The Moderate Voice http://themoderatevoice.com An Internet hub with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, indies, centrists, moderates, and right Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:26:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.9 http://themoderatevoice.com http://themoderatevoice.com/media/favicon.ico The Moderate Voice Politix Update: Clinton Wins The Night, As Well As The All-Important Battle Of The Undecideds http://themoderatevoice.com/politix-update-clinton-wins-the-night-as-well-as-the-all-important-battle-of-the-undecideds/ http://themoderatevoice.com/politix-update-clinton-wins-the-night-as-well-as-the-all-important-battle-of-the-undecideds/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:21:23 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219798 Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 1.24.53 AM copy

With six weeks to go until Election Day, the unspoken secret of the 2016 campaign is that while Hillary Clinton appears to have only a frighteningly narrow lead over Donald Trump in national public-opinion polls, she is dominating where it ultimately will matter most — in the states with the most electoral votes — and [...]

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Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 1.24.53 AM copyWith six weeks to go until Election Day, the unspoken secret of the 2016 campaign is that while Hillary Clinton appears to have only a frighteningly narrow lead over Donald Trump in national public-opinion polls, she is dominating where it ultimately will matter most — in the states with the most electoral votes — and remains the prohibitive favorite to become the first woman president.

And so the first presidential debate last night was perhaps Trump’s last best opportunity to prove he was more than an intemperate, truth-fracturing windbag and Clinton’s last best opportunity to seal the deal with undecided voters — that is, people who are torn between voting for her or staying home. By these key measures, Trump made a fool of himself while Clinton cooly succeeded in making the case that her worldview makes her best qualified to lead America over the next four years.

After a stilted start reminiscent of Barack Obama’s first 2012 debate against Mitt Romney, it took about 30 minutes for Clinton to peel away Trump’s play-acting posture of seeming restraint as he gradually descended into his instinctive belligerence with syntactically incoherent defenses of his birtherism, refusal to release his federal tax returns, racist past and present, condescending attitude toward women in general and Clinton in particular, and in a grandly humiliating admission in the debate’s closing moments, eked out a grudging acknowledgement that he would be willing to accept a Clinton victory.

Trump sniffled a lot. And he lied a lot.

Trump lied about why he hasn’t released his tax returns, creating the strong impression that he doesn’t paid any taxes. He lied about the crippling debt load his businesses carry. He lied about his bankruptcies. He lied about his trailblazing role in the birther movement. He lied about his support for the Iraq war. He lied about his stand on first-strike use of nuclear weapons. And he lied about the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk and then lied some more when he was called out by NBC News moderator Lester Holt, who delivered a strong if occasionally uneven performance despite the bar being set so comically low after the Matt Lauer debacle, as well as Trump’s repeated attempts to talk over him.

When backed against the wall, which was often, Trump’s rejoinders ranged from ridiculous Palin-esque word salads to shouts of “Not true!” across the stage to Clinton to pathetic pleas for understanding, although Clinton (probably wisely) never went for the kill.

Don’t believe me on racial discrimination? Well, we settled those Justice Department lawsuits without an admission of guilt. Don’t believe me on my law-and-order prescription? Well, a police union endorsed me. Don’t believe me on Clinton being responsible for birtherism? Well, check with Sean Hannity. Don’t believe me on my opposition to the Iraq War? Well . . . check with Sean Hannity, but everybody refuses to call him.

“It’s all sound bites!” he blurted out at one point in an attempt to smear Clinton that instead boomeranged back on him.

With the exception of Clinton’s umpteenth apology for her stupid email practices as secretary of state and a stumble over NAFTA, both in the opening minutes, she was increasingly on the offensive as the night wore on. She kept pouncing as Trump shouted past her, scrambled to get back on his feet and unsuccessfully tried to parlay her zingers, including her twice calling his reward-the-rich tax plan “Trumped-up trickle down economics.”

The outcome should not have been a surprise, but given the vicissitudes of this presidential campaign and Trump’s proclivity for hogging airtime, it was easy to forget that Clinton came into the debate the battle-hardened veteran of five one-on-one debates with no-slouch-he Bernie Sanders while Trump had not been through even one such debate as he emerged from the primaries as the worst of the Republican worst.

If there was a surprise, it is that immigration — in some ways the defining issue of the campaign — did not come up, although that is certain to change in the second of three debates on October 9. Then there was the dog that didn’t bark: Curiously, Trump never mentioned the Affordable Care Act, ignoring perhaps the defining concern of Republicans in the last eight years.

Irony of ironies, while Trump tried to divert a question from Holt about his disparagement of Clinton’s appearance into repeated shouts that she lacked “stamina, stamina, stamina,” it was Trump who was unable to go the distance. And had Clinton sniffled for 90 minutes, we would never have heard the end of it.

In fact, the appearance/stamina interlude may have been Trump’s low point.

“This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs,” Clinton declared, reminding the audience that Trump had once referred to a young Latina Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, as “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” adding that she is now a naturalized American citizen and can vote. Ha!

Apologizing for disparaging Clinton’s “looks” was out for a man who never says he is sorry, so a flustered Trump instead babbled that nobody likes Rosie O’Donnell, congratulated himself for not saying “something extremely rough to Hillary,” and noted that the polls are “looking good” for him.”

Oh, those polls.

Although overnight surveys showed that Clinton “won” the debate decisively, few minds were changed among voters who never were on the fence. Still, Trump reached his ceiling of support weeks ago, while Clinton has toiled to reassemble all of the constituent parts of the mighty Obama Coalition, an uphill struggle that has been reflected in those nail bitingly close polls that show her to be nearly as unpopular as Trump.

But it is not likely that a substantial number of the undecideds among the tens of millions of people who tuned in last night failed to notice that Trump’s legendary salesmanship failed him because he was so obviously unprepared and unable to resist taking the bait Clinton dangled before him. While Clinton occasionally descended into stump speech wonkery, she not only was prepared, she was refreshingly nimble and showed much needed moments of levity.

And most importantly, she was presidential.

POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.
© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN

IMAGE: NBC NEWS

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What worked for Trump in the primaries failed him against Clinton http://themoderatevoice.com/219806/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219806/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:15:52 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219806 RJ Matson, Roll Call

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump was trying very hard to be on his best behavior. In the opening minutes of the first presidential debate Monday night, the Republican nominee began an answer by saying, “In all fairness to Secretary Clinton” — then turned to his opponent with exaggerated cordiality. “Yes? Is that OK? Good. I want [...]

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RJ Matson, Roll Call
RJ Matson, Roll Call

RJ Matson, Roll Call

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump was trying very hard to be on his best behavior.

In the opening minutes of the first presidential debate Monday night, the Republican nominee began an answer by saying, “In all fairness to Secretary Clinton” — then turned to his opponent with exaggerated cordiality. “Yes? Is that OK? Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.”

But even Trump’s best behavior was not quite good enough. Within minutes, he was hectoring and interrupting Clinton when she spoke, glowering, pursing his lips, shaking his head and interjecting one-word retorts.

“Wrong!” he told Clinton.

“Wrong!” he told the moderator, NBC’s Lester Holt.

“Wrong!” “Wrong!” “Wrong!” he said, over and over again.

But it was Trump who was wrong — on the facts, but also in his approach to the debate.

Trump had done well in the primary debates with his insults, interruptions and one-liners. Monday’s 90-minute, one-on-one debate, however, was a format that did not work well for him.

Clinton had crammed for the encounter, practicing heavily. Trump ostentatiously avoided preparation — playing the proverbial high school slacker drinking beer behind the bleachers while the teacher’s pet was in the library.

But Monday night was the revenge of the nerd.

Trump was louder and nastier. But Clinton was cool and measured, continuing to make her case while Trump tried to talk over her. Again and again, she put him on the defensive, and his one-line retorts did not serve him well.

Clinton speculated that he wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he hadn’t paid income tax for several years.

“It would be squandered,” Trump said, not denying the allegation.

Clinton noted that Trump hadn’t paid federal income taxes for several years previously.

“That makes me smart,” he said.

Clinton accused Trump of rooting for the housing market to collapse in 2006.

“That’s called business,” Trump said.

At one point, Trump took a dig at Clinton because she “decided to stay home,” presumably to practice for the debate. Clinton was ready: “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.”

Trump was prepared to do what he has done for 18 months: spout falsehoods. But while that works on Twitter and at campaign rallies, it didn’t go well in the 90-minute debate. Clinton, with an occasional assist from Holt, was able to take some 100 million viewers on a tour of what she called Trump’s “own reality.”

“Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” Clinton pointed out.

“I did not!” Trump protested.

He did say so, on Nov. 6, 2012, at 2:15 p.m., on Twitter.

Clinton noted that Trump “supported the invasion of Iraq.”

“Wrong!” Trump declared.

He did, on Sept. 11, 2002, on Howard Stern’s radio show.

Clinton noted that murders have continued to decline in New York.

“No, you’re wrong.”

Clinton was correct.

Trump repeated the oft-debunked canard that Clinton aides were the first to question Barack Obama’s American birth in 2008. And he dismissed the widely held view among cybersecurity experts that Russia was behind the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee. “It could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

This was the shot at Trump that Low-Energy Jeb, Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted never had: an extended, one-on-one encounter to test the bilious billionaire. Trump’s playground taunts sounded juvenile.

He declared that Clinton “tells you how to fight ISIS on her website! I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.”

“Well,” Clinton replied, “at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.”

Trump, ignoring Holt’s admonitions, kept up his interruptions: “You didn’t read it! .?.?. Who gave it that name? .?.?. Lester, how much?”

When Clinton at one point joked that “I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened,” Trump interrupted again: “Why not?”

“You know,” Clinton said, “just join the debate by saying more crazy things.”

That he did. He justified his misogynistic words about Rosie O’Donnell by saying that “nobody feels sorry for her.”

Ultimately, insults were not enough.

When Clinton said Trump’s economic plan would add $5 trillion to the debt, Trump interrupted.

“You have no plan!’

“Oh, but I do,” said Clinton, unruffled. “In fact, I have written a book about it.”

“That’s about all you’ve done,” Trump shot back.

And that was about all Trump could do.

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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Testing Democracy http://themoderatevoice.com/testing-democracy/ http://themoderatevoice.com/testing-democracy/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:17:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219801 abstract six line blue transparent vector

The polls have tightened and the presidential election in the last few weeks has seemed like a toss-up. Trump blusters, lies, and exaggerates at every opportunity and his supporters rally to his side, not seeming to care. No answers to problems offered, just mottos. Insults and mottos from a possible president. Is this what democracy [...]

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shutterstock_4026964The polls have tightened and the presidential election in the last few weeks has seemed like a toss-up. Trump blusters, lies, and exaggerates at every opportunity and his supporters rally to his side, not seeming to care. No answers to problems offered, just mottos. Insults and mottos from a possible president. Is this what democracy has degenerated into in this age of information overload, where people cannot differentiate between hyperbole and real solutions? Where knowledge and experience is no longer valued by voters. Where soundbites and slogans are favored over policy prescriptions.

The debate pitted a master entertainer against a policy wonk politician. A reality show celebrity against reality itself. An autocrat against a democrat. A woman against a man. A bully against an advocate for children. An insulter against the insultee. A predator of women against a woman who’s been victimized. A fat gasbag of a narcissist against a woman primed to take him down. Was she successful?

Trump generally maintained his composure throughout the debate, though he frequently interrupted Hillary and the moderator Lester Holt. There were no major attempts at bullying, though his facial expressions often showed his displeasure for what was being said, with a smirking and head shaking as Hillary spoke. Again, Trump’s ideas were put forth in general terms, rather than being specific about what he was going to do. As expected, he refused to reveal his “secret plan” to defeat ISIS which one wonders is a plan at all. But I forgot that he said he knows more about defeating ISIS than the generals fighting them (though this was not claimed last night).

Also as anticipated Trump still has refused to release his taxes, declaring that they were being audited. This was in spite of the fact that the IRS said this is no reason he cannot release them while they were still under review. Since this has been the custom of presidential candidates for the last forty years, it is obvious that he has something he is hiding; most likely that he is not paying any taxes, though he claims not paying taxes is merely being a good businessman. (Is this the kind of leader America needs?) He may also not be as rich as he claims and may have done deals with nefarious figures. (But we’ll never know with his taxes under lock and key.) Trump also wants to cut taxes mainly on the wealthy, anticipating that the benefits would trickle down to the middle class and that new jobs would be created. Most economists doubt that this would work, but Trump probably knows more than the economists as well.

Hillary also performed as expected, giving more detail on the ideas she had that she would like to see as laws. Higher taxes on the rich to cut student loan debt and mortgage debt, pay for college, and create more jobs. When Trump said that she didn’t “look presidential” and challenged her stamina to be president, Hillary came back with a quick repartee that mentioned her travel as Secretary of State and her testimony before the Benghazi committee.

Hillary was usually seen as smiling and upbeat, while Trump seemed negative. At the finish, he pushed his slogan of Making America Great Again, believing that it was no longer great and he was the guy to right the ship. I haven’t seen the data from the fact checkers yet, but it seemed to me that Trump came out with more whoppers than Hillary, particularly in denying his early support for the Iraq War. And why is he so secretive about his plans and his taxes which must be seen as a negative for him. There was also not enough explanation about Trump’s admiration for Putin and other dictators, why he asked for Hillary’s emails to be hacked by the Russians, and about how he was going to build his great wall.

My take is that Hillary won the debate but was not overwhelming. But her knowledge and preparation shows that she would make a far better president than Trump in spite of all her warts. Trump remains a narcissistic, unhinged, off-the-cuff candidate whose spontaneous declarations are often damaging. I’m for Hillary.

Resurrecting Democracy

www.robertlevinebooks.com

Photo by Shutterstock

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National Poll: Voters Say Clinton Won Debate 51/40 http://themoderatevoice.com/national-poll-voters-nationally-say-clinton-won-debate-5140/ http://themoderatevoice.com/national-poll-voters-nationally-say-clinton-won-debate-5140/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 06:31:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219795 shutterstock_154269545

‘ Results of a new national poll: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton beat Republican Presidential candidate 51/40: PPP’s post debate survey, sponsored by VoteVets Action Fund, finds that voters nationally think Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the debate, 51/40. And there are signs Clinton helped herself with young voters: Perhaps most important for Clinton [...]

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Results of a new national poll: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton beat Republican Presidential candidate 51/40:

PPP’s post debate survey, sponsored by VoteVets Action Fund, finds that voters nationally think Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the debate, 51/40.

And there are signs Clinton helped herself with young voters:

Perhaps most important for Clinton is that among young voters, who she has under performed with, 63% think she won the debate to only 24% for Trump. 47% of voters in that age group said the debate tonight made them more likely to vote for her, to only 10% who say it made them less likely to vote for her. For Trump with that group on the other hand, only 23% said the debate made them more likely to vote for him to 39% who said it made them less likely to.

Clinton also won the debate by particularly wide margins with women (54/36) and voters who are either African American or Latino (77/13). Among white voters the debate was basically a draw with Trump coming out ahead 47/45.

Graphic by Shutterstock.com

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Marshall on the Debate http://themoderatevoice.com/marshall-on-the-debate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/marshall-on-the-debate/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 04:17:01 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219783 clintontrumpdebatett.nbcnews-ux-1080-600

Josh Marshall thinks Hillary Clinton had Donald Trump on the defensive in the first debate on Talking Points Memo. Clinton clearly went into this debate not looking for one or two big “Have you no decency” moments but rather looking to hit him with a rat-tat-tat series of taunts and jabs to see if she [...]

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clintontrumpdebatett.nbcnews-ux-1080-600

Josh Marshall thinks Hillary Clinton had Donald Trump on the defensive in the first debate on Talking Points Memo.

Clinton clearly went into this debate not looking for one or two big “Have you no decency” moments but rather looking to hit him with a rat-tat-tat series of taunts and jabs to see if she could get him to lose his cool and throw him off his game. It ended up happening a lot more quickly than I expected. No more than fifteen minutes in he was getting visibly angry. And he stayed that way for the next hour plus.

From maybe a half hour into the debate Clinton had almost entirely seized the initiative. She was attacking while he responded, sometimes angrily, sometimes with new attacks and very often by doubling down on demonstrable falsehoods he’s been pilloried for for months. At various moments he shuffled in and out of parts of his stump speech. But through most of the exchange he constantly interrupted Clinton, talked over her, denied claims she made which are easily validated. In terms of body language and style it was thermonuclear Rick Lazio.

There were so many examples of this I lost track: the Chinese and global warming; on hoping for a housing crisis, “that’s business,”; we should have taken the oil; he was totally against the Iraq War.

Just a mix of easily demonstrable lies and nonsensical statements.

Trump had no good answer on why he refused to release his taxes. And I think on live TV, watched by maybe 100 million people, the fact that he’s lying about this was pretty obvious. On birtherism he tried to resurface the argument that Clinton was the real birther, just not as effective as he was. “I think I did a great job and a great service in getting the President to give his birth certificate.” If we’re going to use boxing metaphors, my read was that for the last two thirds or so of the debate she had him almost constantly on the ropes. He was almost always reacting to her. He was swiping, swinging, sometimes nasty, sometimes getting in applause lines – but he was reacting to her almost throughout. Most of the time he was ranging between outbursts, denying claims, saying how many people loved him and are happy. At other times, he talked about how she’d spent more money on ads than he had, how his poll numbers were going up. Hardcore partisans care about this stuff. No anyone else. It’s the stuff you grouse or brag about to your staff. Not the stuff you use in a debate.

Two key points to finish up. In this debate, Trump repeated virtually every lie he’s told through this campaign. He settled birtherism. He opposed the Iraq War. He can’t release his tax returns because of an audit. This time he said them in front of a hundred million people. Those things will each come up again now.

Finally, the most obvious thing was there right in front of us. We heard a lot about Clinton preparing in depth for this debate. Trump, we’re told … well his advisors couldn’t get him to do any real debate prep. He had bull sessions with Christie and Giuliani and Gen. Flynn. I now find those claims quite believable. Her preparation and his cocky indifference to doing so showed in both cases. Clinton was poised and unflappable. She needled him but not in a way that seemed nasty or petulant. She was poised throughout. It was equally clear that he had no clear strategy for what to do. For that among other reasons she took control of the debate within a half hour.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2016/09/marshall-on-debate.html

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CNN poll of debate watchers: Clinton won 62% to 27% http://themoderatevoice.com/cnn-poll-debate-watchers-clinton-won-62-27/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cnn-poll-debate-watchers-clinton-won-62-27/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:54:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219787 shutterstock_110913122 (1)

A CNN poll of debate watchers found that Democratic Party nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat Republican Party nominee Donald Trump 62% to 27%. CNN noted that the poll was skewered a bit more Democratic than Republican, but that would only matter in impacting 3 or 4 points. The poll showed Clinton’s vulnerability [...]

