Sunday, July 31, 2016

This Viral Rant About Hillary Clinton is the Most Savage Takedown Ever


Politico recently posted a Hillary Clinton puff piece to its Facebook page, in which a young Clinton supporter aims to convince fellow millennials about how her candidate was "such a boss" in the 1990s. One Facebook commenter was having none of it.


Almost immediately after Politico posted the article, Mark's comment tearing apart Clinton's record jumped to the top of the thread, attracting over 150 likes. Perhaps the reason for the comment's virality is that nothing cited in the comment is factually incorrect. Here's a point-by-point breakdown:

"Hillary attacked her husband's rape victims and destroyed them in public"

Last month, the New York Times ran a story about how Hillary Clinton's swift, aggressive efforts to shush the multiple women accusing her husband of sexual assault in the 1990s present an image of the former First Lady contrary to the feminist icon brand she's crafted for her 2016 presidential campaign:

"We have to destroy her story," Mrs. Clinton said in 1991 of Connie Hamzy, one of the first women to come forward during her husband's first presidential campaign, according to George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton administration aide who described the events in his memoir, "All Too Human." (Three people signed sworn affidavits saying Ms. Hamzy's story was false.)

When Gennifer Flowers later surfaced, saying that she had had a long affair with Mr. Clinton, Mrs. Clinton undertook an "aggressive, explicit direction of the campaign to discredit" Ms. Flowers, according to an exhaustive biography of Mrs. Clinton, "A Woman in Charge," by Carl Bernstein.

Mrs. Clinton referred to Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with the 42nd president, as a "narcissistic loony toon," according to one of her closest confidantes, Diane D. Blair, whose diaries were released to the University of Arkansas after her death in 2000.

Ms. Lewinsky later called the comment an example of Mrs. Clinton's impulse to "blame the woman."

"Hillary Clinton was on the board of Walmart, the nation's largest discriminatory employer who paid women 70 cents on the dollar"

Between 1986 and 1992, Mrs. Clinton was a member of Walmart's board of directors. As ABC News reported, Clinton's years on Walmart's board were some of the company's worst, during which the conglomerate squashed workers' efforts to organize for better wages and working conditions.

"I'm always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else," Clinton said at the company's annual shareholders meeting in 1990.

According to the National Organization for Women (NOW), 57 percent of Walmart's employees are women, but a majority of its managers are men. And in 2001, the company paid women an average of $5,200 less per year than its male employees. NOW also found that to this day, thousands of female Walmart employees are still trying to get the company to pay them equal wages they were denied:

In Dukes v. Walmart — the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history — 1.5 million female employees accused Walmart of discrimination in promotions, pay and job assignments. The case included 120 affidavits relating to 235 stores. When the Supreme Court heard the case in 2011, it ruled that "[e]ven if every single one of these accounts is true, that would not demonstrate that the entire company operate[s] under a general policy of discrimination." Today, many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits against the corporation.

"Clinton called single mothers 'deadbeats'"

As First Lady, Clinton pushed hard for her husband's bill aimed at cutting welfare benefits to appease white, working-class voters while he was running for re-election. US Uncut has written extensively about how Clinton's welfare reform disproportionately impacted women and people of color, and that even the black poster women Clinton used as a backdrop at the bill's signing were harmed by its passage. This isn't just speculation — Buzzfeed dug up a 2002 interview with the Gettysburg Times in which Hillary Clinton cavalierly referred to welfare recipients as "deadbeats."

"Now that we've said these people are no longer deadbeats—they're actually out there being productive—how do we keep them there?" then-senator Clinton said.

"Clinton called black men 'super predators'"

In January of 1996, while stumping for her husband's re-election in predominantly-white Keene, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton compared black youth to animals. Two years prior, her husband had signed a sweeping crime bill into law that allocated billions of dollars for new prisons and created the notorious "three-strikes" provision that punishes repeat offenders with harsher jail sentences. In Keene, Clinton used dog-whistle racist language when talking about gang violence, calling them "super predators" and saying they needed to be "brought to heel," as one would a dog. Watch:

Bill Clinton went on to win the New Hampshire primary with a whopping 84 percent of the vote.

"She and her husband traveled first-class to execute a black man with an IQ level of 70"

Mark is referring to Ricky Ray Rector, whom Clinton executed just before the New Hampshire primary in 1992. Rector had committed two murders, then shot himself in the head, causing permanent brain damage. A judge then ordered Rector to stand trial despite his mental condition. A Yale professor studying the case wrote about how Rector honestly believed he would live to be able to vote for Clinton in the November elections:

That afternoon, after Clinton had refused all final entreaties for clemency, Rector sat with one of his attorneys watching, on a TV outside his cell, news reports of his impending execution, two hours away, intermingled with accounts of Clinton's travail over the Flowers charges, and he abruptly announced, in a thick mumble, "I'm gonna vote for him, Gonna vote for Clinton." It had always been his habit to put aside his dessert until bedtime, and after eating his last meal, of steak and fried chicken in gravy, with cherry Kool-Aid, he carefully set aside his helping of pecan pie, to finish later. One of his attorneys had earlier stated that Rector "thinks he'll be back in his cell on Saturday morning."

"Clinton said marriage should only exist between people of the opposite sex"

As a U.S. Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton was a staunch opponent of marriage equality. In a televised interview from the capital city of Albany, MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked then-Senator Clinton if she would support government recognition of civil unions and gay marriages. Clinton didn't even blink before saying no, drawing boos from the audience. Her reaction to the boos was simply to smile and laugh.

MATTHEWS: "Do you think New York state should recognize gay marriage?"


Watch the full exchange:

Given the disconnect between Clinton's record as a First Lady and U.S. Senator, it's not hard to understand why a majority of voters in swing states say she's neither honest nor trustworthy. It remains to be seen whether or not she'll win over women and people of color in Nevada and South Carolina, where Democratic voters will choose between her and Sanders in the coming two weeks.

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Trump Faces Withering Bipartisan Backlash For Attacking Khan Family


"YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Donald Trump sparked bipartisan backlash after the Republican attacked the bereaved parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who spoke at the Democratic convention last week.

