Yep, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. You should, too.


So, I heard something interesting when reading/listening/watching the news over the last 18 or so months.

Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect.

I know, this is a shock. But I want to tell you something even more shocking.

Ready? Brace yourself.

It doesn’t matter.

Now, let me backtrack just a little. Obviously, Hillary Clinton has legitimate flaws. And yes, they should be taken seriously. After all, she is running for the office of the most powerful person on the planet. It’s fair to analyze her qualities, flaws, and quirks. But… one should be thoughtful about it. One should not give into anger or the emotion of the moment. It’s important to understand how to separate the bullshit from the truth.

Hillary Clinton is running for president, and I am officially endorsing her. And I want to tell you why. I want you to understand what I see, and understand what I’ve read. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Some will just dismiss me as a liberal drinking the Kool-Aid. Some will dismiss me as a poor sap fooled by the neoliberal war machine.

I’m going to explain why all of that is wrong. And by the end of this, I hope you, dear reader, has a better understanding of where I’m coming from when I say Hillary Clinton is the most logical and reasonable choice for President of the United States.

Reasons for voting Clinton over everyone else

Hillary Clinton technically has 1,909 total competitors running against her. Those are the total number of people who have filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. But in terms of people who will actually get a significant number of votes (potentially over 1 million), she has 4 competitors.

I will list each one, and provide a brief reason why I can’t endorse them.

1.) Donald Trump – Republican

Where do I begin? He’s a monster. I know that’s a bold thing to say. But what he has said, what he has done, how he acts – this matters. He has stated a willingness to act in ways directly contradicting at least 7 Constitutional Amendments. He has pledged to commit war crimes. He has lied on matters of policy literally ¾ of the time. He has confessed, on camera, to committing sexual assault. He has suspicious ties to the Russian government. He is likely a tax cheat. He thinks global warming isn’t real. He was deemed guilty of racial discrimination by the Nixon Administration. There is so much more. Donald Trump is arguably the worst major party presidential candidate over the last century. Donald Trump makes George W. Bush seem competent.

2.) Gary Johnson – Libertarian

Johnson seems like a nice guy. And unlike Trump, he has held elected office. As governor of New Mexico, his record wasn’t great. And his libertarian platform – while “moderate” for a libertarian, would still completely reshape the entire federal government. Many like the notion of libertarianism. And many people also still think of Ayn Rand as an important thinker. I spent a little time a couple months ago describing why Gary Johnson is a terrible candidate for someone of a more liberal political lean. I think that this also goes for most conservatives, as well.

3.) Evan McMullin – Independent

He’s Ted Cruz, ideologically speaking, though he seems to have quite a bit more character and principle. He’s also a Mormon, for whatever that’s worth. He doesn’t seem like a horrible person, but he’s only on the ballot in 11 states, and likely to only be competitive in one. He also is really, stupidly, right-wing. If one likes the idea of a non-evil, Mormon Ted Cruz, then I guess he might be the best choice. But he can’t win, barring an electoral tie between Clinton and Trump.

4.) Jill Stein – Green

The “principled choice” for liberals and progressives. Jill Stein is supposed to be free of all the dirty political muck that covers Hillary Clinton. However, Dr. Stein doesn’t seem to have a great handle on how politics work. She demonstrated confusion over issues like quantitative easing, the medical hazards of WiFi signals, and has pandered to the anti-vaxxer crowd. Her speeches and writing also indicates a lack of understanding of our two-party system. She acts as though passing progressive policies is just a matter of political will and whipping the Democrats into shape. Yeah, because there’s not this whole other party that dominates the state governments, and the US House.

Okay, you say, but she also isn’t in bed with corporate interests, and she’ll end all our wars. Well, recent revelations have shown she’s been fairly careless with her investment portfolio. Maybe that isn’t a huge deal. I mean, who actually digs through their 401k, looking for fossil fuel and weapons companies? But it must be said it looks bad for someone who makes such a show of her principles and integrity. And for ending wars, cutting the military in half, and pulling out of all foreign conflicts – it’s a nice thought, but not actually that simple. Not only would she face tremendous pressure from all ends of the government, but our involvement around the world is such that quick withdrawals would almost certainly mean greater instability and huge power vacuums. A century of American intervention around the world – much derided (sometimes fairly) as “imperialism” – has created codependencies. Simply “pulling out” and shutting down half our bases without years of negotiations, alternative plans, slow drawdowns, and other complex deals, would be a disaster.

I want to like Jill Stein. I probably align more closely with her from an ideological perspective than I do with Hillary Clinton. But she has no practical hope of winning, and she has some serious flaws of her own, especially with her understanding of the nuances of the job she’s applying for. She also is downright dishonest when she repeatedly claims Hillary Clinton is scarier and more dangerous than Donald Trump. This is a ridiculous notion, that only holds true if one believes a Donald Trump presidency would be better for the Green Party political brand. It’s a cynical, ignorant, and reckless viewpoint, and one that seems to completely forget what an utter failure that notion was in 2000, when Ralph Nader was saying much the same thing.

If Stein really cared about progressive change, she would work to turn the Green Party into an effective political party, with support and funding for candidates at the city, county, and state levels. This would require dirty things like fundraising and advertising. Basically, becoming a mainstream party. Otherwise, she may as well do what Bernie Sanders did and become a Democrat. Actually, that might be more effective.

History/qualifications/good deeds/policies

Hillary Clinton has been a lawyer, the most active and influential First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt, a U.S. Senator, the co-founder of a massively successful international relief and aid organization, and the United States Secretary of State. That’s quite a resume.

As a lawyer, she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, and advocated for children incarcerated in adult prisons, as well as poor and homeless children.

As a first lady, she helped to create the CHIP program, which has insured 8 million children across the United States. She also acted as a diplomat, and gave many speeches, speaking out on the rights of women and children around the world.

As a Senator, she put a lot of work into improving health care for veterans, especially reservists. She helped push through aid for 9/11 first responders. She was lauded by members of both parties for her work in several committees, as well as her ability to reach common ground with Republicans.

As Secretary of State, she visited 112 countries – more than any other Secretary in history. She helped negotiated the Iranian nuclear deal, as well as a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Her platform is actually surprisingly progressive, far better than many leftist naysayers had assumed. Her tax plan calls for a big increase in the estate tax, as well as modest increases on income taxes for the wealthiest Americans. She is supporting big increases in infrastructure spending, college tuition coverage, children’s healthcare, and early childhood education. She supports a major increase in the minimum wage, and 12 weeks of paid family leave and 12 weeks of paid medical leave, which is actually quite revolutionary for Americans. Her proposed Wall Street regulations are stronger than many might assume, given her reputation. Clinton has advocated a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, fatter healthcare subsidies, and the ability to negotiate down drug prices. Clinton’s proposed changes are largely incremental, but also largely possible and practical – and that’s important. Moonshots are great, but understanding the political climate matters more. Clinton is proposing a more progressive domestic program than her immediate predecessor, and that’s nothing to sneer at.


Debunking the scandals and conspiracies

This is going to have to be abridged, since Hillary Clinton has been the subject of more fear-mongering, lies, slander, attacks, and criticism than 99.9% of all public figures in the United States. Hillary has been a magnet for scandal.

I’m going to go over some of the bigger ones from recent years. This is by no means comprehensive, but should provide a framework with which to debunk some of the attacks on her over the years. If someone says, “But Hillary did this, this, and this…” you have some ammunition.

First of all, let’s start off with a few overviews of her controversies and scandals:


In some ways Benghazi might be the “scandal” that riles up Trump supporters the most, or at least a close second to the emails. On September 11th, 2012, the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked during a period of unrest and protest. The US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, as well as a diplomat and two security personnel were killed during the violence. At the time of the attack, President Obama was on the home stretch of his reelection campaign, and Hillary Clinton was his Secretary of State. There was quite a bit of confusion at the time of the attacks, and the intelligence community initially believed the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an inflammatory anti-Islamic video that had been released previously. The Obama administration at the time accepted the initial reports of the cause of the attack, but cautioned patience as more information was discovered.

It was later ascertained that the attack was indeed a plotted-out act of terror. And the Obama Administration did react swiftly to the attack as it was occurring, but little could be done at the time.

Covering a few myths and misconceptions:

* There was no “stand down” order from Clinton or anyone else to the embassy security or the US military.

* Hillary Clinton was certainly not “asleep” during the attacks, as they occurred in the mid-afternoon in Washington.

* Hillary Clinton DID take full responsibility for the attack and aftermath.

There was no evidence of cover-up.

* Clinton did not refuse 600 requests from Ambassador Stevens for extra security before the attack. The reality of security requests was a lot more complex.

* This was hardly the first attack on a United States embassy or consulate. Since 1979, there have been 19 total attacks, including 7 under the Bush Administration. The Bush-era attacks resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Republican Congress spearheaded a hearing to investigate the events of September 11, as well as the Obama Administration’s response. And then they held another. And another. As of November 2016, EIGHT separate hearings have been conducted – six more than were held for the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. And what did they find? They all agreed security could have been better before the attack, but no wrongdoing or cover-ups could be found. This has been acknowledged repeatedly. It was an unfortunate tragedy, but nothing more.