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A CNN poll of debate watchers found that Democratic Party nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat Republican Party nominee Donald Trump 62% to 27%.

CNN noted that the poll was skewered a bit more Democratic than Republican, but that would only matter in impacting 3 or 4 points.

The poll showed Clinton’s vulnerability on the economy. Even though the poll relied on more Democrats than a typical national poll, when asked about the economy 51% felt Clinton was stronger and 47% felt Trump was stronger.

But when the question became foreign policy, viewers by a big margin thought Clinton did better: 62% to 35%.

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Sullivan Live-blogs Debate #1 http://themoderatevoice.com/sullivan-live-blogs-debate-1/ http://themoderatevoice.com/sullivan-live-blogs-debate-1/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:05:51 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219708 Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan sums it up for New York Magazine. What can one say? I was afraid that Trump’s charisma and stage presence and salesmanship might out-shine Hillary Clinton’s usually tepid and wonkish instincts. I feared that the facts wouldn’t matter; that a debate would not take place. And it is to Clinton’s great credit that [...]

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Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan sums it up for New York Magazine.

What can one say? I was afraid that Trump’s charisma and stage presence and salesmanship might out-shine Hillary Clinton’s usually tepid and wonkish instincts. I feared that the facts wouldn’t matter; that a debate would not take place. And it is to Clinton’s great credit that she prepared; and he didn’t; and that she let him hang himself.

His utter lack of preparation; his doubling down on transparent lies; his foreign policy recklessness; his racial animosity; his clear discomfort with the kind of exchange of views that is integral to liberal democracy; his instinctual belligerence: all these suggest someone who has long lived in a deferential bubble that has become filled with his own reality.

Clinton was not great at times; her language was occasionally stilted; she missed some obvious moments to go in for the kill; but she was solid and reassuring and composed. I started tonight believing she needed a game-changer to alter the trajectory of this race. I may, of course, be wrong, trapped in my own confirmation bias and bubble – but I thought she did just that.

I’ve been a nervous wreck these past two weeks; my nerves are calmed now.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2016/09/sullivan-live-blogs-debate-1.html

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Clinton, Trump clash and interrupt each other in first Presidential debate http://themoderatevoice.com/clinton-trump-clash-and-interrupt-each-other-in-first-presidential-debate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/clinton-trump-clash-and-interrupt-each-other-in-first-presidential-debate/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 01:58:27 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219781 Donald Trump speaks as Hillary Clinton listens during their first debate.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif

By John Whitesides and Steve Holland HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Reuters) – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump locked horns over the economy, assailed each other’s foreign policy, and interrupted each other repeatedly in heated exchanges at the first U.S. presidential debate on Monday. After greeting each other with a handshake and a smile, the two [...]

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Donald Trump speaks as Hillary Clinton listens during their first debate.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Donald Trump speaks as Hillary Clinton listens during their first debate.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Donald Trump speaks as Hillary Clinton listens during their first debate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

By John Whitesides and Steve Holland

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Reuters) – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump locked horns over the economy, assailed each other’s foreign policy, and interrupted each other repeatedly in heated exchanges at the first U.S. presidential debate on Monday.

After greeting each other with a handshake and a smile, the two opponents went on the attack, with Clinton calling the New York businessman’s tax policies “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics and Trump accusing the former secretary of state of being “all talk, no action.”

Each accused the other of distortions and falsehoods and urged viewers to check their websites for the facts. She called him Donald, and he called her Secretary Clinton

“I have a feeling I’m going to be blamed for everything,” said Clinton, the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party.

“Why not?” Trump retorted.

As the debate opened, they put forward competing visions for the U.S. economy.

“The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. And in fact it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percents of the people in this country that we’ve ever had,” Clinton said. “I call it Trumped-up trickle-down, because that’s exactly what it would be.”

Trump, a real estate tycoon and former reality television star who has never held elective office, criticized Clinton for her trade policies and said she would approve a controversial trade deal with Asian countries despite opposing it as a candidate.

“You were totally in favor of it, then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, ‘Well, I can’t win that debate,’ but you know that if you did win, you would approve that,” he said.

Clinton rejected the criticism.

“Well Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts,” she said.

Clinton, 68, wore a red pantsuit, and Trump, 70, wore a dark suit and a blue tie to the encounter that could shift the course of the tight 2016 race for the White House.

Moderator Lester Holt struggled to rein in the candidates, with discussions about trade policy suddenly shifting to the fight against Islamic State as Trump accused Clinton of giving away information to the enemy by revealing on her website how she planned to defeat the group.

(Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Cartoon: The debate expectations game http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-the-debate-expectations-game/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-the-debate-expectations-game/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:23:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219776 Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com

See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com
Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com

Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com

See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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When Serious Debate is Trivialized for Media Ratings http://themoderatevoice.com/when-serious-debate-is-trivialized-for-media-ratings/ http://themoderatevoice.com/when-serious-debate-is-trivialized-for-media-ratings/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:22:31 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219773 abstract six line blue transparent vector

I’ve heard it and heard it this week; “Gonna be bigger than the superbowl in viewers.” A match looking ‘for a TKO [technical knock out as in boxing].’ An endless loop playing on teevee channels re put downs by former presidential debaters, as though the put down is some high art form. It isnt. It’s [...]

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I’ve heard it and heard it this week; “Gonna be bigger than the superbowl in viewers.” A match looking ‘for a TKO [technical knock out as in boxing].’ An endless loop playing on teevee channels re put downs by former presidential debaters, as though the put down is some high art form. It isnt. It’s the lowest form of non-discourse we have.

It’s like “Sonny Liston” match. It’s going to be a ‘slam-sucker punch night.’ You might as well say, Which “gladior will take the ears and tongue of the other?”

Really, this is what is has come to? I see the pictures of men, women and children gathered at the lynching scaffold, laughing and gee-jawing for the camera, whilst the naked body of a black man swings in the wind.

I see the piles of bison skulls five stories high on the plains of the USA, where drunken screaming raving men with long rifles shot hundreds of thousands of bison to death from windows of the trains the men traveled… leaving the dead animals to rot in the sun. I see the men who misnamed themselves ‘hunters,’ standing by the piles of dead bison bodies, jack-grinning into the camera so proud of themselves for shooting down the mythic beings, like ‘fish in a barrel.’

I see the comandante listening to violin music played for him whilst he eats a sumptuous meal, at the same time one thousand naked children, women, old people, less than a quarter mile away are being gassed to death. The violinist and the cook are the comandante’s prisoners who will live one more day for giving ‘their talents’ to serve the endless maw of the comandante.

I see the coliseum and the mobs that come to jeer and laugh and screech at death dealing, wanting it, hoping for it, to feed some subhuman longing lodged in their own throats.

I see the sick of any war grinning over having mutilated and de-trousered dead ‘enemies’ exposing their genitalia, whooping over this denigration of the dead.

I see the desk [with brass lamp and leather chair,] with the jawbone of a human being upon it.

I see the grinning man with big crooked teeth, sitting in a pickup truck who is speaking and laughing into the video camera about baseball and girls, whilst behind his truck are the mangled, black-blood bodies of prisoners he has just dragged to their deaths.

I see the school of Theology in Denver, who for years displayed in its lobby, a copy of the bible, bound with the skin of a dead Native American.

I see the black fillings in the back molars of women and men screaming hatred at the young African American students walking into school the first day of integration after centuries of segregation.

I see the handing out of ax handles to do harm to those integrating the schools. I see the photos of the men laughing over the remains of a body beaten so, it looks like a sack of laundry.

I see the beheaded Chinese men whose heads were hung on a clothesline by their long hair braids, and I see the people photographing the slaughter, being proud of themselves for demeaning human beings at a level so low that even Satan wept.

And I wonder for our nation, our country, what sorrow we yet can bear to know ‘the least of the least of us all’ is being called forward, being lured forward, if only we will demean others, pummel another, assault another… as though we are not and have never been and will never be again, someone wiser in ways, noble, able, and wanting decency and progress for all.

Dont feignt away now; Remember the noble is not some statue of a man with sword waved from a horse in a park somewhere. It is a person who would speak decency in this time. To weigh, to assess, to ask, inquire, and to then resolutely decide for oneself where to stand –that is NOT rooted in offal.

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Truthiness http://themoderatevoice.com/truthiness/ http://themoderatevoice.com/truthiness/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:16:28 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219732 DonDonEagle

September 26, 2016 Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as [...]

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DonDonEagle

DonDonEagle

September 26, 2016

Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as Baby DonDon.

Yesterday Kellyanne Conway called me the Babe Ruth of debaters, but I want to lower expectations. John Oliver was less charitable, calling me “America’s wealthiest hemorrhoid,” which can’t be a good thing, right? That got through even my ultra-thick skin. And it sure lowered my expectations for tonight.

Moving on, I need to say no fair, no fair, no fair. Yesterday Chris Wallace was fact-checking Mike Pensacola over at Fox News. Mike said the Washington Post-Apocalypse stories about my foundation were “factually incorrect.” Good boy, Mike.

But Wallace kept asking him in what ways were they inaccurate. And Mike couldn’t answer. Hey, Chris Wallace, illegal fact-checking, two-minute penalty for you.

What an asshole.

I’m worried that Lester “The Lame and The” Holt, tonight’s debate moderator, will try the same sleazy maneuver with me. Be prepared, Baby DonDon won’t stand for it.

Naturally, some people have said I can avoid fact-checking persecution by simply telling the truth. Say what? If I stop lying there is no way I can do 40 or 45 minutes of talking tonight. Maybe I can do three minutes. Then I can repeat myself three times, which gets us up to nine minutes. Then what the hell am I supposed to do, dance? Talk policy?

Don’t I have a First Amendment to state the truth as I see it, even if only blind white supremacists agree with me?

Finally, what a week to have all these stories about my truthiness appear. Politico said I made 87 erroneous statements in five days, or one every three minutes and 15 seconds of speaking. Politico thinks this is horrible. I consider it efficient.

What will my big surprise be tonight? Will I do less lying?

No. I will do more. SURPRISE! Hillary will have to call out my whoppers so often that she will lose track of what she wanted to say. She’ll look besieged. Besieged and weak. And Baby DonDon will win! And become your president.

Oh.

I’m still working on a way to win and not become president. Stay tuned.

Andrew Feinberg is the author of Four Score and Seven (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Score-Seven-Andrew-Feinberg/dp/0692664009), a novel that imagines that Abe Lincoln comes back to life for two weeks during the 2016 campaign and encounters a candidate who, some say, resembles Donald Trump. He also writes a daily anti-Trump humor page at https://www.facebook.com/MeBabyDonDon.

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If You Think That American Politicians Are Bad http://themoderatevoice.com/if-you-think-that-american-politicians-are-bad/ http://themoderatevoice.com/if-you-think-that-american-politicians-are-bad/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:00:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219765 Twilight Zone

If you think that American politicians are bad, then check out what has been happening to the residents of the London suburb of Surbiton. From Auto Blog: “Residents of a Southwest London neighborhood are up in arms after receiving a series of fines for parking on their own property in early September.” The politicians there [...]

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Twilight Zone

If you think that American politicians are bad, then check out what has been happening to the residents of the London suburb of Surbiton.

From Auto Blog: “Residents of a Southwest London neighborhood are up in arms after receiving a series of fines for parking on their own property in early September.”

The politicians there decided that a driveway is a part of a street, the former being what the the politicians call a crossover. So, Surbiton residents have been receiving parking tickets for parking in their own driveways.

Apparently, the politicians of Surbiton have crossed over into the twilight zone.

Twilight Zone

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Why We Need to Talk About America’s Lack of Black Teachers http://themoderatevoice.com/why-we-need-to-talk-about-americas-lack-of-black-teachers/ http://themoderatevoice.com/why-we-need-to-talk-about-americas-lack-of-black-teachers/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:24:07 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219769 photo-1444730558009-b7f0368e1264

In 2013, the city of Philadelphia closed 24 of its schools. There were many reasons cited for the closures — among them the challenge of meeting test score requirements, an education policy staple since 2002. Whether it was the cause or the effect, in the 11 years between 2001 and 2012, that city’s population of [...]

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In 2013, the city of Philadelphia closed 24 of its schools. There were many reasons cited for the closures — among them the challenge of meeting test score requirements, an education policy staple since 2002. Whether it was the cause or the effect, in the 11 years between 2001 and 2012, that city’s population of black teachers fell by 18.5 percent.

In President Obama’s old stomping grounds of Chicago, the count of black teachers dropped by a staggering 40 percent during that same period, and in 2013, Chicago handily beat even Philly’s record, by closing 49 schools, which amounted to a significant portion of the 500 in total that were closed in 2013. Even in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., the effects are being felt, as 38 schools were shuttered in 2008, out of a total of 111.

Then and Now

Back in the 1970s, local, state and federal governments were better equipped — and more willing — to funnel the appropriate resources to school districts plagued by generations-old problems. The areas most affected by the closings and departures described above are located in predominantly African American communities, and there was a time when they had the resources they needed to beat the odds stacked heavily against them.

This is no longer the case. With inflation and the ever-higher cost of living in the United States, the federal government has struggled for decades to keep our schools adequately funded. And when schools don’t get the funding they need, institutions in minority-heavy areas are disproportionately affected, when compared with schools in whiter communities.

And then, of course, there’s America’s war on drugs, which has seen government spending on corrections grow at more than triple the rate of spending on education. Up and down the campaign trail this year, the more progressive-minded candidates have spoken out against the “school-to-prison” pipeline and the “revolving door” of recidivism which, again, disproportionately affects African Americans.

This is what comes of turning criminal justice over to profit-driven corporations. It’s also the treatment that more and more American schools can expect if we give in to the conservative and libertarian fairy tales of “school vouchers” and “privatized education.” It’s time for money to stop holding knowledge hostage.

The Solutions

Before you say it: yes, it’s perfectly clear that affirmative action alone is not going to solve this problem. If we had two thousand new black teachers tomorrow, we’d still need schools to put them in.

It would also be a mere drop in the bucket, as 26,000 African American teachers have departed from America’s public schools since 1990, despite growth in the teaching workforce totaling 134,000 teachers. In other words, as America has become a more diverse place to live, our schools have grown ever less diverse.

We’re seeing increasing attention to the systemic, racially charged problems that lead to the killings of innocent black Americans on an almost weekly basis, but the crisis in the classroom is a much quieter issue.

It’s a fact that white teachers are far more likely to find black students’ behavior problematic and levy unnecessarily harsh penalties, such as suspensions or expulsions than black teachers are. That’s according to a study conducted by Adam Wright, who does social research at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Nevertheless, the problem won’t be solved merely by throwing more money at the problem, and it won’t be solved with some anti-bigotry silver bullet. Instead, we’re witnessing a key moment of clarity, as social and economic justice, trade and economic policies and racial equality all come together to create a perfect storm. When that storm finally settles, we’ll have changed our country for good.

Benefits of Hiring More Black Teachers

What does this mean? For a start, it means that, yes, we do need to encourage more African Americans to become teachers — and that means deliberately targeting each of the above problems in turn.

Black children have every bit as much potential to become world-class educators, but if they grow up in racially divided communities with struggling schools, they may never realize that potential. In addition, African Americans caught in the school-to-prison pipeline may never be given the chance for redemption that they deserve.

At every level of society, we’re not done dealing with slavery’s aftermath. That might sound dramatic, but hopefully less so now that we’ve got data to back up a simple fact. The color of your skin still profoundly affects your ability to live a whole and worthwhile life, whether you’re a struggling student or a troubled youth who wants to grow up to teach someday.

Let’s make this concrete, shall we? The study mentioned above by Adam Wright made another interesting discovery. If schools doubled the number of black teachers in their employ, we could, as a nation, cut the white-black “suspension disparity” in half. An additional study revealed that white teachers have a tendency to grade minority students more harshly — sometimes skewing results by as much as 22 percent — than white students.

No Smoking Gun

No, there’s no one smoking gun here — just a collection of very old problems in need of new solutions. If there’s a lesson here, it’s to be wary of any pasty-faced politician who insists racism is dead, or that taking offense at another killing, or another failing, of a minority-heavy school, is just business-as-usual. And when conservative-minded folks campaign on a platform promising education “reform” of any kind, treat what they say with the skepticism it’s due.

In the meantime, visibility is our greatest weapon against these problems, as #BlackLivesMatter continues to demonstrate. Once we understand the problem, we can get to work making sure the next generation doesn’t inherit our prejudice the way we inherited our parents’.

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Bet on Donald Trump getting fact checked during tonight’s Presidential debate (Gambling odds) http://themoderatevoice.com/219766/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219766/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:55:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219766 Dice

If you’re a person who bets, put your money down on Lester Holt fact checking Donald Trump more than Hilary Clinton during the debate. According to the odds-makers at SportsBettingDime.com, at 1/4 Trump is the prohibitive favorite to get fact checked the most. If that’s not enough of a sure thing, the odds-maker also offer [...]

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Dice
Dice

Dice

If you’re a person who bets, put your money down on Lester Holt fact checking Donald Trump more than Hilary Clinton during the debate. According to the odds-makers at SportsBettingDime.com, at 1/4 Trump is the prohibitive favorite to get fact checked the most. If that’s not enough of a sure thing, the odds-maker also offer 1/7 odds that Trump refers to Clinton’s health or stamina during the event and 1/3 odds that Clinton references Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

The odd-makers are also laying even money (1/1) that Colin Kaepernick is mentioned during the debate but only 3/1 odds that anyone mentions Skittles. They also give Clinton (11/10) a slight edge in getting a bigger post-election bump in the Quinnipiac Poll. And with the myriad of scandals surrounding each candidate, the odd-makers are split on lines of attack for each candidate. Favorite targets for Clinton are expected to be Trump’s Tax Returns and Bankruptcies both at 2/1; while Clinton’s emails (2/1) and the Clinton Foundation (3/1) are expected to be Trump’s favorite targets.

