Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trump claims he will be the US "Brexit"; too bad he has no idea what that means

Earlier this week, Trump brought up Brexit while campaigning in Florida.
The Republican nominee finds himself behind in both national and Florida statewide polls, down six and two respectively, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
“I think we’re going to have a little Brexit coming up in November,” he said.
Brexit has not been good for the UK now, and it is looking as if the predictions of a large consensus of economists is coming true, that it will hurt the economy in the UK in the future. In particular there is an expected loss of jobs as foreign investment, notably Japanese capital, moves to the mainland of Europe.

As the following news article from Reuters notes, there are 2 MILLION jobs involved in the projected move, and a potential loss affecting up to 12% of the UK economy. That kind of move hurts, it can lead to a significant recession or even depression, and it will continue to have ripples for global economies, including our own.

An example of how Brexit has affected a company with operations in the UK but based here in the US, from the Irish Times:

Brexit turmoil sees Whirlpool cut annual profit forecast

Appliance giant hurt by sluggish US sales and Brexit-inspired uncertainty in UK

Whirlpool cut its annual profit forecast after results fell well short of estimates in the third quarter, hurt by sluggish sales in the US and Brexit-inspired turmoil in the UK.
...The UK’s vote to leave the European Union – and subsequent impact on the pound – also took a toll on results, the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company said.
Here's what the British Chamber of Commerce had to say last month about how Brexit affected the UK, from the Guardian:

UK economy to hit near standstill as Brexit vote hurts investment – BCC

British Chambers of Commerce more than halves GDP growth prediction for next year to 1%, citing post-referendum uncertainty
Britain’s economy will grind to a near standstill over the coming months as post-referendum uncertainty triggers a slump in business investment, a leading business group has warned as it slashed its growth forecasts.
In its first set of forecasts since the vote to leave the EU, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) on Monday more than halved its GDP growth prediction for next year from 2.3% to 1.0%. That would mark the worst economic performance since 2009, when the UK was emerging from a deep recession sparked by the global financial crisis.
Much as the low-education pro-Trump dummies who hate globalism would love to see less of it, here's a story from Reuters back in May before the actual Brexit vote.
If Britain votes to leave the European Union in June, some U.S. banks could give up parts of their business in the bloc altogether.The scenarios being studied by taskforces at U.S. banks underscore the extent to which the London operations of non-European banks are linked to business on the continent.
In particular focus are the banks' market operations, as trading of most European securities is regulated at the EU level but conducted by many investment banks mainly out of London.
The five largest U.S. banks employ 40,000 people in London, more than in the rest of Europe combined, taking advantage of the EU "passporting" regime that allows them to offer services across the bloc out of their British hubs.
Those businesses in the UK shut down, it means not ONLY the loss of 40,000 jobs in London, it will mean the loss of jobs here too.

Trump was notorious in his very public ignorance of Brexit when he was visiting Scotland. He appears to have continued his ignorance late into the campaign.

From Reuters

Banks preparing to leave UK over Brexit, says banking body chief executive
Big international banks are preparing to move some of their operations out of Britain in early 2017 due to the uncertainty over the country's future relationship with the European Union, a top banking official said.

Writing in the Observer newspaper, Anthony Browne, the chief executive of lobby group the British Bankers' Association, said the public and political debate was "taking us in the wrong direction" and businesses could not wait until the last minute.

"Most international banks now have project teams working out which operations they need to move to ensure they can continue serving customers, the date by which this must happen, and how best to do it," said Browne. "Their hands are quivering over the relocate button. Many smaller banks plan to start relocations before Christmas; bigger banks are expected to start in the first quarter of next year."

Many of the world's major banks have their European headquarters in Britain, where the financial sector employs more than two million people and makes up almost 12 percent of the economy.

Bill Clinton "worst ever"? Not even close : the lessons of unsanitized presidential history

We've heard Donald Trump claim that Hillary shouldn't be president because Bill Clinton had infidelities.  To be specific, Trump claims Bill Clinton was a sexual predator, the worst in the history of the presidency.  Specifically per the AP, Trump said this
 "But Bill Clinton has sexually assaulted innocent women and Hillary Clinton was attacking those women viciously." "Bill Clinton was the worst abuser of women to ever sit in the Oval Office. He was a predator,"
There is no credible evidence that Hillary ever attacked these women, much less viciously.  She did stand by Bill through rough going, but that is arguably evidence commitment to traditional marriage, not of abuse of anyone else.

