s been dragged before countless committees with millions of dollars spent in the effort. No wrongdoing was ever found. So either she’s very smart, they’re very stupid or this is political hogwash/click-bait to obstruct a woman working to get something done on behalf of the American people.

Look at her record.

You be the judge.

There is much more at the link http://www.anitafinlay.com/corporate-medias-well-paid-hillary-bashers/

PBA: Joy Reid hosting All In, actual factual reporting!

That is all

How the NYT described another racist demagogue in 1922

The Nov. 21, 1922 article -- headlined "New Popular Idol Rises in Bavaria" - offers a profile of the 33-year-old leader of the so-called Bavarian Fascisti.

While the paper accurately characterizes Hitler's hatred toward Jews and the popularity of his vitriolic public speeches, the Times also quotes sources who were just a bit off the mark.

The Times wrote: "Several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes."

The Times also quoted an unnamed politician who said Hitler was being politically deft for exaggerating his anti-Semitism.

"You can't expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims," the newspaper quoted the politician as saying. "You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them."

Sound familiar? More at link.


"Misogyny is a men's issue too"

After seeing the misogyny that was lately an issue on this site, and clashing with a disturbing number of people who seem to think blaming victims of crime is a legitimate thing to do, I think this rather powerful poem is a must watch.

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Security concerns end Nevada Democrats' convention (AP)

There have been a lot of lies and accusations posted by the usual suspects, but here is what happened and why per the AP. BSers were behaving badly, and security shut them down, due to the unruliness of the crowd and the threats of violence. The paranoia and insistence that they're somehow being targeted sounds more like Tea Partiers than Progressives. No matter how high your "passion" is or how "emotional" or "angry" you're getting, this type of behavior is NOT ACCEPTABLE on this side of the aisle, nor is misrepresenting what it was.

The Nevada Democratic Convention turned into an unruly and unpredictable event, after tension with organizers led to some Bernie Sanders supporters throwing chairs and to security clearing the room, organizers said.

Friction between Bernie Sanders' supporters and state Democratic Party leaders had flared throughout the day on Saturday. The convention was scheduled to end by 7 p.m. and when it hadn't wrapped up by 10 p.m., authorities at the Paris Las Vegas casino informed party organizers they could no longer provide the security necessary to handle the crowd.

The hostilities began when Sanders supporters accused state party leaders of putting them at a disadvantage, and they objected to procedural votes to approve the rules of the event on Saturday. They also questioned a credentials committee's disqualification of 58 would-be Sanders delegates. State party officials said the would-be delegates didn't provide acceptable identification and did not meet the May 1 deadline to register as Democrats.
State party officials said some Clinton-supporting delegates were ruled ineligible too, although in lower numbers.

Some Sanders supporters upset with Saturday's proceedings protested against state party chairwoman, Roberta Lange, outside the Nevada State Democratic Party headquarters on Sunday. Her cellphone number was posted on social media and officials said Lange had received hundreds of phone calls and text messages, including death threats.


Questions for Senator Sanders

Questions for Senator Sanders

Many questions have been asked of Senator Sanders during town halls, debates and interviews. Some that needed follow up did not receive the needed attention. He also often starts to answer the question, then like the experienced politician he is (Senator, Representative, Mayor of Burlington) will often quickly change the answer to a topic he feels more comfortable answering.

When he began his campaign, did he not know that releasing tax returns has been the standard for years?

If yes: Why wasn’t he prepared in advance to release older returns before he began campaigning?

If No: Did he not notice in the 2012 campaign how Mitt Romney was questioned about his lack of transparency with the little information he released on his taxes? Has he not noticed dating back to the 70’s the press has reported when presidential candidates released their returns and what was in them?

Dr. Sanders does their taxes and said that both have been too busy to get the old returns together. She stated on MSNBC’s With All Due Respect that they are done on TurboTax and she needed to get home to find them. Was she referring to 2015 since as she said that she normally files for extensions, but not previous years? TurboTax stores old returns electronically for easy retrieval from anywhere with an internet connection. Why did she not pull them up during their flight to Rome? She also said on that same interview “every election we’ve released them” . If this is true, why doesn’t Tax History Project have them listed on their website? Why can’t the press find them? Is Dr. Sanders confusing tax returns with Senate Financial Disclosure forms? http://www.taxhistory.org/www/website.nsf/Web/PresidentialTaxReturns

video of her interview

As a member of Congress, Senator Sanders cannot make paid speeches, receive honorariums or paid for TV appearances. (something he does not say and the press rarely mentions). His Senate PAC (yes he does have one for Senate even though not for President). He received royalties for a book and those were given to charity. What charity were they given to? If they released their old returns, we would know.


