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RNC Dance Moves

I’m not really sure why I find this so funny, but I do. I hope you enjoy it.


From Funny or Die.

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Sexism

I’m really glad that the historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton is (finally) leading to some discussion about sexism in America. After all, many other countries have elected women leaders (over 70 women have become the leaders of their countries), but the US hasn’t ever nominated a woman even as the presidential candidate for a major party.

But I didn’t expect the best article I’ve seen about sexism in America to come from the Mormon Press. That’s right, a Mormon publication made the following statement: “To put it simply: in America we teach our children that women are liars.”

Their bold assertion would help explain why Hillary Clinton is mistrusted by so many, when she is rated by PolitiFact as one of the most honest politicians, is someone who has survived an insane number of attacks and false scandals from Republicans without ever being even charged of any crime, and who The Guardian reported as being fundamentally honest.

Who Lies More: A Comparison

Don’t believe me? Read this article “How We Teach Our Kids That Women Are Liars“.

If you want more, here’s another excellent article “Men Just Don’t Trust Women — And It’s A Huge Problem“.

And the article in the Mormon Press is definitely worth a read.

Matt Davies
© Matt Davies

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from July 11, 2016]

“People are now saying that Hillary Clinton has narrowed her list of potential vice presidents down to five people. I’m sorry, she’s ‘deleted’ the list down to five people.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The Hillary Clinton campaign recently released an ad that features clips of Donald Trump praising world dictators. In the video, Trump praises Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, and Abby Lee from ‘Dance Moms’.” – Conan O’Brien

“Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by the Wu-Tang Clan and when Hillary heard that, she bowed in appreciation and said she looks forward to working with China.” – Seth Meyers

“According to Forbes magazine, in the past year Taylor Swift has earned $170 million. When she heard that, Hillary Clinton said, ‘I didn’t know she gave speeches.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Bernie Sanders is expected to actually endorse Hillary Clinton at an event in New Hampshire tomorrow. In fact, Bernie Sanders is set to give his most enthusiastic endorsement of all time: ‘Eh, could be worse!'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Bernie Sanders is expected to endorse Hillary Clinton tomorrow. Said Sanders, ‘But before I do, are we sure there are no more states?'” – Seth Meyers

“The presidential debates have been announced and, guess what, the final one is gonna take place in Las Vegas. Trump and Hillary will have a 90-minute debate and then be married by Elvis.” – Conan O’Brien

“Hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Which makes this the first presidential election where both candidates have been endorsed by a ‘clan’.” – Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump has dropped hints that he may name a Democrat as his running mate. In fact, today he chose Donald Trump from 2008.” – Conan O’Brien

“House Speaker Paul Ryan today announced that he will appear at next week’s Republican National Convention to deliver a 10-minute speech that he is writing himself. As opposed to Trump, who will be giving a 10-hour speech that he will be writing as he goes.” – Seth Meyers

“It’s been found that one of Saturn’s moons has an atmosphere somewhat like Earth’s, except you can’t breathe the air, drink the water, or survive the surface temperature. Yet, still a better venue for the Summer Olympics than Rio.” – Conan O’Brien

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The ManTrumpian Candidate?

There’s an article going around by Josh Marshall titled “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing“.

People, including comedians, have made jokes about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. While it is scary enough that equal-opportunity-attacker Trump has nothing but good things to say about autocrat Putin, Marshall’s article points out that there is plenty of evidence that we should be even more worried. Mind you, we don’t have any direct, solid evidence that Trump is a “Manchurian Candidate” whose strings (at least his purse strings) are pulled by Putin, but there is plenty of evidence that something underhanded and potentially disastrous is going on.

In particular, there is far more evidence that Putin is trying to manipulate a US election than there ever was that Obama was not born in the US and is some kind of foreign agent, something that Trump himself promoted strongly.

Substantiating evidence can be found all over the place. First of all, there is a large amount of Russian money flowing into Trump’s coffers. According to an article in the Washington Post, “Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.” Indeed, in 2008, Trump’s son Donald Jr. told a real estate conference “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” And “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

The article goes on to give examples where Trump has taken money from foreigners with close ties to the Russian criminal underworld. Or where Trump projects “received unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia.”

Bottom line is that since his bankruptcy a decade ago, Trump has had trouble finding investment money. All major US banks have blackballed him, with the exception of Deutschebank (which is of course a foreign bank, albeit one with a big US presence). Increasingly, Trump has gotten investment from people with close ties to Vladimir Putin.

Then there is the fact that before he became Trump’s campaign manager and top advisor, Paul Manafort’s job was working for Viktor Yanukovych, the former Prime Minister and then President of the Ukraine, who is a close ally of Putin (until his subjects deposed him). Coincidence?

