Tag: election 2016

Feb 24

Obstruction of Justice

The first charge in the articles of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon was obstruction of justice: Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his subordinates and agents in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such unlawful …

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Nov 27

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – Trump Train Off The Rails

The Trump Train Is Already Off The Rails

Sep 17

It’s all Been a Pack of Lies

Well, if you told me you were drowning

I would not lend a hand

I’ve seen your face before my friend

But I don’t know if you know who I am

Well, I was there and I saw what you did

I saw it with my own two eyes

So you can wipe off that grin,

I know where you’ve been

It’s all been a pack of lies

That is about the sum of last night’s five and a half hour, two tiered GOP presidential debate on CNN moderated by Jake Tapper. Aside from the sniping about records as governors, senators and CEOs, America got an earful of chest thumping war mongering , fantasy and lies about everything from Planned Parenthood to vaccines, tried and untried bad ideas on the economy and taxes, and only one question about climate change. None of it was challenged by any of the candidates or the moderator. This was a marathon exercise in performance art by a bunch of scary, mindless individuals on an ego trip to be the most powerful politician in the world.

FactChecking the CNN Republican Debate

By FactCheck.Org

The candidates flubbed claims on vaccines, immigration, Hillary Clinton and more.

Summary

The Republican presidential candidates met for their second debate on Sept. 16, this one hosted by CNN at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California. We found they strayed from the facts on numerous issues, including:

   Donald Trump told a story linking vaccination to autism, but there’s no evidence that recommended vaccines cause autism. And Sen. Rand Paul suggested that it would be safer to spread out recommended vaccines, but there’s no evidence of that, either.

   Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Trump donated to his gubernatorial campaign to get him to change his mind on casino gambling in Florida. But Trump denied he ever wanted to bring casino gambling to the state. A former lobbyist says he did.

   Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said that Hillary Clinton was “under investigation by the FBI” because she “destroyed government records.” Not true. She had the authority to delete personal emails.

   Trump said that “illegal immigration” cost “more than $200 billion a year.” We couldn’t find any support for that. Actually, it could cost taxpayers $137 billion or more to deport the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, as Trump proposes.

   Trump again wrongly said that Mexico doesn’t have a birthright citizenship policy like the United States. It does.

   Carly Fiorina said that the Planned Parenthood videos released by an anti-abortion group showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” But that scene isn’t in any of the videos.

   Fiorina repeated familiar boasts about her time at Hewlett-Packard, saying the size of the company “doubled,” without mentioning that was due to a merger with Compaq, and she cherry-picked other statistics.

   Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that U.S. policies to combat climate change would “do absolutely nothing.” The U.S. acting alone would have a small effect on rising temperatures and sea levels, and experts say U.S. leadership on the issue would prompt other nations to act.

   In the “happy hour” debate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham glossed over the accompanying tax increases when he said only that Ronald Reagan and then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill “found a way to save Social Security from bankruptcy by adjusting the age of retirement from 65 to 67.”

Facts Go on Trial at Second Republican Debate

Bt Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics

How much of this bullshit is going to go unchallenged?

Ben Carson still wants to change the tax code to a 10 percent biblical tithe. Rand Paul wants a 14 percent flat rate. Mike Huckabee wants the Fair Tax. Only Donald Trump stuck up for a progressive income tax, which Carson called “socialist” as Teddy Roosevelt went to 78 rpm under the sod. The most nauseating moment came when Scott Walker deflected a question on the minimum wage by emphasizing all he’s done for higher education in Wisconsin. Which raised a problem with this whole format. Jake Tapper did a good job playing one candidate off another, and using their own words to do it. But there was a lot of high-quality bullshit being slung around up there that went completely unchallenged. Walker’s paean to higher education was one example. The phony Planned Parenthood videos were treated as gospel. Nobody got called on anything except on what they’d said about someone else. (Hugh Hewitt was next to useless, bringing a touch of evening drive radio to an event that was starved for gravitas anyway, but we expected that.) There simply isn’t a single new idea on the economy here. There are only bad ideas that nobody’s tried yet.