As Sec. Clinton said “lets compare apples to apples”. Her not releasing speech transcripts is not the same as not releasing tax returns. If they are as “boring” as you say, then there should be no reason to not have had them ready to be released when you started your campaign.

Regarding your FEC Financial disclosure forms. Your campaign has asked for an extension that would go past the primary season. The reason stated, like the delay in releasing your taxes is due to the campaign. Isn’t putting the FEC documents something routinely handled by the campaign treasurer?

Are you delaying to avoid questions about your trip last month to Rome?

Tad Devine, one of your senior advisors on April 15th, told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC that your trip to Rome was “personal”, but when asked who paid for it he said the campaign (see clip at 1:30–1:50). How is this not a violation of violation of 52 U.S.C ss 30114(b)2(E)?
52 U.S. Code § - Use of contributed amounts for certain purposes

Paragraphs (1) and (2) do not apply to a flight on an aircraft owned or leased by the candidate involved or an…

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In 2008 Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in a much tighter race than you are in now. Hillary suspended her campaign on June 7th with a speech many said helped to unify the party. She did not take it to the DNC in Denver. You said that you will continue the campaign until the DNC. Why is this year different?

Unless there is an complete blowout with the remaining primaries and caucuses, you will be trailing Secretary Clinton in both pledged delegates and votes at the time of the convention. ABC News estimates you need 101% of the pledged delegates to secure the nomination. Secretary Clinton needs 70%. So this will be decided by the Superdelegates. You have been a vocal critic of the Superdelegate system and the DNC during the primary season. How is flipping Superdelegates when you are behind in votes and pledged delegates democratic? How is that following the will of the people?

Many more questions at the link that the media has "forgotten" to ask, despite the numerous times Bernie and his wife have spent at their stations, and in 'interviews".


Judge Rejects Challenge to New York's 'Closed Primary' System


New York State's Presidential Primary results can be certified by the city and state Boards of Elections without any interference from the courts, a Manhattan judge ruled Monday.

State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron rejected a plea by a Manhattan attorney to rule that the state's “closed primary” system violates the state constitution because independents can't vote at all and those who do participate must be enrolled in their respective political parties six months before the election.


Mark Warren Moody asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to block the certification of the April 19 primary results, but Engoron refused, saying it's not likely that Moody would win on the merits of his argument.

The judge noted that U.S. Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals have both upheld the state's closed primaries in several prior decisions.

Moody had argued that the state's voting system was unfair because to vote on April 19, he would have had to enroll in the Democratic or Republican primary last October. Unaffiliated with any party, Moody said in court papers that he didn't know he couldn't vote in the primary until he got to the polls.

“The court is concerned that a ruling in (Moody's) favor will denigrate the associational rights of the political parties and their members and may lead to 'party raiding' whereby voters not aligned with a particular party or its philosophy or goals will vote for the weaker or weakest candidate ... to prevail in the general election,” the judge wrote.

For all those hoping that these lawsuits will somehow give Bernie votes that he didn't earn, you're out of luck.

Why Is Bernie Sanders Invested On Wall Street?

Railing against Wall Street on the campaign trail but still profiting from its biggest corporations
Garnet News
Marcus Johnson

Bernie Sanders’ entire campaign is based on the central themes of honesty, integrity, and trust. Sanders and his surrogates have carefully crafted his image as the only honest politician in the race, as the only person you should trust to elect as President. The argument is that while Hillary Clinton is corrupt, and beholden to big money interests, Sanders is not—he frequently touts that he doesn’t even have a Super PAC.

Perhaps Sanders biggest campaign issue is Wall Street. In the November debate, he went on record saying he believes Wall Street’s business model is illegitimate, that it is actually “fraud.” Sanders has campaigned on massive Wall Street reform, and a break-up of the big banks.
With such an anti-Wall Street platform, one would think that Sanders didn’t own any stock at all. But not only does Sanders own stock, he actually is invested in several industries that he’s heavily criticized.

Sanders has railed against the “Big Banks,” “Big Pharma,” and “Big Oil” but that hasn’t stopped him from investing in and profiting from any of those industries. I went to OpenSecrets.org to take a look at the assets Bernie Sanders reported in 2014. You can take a look at some of the funds he is invested in below: (image at link)

I looked into the holdings of several of these funds to see what kinds of companies he decided to invest in. It turns out that while Sanders is railing against Wall Street on the campaign trail, he’s actually profiting from his investments in some of the biggest corporations in America.

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