Other Trump advisors have extremely close ties to governmental entities in Russia.

Looking from the other side, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media with Trump. Putin is known to support and fund right-wing nationalist politicians across Europe, whether to try to win influence in those countries or just to stir up instability in their governments. Why not the same thing in the US? Indeed, there is evidence that Russians were involved in the release of the DNC emails this last weekend, which is stirring up Sanders supporters against Clinton.

Putin has never been shy about expressing his hatred of Hillary Clinton. He has publicly blamed her for the 2011 protests in Russia against him. The protestors were accusing Putin of rigging his reelection.

But the thing that made people really suspicious was that Donald Trump’s entire campaign didn’t seem to care about the Republican Party Platform; they completely ignored it, except for one thing. Trump’s team insisted on, “changing the party platform on assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine.” Before that, the Republican platform called for heavily arming Ukraine against the Russians. That’s right, even if Trump loses, he’s already done a big favor for the Russians.

And then there was Trump’s statement that maybe the US (and thus NATO) should not come to the defense of NATO member states in case of a Russian invasion, which was too much even for many of his strongest Republican supporters.

Let’s put this in perspective. One of the major complaints against Hillary Clinton is that she accepted money from Wall Street for some speeches she gave, and so is too much in bed with them. But Trump has accepted far more money from the Russians, and isn’t even waiting for the election to start giving them quid pro quo.

Lastly, could this be why Trump refuses to release his tax returns? Would it show him hugely in debt to Russians? In the last year alone, we do know that Trump’s debt has grown from $350 million to $630 million.

This isn’t a single article. The Atlantic has noticed this as well. And we also heard from Paul Krugman, and he agrees that there is something going on. Republican Erick Erickson believes that Russians are working to influence our election. And of course the Clinton campaign is starting to pick this up.

At the very least, Trump has a YUUUGE conflict of interest. At worst, the unthinkable is happening — a foreign country is covertly sabotaging a US election for their own gain, and Trump is the traitorous agent. The only question may be whether Trump is doing this willingly, is being pressured to do it against his will, or is simply too stupid to know that he is being manipulated.

Shouldn’t Congress put as much effort into investigating this as they did on, say, Benghazi (including Clinton’s email server)?

John Deering
© John Deering

UPDATE: More details from the NY Times.

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from July 7, 2016]

“Donald Trump met with 200 House Republicans who were described as ‘nervous’. And following the meeting, many of them were described as ‘Democrats’.” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump is now saying the media took his praise of Saddam Hussein ‘out of context’. Trump also said the media misinterpreted his 5 star Amazon review of ‘Mein Kampf’.” – Conan O’Brien

“Analysts are now saying that Florida could be one of the biggest threats to Donald Trump’s campaign. In other words, Trump may be crazy, but he’s not Florida crazy.” – Conan O’Brien

“Bernie Sanders is reportedly going to endorse Hillary Clinton next week. Bernie said, ‘I was going to do it sooner but I thought I’d wait ’til everyone hated me.'” – Conan O’Brien

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Political Parties

Does anyone really believe that it is the job of political parties to be fair? It is the job of the political party to elect as many candidates from their party as possible. Nothing more.

Why is the media holding the Democratic party to a different standard than other parties? Where are the leaked emails from the Republican National Committee? Does anyone have any doubts that such a release would be full of emails critical of Donald Trump, and trying to figure out ways to derail his campaign?

As far as anyone can tell, the very worst email was one where the DNC’s CFO suggested that someone ask Sanders if he believed in God (in order to expose him as an atheist). But even that was never done. I’m sure there was much more skullduggery among the Republicans.

As they say, “politics ain’t beanbag”.

And the smaller political parties are even worse — they don’t even pretend to be fair. Did anyone even pay attention to how Gary Johnson was nominated by the Libertarian Party? It wasn’t very pretty; you can read about it here. Was that fair?

Or the Green Party, where Jill Stein offered to give the Green nomination to Sanders and step aside herself. Would that be “fair” to anyone else who wanted the Green nomination, to just hand it to someone who wasn’t even a member of the Green Party?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Political parties are inherently unfair, and complaining about that misses the point. The only way to make political parties fair is to take away their main event and have a nonpartisan blanket primary, which already works in several states.

I’m also suspicious of this email leak. As we’ve already seen, it doesn’t really matter what is in the emails, this will just be used by the Republicans to attack Hillary Clinton. And according to experts, it was the Russians who did the hacking. Do the Russians have something to gain if Trump gets elected?

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Unscheduled Events at the RNC

There were many unscheduled events at the Republican convention, including plagiarism and speakers getting booed off the stage. But did you catch these?

Brian McFadden
© Brian McFadden

The cartoonist explains that he drew this comic before the convention started. Now that the Trump Show is over, how did reality compare to his satiric prediction?