Critics from both parties on Saturday questioned whether Trump had the empathy and understanding to be president, particularly after he questioned why mourning mother Ghazala Khan stayed silent during her husband's Thursday night address.

"He was kind of trying to turn that into some kind of ridicule," Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said after a campaign event in Pittsburgh. "It just demonstrates again kind of a temperamental unfitness. If you don't have any more sense of empathy than that, then I'm not sure you can learn it."

Former President Bill Clinton, who joined his wife and Kaine at the event, agreed: "I cannot conceive how you can say that about a Gold Star mother."

Lawyer Khizr Khan gave a moving tribute to their son, Humayun, who received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004. During the speech, Khan's wife, Ghazala, stood quietly by his side.

"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me," Trump said, in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

Ghazala Khan has said she didn't speak because she's still overwhelmed by her grief and can't even look at photos of her son without crying.

Trump also disputed Khan's criticism that the billionaire businessman has "sacrificed nothing and no one" for his country.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures," Trump said.

Trump's comments sparked immediate outrage on social media, including from Republican strategists, who criticized Trump both for attacking a mourning mother and because many considered them racist and anti-Muslim.

Senior Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, remained silent, as did vice presidential nominee Mike Pence.

But John Kasich, the Ohio governor who sought the GOP presidential nomination, said on Twitter, "There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."

Hillary Clinton told voters gathered in a Youngstown gymnasium late Saturday: "Donald Trump is not a normal presidential candidate. Somebody who attacks everybody has something missing."

"He attacked the distinguished father of a soldier who sacrificed himself for his unit, Capt. Khan," she said. "I think it is fair to say he is temperamentally unfit and unqualified."

Late Saturday night, Trump released a statement calling Humayun Khan "a hero" but disputing his father's characterization.

"While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things," said Trump.

Trump's comments about Khan came a day after he criticized retired four-star Gen. John Allen and slammed a Colorado Springs, Colorado, fire marshal for capping attendance at the event. The fire marshal, Brett Lacey, was recently honored by the city as "Civilian of the Year" for his role in helping the wounded at a 2015 mass shooting at a local Planned Parenthood.

"Our commander in chief shouldn't insult and deride our generals, retired or otherwise," Clinton told a crowd gathered Saturday on a factory floor in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Clinton has used the days following her convention to try and win back some of the white working class voters that once made up a key piece of the Democratic Party's electoral coalition. Trump's anti-trade message has appealed to those voters, who feel frustrated with an economic recovery that's largely left them behind.

While Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, attempted to sell their positive economic message, much of their strategy centers on undermining Trump, particularly the business record that makes up the core of his argument to voters.

Trump has made plans to visit some of the same areas Clinton is campaigning in during her three-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, scheduling Monday stops in Columbus and Cleveland."

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Texas’s Most Prominent Conservative Newspaper Endorses Hillary Over Trump


"The Houston Chronicle, Texas' largest newspaper, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president yesterday, becoming one of the first major newspapers to endorse a candidate. As the editorial board itself said, this early endorsement came because the choice in the election this year is about "something much more basic than party preference," namely "the most basic notions of competence and capability."

The paper's board reiterated President Obama's belief that Clinton would be "the most qualified person in years to serve as president," and announced its support for her on issues ranging from immigration to healthcare and energy policy, all of which are of crucial importance to Houston and to Texas in general. As they note, "there's no comparison in terms of thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and practicality" between Clinton's expert-informed policies and Trump's "paper-thin, bumper-sticker proposals."

Most importantly, however, the Chronicle realizes better than most the degree to which this country's most basic and foundational principles are at stake in this most crucial of elections. "Whether or not voters like her personally," the editorial board writes, "is almost irrelevant at this moment of reckoning" between a hopeful vision of an open, inclusive, progressive American society and a walled-off, oppressive, inward-facing dystopia. The Chronicle goes on to mercilessly and rightfully castigate the GOP nominee:

Any one of Trump's less-than-sterling qualities – his erratic temperament, his dodgy business practices, his racism, his Putin-like strongman inclinations and faux-populist demagoguery, his contempt for the rule of law, his ignorance – is enough to be disqualifying. His convention-speech comment, "I alone can fix it," should make every American shudder. He is, we believe, a danger to the Republic.

As Clinton herself has acknowledged, she is not the best campaigner and has made many mistakes in her career, but the enormity of the actual political choice facing the nation should make it a moral imperative for every decent American to support her.

The Chronicle's editorial marks one of the first major newspaper endorsements of this election cycle, but many more are sure to follow for Clinton given the inevitable ability of informed observers to recognize her obvious superiority to Trump. It is also significant that Texas' premier newspaper should endorse the Democratic candidate. Although the city of Houston is substantially more liberal than the state as a whole, the Chronicle is no liberal rag; it endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 and Hillary is only the third Democratic candidate ever to be endorsed by the paper. Indeed despite Texas' notorious conservatism, its rising Hispanic population and the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of cities like Houston and Dallas has been pushing the state's politics to the left. A competitive race in the state does not seem totally out of the realm of possibility, and the Chronicle's endorsement can only help Clinton's chances there. "

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Donald Trump Keeps Calling The U.S. The ‘Highest Taxed Nation.’ It’s Not Even Close.


Donald Trump likes to say the United States is the "highest taxed nation in the world."

He said it Wednesday while attacking Hillary Clinton. He said it in May. He said it February. He said it last August. But it is not true at all. 

When it comes to its tax rates, the U.S. ranks 17th, 19th or 31st among the world's 33 developed nations depending on what metric you use, as Politifact has doggedly noted each time Trump has wheeled out this lie.


Politifact also looked at numbers from the World Bank, which "placed the United States near the bottom in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP." Another report from the World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers includes things like property and business profits, and it determined the U.S. ranked 64th out of 189 countries in total tax rate. 

There's just no way to slice the numbers to make Trump's statement anything less than totally untrue. The simple fact is that the U.S. tax rate is near the middle or bottom compared to other countries. 

Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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Houston Chronicle endorses Hillary Clinton for President, says Trump is "danger to the Republic"


"Houston Chronicle is endorsing early, as they obviously understand that Hillary is prepared to be President and Trump is a danger to the United States.

They absolutely blistered Trump in this Presidential endorsement and they have plenty of great things to say about Hillary as well.

Check out the entire endorsement at the link below. "

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Ignorance, racism and rage: The GOP’s transformation to the party of stupid started long before Donald Trump


"The Republican wooing of these voters took time and delicacy. Never did its strategists aim to become the party of blatant racism. Instead, they created concepts like the "moral majority," "religious right," "family values" and even color-blindness in order to attract white voters concerned about African-American socio-economic and political gains. And in so doing, they betrayed their moral roots in three ways.

First, Republicans allowed bigotry safe haven under the guise of morality, in the very name of morality, by broadcasting scary tales of black urban life as though it were proof of the irredeemable inferiority of African Americans. From the Southern Strategy of Nixon to the cynical electioneering of Lee Atwater, the campaign manager for George H. W. Bush, the line was straight. In 1981, Atwater explained that by 1968, the N-word repelled voters rather than attracting them, so he trained Republicans to "say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff." Reagan acted his part in disdaining welfare queens and "young bucks," a phrase straight out of the antebellum South. In 1994, Charles Murray broadcast pseudo-scientific racism in "The Bell Curve" — amazingly, Murray is still in service today — arguing that so-called blacks simply are less intelligent and moral, if more athletic, than whites. Donald Trump's retweets from white supremacist origins are consistent with this Republican precedent.

Second, the Republican Party adopted fixed positions on issues. The nineteenth-century liberal commitment to open-mindedness had meant that any position was only provisional, awaiting the testimony of further evidence or wider viewpoints for modification. For many decades now, the Republicans have insisted that lowering taxes, beefing up the military, and cutting social programs are what America needs. They oppose abortion because they need white evangelical voters, so Republican politicians claim that the resemblance of a fetus to a baby is more important than the resemblance of a criminal to a human being — Republicans favor the death penalty, after all, which they have to reconcile with their so-called pro-life conviction. Along comes Trump, calling for women who terminate their pregnancies to be punished.

Finally, the Republican Party has increasingly refused to engage in meaningful dialogue with its opponents. It has betrayed its origins in the culture of learning by attacking higher education in the United States — the colleges and universities all too liable to teach young people how to think critically — and by trying to privatize public education in the names of meritocracy and religious freedom. At the very least, Republican strategists have undermined public schoolteachers and pathologized urban schoolchildren. By deploying the language of culture wars, left versus right and liberal versus conservative, Republican strategists have fed a polarization allegedly too extreme to tolerate constructive dialogue toward consensus.

No wonder Frankentrump cannot even tolerate debate with his fellow Republican contenders for the nomination.

Since 2008, it seems that the top Republican leadership has realized that it must curry favor with voters other than white evangelicals, white workers and the moneyed elite. But it is too late for Trump's enthusiasts to get the memo. Whenever thinkers concoct slogans, they produce culture. And the culture Republican strategists produced is decidedly illiberal.

To echo the words of Malcolm X in 1963, the Trump candidacy is as clear a case of chickens coming home to roost as ever history did see."

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The moral case for Hillary Clinton: this isn’t the year to back a third-party candidate


"With the exception of auditing the Federal Reserve, which would actually do some good, Trump's policies would be an unmitigated disaster. Not only would his border wall cost at least three times as much as he claims, but it would be a logistical nightmare in terms of getting the rights to private land, avoiding an international incident with Mexico (which is our ally), and actually building the darn thing. Between that and his ban on Muslim immigration, Trump would cultivate what Mitt Romney accurately described as "trickle-down racism" – i.e., a national climate in which bigotry flares up against minority groups like Mexicans and Muslims. By repealing the Affordable Care Act, Trump would rip away services and legal protections that could help or have already benefited hundreds of millions of Americans. Finally, because there are legitimate concerns about Trump's mental health, his blasé attitude toward nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to not just our nation, but the entire world.

To answer my friend's question: In an election where there is no substantive difference between the policies proposed by the Democrats and the Republicans, I would vote for a third-party candidate. That said, while it may be popular in some circles to claim that Clinton is no better than Trump, this assertion doesn't bear close scrutiny. Elections are about more than conflicting ideals; they are about the hundreds of millions of lives both here and abroad that will be shaped by who happens to occupy the Oval Office. Based on the facts of what Clinton and Trump would do in office, I cannot in good conscience vote against the interests of the people Clinton would help… or, for that matter, disregard the lives of the people Trump would hurt.

This post originally appeared at the Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.

Matthew Rozsa is a Ph.D. student in history at Lehigh University and a political columnist. His editorials have been published on Salon, The Good Men Project, Mic, MSNBC, and various college newspapers and blogs. For a full review of all his published work, visit "

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Neither Trump nor Clinton is addressing the biggest challenge to jobs: automation


Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both promising to bring good-paying jobs back to America, but analysts say neither of them has addressed one of the biggest challenges looming ahead: the impact of automation and the rise of artificial intelligence.

Some argue that the challenge will soon become impossible to ignore.

"Job losses due to automation and robotics are often overlooked in discussions about the unexpected rise of outside political candidates like Trump and Bernie Sanders," Moshe Vardi, an expert on artificial intelligence at Rice University, said before this month's conventions.

Vardi pointed out that manufacturing employment has been falling for more than 30 years, and yet U.S. manufacturing output is near its all-time high.

"U.S. factories are not disappearing: They simply aren't employing human workers," Vardi said.

That trend is hitting America's working class particularly hard.

"While manufacturing is the most striking example, there is considerable evidence that automation is transforming other sectors of the labor market, and there's increasing evidence that this leads to economic stratification, the decline of the middle class and the subsequent undercurrent of misery that is driving support of Trump," Vardi said.

The transportation sector is likely to be next, as autonomous vehicles start moving products and people. It's widely recognized, for example, that the biggest expense for ride-share services like Uber is the driver's pay.

In an email to GeekWire, Vardi said the automation of transportation could eliminate millions of jobs in the United States. "This is going to be a huge f…. deal," he wrote.