For all of the odds and analysis, visit https://www.sportsbettingdime.com/news/entertainment-props/election-odds-debating-the-first-debate/

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ODDS

Which candidate will get a bigger bump in the Quinnipiac poll that directly follows the debate
Trump: 10/11
Clinton: 11/10

Odds of which Clinton scandal/issue Trump refers to most often during the debate
Email server: 2/1
Clinton Foundation: 3/1
Benghazi: 4/1
Health: 4/1

Odds of which Trump scandal/issue Clinton refers to most often during the debate
Bankruptcies: 2/1
Tax returns: 2/1
Trump Foundation: 6/1
Trump University: 6/1

Odds on the color of Donald Trump’s tie
Red: 9/5
Blue: 2/1
Green: 5/1
Yellow: 7/1
FIELD (including striped): 20/1

Odds on the color of Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit
Blue: 3/1
Black: 4/1
White: 5/1
Multi-colored: 7/1
Red: 16/1
FIELD: 4/1

Odds of which candidate Lester Holt fact-checks more during the debate
Trump: 1/4
Clinton: 4/1

Odds that Trump complains about the fairness of moderator Lester Holt during or following the debate: 2/1

Odds a Trump protester disrupts the debate: 9/1

Odds a Trump supporter disrupts the debate: 8/1

Odds that Clinton retires or withdraws from the debate before its scheduled end: 22/1

Odds San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is mentioned during the debate: 1/1

Odds Trump brings up Clinton’s health/stamina during the debate: 1/7

Odds Clinton brings up Trump’s alleged ties to Russia during the debate: 1/3

Odds Trump brings up Bill Clinton’s infidelities during the debate: 6/1

Odds the word “Skittles” is used during the debate (by a candidate or moderator): 3/1

About SportsBettingDime.com
SportsBettingDime.com (SBD) provides expert picks and unique odds on sports and entertainment for fans seeking insight into various scenarios and online betting options. Whether it is pop-culture and celebrity gossip, sports outcomes, hard news, or anything in between, SportsBettingDime.com is THE place for reliable up-to-the-minute odds and predictive analysis.

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Will Trump have his Col. Jessup moment in tonight’s debate? http://themoderatevoice.com/will-trump-have-his-col-jessup-moment-in-tonights-debate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/will-trump-have-his-col-jessup-moment-in-tonights-debate/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:38:54 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219764 Donkeyhotey Trump

I was convinced many months ago that, at some point, Donald Trump would have his “Damn right I ordered the Code Red” moment. Maybe that moment will come Monday night. We all know the scene, from the 1992 courtroom drama “A Few Good Men,” when Col. Jessup, the egomaniacal military commander played by Jack Nicholson, [...]

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Donkeyhotey Trump

I was convinced many months ago that, at some point, Donald Trump would have his “Damn right I ordered the Code Red” moment. Maybe that moment will come Monday night.

We all know the scene, from the 1992 courtroom drama “A Few Good Men,” when Col. Jessup, the egomaniacal military commander played by Jack Nicholson, his blood boiling, begins to realize that his series of lies are coming unraveled under questioning. He blurts out that he gave the orders that led to the death of a Marine, not grasping the consequences of his sudden collision with the truth.

Trump is past overdue for such an implosion.

Maybe he would reveal the details of his many business failures. Maybe he would provide graphic proof that he has virtually no knowledge of, or interest in, foreign policy. Perhaps he might expose why he’s keeping his tax returns under wraps.

At that moment, Trump would look in wonderment at the stunned, silent audience around him as they comprehend the enormity of the verbal stumble he had suffered.

Hillary Clinton certainly has her share of baggage but it’s nearly impossible to imagine the former secretary of state, if cornered by the moderator on Monday, exploding in fury as Nicholson/Jessup did in that iconic scene (written by the incomparable Aaron Sorkin).

But Trump, wound tight with all his narcissism and bravado, is a Jessup-like character to the core.

We await the drama on stage at Hoffstra University to see how it plays out.

Illustration: Donkey-hote

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How Much Does Trump Care for Hispanics? Nada, Cero, Ni Papa http://themoderatevoice.com/how-much-does-trump-care-for-hispanics-nada-cero-ni-papa/ http://themoderatevoice.com/how-much-does-trump-care-for-hispanics-nada-cero-ni-papa/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:09:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219759 DonkeyHotey Trump 2

“This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.” ~ Donald Trump

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DonkeyHotey Trump 2

DonkeyHotey Trump 2

Addressing potential voters in Spanish during a presidential campaign used to be a rarity “in the old days.”

But as early as 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy realized the growing importance of the U.S. Hispanic vote and convinced his wife, who spoke Spanish, to do an ad in Spanish, below.

In the ad, Mrs. Kennedy assures Hispanic voters that her husband, as presidente, “when world peace is threatened by Communism,” will lead America with a firm hand guide.

Assuring Hispanic Americans that her husband will always watch over those in our society who “need the protection of a humanitarian government” Mrs. Kennedy concludes, “Para el futuro de nuestros niños y para lograr un mundo donde exista la paz verdadera, voten ustedes por el partido demócrata el día 8 de noviembre. ¡Que viva Kennedy!

(For our children’s’ future, and to achieve a world where true peace exists, vote for the Democratic Party on November 8. Long live Kennedy!)

While Hispanics were a much smaller part of the US voting bloc in the 60s, “political consultants and historians credit Jackie’s prominent role in outreach to Latinos as a crucial component of Kennedy’s razor thin margin of victory in 1960.

Since then, many politicians at local, state and national levels have made Spanish part of their campaigns, including John McCain, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, John Kerry, Michael Bloomberg and many others.

Notoriously, the GOP’s Newt Gingrich, in 2007, had to apologize in Spanish for calling Spanish the “language of living in the ghetto.”

During the 2012 presidential campaign, both the Obama and Romney campaigns included Spanish in their appeals to Hispanics/Latinos.*

The San Diego Union Tribune:

Romney’s son Craig, for example, has become his father’s personal translator, explaining in skillful Spanish in targeted TV ads that his dad is a man “con grandes convicciones,” or “with strong beliefs.” He will fight “para encaminar nuestro pais y crear empleos,” or “to guide our country and create jobs,” Craig Romney says.

For its part, the Obama campaign “recycled” its 2008 campaign slogan, “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can.”

The Obama and Romney teams spent a total of $23 million on Spanish-language ads during the 2012 presidential campaign.

It makes sense.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2013), the Latino population in 2012 was 53 million, making up 17% of the U.S. population. Latinos now make up about 10 percent of the national vote. Approximately 45 million Americans speak Spanish as a first language. If one includes multilinguals, that number exceeds 52 million.

Latinos are more likely to be new voters. As of 2012, “the median age for Latinos [was] 27.6 years, compared with 42 years for non-Hispanic whites. An estimated 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 each month and become eligible to vote.”

It is thus no surprise that the 2016 presidential hopefuls and their campaigns have gone out of their ways to impress Hispanic voters with their español.

Jeb Bush, fluent in Spanish and married to a Mexican woman, has used it well as has Marco Rubio, a native Spanish speaker, son of Cuban-American immigrants.

Jeb Bush:

Marco Rubio:

Hillary Clinton and her campaign have engaged the Hispanic-American community in Spanish with speeches, ads and with a Spanish-language web site, although Clinton admits that she does not speak Spanish. In addition, Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, speaks fluently Spanish. Clinton’s supportive PACs have announced a $3 million Spanish-language buy in Nevada, Florida and Colorado.

How much Spanish has the Republican presidential candidate used?

Except for a Spanglish “Hispanics Para Trump,” where the incorrect Spanish word for “for” was used, the answer is “ni papa,” roughly translated as zilch.

The man who has a love-hate relationship — depending on whom he talks to — with Mexicans, Hispanics, Latinos, Muslims, African-Americans, with less than 45 days to go until the November elections is, according to Politico.com, “on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish.” It adds, “Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition.”

Not only does Mr. Trump refuse to recognize Hispanic demographics that could make or break his try for the presidency, he has chastised those who would dare to use Spanish in their campaign.

First, in an interview with conservative website Breitbart last September, Trump chided Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish while in the U.S. “”He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”

A few days later, during the GOP presidential debate at the Reagan Library, Trump lectured Bush, “This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.”

Spanish has also been used against candidates.

During the 2012 campaign, the Service Employees International Union and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action put out an ad in Spanish criticizing Romney for refusing to release his tax returns at the time.

The ad claimed that Romney “quiere que le mostremos nuestros papeles, pero él no nos muestra los suyos,” or, “he wants us to show him our papers, but he doesn’t show us his.”

In the case of Trump, the number of remarks, ads, speeches, videos made against and about Trump in Spanish are just too numerous and, in many cases, too graphic to list or quote here.

But here is a very short and very civil one:

Former Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who has starred in a Spanish-language ad for Clinton, says, “Votar por Trump? No puedo

And below is a recent ad by a Republican — Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois — claiming in heavily accented Spanish, “Yo no apoyo a Trump.” (“I don’t support Trump.”)

Who knows, during tonight’s presidential debate — “one of the most highly anticipated debates in modern politics” — Trump may surprise us all by, in impeccable Spanish, denying that he hates Mexicans: “Yo nunca dije eso. Yo amo a los Mexicanos,” (“I never said that. I love Mexicans”), followed by an expression of his love for Mexican food: “¡Quiero frijoles, quiero frijoles, quiero frijoles!

You can watch (and hear) Trump in debate practice here.

~~
*The words “Hispanic,” and “Latino,” although having different meanings, are used interchangeably by the media and others, even by the U.S. Census Bureau and other U.S. government agencies. Here is one explanation.

Lead image: Courtesy DonkeyHotey.com

Edited to change “English” to “Spanish” in “Trump chided Jeb Bush for speaking English while in the U.S.”

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Trump 1600: Plan to Dismantle the White House http://themoderatevoice.com/plan-to-dismantle-white-house/ http://themoderatevoice.com/plan-to-dismantle-white-house/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:05:52 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219758 100716-N-8241M-008
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (July 16, 2010) The North East Gate at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is the only entry and exit point to mainland Cuba from the naval station. It has been closed to base personnel since the United States broke off diplomatic relations with the Cuban government on January 3, 1961. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Bill Mesta/Released)

The Plan It’s either brilliant or the height of arrogance. Six weeks ahead of the election, the Trump Organization has submitted a building plan to the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development to repurpose the White House. Eric Trump has taken the lead on project code-named Trump 1600, which is part of the overall [...]

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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (July 16, 2010) The North East Gate at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is the only entry and exit point to mainland Cuba from the naval station. It has been closed to base personnel since the United States broke off diplomatic relations with the Cuban government on January 3, 1961. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Bill Mesta/Released)
trump-white-house

Trump 1600 – Artist’s Rendering

The Plan

It’s either brilliant or the height of arrogance. Six weeks ahead of the election, the Trump Organization has submitted a building plan to the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development to repurpose the White House. Eric Trump has taken the lead on project code-named Trump 1600, which is part of the overall Trump Office Administration Development (TOAD). The plans call for the ground floor to stay “commercial.” The upper floors will be left intact, and they will raise the roof. A 25-story penthouse tower will soar above the existing residence, with views of Virginia, Maryland, and the “Historic District Skyline.” The northern wall of the tower will boast enormous bay windows to echo the famous portico. Eric Trump indicated that he “knows a guy” and has been promised that the plan review will go ahead so that “we are shovel-ready on day one.”

Cease and Desist

The National Park Service has taken immediate steps to halt review of the plan. It’s filed for a cease and desist order against the D.C.H.C.D. However, the Superior Court denied the motion, ruling that the Park Service had no standing for any development above the top of the White House.

“The owner of air rights over the said dwelling, be it publicly or privately owned, is vested with an interest superior to that of any other party, including the federal government,” said Superior Court Judge Bertha Denier in a brief opinion. “This is especially the case when the holder of those rights has submitted plans that are terrific and will make the location the biggest and most spectacular Presidential Resort in the world. It will be huge,” the court concluded.

Judge Denier refused to comment on her ruling. It is reported that she declined to stay review pending appeal, as she was en route to Mar-a-Lago for her reelection fund-raiser.

 Compounding Interest

At the same time, Trump Organization lawyers have filed for eminent domain of Lafayette Park and Blair House. They also have filed an unsolicited sealed bid to buy the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for private development. The proposed name is the Trump District District. It will offer a high-rise of sixty-four floors of “the world’s most amazing condominiums, overlooking the Trump Marquis de Lafayette Golf Club, consisting of a clubhouse and the most challenging three-hole course in the Western Hemisphere.”  A draft prospectus certifies that the bunkers will be “100% American sand.”

The present West Wing would become a museum dedicated to the memory of the Presidency with the Oval Office becoming a virtual reality exhibition. Customers will experience the feeling of being President by playing one on TV.

The Rest of the Plan

mar-a-lago

The proposed Florida White House

If elected, Trump would keep one of the penthouses available for his occasional visits. Trump will open his primary office in Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence, with the rest of the West Wing operation in a nearby strip mall leased from a Trump donor. The rest of the executive branch will work out of an existing government building a few minutes by air from the putative Florida White House. Rather than bring in private contractors, the Trumps will use a government labor force to convert the existing prison at Guantanamo Bay into a warren of executive offices with overflow for rental. Acres that have been neglected for decades would be put out to bid for beach front development under a 99-year lease. The plan includes an elaborate common area provisionally named the Bertha Denier Clubhouse.

guantanamo

Site of the new Executive Branch

Universal Backlash

Almost everyone in the country is outraged by at least some part of TOAD. In addition to the Park Service  lawsuit, the A.C.L.U. plans to file to stop the loss of Lafayette Park as a site for assembly and protest. The National Heritage Conservancy has fast-tracked recognition of the White House as a landmark of historic significance. Many groups have joined in a mass filing with the D.C. Zoning Commission to limit the redevelopment of the White House to five stories. This would make TOAD unprofitable.

The proposed relocation of the Presidential headquarters has drawn international scorn as well. Trump is the first private citizen to be censured by the United Nations General Assembly. Al Qaeda and ISIS have threatened reprisals if a Trump-led U.S. follows through on the plan to recast the Cuban prison as a government enclave and pleasure palace. Eric Trump uncharacteristically tried to appease those enraged by his plan.

guantanamo-bay-shaker-aamer-609755

Happy Government Laborers

“All workers will get first-class meals and comfortable lodgings as long as the project lasts. Their efforts will be recognized,” said Eric Trump.  Then he held up the sign to be affixed to each building: “This House Was Built by Enemy Combatants.”

 

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MAD AS HELL THAT MOCKERY IN DEBATES PASSES FOR SUBSTANCE: What About Issues of Native Americans http://themoderatevoice.com/three-ways-of-unacceptable-mockery-in-debates/ http://themoderatevoice.com/three-ways-of-unacceptable-mockery-in-debates/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:54:06 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219757 abstract six line blue transparent vector

What? are Native Americans, not talkable aboutable? Where do Trump and Clinton stand on Native issues? We dont know. News media as usual keeps running film loops of mockery in presidential debates, pushing that the rehearsed put downs of Reagan, Kennedy, Ford, and others are somehow the height of true debate, and elections. They are [...]

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abstract six line blue transparent vector

What? are Native Americans, not talkable aboutable? Where do Trump and Clinton stand on Native issues?

We dont know. News media as usual keeps running film loops of mockery in presidential debates, pushing that the rehearsed put downs of Reagan, Kennedy, Ford, and others are somehow the height of true debate, and elections. They are not. Not even close. They are diversions from the real issues our nation needs answers to. For weeks, media touts carnival. Side show. Open mic night at the local saloon.

Im mad as hell about media trivializing the most important election of our time. Surely mainstream media has forgotten who contributed flesh and blood, death and dying and maiming of brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, to WWII, Korea, VietNam, Gulf, Falklands, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan– not to mention the huge death tolls of children, pregnant mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers in the war zones.

And yet media breathlessly hangs the latest red herring on their line for us to salute. Im not saluting. Asks absurdist questions instead of questions of depth of candidates that will effect not just our world/nation, but the ENTIRE world, all nations. And First Nations, in particular.

1. I’d like the answer to this: What are the candidates’ plans re what plans are in place and planned re Native American groups protesting the oil pipeline being put under a major clean water source?

2. And answer this also while you’re at it: what does each candidate think truly about a big oil corp digging into burial grounds? Do we just think it would be ok if we who carry NA blood dug up a Catholic cemetery, say for instance? A holocaust cemetery? The National Cemetery, would that be just fine?

Would it be fine to come run an abject black poison river underneath the highly capillaried water tables just under municipal water supplies across the nation, especially those in upscale hoods? That would be alright as a national project so all human beings were endangered from oil spill water pollution equally?

3. I grew up on the Great Lakes where oil tankers sank, leaving for GENERATIONS, huge black tar gobbets of black oil clots in the beige sandy bottom and on the once beautiful beaches, despoiling the water, the sands, the marine life, the fish, and the children and people who came to try to walk down the beach, or swim. KEROSENE was the only thing that could remove that black gunk from the skin. Water, skin, beach, lake floors polluted for miles and miles, flowing then into rivers that flowed into streams that flowed into fields and farms and gardens. Answer THAT this will NOT happen again!! That big money corp will NOT again harm the innocent people who fish for food, who love the land as Mother, who only take as much as needed, not at much as one CAN.

4. I’d like to know too how much money each candidate plans will be allocated to NA tribal people from the Feds EACH YEAR in coming years. Mark Fogarty writes in Indian Country Today in October 2015 that the Fed budget for Native people “… comes to about $20 billion a year, give or take a few hundred million dollars, a document from the Department of the Interior shows…”

5. How is Trump the ‘fiscal conservative’ going to allocate 20 BILLION dollars a year, and more and more needed each year and still and yet, for Native budget yearly? And Clinton, same question.

TWENTY BILLION IS A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY AND NOT EVEN HALF THE MONEY NEEDED for Natives.

Where is the discourse on this? Why is this NOT on Face the fn Nation. Nation, which nation? Only the Nation that disincluded Native people. What about the TRIBAL NATIONS? Where is the discourse, the dialog, the PLANS>

I havent even gotten into what are candidates’ plans for HEAD START, children’s nutrition programs so they CAN stay awake during school, EDUCATION for all that actually educates instead of forcing rote c down student’s throats and asking them to purge it back up. There’s more, all sorely needed by all those of our nation who struggle horribly. No homes, no shelter from heat and cold, no clean water, no safe place to shelter. What about them?

How is it we NEVER hear from media in any depth whatsoever, about what will help the poor, the struggling, the sick, the mentally ill, the addicted, those dearly wanting education… all persons worthy of receiving aid in order to thrive for they were NOT born into advantage of any kind. While we’re at it, when will we hear about the abject poverty of people of Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, and every other state and ‘possession’ of the USA. And while we’re at it, let’s do away with the entire idea that any nation of persons is a “USA possession.” That is insulting, and diminishing of the very people who live, work and strive there.