But as to the claims against Bill Clinton, I would argue that as sexual escapades in the White House go, he's been among the less egregious, not the worst.  More on that below, but first an examination of the allegations against "President Bubba".

To get specific, Bill Clinton had five formal allegations of sexual misconduct; the claims of Juanita Broadderick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones, have not been established.  They exist as accusations of dubious authenticity, given Broadderick and Willey both testified under oath that Clinton never made unwanted advances.  Further Willey had a history of false accusations, which included telling a boyfriend she was pregnant, when she was not, and then claiming a miscarriage that she didn't have.  Linda Tripp of Monica Lewinsky scandal fame claimed it was Willey who was obsessed from day 1 with seducing the President.

Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky both appeared to have had some kind of sexual relationships but not apparently coitus with Lewinsky.  Bill Clinton admitted to a one time sexual relationship with Flowers. 

Gennifer Flowers used her notoriety for profit, to the tune of $500,000.  All of the women who have appeared with Donald Trump prior to his second debate, both alleged victims of Bill Clinton, and a very questionable rape victim, were paid to do so, to the tune of $2,5000 each, and their stories conflict with prior accounts of events, including Grand Jury testimony under oath.

Hillary has also been accused of laughing at the alleged victim of a rape case, presumably thereby abusing HER,  where she had no option out of defending the accused rapist, whom she got a plea deal.  She did laugh at the botched case of the prosecution, and she was recorded laughing at the unreliability of polygraph testing, which showed the accused rapist to be innocent.  But she did NOT laugh at the victim.  Further complicating the rape case, the 12 year old victim had consensual sex with a 15 year old boy prior to the accused rape, and had previously made false accusations of bodily attacks.

Hillary Clinton tried to get out of defending her client, but she got a good outcome for her client (a plea deal, not an acquittal)  because he passed a polygraph test, and because of lack of evidence and mishandling of evidence by the prosecution.  It was her duty as a defense attorney to do so; she did her job. The victim previously supported the defense role of Hillary before it became profitable to object to her.

In contrast so far as can be established, there are more women who have credibly come forward to make accusations against Trump, and NONE of them have been paid to do so, and none of them have been credibly contradicted by others in defense of Trump, except by Trump himself who makes a highly suspect denial, much less contradicted themselves.

In contrast Bill Clinton, who turned 70 this past August,  has had no sex scandals since Monica Lewinsky back in the 1990s.  Trump, who also turned 70 this past June, has had sex scandals pretty much right up until he decided to run for President, which he announced in 2015.  These include a law suit for multiple violent rapes of a 13 year old, to other accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Trump's accusations are distinctive in how consistently they are not consensual - although he has had consensual affairs as well.  He admits to having cheated on Ivana, his first wife, with Marla Maples, his second wife, and to having cheated on Maples with multiple women, including his third wife.  He has been recorded multiple times admitting to have at least attempted to cheat on Melania Trump his third wife.

Putting Bill Clinton's conduct in context, and at the same time putting the claims that Hillary Clinton jeopardized the security of the country with her email problems, I offer you a few examples of bad presidential conduct. Richard Nixon - yes, Tricky Dicky - had an ongoing affair with a Communist Chinese woman with close ties to Chinese Generals.  MI-6 recorded his sex-capades and head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover got his own dirt on Dick, and used it to blackmail him.  Trump campaign staffer and key adviser to Donald Trump was in the Nixon White House and is one of those who confirm the story.  Both JFK and Gerald Ford had affairs with an East German Communist spy, by the name of Ellen Rometsch, with both being allegedly blackmailed, again by J. Edgar Hoover. Ford was not president at the time, but allegedly was blackmailed for information from the Warren Commission on the JFK assassination.  JFK was far more of a sexual predator and serial philanderer than Bill Clinton, including alleged sexual impropriety with interns. Ronald Reagan had a credible accusation of rape while president as well - but that was while he was Screen Actors Guild president, not US president.