So far, automation has disproportionately affected routine occupations, University of British Columbia economist Henry Siu noted this month during a White House AI workshop in New York. "Those are occupations that perform a narrow set of rule-based and repetitive tasks," he said. That category takes in middle-class workers ranging from machine operators to travel agents to administrative assistants.

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Chicken Hawk Trump Mocks Captain Khan’s Mother


"When pressed to respond to the powerful speech by Khizr Khan at the DNC, he chose to go after the dead soldier's mother and claim his empire was a sacrifice.

I didn't think it was possible for Donald Trump to say anything more despicable than he has already served up in this campaign. But this weekend the GOP presidential nominee did just that twice.

First, he went after Ghazala Khan, the mother of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who had received a Purple Heart for bravery after being killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And then stunningly Trump equated his work as a businessman as being a "sacrifice" akin to the sacrifice made by the brave women and men who have served in our nation's armed forces. 

With respect to Mrs. Khan, Trump was asked by Maureen Dowd on Saturday what was his reaction to "the poignant appearance of Muslim lawyer Khizr Khan and his wife" at the DNC. Did Trump respond by acknowledging Capt. Khan's sacrifice or offer words of support for these Gold Star parents? Nope, instead he answered with one sentence: "I'd like to hear his wife say something." (How would his wife saying anything change in any way Capt. Khan's sacrifice or his parents' loss?!)

And then Trump upped the criticism of Mrs. Khan in an interview with George Stephanopoulos scheduled to air Sunday morning: "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me."

It's not clear if Trump, who has called women "pigs" and "dogs," is suggesting Mrs. Khan didn't speak because of his twisted view of Muslim women or because she didn't agree with the words her husband had uttered. Trump now wants us to believe he is concerned about women speaking when just a few days ago at press conference he barked at NBC reporter Katy Tur to "Be quiet" because he didn't like the questions she was asking. (As an aside, if Trump thinks Muslim women aren't permitted to speak, he will be shocked to discover that nine Muslim women have served as leaders as their respective countries, from former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to the current president of Mauritania, Ameenah Fakim.)

It's appalling that Trump would take a shot at a grieving mother. But that's Trump.  

In reality, Mrs. Khan was on the stage Thursday night because her husband asked her to be there to offer him moral support. As Mr. Khan explained in a joint interview Friday night to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, his wife of 40 years provides him strength, noting, "I'm much weaker than her.""

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Google Wi-Fi Kiosks in New York Promise No Privacy, 'Can Collect Anything'


LinkNYC has been replacing all of New York's public payphones with advertising emblazoned wifi kiosks. Residents and visitors curious about what those kiosks will do with data their routers, cameras and Bluetooth beacons collect about them might look on its website for some kind of privacy policy. There is one there, but it's not that one. Columbia professor Benjamin Dean got a big laugh at this weekend's HOPE XI conference in Manhattan when he pointed out that the privacy policy on LinkNYC's website only applies to the website itself, not to the actual network of kiosks.

It's not quite as bad as it sounds. In LinkNYC's defense, the page in question points out the difference between the two policies up top, but given the cursory way most people read online, it wouldn't be surprising if many users initially missed it (I did). Meanwhile, it's encouraging that Dean and his co-panelist, New York Civil Liberties Union attorney Mariko Hirose, actually did read those two privacy policies and that a room full of people showed up to hear what they found.

Tech privacy policies in general have been constructed primarily to guard companies against liability and discourage users from reading closely. This is unfortunate. They could be standardized and easy to understand. That said, Dean and Hirose's workshop this weekend showed the internet's power of crowdsourced self-defense.

In a way, it countered a working paper by communications professors Jonathan Obar and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch which received attention last week for showing that out of a group of 543 college students asked to check out a new website, only 11 noticed that when they signed up they agreed to terms that gave its operators rights to the users' first born children.

Coverage of the paper focused on the fact that so few users even looked at the papers, but what surprised me was that anyone looked at all. In other words, there's a Dean or a Hirose in any group.

"I don't think the answer is to find a way to have everyone read every privacy policy. This, as I note in the paper above, is an 'unattainable ideal.'" Obar wrote the Observer in an email. "So efforts to standardize language, even simplify language, even in accordance with American law aimed at making policies easier to understand, continue to fail."

To a degree, it doesn't matter if everyone checks everything. Terms of service apply to lots of people at once. If one person looks them and sees something disturbing, he or she can put out the word. If it's bad enough the internet will respond.

That's what's powerful about this weekend's workshop: Dean and Hirose told a roomful of people what they found. Those people chattered about it on Twitter and then a reporter at Inverse wrote a detailed story breaking what they had to say down.

LinkNYC, by the way, is a product of Intersection, which is owned by Sidewalk Labs, which is owned by Alphabet (the company formerly known as Google). Google likes to link data about your behavior to your location. Your phone's wi-fi antenna constantly broadcasts a map of your favorite places, as artists dramatized with a multimedia installation next year. It wouldn't be surprising if LinkNYC kiosks started recording which wifi access points the phones passing it are looking for.

As Hirose pointed out in the talk, just because LinkNYC kiosks don't use a sensor now doesn't mean they won't. "They essentially have a privacy policy that says, 'we can collect anything and do anything' and that sets the outer bound," she said. 

The policy does forbid the company from some activities. For example, it promises not to use facial recognition, which has become dramatically more powerful; however, nothing stops the company from retracting that guarantee. In fact, Hirose said that she's been told by the company that the kiosk's cameras haven't even been turned on yet, but it is also under no obligation to tell the public when the cameras go live.

And when users notice an objectionable change in policy: what can they do from there? If a website really did try to reserve rights to all members' first born child, the outcry of the internet would likely be enough to get the policy retracted (though the provision could also attract a niche audience for a company, but only if it promised).

The trouble is, here in America, that's really all we have to defend ourselves with: outrage. If it's deafening, it can be enough, but if it doesn't amount to more than a slow rumble, tech companies will shrug it off with a bit of spin.

Mayor Bill de Blaisio makes a call on a new LinkNYC kiosk.

