Archive | Asshole

Prosecutors: Gov. Chris Christie knew about Bridgegate all along

State of the Leaf: Will Anti-Cannabis Chris Christie OK Medical Marijuana for PTSD?

“Lock him up, lock him up!” For the first time since the Bridgegate scandal began, Gov. Chris Christie has formerly been implicated in the illegal lane closings of the Washington Bridge that was punishment for those who refused to help Christie’s reelection campaign. NY Times: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey knew that his close associates… Continue Reading →

REAL NEWS: Trump Foundation reported charitable donations it never made

David A. Fahrenthold, The Washington Post, accepts the Dirksen Award

In the current maelstrom of media handwringing over ‘deplorables’ and Clinton’s pneumonia, David Fahrenthold’s bombshell report for the Washington Post has fallen into third place, but it definitely should not. According to Fahrenthold, Trump’s charity does not give any of Trump’s money. It is, instead, used as a pass-through from other people to charities. This is… Continue Reading →

What 9/11 reveals about Clinton and Trump

Hillary Clinton Felt ‘Overheated,’ Left Early From Sept. 11 Commemoration

Each anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is marked with appropriate solemnity, in remembrance of all who lost their lives on that grim day and especially the many who sacrificed themselves in dutiful valor. On these occasions we recall a moment of unity and dignity for our country, a sense that everything had changed, and a determination… Continue Reading →

A tale of two journalists, or why I stopped reading Chris Cillizza

Clinton, Trump pick up big wins

(Photo: Flikr)

Look, boys and girls, a tale of two journalists and the way they cover Hillary Clinton and a glowing example of how the media fails us time and time again.

Last Friday, the FBI released pages of their investigation and notes from their interviews on the issue of Hillary Clinton’s emails/server.

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post both proudly boast that they did the work for us lowly regular Americans of reading the release.  I actually thought that was the JOB of journalists, but if they need praise for doing so, here it is:  Bully for them!

Now here’s where it gets interesting: Drum looked at the release and picked out basically the same points that Cillizza did. They’re the same innuendo-laden talking points we can get from any Trump proxy or conservative pundit on any news channel. They’re the same talking points that the far left are eagerly embracing in their rush to demonize Hillary Clinton over “optics.” If you’ve spent any amount of time watching the news, you know what they are.

But Drum did the startling work of actual journalism and put them in context, unlike Cillizza. To wit:


4. A note sent to all State Department employees on Clinton’s behalf warned them against the risks of using personal email addresses for official business.

Clinton told the FBI she did not remember sending that memorandum.

Pretty damning.  The State Department (via Hillary Clinton herself, mind you) warned against using personal emails and Hillary ignored it.  In fact, she didn’t even remember sending the email!  Which implies that Hillary Clinton thinks she’s above the rules, or she’s suffering from dementia, obvs.

But look how Drum covers the same section:

Page 11: While State policy during Clinton’s tenure required that “day-to-day operations [at State] be conducted on [an authorized information system],” according to the REDACTED the Bureau of Information Security Management, REDACTED there was no restriction on the use of personal e-mail accounts for official business. […] In 2011, a notice to all State employees was sent on Clinton’s behalf, which recommended employees avoid conducting State business from personal e-mail accounts due to information security concerns.

This makes it clear that although State “recommended” that employees not use personal accounts, there was no rule prohibiting it. And apparently personal accounts were very widely used.

See the difference?

Note that Drum places the talking point within the context that this was not an uncommon practice at State (both during and before Clinton’s tenure) and that Clinton was mindful of the potential security risks and warned her staffers to be careful.  In fact, Drum does the same with all of the talking points, showing how none of it is particularly shady or worthy of the scandal-mongering all over the media.

But Chris Cillizza isn’t going to let little things like journalistic practices, integrity or…let’s face it,  facts get in the way of continuing to foster the notion that Clinton is inherently corrupt or untrustworthy. And then he’ll be able to reinforce yet again that OF COURSE Hillary is untrustworthy, because all Americans think so.  Hell, he might even get booked on a television news program to make that case, not that he’s looking for camera time, you non-serious liberal.

Make no mistake, that doesn’t mean that Drum gave Hillary Clinton a pass. His conclusion:

If you read the entire report, you’ll find bits and pieces that might show poor judgment on Hillary’s part. The initial decision to use one email device is the obvious one, something that Hillary has acknowledged repeatedly. Another—maybe—is her staff’s view of what was safe to send over unclassified email. But this is very fuzzy. It could be that her staff knew exactly what it was doing, and it’s the subsequent classification authorities who are wrong. This is something that it’s impossible to judge since none of us will ever see the emails in question.