Arguably black mail of the president is a far greater danger to the security of the United States than a private email server with very low level information on it.  And if one takes a look at the totality of presidential history when it comes to inappropriate sexual conduct, there are few who pass scrutiny.  George Washington has been credibly accused of having a long term sexual relationship with a slave named Venus and a speculative one with a certain Mrs. Fairfax.  Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemmings has been established by DNA evidence, and possibly began when she was as young as 16.  This is not unique to recent presidents.  The founding fathers had more than their fair share of bastards. 

Looking at presidents from WW II forward, the only apparent cases where there were no credible accusations of infidelity or sexual misconduct, before, during or after their presidency were Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Harry Truman.  Both Bushes appear to have had affairs - more than one, and Dubya was accused of rape. Looking back before WW II across the 19th century, there not only heterosexual affairs, some with presidential bastard offspring, there were rumors of homosexual relationships attributed (at different times in history) to both presidents Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan.

So, no, Bill Clinton is FAR from the worst president in terms of keeping himself safely in his pants, and he seems considerably less bad in that regard than the conduct of Donald Trump, past and recent past if not present.  That is IF you look at factual histories of our presidents and their most private conduct.  Just a word to the wise, before you take a look at our unsanitized history - you will NOT be able to look at Mount Rushmore, or stamps with presidents on them, or money, quite the same way again afterwards.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Intolerable Foreign Interference and Duty to Country

The Trump campaign, and to a lesser extent, Republicans, has and have been willing to use the information provided by WikiLeaks.  To be clear, when WikiLeaks first started it was embarrassing to the Republicans and I didn't speak out against it.  That was in part because it looked like it was some disaffected member of the US military spilling certain embarrassing details, but details which weren't really state secrets.

However, it has now become clear that WikiLeaks is being fed by a foreign government and by a government which is not friendly to the US, our strategic interests or even to democratic rule (namely, Russia and it's dictator Vladimr Putin). 

This isn't a party issue, this isn't a Dem/Republican issue, this is a national security issue.  What if the Russians find a way to tap into polling machines? (something which is actively being investigated and hopefully defended against)   What if the Russians find out actual secrets, plans of the US?  Would that be sufficiently a problem?  For Republicans not to repudiate Russia and to as a result, not walk away from the intelligence being provided by Russian intelligence services, is appalling.  Just like a charitable contribution from a pedophile, you dismiss the gift when given under unethical circumstances.  I would feel this way if this were stuff about Trump (or Cruz or Bush) if I was told it came from some foreign entity (like say, Israel).  I would, like a good juror, ignore the information.

I think the press really OUGHT to walk away from it but they may not and as the fifth estate, I believe they ultimately have a duty to report the news of the leak if not the details, but members of government?? Whether it's current or prospective, they have a duty to disavow the act and the benefits of the act.  Not doing so puts party before country, it abrogates the DUTY they swore to uphold, namely defending our constitution against foreign enemies and allowing a foreign government to intrude on our political process is failing to defend our democratic process.  The government of Russia broke our laws, broke international laws, and engaged in espionage against our very likely future President, if not now, then when do you object?

As far as Russia goes, this country MUST push back on Russia.  It needs to assault their operational systems and put some scare into Putin.  If that constitutes clandestinely aiding the Ukrainians through direct transfers of money and/or military hardware, so be it.  If that means disrupting their pipelines, so be it. If that means providing Europe with natural gas supplies and building pipelines to do so, so be it.  You cannot let a foreign actor attack your IT infrastructure without consequence and I find it APPALLING that Republicans, not all, but many, not only don't agree, but are agreeing to be the willing fool for Putin.

Donald Trump, flip flopper

It would seem to me, and I would argue to most reasonable people, that what someone says when they have nothing to gain - or lose - is the more sincere. Which puts the lie to Trump's current campaign positions, or at the very least would argue he has no sincerely or deeply held beliefs other than wanting to advance himself.

Back in a prior campaign, Howard Dean was called a flip flopper for changing his positions, to damaging effect.  He had fewer of those positions than Trump has.

I have long harbored the secret suspicion that Trump is simply appealing to those who like the vulgarity of reality television, the same crowd the ancient Romans appealed to with bread and circuses displaying horrific violence in the name of entertainment.  On some level, the modern voters must know that Trump is not real, at the same time they praise him for speaking 'truth'. 