There appeared to be mistakes made before the attack. There was definitely a misunderstanding of the motivations of the attack when it first happened. But no cover-up occurred, and there was no criminal negligence on the part of Hillary Clinton. In fact, there is some truth to the idea that the Republican led Congress actually reduced the overall budget for embassy security in the two years leading up to the attacks. Would the budget that President Obama submitted have made a difference? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is more evidence that events like this contain considerable nuance.


So, apparently, Hillary Clinton has a problem with e-mails. At least, that’s what we keep hearing. There have been a few different problems with her campaign and e-mails, but the big one officially started 15 plus years ago.

After Bill Clinton left office, he set up his own personal server for e-mails and the like. His fledgling foundation was getting off the ground, and he wanted a secure server to help run things. Hillary used it for her personal e-mails while she was a Senator. At the same time, many, if not most government officials – from legislators up to the executive branch – used personal email accounts for a mixture of both public and private e-mails. For the first decade of the century, government e-mail policy was a bit haphazard. When Hillary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State in 2009, she kept working off her personal server. From her perspective, why not? It was private, just as secure as what the government was using, and not officially against policy at that point. Nobody in the government batted an eye. Nor was it a secret. Even by the time Hillary’s e-mails started getting attention, a third of government employees were conducting business with private e-mails.

But what about that pesky classified information? Well, that’s trickier, but not complex. Most classified information isn’t actually sent via e-mail. Most of the e-mails sent on her server were not remotely sensitive. And among the e-mails that were marked classified (that were sent and received by Secretary Clinton), there were varying levels of classification. And almost all of the ones that should not have been sent via private e-mail, were retroactively marked classified. Meaning, they weren’t classified when she sent them. Out of more than 62,000 e-mails that were investigated, just 110 were marked classified when they were sent.

Yes, it wasn’t ideal, but there was no evidence classified information was sent intentionally. And there was no evidence any information made it into the hands of people not privy to such information.

It could have been handled better, and her overall penchant for secrecy certainly makes things worse, but the FBI director himself concluded that she is – at most – guilty of some carelessness. Carelessness she had in common with large swaths of Washington. Again, one can’t say she was entirely aboveboard with the e-mail situation, but there was nothing criminal or particularly dangerous. I’m going to provide the below links for further research, mostly since embedding these is a pain in the ass.,amp.html

Clinton and/or the DNC stole the primary from Bernie Sanders

This myth is fading a bit, but among some die-hard Bernie supporters, as well as some others on the far-left (and far-right), Bernie Sanders was robbed in his primary challenge against Hillary Clinton.

There’s a lot of different (and sometimes conflicting) conspiracy theories with this one, but basically, Bernie Sanders supporters claimed the DNC was rigging the election against Sanders. Short answer: Definitely not. Longer answer: They certainly preferred Hillary, and some leaked e-mails made this preference clear. But in general, the actual process of voting was fair and scandal-free.

A few basic facts:

* Caucus states actually helped Bernie more than they did Hillary.

* The Nevada state convention was ugly and complicated, but in the end was fair.

* Purged voters in Brooklyn were voters who hadn’t voted in two straight elections, and likely would have been more supportive of Clinton than Sanders. Many voter purges are simply a matter of cleaning up voter rolls to ensure deceased people, and those who have moved, don’t remain registered for too many cycles.

* Hillary would have won strictly on the popular vote with and without superdelegates, with proportional voting, and under GOP rules. She simply had more supporters than Bernie.

* Open primaries were actually better for Hillary than for Bernie.

* Exit polls looking better for Bernie than the final result is actually a pretty normal phenomenon.

Yes, the “establishment” never warmed up to Bernie Sanders. But the primary contests weren’t rigged against him. He performed exceedingly well, and forced Clinton to move to the left on certain issues – which she largely stuck with after the convention. Despite losing, Sanders still accomplished quite a bit.

Russian Uranium

There was absolutely no evidence that the Clinton Foundation received money from Russian donors in exchange for a Russian uranium deal. This has been debunked.

Hillary lost 6 billion dollars at the State Department

Nope. Money wasn’t missing. Over a period of a few years, paperwork on some government contracts went unsigned and in a few cases, yes, missing. Two thirds of the contracts involved Secretary Clinton’s predecessors. In a vast bureaucracy, unfortunately, paperwork sometimes gets mishandled. It’s true that the audit found that 6 billion dollars worth of contracts had these paperwork issues. However, the money itself was entirely accounted for.

The Clinton Foundation

So, the Clinton Foundation was started, mostly by Bill Clinton, after he left office in 2001. Hillary Clinton has been accused of providing favors for people, companies, and even countries, in exchange for donations to the foundation. In addition, some have accused the foundation of doing minimal charity work. Some have also accused it of being a giant money laundering organization, intended to enrich the Clintons themselves, and help fund Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. Thus far, none of that has been proven true.

The Clinton Foundation itself has actually been remarkably successful, especially with providing inexpensive AIDS drugs to people across Africa. It has been suggested that literally millions of lives have been saved thanks to the Foundation. Seriously. Millions. That’s a big deal. The Foundation has definitely had its share of failures, but it has almost certainly been a hugely positive force in the world. It is considered (by people who are paid to consider these things) one of the best charities on Earth.

Hillary laughed at a rape victim, and freed her rapist.

Not even close. In 1975, young lawyer Hillary Rodham was assigned by a court to defend the accused rapist of then-12-year-old Kathy Shelton. The prosecutor on the case has stated that Hillary was unhappy with the assignment and resisted it at first. Hillary did her job and defended the accused. Eventually, Kathy and her mother pushed for a plea deal, and the rapist plead guilty, was sentenced to 5 years, and ended up serving a total of 10 months. The “laughter” came from her reminiscing about aspects of the case many years later.

Bill Clinton’s policies

Bill Clinton had kind of a mixed record to liberals. He often pivoted to the center, and frequently worked with Republicans on bills that would be anathema to previous liberal stalwarts. Welfare reform, the 1994 crime bill, deficit reduction, NAFTA – these policies have been controversial among progressives and liberals. And Hillary Clinton has been seen as a symbol of those policies.

However, the truth is a little trickier.

It has been pointed out that her involvement with domestic policy largely ended after the failure of health reform. And while she did occasionally voice support for some of her husband’s policies, she actually spent some time behind the scenes fighting against some of the harsher aspects of the welfare reform law. Similar things occurred with the crime bill. As an aside, it should be noted that Bernie Sanders himself voted for the crime bill.

There is also quite a bit of doubt that the crime bill actually had much effect on mass incarcaration. This is a myth that doesn’t have a lot of statistical backing. It certainly is true that the crime bill included harsh policies that disproportionately affected minorities. It’s also true that new policies proposed by the 2016 version of Hillary Clinton takes strides to atone for much of the excesses of that bill.

NAFTA, a boogeyman of both the left, and the Trumpian right, didn’t actually have that much of an effect on job losses and trade imbalances. Treaties with China were far more impactful to American jobs.

Hillary Clinton is too right wing/hawkish/pro-corporate

Well, there are some legitimate arguments to be made here. I will get into some of them in the “Real Concerns” section below. She certainly is not the most progressive candidate on certain issues. However, much of the complaints about her from the left have been overstated. 3.9% of her campaign contributions have been from Wall Street sources, which is far less than many of the big names in Washington. And her foreign policy, while definitely more inclined toward military solutions than I would like, also has included some deft diplomacy. From an ideological standpoint, she was generally rated as one of the more liberal Senators, and matches up on most issues 85-90 percent of the time with Bernie Sanders.


So, one popular knock on Hillary Clinton is that she’s dishonest. Well, how does one measure dishonesty? Do we talk about her reactions to the aforementioned “scandals?” Well then, for the most part, she comes off well. Does she bend the truth now and then? Sure. She’s a national political figure with a penchant for secrecy. She certainly isn’t perfect. And if you still persist in thinking all of the above issues are true, then I suppose she is a hideous liar. But in the real world, where she’s generally pretty clean on those topics, she’s reasonably honest.

If we’re talking policy and her take on governing, then she may the most honest major American political figure, next to President Obama. She’s been quite accurate compared to all of the major primary candidates of this current Presidential election.

Real concerns

When discussing Jill Stein earlier, I noted that she is unrealistic about the size and interconnectedness of American military power. Simply cutting the US military budget by half in one fell swoop would have serious consequences all around the globe. Having said that, there is something to be said about just how extensive our military is all over the world. The United States has more than 800 military bases in other countries. We spend more on our armed forces than the next seven largest militaries combined. We are engaged in actual conflicts in literally dozens of countries. And we have killed (albeit largely unintentionally) thousands of civilians every year for decades. The United States has sometimes supported noble causes and helped broker peace. The United States has also supported unlawful coups and helped prop up murderous regimes.

