Why I won’t shut up about Hillary Clinton

I have to say that I’m getting tired of people telling me to keep mum about Hillary and Bill’s “scandals” during election season. Well, I barely post about Bill’s issues, for Hillary is the candidate; and I see her as far from an ideal candidate. But I’ve been constant in my asseveration that I’ll vote for her, for the alternative—a racist, unthinking, xenophobic, misogynistic, and out-of-control President Donald Trump (I don’t use those adjectives lightly)—is unthinkable. I don’t whale on Trump simply because everybody else does, and because his sins are so clear and palpable.

Yet still I’m told either that Hillary Clinton is pure and untouchable, without a whiff of scandal to her name, or that I should simply shut up about the rumors of scandal and appearances of conflict of interest (note that I’ve never said she’s been convicted of anything, just that she puts herself in problematic situations that could have been avoided). I’m told to keep quiet about her “forgetfulness” about her emails, about her lies about having been under “sniper fire” in Bosnia, about her huge personal emoluments from giving speeches to Wall Street, and so on.

“They all do it,” say my liberal friends—though Obama didn’t.  “They never pinned anything on her,” they say, ignoring the fact that Clinton’s behavior both with respect to her Foundation and her emails and her speeches led to the appearance of conflicts, and we’re supposed to avoid this. And since when is the probity of a candidate supposed to be judged by whether she was indicted or not? After all, even the director of the FBI gave her a stern rebuke, saying that Hillary and her team were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”  I guess we’re supposed to ignore that; after all, she is Saint Hillary.

When I echoed somebody else’s post on Facebook about how Hillary went silent the last two weeks while courting big donors, I got special pushback. Here are a few comments from “friends”

  • “I hope, for your sake and the sake of your country, that the money she is raising will help elect her and a Democratic senate majority. Like you say, suck it up and ponder the alternative.”
  • When a FB friend said “We’ve got to suck it up”, referring to Hillary’s behavior, I responded, “As I said, we’re not allowed to criticize her if we’re Democrats. Sorry, but I’m not sucking it up. I’ll hold my nose and vote for St Hillary, but not happily.” I then was the victim of a finger-wagging, corrective comment:

“Seems counter-productive at this point.”

  • And then I got this comment: “What puzzles me is why you are so angry at Hillary that you call her names. Do you really think she’s dishonest? Do you really think she lied about her email? Do you really think there’s something sleezy [sic] about raising money from rich people? Do you really think there’s something sleazy about the Clinton Foundation?”

Well, I don’t recall calling Hillary names, though I have said I consider her behavior unethical and her statements verging on dishonesty. She’s also lied about the Bosnia incident, conveniently forgot stuff about her emails, blamed her concussion on her failure to turn over emails when she left her position as Secretary of State, and said she was unfamiliar with how emails were given “classified” status and how they were marked.

So in answer to that last comment, yes, I think Hillary has been dishonest, and yes, I think she lied about her emails. (When other politicians “forget” all kinds of potentially incriminating stuff, nobody believes them. Hillary gets a pass). Yes, I think there’s something sleazy about her behavior including her failing to avoid the appearance of preferential access to her granted to donors to the Clinton Foundation. And yes, I think the Clinton Foundation, for all the good it does, is, if not sleazy in its behavior, “forgetful” in a way that happens to benefit it (failing, for example, to turn over lists of foreign donors.)

If you want more, read the Atlantic‘s new piece, “From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer,” by David Graham. Graham lists all the scandals that have dogged both Hillary and Bill, and rates them as to how serious they are. Several are in fact “quite serious” and other problematic.

But what bothers me most of all is liberals telling me to shut up with my criticisms about Hillary Clinton because that hurts her and could help Donald Trump win the Presidency. In other words, the ends (Clinton as President) justify the means (Professor Ceiling Cat, Emeritus stifling himself).

Sorry, but I won’t do that, for it’s fundamentally anti-liberal to censor yourself about problematic aspects of a cause that is generally good—or in this case, the best of a bad lot. The tactic of “Stifle, Edith” can in fact be used for any election: “don’t criticize our candidate or a Republican might win.” But criticism has its good sides, too. For one thing, it calls attention to a candidate’s flaws, enabling them to correct the issues. The rearrangement of the Clinton Foundation, so that Bill will leave the Board if Hillary wins the Presidency (but not before then!) came directly from criticism in the press.

And the “stifle, Edith” criticism can be used not just for elections, but for public policy. When Obama pushed his healthcare policy, it had flaws. I didn’t point them out, not being deeply familiar with the issues, but others did. Still, I remember calls that we shouldn’t criticize the problematic aspects of that policy, but simply shut up and favor it because, after all, the ends were good.

So, liberals, examine your own conscience when you ask people to stop criticizing Democratic candidates lest it help the other side. What will be the ultimate result of your calling for self censorship? And how far should that go?

As for me, I’m not going to stifle myself. I am voting for Hillary and I despise what Trump stands for, but Clinton is far from a perfect candidate. She’s the lesser of two weevils.

NOTE: The point of this post is mostly about repeated calls for Democrats to stop criticizing Hillary Clinton. I’d appreciate it if the discussion would be mostly about that rather than rehashing the actual accusations leveled at her. But of course I’m not going to ban comments about the latter stuff.

not-crazy-1

h/t: jsp

 

314 Comments

  1. John
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I agree and share your opinion. How about we let Obama have another term, and we reshuffle in four years?