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from July 6, 2016]

“The Juno satellite probe which hasn’t been heard from in five years and has been traveling through deep space finally reached Jupiter yesterday and reestablished contact with Earth. The Jupiter satellite’s first message was, ‘The Republican Nominee is WHO?'” – Conan O’Brien

“In a speech yesterday, Donald Trump praised Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists. He also said Hitler was a wonderful dancer and Stalin made a great omelette.” – Conan O’Brien

“It’s rumored that Snoop Dogg will perform at the Democratic Convention. When he heard this, Donald Trump immediately took him off his vice presidential list.” – Conan O’Brien

“Although Hillary Clinton was cleared of charges in the investigation of her deleted emails, her actions were described by the FBI as ‘extremely reckless’. However in her defense, the report pointed out that she was Hillary reckless, not Bill reckless.” – Conan O’Brien

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Tim Kaine

I must admit that I wasn’t paying too much attention to the VP selection contest, and so when Clinton announced Tim Kaine as her VP pick, I didn’t know much about him. I know that people say he’s boring, or that he is too moderate. So I took some time today to investigate.

I might get some flak for this, but I have to say I like him and I think he is a very good choice. He is strongly principled without being an ideologue. He’s certainly an extremely likable person and wins the contest of the candidate with whom you would most like to have a beer, or even stretch it out to a long interesting dinner. He’s much more comfortable with himself while speaking than Clinton, which is good. He has humor and humility. I just feel like I can trust him, which is more than I can say for most politicians.

Tommy Vietor, a former Obama foreign-policy aide was also pleasantly surprised, tweeting:

I had no idea Kaine was this good. His bio is relatable but impressive, and he can deliver a tough hit on Trump while still being endearing.

And Michael Tomasky’s article about Kaine’s first campaign speech today starts with “Holy crap. He killed it.” and ends with:

Lots of people are going to like this guy. He’s a happy warrior who is clearly genuine about being of service to others and to community and country. He embodies what we all think is best about this country and what we hope still exists. It exists in Tim Kaine.

But don’t take it from me, watch his speech for yourself.

UPDATE: In the comments, a reader pointed out Jim Wright’s excellent article in Stonekettle Station about Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine. He talks about Kaine’s achievements as mayor of Richmond:

Kaine turned Richmond around, he renovated schools in poor neighborhoods and built new ones, he gave tax breaks to projects that directly benefited the city and opposed tax increases that didn’t, he brought back business and jobs, and his policies reduced gun crimes by more than 55%. Under Kaine, Richmond went from poverty and crime to being named one of the 10 Best Cities in America to do Business by Forbes – and the key to all of that was Kaine’s commitment to and leadership on racial reconciliation.

Wright gives similar examples about Kaine as governor of and senator for Virginia. Go read it.

UPDATE 2: Electoral Vote has some things to say about Tim Kaine. Not all of them positive, but their usual unflinching hard look, both pro and con.

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Reactions

Things you should read:

Bernie Sanders live-tweeted during Trump’s acceptance speech at the RNC. A few samples:

Those who voted for me will not support Trump who has made bigotry and divisiveness the cornerstone of his campaign.

Trump’s big economic plans: Give trillions in tax breaks to millionaires, refuse to raise the federal minimum wage.

Trump is wrong. The real cause of instability in the Middle East was the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq. By the way, where is President Bush?

What a hypocrite! If Trump wants to “fix” trade he can start by making his products in the US, not low-wage countries abroad.

Trump: “I alone can fix this.”
Is this guy running for president or dictator?

Hillary Clinton also live-tweeted Trump’s speech, and with a sense of humor even.

Electoral Vote has a short and to-the-point summary of the acceptance speech, titled “Trump Swings and Misses“.

If you want a summary of the whole convention, even Politico calls it “Trump’s four dysfunctional days in Cleveland“, and giggles that after Trump’s speech the loudspeakers played “You can’t always get what you want” by the Rolling Stones.

Speaking of fear, gloom and doom, Ezra Klein says “Donald Trump’s nomination is the first time American politics has left me truly afraid“. And then he clearly and succinctly explains why. It is useless to summarize something that is already the perfect length, so go read it.

UPDATE: Fortune points out the 8 ton elephant on the convention floor — the fact that during the entire convention (including the day supposedly about the economy), Republicans never once mentioned Governor Sam Brownback and his conservative revolution in Kansas (the state that is home to the Koch brothers). Why? Because Kansas is an utter mess, with their economy in a shambles. And yet the Republicans are still promoting the trickle-down economics that are such a disaster in Kansas.

As an added ironic twist, when the roll-call vote happened — which is when each state extolls their own virtues — the most prominent thing from the Kansas delegation was the Kansas City Royals baseball team, with the delegation wearing Royals T-shirts. As some of you may know, the Royals (as is Kansas City itself) is actually in the neighboring state of Missouri.