And as a Senator, and then later as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has been complicit (sometimes more directly than others), in quite a few interventions in several countries, with a rather mixed success rate. Many civilians have died, and international democratic reforms haven’t exactly spread like wildfire. Clinton has demonstrated a faith in a fairly aggressive foreign policy and definitely deserves credit (blame?) for much of the drone program that turns warfare into a videogame. It becomes far too easy to pull the trigger when there’s a disconnect from the target. A lot of innocent people have died.

It’s true that American foreign policy has been violent and often expansionist – especially over the last 120 years or so. And Hillary Clinton hardly has the most blood on her hands among Secretaries of State. But she definitely has far more than she should. And her foreign policy is something we need to watch carefully.

I’m also concerned, albeit somewhat less so, about her friendliness to corporate interests, While she is certainly a believer in climate change, and not opposed to some increased regulation and restriction on carbon, she isn’t groundbreaking. There has been a willingness to trust private enterprise far more than she should, and that needs to be watched closely.

Voting your conscience

To me, “voting my conscience” means ensuring that the best possible outcome occurs in the election. Note the word “possible.” My conscience is fine with compromise. My conscience would be much worse-off knowing that the reckless, ignorant, dishonest, corrupt, hateful, and predatory Donald Trump is elected. Yes, maybe Stein’s policies are a hair closer to my own. Yeah, Johnson seems like a cool guy. Sure, McMullin is… um, not Trump. But so what? Those three aren’t gonna be President. Even in a system that made it easier for third parties to succeed – they would still be longshots, because none of them represent a plurality of the American electorate. All three reside closer to the ideological fringes.

The Democratic and Republican platforms are both close to a plurality. Either Clinton or Trump WILL be President. And I reject the notion that I’m choosing “the lesser of two evils.” Imperfect is not synonymous with evil. Perfection is something children and those who don’t care about actually getting elected aspire to. When one candidate actually is evil, and the other one is flawed, but basically on my side, and a handful of others have no practical hope of victory, my conscience tells me to prevent evil. The worst-case scenario is not a viable option, especially for something as shallow as trying to prove a point.

And it’s fair to note that most (I know, not all) of those who are casting a protest vote are relatively well-off white people – and usually male. You know, the people who stand to lose the least with a Trump election. Many straight white males have trouble empathizing with those who are directly threatened by a Trump presidency.

But my conscience tells me to pay attention to the plight of those who aren’t as privileged as I am.


Hillary Clinton has three major points going for her this election.

* She’s experienced and knowledgeable. Arguably moreso than any major party candidate of the past half century.

* She supports most of the better policies of the Obama Administration, while adding improvements to many of them. On several topics, she is proposing the most progressive policies since the dawn of the New Deal.

* She’s not Donald Trump.

There are plenty of other positive attributes to discuss, and I can expound in depth on my three initial points (I already have in many of the above paragraphs). But she is simply the best, and most practical choice for the system we currently have.

Hillary Clinton has demonstrated an ability to work with those who disagree with her, to compromise, and to make dirty political decisions that don’t satisfy the purists. But those decisions are how bills get passed. Those decisions are how meaningful progress occurs. It’s slow, it’s meandering, but real progress almost always requires concessions in a diverse democracy. And Hillary Clinton understands that better than any of her 1,909 opponents.

Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect person, or a perfect candidate. But neither are any of her opponents. And she, above all others, understands how to use both her strengths and weaknesses to produce real accomplishments.

Barack Obama is arguably the most consequential American president since Johnson, maybe even since FDR. His policies, for all their flaws, (and for all the obstruction that has slowed them), have reshaped our government and political landscape more than any president in decades.

And Hillary Clinton may do a better job of pushing through further refinements of what he started. And that’s plenty good enough for me.

Beyond that, as mentioned before, she IS incredibly intelligent, accomplished, and experienced. She isn’t a leftist, but she has a solid progressive track record on several issues. Her party platform – largely thanks to a spirited primary challenge from Bernie Sanders – is more progressive than it otherwise would have been.

I think it is important to watch her carefully, and hold her accountable for decisions she makes. There are concerns about foreign intervention, the size of the military, and the national security state. It’s important for the left to pressure her on those issues, and make sure support is contingent on her making positive changes on those topics.

Meanwhile, for whatever it’s worth, I support Hillary Clinton for President and will happily cast my vote for her in just a few short hours. I really hope those who read this do the same.

For other endorsements of Hillary Clinton, please peruse the links below:

Posted in Civil Rights, Economics, Governance, Healthcare, History, immigration, Infrastructure, Media, Myths and misconceptions, Politics, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Patriotism or Terrorism?


What if we lose? Then we lose. That’s what happens in a representative democracy (or democratic republic, for those pedants that want to quibble). You present your case to the people, and your opponent does the same. And the people make their choice. Their choice isn’t always rational. Sometimes, neither are their options.

But to lose means that more people than not disagreed with your side. It means, in that instance, the will of the people went against you.

You have a couple options.

You can try to figure out why you lost. You can look at the facts, talk to people who went the other way. Sometimes you find yourself starting to agree with their side. More often, however, you find yourself resolved to make a better case next time around. And, as has been the case in the United States for 240 years, there will be a next time.

Or, you can pout and say never mind, I’m done with this democracy junk. Become apathetic, and move on.

That option isn’t a productive one. But it is an option.

You know what isn’t an option?

Violence. Intimidation. Armed revolt.

This was decided in 1865. Quite decisively. Violent revolution as a reasonable counter against a functioning democratic system was put to rest that year.

If the majority decide, it isn’t tyranny. It means they collectively decided.

“Tyranny of the majority” is a meaningless phrase unless it leads to actual tyranny.

It’s usually a rallying call for sore losers.

In this presidential election, only one major candidate openly embraces authoritarianism. Only one candidate has openly expressed displeasure at freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Only one has threatened to imprison a political opponent, while being unable to actually name a crime she committed. Only one has openly admitted – even bragged – about committing violent sexual assault. Only one has shown an interest in actually using nuclear weapons. Only one lies (or is flat wrong) about policy statements 75% of the time. Only one has been accused by the freaking Nixon administration of housing discrimination. Only one accused an opponent’s father of helping assassinate President Kennedy. Only one wants to violate multiple Constitutional amendments to deport American citizens and ban every single adherent of the world’s second largest religion from the country. Only one candidate wants to restart a racist and failed police procedure that was already deemed unconstitutional.

It is that particular candidate who has supporters that would take up arms if their chosen person loses.

Committing violence (or threatening to commit violence) in order to force a majority to accept the will of a minority in the name of a corrupt demagogue… what would be the best phrase for that?

Tyranny of the minority in the name of an enthusiastic authoritarian?

Nah. That’s a little clunky.

How about… Attempted coup?

How about… Traitors to democracy, will of law, and the Constitution?

Yeah. That works.

You guys aren’t “patriots.”

You’re ignorant, sore losers.

Unfortunately, we’re talking about ignorant sore losers with guns.

And this could be a problem.

There’s a bunch of Turner Diaries cosplayers out there who want to try to make it happen. Historically, the vast majority of these people don’t actually amount to anything. They make grand proclamations. They masturbate to images of Timothy McVeigh. Then they go back to their mom’s basement and rant about “libtards” from behind their Gadsen flag avatars.

But there are quite a few armed extremists who have bought into Trump’s contention that the economic and political systems are “rigged.” Many have been conned by the idea that Hillary Clinton will become a despot.

There’s no logic or semblance of realism in those beliefs. But there are enough people who have chugged the (orange) Kool-Aid that there is a legitimate reason to worry. I’ve already discussed the possibility of Trump refusing to accept a loss in next week’s election.

He certainly could be able to rally enough people behind the lie that Hillary Clinton represents true danger to the nation. We have had right-wing domestic terror attacks before. We need to remain vigilant and be aware that it could happen again.

Violence is a tool of last resort. Revolution should only happen when the institutions fail. When the will of the people has been subverted. Potentially violent Trump supporters aren’t threatening violence to save America. They’re threatening violence because the Republican Party has spent decades telling them government is always the problem. They’re threatening violence because Donald Trump has spent 18 months encouraging such action, occasionally even directly. They’re threatening violence because they’ve been suckered.

This wouldn’t be a revolution. This would be an act of treason and an attack on our democratic values. Intimidating those who disagree with you is as undemocratic and unAmerican as it gets.

As always, there are many who say it better than I do. Please check out the following links discussing the potential for violent reaction to a Trump loss.

Posted in History, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running against the Establishment?

I just had a quick thought today.

A billionaire real-estate developer based out of the richest city on the planet is most definitely part of the “establishment.”

One of Donald Trump’s primary claims this election is that he’s running to fight The Establishment. He says he’s an outsider.

Yeah, don’t believe it.

There’s more to being part of the “establishment” than simply working in government. Herr Trump’s various flaws and issues aside, one doesn’t acquire the type of influence and presence that he has without having hands in many institutions. He has certainly influenced government officials before (local, state, and national), and is firmly entrenched in the mainstream media.  His cozy relationship with the national media is a big reason why he managed to run a competitive presidential campaign without doing much traditional advertising.