Mark Fogarty again: “…Which federal agency allocates the most assistance to tribes? The Bureau of Indian Affairs? Not even close. The Department of Health and Human Services spends more than twice as much assistance as the whole Department of the Interior, which includes the BIA.The President’s request for HHS Native assistance for 2015 was $6.7 billion, also up about five percent from 2014. DOI came to $3.2 billion, up a modest 2.5 percent from 2014.
The Department of Education was second to HHS, with $5.6 billion slated to go to tribes and tribal communities. That’s an increase of about four percent from 2014. DOI was third, including $2.6 billion for BIA. The only other agency with more than copy billion in Native assistance was the Department of Agriculture, at copy.8 billion.
Looking at individual programs within those agencies, the Indian Health Service was slated for $5.8 billion, a four percent increase. Next largest was a puzzling “other” amount “for indirect support,” $4.5 billion for the Department of Education…”

As we see, the budget for Native people increases and needs to keep increasing every year. With Trump and Clinton, how can it be that such a huge and needed appropriation to the tribes does not show on their radar. If it were a group of African Americans receiving reparation payments yearly, would such a multi-billion dollar budget be discussed? If it were a group of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated and their lush farmlands and homes stolen from them? If they were yearly being compensated, would the subject EVER arise in media?

Or would we continue to hear BILLIONS of dollars of free publicity for the Clown Show on all media. Rather than billions from the Feds for those in needs of many kinds, those threatened in way of life, in food scarcity, in educational needs, health needs.

There is a saying in my father’s family. He was the headsman of his family and I heard him say a thousand times about our immigrant and refugee family slaughtered in war… “War mongers make people invisible so that it is nothing to starve and kill them.”

Why and how do the candidates who want to be President of this nation, make a huge group of people invisible? And what are their plans to NOT starve huge groups of persons, to NOT kill them by going all white-eyed and unconscious along with MSM over touting the latest clown show, the freak of the week show, calling mockery ‘debate’… favoring wink wink corporate lust over the true hearts and needs of true human beings?

Where are Native Americans in dignity, on the map of the candidates, not to mention the MSM?

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/10/09/20-billion-total-us-support-american-indians-162020

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Cartoon: U. S. Elections (Cartoon from Costa Rica) http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-u-s-elections-cartoon-from-costa-rica/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-u-s-elections-cartoon-from-costa-rica/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:45:12 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219755 Arcadio Esquivel, Costa Rica, Caglecartoons.com

See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Arcadio Esquivel, Costa Rica, Caglecartoons.com
Arcadio Esquivel, Costa Rica, Caglecartoons.com

Arcadio Esquivel, Costa Rica, Caglecartoons.com

See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Some thoughts on tonight’s Clinton-Trump Presidential debate http://themoderatevoice.com/some-thoughts-on-tonights-clinton-trump-presidential-debate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/some-thoughts-on-tonights-clinton-trump-presidential-debate/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:18:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219753 Trump_&_Clinton (1)

Some thoughts on the coming Presidential debate Monday night. First, debates matter a lot, but not necessarily for reasons people think. They rarely move poll numbers permanently themselves. But they do help to establish closing narratives to the campaigns and clarify existing narratives. Typically when the leading candidate has a bad first debate (Reagan 1984, [...]

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Trump_&_Clinton (1)

Trump_&_Clinton (1)

Some thoughts on the coming Presidential debate Monday night. First, debates matter a lot, but not necessarily for reasons people think. They rarely move poll numbers permanently themselves. But they do help to establish closing narratives to the campaigns and clarify existing narratives. Typically when the leading candidate has a bad first debate (Reagan 1984, Bush 2004, Obama 2012), there is a brief but only temporary spike for the opponent. But that usually dissipates by the second debate. 1980 is everybody’s favorite exception, but there was only one debate and it followed months of refusal by Jimmy Carter to even participate in one-on-one debate with Ronald Reagan.

Another point about polls: I generally believe most of the public polling movement in a Presidential campaign is the result of who is enthusiastic enough to answer a phone call and talk to a pollster, not necessarily shifting opinion. When bad news strikes candidate A, that candidate’s supporters don’t want to talk about it. Candidate B’s supporters are excited to talk about it, so the raw data shows a weirdly skewed response. Then the pollster corrects for this “non-response” bias by weighting the results to reflect a pre-conceived demographic makeup (and likely voter screen). Public pollsters are under deadline pressure from media clients to report their results fast, even if they capture the electorate during an unusual news moment. Note that campaign internal pollsters don’t have those time pressures, so they can make sure they get a truly accurate sample according to their predicted demographic makeup. They usually find much smoother and steadier poll numbers throughout the campaign.

That said, this year is unusual for two reasons.

Both candidates have extremely high unfavorable numbers. Which means a very high proportion of voters for each candidate are thinking only about opposing the other side.

And that leads to a second phenomenon: an unusually high number of voters are thinking of voting Third Party, not voting, or cannot figure out what to do. There is probably more volatility this election than before, though it shouldn’t be overstated. And even with that volatility, poll results have wavered between a Clinton lead in upper single digits to just about a tie or tiny Clinton lead. Trump has never broken through his polling ceiling. But Clinton has occasionally come down to even with that ceiling.

So what will the debates do for this race?

They will give voters the first opportunity to judge these two candidates side by side and in real time. The body language, content mastery, steadiness of tone, emotional resonance, temperament: all will be on display in a 90-minute miniature version of a White House crisis. The challenges for each candidate are obvious: Trump needs to show that he’s not insane, not an idiot, not a BSer, not a bullying bigot, and can articulate a vision that actually connects with most voters. Clinton needs to show that she is a real person beyond the caricature, can speak honestly about her positions and her actions, and can connect broadly to voters’ actual concerns. In both cases, they must connect with voters. And that requires more than one-liners and insults, of which that unusually large pool of undecided voters has seen plenty so far.

I know that the media is trying to alter expectations and the candidates are trying to work the refs, with plenty of fear out there that Trump will be declared the victor if he doesn’t urinate on the floor. But recent polls actually show a higher percentage of Americans thought Obama would win the first debate with Romney than think Clinton will win against Trump. So expectations are not as lopsided as many think.

This will likely be the most heavily watched debate in American history. Trump has never done a one-on-one debate, and certainly not one this long. He can’t throw in a few one-liners and then let Kasich and Cruz argue about policy specifics. He has to give answers himself, and those answers will be played back many times in the days following. If he goes the BS word salad route, it will show, even if HRC doesn’t call him out on the spot. On the other hand, Clinton must do a better job of condensing her policy prescriptions into segments that voters can rally around. And, as Josh Marshall has mentioned, she must avoided lawyerly responses to inevitable questions about emails, Benghazi or the Clinton foundation. As for responding to the Trumpian BS tornado, she must respond calmly by pointing out how he is wrong, but then move back to her positive case. If she does that, she will soar into a commanding lead for good. If not, this will keep going down to the wire.

Photos by Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg: BU Rob13 Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg: Gage [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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A veggie burger that ‘bleeds’ might convince some carnivores to eat green http://themoderatevoice.com/veggie-burger-bleeds-might-convince-carnivores-eat-green/ http://themoderatevoice.com/veggie-burger-bleeds-might-convince-carnivores-eat-green/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:48:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219741 Burger-3- Credit-Bridgette Burkholder.jpg (1)

Humans have been eating meat since, well, before we were human. But there are so many of us now eating so much meat that raising all those animals is having a big impact on the global environment, including the climate. That has people around the world scrambling for meat substitutes, but something better than those [...]

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Burger-3- Credit-Bridgette Burkholder.jpg (1)

Humans have been eating meat since, well, before we were human. But there are so many of us now eating so much meat that raising all those animals is having a big impact on the global environment, including the climate. That has people around the world scrambling for meat substitutes, but something better than those dry…

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Cartoon: DEBATE FACT-CHECK DRINKING GAME http://themoderatevoice.com/219747/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219747/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:35:57 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219747 cjones09252016

Debate Fact-check Drinking Game by Clay Jones I’m sure during the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday night that Mrs. Clinton will have two or three instances of making inaccurate statements. I’m equally sure the only truthful statement by Mr. Trump will be when he says he’s Donald Trump. I [...]

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cjones09252016

cjones09252016

Debate Fact-check Drinking Game
by Clay Jones

I’m sure during the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday night that Mrs. Clinton will have two or three instances of making inaccurate statements.

I’m equally sure the only truthful statement by Mr. Trump will be when he says he’s Donald Trump.

I was reading some posts by conservative friends on Facebook today. Mostly they were trolls but they were going on about how Hillary is a huge liar. It’s puzzling how anyone can perpetuate the narrative that Clinton is dishonest while ignoring the fact that Trump isn’t honest on anything. Really. Nothing. Name something the guy has been honest about.

These are the same people who find fault with the Clinton Foundation while not noticing the Trump Foundation has less credibility than a Nigerian prince.

The first debate will go up against Monday Night Football where my New Orleans Saints are playing the Atlanta Falcons. That’s an important division game for who will eventually take second. But I’m watching the debate despite the fact they’ll replay it later. There’s no way I’m missing Hillary Clinton humilate Donald Trump.

The expectations are low for Trump. If he gets through the night without drooling many will give him a victory, but this is not a platform he’s used to. Granted, the Republican debates was an area he had never entered before but that platform was set up as a giant shouting match. During one of those Trump complained about the length of the debate being three hours and then skipped the next one. That debate was with commercial and bathroom breaks. On Monday he’ll be standing against a person who sat through over 11 hours of a congressional hearing. He’ll have to 90 minutes without any breaks going one on one, not nine other competitors. Don’t be surprised if he finds a reason to skip the next debate.

During the Republican debates Trump debated fellow children, none of which were presidential. He argued with Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson. It was a nursery school. This is his first debate with an adult.

The challenge for Clinton isn’t winning the debate on facts. The challenge is showing the rest of the nation what those of us who have been paying attention already know. That is that Trump is unfit, not ready, and incapable of being president of the United States. She doesn’t have to mock him or make him look like a fool as Trump will do that himself. All she probably has to do is use Trump’s own quotes against. We already know she’s smarter and more qualified than Trump, which is also a low bar. The other challenge for Clinton is presenting herself to the nation.

Trump has also whined about Anderson Cooper being the host. His issue is that Cooper is a journalist, asks questions, and uses facts. Naturally Cooper is out to get Trump since he will use facts. Facts are Trump’s Kryptonite though they seem ineffective when used against his supporters.

Don’t play a drinking game during the debate where you take a shot every time you hear a lie. New livers are really hard to come by but you could probably buy one from the Trump Foundation.

I stand corrected: A Facebook pal pointed out the first debate will be moderated. by Lester Holt of NBC, NOT Anderson Cooper of CNN. Cooper will moderate the second debate. While we’re on the subject, Chris Wallace will moderate the third debate which will be on Fox News. Notice none of the moderators are women?

Via Claytoonz.com

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Jose Fernandez and freedom… http://themoderatevoice.com/jose-fernandez-and-freedom/ http://themoderatevoice.com/jose-fernandez-and-freedom/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:06:14 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219746 Marlins_pitcher_Jose_Fernandez_talks_to_reporters_at_2016_All-Star_Game_availability._(28436546341)

Today, Sunday September 25, a young man died in a boating accident. I might not have known about it but for the fact that the young man was twenty-four year old Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. Fernandez was a rising star. He had won the National league rookie of the year and made two appearances [...]

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Marlins_pitcher_Jose_Fernandez_talks_to_reporters_at_2016_All-Star_Game_availability._(28436546341)

Marlins_pitcher_Jose_Fernandez_talks_to_reporters_at_2016_All-Star_Game_availability._(28436546341)

Today, Sunday September 25, a young man died in a boating accident. I might not have known about it but for the fact that the young man was twenty-four year old Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. Fernandez was a rising star. He had won the National league rookie of the year and made two appearances in Major League Baseball’s All Star game. As I listened to the press conference given by the Marlins, the words that hit me, the ones I remember most, were spoken by David Samson, the Marlin’s president.

He said that what meant the most to Jose was not all the accolades he’d received or how well he’d pitched or even that he’d made it to the “big league”. No, what meant the most to Jose was the day he became an American citizen. He had tried to leave Cuba three times unsuccessfully and had even been jailed before finally getting off the island and ultimately into the United States. David Samson said that Jose told him, more than once, that he (Samson) didn’t know what freedom was because he was born here.

Those are words we should all remember when we think about turning away immigrants regardless of how they get here. You see, they are not seeking a handout, they are seeking something much more important: freedom. They are holding on to the image of the “Mother of Exiles” in the harbor with her golden torch lighting the way to freedom and opportunity. We are the land of immigrants and we are better because of our diversity. We can honor Jose Fernandez and we can honor every man, woman and child who has made the difficult and sometimes deadly journey to find freedom by ensuring that the torch is never extinguished and the door is never shut.

Photo by Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Debate moderators shouldn’t duck http://themoderatevoice.com/219744/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219744/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 01:56:39 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219744 lester-holt

WASHINGTON — I don’t envy Lester Holt. No matter what he does in the first presidential debate, he’ll be denounced. But this certainty should be liberating. If you know the brickbats will come one way or the other, you might as well do the right thing. But is there a “right thing” that doesn’t coincide [...]

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lester-holt

WASHINGTON — I don’t envy Lester Holt. No matter what he does in the first presidential debate, he’ll be denounced. But this certainty should be liberating. If you know the brickbats will come one way or the other, you might as well do the right thing.

But is there a “right thing” that doesn’t coincide with someone’s political agenda? That is precisely the wrong question, since any choice he makes will be interpreted as favoring one candidate over the other. What should matter are the obligations of journalists in a democratic society.

For debate moderators, both on Monday and in future encounters, three duties stand out. The first is to do all they can so viewers come away with an accurate sense of the facts. The second is to promote a real exchange of perspectives between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, not only on issues journalists deem to matter but also on what a president can realistically do to leave the country better off four years from now.

The third is the trickiest: Holt and his colleagues Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace need to keep in mind that they are far more affluent than most of the people watching the debates. They should think hard about what life is like for those — from Appalachia to Compton, from the working-class in Youngstown, Ohio to the farm workers in Immokalee, Florida — who find themselves in less comfortable circumstances than those at the media’s commanding heights.

It tells us a great deal that the Clinton camp wants the moderators to call out the candidates when they lie, while Trump wants to leave this task to his opponent.

Never has a candidate signaled as clearly as Trump that he is terrified of fact-checking.

But let’s remove this argument from a partisan frame. The notion that moderators can take themselves out of the debate is absurd. I wish we had Lincoln-Douglas style debates in which a moderator was simply a timekeeper, but we don’t. As they are currently organized, debates already give moderators enormous influence over their outcomes by virtue of the questions they ask or don’t ask, by how and when they enforce the rules, and by which questions they choose to follow up on.

And if one candidate actually does lie more than the other, moderators who are passive in the face of whoppers place the more honest candidate at a profound disadvantage. She or he has to use precious time to highlight the lie. Moreover, since everything candidates say in a debate is presumed to be about getting themselves elected, they can hardly be expected to serve as (or to be seen as) independent verifiers of fact. And if journalism isn’t about getting the facts right, what’s the point?

Debates also need to catch up with social media. Tens of thousands of journalists and citizens will be checking the accuracy of what the candidates are saying. Debates should not be hermetically sealed from the truth-gathering going on around them. If those busy information-mongers find that a candidate has said something utterly untrue, a moderator should use the information to challenge the candidate and invite a response.

We all have concerns we want addressed. Personally, I want Trump pressed about whether foreign interests have helped prop up his business empire, and then asked how voters can possibly judge the truthfulness of his answer if he refuses to release any tax returns. I am sure Trump supporters want Clinton queried about servers and emails.

But this campaign has been billed as the one in which Americans who have not fully shared in our prosperity would finally have their say. Please, moderators, don’t let candidates get away with vague promises — or pledges they can never keep. And insist that they lay out the steps they can plausibly take to make the lives of struggling individuals and families better. The same goes for national security. You know a lot about the world. Don’t fear bringing that knowledge to bear when candidates try to slip through with nebulous or scary talk.

And, to go back to the beginning, forget about the critics and think instead of how you will feel years from now about how you discharged your responsibilities as journalists. Your job is not to bend over backward so you offend no one. It’s to help your fellow citizens learn as much as they can in preparing to make one of the most consequential decisions they will ever render in a voting booth.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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Aleppo’s children burn as helpless UN surges war of words http://themoderatevoice.com/aleppos-children-burn-helpless-un-surges-war-words/ http://themoderatevoice.com/aleppos-children-burn-helpless-un-surges-war-words/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:49:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219743 abstract six line blue transparent vector

The UN Security Council is playing the violins of florid US-Russian rhetoric while Aleppo burns and forlorn children scream. Americans are riveted by the forthcoming debate between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton but many in the world are riveted by America’s helplessness before the wanton destruction of historic Aleppo and the unrelenting ruthless killing by [...]

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The UN Security Council is playing the violins of florid US-Russian rhetoric while Aleppo burns and forlorn children scream.

Americans are riveted by the forthcoming debate between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton but many in the world are riveted by America’s helplessness before the wanton destruction of historic Aleppo and the unrelenting ruthless killing by air attacks of hundreds of civilians.

Today, US ambassador Samantha Power told the Security Council, “Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and (Syria’s Bashar) Assad make war. Instead of helping get life-saving aid to civilians, Russia and Assad are bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals, and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive.”

“We have convened the Security Council today because the Russian Federation and the Assad regime have launched an all-out air and ground offensive against eastern Aleppo and its 275,000 civilians. Russia and Assad have reportedly launched more than 150 airstrikes over the last 72 hours, killing at least 139 people and injuring hundreds more, laying waste to what is left of an iconic Middle Eastern city.”

“This is not the day, this is not the time to blame all sides, to draw false equivalencies… It is time to say who is carrying out those airstrikes, and who is killing civilians.…this Council can at the very least have the courage to say who is responsible for this. And, in a single voice, tell Russia to stop.”

These words and the rest of her speech were fine examples of outrage and justified finger pointing. But to what practical end, apart from scoring points in the US-Russia war of words?

Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council. It is hardly likely to vote in favor of a censure or condemnation of its own actions.

Particularly as it thinks the prime purpose of the US and its allies is to depose Assad rather than first destroying declared terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (ISIL) and various al Qaeda affiliates.

Russia believes that the US provoked and worsened the current wars in Syria by training and arming hundreds of fighters in specialized centers in Turkey and Jordan during the past half-decade.

The fighters were trained to fight Assad’s forces and oust the Assad regime but many joined the jihadists. They felt that the US and its chief allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey did not give them enough heavy weapons for the fight on the ground.

The US was also too controlling and did not give them enough leeway to confront Assad’s forces using their own tactics.

So they joined jihadists, the side they thought was less domineering than their American paymasters and more determined to destroy Assad.