    • Taz
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      And make all the far right’s paranoid fantasies come true? No thanks.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        And just how would one tell the difference from the current situation?

        • Taz
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          That would be the “come true” part.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted September 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            Confirmation bias is a common symptom of the truly (clinically) paranoid. They will take this discussion as sufficient proof of truth.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      How about we let Obama have another term…

      That would require repealing or violating the 22nd amendment. And there isn’t time enough for the former.

      • merilee
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, imagine trying to get that through Congress – lol

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          If Trump hasn’t got someone working on the problem, then I shall prepare some “humble” pie. (Well, haggis – close enough.)

          • merilee
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            Humble haggis?? LOL. Imho haggis is way too strong to be humble.

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

              Agreed 😉

              • Merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

                From him what knows..straight from the Haggis’ mouf.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

              It’s a historical linguistics joke.

              The expression derives from umble pie, which was a pie filled with the chopped or minced parts of a beast’s ‘pluck’ – the heart, liver, lungs or ‘lights’ and kidneys,

              Or, in the American pronunciation, “how offal!”
              What I didn’t know when typing the GP post was this continuation to the quote:

              Umble evolved from numble, (after the French nomble) meaning ‘deer’s innards’.

              Which I expect is the origin of the “noms” posts our Beloved Leader posts on walkabout.

              • merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

                hmmm, never knew the deer’s innards bit.
                I wonder where “eating crow”, which means about the same thing, came from?

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted September 9, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

                There’s an interesting discussion on Wikipedia.
                I wonder if our resident gastronome in chief has ever diend on crow? ISTR having pigeon once, and it was quite nice – [Trump-mode ON] nice firm breasts you can get your teeth into [Trump-mode OFF]
                I can’t think of any particular reason to expect crow to be much different – any bird, for that matter.
                Ah, here’s the man to ask.

                RECIPE FOR OWL CURRY
                Serves: Four
                1) Brown the onions and celery in a frying pan for around 10 minutes on a high heat
                2) Add the owl, turning until cooked through. After about 5 minutes, turn down the heat and add the veg, sultanas, coconut, curry paste and some cumin and turmeric. Simmer for around ten minutes
                3) Shortly before serving, mix in the cream and stir well
                Serve with pilau or long grain rice.

              • Merilee
                Posted September 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

                Love the laconic “add the owl.” Lol. Think I’ll pass on that, though have had deelish pigeon pie in Morocco ( and I believe squabs are pigeons as well), and scrumptious rattlesnake cakes ( free-range, no less) from this great Utah eatery:

                https://www.google.ca/search?q=cafe+diablo+torrey&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-ca&client=safari

                Typo ergo sum
                Merilee

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted September 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

                Squabs are baby pigeons, aren’t they?
                Rattlesnake CAKE? What’s for dessert – scorpion jelly? Honey-roast locust?
                OIC – cake as in “fish cake”. Makes sense I suppose – boning a rattler could be time consuming.

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:50 am | Permalink

                “I can’t think of any particular reason to expect crow to be much different – any bird, for that matter.”

                Fish-eating birds such as mergansers are known to have an off-putting taste.

                I was a bit worried about the owl dish till I realized it meant road-kill owl. 😉

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted September 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

                Fish-eating birds – puffins in particular – have been a staple of various coastal cuisines for longer than I’ve cared to look for the data, so I suspect that “off putting” is a culturally acquired habit.
                Hakarl with your lutefisk?

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 12, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

                Well, of course you’re right. I suppose most of what I hear about the taste of mergansers & coots comes from present-day game hunters, who shoot several duck (and rail) species and develop this lore.

              • merilee
                Posted September 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

                I have had fishier-than-usual tasting wild duck.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

                … but maybe don’t develop cooking techniques to make the fish more palatable. (It would be beyond my knowledge of cooking chemistry to devise such a techniques – but that doesn’t make it impossible. IANA cooking chemist, for starters.)

              • GBJames
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

                Word is that crow tastes terrible. I don’t know this from personal experience, though.

              • merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

                So you’ve never been sent to the doghouse to eat crow;-)

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted September 9, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

                It’s an experiment begging to be carried out. I shall keep my eyes peeled.

  2. Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Just imagine for a moment you were *not* voting for Hillary. Folks will scold if you let them.
    I applaud your resolve to continue to criticize the bad points of any candidate in spite of the naysayers.

  3. Frank Bath
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The Lesser of Two Weevils explained. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpHCfndib0Q

    • Art
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Damn your eyes! You beat me to it, from one of my favorite movies.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you – I had missed the reference.

    • busterggi
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      There is only one weevil I find acceptable.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        This scene: The lesser of two weevils.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          That is what I also found, in my endless search for the funny on the internets.

          • Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            It’s direct from one of O’Brian’s novels in the Aubrey/Maturin series: The Fortune of War, Book #6 in the series.