This little rant is less about him, but the same thing goes to Bernie supporters (and I was one!). Bernie Sanders has been a member of the national legislature since 1991. Even without being part of a political party until recently, he is still firmly part of the “establishment.”

And I’m not actually saying any of this to knock either guy. I mean, I can tear up Donald Trump all day, but this is one situation where the fact that he is certainly part of the establishment isn’t his problem.

Americans have a certain distaste for the political process. I’m working on a blog piece exploring that in more detail.

Suffice to say, the near constant media/political/social demonization of the institution of government over the past 30 years is a big reason why we assume government automatically equals corruption and sloth. Now obviously, it definitely  can mean that.

But that kind of thing is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. We keep electing people who tell us government is the problem, and then they obstruct and delay and argue and fight over ideological purity… and fail to accomplish necessary tasks. And when one of them does attempt to compromise and make things work, we punish them by voting them out in favor of an ideologue. And the cycle just continues. We have gradually been spiraling into the corruption and failure we assumed was always the norm.

And then we blame “the establishment.” We blame politics in general. We often decry the gridlock, but fail to recognize our own complicity in creating it.

The driving ideology behind America’s second largest political party is to prove government doesn’t work by governing as poorly as possible. Donald Trump may not share other core values of the “establishment” GOP. But he is an enthusiastic contributor to the idea the government as we know it is the root of society’s ills. In that, he fits in just fine with the Republican Party.

Many career politicians get elected on the notion that they are there to fight the establishment. Of course, most of them already were part of the establishment in the first place.

Having an establishment is not the problem. In an ideal system, we have compromise, we have deals, we also have accountability. Sometimes people will have to make agreements that don’t completely square with their personal ideology. There would be no shame in holding elected office. One would run to serve, and to ensure the whole system keeps chugging along, and hopefully gradually improving. There 320 million diverse opinions in America. Nobody is going to get everything they want.

But instead, we don’t seek a more perfect union. We elect people who argue that the key to a more perfect union is to run a more perfect business. And then accountability shifts from the people to the money. And we complain about that lack of human accountability, but continue to blame public service. And, just as one would expect, public service deteriorates. Our infrastructure rots, our health care gets more expensive, the genuine existential crisis of climate change is ignored, all while national political candidates bicker over emails and lie about crime rates.

Nothing actually gets accomplished without some sort of “establishment.” The key is making sure that the establishment is accountable to the interests of the citizens. And that means the citizens need to pay attention. They need to learn how laws get passed, how moneyed interests get their hands in there in the first place. The people need to be willing to be part of the establishment, themselves.

Posted in Governance, Media, Myths and misconceptions, Politics, Quick post | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Boy Who Cried Rigged

sideshow-bob-roberts-fraud-logLet’s talk about voter fraud! I want to start with a basic point.

Widespread voter fraud in 21st Century America is a myth. Period. It’s not a thing.

Okay, that was a short one.

Wait, what was that? You need more? Okay, fine.

*cracks knuckles*

Voter fraud is less prevalent than shark attacks. That means Jaws is more plausible than a Donald Trump stump speech. Now that I think about it, that isn’t a shock.

Of course, shark attacks are another example of things people believe are more common than they actually are. Same with terrorism. And crime.

When the modern television media discusses an issue with breathless energy – if they refer to a problem as a “crisis” or an “epidemic,” then there’s a better than even chance it’s not actually worth panicking over.

Chicken Little said the sky is falling.

Chicken a L’Orange is running for President on the idea that everything else is collapsing, too. Except of course for climate change. That’s just something the Chinese invented to create a trade imbalance and import hordes of Muslims and something, something, mumble, trail off…. Whatever. Build a wall!

The point is, we all recognize our media thrives – even simply survives – on spectacle. On large-scale events. On things that get our attention. Rarely is it that a telegenic talking head with spectacular white teeth smiles that gleaming smile and tells us that the national debt is indeed rising, however, debt-to-GDP ratio is a more important indicator than the total amount, that the ratio is currently holding at manageable levels, that the annual deficit has been cut each year by the Obama Administration, that debt and the deficit aren’t the same thing, and that deficit spending can actually be good for the economy (in reasonable doses).

Whew! Let me catch my breath.

Yep, I can already feel your eyes glazing over with each word of that obnoxiously long run-on sentence. And so did TV news. They would be more likely to report, “The national debt has reached a record high. Republicans blame out of control spending. Back to you, Kent.”

If they can squeeze in a quick video of some politician using hyperbolic language to decry the issue, all the better. Then on to the latest shark attack.

Voter fraud is something similar. Aspects of the media certainly deserve some blame for whetting the public imagination about this topic. But the real blame goes to…

Nope, not Donald Trump. At least he’s not how it started.

It’s his party. It’s people like Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who spent most of the last 20 years telling everyone around Kansas and Missouri that we need to tighten voter ID laws to keep “illegals” from voting. Because a person who is in the country illegally is likely to risk exposure by casting a single vote. Because in Kobach’s mind, that makes sense. Or, more likely, it makes sense to scare people into voting for him with this issue.

Starting from the 1993 Voter Registration Act (the “motor voter” bill), the Republican Party has brought up the dangers of voter fraud on a regular basis. They often did so using rather unsubtle dog whistle language, implying fraud was more likely among minority voters. And as we know, most minority voters over the last couple decades are more likely to vote Democratic.

Major political figures in Indiana, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, and several other states, have conducted “investigations” into allegations of voter fraud. Many candidates have run for office vowing to put an end to this epidemic. Old records, sloppy recordkeeping, and filing errors have led to legitimate issues with the voter rolls, requiring cleanup in many states. But the actual number of real fraud committed because of those problems has been infinitesimal.

Massive voter purges in Florida in 2000 arguably led to the eventual (and real) crisis in that year’s presidential contest.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott alleged fraud in his own state, with little actual evidence.

Political mercenary Dick Morris claimed more than a million incidents of voter fraud in 2012 – making his estimate of voter fraud around 1-in-100. Claims like those helped inspire voter laws that directly discriminated against legitimately registered African American voters, especially in North Carolina.

From 2002, up to today, 16 states have passed restrictive laws officially designed to reduce the risk of voter fraud. However, instead of preventing fraud, they just make it harder for people without state IDs to vote. This tends to affect older voters, minority voters, and new citizens. Several states reduced the number of available polling places, forcing older and poorer citizens to have to travel longer distances and wait in longer lines in order to cast a ballot. This is already clearly unfair to many citizens. However, it becomes even more obvious that it’s a naked stab at disenfranchisement when one investigates real examples of voter fraud.

Here’s the actual truth:

Out of the last BILLION (that’s a 1 followed by nine zeroes, folks) votes cast, only 31 actual confirmed and documented cases of voter fraud have been found. 31 out of a billion. Another study pegged it at 35 out of 800 million, but the general numbers remain the same. Remember what I said about sharks? Forget that – lightning is far more likely to strike any individual than voter fraud is likely to occur in the United States.

Don’t put that kite down just yet, Franklin. There’s more.

The aforementioned Kobach, who exists in Kansas mostly to be a public scold and electoral fearmonger, concluded an investigation of 84 million records in 2013. He found the potential for upwards of 120,000 duplicate voters, based on names and dates of birth. This could certainly be problematic. However, potential doesn’t necessarily translate to reality. Out of 84 million records, and 120,000 potential issues, just 14 cases were actually referred to for prosecution.

14 out of 84,000,000, from the great fraud fighter. That’s a one-in-six-million-chance, for those who don’t remember 2nd grade math. That’s about half the chance one has of drowning while visiting the beach.

I’m going to repeat this again, because it really is the only important part:

Widespread voter fraud in America does not exist.

But for years now, a major plank of the second largest American political party has been to tell you that it does. And that’s helped soften people up for rhetoric like what we see and hear from Donald Trump.

And now, people believe it. Polls have varied, but a recently reported one claims that 41 percent of American voters believe the “election is rigged.”

Americans are much more likely to get news now from social media feeds. These are often focused on their particular friends and family, frequently sharing their interests and beliefs, (sometimes) inadvertently filtering out other perspectives. An ideological echo chamber is created, making it tougher to be swayed by new data.

Donald Trump says the country is falling apart. One of his supporters might hear that and agree. “Well hell,” they would respond, “I just got laid off last week.”

Trump says crime is at a 45 year high. “That makes sense. All I see on the news is shootings and war.”

Trump says the Democrats are trying to steal the election. “Well, sure, I mean, we have to be winning, everyone I know likes Trump. Look at the size of his crowds!”

It follows the framework that this follower has already set. Trump is just confirming what he already believes.

It doesn’t matter that AMERICAN ELECTORAL FRAUD ISN’T A THING. It doesn’t matter that the logistics of actually committing impactful voter fraud are daunting, with a very low reward to risk ratio. It doesn’t matter that mass disenfranchisement is far more dangerous to democracy than a one in six million chance of fraud.

None of that matters when none of that information is getting in the bubble.