Mayor Bill de Blaisio, you've got mail.

For example, the NYCLU sent a letter to the city in March pushing for stronger language around data volume, retention, government use and sharing, but the city—which has secured a substantial promised payday from Sidewalk Labs—has ignored it. There's little more attorneys can do under current law. We have this outmoded idea called the "third party doctrine," that once someone uses a company's service, they give up all rights to privacy over whatever data that use generates.

For example, I don't really like Facebook, but I keep it active because I want to get the invite if someone wants me to come to a party. Yet the fact that I want to get invitations leaves everything else I might have done on the site over the last 10 years up for grabs by the government and Facebook's commercial partners. Of course, I could quit the site, but walking away from those invitations would impose a very high cost. Most people are unwilling to pay the price of giving up such networks, which allows their owners to gradually ratchet up the rights they grant themselves under terms of service that we can't negotiate unless we do it en masse.

It's not that way everywhere. Last week, French authorities called out Microsoft for releasing the Windows 10 operating system, which turns personal computers into the sort of tattletales that smartphones have been all along. It's one more way in which all Americans envy the French.

"Data privacy self-management is a fallacy under the current model," Obar wrote. "More needs to be done to involve users (automated systems, infomediaries…) and ensure that the mosaic of Big Data approaches and threats can be properly monitored."

Big tech companies find new ways to watch us every day. It's reassuring, at least, to know that there are a few people out there watching back.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Benjamin Dean as Benjamin Read. July 29, 2016 10:52 AM.

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Russia's Rise To Cyberwar Superpower


"The Russians are top notch," says Chris Finan, an ex-director at DARPA for cyberwar research, now a CEO at security firm Manifold Technology, and a former director of cybersecurity legislation in the Obama administration. "They are some of the best in the world... " Slashdot reader blottsie quotes an article which argues the DNC hack "may simply be the icing on the cyberwar cake": In a flurry of action over the last decade, Russia has established itself as one of the world's great and most active cyber powers. The focus this week is on the leak of nearly 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee... The evidence -- plainly not definitive but clearly substantial -- has found support among a wide range of security professionals. The Russian link is further supported by U.S. intelligence officials, who reportedly have "high confidence" that Russia is behind the attack...

Beyond the forensic evidence that points to Russia, however, is the specter of President Vladimir Putin. Feeling encircled by the West and its expanding NATO alliance, the Kremlin's expected modus operandi is to strike across borders with cyberwar and other means to send strong messages to other nations that are a real or perceived threat.

The article notes the massive denial of service attack against Estonia in 2007 and the "historic and precedent-setting" cyberattacks during the Russian-Georgian War. "Hackers took out Georgian news and government websites exactly in locales where the Russian military attacked, cutting out a key communication mode between the Georgian state and citizens directly in the path of the fight."


Russian Government Gets 'Hacked Back', Attacks Possibly Launched By The NSA


A "professional" cyber attack has hit Russian government bodies, the country's intelligence service says.

A "cyber-spying virus" was found in the networks of about 20 organisations, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said.

The report comes as Russia stands accused over data breaches involving the Democratic Party in the US.

The Russian government has denied involvement and has denounced the "poisonous anti-Russian" rhetoric coming out of Washington.

The FSB did not say who it believed was responsible for hacking Russian networks, but said the latest hack resembled "much-spoken-about" cyber-spying, without elaborating.

What are Trump's ties to Russia?

Democrat hack: Who is Guccifer 2.0?

It said the hack had been "planned and made professionally", and targeted state organisations, scientific and defence companies, as well as "country's critically important infrastructures".

The malware allowed those responsible to switch on cameras and microphones within the computer, take screenshots and track what was being typed by monitoring keyboard strokes, the FSB said.

In the US, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have both suffered hacks in recent weeks.

Emails from the DNC were later distributed by the Wikileaks organisation, and showed party officials had been biased against Bernie Sanders in his primary race against Hillary Clinton.

US officials believe the cyber attacks were committed by Russian agents.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied being responsible, and Mrs Clinton's presidential rival Donald Trump said he had no ties to Russia.

The Clinton campaign said on Friday that an analytics data program, which it shared with other entities, had been accessed by hackers.

But, her press secretary Nick Merrill said, there was "no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised".

The FBI said it was investigating the extent of any hacking.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down The Worst Voter Suppression Law In The Nation


The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit's opinion in North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory is nothing short of a beat down. The court does not simply tear apart major provisions of the law, it catches state lawmakers at the center of a conspiracy to disenfranchise black voters, and it calls them out onto the carpet for it. By the time the court is done scraping the bloody mass of what was once North Carolina's attempts to justify this law off the floor, the state's leadership has been thoroughly shamed.

The court's opinion — primarily written by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, a Clinton appointee — is rooted in an important understanding of how race and partisanship interact in states like North Carolina with large minority populations. Race is a very close proxy for political views. Black voters overwhelmingly prefer Democrats, and white voters, at least in North Carolina, tend to prefer Republicans. Thus, if Republican lawmakers want to improve their chances of winning elections, they can do so by enacting voting laws that disproportionately disenfranchise African-Americans. As Motz writes, "polarization renders minority voters uniquely vulnerable to the inevitable tendency of elected officials to entrench themselves by targeting groups unlikely to vote for them."

Such efforts to use race as a proxy for partisan preference, moreover, violate the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act even if the lawmakers who enacted the law did not have hate in their hearts. It does not matter that the lawmakers in this case appear to have targeted black voters because they are Democrats, and not because they are black. All that matters is that the voter suppression law at issue in this case was enacted with the purpose of making it harder for African-Americans to vote.

And boy was it ever.

As Judge Motz lays out the facts of this case, it's hard not to come away with the conclusion that North Carolina's lawmakers wanted to get caught engaging in unlawfully racial discrimination. Just one day after the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, effectively eliminating federal supervision that could have halted this voter suppression law before it ever took effect, "a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an 'omnibus' election law."