  4. johnjfitzgerald
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I share your concerns about Hillary and Trump. I do not want to see Trump elected President. Right now Hillary will probably win. Living in Massachusetts, which will go Democratic in the Electoral College, I am going to vote for Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow Party. She is honest and principled and an excellent vehicle for a protest vote. A vote for Stein is a way of signaling support for a liberal outlook and will not give Hillary a mandate to work for Wall Street. A vote for progressive Representatives and Senators in Congress is more important right now.

    John J. Fitzgerald
    Longmeadow, MA

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

    • BobTerrace
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      She is a medical doctor who questions vaccines. She rants about mercury.

      She won one election out of 6 tries. She was elected Lexington, MA town meeting representative. At least that is more than Trump.

      • johnjfitzgerald
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        She is not anti-vaccination. She is a medical doctor and pro-science. She is a critic of big Pharma and how they milk the current system for big profits. She deserves an honest appraisal, not a slanderous attack. Is holding an elective office a prerequisite to campaigning for elective office? Cf. Richard Nixon for political experience and holding elective office.

        • GBJames
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          She uses the language of an anti-vaxxer. When asked if vaccination is safe there is one simple answer. “Yes”. Throwing doubt on safety by saying things like this is irresponsible, especially from a medical doctor.

          “There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed.

          And that’s my honest appraisal.

          • Merilee
            Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            Agreed on the irresponsibility of Stein’s statements on vaccinations.

        • mordacious1
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          The problem is, is that the Green Party has anti-vax statements in their platform and she has not refuted them. She basically gave the statement that GBJames quoted. That is unacceptable. They also have some nonsense about GMO’s, etc. that she has supported.

          I gave tacit support to the Green Party when they first started, but now it is mostly a haven for left wing kooks.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            there’s an interesting article over at Harry’s Place re. Jill Stein’s Putin-based apologetics. This blind-spot that so many on the far-left have about Russia worries me a lot more than the anti-vaxxing stuff(idiotic as that is).

            • johnjfitzgerald
              Posted September 8, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

              With all due respect, these are the views of Jill Stein, from her web site. They seem humane and reasonable. She is not a militarist like Hillary.

              “…Peace and Human Rights:

              Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, human rights, and nonviolent support for democratic movements around the world.
              Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases. Ensure a just transition that replaces reductions in military jobs with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development.
              Stop U.S. financial and military support to human rights abusers. Barring substantial changes in their policies, this would include Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.
              End the US’ role as the world’s arm supplier.
              End use of assassination as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, including collaborative assassination through intermediaries.
              End the destructive US economic and military intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. Such intervention serve the interests of multinational corporations and global capitalism over the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of those nations.
              Freeze the bank accounts of countries that are funding terrorism, including the Saudi royal family.
              US policy regarding Israel and Palestine must be revised to prioritize international law, peace and human rights for all people, no matter their religion or nationality. End US policies that have supported the worst tendencies of the Israeli government in its treatment of the people of Palestine.
              Restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.
              Ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.
              End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawing troops and military contractors.
              Join 159 other nations in signing the Ottawa treaty banning the use of anti-personnel land mines.
              Lead on global nuclear disarmament:
              Rejoin the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US dropped out of in 2002 when it installed missiles and missile bases in Turkey, Romania, and Poland.
              Agree to Russia’s proposal to jointly reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,000 nuclear weapons each. Also call for all countries to the table to negotiate a treaty for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
              Remove US nuclear weapons in Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands.
              Support Russia and China’s joint effort to open negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space.
              Pledge to end any further laboratory or sub-critical nuclear tests at the Nevada and Novaya Zemlya test sites, and end all nuclear weapons research, design, and modernization at the weapons laboratories.
              The US must take the lead in nuclear disarmament by itself starting to disarm. We should create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in the area to join….”

              Regards,
              John J. Fitzgerald

  5. alexandra moffat
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Perfectly said – my feelings exactly. And I, too, get grief for them.

  6. Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Well, self-censoring fits right in with anti-intellectualism in American and on campuses.

  7. Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I completely agree with you, Jerry. After being a life-long registered democrat, I left the party this last December when I realized that the Democratic Party was no longer a “party of the people”, but a second party to the oligarchy right behind the Republican Party. I lost many friends for questioning the speeches that she gave and why she never made them public. I don’t like secrecy when it comes to our public servants…I want to know who exactly I’m voting for and whether they have any hidden agendas. I don’t feel comfortable voting for someone based on what they WANT me to see on the surface.

    We talk about the need to question religions, but yet we need to hush up about our politicians???

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I have never understood the obsession over Hillary’s speeches to Wall Street or anyone else. She gave those speeches as a private citizen, not as a candidate or public servant. She was paid a standard fee for someone of her stature (Larry the Cable Guy gets paid the same for speaking as she does). It is not required or even traditional for candidates to release such transcripts. Of course, if someone like Bernie demands she release them and she doesn’t, then she’s obviously hiding something.

      So, what is she hiding? If you know anything about these types of speeches, they’re usually rah rah speeches for whatever company you’re giving it to. No one pays someone $200,000 to come in a criticize their company in front of their employees and shareholders. These speeches are never in-depth economic or political analysis. They’re usually light, chit chatty, pep talks. So why not release them? Because someone could (and would) take the statements out of context and make it sound like Hillary is in the pocket of Wall Street. It’s what they do and no one more than Clinton knows this. They can turn an off hand remark about the success of Wall Street into making you out to be Gordon Gekko.