I actually had a debate on line where some moronic Trump supporter tried to argue that reality tv was powerful real-world stuff, and that Trump was demonstrating some sort of alpha prowess and potency that people would understand made Trump powerful.  His argument was based on the notion that "tapping ass" (pardon the crudity) created some sort of jock-status back in high school. This moron had a difficult time grasping the notion that high school locker rooms were not the real world either.

However that might offer a glimpse into the emotional thinking that has made Trump popular primarily among lower educated and less evolved white males to the exclusion of other demographics.  Trump voters are not only as a group less educated, but have never really gotten beyond that level of thinking and wishing.

In that context it will be interesting to see how well a belief in Trump's misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic positions will survive seeing Trump's real world words from his past.  What this should challenge is if wishful thinking will win or lose against a dose of reality.  The other side is running similar campaigns against Hillary, but they are using more deceptive editing methods to misrepresent her past words.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grasp and greed

Just a guess, but I doubt 'reimbursing ourselves' is a line of reasoning that justifies theft of anything, least of all a natural resource.

Apparently along with all the other things he doesn't understand, like personal boundaries, national boundaries are an ethical and intellectual challenge for Trump too.

This is the personification of the term "Chickenhawk"

This is the man who insists, without any evidence for it, that he is smarter than all the generals and admirals who are professional military experts. You have to be pretty foolish and gullible to believe anything relating to foreign policy, war, our military, or to patriotism that this man says.

Hillary and the 2A came up in the 3rd presidential debate

I have long contended that unless and until we have consensus by proof of what is and is not factual, we won't have any functional unity.  I don't want to see us continue to become increasingly dysfunctional as a nation.

Lies fuel extremism.  Lies fuel fears.  Both quotes in the graphic below are FALSE.

I fact checked the graphic below after finding it on the FB page of someone who expressed an alarming degree of hatred for Hillary.  I am confident that the reasons this person has for his emotions are ALL as false as the image below, which I took from his FB page.

Images like this keep popping up on right wing posts on social media. It is false. But it goes a long way towards explaining the poorly informed right wing response of boos when Hillary CORRECTLY stated her FACTUAL position on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- a document she knows well and understands thoroughly.

We have a serious problem with gun violence; our rates are 25 times higher, especially gun violence involving either child victims and/or child shooters.  So long as one side of the issue refuses to be factually accurate, we can't do anything to successfully resolve this public health issue.

Here is what is wrong with the above image; it is entirely FAKE. Because conservatives LIE when the facts are not on their side; and this is one more example of it.

From Politifact Iowa:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton explicitly stated her plans to "shut down" the National Rifle Association and expressed hope at banning handguns in an interview with The Des Moines Register last summer. At least, that’s according to a viral image that first cropped up on an anti-Clinton Tumblr blog and has been shared widely on Facebook. "I will get the NRA shut down for good if I become president. If we can ban handguns, we will do it," the post quotes Clinton as telling the Register on Aug. 8, 2015.
But here’s the thing: The quote is wholly fabricated. Clinton was never quoted in the Register making that statement, and it appears she has not made such a statement anywhere else.
Clinton campaigned heavily in Iowa throughout the summer and fall of 2015, and Register reporters and the paper’s editorial board interviewed her several times. But she was not in Iowa on Aug. 8, when she allegedly made the statement. Clinton’s first visit to Iowa in the month of August occurred on Aug. 14, followed by public events on Aug. 15 and Aug. 26.
A review of the Register’s archives show Clinton was neither interviewed nor quoted directly on Aug. 8 or in the days immediately following.
Clinton did make several statements regarding gun control on the Iowa campaign trail that were covered by the Register. In all of them, she laid out an agenda that calls for broader background-check requirements, including sales at gun shows, as well as stronger measures to prevent gun purchases by domestic abusers and people with serious mental health problems.
"I'm going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better than that," Clinton said in Iowa in July. "A majority of Americans and a majority of gun owners agree with universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who are mentally unstable and even terrorists."
On Aug. 26 in Ankeny, she responded to the on-air murders of a news crew in Virginia:
"We've got to do something. It's a very difficult political issue. But we are smart enough, compassionate enough to balance legitimate Second Amendment rights concerns with preventive measures and control measures, so whatever motivated this murderer ... we will not see more needless, senseless deaths," she said.
She went on,  "If guns weren't so readily available, if we had universal background checks, if we could put some time out between the person who got fired, or domestic abuse, or whatever other motivation ... maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage."
On Oct. 6, she described her views again, in response to a mass shooting in Oregon: "I feel like this is unfinished business in our country, and I am very determined that we are going to try to bring some sanity back, so that people's Second Amendment rights are protected — but they are not absolute, the way the NRA wants them to be," Clinton said at an event in Davenport. "There are common-sense ways to make sure people are not using guns to commit mass murders."
Gun control came up again at an event in Sioux City on Dec. 4, after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. At that time, she expressed support for banning gun sales to people on federal "no-fly" lists.
"I think we've got to be more willing to start imposing these kinds of gun-safety measures," Clinton said. "I'm certainly going to continue advocating for them."
Internet searches for the quote found on the image refer only to the image itself — not to any original reporting from the Des Moines Register, another news outlet or to raw audio or video. Evidence of the quote does not appear to exist beyond what was originally posted on Tumblr.