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Matt Damon' "The Great Wall" film - latest movie in the grand cinematic tradition of the Special White Person


A chorus of outrage followed the release on Thursday of the first trailer for The Great Wall, a fantasy adventure set in China more than 1,000 years ago, which stars the white Hollywood star Matt Damon in the lead role.

Damon plays a soldier in ancient China in The Great Wall, an English-language film directed by Zhang Yimou and set for release in February 2017.

Constance Wu, a star of the comedy show Fresh off the Boat, posted a statement on Twitter that lambasted the "racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world".

The popular blog Angry Asian Man called the movie "the latest movie in the grand cinematic tradition of the Special White Person", adding: "You can set a story anywhere in the world, in any era of history, and Hollywood will still somehow find a way for the movie to star a white guy."

In her post, Wu wrote: "Our heroes don't look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time. We don't need salvation. We like our color and our culture and our strengths and our own stories."

The Taiwanese American actor criticized various justifications for the paucity of starring roles for Asians in Hollywood.

"Money is the lamest excuse in the history of being human. So is blaming the Chinese investors," she wrote.

"Remember, it's not about blaming individuals ... Rather, it's about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC [people of color] and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength."

— jen yamato (@jenyamato) July 29, 2016

1700 years to build, just for Matt Damon to come save it. How problematic is #TheGreatWall?

Damon is by no means the first white actor to star in a role that might be expected to go to an Asian or Asian American actor, but the release of The Great Wall comes at a time of increasing anger with the lack of representation of Asian characters in popular culture – and the lack of roles for Asian actors.

— Nicole Chung (@nicole_soojung) July 28, 2016

...why would white men need to be in a movie about the Great Wall, even if it's a monster movie?

Scarlett Johansson's casting in a remake of the Japanese anime classic Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swinton's casting as the originally Tibetan Ancient One in Doctor Strange both drew accusations of Hollywood "whitewashing".

Other recent instances of whitewashing include Emma Stone's role as Allison Ng in Aloha, Rooney Mara's role as Tiger Lily in Pan, and the entire cast of Gods of Egypt.

Actors and audiences have increasingly voiced their frustration with the casting practices on social media. In May, comedian Margaret Cho launched the hashtag #WhiteWashedOut.

The project #StarringJohnCho was launched with photoshopped movie posters featuring the Asian American in starring roles, with hopes of changing the conception of who can star in blockbusters.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Don’t Impeach IRS Commissioner Koskinen


"The censure and impeachment efforts relate to government attempts to obtain Lois Lerner's emails. Production of these emails was a major challenge for the IRS, for many reasons, as detailed in an enclosure accompanying a June 2014 letter from IRS employee Leonard Oursler to the Senate Committee on Finance. Among them was the fact that Ms. Lerner's computer's hard drive had crashed in June 2011. In written testimony before the House Oversight Committee in March 2014, Commissioner Koskinen stated that "More than 250 IRS employees have spent nearly 100,000 hours working directly on complying with the investigations, at a cost of nearly $8 million. In order to properly protect taxpayer information while efficiently processing voluminous materials for production, we had to add capacity to our information technology systems and, therefore, spent an additional $6 million to $8 million to optimize existing systems and ensure a stable infrastructure." In June 2015, TIGTA reported that "[n]o evidence was uncovered that any IRS employees had been directed to destroy or hide information from Congress, the DOJ, or TIGTA", although it also found "that the IRS did not put forth an effort to uncover additional, responsive emails" (p.18 of TIGTA's June 30, 2015 report). Bryan Camp discusses that issue in a post at Procedurally Taxing.

Others have observed that the attempt to impeach Commissioner Koskinen seems partisan and unjustified, as well as unprecedented. It is an unnecessary distraction for an agency struggling with inadequate resources. Moreover, attacks like this one will no doubt deter other talented individuals from being willing to serve in the top ranks of the IRS. The ACTC is right in requesting "Congress [to] reject impeachment and censure, and instead apply its time and attentions to improving both the tax law and the administration of our tax system.""

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Congress Reaches New Low in Proposed Censure of IRS Commissioner


"Those who voted for H. Res. 737 are like my son who, when younger, would throw objects across the house in his fits of frustration. The difference, however, is that at least my son was careful to hurl objects that would not do much damage or break. In contrast, H. Res. 737 seeks to throw Commissioner Koskinen across the House and so risks doing great damage to a decent man and risks further breakage to a tax collection agency already weakened by relentless and mindless budget cuts."

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Florida Regulators OK Plan To Increase Toxins In Water


"TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Despite the objection of environmental groups, state environmental regulators voted Tuesday to approve new standards that will increase the amount of cancer-causing toxins allowed in Florida's rivers and streams under a plan the state says will protect more Floridians than current standards.

The Environmental Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to approve a proposal that would increase the number of regulated chemicals from 54 to 92 allowed in rivers, streams and other sources of drinking water, news media outlets reported. The final vote came after hours of discussion, protests and emotional testimony.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported ( ) that one man called members of the commission - who are appointed by Gov. Rick Scott - "baby killers" after the vote.

The Miami Herald ( ) reports that under the proposal, acceptable levels of toxins will be increased for more than two dozen known carcinogens and decreased for 13 currently regulated chemicals. State officials back the plan because it places new rules on 39 other chemicals that are not currently regulated.

"We have not updated these parameters since 1992. It is more good than harm," said Cari Roth, a Tallahassee lawyer who represents developers on the commission and serves as its chair.

The standards still must be reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the Scott administration came under withering criticism for pushing the proposal at this time. That's because there are two vacancies on the commission, including one for a commissioner who is supposed to represent the environmental community.

"This is beyond outrageous," Linda Young, executive director of the Florida Clean Water Network, was quoted by the Democrat as saying. "This is a wholesale denial in Florida of the value of our lives. This is our governor, who is the person who's driving this, saying Floridians' lives don't matter. What matters are our industries, our corporations making more money. And they can do that by putting more pollution in our waters."

One of the commissioners who voted against the new standards questioned if the changes were being done to assist companies that want to pursue a type of oil and gas drilling known as fracking."

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Leaks show DNC asked White House to reward donors with slots on boards and commissions

"Email exchanges involving top officials at the Democratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House.