      Furthermore, it’s really no one’s business what was said there, other than the attendees. The 4th Amendment guarantees that we have a right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects and this includes candidates, which she wasn’t when she gave the speeches.

      My question would be, why Hillary? Why does she have to constantly be put through a ringer that no other candidate has to deal with? My answer would be that there is an industry out there built around demonizing Hillary (and her husband). They’ve thrown so much mud, that she’s always looking dirty. Whether she’s dirtier than any other candidate is yet to be shown. A lot of innuendo, very little substance. BENGHAZI!! To me, it’s like the Clinton Foundation. I need to see a smoking gun. I need some evidence of wrongdoing, not just what-ifs or maybes. This issue is a non-starter and there’s nothing there.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        I agree completely. The speeches thing is much ado about nothing.

        • Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          So is the Bosnia thing, IMO. I heard a phrase on the news some months ago, traumatic embellishment, which kind of applies here. It’s possible that she simply misremembered and merged two events in the news at that time.

    • Filippo
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t like secrecy when it comes to our public servants . . . .”

      Just congenially curious, do you consider military personnel, who go in harm’s way putatively on our behalf, public “servants”?

      • Posted September 7, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        I don’t know what it is like in the US, but here there’s a distinction between public servants in the technical sense, and certain other employees then *hired* by them. For example, at Statistics Canada, the programmers, methodologists, social scientists, etc. are public servants, whereas there is a separate bit for the interviewers used. I *think* DoD is analogous, so military personnel are *not* PSes.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I think Wil Wheaton makes some good points in this post on his site. He agrees that there are scandals with Hilary but finds that there is much less reporting of just as bad, if not worse scandals by Trump.

    An interesting observation of why this might be:

    This isn’t really a horserace election, because even though we have a flawed candidate in Hillary Clinton, we have an absolute psychopath in Donald Trump. (Ezra Klein: “Crack open the polls, and they look even worse for Trump than the top-line results. That’s because Trump still is viewed as unfit for office on crucial metrics by big majorities of Americans.”) That’s a problem for cable news, because cable news needs a horserace. It’s the only way cable news knows how to fill all the time in the 24 hour cycle, and keep its advertisers happy.

    Personally, as a Canadian, I just want the election over with. I’m so tired of it all. I can’t even stand our own elections which are micro seconds in comparison to US ones.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      If the press were about journalism and ethics rather than ratings and the corporate bottom line, the disinfectant of the truth would have smothered Trumps campaign shortly after he announced. For that matter, we’d probably have different nominees in both parties.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. Perhaps the bigger story here is the death of journalism which really got strangled under George W.

        • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. And like you, I’m thoroughly weary of US politics.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t the “less reporting” of Trump’s scandals charge more about perception than reality?

      If there was one thing I knew was going to happen as soon as Trump announced he was running, it was that the media, particularly the more left-leaning media would give him unlimited free publicity as they trumpeted their scorn and outrage and horror of every little thing that he did and said, day after day after day.

      Trump probably deserves 99.997% of the criticism leveled against his campaign; but I can’t help but think that important stories that needed much more attention just flail and fade into the background of the endless barrage of coverage of his hair, his fake tan, his wives past and present, his genitals, his hands, his children, his fantasy wall, his children’s hunting trips, his wife’s previous photoshoots (I mean, really?!), etc. etc. ad infinitum.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you have a point there and I think it’s just the lousiness of journalism. Or maybe it’s just too much work to get to the signal through all the noise about his hair, tan, wives, and all his antics. It’s probably a brilliant strategy if you think about it but it’s probably not at all a strategy, just a sad, sad comment on our distractions from what really matters to the point that nothing does.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        … his hair, his fake tan, his wives past and present, his genitals, his hands, his children, his fantasy wall, his children’s hunting trips, his wife’s previous photoshoots …

        These are matters that were raised by Trump’s Republican primary opponents, mainly Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Trump deserved every ounce of ridicule aimed at him, but Rubio and Cruz did it ineffectually and waited until much too late in the game to get started. (They were sitting back waiting for Trump to self-destruct and didn’t want to alienate Trump’s troops, in the hope they could pick up their support.) Plus, both of them were repugnant candidates in their own right.

        The Democrats haven’t dwelled on these superficial topics, certainly not Hillary or Bernie. I don’t think they’ve been belabored by most of the so-called liberal media either. The problem with going after Trump on policy grounds is that he’s announced so little of it — policy, that is — and what he has is so patently absurd it defies cogent explication and analysis.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          We were talking about the scrutiny the media puts on Trump, not the candidates though. In that regard, the left-leaning media outlets are absolutely as guilty as anyone of publishing wall-to-wall coverage of inane topics of little to no importance.

          • Diane G.
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            Beat me to it, Ken. Thanks!

          • Diane G.
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            “…the left-leaning media outlets are absolutely as guilty as anyone of publishing wall-to-wall coverage of inane topics of little to no importance.”

            Because, guess what? That’s what the average TV/media watcher/reader wants. Because the media (both wings) need audience numbers to attract advertisers if they’re going to continue to exist at all (esp. in light of all the free “journalism” online).