The US refused to transfer heavy arms fearing that they would fall into the hands of ISIL, al Qaeda affiliates and other jihadists who hate America.

It exerted close control because of fear that its mainly Sunni Muslim friends would go on a spree of revenge killings or human rights abuses against Shia Alawites and related militias.

Results included failure of the US-led coalition of 67 countries to stop Assad although he was helped by far weaker supporters, mainly Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.

Shia Iran possesses weapons far less sophisticated than those of the US alliance and was reeling under draconian Western economic sanctions. It should have been no match for the US-supported local Sunni Arabs.

Then in late 2015, Moscow decided to teach the US a lesson to retaliate for the economic sanctions on Russia after it occupied Crimea and destabilized eastern Ukraine

Unlike Iran’s covert intervention, Russia openly sent warplanes and troops to Syria to prop up Assad. Now its actions are causing havoc in eastern Aleppo to break the backs of US-supported rebels who have held it for five years.

Among other things, the intervention has forced Washington to recognize Moscow as a kingpin for its efforts to bring peace however fragile to Aleppo and Syria.

For its part, Russia is in a bind. A decision to stop the offensive would amount to recognition that US-supported rebels should continue their control of eastern Aleppo. That recognition would imply acquiescence to an end to Assad and his regime.

At this stage, Russia has nothing to gain from abandoning Assad. Moscow’s earlier hope was to use the Syrian intervention as a bargaining chip to obtain US acquiescence to its annexation of Crimea.

It also wants to win autonomy for the mostly Russian-speaking east Ukraine, without breaking up the country any further.

Washington stoutly rejects such ideas, so Moscow continues on its bloody path in Aleppo while paying lip service to such American goals as destroying ISIL and the al Qaeda affiliates.

A core obstacle is the activity of al Qaeda affiliates alongside US-supported rebels in the Aleppo area. Their goal is to win enough prestige among Sunni Syrians to dislodge ISIL and be admired as the primary revolutionary force in Syria.

American inability to separate the al Qaeda affiliates from US-supported rebels is providing the diplomatic cover Moscow needs to continue bombing Aleppo.

Thus, it feels justified in disregarding its agreement with Secretary John Kerry to enforce a local ceasefire to permit delivery of humanitarian aid.

The maddening result is that helpless people continue to die by the hundreds in Aleppo as their beloved city, a cradle of Mideast civilization, is reduced to rubble.

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Fair or Not, Pressure’s on Clinton at First Debate http://themoderatevoice.com/fair-or-not-pressures-on-clinton-at-first-debate/ http://themoderatevoice.com/fair-or-not-pressures-on-clinton-at-first-debate/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 16:30:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219739 hillarypredebate

Donald Trump has never participated in a one-on-one presidential debate. Hillary Clinton has been in 10 of them. Yet it’s Clinton, not Trump, who is under the most pressure when the two presidential candidates face off Monday night in New York. And analysts say her performance could have a real outcome on the trajectory of [...]

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hillarypredebate

hillarypredebate

Donald Trump has never participated in a one-on-one presidential debate. Hillary Clinton has been in 10 of them. Yet it’s Clinton, not Trump, who is under the most pressure when the two presidential candidates face off Monday night in New York. And analysts say her performance could have a real outcome on the trajectory of the…

photo credit: post-DNC rally via photopin (license)

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More bigotry from the Trump brigade http://themoderatevoice.com/219737/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219737/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 16:21:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219737 shutterstock_233858794

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump supporters may be passionate, but they’re a bit irony-challenged. In the days since I wrote that Hillary Clinton wasn’t necessarily wrong to say that half of Trump’s supporters are racists and other “deplorables,” the response has been, well, deplorable. A sampling of the thousands of emails and social media replies: “Please [...]

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shutterstock_233858794

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump supporters may be passionate, but they’re a bit irony-challenged.

In the days since I wrote that Hillary Clinton wasn’t necessarily wrong to say that half of Trump’s supporters are racists and other “deplorables,” the response has been, well, deplorable. A sampling of the thousands of emails and social media replies:

“Please do not tell me you think we whites are just as violent, nasty, and/or Godless as the other races.”

“You call it racism, I call it concern that in time ‘foreign’ folks will have the voting power to make the USA another Muslim state.”

Another writer informed me that “blacks are the most violent population in America,” that “blacks work the least of any race in America” and that “black women have the lowest moral standards of all women in America,” concluding: “The biggest problem for blacks is blacks.”

Many others suggested I perform an impossible sex act on myself and another sex act on male genitals, called me a “scumbag” and far worse, and suggested I eat feces. Some took the opportunity to inform me that I and my fellow Jews are “the most racist people on the Earth,” that I worship Satan, and that my children and I will be boiled in oil.

Then this simple note was sent to me: “I hope you outlive your children.”

I reprint this small sample of the nastygrams not to ruin your next meal but because the half of Trump supporters who aren’t motivated by prejudice, and the few voters who remain genuinely undecided, should be aware of the bigotry that Trump has brought into the open — and that those who vote for Trump are condoning.

This week, police shootings of African-Americans in Tulsa and Charlotte provoked more racial strife — and Trump apparently couldn’t help but stir the pot. He said he was “troubled” by the shooting of the unarmed motorist in Tulsa, and he delivered a speech that was, in the prepared text, balanced: “We all have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”

But even as he tried to pull back from the flagrant and well-documented bigotry that has characterized his campaign — coziness with white supremacists, scapegoating of Latinos and Muslims, anti-Semitic imagery — Trump couldn’t resist going off script and announcing, without proof, that “if you’re not aware, drugs are a very, very big factor” in the Charlotte protests. He told a questioner in Cleveland that he would reduce violence in black communities with the “stop-and-frisk” policy that has produced discriminatory treatment of African Americans; he later said he would do that only in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign chair in Mahoning County in eastern Ohio resigned after she told the Guardian in a video interview that there wasn’t “any racism until Obama got elected.”

“If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault,” the official, Kathy Miller, said. “When do they take responsibility for how they live? I think it’s due time, and I think it’s good that Mr. Trump is pointing that out.”

And in Charlotte, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.), an enthusiastic Trump backer who claimed he had Trump’s support in his primary, told the BBC that the Charlotte protesters “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.” He apologized.

Are Pittenger and Miller and those who send vile emails representative of Trump supporters? Or are they more like the way Donald Trump Jr. describes refugees: a few bad ones in a bowl of Skittles?

That’s what I tried to answer in my column analyzing Clinton’s claim that half of Trump supporters are racist, Islamophobic and the like. I cited data from the American National Election Studies, the gold standard of public opinion research for seven decades. It showed a big recent jump in prejudicial sentiment, to the point where 62 percent of white people believe black people are either lazier or less intelligent than white people, or both. The study further finds that such people disproportionately favor Republicans. Extrapolating, you can calculate that a solid majority of Mitt Romney’s voters in 2012 were white people who thought black people lazier and/or less intelligent than white people. The proportion will likely grow for Trump.

This doesn’t mean most Trump supporters are running around wearing sheets and burning crosses. But it does indicate racist sentiment is more widespread than commonly thought. What’s truly deplorable is that Trump — unlike Romney and others who carried the Republican banner before — is encouraging the sentiment.

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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Oops! It’s Dancing With the Stars Déjà Vu http://themoderatevoice.com/oops-its-dancing-with-the-stars-deja-vu/ http://themoderatevoice.com/oops-its-dancing-with-the-stars-deja-vu/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 01:09:28 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219735 Ricke Perry

Exactly seven years ago, after reluctantly sitting down with my wife to watch an episode of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” I took keyboard to WordPress to express my satirical horror with a little help from none other than Maureen Dowd. You see, “starring” in that particular episode was none other than “The Hammer,” the [...]

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Ricke Perry

Ricke Perry

Exactly seven years ago, after reluctantly sitting down with my wife to watch an episode of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” I took keyboard to WordPress to express my satirical horror with a little help from none other than Maureen Dowd.

You see, “starring” in that particular episode was none other than “The Hammer,” the in 2005 indicted*, former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Dowd wrote this about the Dancing with the Stars debut of the man once dubbed “Meanest Man in Congress,” but now-turned-“Wild Thing”:

So DeLay, 62, cutting loose in his orthopedic shoes with the cha-cha and his Texas mugshot grin, was the Lipitor version of the finale of “Footloose.” The judges gave him tepid scores in Monday’s male dance-off, but a scandal-plagued former Dallas Cowboy and George Hamilton’s glossy son rated lower.

Just in case we had forgotten, Dowd summarized DeLay’s stellar resume:

The former exterminator drove the loony Clinton impeachment, pushed the nutty Terri Schiavo legislation, gutted the House ethics committee, engaged in gerrymandering schemes, enhanced the pay-to-play political culture and made the Republican Party so sulfurously partisan, ethically suspect and God-centric that voters recoiled.

He dropped out of politics in 2006 after a campaign finance violation indictment and ties to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

DeLay’s debut into the dancing world was an absolute disaster. Newsweek called it an “awesome train wreck.”

Nevertheless, the former exterminator was determined to torture Americans even more the following week with — of all dances — the beautiful, sensual, noble, almost sacred Tango.

As mentioned in my 2009 piece, I am not much into watching studio dancing or dancing contests, but there is one dance that I love to watch when it is done properly: the immortal Tango.

I must have watched The Hammer’s attempt at dancing the Tango. After all the 2009 piece was titled “Dancing the Tango with the Hammer.” However, honestly, I don’t remember a thing. Something about the brain protecting one from remembering such horrors…

But wait, there may be another opportunity.

As in “déjà vu,” another in 2014 indicted*, former GOP Texas governor and two-time GOP presidential candidate is appearing on this season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

For his debut performance, Rick Perry — similarly to DeLay — picked a “Texas-themed cha-cha” and just as with DeLay, Perry’s debut performance “wasn’t exactly stellar.”

Pamela Engel at Businessinsider.com to the rescue:

Perry’s first dance this season, with partner Emma Slater, was a Texas-themed cha-cha set to the song “God Blessed Texas.” And while the dance had plenty of camp — the routine started with Perry and Slater dancing up to a corn dog stand — the judges didn’t seem impressed.

All four judges awarded Perry and Slater a five out of 10 for a total score of 20 — the lowest of the night.

The second performance by Perry, I am told, “was another country-themed setting for a cringe-inducing rendition of ‘Green Acres.’”

But wait, Rick Perry still received more votes “than he did in his latest presidential bid.”

As his own hometown newspaper puts it:

Despite finishing in last place in the first two weeks of the ABC reality TV show, the former Texas governor and two-time GOP presidential candidate was spared a Texas-sized boot Tuesday night thanks to support from viewers.

So Rick Perry, just as DeLay did, survives to dance one more time.

He will be trotting out his ballroom skills Monday evening just before the first presidential debate airs — starring “The Don” — an event the wannabe president may have preferred to be part of.

But, please, let it not be the sacred Tango.

Brain protection or not, there is only so much stress and trauma a human being should be expected to endure in one evening.

~~

* Both men have since been cleared of all charges.

Lead image courtesy Donkeyhotey.com

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Not a Single One? That’s Not Possible! http://themoderatevoice.com/not-single-one-thats-not-possible/ http://themoderatevoice.com/not-single-one-thats-not-possible/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:08:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219715 abstract six line blue transparent vector

September 24, 2016 Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as [...]

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September 24, 2016

Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as Baby DonDon.

Another day, another outrage. There is only so much a trigger-happy manboy can handle. So today, the freakin’ Wall Street Journal, lovingly read by greedy, grasping Republicans daily, reports in its lead story that not a single Fortune 100 CEO is contributing to Trump.

Not one? But they’re almost all Republicans! And I’m a Republican. No, scratch that. I am THE Republican.

Okay, losers, here’s the deal. When I got elected, I will fire all of you. And I will run your companies. And I will make great deals. I figure that at $20 million per head my total compensation will come to $2 billion a year, plus $400K for being president and $50 million for holding government events at Trump properties. When I make that much, even Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC and dogface Gail Collins of the New York Times, who once called me a “thousandaire,” and Tim O’Brien, whom I sued over his disgusting attack on my net worth, will have to recognize I am a billionaire.

Me! Baby DonDon! A billionaire!

Oh, I’m supposed to be one already? Never mind.

All this reminds me of an unidentified Trump employee who told Fortune, where these idiot CEOs hang out, that my problem is that I don’t know what I don’t know. Hey, pal, screw you, you ignorant fartbag. You don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t know what you DO know. How do you like that, you coward, hiding behind your anonymousness like a sniveling nameless, faceless, mystery asshat?

So there.

Andrew Feinberg is the author of Four Score and Seven (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Score-Seven-Andrew-Feinberg/dp/0692664009), a novel that imagines that Abe Lincoln comes back to life for two weeks during the 2016 campaign and encounters a candidate who, some say, resembles Donald Trump. He also writes a daily anti-Trump humor page at https://www.facebook.com/MeBabyDonDon.

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Refugees: The Humanity of a Young Child http://themoderatevoice.com/refugees-the-humanity-of-a-young-child/ http://themoderatevoice.com/refugees-the-humanity-of-a-young-child/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 16:57:54 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219730 Refugees letter

"The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn’t learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they’re from, or how they look, or how they pray, and who just understands the notion of treating somebody that is like him with compassion, with kindness -- we can all learn from Alex." ~ President Obama

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Refugees letter

Refugees letter


As reported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the world is facing the largest displacement crisis on record. Sixty-five million people have been forced to flee their homes by violence, persecution, and instability. Many countries have given them sanctuary and assistance, so that families have shelter, medical care, and basic services, and children can go back to school and parents can go back to work. But the need remains great. And helping refugees isn’t just up to governments—every American can play a role, too.

This past week, at the United Nations in New York City, President Obama hosted the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees.

The Summit brought together the leaders of member states that will hopefully step up to make new, significant commitments to:

• Increase funding to UN humanitarian agencies, appeals, and international humanitarian organizations;

• Admit additional refugees through resettlement or other legal pathways; and

• Increase refugees’ ability to access education and lawful work

You can watch the President’s address to the “leaders” at the bottom. It is long — 19 minutes.

Towards the end of his address, the President reads from a poignant letter he received from a six-year-old boy “who wanted to do his part to help a refugee in need.”

We were all shocked and heartbroken by the photo of a young Syrian boy, Omran, sitting in an ambulance after an air strike on Aleppo, covered in blood and dust. Omran, became an iconic image of the horrors that go on daily, unabatedly, in Syria.

Most of us read and saw the tragedy, some of us shed a tear. Alex, who lives just outside of New York City with his mom, dad, and little sister Catherine decided to do something about it, sat down at his kitchen table and wrote President Obama a letter (below).

Whether you watch the President’s address or not, whether you believe that we should admit refugees into our country or not, please watch the video below.

Perhaps Alex will change some minds.

The President’s Address to the United Nations

Lead photo: White House

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Who I really am http://themoderatevoice.com/who-i-really-am/ http://themoderatevoice.com/who-i-really-am/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 15:58:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219729 abstract six line blue transparent vector

From Lahore, Pakistan which I am. A Physician, a Muslim, an American. Only this is a beginning for I am more. A piece of you, a part of all denomination. Our place, its relevance, this canvas. My thought is Earthian, in my mind the Universe. We are the World in this as one. The World [...]

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abstract six line blue transparent vector

From Lahore, Pakistan which I am.

A Physician, a Muslim, an American.

Only this is a beginning for I am more.

A piece of you, a part of all denomination.

Our place, its relevance, this canvas.

My thought is Earthian, in my mind the Universe.

We are the World in this as one.

The World is who I really am.

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Los Angeles Times Editorial Endorsing Clinton and Blasting Trump (Full Guest Editorial) http://themoderatevoice.com/hillary-clinton-would-make-a-sober-smart-and-pragmatic-president-donald-trump-would-be-a-catastrophe-guest-editorial/ http://themoderatevoice.com/hillary-clinton-would-make-a-sober-smart-and-pragmatic-president-donald-trump-would-be-a-catastrophe-guest-editorial/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 04:23:06 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219726 Los-Angeles-Times-logo

The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Sept. 23: ——— American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president. Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman and television personality, is [...]

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Los-Angeles-Times-logo

Los-Angeles-Times-logo

The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Sept. 23: ——— American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president. Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman and television personality, is the…

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Time for better disease prevention (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/time-for-better-disease-prevention-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/time-for-better-disease-prevention-guest-voice/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 04:13:23 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219724 virus-infected-cells-213708_640

Time for Better Disease Prevention by Jordan Cooper Do I look fat? I can’t see my feet. I’m feeding two people for every meal. These are some comments pregnant women make late in their gestation. Yet, Americans have their qualms about whether we still have our swagger as a country? I think we still got [...]

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virus-infected-cells-213708_640

Time for Better Disease Prevention
by Jordan Cooper

Do I look fat? I can’t see my feet. I’m feeding two people for every meal. These are some comments pregnant women make late in their gestation. Yet, Americans have their qualms about whether we still have our swagger as a country? I think we still got it, but we must do more in the disease prevention areas and have better management at the local government levels to be the country Andrew Jackson envisioned in Manifest Destiny.

We don’t have a vaccine for the Zika virus and Flint, Michigan had lead contaminated water for nearly two years. When our new moms’ water breaks they my find out that since the water was broke in their hometowns their child won’t be able to live on their own due to lead poisoning. Then, the Zika virus can virtually go undetected until you give birth and your child has a below average sized brain, which makes it more difficult for your child to develop as it should. Additionally, in the United States we have the highest maternal mortality rate among first-world countries. On top of this, we need 90,000 more doctors to meet our healthcare needs as a nation today. Less than 5 percent of practicing doctors are black and less than ten percent of attorneys are black environmental attorneys.

Who are we serving? We will represent ‘ray Ray’ who disobeyed the police, but we won’t make sure our own communities’ water is clean? Moreover, there isn’t enough accommodations for pregnant women across the board in workplaces to prevent or suppress the crippling birth defects the aforementioned issues bring. Furthermore, we are the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t have paid maternity leave universally.

The extra costs are rocketing in school districts, doctor’s offices, and homes to be able to give these adversely affected students the best chance to be self-sufficient in America. Now, the government is just telling us this is how it’s going to be and you may not see the infinite amounts of opportunities our founding fathers thought of when conceiving America. We must come together as Americans to keep the strong supporter and the weak taken care of.

Jordan Thomas Cooper is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in History and a 2010 graduate of the RealEstate School of Success in Irmo. He is the first African-American to serve in both the governor and lieutenant governor’s office as an aide and first to serve in the Inspector General’s Office in S.C. (Haley) He is also the first person to serve in the top three offices in the gubernatorial line of succession in South Carolina (Haley, Bauer, McConnell). He says research shows he is the second black presidential campaign speechwriter in American history and the first for a GOP presidential campaign (Bush 2015). He also played football for Coach Steve Spurrier.