The GOP debate was a chaotic disaster: Why CNN’s most watched program ever was also completely ridiculous

By Jack Mirkinson, Salon

Jake Tapper & co. did their best to avoid the pitfalls of the Fox News debate. Only problem? They whiffed badly

Tapper’s line of questioning left much to be desired. Time and again, the candidates were asked explicitly to argue with each other-“Tell him why he’s wrong” was a common refrain-rather than forced to mount a thorough defense of their own views. The emphasis on letting the candidates pin each other down meant that multiple whoppers went by unchallenged, with Carly Fiorina’s entirely made-up horror stories about Planned Parenthood being a notable example.

The strategy also turned the proceedings into a bit of a chaotic mess. At the Fox debate, the moderators made clear that not all the candidates would get to answer every question. Tapper not only let everybody weigh in on everything, he also gave everyone a chance to reply to every mention of their name, meaning that huge chunks of time were taken up with bickering and point-scoring. The candidates took to whining “Jaaaaaaake!” like bad Marlon Brando impersonators as they pleaded with Tapper for time. More often than not, Tapper gave in. He shouldn’t have.

And the biggest lie of all, from the “smarter” brother.

No, Jeb: George W. Bush Did Not Keep Us Safe

By Amanda Marcotte, Talking Points Memo

In a bit of ugly sparring over who did or did not support the Iraq War, Jeb Bush, in a moment of pique, jumped in with, “You know what? As it relates to my brother, there is one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.”

The audience, comprised of Republican primary voters went nuts, and so Bush doubled down on his claim that having 3,000 citizens die from a terrorist attack — the largest in American history — “kept us safe.”

“You remember the rubble? You remember the firefighter with his arms around it?,” he railed. “He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism and he did keep us safe.”

Liberals on Twitter, including myself, sternly disagreed that safety was maintained if you’re standing on a pile of rubble where, just hours before, one of the largest office buildings in the world had stood. In the grander scheme of things, it’s also hard to really buy the idea that safety was best secured by using this terrible terrorist attack as a pretense to start an irrelevant war in Iraq that diverted resources from actually fighting terrorism. Not to say, it’s questionable that anyone is kept safe by the fallout from that war, which led to the deaths of almost half a million people and stoked instability and resentment against the United States.

Aug 07

Quickies from the Also-Rans

From the kiddie table:

From Heather at Crooks and Liars:

Lindsey Graham Turns War On Women Question Into Excuse To Beat The War Drums On ISIS

From Karoli at Crooks and Laira

Rick Santorum Says Abortion Is Just Like Slavery

From multiple contributors at Huffington Post:

Dick Cheney Was The Real Winner Of The First Republican Debate

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s spirit is apparently as immortal as his earthly vessel.

At Thursday evening’s GOP candidate forum in Cleveland, Cheney’s foreign policy vision was very much alive as various presidential hopefuls vowed to re-invade Iraq, send troops to Syria, spy on mosques here in America and get tough with Iran by scrapping President Barack Obama’s diplomatic approach.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explicitly promised — twice — to invade Iraq again. “If you’re running for president of the United States and you don’t understand that we need more American ground forces in Iraq and that America has to be part of a regional ground force that will go into Syria and destroy ISIL in Syria, then you’re not ready to be commander in chief,” Graham said, referring the Islamic State militant group, which is also known as ISIL or ISIS. “And you’re not serious about destroying ISIL.”

Even former New York Gov. George Pataki, generally viewed as one of the most moderate candidates among the GOP pack, appeared to commit to sending more U.S. troops to the Middle East, saying that it was “necessary” to put American lives at risk to “destroy ISIS.”Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s spirit is apparently as immortal as his earthly vessel.