            There’s a reason shows like the Macneil/Lehrer report (may it RIP) only existed on public TV. (Yep, really dating myself; that’s because I just don’t watch TV any more.)

            (And no matter what the left-wing media does they don’t begin to approach the slime that is right-wing radio talk-shows.

            • merilee
              Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

              Gwen Iffil and Hari Srinavashan and Jeff Brown and William Brannham (sp) are still doing a reasonable job on the PBS NewsHour. I do miss Robin and Jim, though.

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

                Oh, right, I do know about Gwen…glad to know the NewsHour’s still going strong. 🙂

  9. Lamar Hankins
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Chomsky boiled the choice down to one test: which of the two candidates who have a chance to win will be better for the vast majority of the American people. I can’t think of any way that Trump would be better than Clinton, especially when Sup. Ct. nominations are considered.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      +1 (though I am no Chomsky fan)

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      There’s no doubt I think who would be the better president, and Jerry has always made it clear he’s voting for her.

      What this seems to be about is other people telling Jerry what he can and cannot write about, which is something that really pi$$es me off too when people do it. In fact it makes me want to write about that thing more.

      Trump has successfully pulled attention away from many of the major (genuine) scandals of his campaign by making minor things the talk of the day. These often make him look like a victim of the media and garner him some sympathy.

      When real issues like his treatment of the judge in the Trump University case are exposed (at least post the primary season) he’s suffered in the polls. Trump is a marketing genius in that he knows which publicity to let happen i.e. which negative stories still fit into the “all publicity is good publicity” theme.

      (I’ve just noticed this sounds like I’m criticizing Lamar Hankins, which I’m not. It’s just that his comment made me think of my comment so this is where I’m adding it.)

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I entirely agree with Jerry Coyne on all points here.

    We still have the problem of the Republican opponents of Clinton casting their net far too wide, trying to sling any mud they can hoping some of it will stick, which has the effect of making it far far more difficult to have a meaningful discussion of the REAL problems with Hillary Clinton.
    (In the same way, the machinations of the John Birch Society and Senator McCarthy made a REAL engagement with the problem of Communism that much more difficult.)

    Thus as a counter-balance while affirming the truth of what Jerry Coyne has said here, I post this (which could be construed as dissent from Coyne but really isn’t)

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/6/8900143/hillary-clinton-reporting-rules

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Good article. I think I’ve read it before, but it’s been updated and reads better now.

      I don’t agree completely with Jerry’s opinion, but I do think he should be allowed to hold and express that opinion without so-called friends being nasty about it.

      It’s important that we ask questions of our politicians, whether we support them or not. At the same time I feel like some on the right are so desperate to find something wrong with Clinton they’ll say anything to try abd discredit her. Just yesterday I heard Giuliani once again trying to pin the whole Birther thing on her and saying it had nothing to do with Trump.

      This is a really important election because it really would be a disaster if the Republican candidate was elected. People are so scared of that happening it’s making them react badly to negative stories about Clinton.

      However, Jerry has the sense to recognize that just on demographics and the way the electoral college works that it’s all but impossible for Trump to win.

      Genuine questioning of Clinton (as opposed to that by conspiricists) should make her a better candidate.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        My problem isn’t with the right-wing attacks – they were always going to come, they were always going to be OTT. And my problem isn’t with people who hold their nose and vote for Clinton, people like Jerry(although I’d supplement his point about getting pushback for criticising Clinton by flagging up the deluge of utterly mental hate posts the merest mention of her name summons up. Anyone who points out her merits vs the other candidates gets it in the neck too, and in a hysterical, scabrous way. I’m tired of that just like Jerry’s tired of the reverse.).

        My problem is with the Sarandon pack, the US Corbynites. And I’m not bothered about saying it – I very strongly disagree with ‘protest votes’ for people like Jill Stein. I’m uneasy about the idea in normal circumstances, but when the political atmosphere in the western world has thickened to the extent that it has over the last few years, with far-right nationalism resurgent in almost every European and Anglosphere country on earth, the idea of explicitly wasting your vote(I understand that they think they’re signalling something important) when the alternative is Trump, a flat-out bullying thug with unprecedentedly terrifying ideas, really frustrates me.

        Over here, that mentality has essentially crippled Britain’s only real left-wing opposition party – a huge swell of mostly educated, middle-class, financially comfortable new Labour Party sign-ups have swung behind Jeremy Corbyn and they are often explicit about their disinterest in anything besides the politics of protest. The leader of their largest representative group, Momentum, has even scorned the idea of ‘electability’ as “elitist”. Seriously. And these people are interchangeable with the Bernie or Bust-ers in America. At this point in time it’s only a mild exaggeration to say that Britain is a one-party state. Who knows how long it’ll take before the Tories even have to consider an opposition in any serious way. Certain Corbyn-aligned MPs have openly shrugged off the importance of the 2020 election.

        That is the mentality that grinds my gears, and even worse I’ve spoken to plenty of former Bernie supporters who have said they’ll vote for Trump rather than Clinton.
        Now what kind of Bernie Sanders supporter, who presumably agrees with Sanders left-wing politics, would immediately threaten to vote for Trump in response to their candidate’s defeat? How do they deal with that level of cognitive dissonance…?
        Well, they paint Clinton as something qualitatively different to Trump(who “won’t do any of that stuff he’s said” and “at least isn’t an elite”, and “will shake things up”) – as a kind of ‘entity’ whose tentacular reach corrupts every poll and every vote; a kind of hideous disease affecting the whole political system.