And from separate fact checking at Politifact.com (which I also verified by the defacto George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon):

[Face Book Meme, Feb. 16, 2015] Say George Washington said that "when government takes away citizens’ right to bear arms it becomes citizens’ duty to take away government’s right to govern." — Facebook posts on Monday, February 16th, 2015 in a meme on social media Did George Washington offer support for individual gun rights, as meme says? False Facebook posts Say George Washington said that "when government takes away citizens’ right to bear arms it becomes citizens’ duty to take away government’s right to govern." — Facebook posts on Monday, February 16th, 2015 in a meme on social media Did George Washington offer support for individual gun rights, as meme says? By Audrey Bowler on Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 8:56 a.m.
A reader sent us this meme about George Washington and gun rights. Did the first president really say that? Would George Washington have been an ally to modern-day gun-rights groups? A social-media meme suggests that he would have. Around the time of Washington’s 282nd birthday, a reader sent us the meme, which includes a painting of Washington and a quote purportedly written or uttered by the nation’s first president: "When government takes away citizens’ right to bear arms it becomes citizens’ duty to take away government’s right to govern."
But are those really Washington’s words? We contacted Edward Lengel, editor in chief of the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia. He said "there is no evidence that Washington ever wrote or said these words, or any like them."
Lengel cautioned that it’s impossible to prove a negative, but he added that he’s "as certain as he can be" that the quote did not originate from George Washington. This is not the first time a similar claim has popped onto our radar screen. In December 2012, PolitiFact Texas rated False a claim made two days after the Newtown elementary school shooting.
When U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, appeared on Fox News Sunday, he was asked why he believed ordinary Americans should be able to buy semi-automatic weapons designed for military use. Gohmert answered in part, "For the reason George Washington said a free people should be an armed people. It ensures against the tyranny of the government." PolitiFact Texas contacted Gohmert’s office to seek details on the Washington quotation but didn’t hear back. The closest statement they could find was one Washington made in his first State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1790: "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined." The academic consensus is that Washington was referring to a trained militia to defend the new nation, rather than anticipating citizens seeking to head off perceived governmental tyranny. Ron Chernow, whose Washington: A Life won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for biography, told PolitiFact Texas that Washington was "talking about national defense policy, not individuals arming themselves, and the need for national self-sufficiency in creating military supplies." Some post-Revolutionary lawmakers did expect citizens to own firearms, but Washington does not appear to have been among them, experts said. "The idea of resistance to tyranny being dependent on a nation of gun-wielding individuals acting at their own behest or even on local initiative would have been anathema to Washington," Lengel told PolitiFact Texas. "Indeed, during the (Revolutionary) war he very frequently lamented the crimes carried out by armed civilians or undisciplined militia against their unarmed neighbors. The solution to these crimes, as he understood it, was to increase the power of the government and the army to prevent and punish them -- not to put more guns in the hands of civilians." Indeed, during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, "citizens of Western Pennsylvania rose up to fight a new tax on the whiskey they produced," said Mary Thompson, research historian at Washington’s Virginia home, Mount Vernon. Washington was "concerned that success by the rebels would lead to a diminishment of the central/federal government," and directed state militias to counter the insurrection -- "citizen-soldiers," she said, "acting on behalf of the government against their fellow citizens."