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Military Weekend: Honoring Gold Star Mothers and Family (Updated) http://themoderatevoice.com/military-weekend-honoring-gold-star-mothers-and-family/ http://themoderatevoice.com/military-weekend-honoring-gold-star-mothers-and-family/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 03:47:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219716 Gold star mothers statue

“The statue would be of a mother, tears flowing, looking off to memories of her child. Grief stricken and unsteady, she braces herself with one hand on a plant stand at her side. The hand grasps the Western Union telegram read with disbelief a moment before ..." ~ American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

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Gold star mothers statue

Gold star mothers statue

Sunday, 25 September is National Gold Star Mother’s Day, also known as National Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.

The “Day” — designated the last Sunday of September — was created on June 23, 1936, by the U.S. Congress to recognize and honor those who have lost their son or daughter while serving our country in the U. S. Armed Forces.

Since the loss of a child affects the entire family, the Department of the Army observes this day as “Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.”

CJCS at American Gold Star Mothers Wreath Laying

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Candy Martin, national president of American Gold Star Mothers Inc.; and Jim Knotts, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund president and CEO, place a wreath at the memorial in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. James McCann

Army.mil:

The term “Gold Star” originated during World War I. Americans displayed flags in homes, businesses, schools and churches bearing a blue star for each Family member serving in the military. Families stitched a gold star over the blue star to honor those members who died during military service.

Gold Star Parents gained national attention when the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Baquabah, Iraq, in 2004, appeared before the Democratic National Convention this past July and Khan’s father gave a speech “that electrified the nation.”

Several organizations are dedicated to honoring and supporting Gold Star Parents. Perhaps the oldest organization is American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., “an organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country,” established in 1928 and chartered by Congress in 1984 and which has departments and chapters throughout the nation.

Gold Mother stature Kent New york

The New Hampshire Gold Star Mothers Memorial Association’s (NHGSMMA) Gold Star Mothers Memorial Statue, designed by renowned artist Andrew Chernak and dedicated in Manchester, NH. on May 1, 2011. Courtesy NHGSMMA Courtesy: goldstarmothersmemorial.org/

Today, President Barack Obama saluted the sacrifices of the mothers and families of America’s fallen service members, as he proclaimed Sept. 25 as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.

The president’s proclamation reads as follows:

Since our Nation’s founding, in peace and in war, the values that define our brave men and women in uniform have remained constant: honor, courage, and selflessness. From the deafening sounds of combat to the silence of the sacred hills at Arlington, we remember the countless sacrifices our service members make to preserve the freedoms we too often take for granted. No one understands the true price of these freedoms like our Gold Star families, whose humility, even in time of grief, represents the best of our country. Today, we recognize their sacrifices by listening to their stories, sharing in their pain and pride, and pledging to do all we can to honor them and the loved ones they hold close in their hearts.

Through unspeakable sorrow, our Gold Star families suffer from loss that can never be restored — pain that can never truly be healed. It is because of their selfless character and unfailing grace that Americans can come home each day, gather with family and friends, and live in peace and security. And though the debt our fallen soldiers and their families pay is one we can never fully pay back, we must continue to support our veterans when they come home and stand by our military families who endure unthinkable loss. We must maintain the sacred covenant we share with our veterans by ensuring they have the care and benefits they deserve, and as citizens, we must all work to lift each other up in a manner that is worthy of those who laid down their lives to protect the land and freedoms we cherish.

Less than one percent of our Nation wear the uniform, but all of us have an obligation to acknowledge the losses endured by Gold Star Mothers and Families and to fill the painful absence of their loved ones with our profound gratitude. We must strive to support these families — not just with words, but with actions — by being there every day for the parents, spouses, and children who feel the weight of their loss. On this day of remembrance, may we carry forward the work of those who gave their last full measure of devotion and vow to keep their memories burning bright in our hearts. And may we lift up their families, who have steadfastly supported their mission through immeasurable heartbreak, by remaining a Nation worthy of their sacrifice.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1985 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 25, 2016, as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation’s gratitude and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

Lead photo: American Gold Star Mother Memorial by Andrew L. Chernak, in Kent, N.Y., dedicated July 2, 2006. Courtesy American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.: “The statue would be of a mother, tears flowing, looking off to memories of her child. Grief stricken and unsteady, she braces herself with one hand on a plant stand at her side. The hand grasps the Western Union telegram read with disbelief a moment before. The table top has a photo of a serviceman and a flower pot knocked to its side, teetering at the table’s edge.” Courtesy American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

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Bowing down: Cruz backs his former rival Trump, saying Clinton must be defeated http://themoderatevoice.com/bowing-down-cruz-backs-his-former-rival-trump-saying-clinton-must-be-defeated/ http://themoderatevoice.com/bowing-down-cruz-backs-his-former-rival-trump-saying-clinton-must-be-defeated/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2016 03:41:34 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219717 2033

Sen. Ted Cruz announced Friday that he is backing GOP nominee Donald Trump for the presidency, setting aside their bitter rivalry because, he said, Hillary Clinton must be defeated. “Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the [...]

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Sen. Ted Cruz announced Friday that he is backing GOP nominee Donald Trump for the presidency, setting aside their bitter rivalry because, he said, Hillary Clinton must be defeated. “Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only…

photo credit: Ted Cruz via photopin (license)

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Charity Begins with Baby DonDon http://themoderatevoice.com/charity-begins-baby-dondon/ http://themoderatevoice.com/charity-begins-baby-dondon/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:16:38 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219693 abstract six line blue transparent vector

September 23, 2016 Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as [...]

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September 23, 2016

Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as Baby DonDon.

Go, Omarosa, go. The great woman, an African-American, just said that, after I am elected, all my critics will “bow down” to “the most powerful man in the universe.” What a beautiful sentiment.

That means all those Washington Post-Apocalypse people, from Jeff Bezos to the awful editorial headline writers (“Trump’s slimy, shameless approach to philanthropy”) to the lowliest, scummiest reporter, will bow and honor me, which is a far cry from what they are doing right now. This David Fahrenthold reporter who’s obsessed with my foundation is just the worst. When I take office, we are going to LOCK HIM UP for treason or libel or double-parking or something.

One of his recent articles said I used $258,000 from the foundation to pay legal settlements that should have come from my businesses. He quoted a charity lawyer as saying he had “never encountered anything so brazen.”

Hey, pal, I’m not brazen. I’m shameless. There’s a big difference.

Understand the context here. I had a long-running dispute with Palm Beach because the town said the size of my flagpole at Mar-a-Lago was wrong. (I had a similar flagpole size dispute with Marco Rubio.) I sued Palm Beach, arguing that the smaller flagpole didn’t reflect the “magnitude” of my patriotism. Anyway, I eventually agreed to give $100,000 to a veterans’ charity.

Why did I have the foundation pay? Hey, they were saying mean things about my flagpole, so I was upset and made a clerical error. How would you feel if they attacked your flagpole?

Fahrenthold also said the foundation spent $10,000 on a second portrait of me now hanging in one of my restaurants. (It gets the women hot and they order more drinks.) Look, someday my portrait will be ON money, so I don’t see what the point is here.

The Post says all these things are probably illegal. So what are the Feds going to do, indict me before the election? I don’t think so, because they know how Baby DonDon will scream about how rigged the system is and my Second Amendment followers might get some itchy trigger fingers.

And, yes, I’d consider using some of my nukes before the trial started. Just sayin’.

Andrew Feinberg is the author of Four Score and Seven (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Score-Seven-Andrew-Feinberg/dp/0692664009), a novel that imagines that Abe Lincoln comes back to life for two weeks during the 2016 campaign and encounters a candidate who, some say, resembles Donald Trump. He also writes a daily anti-Trump humor page at https://www.facebook.com/MeBabyDonDon.

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Readers Want News Not Fluff http://themoderatevoice.com/219713/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219713/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 19:41:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219713 Large Stack of Newspapers

The New York Post, a Rupert Murdoch tabloid publication that isn’t likely to win a Pulitzer Prize anytime soon, splashed a full page picture of a smiling Jennifer Anniston on its Sept. 21 front cover. In the upper left-hand space it placed all-capitals text: “BRANGELINA 2004–2016.” Inside the Post were four full consecutive pages, and [...]

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Large Stack of Newspapers

Large Stack of NewspapersThe New York Post, a Rupert Murdoch tabloid publication that isn’t likely to win a Pulitzer Prize anytime soon, splashed a full page picture of a smiling Jennifer Anniston on its Sept. 21 front cover. In the upper left-hand space it placed all-capitals text: “BRANGELINA 2004–2016.” Inside the Post were four full consecutive pages, and a half page and part of a column deeper in the newspaper, all devoted to one of the most critical social issues facing the country—Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting a divorce.

People magazine put the multi-million dollar couple on its cover, and teased us with the text: “WHY SHE LEFT” and “THE REAL STORY.” US magazine had an “EXCLUSIVE.” ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, and NBC evening newscasts all devoted air time to the divorce. “Entertainment Tonight,” “TMZ,” dozens of entertainment-fueled TV programs, Reuters and AP news services, hundreds of daily newspapers and countless online blogs all had coverage of the epic event. The news also dominated the social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.

Barely covered that day by the establishment media was in-depth coverage and analyses of President Obama’s speech the day before at the United Nations general assembly. Also lightly covered was a petition to the UN Human Rights Council by
the Standing Rock Sioux sovereign nation to halt construction of a $3.8 billion 1,150 mile pipeline that would not only disturb that nation’s sacred burial grounds and could possibly pollute the Missouri River, but would be built on ground seized by eminent domain by Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, Texas.

Why there was negligible coverage of public affairs issues and maximum coverage of a celebrity divorce is based upon economics and poor business practices.
Media profits, once running anywhere from 5 to 30 percent, depending upon the medium, declined significantly in the Great Recession during the last two years of the Bush–Cheney administration. Businesses significantly cut their advertising budgets; consumers stopped subscriptions.

It wasn’t long before consultants, not editors, were making decisions about ways to increase profits. The consultants, some making $500 per hour, advised owners to compensate for the decline of profits, they needed to cut back on the news staffs, as well as the budgets for in-depth coverage and salaries. With the decline of newsroom positions came more work for those who stayed on news staffs but, overall, fewer locally-produced stories, and increase in errors because of fewer copyeditors. The cuts in circulation now came not just from those who couldn’t afford the newspaper or magazine, but from those who saw a diminished news product and turned to other media for their information. With the decline in circulation came a forced decline in the cost of an ad leading to further declines on advertising revenue. The consultants often recommended turning to syndicates for news and to increase entertainment and celebrity news. The consultants were wrong.

Studies by the Pew Institute and the American Society of Newspaper Editors revealed that consumers wanted news not fluff. A Pew Study showed that during the first decade of the 21st century, only 17 percent of consumers who turned to mass media for news followed personalities, entertainment, and celebrity scandals “very closely.” Of the 19 categories, only coverage of other nations and science/technology ranked lower. Studies by the ASNE of interest in the current decade place celebrity news and scandals at the bottom of all categories.

The evidence is obvious—Americans want, and need, news. Hard news and not fluff. They want to know about weather, crime, and politics. They also want to see and read stories about health, the environment, and social issues that directly affect them.

But editors and media owners, for the most part, still believe entertainment and celebrity news is the way to restore circulation. And that’s why celebrity marriages, divorces, and scandals seem to be at the core of so many publications—and a major reason why circulation is declining for print newspapers and viewership in non-print media is not as strong as it could be.

Journalists and owners can blame the rise of digital and social media for stealing readers, but they are wrong. When news returns to newspapers, readers will follow.

[Dr. Brasch is professor emeritus of mass communications/journalism from Bloomsburg University. His latest book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit.]

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Politix Update: Governor Christie Didn’t Merely Violate His Oath Of Office, He Crushed It http://themoderatevoice.com/politix-update-christie-didnt-merely-violate-his-oath-of-office-he-crushed-it/ http://themoderatevoice.com/politix-update-christie-didnt-merely-violate-his-oath-of-office-he-crushed-it/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:36:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219706 chris-christie-lies_DonkeyHotey

After one week of testimony at the Bridgegate trial, Donald Trump poodle Chris Christie’s standing as a corrupt thug who would sacrifice anything, including public safety, for political convenience and good old venality has reached stratospherically new heights. Which begs a question: Why are there not calls for the New Jersey governor’s impeachment since he [...]

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chris-christie-lies_DonkeyHoteyAfter one week of testimony at the Bridgegate trial, Donald Trump poodle Chris Christie’s standing as a corrupt thug who would sacrifice anything, including public safety, for political convenience and good old venality has reached stratospherically new heights. Which begs a question: Why are there not calls for the New Jersey governor’s impeachment since he did not merely violate his oath of office, he crushed it?

Christie always was going to be . . . uh, the figurative elephant in the courtroom at the trial of two former ranking aides who executed a plan to deliberately create a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest, as a political payback for their boss not being endorsed for re-election by the mayor of the borough of Fort Lee, which is on the New Jersey bridge approach.

The four-day closure of two of the three access lanes from Fort Lee in September 2013 was timed to achieve maximum impact — a week in which public schools opened, Yom Kippur was observed and there were 9/11 anniversary events. It succeeded spectacularly, causing massive traffic jams and a public-safety crisis as ambulances and other emergency vehicles were gridlocked for hours.

Defense lawyers will get around to asserting that the lane closings were “normal politics,” which is a howler, but true insofar as the meaning of the phrase applies to the unrepentant Christie, but the big takeaway from the opening week of testimony in Newark federal court is how easily the governor’s serial lies that he knew nothing about Bridgegate have been decimated.

The prosecution not only stated in its opening arguments that Christie well knew of the plan, which long has been an open secret, but he might be called as a witness. This will create an interesting legal situation since the governor arguably is as of as much use to the defense as the prosecution because the defense can now use the tried-and-true Eichmann Defense and declare that the defendants — gubernatorial aides Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly — were merely following orders.

And for good measure, among the first prosecution witnesses was Patrick J. Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who completed the task of demolishing Christie’s lies in testifying that there was an elaborate cover-up of the true cause of the tie-up, at the top of which was the governor himself, who was hell-bent to protect David Wildstein, a top Port Authority official who was a close political ally and later was thrown to the sharks by the governor when the full extent of the scandal was revealed. Paybacks can be a bitch, and Wildstein is now the prosecution’s star witness.

It is easy to forget that in the wake of Christie’s November 2013 re-election victory, he was the leading candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and Trump was a celebrity jerk with a big ego.

That began unraveling early in 2014 when Bridgegate first hit the news. Christie’s slow but steady descent to the bottom of the presidential pack and into the gutter commenced as his deep involvement became apparent, his denials notwithstanding, and GOP bigs and voters began taking a closer look at Chistie’s stewardship of the Garden State, which revealed that he was not merely corrupt, but inept, as well, having almost single-handedly driven the state into bankruptcy.

The drumbeat for impeachment should be growing louder because Christie was a key player in the closure conspiracy, has repeatedly denied that he knew of the conspiracy and has continued to do so since his presidential bid crashed and burned and he eagerly signed on to be the Cheeto Jesus’s poodle.

But guess what? There is no drumbeat at all, merely vaguely worded news stories that impeachment may be an option. The reasons are varied, and no one is offering them publicly, but they fall under the heading of We Can’t Be Bothered.

They can’t be bothered because:

* It would distract from getting Hillary Clinton elected, and that is Job One.

* The guy who runs the Legislature wants to succeed Christie.

* There may be the votes to impeach, but there isn’t the energy.

* Besides which, Chistie’s term ends in 16 months, so just let the jerk serve it out.

The prosecution’s witness list reads like a Who’s Who of the Trump and failed Christie campaigns.

In addition to Christie himself, who is leading Trump’s transition team, there is Jared Kushner, a real-estate developer who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and functions as campaign manager. Kushner owned a website where Wildstein, writing under a pseudonym, bragged about Bridgegate.

Then there is Bill Stepien, who was in on the conspiracy, was Christie’s presidential campaign manager and is now Trump’s national field director; Richard Bagger, Christie’s onetime chief of staff and now co-chair of Trump’s transition team; and Matt Mowers, who left the governor’s office to work for the Christie campaign and now works for Trump.

DUMB, HILLARY. VERY DUMB.

Although Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump, and I continue to maintain that she will win in a landslide, the post-mortems on why the race has been so excruciatingly close to this point already have begun.

Credit Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed for noting that Clinton erred bigtime when she suddenly and inexplicably stopped linking Trump to the larger ills of the Republican Party at the end of the primary season. Cramer writes that the campaign then set out to portray him “as even more extreme than the rank-and-file Republican member of Congress. . . . [and] the campaign does not want to connect Trump and the Republican Party,” according to an internal campaign email she cites.

Cramer:

“The result, with less than 50 days until Election Day, is a Democratic nominee who praises establishment Republicans, makes forceful appeals for bipartisan support, and only rarely addresses Trump as President Obama might have John McCain or Mitt Romney in 2008 or 2012, strictly avoiding attacks on Republicans writ large.”

Clinton needs a Democratic Senate if she has any chance to fashion a mandate, let alone fill the present and future Supreme Court vacancies, and kissing Republican ass would not seem to be the best way to go about helping down-ticket Democrats.

POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.
© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN

IMAGE FROM DONKEYHOTEY/FLICKR. USED WITH PERMISSION.

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Coin Toss: The First Presidential Debate http://themoderatevoice.com/coin-toss/ http://themoderatevoice.com/coin-toss/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:09:42 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219709 nfl

The NFL and the Commission For Presidential Debates jointly announced today that an NFL team of the referees slated to officiate Monday Night Football instead will oversee the first Clinton-Trump Presidential Debate.  Lester Holt, the Debate moderator originally named, will work the Falcons-Saints game.  The switch supposedly was made for Holt’s personal safety. The two [...]

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The NFL and the Commission For Presidential Debates jointly announced today that an NFL team of the referees slated to officiate Monday Night Football instead will oversee the first Clinton-Trump Presidential Debate.  Lester Holt, the Debate moderator originally named, will work the Falcons-Saints game.  The switch supposedly was made for Holt’s personal safety. The two events air at the same time

This extraordinary change actually may have been triggered by doubts following Matt Lauer’s sniveling performance last week at the Commander-in-Chief Forum, anonymous sources say, and because the NFL crew is better prepared to prevent cheap shots.