People are already suspicious of information that doesn’t confirm their biases. When it takes time to parse and analyze, it’s just not worth the effort.

Eleven days from the 2016 election, and Donald Trump is behind in almost every poll. Most independent analyses give him between a 5 and 15 percent chance of winning. Most polls have him 5-10 points behind. Barring an unprecedented comeback, Donald Trump won’t even make the election particularly close.

However, he’s also riled up plenty of his supporters, many of whom won’t believe a word of what anyone says when he loses. If Trump continues throwing out accusations of fraud, regardless of evidence, he could stir up some stupidity.

It’s hard to run a democratic system when people don’t have faith in the process or institutions.

Posted in Myths and misconceptions, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

There’s no justice like angry mob justice


Some kids lose a game, and challenge their victorious opponents for a rematch. Some pout, take the ball, and go home. Some try to start a fight. And then there’s that big orange haired kid with the rich dad and the bad attitude. Near the end of a game of HORSE – down HORS to H – he declares that the girl who’s beating him is cheating, and that he’s gonna refuse to leave the court if she wins. He’ll sit on the ball under the basket and demand she admit defeat. And then all the other kids are wondering what to do if he does.

I have two quick points about Donald Trump suggesting he may not concede if he loses the election:

1. From a legal perspective, it doesn’t matter. Theoretically, he could tie things up in court with recounts for a while, but it would have to be on a state-by-state basis. And based on current projections (and where he stands in each state), there would have to be recounts in a lot of states to make any difference. This would require an extensive ground campaign apparatus (which he doesn’t have), and a lot of patience (which he doesn’t have). And of course, there is fairly recent legal precedent (albeit grossly flawed) for the Supreme Court to order a halt to recounts in much closer circumstances.

And if he doesn’t demand a recount, and just instead refuses to concede, then the process will proceed without him. The electors will meet, and cast their votes, and Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as the 45th president. All Trump would do in that circumstance is look like a jackass.

Except there’s a bit more to it. Which leads me to my second point.

2. His rhetoric isn’t legally dangerous as much as it is literally dangerous. Donald Trump has already incited violence among his supporters. He has made thinly veiled threats toward Hillary Clinton, suggesting both legal measures, as well as violent ones. Beyond the fact that all of his bombast is grossly disqualifying, it’s also theoretically hazardous to American lives.

Donald Trump has already planted that seed in the minds of many supporters. There have been more than one Trump voter who has stated in interviews that armed insurrection is not just possible, but just.

Trump constantly beats the drums of corruption, claiming over and over that the upcoming election will be “rigged.” This follows in the footsteps of his party, of which many have argued for years the largely debunked dangers of electoral fraud. And this not-so-subtle suggestion seems to have worked wonders. Millions of Americans are convinced the election is rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. Never mind how unlikely and difficult that would be. Never mind the complete lack of historical precedent. Never mind the fact that recent polls show Trump trailing Clinton by a considerable margin.

If someone with some charisma repeats the same thing to a large enough crowd, eventually, some of them will believe it.

And many of them are already convinced that, any day now, Obama’s gonna take their guns.

Clock’s ticking on that one, fellas.

But the feelings are significant. And Trump stokes them well.

It has been argued that widespread violence isn’t likely to materialize. There are only so many people out there who are genuinely interested in bringing the Turner Diaries to life.

But it has happened. Remember Tim McVeigh?

It’s quite possible that Donald Trump has no interest in fomenting rebellion. A businessman with his hands in many industries doesn’t want the kind of instability caused by political violence. But as long as he keeps telling frightened, disillusioned, often-armed people that everything they believe in is threatened by a corrupt, criminally-inclined devil woman, the possibility exists of something stupid happening.

And if it does, at least part of the blame lies with the person riling up the masses.

Posted in Governance, immigration, Politics, Quick post, Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Check your… societal dominance

From one straight white cis male to all the others… we need to have a little talk.

Here’s the thing. This country was literally built for you. For me. For us. The United States and its predecessor colonies existed for 400 plus years based entirely around our supremacy. Even when there were people like us who recognized this as a problem, it didn’t stop the way our society ran.

Now things are starting to change. Slowly, painfully, but they are definitely starting to change. We talk more about this than ever before. At this point, there’s still more talk than action, but at least we’re starting to comprehend the problem.

We need to acknowledge that from a societal standpoint, “straight white cis male” was considered the default position. That it was the textbook (literally) definition of “American.”

That was of course, what people do when they run everything. Everything defaults to them.

People are starting to realize this won’t work any longer.

Many straight white cis men understand that things need to change. Our culture, our social structure, our political structure, all need to represent… all of us. Not just the old default, but everyone. We’re all in this together. A realignment of our society is not an attack on straight white cis males. It doesn’t mean others are going to treat us the way we treated them, though one can understand the poetic irony in that occurring. It’s simply that we need to reset how we think. Guys, we aren’t the default any longer.

That’s where you have the old guard. Guys like Donald Trump. People who see the world around them changing, but in scary ways. They see people pushing for greater equality, greater access, an even playing field. And they see it as an attack. Too many of us (straight white cis men) are fearful of losing that default setting. The head start we get by virtue of being born… us. And when people are accustomed to having that societal advantage, they see attempts to bring about equality as oppression.

Which leads to obnoxious men who act like they’re an aggrieved party. They act like the world is against them. That attitude, by the way, is how one inadvertently sets the world against oneself.

Guys, please listen. This is from someone who knows. From one straight white cis male to all the others… it’s no longer all about us. And that’s a good thing. Women make up 51% of this country. People of color make up about 37%. The percentage of LGBT people has been harder to accurately measure, but we can safely lowball the figure at 10%, with room to grow. And yet, our system still makes it harder for all of these people to contribute. Is it right that women only make up a quarter of government officeholders? And people of color make up just 10%? Is that representative of who we are now?

We’ve gotten too comfortable with seeing a movie with 20% women characters and maybe one token black guy and thinking that it accurately represents our world.

Privilege isn’t an absence of problems. Privilege doesn’t mean that everything is handed to you. It doesn’t mean that someone with less privilege can’t achieve greater things than someone with more. It simply means that people don’t start out on an even social playing field. A blogger whom I admire described being a straight white male as playing life on the lowest difficulty setting.

That’s just about right.

Even when we don’t have it easy, we still have the easiest start. And the idea is not to make it harder for us. The idea is for all groups to be able to start on the same setting. Nobody is saying the cops should now start harassing white guys, or women should catcall men. We’re saying that cops shouldn’t harass anyone and nobody should make unwanted sexual advances on anyone else. This isn’t an attack on one group. This is about getting the one group to quit fighting the advancement of everyone else.

So back to my fellow straight white cis males:

If you have a problem with everyone being able to start at the same point, be treated the same way, get the same chances – then you’re part of the problem.

Don’t deny your privilege. Don’t act like you don’t have an automatic leg up on the rest of the world. Acknowledging it isn’t self-hatred. It’s simply the first step. Be aware of how you interact with others. Think about how you see the world around you. And understand there are many other legitimate points of view out there, each deserving of the same respect. And with each person, their perspective is their own default. They shouldn’t expect to see yours as their own default perspective. Try to be aware of that.

Posted in Quick post, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Donald Trump Cannot Be President… and here’s why.

operation_upshot-knothole_-_badger_001Originally I intended to write a simple article, based on my “Elected Yet Unelectable” series, highlighting (in normal prose form) specific moments and events that prove that Donald J. Trump is completely unelectable and unsuitable for any public office. The problem is that I started the article back in August 2015, and he not only remained in the race, but he won the Republican nomination! And now he is competitive with Hillary Clinton (albeit still somewhat behind) for the general election. And he kept up his horrible proposals, childish behavior, and near-constant lies and slander. A simple article/opinion piece would be out-of-date in weeks. So instead, I waited, and compiled information. This is going to be mostly in list format. A couple other sites have done something similar, but I want to go ahead and jump on the pile, since Trump needs and deserves as many voices opposing him as possible. As of October 2016, here is a list of the worst lies, attacks, falsehoods, bad ideas, flip-flops, and outright bigotry spoken, acted upon, and proposed by the Republican nominee for President of the United States. It is not a complete list, although I provide links to several others. Today, on the eve of the 2nd debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, with just under a month remaining in the election season, there undoubtedly will be more ways Trump disgraces himself and the nation.

But as his campaign starts to fall apart, I would like to reiterate that Donald Trump cannot and should not be elected President of the United States. This piece is not a specific endorsement of any one candidate, though I will mention I plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, and was a supporter of Martin O’Malley, then Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

I’ve divided this piece into sections for easier reading. You can click on the below links to skip to a section, or just scroll on down.












And here we go…



* Trump promised to deport American citizens if their parents entered the country illegally. This is blatantly unconstitutional.

* Donald Trump has suggested he would use nuclear weapons in combating ISIS. It’s disturbing to see someone so enthusiastic about nuclear weapons when it’s been made abundantly clear he doesn’t remotely understand nuclear policy or even basic history surrounding nuclear weapons. He had no clue what Hugh Hewitt was referring to when he asked Trump about “the nuclear triad.”

