Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week of Whoppers

So the New York Times has finally got around to chronicling a week's worth of Trump's falsehoods.

Perhaps they can follow the example of Steve Benen, who in 2012 posted a list of Romney's lies every week, and make "A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump" a continuing feature.

  I see Politico has chronicled a week's worth of falsehoods from each candidate, and come to this conclusion: "Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous."  (They calculate that Trump averaged one falsehood every 3 minutes 15 seconds in the five hours they examined.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playing Skittles

Here's the tweet from Donald Trump, Jr. that has stirred up some controversy:

Let's unpack what it says.
"If.. I told you just three would kill you"

The meaning: I have certain knowledge that three of the Skittles in the bowl will kill you.

I'm guessing there are about 100 Skittles in the bowl, though Mr. Trump has used the figure 1,000

So in his scenario, 0.3% of the Skittles are known to be deadly.

To apply the analogy to Syrian refugees, Mr. Trump would need to have certain knowledge that 0.3% of them are known to be deadly terrorists.

Does he have that certain knowledge?
And has our pusillanimous press even thought to ask him that?

But to continue unpacking:
"Would you take" - I assume he means "eat" - "a handful?"

Presumably analogous to the US taking at random some proportion of Syrian refugees.
And if  0.3% of Syrian refugees were deadly, as Mr. Trump appears to claim, that would indeed be a concern.

But we do not take Syrian refugees at random.  There is a long drawn out screening process.
So to continue Mr. Trump's analogy, we should add:

"And if I told you we had screened out the Skittles that would kill you, would you take a handful?"

If I enjoyed eating Skittles, well yes, I would.

And if common humanity impelled me to give refuge to  
" your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

...well, yes, I would.

Chris Hayes and Ken Burns discuss the subject.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

One More Press Fail

“I’m a truth teller,” the Republican nominee told CNBC on Thursday. “All I do is tell the truth."

Needless to say, CNBC didn't bring up Trump's record of falsehoods so their audience would be properly informed.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Another Democratic Fail

Zack Beauchamp lays out clearly why the $400 million paid to Iran was not "ransom".

But the right is on the offensive with claims that the payment was a ransom.

A simple response would be for the administration to point out that the $400 million would have been paid to Iran even if Iran held no hostages.  The only link was holding up the payment until Iran followed though on a separate deal to free hostages.

But I've yet to hear the administration or Democratic pols make this very simple statement, while the "ransom" claim continues to fester and be widely spread.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shame On You, The Atlantic!

While I'm no fan of Bill O'Reilly, I'm also no fan of dishonesty from his opponents in making rhetorical points.

The Atlantic has an online post with this heading:

                How Abigail Adams Proves Bill O'Reilly Wrong About Slavery
and  purports to prove that with this excerpt from one of her letters:
Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, ... to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast.
 Notice the ellipsis after the word "cloathing".  As you can see from the reproduction below, the entire sentence reads:
Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, or fit for Mayfare, to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast, Such is the case of many of the inhabitants of this place.
Now we can see what Mrs. Adams was really saying.  A careful reading of her words show that she is pivoting from  a description of White House work habits to a generalization about slavery: that all of them, whether "half fed and destitute of clothing" (in truly wretched condition) to "fit for Mayfare" (fed and dressed well enough for Mayfair, London's most fashionable district) have the same thing in common - they "labour, while the owner waches about idle".  She is saying nothing one way or the other about the condition of slaves working at the White House.

Leaving out the "fit for Mayfair" section completely distorts Mrs. Adams' meaning.  The Atlantic should be ashamed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Watching the American Experience program 1964, I was struck by two related items:

Barry Goldwater's famous line: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

And his reason for voting against the Civil Rights Act:  he believed that Federal Government intervention in enforcing equality in employment and accommodation was too extreme, and that equality for African-Americans in the South should be left to come about by gradual evolution.

Or, as far as liberty and justice for African-Americans went, extremism in the defense of liberty was a vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice was a virtue.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Empty Slogan

So John McCain is urging the GOP to unite behind Donald Trump.

So much for his campaign slogan of "Country First."

Update 8/3/2016.
At least Meg Whitman is responsible enough to put country first.
While acknowledging she diverged from Mrs. Clinton on many policy issues, Ms. Whitman said it was time for Republicans “to put country first before party.”