        There is fair criticism of a(perhaps very) flawed candidate, and then there is the kind of deranged ranting that you’d ordinarily find peppered with references to ‘sinners’ and ‘hell’, and the ‘devil’. They attribute to this woman a kind of supernatural ability to shape and form both the political and economic system.
        This kind of thinking is perfectly summarised by that infamous Sarandon quote – an entitled, lazy and cosmically self-absorbed attitude to the most important election in my life time.

        • Posted September 7, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          Excellent post.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          As Smokedpaprika said, “Excellent posr.” I completely agree.

          I too despair of what’s happened to politics in Britain since the election of Corbyn as Labour leader. It’s allowing the Conservatives to do pretty much whatever they want and continue to be elected, including gut the NHS to make privatisation look good, which was one of the things blamed on immigrants and lead to Brexit.

          And how anyone who supported Bernie can justify a vote for Trump is beyond me. I’ve heard people I thought were intelligent saying Trump will at least shake up the system, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of both their own system and Donald Trump.

          And I’ve always thought voting for any candidate other than the one you would prefer to be completely stupid. It’s a bloody good thing not everyone does that – imagine the disaster. It actually sort of happened in NZ fairly recently because our capital, Wellington, uses the STV voting system. Almost no one voted for the Green candidate, but she got so many second and third preferences she ended up mayor. Everyone, including her, was completely shocked. She “decided not to seek reelection” after spending millions on an incredibly badly designed and built cycle way no one wanted among other similar things. (Wellington is extremely hilly, and too often wet with strong winds for cycling most of the time.)

  11. Michael
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Would the perfect candidate be the perfect president? Has there ever been a perfect president?

    There is no question who would be the better president of the two who have a chance being elected. That’s all that matters to me.

  12. Joseph McClain
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Jerry said:
    “And since when is the probity of a candidate supposed to be judged by whether she was indicted or not?”

    YES! YES! YES! But that’s the new and unfortunate standard: It’s OK as long as your not arrested or indicted.

  13. Stephen Barnard
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What irritates me is the false equivalency the media applies to Clinton’s faux scandals (which IMO are trivial to false) and to Trump’s real scandals. The NYT hasn’t even been covering the latest one, which is a doozy.

    Trump was fined by the IRS for an illegal $25,000 contribution from the Trump Foundation to the re-election campaign of Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida, when Bondi was considering investigating Trump University for fraud. Subsequent to the contribution, Bondi overruled her prosecutors and declined to investigate.

    Two things make this especially scandalous. First, it was reported that Bondi personally solicited the contribution (according to a top aide). Second, there was an attempt to hide the contribution by using a fake but similar name for the recipient. Now Trump is claiming he never talked to Bondi, which is highly unlikely.

    This is a prima facie case of felony bribery, for both Trump and Bondi. There’s a real possibility that Trump has been using the Trump Foundation as an illegal slush fund for political bribery for years and getting away with it.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      The article I linked to talks about that – check it out somewhere in these comments. I think you will enjoy it.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      +1

      I’ve also recently read that there is no law that says Trump can’t release his tax returns for public view, EVEN if they’re being audited. He needs to do this.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        He never will release them because he has something to hide. Several speculations have been made about why he won’t, some or all of which may be true.

        – He may not be nearly as rich as he claims.

        – He may have paid little or no taxes.

        – He may have made nowhere close to the charitable contributions he claims, which is likely according to the reporting in the Washington Post.

        – They may reveal substantial debt liabilities to problematic creditors, including Russian oligarchs close to Putin and to the Chinese.

        • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          All of the above. Well put, Stephen.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          And besides, it’s only his post-2008 taxes that are being audited. Even if being audited was a valid excuse, he could still release his earlier returns. Apparently 2002-2008 were audited and found to be legal, but he still won’t release those. His excuse is that they’re for the same businesses that are being audited now.

          I read a letter somewhere from the auditors saying he was free to release the returns being audited. The same article said releasing them was legally safer than not releasing them. My takeaway from that was that he didn’t want to because of what they would show.

        • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          My thoughts exactly.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        Not only is Trump not prohibited from releasing his returns because he’s being audited; he has no plausible argument that he’d be prejudiced in the audit in any way by doing so. If a routine audit reveals some discrepancy, he’d be just as free to amend or refile whether he discloses the returns to the public or not.

        What Trump is saying by refusing to release his returns is that keeping them private is more important to him than coming clean with the American people or getting elected president.

        Plus, there’s precedent for a president releasing his returns while being audited. Dick Nixon — no paragon of presidential probity, he — released his returns in 1973 even though they were then under audit.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          Nixon had to give up about half of his net worth because his tax returns were fraudulent.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      The Clinton camp has an obstacle in bringing up the Trump-Bondi donation. They have been insisting that donating money to politicians is not the same as buying influence. So unless they can find some very clear evidence of quid pro quo, spreading insinuations based on the appearance of impropriety might bite them in the backside.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Be that as it may, I wager the filings of the Trump Foundation, many of which are in the public record going back many years, are being scrutinized by the IRS, the Clinton campaign, journalists, Trump’s enemies on the left and the right, and possibly the FBI.