Get the picture? This is a preview of tonight’s main event. See you at 9 PM EDT

Aug 07

Live Blog: GOP Presidential Candidate Debate – The Rest of the Clowns

The 10 leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination take the stage at 9 PM EDT for a two hour debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. It will air exclusively on the Fox News Channel. I doubt this event will have any effect on who the eventual nominee will be. Despite the cast of characters and their recent antics, it may well be incredibly boring but we’ll do our best to entertain. I just regret that we will no longer have Jon Stewart’s wit to help get through this cycle.

As hard as it may be for those of us in the reality based world to take any of these individuals seriously, we should, as author Larry Beinhart notes, we should “beware the clowns” because the more clownish and unrealistic they are about the issues, the more likely they are to sit in the Oval Office. Just look at the last 30 years.

In 1980 the very witty Gore Vidal said, “[Ronald] Reagan has no chance of being elected president. It is true that the United States is turning into Paraguay but not at that speed.”

Reagan was elected twice.

By 1988, it was time for a change. The stock market crashed in 1987, “Black Monday,” the largest one day decline, still, in Wall Street history. The savings and loan crisis, the biggest set of bank failures since the Great Depression, was underway. Reagan’s tax cuts were supposed to generate more government revenue, even with the lower rates. Instead, the deficit tripled.

Also, there was Iran-Contra.

Imagine if Barack Obama had been secretly selling missiles to Iran. The evidence against Reagan mounted until he had to go on television and say, “A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.”

That’s astonishing. The president admitted not merely that he preferred to live in his imaginary world but also that he was capable of doing so.

The money from selling arms to Iran was used for another illegal purpose: funding right-wing paramilitaries in Nicaragua.

Pat Moynihan, the highly esteemed Democratic senator from New York, took a look at the contenders for the GOP nomination and said, “If we can’t beat these guys, we need to find another country.”

Yet the Republican, George H.W. Bush, won. [..]

After eight years of peace and prosperity, Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, should have coasted to victory. Ronald Reagan’s son Ron Reagan summed up Gore’s opponent, George W. Bush, this way: “He’s probably the least qualified person ever to be nominated by a major party … What is his accomplishment? That he’s no longer an obnoxious drunk?”

Yet Bush won and then won re-election.

Whenever to GOP candidate was sane, sober and respectable like Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney the Republican base loses interest and the presidency goes to the Democrats. The proof of Mr. Beinharts’ theory is George H. W. Bush:

George H.W. Bush is the proof of the pudding, because he ran as two different characters. In order to win the nomination in1988, he had to prove that he wasn’t a “wimp.” He did so by walking out of a TV interview. This may seem a strange way for a guy who won the Distinguished Flying Cross and flew 58 combat missions in World War II to prove his manhood to the electorate, but it is credited with having done the trick. To win the election, he attacked the Democrat as being soft on crime, specifically black criminals, and it carried him to victory.

As president, George H.W. Bush proved remarkably sane and sensible. He made sure his Gulf War was legal. He managed to have Arab states align against another Arab state to get the Israelis to keep their mouths shut, to stop when Iraq was kicked out of Kuwait and, to top it all off, got other countries to pay for it. The economic policies he inherited from Reagan continued to increase the deficit and had driven the country into a recession, so Bush raised taxes. At which point the economy reversed direction.

That lost the support of his base and, as a consequence, cost him re-election.

Why does this happen? It makes no sense. Mr. Beinhart’s conclusion:

We get a hint from Reagan’s Iran-Contra confession. True Republicans – not RINOs but the base, the enthusiasts, the foot soldiers – can be truly enthused only by reality deniers. When they get even a whiff that their guy recognizes facts and might act on them (such as that tax cuts don’t work, that torture doesn’t work, that compromise is necessary, that government has useful functions, that contraception prevents abortion, that climate change is scientific fact), they lose their enthusiasm. Then their candidate loses.

The next question is: who in that car is respectable and sane? Bet your popcorn futures the show continues for the next fifteen months.

For your amusement, below the fold we have Esquire‘s Charles Pierce’s questions for the candidates and Matt Taibbi’s drinking game. Please drink responsibly.