The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash.

In an April 20, 2016 email, DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan canvassed what appears to be the committee's finance department – its fundraising office – for names of people (mainly donors) to reward with federal appointments on boards and commissions.

That email exchange yielded a list compiled by DNC Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer and emailed to Kaplan on April 26 titled "Boards and Commissions Names_Final," which listed the names of twenty-three DNC donors and insiders.

Kaplan emailed the list to Amanda Moose, special assistant to the president for presidential personnel, later that day. In an email without a subject line, Kaplan wrote just one line: "For your review," seemingly referring to a previous conversation or exchange."

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Trump campaign frisks, then blocks ticketed Washington Post reporter at Pence rally


"Here's the thing: If we start banning citizens — like Jose or me or Michelle Malkin or Rachel Maddow or anyone else — from attending public events for one of the two people who will be our next president, we are sliding down a slippery slope to a future reality that is a very, very bad thing for our country.To be clear: Jose was trying to cover the event for an established news organization. Although I think it is beyond ridiculous that The Post is banned from covering Trump, I suppose he retains the ability to decide who will be granted special access to his events. (The news media typically have to wait in a much smaller line to get into the event and don't have to compete for seating.)

But Jose then went and waited in line like everyone else. No special treatment. Yet he was clearly treated differently from other people seeking to attend the rally. A pat-down? Really? "


Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz blasted Apple on Thursday, calling its alleged use of Ireland to avoid taxes "fraud."


"Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz blasted Apple on Thursday, calling its alleged use of Ireland to avoid taxes "fraud."

"Here we have the largest corporation in capitalization not only in America, but in the world, bigger than GM was at its peak, and claiming that most of its profits originate from about a few hundred people working in Ireland — that's a fraud," Stiglitz told Bloomberg. "A tax law that encourages American firms to keep jobs abroad is wrong, and I think we can get a consensus in America to get that changed."

Apple's website says it employs 5,500 people in Ireland and 76,000 people in the US. A large number of Apple's employees in Ireland work in customer services, where they help people with software issues and other problems, while the vast majority of Apple's R&D work is done in the US.

A combination of US tax law and Apple's corporate structure makes it possible for the company to shift money to places like Ireland, which has a corporate tax rate of a mere 12.5%.

Based on Apple's latest earnings report, of Apple's whopping $232 billion in cash, $215 billion is outside the US. "


Dem on House intelligence committee: Trump to start receiving briefings and they are "SOBERING"


"Donald Trump is set to receive national security briefings beginning next week, with one Democrat on the House intelligence committee saying the eye-opening revelations could change his outlook.

"The briefings he is going to receive are going to be very sobering, they are going to show him in very clear terms what a dangerous and complicated environment we operate in," U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier of California told the Herald.

"There are no quick fixes. No bluster or puffery is going to solve many of these issues," added Speier, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "I am hoping education is going to help him be more adroit in his responses on foreign policy."

She said Trump's invitation to Russian hackers to go after Hillary Clinton's 30,000-plus deleted emails — a challenge the GOP presidential candidate called sarcasm yesterday — raises "legitimate" concerns.

"He sees a vulnerable prey in Donald Trump," she said of Russia's Vladimir Putin. "He will romance him. You can't ever forget the fact that Putin was KGB, he was very adept at the skills of tradecraft. Donald Trump is clueless.

"He could easily be romanced to the point where he is making all kinds of headway and then have his pants down and his country in deep trouble in a matter of days or weeks," the congresswoman added.

Both Trump and Clinton are set to receive the intelligence briefings, as is customary, now that they are their party's nominees for president. Both will be given updates on global conflicts, U.S. military operations and more."


IL Gov Rauner OKs decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot


SPRINGFIELD — Possession of small amounts of marijuana is now a civil offense across Illinois, punishable only by fines — not jail time.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot on Friday, after vetoing a bill last year that sought to allow slightly larger amounts.

Chicago has already joined more than 100 Illinois local governments in removing some criminal penalties for people caught with lesser amounts of marijuana.  But the new law extends decriminalization to the entire state.

Rauner's office announced the bill signing with no fanfare, including Senate Bill 2228, "An Act Concerning Criminal Law," in a list of 50 different House or Senate bills that the governor signed or vetoed on Friday.

With the governor's signature, the law takes effect immediately, meaning that possession of 10 grams or less of pot is now a civil, rather than a criminal violation. Fines will range from $100 to a maximum of $200.

Under the new law, courts are required to expunge records of the civil violations each year.

Illinois is now the 21st state to decriminalize possession of marijuana in small amounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The new law also addresses driving under the influence of pot, setting a scientific standard for the amount of marijuana's THC in the blood stream that would prompt an arrest.

The bill's chief sponsor, Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, has argued that 98 percent of the more than 50,000 marijuana-related arrests in Illinois each year are for small amounts, intended for personal use.

Rauner's signing of the bill was expected. He signaled he was OK with the newer attempt at decriminalization in spring, saying "I'll probably be comfortable with it. I've got to see what's there."

Last year, the governor vetoed a bill to make possession of up to 15 grams of pot a ticketable offense, saying it would allow people to carry too much pot and that fines should be more than $55 to $125.

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Trump's dumbest son @DonaldJTrumpJr claims Barack Obama plagiarized him


President Obama, in his speech at the DNC, used the phrase "That is not the America I know." Donald Trump Jr. claims this was plagiarism, as he had used the same line in a speech he delivered last week.

The context is Melania Trump's own obvious and lengthy plagiarism of several sentences of a Michelle Obama speech. Thing is, "not the America I know" is such a common turn of phrase that it retreated long ago to the world of political cliche. Among those who used it before Trump Jr.? Hillary Clinton. George Bush Jr. And, of course, Obama himself, at an earlier date.

Trump Jr. quickly followed up to claims he was just trolling.

Suuuuure you were.