    • johnw
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Agree 100%. And Trump also gets not only no pushback for things like trying to pin all Bill’s philandering on her (a standard wingnut position), but a completely free pass on stuff like the long history of unfiltered sleaze that he contributed on the Howard Stern show over the years. How many presidential candidates have running top ten lists of “chicks they’d like to bang” in their public record. He’s the lowest of the low by orders of magnitude. The Clintons do not compare even remotely.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Also we hear little, as yet, about how Trump and his father operated their mini-empire of rentals in New York. Caught red handed discriminating against black people who wanted to rent an apartment from them, they chose to settle out of court as there was no contest. It was a huge case. See https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2186612-major-landlord-accuse-of-antiblack-bias-in-city.html

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Trump’s attorney in that case was the infamous sleaze bag Roy Cohn, of McCarthy Hearings fame.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          The self-loathing little prick prosecuted the Rosenbergs, too.

          • Merilee
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Wasn’t Roy C good buds with J. Edgar, or am I confused?

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

              No, not confused at all; they were both from the same self-loathing demimonde, dedicated to persecuting others as a means of concealing what they viewed as their own depravity.

              • merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

                But they weren’t honeys, were they?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      A prima facie case of bribery by definition requires a showing that the quo was given in exchange for the quid. Had there been such a prima facie showing, the feds would’ve had Trump and Bondi both in bracelets.

      The 25 large Trump duked Bondi merely stunk to high heaven — as most large campaign donations are wont to do.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        When I hear this kind of argument I think: What would happen if the roles were reversed, if Clinton were found out in an equivalent situation? How would the press respond? The bar is set so low for Trump it’s underground. Everyone knows he’s a crook and a con artist, so no one is surprised about these things. It’s a man-bites-dog story.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          *dog-bites-man* 🙂

  14. Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Good for you for sticking to your principles, Jerry.

    If it were me, I’d also direct a lot of my letters to the lady in question and her staff. Maybe you do so already. There could be faint hope that someone might pay heed, and strive to do better.

    Most of your readers won’t vote Trump which is great. But I do wonder, what with the sticky problem of confirmation bias and a tendency to read superficially, if there could be a goodly number of Trumpites out there that you might be able to convince, were you to take a slightly different tack. Your posts are highly intellectual and thorough, and I wonder how many of the ‘convertibles’ you could sway with the power of your words. I wonder how many even realize that you are *still* going to vote for Hillary.

    It is sad to have to let go of Bernie, and I’d love to see him as part of the new administration!

    • Rita
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      I agree, smokedP. Hillary wasn’t my first choice, and I do question the Wall Street ties, and seeming eagerness to get the US embroiled in war situations without first considering other options. But, I’m very disturbed by the blind hatred I see directed at her by some “progressives”. It feels like a mob mentality thing, and I wonder where it will lead.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Well, I don’t think I can be accused of blind hatred. If that were the case I wouldn’t vote for her.

  15. dabertini
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    PCC(e), you have every right to criticize Hillary. It is free speech and it makes her accountable. The bigger problem is that her answers to the questions about her honesty are unpalatable.

  16. Pliny the in Between
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I will be voting for Clinton in Nov.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with her. She’s very smart – so smart she can deftly navigate complex legal areas and push hard at their borders. It’s hard to articulate so I’ll have to fall back on an old cartoon that I think is relevant. I think that simple legality isn’t always the best approach. And if one takes that approach, some of the rest of us are going to be a bit put off by it – not enough to skip voting for her in place of the worst candidate in US history, but with less zeal than we felt for her predecessor.

    http://pictoraltheology.blogspot.com/2014/09/legal-aint-same-as-right-by-long-shot.html

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Hillary is smart all right, politically cunning on occasion, too.

      But “deft”? Not really.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Bill, on the other hand, could be deft — when he wasn’t acting the Ozark Elvis.

        • Pliny the in Between
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          I was referring to her handling of legal matters not politics. I actually prefer her political roughness to Bill’s Good ol’ boy routine.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            Me, too. I like her best when she shows her steely-eyed mettle.

            That, I think, is the authentic Hillary. It’s when she goes soft and insincere — when she talks about the importance of her Methodist faith, for instance — that I take to cringing.

            I don’t care much for Bill’s good ol’ boy routine, either — though he might be fun to hang with in a wide-open town like Hot Springs over a long weekend.

  17. Alpha Neil
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The FBI recently released inquiry files regarding the investigation into her private email server. There wasn’t anything revolutionary in there (at least the un-redacted parts) but what irritates me is that they released it on Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend (Labor day in the US). This timing is not an accident and is meant to ensure the release of the documents is not damaging to Hilary. Since it was the FBI who did this – the people who were supposed to investigate the matter – it makes me wonder just how rigorous their investigation actually was if they are willing to protect her by timing the release of documents. Vast right-wing conspiracy indeed.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      This isn’t a criticism of you, but I always wonder why releasing stuff on a Friday afternoon is a problem. Is it going to make journalists ignore the info, especially if there’s something real there? What difference would holding off the release until Tuesday actually make?