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False Starts

The topics announced are America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America. However, the candidates will ask themselves  questions, which they need not answer. The format has been divided into halves, each consisting of two quarters, with each candidate having two time-outs and two challenges per half. Choice of the north or south podium will remain a game-time decision based on the coin toss. The Clinton Team will attempt a triangulation formation.

Trump’s Roster

Mr. Trump’s team pushed for the unprecedented use of substitute debaters.  The CPD rejected the proposal, insisting that the public should hear from the people who will  be responsible for setting policy. Thereupon, Mr. Trump resubmitted his proposal with a list of names, assuring CPD that the public would.  The CPD criticized this tactic and was particularly  distressed that one of his proposed  substitutions requires a Russian interpreter.  Mr. Trump’s new request for a life-line was under review as this story went to press. Roger Ailes, who has prepped Trump for the debate, planned to attend the Hofstra event.  Unfortunately, he will not be in attendance.   The terms of his recently settled sexual discrimination case require him to be least 2,000 feet away from the school.

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Pre-Debate Maneuvers

The Clinton team believes that the use of the officiating crew is more likely to keep the questions  and answers on topic. It has challenged the all-male composition. The Trump team has publicly stated of the switch that the game is rigged. Trump offspring have been deployed to check if any of the refs have favorite charities in need of a boost.

Nevertheless, both camps have approved the challenge system. For the first time in the history of the Debates, slow-motion replays will be available. The stoppage of play opened up ad opportunities sought by the candidates, who nevertheless lost out to the Canadian Tourist Board, the high bidder.

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The Trump campaign made a last-ditch effort to postpone the debate until 2017, to coincide with the groundbreaking of the site of Trump Hall and Lounge, which is to house a center that will provide sanctuary to female models  from former Warsaw Pact nations. Hofstra, the hosting institution, was dumbstruck, the first and possibly the last time, it hears of this generous gift.

Spin Control

The new format permits each team its own play-by-play announcers. The teams will  not have to wait until the end of the contest to spin the result. They can roll it out as the candidates are speaking. This will put the Trump campaign at a distinct advantage, as Kellyanne Conway, the rapid-fire Trump campaign manager, seems to answer questions before they are asked.

Mr. Trump has said that he will not depart much from his Playbook of the last year.  Notably, his team has said that he might refine his immigration policy to include Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and Easter Islanders in addition to Mexicans.  He does seem intent on pursuing his ban of Muslims and will extend it to Muslim-types, by which he means all non-Caucasian people.

Team Clinton

Preparation for the Clinton team has been rigorous.   They are gearing to their candidate’s strength, focusing on misdirection and hidden ball plays.  Bill Clinton, one of his era’s greatest debaters, will  confer on matters of strategy and tone but  is expected to spend the bulk of this time auditioning cheerleaders. Clinton’s preparation has been physical as well as mental.  She has approached her task with dedication, especially the walking-back drills designed for defensive play on questions regarding Whitewater, the Rose law firm, Vince Foster, Troopergate, Travelgate, Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, the entire female population of Chappaqua, the Iraq War, Benghazi, Goldman Sachs, the 2008 Campaign, Muhammad Yunus, the  Deplorables, and the Clinton Foundation.  The team has set aside ten minutes for issues about the future.

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Clinton’s inner circle has scored a coup by hiring Trump ghost writer Tony Schwartz to coach Special Teams.  He has recruited many former Trump girlfriends and wives,  except for those still on the Trump payroll.

Rules Committee

Most NFL rules will be suspended during the debate. For example, Trump successfully petitioned to suspend Unlawful Use of Hands. Clinton meanwhile was able to invalidate the False Start rule, giving her the ability to switch positions during the course of her answer.   Naturally, Taunting and Unsportsmanlike Conduct rules will not be in effect.

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Trump’s Lying Game http://themoderatevoice.com/trumps-lying-game/ http://themoderatevoice.com/trumps-lying-game/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:52:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219691 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Paul Krugman tells it like it is in The New York Times. Here’s what we can be fairly sure will happen in Monday’s presidential debate: Donald Trump will lie repeatedly and grotesquely, on a variety of subjects. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton might say a couple of untrue things. Or she might not. Here’s what we don’t [...]

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Paul Krugman tells it like it is in The New York Times.

Here’s what we can be fairly sure will happen in Monday’s presidential debate: Donald Trump will lie repeatedly and grotesquely, on a variety of subjects. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton might say a couple of untrue things. Or she might not.

Here’s what we don’t know: Will the moderators step in when Mr. Trump delivers one of his well-known, often reiterated falsehoods? If he claims, yet again, to have opposed the Iraq war from the beginning — which he didn’t — will he be called on it? If he claims to have renounced birtherism years ago, will the moderators note that he was still at it just a few months ago? (In fact, he already seems to be walking back his admission last week that President Obama was indeed born in America.) If he says one more time that America is the world’s most highly taxed country — which it isn’t — will anyone other than Mrs. Clinton say that it isn’t? And will media coverage after the debate convey the asymmetry of what went down?

You might ask how I can be sure that one candidate will be so much more dishonest than the other. The answer is that at this point we have long track records for both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton; thanks to nonpartisan fact-checking operations like PolitiFact, we can even quantify the difference.

PolitiFact has examined 258 Trump statements and 255 Clinton statements and classified them on a scale ranging from “True” to “Pants on Fire.” One might quibble with some of the judgments, but they’re overwhelmingly in the ballpark. And they show two candidates living in different moral universes when it comes to truth-telling. Mr. Trump had 48 Pants on Fire ratings, Mrs. Clinton just six; the G.O.P. nominee had 89 False ratings, the Democrat 27.

Unless one candidate has a nervous breakdown or a religious conversion in the next few days, the debate will follow similar lines. So how should it be reported?

I am not calling on the news media to take a side; I’m just calling on it to report what is actually happening, without regard for party. In fact, any reporting that doesn’t accurately reflect the huge honesty gap between the candidates amounts to misleading readers, giving them a distorted picture that favors the biggest liar.

Yet there are, of course, intense pressures on the news media to engage in that distortion. Point out a Trump lie and you will get some pretty amazing mail — and if we set aside the attacks on your race or ethnic group, accusations that you are a traitor, etc., most of it will declare that you are being a bad journalist because you don’t criticize both candidates equally.

One all-too-common response to such attacks involves abdicating responsibility for fact-checking entirely, and replacing it with theater criticism: Never mind whether what the candidate said is true or false, how did it play? How did he or she “come across”? What were the “optics”?

But theater criticism is the job of theater critics; news reporting should tell the public what really happened, not be devoted to speculation about how other people might react to what happened.

Now, what will I say if Mr. Trump lies less than I predict and Mrs. Clinton more? That’s easy: Tell it like it is. But don’t grade on a curve. If Mr. Trump lies only three times as much as Mrs. Clinton, the main story should still be that he lied a lot more than she did, not that he wasn’t quite as bad as expected.

Again, I’m not calling on the news media to take sides; journalists should simply do their job, which is to report the facts. It may not be easy — but doing the right thing rarely is.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2016/09/trumps-lying-game.html

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Crooked Don’s Slush Fund and the ’16 Double Standard http://themoderatevoice.com/219704/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219704/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 07:35:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219704 185055_600

Yes, folks, it’s time for another episode of “Imagine The Outcry!” Imagine the outcry if Hillary Clinton was outed for taking more than a quarter of a million dollars in other people’s money – donations to the Clinton Foundation, donations that were intended to be used for charitable purposes – and spent it instead on [...]

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Yes, folks, it’s time for another episode of “Imagine The Outcry!”

Imagine the outcry if Hillary Clinton was outed for taking more than a quarter of a million dollars in other people’s money – donations to the Clinton Foundation, donations that were intended to be used for charitable purposes – and spent it instead on herself, in a breach of federal tax laws, in order to settle all kinds of lawsuits filed against her. And to buy several paintings of herself.

Well. We know what would happen. Donald Trump would cite that as fresh evidence of Clinton crookedness, Democrats would double down on what they do best (panic), the pitiable Trump trolls would drag their knuckles on their keyboards, and the cable networks would feature wall-to-wall coverage not seen on the airwaves since that Malaysian plane vanished from radar.

I’m referring, of course, to the latest revelation from David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, who has been digging deep all year into Trump’s charitable work (or lack thereof), and repeatedly exposing the GOP nominee as a fraud. Fahrenthold – a cinch finalist for next year’s Pulitzer – is the guy who recently outed Trump for taking money from his Donald J. Trump Foundation and funneling it to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (an illegal campaign contribution; nonprofits are barred from such giving), and shortly thereafter Bondi decided not to investigate phony Trump University’s bilking of Florida consumers.

Anyway, his new article – which shows us copies of the relevant receipts —– is potentially the most damaging of all (or should be, if facts still matter), because it’s so easily summarized in ways that anyone can understand: Trump took other people’s money in apparent violation of the law, and spent it on himself.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is supposed to make contributions to charitable causes. Trump himself hasn’t donated a penny to the foundation since 2009; whatever money it has comes from outside donors. But it’s clear from the available records that Trump’s favorite charitable cause is himself. In 2014 he took $10,000 from the foundation’s coffers and spent it on a portrait of himself, just a few years after he took 2$20,000 and spent it on a different portrait of himself. And because he gets sued a lot (big surprise), he has settled a number of these lawsuits by taking money from the foundation. Basically, he has used it as his personal slush fund.

Using a non-profit charitable foundation to pay off one’s personal obligations (or, in the case of the portraits, to indulge one’s personal narcissism) is known in the tax laws as “self-dealing,” and it’s apparently against the law to do it.

During the first debate next Monday, it would be nice if Trump were asked about all this. Why does he presumably believe he did not break the law? Why won’t he release his tax returns, as every other nominee has done these last 40 years? Does he fear that the public would discover more instances of self-dealing? And would he not condemn Hillary Clinton if she were found to have engaged in exactly the same behavior? By what right does he get to benefit from the prevailing double standard?

Of course, the odds that he gets asked any of those questions is approximately zero. But perhaps we can content ourselves with Team Trump’s hilarious responses to the self-dealing story. Top flack Jason Miller declared, “In typical Washington Post fashion, they’ve gotten their facts wrong” – without contesting, much less disproving, a single specific fact in the story. Miller also insisted that Trump is “generous” with his money, without once addressing the thrust of the story, which is that Trump hasn’t been generous with his own foundation since 2009 and instead pays for lawsuits and portraits and toys (a $12,000 autographed football) with other people’s money.

But the best part was when Kellyanne Conway played a shrink on CNN and suggested that Post reporter Fahrenthold “seems a little obsessed with Donald Trump these days.” Fahrenthold promptly responded on Twitter. Trump, he pointed out, happens to be “a major party’s nominee for president.”

And of all the facts, that one is still the most horrific.

———

Copyright 2016 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia (newsworks.org/polman) and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

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Two types of gun laws: one for blacks and one for whites http://themoderatevoice.com/219695/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219695/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:42:48 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219695 aaaaaa

WASHINGTON — If you are a black man in America, exercising your constitutional right to keep and bear arms can be fatal. You might think the National Rifle Association and its amen chorus would be outraged, but apparently they believe Second Amendment rights are for whites only. In reaching that conclusion I am accepting, for [...]

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WASHINGTON — If you are a black man in America, exercising your constitutional right to keep and bear arms can be fatal. You might think the National Rifle Association and its amen chorus would be outraged, but apparently they believe Second Amendment rights are for whites only.

In reaching that conclusion I am accepting, for the sake of argument, the account given by the Charlotte, North Carolina, police of how they came to fatally shoot Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Scott’s killing prompted two nights of violent protests that led Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency. On Friday, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shot and killed Terence Crutcher — an unarmed black man — and the two incidents gave tragic new impetus to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Scott’s relatives claim he was unarmed as well. But let’s assume that police are telling the truth and he had a handgun. What reason was there for officers to confront him?

North Carolina, after all, is an open-carry state. A citizen has the right to walk around armed if he or she chooses to do so. The mere fact that someone has a firearm is no reason for police to take action.

This is crazy, in my humble opinion. I believe that we should try to save some of the 30,000-plus lives lost each year to gun violence by enacting sensible firearms restrictions — and that the more people who walk around packing heat like Wild West desperados, the more deaths we will inevitably have to mourn. In its wisdom, however, the state of North Carolina disagrees.

We should continue to lobby for tighter gun laws and hope that someday the voices of reason are heard. But at the same time, we should demand that current laws be enforced fairly even if we don’t like them. Scott’s death is the second recent police slaying to suggest that laws permitting people to carry handguns apparently do not apply to African-Americans.

In July, police killed a black man named Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, after pulling him over for a traffic stop. When officers approached the car, Castile told them he was licensed to carry a handgun. I can only assume that Castile made this declaration so that the officers would not be surprised upon seeing the gun. But rather than assure them that he was a law-abiding citizen exercising his constitutional right, Castile’s announcement had the opposite effect.

The horror that ensued was live-streamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Her cellphone video and calm, composed narration were chilling, especially to those of us who frequently commit the offense of driving while black. One of the officers shot Castile several times, and Reynolds watched as he slumped next to her, his life bleeding away.

Did Castile reach for the gun? Reynolds maintains he was merely reaching for his wallet to get his driver’s license, as the officer had ordered. But we have seen many times, including in the recent Crutcher case, that [BEG ITAL]any[END ITAL] perceived sudden movement by a black man under arrest, even if he is not known to have a weapon, can be seen by police as a deadly threat. Disclosure of the gun, meant to avert potential tragedy, seems to have invited it.

Afterward, it was confirmed that Castile did indeed have a legal permit to carry a gun. He was not guilty of any crime. He was just 32 — and, incredibly, had in his brief life been stopped a total of 52 times for nickel-and-dime traffic violations.

That qualifies as harassment. I know many black men who have been pulled over for some trumped-up excuse and felt threatened by police. This has happened to me.

In the Scott case, according to a Charlotte police department statement, officers said they went to a neighborhood looking for someone else and saw Scott “inside a vehicle in the apartment complex. The subject exited the vehicle armed with a handgun. Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle at which time they began to approach the subject.”

If all they saw was a man with a gun who got out of a car and back in, what illegal activity did they observe? Why did they “approach the subject” instead of going about their business? Did they have any reason to suspect it was an illegal gun? Are all men carrying guns believed to be carrying guns illegally, or just black men?

Our gun laws should be changed. Until then, however, they must be enforced equally. Does the NRA disagree?

Eugene Robinson’s email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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There’s a Bridge I’d Like to Sell You http://themoderatevoice.com/theres-bridge-id-like-sell/ http://themoderatevoice.com/theres-bridge-id-like-sell/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:32:45 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219688 DonDonEagle

September 22, 2016 Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as [...]

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DonDonEagle

DonDonEagle

September 22, 2016

Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as Baby DonDon.

Oh, Baby DonDon’s head is spinning. Following the good news of the terror attacks, we’ve got terrible news from the Bridgegate trial in Newark, NJ. Both the prosecution and the defense said Chris Christie knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Chris, you will recall, has gone from being my friend to my bitch to my hostage to head of my freakin’ transition team. He’s going to help pick the Secretary of Transportation, God help us all. I don’t know, maybe we can abolish that department.

You might also remember that during the primaries I said Chris knew about the lane closures. “He knew,” I said. “He knew.”

But I was campaigning against him then and I would have said anything. Did I believe what I said?

You’re asking ME? Who knows? I don’t know. The art of the spew is that you just keep riffing until weird, nasty stuff comes out. All my statements are transactional, negotiable and totally reversible.

Yes, yes, I thought seriously of naming Chris as my veep. Sounds stupid, I know, but you’ve got to understand, I’ve gained a lot of weight campaigning and I thought having Chris as my running mate would help me look thin. Hey, Chris would make Dumbo look thin. (No offense meant, Chris.)

And then there’s this awful photo of Chris and his aide David Wildstein laughing at the 12th annual 9/11 memorial service, which is not exactly a Friars roast. The prosecutors say they are laughing about the lane closures and the desperate attempts by the mayor of Fort Lee to get the lanes reopened. Bad optics. Really, really bad optics.

Now this is so awkward. No, no, no! What if Chris gets indicted? (Heck, what if I get indicted for my foundation crimes? More on that tomorrow.)

This could hurt my brand. I always say I will hire the best people, and now the head of my transition team has one foot in the slammer. This is not good for Baby DonDon. But if I fire Chris, he might spread vicious lies about me, some of which would be true, so that could be even worse.

I guess the only solution is to make him a permanent part of a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike or a shuttered casino in Atlantic City. Hey, thank goodness it’s New Jersey. There are lots of contractors to call.

Andrew Feinberg is the author of Four Score and Seven (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Score-Seven-Andrew-Feinberg/dp/0692664009), a novel that imagines that Abe Lincoln comes back to life for two weeks during the 2016 campaign and encounters a candidate who, some say, resembles Donald Trump. He also writes a daily anti-Trump humor page at https://www.facebook.com/MeBabyDonDon.

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The Fart Patrol of California http://themoderatevoice.com/the-fart-patrol-of-california/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-fart-patrol-of-california/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 22:00:27 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219636 California Fart Patrol

During the latter 1960’s, Hollywood produced a WWII-themed TV series called The Rat Patrol. Now, the California government is forming the fart patrol. Thanks to California Senate Bill 1383, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, “The state’s Air Resources Board can also now regulate bovine flatulence, as long as there are practical [...]

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California Fart Patrol

During the latter 1960’s, Hollywood produced a WWII-themed TV series called The Rat Patrol. Now, the California government is forming the fart patrol. Thanks to California Senate Bill 1383, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, “The state’s Air Resources Board can also now regulate bovine flatulence, as long as there are practical ways to reduce the cows’ belching and breaking wind.”

That’s right. The government of California wants to regulate cow farts.

Just how can anyone stop cows from farting?

One wouldn’t be able put a big cork into a cow, because the eventual pressure build-up would send that cork flying into the next county.

Then again, Farmer Brown could keep a few large corks with him in the event that he spotted a prowler on his property. In such a case, he could plug one into Bessie, aim her rear at the prowler and then pull.

Perhaps members of the California Fart Patrol could just reach into the cows and pinch their colons.

That would have the cows asking,

If California politicians want to regulate cow farts, then all that I can say is . . .

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Judicial Vacancy Hurting Ordinary Americans But Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Care http://themoderatevoice.com/judicial-vacancy-hurting-ordinary-americans-mitch-mcconnell-doesnt-care/ http://themoderatevoice.com/judicial-vacancy-hurting-ordinary-americans-mitch-mcconnell-doesnt-care/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:55:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219692 Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

There is a Judicial crisis in America and Mitch McConnell doesn’t care. Senators are not doing their jobs or fulfilling their Constitutional responsibilities and Senate leaders cite statistics that totally ignore the severity of the crisis. I know Republicans are hesitant, if not vehemently opposed to so much as scheduling a confirmation hearing on Merrick [...]