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from June 30, 2016]

“Hillary Clinton was endorsed by the president of France. When she heard this, Hillary said, ‘Shut up, I’m trying to win this thing.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Hillary Clinton has unveiled a technology plan that would offer broadband Internet access to all Americans. Which is why today Hillary was endorsed by the CEO of PornHub.” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump is upset today because so many of his former Republican rivals have not endorsed him. He says he feels like he is running against two parties because none of the guys have jumped in to lend their support. Which makes no sense at all. Donald Trump has been nothing but nice to them.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump says what they’re doing is disgraceful and there should be consequences for it. What consequences? I don’t know. Maybe he is planning to feed Jeb Bush to his dragons.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“At this point, the Republican Party is like the scientists at ‘Jurassic Park’. Now, it’s going to eat us.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Thirty-eight percent for Trump, 13 percent for a meteor, which adds up to 51 percent of the people are OK with the world coming to an end. Two giant destructive orange balls.” – Stephen Colbert

“The giant meteor hitting the Earth polled particularly well among independent voters, and unsurprisingly, poorly amongst dinosaurs.” – Stephen Colbert

“Now Trump might be getting a boost in the polls because sources say Trump is vetting Chris Christie as a potential running mate. Christie would definitely help Trump win voters in New Jersey, who are anxious to get rid of Chris Christie.” – Stephen Colbert

“Yesterday President Obama met with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. Obama said he’s trying to figure out where to live if Trump wins.” – Conan O’Brien

“The Fourth of July holiday weekend is almost upon us. The original Brexit is the Fourth of July. It’s my favorite holiday. You don’t have to wrap anything, other than bacon around a hot dog.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Nancy Grace is leaving Headline News in October. The network announced she will be replaced by an especially loud leaf blower.” – Conan O’Brien

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He’s Baaack!

Jon Stewart can’t help himself, and takes over Stephen Colbert’s desk at the Late Show for a delicious rant:

God I miss him.

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Make America Safe, Again?

The theme of the first night of the Republican national convention was “Make America Safe Again”. As Rudy Giuliani put it:

The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe. They fear for their children, they fear for themselves. They fear for our police officers, who are being targeted with a target on their back. It’s time to make America safe again.

So if we are going to make America safe again, when was it safe before? Giuliani answered that question by saying that Donald Trump “will make America, like the president I worked for, Ronald Reagan, once again be the shining City on the Hill.”

There’s just one problem. America is far safer now (under Barack Obama) than it ever was under Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was president, there were an average of 20,377 murders a year. The most recent year for which the FBI has records is 2014, when there were 14,249 murders. That’s a drop of 30%, and it doesn’t even account for the fact that the US population has grown by 35%. The per capita murder rate has dropped from 89 people per million, to 46 people per million. That’s right, we are about half as likely to be murdered now as when Reagan was president.

During the Reagan administration an average of 101 police officers were intentionally killed every year. Under Obama, that number dropped to 62, the lowest number ever recorded.

And there has never been a safer time to be a child in America.

The national crime rate peaked in 1991 (when George H. W. Bush was president) and has been declining ever since. It is currently around half what it was at its peak. Violent crime (the definition of what should make us feel unsafe) has fallen by 51%.

But Giuliani is right, Americans don’t feel safe. 70% of Americans think the crime rate is increasing — and that percentage has been going up — even though they are safer now than they have ever been.

Could it be because of fear mongers like Giuliani and Donald Trump?

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The Right to Party!

Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti is brilliant as Melania Trump on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show:

But plagiarism isn’t the only scandal around the potential first lady. According to CBS news, Melania Trump’s bio on the RNC website lies when it says that she graduated from college. As does her website. And Snopes looked into it, and couldn’t find any evidence that she had ever received any degree.

But wait, there’s more! The Trump campaign finally came up with someone to blame for the plagiarism. It only took them three days, which is suspicious enough. They claim that Melania Trump enlisted help writing her speech from a Trump employee who is not connected with the campaign. According to their story, Melania read that person some passages over the phone that she liked, including lines from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the DNC, but that she only meant them as examples. Of course, when Melania saw those quotes in the final speech, didn’t she even notice?

But the bigger problem is that if this story is true, then it reveals criminal activity. It is a federal crime for corporations to contribute cash, products, or services to political campaigns, but the Trump campaign seems completely unconcerned about the law. So why am I not surprised?

Steve Breen
© Steve Breen

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Cruzing for a Bruising

Leave it to Ted Cruz to stab GOP nominee Donald Trump in the back, while simultaneously eliminating any possibility that he will ever be president (or even the nominee). Well done, sir!

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