* He also described his strategy toward them as “I would bomb the shit out of them. I would just bomb those suckers. And that’s right: I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries. I would blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.” In the same rant, he claimed to “know more about ISIS than the generals do.”

* He has stated he endorses not just waterboarding but “stronger” torture methods. He claims that torture works, even though all evidence points to the contrary.

* He has stated he would order the military to carry out acts of torture, and claimed they wouldn’t refuse him.

* Along the war crimes theme, Trump advocated assassinating the families of terror suspects.

* Donald Trump has proposed to build a wall on the border of the United States and Mexico, lied about the cost, and claimed that he would somehow force Mexico to pay for it.

* He proposed creating a database to track Muslims in America.

* In a move that blatantly taunts Godwin’s Law, Trump has also suggested requiring a special ID for Muslims.

* Trump has called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States. This would end up requiring the registry mentioned above, in order to work. This would likely be ruled unconstitutional, which makes it all the more disturbing, even beyond the obvious bigotry. Speaking of which, this also would qualify under the “Racism and Bigotry” category.

* Trump even advocated “shutting down mosques.” A clear violation of the First Amendment.

*He has suggested drastically cutting the FDA, or “food police,” as he calls it. Not surprising that he hasn’t read Upton Sinclair.

* His first tax plan, back in September 2015, would have added 12 trillion dollars to the national debt over the next 10 years, based on massive cuts to the taxes of the wealthy.

His more recent revisions to that plan would be less costly, but would still result in nearly 6 trillion dollars of lost revenue from the current tax-and-spending rates. In addition, it would certainly add to issues of inequality that have been largely ignored by Republicans.

* Donald Trump has endorsed implementing a nationwide stop-and-frisk policy for police as a way to deal with crime in black neighborhoods. A heavy-handed policy that was in part responsible for the tensions between police and communities of color around the country. Also, it has been ruled unconstitutional.

* Donald Trump is on the anti-vaxxer bandwagon, claiming that “spacing” doses too closely will cause autism. This is untrue.

* Trump proposed changing libel laws to make it easier to sue media organizations.

In a a rather frightening example of his embrace of blatant authoritarianism, Trump has also implied punishing media outlets and individuals for criticizing him.

* Trump has refused to step away from any of his business ventures if he is elected President, despite the myriad conflicts of interest and ethical issues involved.

* Trump suggested women who have abortions should be punished, though he did eventually backtrack on that claim.

* Trump suggested defaulting on debts to avoid paying them.



Lies are rarely just lies. Lies can be (and often are) truly dangerous.

Here’s a good list to start things off, but let’s delve a little deeper into Trump’s issues with reality.



* Trump has claimed that he wasn’t sure if guns were allowed at his hotels and golf courses, but that they should be. Then his organization claimed they were. Turns out, they aren’t.

* Trump claimed in October 2015 that his campaign was entirely self-funded. In actuality, it was less than half self-funded.

* Trump took credit for the Ford Motor Company moving a factory from Mexico to Ohio. Thing is, they planned the move in 2011, four years before Trump’s claim.

* In 1998, Donald Trump held a meeting with an official in Florida to try to ease restrictions on opening a casino there. Jeb Bush mentioned this in a GOP primary debate, and Trump flatly denied it. Documents prove otherwise.

* He lied repeatedly about his business ventures (primarily golf courses) in Scotland.

* Trump has claimed to have given “102 million dollars” to charity. Nobody has been able to locate an amount even close to that.

* Trump lied about donating a million dollars to veterans groups, and only ponied up the cash when shamed into doing so.

* Trump took credit for changes in NATO’s policies on combating terrorism. He had nothing to do with it.

* Herr Trump said that his financial disclosures make up for his lack of tax return disclosure, and that he has given a more extensive financial review than any other candidate. This is false.

* Trump claimed that Vladimir Putin called him “brilliant,” and a “genius.” Not quite.

* Trump claimed he never planned to “profile Muslims.” Links to his many statements otherwise can be found in this piece.


* Donald Trump claimed that the Iran nuclear deal forces the US to defend Iran against Israel. This is false.

* Related to his horrible tax proposals (mentioned above), The Donald claimed that his first tax plan was “revenue neutral.” Not even close.

* Trump claimed the “real unemployment rate is 21 percent.” Then he claimed 42%. He was loosely (very loosely) referring to the U6 unemployment rate, which takes into account underemployed people and people who have dropped out of the workforce. At the time, that rate was around 10%. Trump was counting retirees, the disabled, and full-time students in his “calculation,” which is a deceptive and incorrect way of counting the labor participation rate.

* In November 2015, Trump claimed that the Obama Administration was planning to send 250,000 refugees to red states. The red state claim was incorrect, and the actual number President Obama said he would accept was 10,000. The administration did state that official refugee goal was 185,000, but only the 10k number was Syrian.

* One of his favorite claims is that global warming is a hoax concocted by China. Actually, not only is this a lie, it’s also dangerous. Any presidential candidate should be unelectable automatically if they are a climate change denier. This is a serious threat to humanity and simply cannot be ignored.

More on Trump denying basic climate science, and more explanation of how and why he is so terribly wrong here.

He has also argued that the drought in California isn’t real.

* Trump (and several other Republicans during the primary process) claimed that terror suspects were already prohibited from buying guns. In most cases, they were not.

* In October 2015 (and a few times later), Trump claimed that the United States has “the highest tax rate in the world.” This isn’t even close to true.

* Trump greatly exaggerated the youth unemployment rate.

* Trump claimed that the United States is the only country in the world without the concept of birthright citizenship, and Mexico in particular doesn’t have that. In truth, 30 countries around the world have birthright citizenship, including Canada, and yes, Mexico.

* Trump blamed the lack of housecalls made by doctors on Obamacare. Even thought housecalls pretty much disappeared 50 years ago, and the ACA has actually been responsible for a small uptick in the practice.

* Trump lied repeatedly when discussing the Iranian nuclear deal back in March 2016. In fact, the claims he made are claims he has continued to repeat, including in the first debate with Hillary Clinton. He stated that when the terms of the deal expires, that Iran will have an industrial-size military nuclear capability ready to go, and with zero provision for delay no matter how bad Iran’s behavior is.” This is totally false. He also claimed to have “studied the Iranian nuclear deal more than anyone else.”

* Trump falsely claimed that the 2016 federal budget includes provisons to fund illegal immigrants entering the country through Phoenix – a city that is many miles from the Mexican border.

* Trump incorrectly claimed that the Affordable Care Act has caused an increase in part-time jobs.

* Trump claims that illegal immigration costs the US taxpayer 113 billion dollars per year. Because these workers are undocumented, it’s difficult to accurately ascertain the net cost or benefit, but there have been studies that have shown an actual net economic benefit, and virtually no legitimate studies have come anywhere close to the cost that Trump cited.

In addition, he blatantly lied when he stated that Hillary Clinton’s immigration proposals would “create totally open borders.”

* Trump has falsely claimed that President Obama’s energy policies have caused the loss of 50,000 jobs in the coal industry in Michigan alone. Considering that the total number of coal jobs in Michigan has fluctuated between 5000 and 7000 over the last decade, this claim is impossible. As Trump often does, he grabs a number from a different discussion, and shoehorns it into a policy claim. In this instance, the 50,000 figure comes from a discussion of “potential” jobs losses in the future on a nationwide basis. That figure also ignores the fact that a significant percentage of lost coal jobs would be replaced by natural gas production.

* Trump stated that, “Our veterans, in many cases, are being treated worse than illegal immigrants, people that come into our country illegally.”


* Trump falsely claimed that, “Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever.”

This is completely false.



* Birtherism. Yeah, this could go in a few other categories, but I’m placing it here, specifically for his recent statements claiming a new, revisionist account of his birther antics. After 5 years of steady attacks on the legitimacy of President Obama’s citizenship, he declared in September 2016 that Hillary Clinton started the “birther” movement, and that he put it to rest in 2011. You can read about why this is complete fiction here, here, here, here, and here. Oh yeah, and here is Trump still talking about it LAST SUMMER. You, know, years after he claimed to stop. Here are the best pieces on this issue here, here, here, here, here, and here.

* He lied about “Muslims celebrating the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11. He says it was “well covered.” This is completely untrue.

* Trump lied about “13 Syrians trying to get into the US.” They simply requested asylum. That’s it.

* He lied about opposing the Iraq War “before it started.”

* Trump stated that ISIS built a luxury hotel in Syria, when they actually occupied an old hotel in Iraq.

* Trump lied about meeting Vladimir Putin while they were both on 60 Minutes – except that they didn’t film their respective segments from the same country, much less the same room.

* In November 2015, Trump claimed that US forces “only started hitting ISIS oil fields two days ago.” Actually, concentrated attacks had already been occurring for a month at that point, and limited attacks on ISIS oil infrastructure had occurred for a year.