Acknowledged errors in judgment.  That’s really all this entire “vast right wing conspiracy”-led investigation that has cost us millions and millions of taxpayer dollars can come up with.  But here’s where Drum distinguishes himself from Cillizza:

That said, this report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn’t prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at [S]tate did it routinely. She’s told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn’t take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN’s end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there’s no evidence that her server was ever hacked.

There’s remarkably little here.

Cillizza doesn’t bother to make any summation that acknowledges that ultimately, there’s no there there. Funny, that.

It’s almost as if he wants to keep doing the work of these right wing groups like Judicial Watch.

The media’s inability to cover Hillary Clinton with anything approaching intellectual honesty (as exemplified by Chris Cillizza, but really, I could have substituted any number of other mainstream journalists in there, including almost everyone on the “liberal” MSNBC) is actively hurting this country.

To be clear, I don’t want or need them to coddle Hillary Clinton, nor do I think she expects that either.  If she screws up, report on it.  But have enough integrity to not be a mouthpiece for yet another costly and fruitless suggestion by some shadowy right wing entity that has no basis in fact.  The mainstream media needs to make an effort not to fall back into the lazy and pointless Clinton Rules of Reporting, as Jonathan Allen outlined.

It was EXACTLY this kind of failure of the press that led us to the disastrous invading and occupying of Iraq and allowed the “debate” on climate change and a whole host of other issues that we shouldn’t debate any longer, but act on.  The mainstream media are failing us on a basic level, as Jeff Jarvis, who teaches journalism, spells out here:

Because of this election, we now know that the media has done a terrible job of reflecting the concerns and goals of underemployed, angry white men in the heartland. If media had done a better job of reporting — and then informing — their worldviews, would there have been an opening for them to be recruited by Trump and the forces of the so-called alt right?

Far more important than either of those examples, of course, is the experience of minorities in this country: African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, too often women, and too many others who are unseen in media. A few weeks ago, I spoke with a journalist planning to write about how the internet is destroying the truth. The unsaid assumption in his thesis is that we used to have the truth, when the truth came from media. But whose truth was that? The truth presented by mass media was but one view of the world and did not reflect so many diverse worldviews because the people making it were — and still are — not diverse. That is one reason why so many do not trust journalists. (Note that people trust presidents more.)

In this election, I am not a mass. I am not a poll number. I am not a color on a map. Neither am I a journalist. I am a member of a community I cannot see and hear in media. I am frustrated.

The email scandal is a non-scandal. We deserve a press who will be honest enough to report that. But not if we keep listening to hacks like Cillizza. When or if the end of the republic finally comes to pass, it will be because we did not demand of our Fourth Estate to do their jobs.




Even the VFW is calling out Trump

VFW Post 9599, Jefferson, IA

The VFW Is The Latest Organization To Condemn Trump The nation’s largest veteran’s organization has some very harsh words for Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump in the wake of his continued attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of fallen US Army Captain Humayun Khan that delivered a passionate rebuke to Trump’s call to ban… Continue Reading →

Trump’s new jobs

How to Tell When Donald Trump Is Joking

I have tried to have this conversation with people. The response? “He’s a businessman, he’s just taking advantage of the system that exists.” Sheesh:

Earlier this month, Trump filed temporary visa applications for 78 positions for servers, housekeepers, and cooks to staff his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, citing an inability to find Americans who can fill the positions. The positions pay $10.17 an hour for housekeepers, $11.13 an hour for servers, and $12.74 for cooks, according toBuzzfeed.

From the moment he launched his presidential campaign, Trump has denigrated Mexican immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. And on multiple occasions, he has supported the mass deportation of the country’s undocumented population.

Despite his harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy proposals, Trump has vigorously defended his own use of foreign workers, saying that it was hard to get Americans to take on seasonal jobs during the five-month period that he called “Palm Beach Season.”

“You can’t get help,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last year. “Getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible.”

Yet, when Buzzfeed reached out to a nearby job placement agency, Tom Veenstra, a senior director at Palm Beach’s career services center, said there was a database of more than 1,300 people who had an interest in some of these very hospitality positions. Other hotels in the area have sought out Veenstra’s services, but Mar-a-Lago was not one of them.

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