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Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

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There is a Judicial crisis in America and Mitch McConnell doesn’t care. Senators are not doing their jobs or fulfilling their Constitutional responsibilities and Senate leaders cite statistics that totally ignore the severity of the crisis.

I know Republicans are hesitant, if not vehemently opposed to so much as scheduling a confirmation hearing on Merrick Garland before Election Day. At this point, that might be understandable though not necessarily Constitutionally sound. While being short one justice is far from healthy for the Republic, the fact is that, after June 30, the court does not convene again until the first Monday in October and few rulings of monumental importance are issued until much later in the term. So if the only havoc the Republicans were wreaking on judicial instability was this one vacancy, I would argue that it might not be the worst thing in the world and despite “do your job” calls, I am sure the Democrats would be taking a similar tack in an election year. Lower court vacancies are another story.

There are 87 Judicial vacancies among the 870 member Circuit and District bench. That is more than one-tenth of the bench. Of those, 30 have been classified as Judicial emergencies which means that the current caseload I so overwhelming that the courts lack a sufficient number of judges to hear cases. This causes a backlog of Justice for which ordinary citizens – not the politicians, needlessly suffer. All it takes is a vote on the Senate floor for confirmation and that can be done at the purview of the Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Yet Mitch McConnell doesn’t care.

Let’s look at what has transpired in the nearly 21 months since Republicans have taken control of the Senate. They have confirmed 22 nominees, essentially one for each month. Conversely, 68 of President George W. Bush’s nominees were confirmed during the same period and that was when the opposite party controlled the Senate. Worse, Republicans have sought to obfuscate that with disingenuous talking points and technicalities that take aim at American gullibility or the correct knowledge that they are too busy to get the facts. The party boasts that more of Obama’s nominees (327) have been confirmed than Bush’s (325). But that is illustrative of what folks find so revolting in Washington. The mumbo-jumbo talking-points that have proven that facts are stubborn things. Numbers aside, the vacancies are more than 20% more than when Bush left office.

The slow-walking has one purpose: to slow it down but what they are really doing is slowing down justice for the American people. After all, two Judges in Tennessee, despite having the support of both Republican home-state Senators took a year simply to get votes despite pleas from judicial officials and at least one of the Volunteer States GOP Senators – Bob Corker, acknowledged. They were finally confirmed unanimously. Another judge from Tennessee has been on the docket for nearly a year. That’s just it. Many of the nominees have received sign-offs from Republican Senators including Texas Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. That’s pretty remarkable. But what’s more remarkable is that Texas, more than almost any other state, has a huge vacancy. But Mitch McConnell doesn’t care.

Before Senators went on a seven week summer recess (unprecedented in itself), Elizabeth Warren sought to have some confirmed those waiting the longest via unanimous consent, which meant it would have taken the chamber mere seconds to push through. McConnell kept objecting. Warren eventually winnowed her request down to one – a New Jersey Judge who has been waiting a year. The words the joking of filibusters knows best – “objection,” was quickly raised. When Senators returned, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp did the same and she too was rebuffed. Ditto with New Jersey’s Cory Booker.

Part of McConnell’s rationale was that only he, as Majority leader has the prerogative to schedule votes. So schedule them. McConnell wields a lot of power. Almost everybody – not just Democrats but most Republicans as well, are at least publicly urging him to use it.

McConnell is a lawyer himself. He has to know that the years-long shortage impacts ordinary citizens without access to money and power who don’t deserve it. You’d think that would move him. One would think he’d pretend to care. But he just doesn’t. And why? So an abundance of Judges will be confirmed later, by near unanimous margins? That’s just it. Judges are being slow walked for no apparent reason. McConnell undoubtedly knows that legal scholars and non-partisan judges are on his tail but that perpetually dour face is still unmoved.

I once had one former Republican Senator once tell me that Mitch McConnell is “the only Senator who always thinks of the politics” behind everything. On this issue, the proof is in the pudding.

Leader McConnell, you pledged to run the Senate differently when Republicans took control. Be a man of your word. Stop stepping on people when there is nothing to gain. If you insist on playing pointless and unprecedented games with the nations courts that affect ordinary citizens more than any other, leave the American people out it.

Caricature by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

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Why Isn’t Clinton Further Ahead? http://themoderatevoice.com/isnt-clinton-ahead/ http://themoderatevoice.com/isnt-clinton-ahead/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:28:05 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219572 3d-question-mark-symbols_f1iqEIdGS_

John Judis explains on Talking Points Memo. If I had to bet on this election, I’d still put my money on Hillary Clinton. But there is a big question about why she is not doing better. When presidential candidates face opponents who can’t even command the support of their party’s leadership and leading interest groups, it’s usually [...]

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John Judis explains on Talking Points Memo.

If I had to bet on this election, I’d still put my money on Hillary Clinton. But there is a big question about why she is not doing better. When presidential candidates face opponents who can’t even command the support of their party’s leadership and leading interest groups, it’s usually landslide time. Think of Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater in 1964, and Richard Nixon against George McGovern in 1972. And Trump has less support in his party’s leadership than either Goldwater or McGovern had. Yet if the polls are to be believed, the race between Clinton and Trump is close.

I don’t accept some of the explanations proffered by her supporters: that the media tilts toward Trump or that there is a silent majority of racists and sexists in America. I think she does suffer from representing the party that has controlled the White House for the last eight years and for 16 of the last 24. In these cases, voters accumulate grievances with a long half-life that affect their view of the current candidate. And the candidate finds it difficult to advocate dramatic change without appearing to repudiate her predecessors. But I think that in addition to this handicap, Clinton suffers from having run a less than stellar campaign – one sadly reminiscent of Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Beyond not wanting her opponent to be president, I have my reasons for supporting Clinton – and they begin with Supreme Court nominations – but I can’t think of three positive reasons why the average voter would support Clinton. Her own ads have been almost entirely devoted to warning about a Trump presidency, which is why complaints from her camp that the media devotes too much attention to Trump run hollow. Voters want to know what she really wants to do as president. When I presented this conundrum to a friend, he pointed me to Clinton’s website, where there are detailed proposals on 38 issues – from climate change and campus sexual assault to HIV and AIDS and protecting animals and wildlife. But that’s not really what I mean by standing for something.

Political campaigns are thematic. They are not about detailed proposals. That’s what governing is partly about, although politics is crucial to governing, too. The most successful campaigns can be summed up in slogans and simple demands. I think of Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H.W. Bush in 1988 (who had to face the third term problem), Bill Clinton in 1992, George W. Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008. These campaigns had easily remembered slogans — yes we can, compassionate conservatism, putting people first, kinder, gentler nation, making America great again (Reagan and Trump) and they had simple programmatic proposals – end welfare as we know it, an across the board 33 percent tax cut, read my lips; no new taxes, withdraw from Iraq, and not a dime from special interests. Trump’s campaign is very much along these lines, which is one reason he has gotten this far. Clinton’s is not. Nor was that of Dukakis (competence, not ideology) who at one point in the summer of 1988 was 17 percentage points up on Bush.

Compare for a moment Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton’s response to the consumer fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. During Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s appearance before the Senate Finance Committee, Warren told Stumpf, “You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

By contrast, Clinton’s response was an open letter to Wells Fargo customers. “I was deeply disturbed when, last week, we found out that Wells Fargo had engaged in widespread illegal practices over many years… Today, Wells Fargo’s CEO will appear before Congress. He owes all of you a clear explanation as to how this happened under his watch. There is simply no place for this kind of outrageous behavior in America.” Clinton then went on to present a raft a proposals for reforming the banking system.

These are reasonable proposals, but they belong in a transition committee’s report on financial reform. Did Clinton expect that many of Wells Fargo’s customers would actually read this letter? By not singling out Stumpf and not taking the kind of tough stance that Warren did, Clinton missed a golden opportunity to tell voters what she really cared about – and do so without alienating a significant bloc of voters. And it certainly wouldn’t have put her at odds with Obama. I simply don’t understand why Clinton and her campaign took a pass, but it’s more or less characteristic of her campaign, and it is one important reason Trump has pulled close to her in the polls.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2016/09/why-isnt-clinton-further-ahead_22.html

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Boom! http://themoderatevoice.com/boom/ http://themoderatevoice.com/boom/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:03:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219543 DonDonEagle

September 22, 2016 Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as [...]

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DonDonEagle

DonDonEagle

September 22, 2016

Note to readers: This is the latest entry in Baby DonDon’s campaign diary. The series imagines that “Mr.” Donald Trump has the emotional make-up of a five-year-old and confides his deepest thoughts—such as they are—to Andrew Feinberg, and to readers, every day. In his private moments, he always thinks of himself as Baby DonDon.

What a week it has been for everyone, especially Baby DonDon. And, really, what else matters? MY LIFE MATTERS.

Did I predict the terror attacks? You know I did. Did I know the Chelsea explosion was a bomb before the police said so? Of course I did. Had I gone into journalism, I’d be drowning in Pulitzers.

And how did my knowing that help people? By convincing some of the slower ones that I should be president. It helped ME.

Secretly—and I can tell you, my loyal followers, but this can go no further—I am happy about the attacks. (Yes, Baby DonDon! Yes, Baby DonDon!) Now, I’m glad no one was badly hurt. An attack without deaths is my political wet dream. It makes my case without making me feel guilty about being so happy.

That a bomb went off in Manhattan, the media capital of the world, was just too perfect. Now here’s what we need: an attack or two a week until the election. (Okay, maybe two is greedy. I’ll take one a week in a swing state.) It would be nice if we had more serious injuries, though, especially if the injured could be Independent voters. And when entering the hospital on gurneys, they could tell the press, “Now I’m for Trump.”

So if you know any pissed-off Muslims—no, I can’t say that, I can’t say that—I can think it but not say it. Well, don’t report them until after the election. There, I feel better.

Did you see what that idiot Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson said? That no one was injured in the Chelsea bombing. I guess the only people injured were in Aleppo. That guy has definitely smoked too much pot, definitely.

Me, I never do drugs and I never drink. Yeah, I know. You thought different. Go figure. Some people only have no shame when they’re plastered. Me, I’m that way all the time.

Incredible.

Andrew Feinberg is the author of Four Score and Seven (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Score-Seven-Andrew-Feinberg/dp/0692664009), a novel that imagines that Abe Lincoln comes back to life for two weeks during the 2016 campaign and encounters a candidate who, some say, resembles Donald Trump. He also writes a daily anti-Trump humor page at https://www.facebook.com/MeBabyDonDon.

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Taking a knee: high school athletes join the protest http://themoderatevoice.com/taking-a-knee/ http://themoderatevoice.com/taking-a-knee/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:26:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219684 football on grass

Non-professional athletes in 20 states plus the District of Columbia have joined Colin Kaepernick's consciousness-raising by kneeling for the anthem.

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football on grass

On August 26, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the singing of the national anthem prior to a Green Bay Packers game.

Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid knelt during the singing of the national anthem before the team’s September 1 preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the playing of the anthem before the team’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

These professional football players — and others — have sought to bring attention to social inequality and the deaths of minority men at the hands of America’s police.

High school teams across the country are also taking a knee, many to community criticism.

“The highest court in the land ruled long ago, and it’s been upheld time after time, that students do not leave their free speech rights at the schoolhouse gate,” said Bob Farrace, director of public affairs for the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He noted that the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that public school students in Iowa could wear black armbands to silently protest the Vietnam War.

Jeremi Duru, professor of sports law at American University in Washington, D.C., comments on the movement:

“Throughout the nation, athletes on different levels are finding their voice and recognizing that they have a platform,” he said. “We haven’t seen this level of athlete activism in nearly half a century. This is a movement.”

 

As seen through Twitter

 

The State Roster

Non-professional athletes — collegiate, high school, and prep — in 20 states and the District of Columbia have joined Kaepernick’s consciousness-raising.

See the list at WiredPen.

 
In the wake of video showing Terence Crutcher being shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, John Pavlovitz, a pastor in Raleigh NC wrote:

White friends, if your immediate response to the shooting of Terence Crutcher is to try and justify why he’s dead, instead of asking why he was shot next to his disabled vehicle by those charged with as protecting and serving him, you may be the problem here. If you aren’t greatly burdened with grief for his family and you aren’t moved with compassion for the way scenes like this repeatedly kick people of color in the gut, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions about your own patriotism, your own appreciation of freedom, your own civic responsibility.

 
 
:: Follow me on Twitter @kegill

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Americans are deciding for the world http://themoderatevoice.com/219682/ http://themoderatevoice.com/219682/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 04:17:06 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219682 gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggglobe

WASHINGTON — Like it or not, the decision we make in this November’s election will be a choice on behalf of the entire world. How we vote will determine whether the forces of democracy, openness and religious tolerance remain strong, or whether our country throws in its lot with tribalism, prejudice and authoritarianism. This sounds [...]

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WASHINGTON — Like it or not, the decision we make in this November’s election will be a choice on behalf of the entire world. How we vote will determine whether the forces of democracy, openness and religious tolerance remain strong, or whether our country throws in its lot with tribalism, prejudice and authoritarianism.

This sounds like melodrama. It isn’t. And while it may ring familiar — citizens of other countries always tell us how important our electoral verdicts are to them — Donald Trump requires us to make a judgment more monumental than any we have faced in our lifetimes.

This is the underlying import of President Obama’s speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, which may prove to be one of the most important of his presidency. He spoke of a “growing contest between authoritarianism and liberalism,” and he was not referring to the L-word we fight about here at home, but to the philosophy of free expression, entrepreneurialism and participatory decision-making that has long been our country’s hallmark. It’s the philosophy that most Americans, conservatives included, honor.

Obama cast the matter this way: “We can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration. Or we can retreat into a world sharply divided, and ultimately in conflict, along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.”

He criticized “a crude populism — sometimes from the far left, but more often from the far right — which seeks to restore what they believe was a better, simpler age free of outside contamination.”

And lest anyone miss that he was talking not only about political currents in Europe and elsewhere but also about Trump, he added this: “Today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.”

Obama’s critics have every right to question whether his policies may have hastened this moment of decision. In a normal election, contention over Obama’s approach to foreign affairs would be central to our debate.

But this is not, in any way, a normal election. Conservatives who have problems with Obama or Hillary Clinton but share their understanding of the country’s democratic obligations need to recognize that allowing Trump to win would strengthen the autocratic Vladimir Putin in Russia and the far right in Europe with which he is now allied. A Trump victory would also empower violent extremists in the Islamic world that want nothing more than for the United States to cast every Muslim as our enemy.

And it would be a decision in favor of what Obama called the “strongman, a top-down model, rather than strong, democratic institutions.”

The fact that Trump has been so verbally chummy with Putin should be a key issue in this election. And this underscores the unusual importance of Trump’s making his tax returns public, as have all recent candidates. Americans need to know definitively whether or not he is financially entangled with foreign interests hostile to the United States and to our values, including Russian oligarchs.

There was a second level to Obama’s U.N. speech that should affect our thinking after this election is over. After issuing an enthusiastic defense of an open global economy, he was careful not to dismiss those who have risen up in protest against its injustices. He argued that “those trumpeting the benefits of globalization have ignored inequality within and among nations” and that “the existing path to global integration requires a course correction.”

He forcefully called for strengthening labor unions, echoed Pope Francis in criticizing “a soulless capitalism that benefits only the few” and insisted that efforts “to curb the excesses of capitalism” were designed “not to punish wealth, but to prevent repeated crises that can destroy it.”

I do not expect conservatives to rally to this part of his case, although I would like them to take more seriously the idea that preserving the very aspects of the system they revere requires more egalitarian public policies and a clear acknowledgement of capitalism’s limits.

This, however, represents the sort of healthy quarrel that people of goodwill in free nations can have with each other after the immediate threat that Trump represents to the democratic left, right and center alike has been turned back.

I know it asks a great deal of my conservative friends not only to oppose Trump but also to support Hillary Clinton. But she is the only person standing between us and a United States that abandons our shared commitment to the ideals of inclusion, toleration and, yes, democracy itself.


E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.(c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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Cartoon: Skittles http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-skittles/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-skittles/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 03:52:46 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=219680 cjones09212016 (2)

Skittles by Clay Jones I almost drew a Skittles cartoon last night but I wanted to see how much news coverage it received today. It received a LOT. One of my best friends and fellow cartoonist tagged me on Facebook baiting me to draw a Skittles cartoon. I almost passed but I couldn’t resist. Donald [...]

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cjones09212016 (2)

cjones09212016 (2)

Skittles
by Clay Jones

I almost drew a Skittles cartoon last night but I wanted to see how much news coverage it received today. It received a LOT. One of my best friends and fellow cartoonist tagged me on Facebook baiting me to draw a Skittles cartoon. I almost passed but I couldn’t resist.

Donald Trump Jr. posted a meme on Twitter (say no to memes, people) which posted a picture of Skittles, and asked “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” First off, I wouldn’t eat any because I don’t like Skittles. They taste like a rainbow-covered ass. Second, Junior was using this argument to refuse Syrian refugees from entering our nation. Junior, people are not candy. The child famously photographed in the ambulance after a bombing in Aleppo is not to be equated with candy. The child who washed up dead on a beach in Greece is not to be equated with candy.

Even the Wrigley Company which owns Skittles was disturbed by the failed analogy and they rebuked Junior by telling him refugees are not to be equated with candy.

Trump has proven himself to be hateful and heartless. He’s raised his children to share his world outlook. Junior is a spoiled-rich frat boy with an executive position handed to him by his father. Last week Junior said the media has been Clinton’s “number one surrogate,” letting her slide “on every indiscrepancy, on every lie, on every DNC game trying to get Bernie Sanders out” of the way. He added, “If Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.” These are terrible people, Junior specifically.

The analogy also fails as you have a very slim chance of being killed by a refugee. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning, bitten by a shark, or Donald Trump contributing to a charitable cause out of his own pocket.

With the extremely low odds of being killed by a refugee a bowl of Skittles doesn’t cut it. You would need three Olympic-sized swimming pools full of Skittles with three of them being poisonous to accurately compare it to the odds of being killed by a refugee. Taste that rainbow.

I’m sure the analogy will work with Trump supporters. We already know they’re racist and low-informed. It’s not like they need facts to support their candidate. Skittles’ slogan is “taste the rainbow.” Trump and his people are afraid of rainbows.

Here’s a piece of irony for you: The photograph of the Skittles used without permission in the tasteless meme was taken…wait for it….by a refugee.

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