* Trump claimed that 300,000 veterans have died waiting for healthcare from the VA. That number is a completely different figure, unrelated to healthcare waiting lists.

* Trump lied about Germany being “riddled with crime” thanks to the influx of refugees.

* In an attack on wind power, Trump greatly exaggerated the number of eagles killed in California by wind turbine blades. While there certainly are environmental repercussions to wind turbines, the number of birds killed each year tends to greatly exaggerated by those who want to downplay the massive advantages conferred by wind power.

* Trump lied during a discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement. He claimed that there were “moments of silence” called for Micah Johnson, the man who killed five police officers in Dallas. There has been no evidence anything like this has taken place.

* Trump recklessly and falsely speculated that an Iranian scientist was executed because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.

* When discussing the 2015 terror attack in San Bernadino, Trump lied, claiming “Many people saw bombs all over the floor” of an apartment before the attack, but chose not to report it due to “political correctness.” This never happened. He also repeated this lie during the second presidential debate.

* Trump falsely claimed to recommend Ohio for the Republican convention.

* Trump has claimed that “inner city crime” is reaching record levels. Actually, the opposite is true. American crime levels are at historic lows. Crime has been dropping fairly steadily for 25 years. This is absolutely disgusting fear-mongering that might be worse than the Willie Horton garbage that hurt Michael Dukakis in 1988.

* Trump has claimed multiple times that there is no good way of estimating the population of undocumented immigrants, and the true number could be as high as 30 million. However, these estimates are actually pretty accurate, and 30 million is virtually impossible.



Hillary Clinton

* Trump lied when he stated “Hillary Clinton wants to release all the violent criminals from prisons.”

* Trump resorted to teasing at the old “Bill and Hillary murdered Vince Foster conspiracy theory.

* Trump said that Hillary Clinton’s refugee plan would be more costly than “rebuilding America’s inner cities.”

* Trump lied when he said Hillary deleted references to support the Trans Pacific Partnership from her book.

* Trump claimed “we know nothing about Hillary Clinton’s religion.

* Trump falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton “fillibustered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac legislation” back in 2008.

* Trump lied when he claimed that Hillary Clinton was the cause of recent increases in the US-China trade imbalance.

* Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton laundered money via Laureate Education.

* Trump grossly exaggerated FBI director James Comey’s comments about Hillary Clinton and her emails.

* Trump has argued that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the growth of ISIS. Sometimes he has also claimed she helped create it. And then, in the first presidential debate, he claimed she’s been fighting ISIS her entire adult life.

* Trump has repeatedly claimed that Hillary Clinton wants to “abolish the 2nd Amendment.” This is both false, and dangerous fear-mongering.

* Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party conspired to move the debates to coincide with major NFL games. The debates were actually scheduled a year in advance, before the 2016 NFL schedule had been released, and is run by a nonpartisan commission, unrelated to either major party.

* Trump lied that Hillary Clinton planned to “raise taxes on the middle class.” Actually, there have been solid arguments that suggest we should, but the fact remains she hasn’t proposed any such thing.

* Trump claimed that Clinton was “proposing to print instant work permits for millions of illegal immigrants to come in and take everybody’s jobs, including low-income African-Americans.” This is a complete lie.

* Trump falsely claimed that Clinton has planned to “raise taxes on African-American-owned businesses.” Nope. Not even close.

* Trump has claimed that Hillary Clinton wants to shut down family farms and impose “radical regulation.” This is completely untrue, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of farm policy.

* Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton “has no childcare plan.” This is so far from the truth, it’s almost a joke.

* Trump said that Hillary Clinton has “not answered a single question about her immigration plan.” This is a flat lie.

* He frequently changes the numbers on proposed Syrian refugee acceptance, but he recently stated that Hillary Clinton wanted to admit 620,000. This is untrue.

* He also claimed Clinton would offer Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.

* Trump blatantly lied when he claimed Hillary Clinton wanted to privatize the VA. In fact, this is much more likely to come from a Republican, than from Clinton.

* He claimed Hillary Clinton changed her stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership because of his influence. There is no evidence of that. All the pressure on her came from the Democratic side.

Barack Obama

* In 2011, when he was considering running for president (and eventually chose not to), he claimed he was running even with President Obama in head-to-head polls. This wasn’t remotely true.

* An October 2015 claim by Trump went beyond mere recklessness. He claimed he “heard” and “read in the papers” that President Obama “wants to take away your guns.” This is 100% false. The President has bent over backwards to not make any such claim. He has proposed extremely mild gun control proposals that went nowhere, and had reaffirmed countless times that he has no interest in banning firearms. In addition no newspaper had printed any such claim. This was simply fear-mongering.

* Not only has Trump basically started his political career by calling into question President Obama’s citizenship, but he has also claimed that Obama is a Muslim on multiple occasions.

* Trump posted a slanderous claim on his Facebook page that said Obama supported ISIS in Iraq.

* Trump also claimed that President Obama was the “founder of ISIS,” and spent several days defending and justifying that claim before he finally reversed himself and stated it was all a joke.

Bernie Sanders

* Trump claims that Bernie Sanders would have won the Democratic nomination, if it weren’t for superdelegates. This isn’t true.

Tim Kaine

* Trump claimed that Bob McDonnell, Tim Kaine’s successor as governor of Virginia, accepted “a fraction” of the gifts that Kaine did. Actually, the reverse is true. McDonnell accepted nearly three times as much as Kaine, and only disclosed about half of what he took, unlike Kaine, who disclosed everything.

* Trump lied when he stated that “illegal immigration increased in Virginia while Tim Kaine was governor.”

Elizabeth Warren

* Trump falsely accused Elizabeth Warren of lying about his stance on the federal minimum wage. Actually, he’s been all over the map regarding the minimum wage, it’s difficult to tell what he really advocates.

Ted Cruz

* Trump stated that Ted Cruz “never denied” his father was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald.

Marco Rubio

* He referred to Rubio as “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator” on his website, then flatly denied it during an October 2015 debate.

* Following a long trend of reckless accusations of voter fraud, Trump incorrectly claimed Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush rigged Florida’s primary election system.

John McCain

* Trump claimed that John McCain authored legislation designed to cover up misdeeds with the VA. This is pretty much the opposite of the truth.

Michelle Fields

* Michelle Fields, a writer for Breitbart, alleged she was assaulted by then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. She stated he grabbed her arm when she attempted to leave a rally. There was video footage that appeared to support her claim. Trump baldly lied when he said that she retracted her accusation when the video was released.



* Let’s talk about the first major speech of Trump’s campaign. You remember the one, right? He talks about immigrants from Mexico… and he says, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

* Then, in an interview immediately after, he doubled down, “They’re sending us not their finest people. And it’s people from countries other than Mexico also. We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killers, we have murderers. I mean, it’s common sense. What do you think they’re going to send us their best people, their finest people? The answer is no.”

* Other statements about who is immigrating to the United States from summer 2015:

“Now the Southern border everybody comes in. You just walk by. So we are taking hundreds of thousands of people. Some good people and some rapists and some killers and drug lords and everyone else and they are flowing through the southern border.”

“We don’t have the best coming in, we have people that are criminals, we have people that are crooks, you can certainly have terrorists, you can certainly have Islamic terrorists, you can have anything coming across the border. We don’t do anything about it. So I would say that if I run and if I win, I would certainly start by building a very, very powerful border.”

It shouldn’t have to be noted that immigrants, both legal and otherwise, commit far fewer crimes than native-born citizens, both per capita, and in total.

* Trump attacked John McCain for having been a prisoner of war. Seriously.

He’s a war hero because he was captured, I like people who weren’t captured. Perhaps he’s a war hero, but right now he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people.”

* During a campaign speech, he read Lindsey Graham’s personal phone number aloud to the crowd. Yep, he doxxed a competitor.

* When two men in Boston beat a homeless Mexican man and specifically stated Trump as their inspiration, Trump was asked about it, and he responded with, “I haven’t heard about that. It would be a shame, but I haven’t heard about that. I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate. I will say that, and everybody here has reported it.”

* Trump attacked Hillary Clinton as an “enabler” for Bill Clinton’s sexual misbehaviors… many of which are unproven, and many of which Trump himself has likely engaged in.

* He compared Ben Carson’s temper to the behavior of a child molester, and described Carson as “pathological.”

* He also claimed, “I know more about ISIS than the generals, believe me.”

* In the same speech, he ranted about Carson’s then-popularity in Iowa, and stated, “How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of this country to believe this crap?”

* He bragged about being able to shoot someone and not lose support. This is what he really thinks of his supporters.

* Trump called basic questions about ISIS and foreign policy “gotcha questions.” Then Carly Fiorina, herself no expert on these matters, answered each question without problem.

* Martin O’Malley gave a thoughtful apology for using the phrase “All Lives Matter.” As a response to the apology, Donald Trump referred to the apology as, “And then he apologized like a little baby, like a disgusting, little, weak, pathetic baby, and that’s the problem with our country.” Grade school insults from the supposed leader of the Republican Party.