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Trump Fumes Over $19 Trillion National Debt, but His Plan Would Double It


"Just about any way you slice it, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton would add to the U.S. debt if either of their tax and spending programs were enacted by Congress next year.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the non-partisan fiscal watchdog group that has been taking the lead in tallying up the costs of the presidential candidates' proposals, has previously estimated that $14 trillion in publicly held debt would rise to $23.9 trillion by 2026 under Clinton's plans for raising taxes and boosting domestic spending, while soaring to $35.2 trillion under Trump's proposals for record tax cuts for wealthy Americans and increased defense spending.

Related: What Trump Got Wrong About US Taxes

Publicly held debt reflects the amount of money the Treasury routinely borrows to cover shortfalls in revenue to keep the government operating until more tax revenues roll in. Many economists and budget experts consider the publicly held debt as the best yardstick for measuring the rise in red ink associated with new spending and tax policies.

More broadly, there's also the gross national debt – the monumental, all-inclusive reckoning of the government's borrowing from outsiders and internal borrowing between government agencies and accounts that typically gets more attention from politicians, the news media and irate taxpayers. That more commonly cited debt figure – currently $19 trillion and rising – includes not only what the Treasury owes its creditors and lenders but also what it owes itself through transactions involving various trust funds including Social Security and Medicare.

The gross national debt currently is projected to rise from $19 trillion today to $29.1 trillion by 2026, or a 50 percent increase, according to government estimates. Trump frequently cites that figure in making the case that government spending is out of control and that President Obama's economic and budget policies have been "a disaster."

Yet under Trump's tax cut and spending plan, gross debt would rise to $39.5 trillion by 2026, or an astounding doubling of the current $19 trillion figure, according to a new study by the CRFB. By contrast, Clinton's plans would raise the gross debt to $29.6 trillion during that same period – a roughly 50 percent hike."

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Donald Trump’s Latest Comments on Russia Should Disqualify Him From Any Chance at the Presidency


"There are many… many reasons why I don't want to see Donald Trump become our next president. The list of absurdities that have followed the Trump campaign for over a year now is so long, I've reached a point where if I tried to sit here and list all of them, I'd end up forgetting more than I'd remember.

However, Trump's comments on Wednesday when he encouraged Russians to commit illegal espionage against U.S. citizens (and our country), I believe, should disqualify him from any chance he had at the presidency.

Just in case you missed it, here's what he had to say:

Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

Yes, that's the presidential candidate for the Republican party encouraging a foreign government to commit espionage against the United States.

Having a candidate for a major political party who's so clueless that he would openly admit that he's fine with a foreign government (Russia, in this particular instance) hacking and targeting a U.S. citizen (I don't care who they are) is indefensible."

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10 Things Republicans Ignore About Trump That They’d Never Let Obama or Clinton Get Away With


"When it comes to the Republicans and Donald Trump, one thing that often blows my mind is the absolute hypocrisy I see from millions of conservative voters in regards to their support for a candidate like him. They let Trump get by with things that, if President Obama or Hillary Clinton did them, they would relentlessly attack them for doing.

  It pains me to admit that Trump is right about anything, but he was absolutely spot-on when he said his supporters were mindless sheep who would support him even if he were to commit murder on Fifth Avenue.

So, in the spirit of this hypocrisy from Republicans, I thought I'd list a few things they would be flipping out about if President Obama or Hillary Clinton did them, yet don't seem to mind it when Donald Trump does them.

1. He changes his mind on policies whenever the heck he feels like it: While some on the left like to accuse Hillary Clinton of being a "flip-flopper" because she's changed her mind or evolved on a few issues over time, Trump takes this to a whole other level. From his proposed ban on all Muslims, to his stance on torture and even abortion rights — he's been all over the place on where he actually stands on many key issues. Then again, this is someone who literally said that voters should take everything he says as nothing but a "suggestion," not an actual promise.

2. Blatantly using and disrespecting veterans: A couple of years ago the right-wing media lost its mind after President Obama dared to salute two Marines while holding a cup of coffee in his hand. So, could you imagine their reaction if either he or Hillary Clinton said that they don't consider military POWs American heroes because they like people who weren't captured? Then to find out later (after they had used veterans as political props to hide the fact they were too scared to face a moderator during a presidential debate) that the money they had spent months bragging about raising for veterans groups wasn't as much as they had claimed it was — and most of it hadn't been paid out yet?

3. Parading out their five kids from three different marriages: It is rather comical the party that constantly claims it fights for "Christian values" and the "sanctity of marriage" has, as its presidential candidate, someone who's had at least one affair, has been divorced twice, is on his third marriage and has five kids from three different women. There's absolutely no way the GOP would let President Obama or Hillary Clinton get away with that. The right-wing media would label them as unstable individuals with poor family values and morals.

4. Saying Saddam Hussein had some good qualities: Imagine President Obama or Hillary Clinton saying that Hussein was a bad guy, but he wasn't completely awful because he did kill terrorists. Well, that's exactly what Trump said about the former Iraqi dictator.

5. Speaking highly and complimentary of Russian President Vladimir Putin: I really never thought I'd see a time in my life where a Republican presidential candidate could openly heap praise on an ex-KGB agent turned borderline Russian dictator and the party would seemingly be okay with it. But you know things have gone completely off the rails when praising a Russian president/murderous dictator makes you more popular among Republican voters — while speaking highly of our own president makes you less popular."

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bill O'Reilly wants you to know that slavery wasn't that bad


"While the rest of the world was busy being smitten all over again with Michelle Obama's grace, intelligence, and eloquence, Bill O'Reilly still had time to take offense.  

In one of the most powerful moments of her Monday speech, the first lady reminded the nation of an essential truth.

"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn." 

It's a statement that swiftly pulls together the sweep of history, bringing ugly facts often hidden in the "Founding Fathers" glow of the past, against moving evidence of real progress—of history's arc bending joyfully toward justice.

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However, Bill O'Reilly wants to take this moment, in his role as national historical revisionist, to inform everyone that slaves were just fine.

On his program, "The O'Reilly Factor," Tuesday night, the top-rated cable news host said working conditions were relatively favorable for slaves who helped build the White House more than 200 years ago.

"Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802," O'Reilly explained. "However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor."

Conditions were "relatively favorable for slaves." Who were slaves. And some of them worked for subcontractors … because that's important."