* An adult political figure actually described his future military policy thusly, I will be so good at the military your head will spin.”

* As a man running on a platform specifically focused on harsh policy toward the Middle East, he remains astoundingly ignorant of even the basics of Middle Eastern politics and events, referring to an interview on foreign policy as just being given “Arab name, Arab name…”

* A physically disabled reporter was mocked by Trump in a childish and cruel manner, and then claimed he was merely imitating someone who acts confused. Anyone who was ever on a playground in America as a youth knows “the retarded guy” act.

* He encouraged his supports to commit acts of violence against protesters and hecklers, and offered to pay the legal fees of those arrested for those crimes.

* Trump defended the Chinese government’s response to Tianamen Square. He referred to the protesters as “rioters” and said the government response, “shows you the power of strength.”

* Donald Trump bragged about the size of his penis in a nationally televised debate. Seriously, he did that. And I really should be more mature than this, and point out how ridiculous it is for a political figure to do something like that… but I already have. So, I’m going to take the low road – Trump-style – and note that most dudes who brag about their junk tend to be the ones hiding something a bit more modest

*Trump has frequently pulled press credentials on reporters who have been critical of him

* Trump directed odd, and largely incorrect praise toward Saddam HusseinHe also claimed that the “world would be much better off” if Hussein and former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi were still in power.

* Donald Trump doesn’t know how many articles are in the United States Constitution.

* He has expressed admiration for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

* Trump rooted for the housing crisis as a way to make money.

* When NBA player Dwyane Wade’s cousin was murdered, Trump’s reaction was a Tweet that said, “African Americans will vote Trump!”

* Trump suggested deporting Hillary Clinton. Seriously.

* Trump’s claims that the electoral system (and the upcoming election) is “rigged” is both false and dangerous. Trump is creating a dangerous and reckless precedent. He has even expanded on this rhetoric, falsely claiming that US Border Patrol agents are “letting people in to vote.” There are plenty of examples of this here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

* In 1989, five teenagers were charged with a rape in Central Park. They were eventually proven innocent. However, during the height of the case, Trump took out full-page newspaper advertisments advocating for the execution of the eventually exonerated teens. Since that point, he has refused to apologize for his actions at the time.

* Trump stated during the second presidential debate with Hillary Clinton that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her and her emails.



* Trump has stated that “you need to treat them like shit,” when discussing how he interacts with women.

* Take a look here and then here for a comprehensive (but far from complete) list of horrible things Trump has said about women, both specific and in general. Not only does he endorse treating them like shit, but he has attacked women for biological needs (using the restroom, menstruation, and pumping breast milk), claimed all the women on his reality show flirted with him, and has bragged repeatedly about his sexual prowess. He has also publicly said vile things about Megyn Kelly, Arianna Huffington, Carly Fiorina, Rosie O’Donnell, Brande Roderick, Bette Midler, Gail Collins, Cher, and of course, Hillary Clinton, to name but a few. He has argued sexual assault in the military should be expected when women serve. He has called women gold-diggers, sneaky, dishonest, and has implied that female journalists must be attractive to be successful.

* This could go under the “lies” category, but he also denied saying many of his more sexist statements… fortunately, Twitter provides nice written records.

Phrases like “Hillary got schlonged by Obama” is straightforward misogyny.

During the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton described some rather harsh words and behavior Trump directed toward former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado. Instead of denying his words, or downplaying them, he basically doubled down, and spent the rest of the week attacking Ms. Machado, including lying about a sex tape he claimed she made.

Just a month before the election, a tape leaked from a 2005 conversation Trump had with television host Billy Bush. Trump referenced a married woman he “tried to fuck.” He discussed how he hits on women; “You have to grab them by the pussy.” He also said, “If you’re a star, you can do anything you want with women.” When the story broke, his response was basically a “boys will be boys” excuse. Because apparently bragging about sexual assault is merely locker room humor in the world of The Donald.

* He consistently panders to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and assorted racist riff-raff. He appears to be fearful of alienating white nationalists, by refusing to condemn or reject their support. The incident where he shared a clearly anti-Semitic meme was made all the more egregious when he denied the obvious anti-Jewish messages. It didn’t take long to discover the meme was pulled off an anti-Semitic message board.

* Further pandering to racists occurred when he took his sweet time in disavowing the endorsement of former KKK leader David Duke, claiming he knew nothing about Duke. However, Trump had openly criticized Duke on at least two occasions in the past.

* More example of pandering to racism happened when a man at a town hall meeting referred to President Obama as a Muslim, and expressed concern about the dangers of Muslims. Faced with a similar questioner in 2008, John McCain gently but firmly pushed back against such a statement. Donald Trump responded with, “We are going to be looking at a lot of different things. And a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We are going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

* Trump tweeted a graphic which made false claims about blacks murdering whites at a ridiculously high rate. The graph was completely incorrect, and actually reversed the numbers which would show a completely opposite issue.

* Trump defended his proposed Muslim ban by defending Japanese internment during World War II.

He also stated, in reference to Muslims, that there is “ no assimilation for second and third generation Muslim immigrants.” This is absolutely untrue.

* He said Marco Rubio was “in favor of amnesty” because he’s Hispanic.

* Trump frequently refers to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas”

* Trump has spent quite a bit of time pandering to anti-Semites, and occasionally making anti-Jewish comments himself.

* Trump stated Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t be impartial toward him because of his Mexican heritage. Judge Curiel was born in the United States.

* In 1973, Trump Management, Fred Trump, and Donald himself were charged with discrimination against African-Americans by the US government. They eventually settled out of court, but the evidence against Trump was damning.



* Trump started Trump Mortgage in 2006, declaring, “I think it’s a great time to start a mortgage company … who knows about financing better than I do?”

The next year, the housing bubble burst.

* Trump Steaks started in 2007, sold through the Sharper Image catalog. He occasionally still references his steaks, but the actual product was discontinued several years ago. Any steaks he shows off are steaks he bought from someone else.

* Trump Vodka lasted from 2006 through 2011.

* Trump Ice spring water…. yeah….

* Trump the Game. Basically a really dumb Monopoly, it lasted a couple years in the late 80s, and was revived in 2005 when the Apprentice came out. Usually only played for irony.

* got a nice boost from Travelocity, but still fell apart within a year.

* Trump Magazine was a quarterly lifestyle magazine for rich people that managed to hang on for two years, but 2007 wasn’t a great time to start a magazine discussing luxury items and traveling.

* He owned the New Jersey Generals of the long-defunct USFL.

* Trump Airlines was originally Eastern Air Shuttle. He acquired it in 1988, and attempted to turn it into a luxury brand, which brought the then-27 year old service to financial ruin in 3 short years.

* Trump Entertainment Resorts was the business that ran his casinos… every single one of which failed. That particular arm of his business declared bankruptcy in 1991. And 2004. And 2008 AND 2014. Maybe casinos aren’t a good investment for Donald…

* Then of course, there’s Trump University.,28804,2068227_2068229_2068223,00.html



* Tim Kaine correctly noted that in 2009, Trump rolled out the red carpet for Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, erecting a tent for his visit when nobody else in New York was willing to do so.

* Trump pretended to be a publicist named John Barron (and sometimes John Miller) and made calls to the press under those names, talking up the greatness that is Donald J. Trump.



* The Trump Foundation is essentially just a scam operation designed to enrich Trump. The “Foundation” accepted donations, and Trump himself used said donations to purchase a portrait – of himself. He also used the foundation to cover his own legal fees.

* In a lovely bit of irony, Trump’s modeling agency was in violation of multiple immigration laws. His treatment of the models in general was deplorable.

* Trump is infamous for not paying those he employs and hires. He’s stiffed multiple contractors and employees over the years.

* Trump has used money donated to his campaign to pay himself and his family.

* Trump University is currently under investigation for fraud. His response was to publicly name his accusers.

* Trump has openly courted the attention and business of mobsters and organized crime figures.

But wait, there’s more!

Donald J. Trump has demonstrated, through 70 years of living, 40 years as a wealthy businessperson, 30 years as a celebrity, a little over a year as a major Republican political figure, and  nearly 3 months as the GOP nominee for POTUS, that he is a liar, cheat, fraud, criminal, accused rapist, molester, phony, and all around fucking asshole. Donald Trump is less qualified than I am to be President, and I am about 9 months too young to being Constitutionally qualified to be president. A large percentage of Trump’s proposals qualify him for the Hague, should he be elected, and attempt to implement them. As an occasional boxing writer, I keep thinking that boxing is less corrupt than Trump.

Nevertheless, Trump is one of the final contender for President. This needs to be acknowledged. Please take this threat seriously. Donald Trump would inarguably become the least qualified President in American history. The man makes George W. Bush and James Buchanan look Presidential. Please consider what I wrote before considering him as President. And don’t forget that the next President will likely be responsible for dozens of huge decisions (Roe v Wade, Citizens United, Heller vs DC, etc) that will actually impact your lives. Do you want am experienced decision-maker, or a guy who likes to talk about fucking his daughter?

As always, there are those who tell it better than I do:

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