      I think it just annoys those who were looking forward to a weekend off and now they might be required to work unless they want to leave a potential scoop for an intern who still has to work, or another media outlet.

      • Alpha Neil
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know how effective the strategy actually is either, especially with significant revelations. It’s the intent that angers me since it demonstrates the fact that our leaders view the truth as something that is to be downplayed. This is one reason among many that I’m not a politician.

  18. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I think the real problem you are getting from liberal, democratic friends is the dark side of the situation. Hilary is pretty much all they got so it’s don’t rock the boat time. They are so eaten up with the idea of a Trump in the white house that Hilary must be scrubbed clean of all past problems. It’s kind of an anxiety attack for liberal America.

    Years of poor government is what we have and no one really wants to fix it. The Republican party is like a bad nightmare for the other side and the distaste for all things republican is blinding us to the poor effort by the other side. All I can say is – Take a deep breath and understand that one person, one president is not going to fix much of anything that has gone wrong. The president does not run your schools or get the people on your block jobs or make sure you are safe from the criminals.

    • merilee
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      and then you UNfriended yours truly who simply wrote “seems counterproductive at this point,” which hardly counts as finger-wagging!!! Talk about lack of free speech and grasped for victimhood and virtue-signalling! I totally agree with you that I would much rather have Obama again than Hillary, but given the reality of the situation, I think that dissing Hillary at this point is cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. All of Larry Moran’s disagreement with you does not count as finger-wagging??? I am afraid, Herr Prof, you might be guilty of a bit of a misogynist take on this whole thing ( both towards me, and possibly toward Hillary??) And I very very rarely use the so-called woman card, but I will NOT be called a finger-wagger, even if anonymously! Kind of pot calling the kettle black. From you who are a master at what you call a corrective comment. Let’s see if this post gets approved. And you wonder why you seem to be losing readers…

      • merilee
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Randall, this was directed to our host, not you;-)

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Had me going there for a minute. If I could just insert one thought on this debate. Politics and Religion are the most volatile subjects for many people and destroyer of friendships. That is why some just have to stay away from them. It would be a sad loss of friends and I know that politics is not a subject that is worth the loss. Take it from someone who has been around as long as the professor.

          • merilee
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            I am not the one who Unfriended anyone. I totally agree with you here.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

              This election is poisonous. I feel for you.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          “How about all of us set in the shade for a spell and drink some sweet tea?”

          (That’s what my great aunt — the Grand Dame matriarch of my family, when I was a kid — would recommend when the clan got in an internecine squabble, anyway.)

          • mordacious1
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            Then someone spikes the tea and soon fists are flying…oh wait, you were talking about YOUR family. Carry on.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

              Same thing with that side of my family — except a couple drinks more, they’re all hugging and getting misty, and trying to sing “Danny Boy.”

              • Merilee
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

                I assume it wasn’t the Kucek side singing Danny Boy😁

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

                Right you are. 🙂 It’s the matrilineal side tracing back to the emerald sod.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        “Seems counter-productive at this point,” is a “finger-wagging, corrective comment?”

        Really?

        I have to wonder how someone might respectfully disagree when “Seems counter-productive at this point,” is deemed to be over the line.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, Pacopicopiedra;-)

          • Posted September 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            You might find this article interesting.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/10/fear-of-a-female-president/497564/

            An excerpt:
            A 2010 study by Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto found that people’s views of a fictional male state senator did not change when they were told he was ambitious. When told that a fictional female state senator was ambitious, however, men and women alike “experienced feelings of moral outrage,” such as contempt, anger, and disgust.

            • Merilee
              Posted September 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

              Yup😖

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Hear, hear.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        I hope you guys can mend your fences and be like Hili and Cyrus. It’s sad to see friends end up like this. Do we need an intervention by Andrzej and Malgorzata? 😉

        I can’t say this of Jerry, but I do see misogynism aimed at Hillary from various quarters. She’s being held up to an impossible standard. It’s very clear to me why there are hardly any brilliant scientists and brilliant academics holding public office. Politics is messy, and the stringency and rigid exactness necessary in science would make it impossible to run a country. A good politician and a good leader must know how to wield pragmatism, always remembering that s/he can’t please all of the people all of the time.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          ‘Twould be fine by me.

    • KD33
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      “… pretty much all they got.” Serious question: who would be better at actually serving?

      I don’t idealize Clinton in any way, but I think she could turn out to be a very good president, all told.

      • merilee
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. She has experience, and knowledge of foreign affairs, and a damned fine brain.

  19. Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    The lesser of two evils is still evil.

    There is a sane alternative this year: Johnson/Weld 2016.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      That depends on where you live & vote and who you want in the Whitehouse.

      Since they won’t win a single state. But they could swing a swing state (right now that would be Drumpf’s direction since HRC is ahead in virtually all of those states.)

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Johnson and the Libertarian Party want to eliminate the Fed, the IRS and financial regulation of banks. In other words, they want to return us to the financial stability of the 19th century, before those various agencies and safeguards were put into place.
      Financial Panics of the 19th Century

      Let’s hear it for crashing the economy every few years, just like the good old days. I am not sure why you would characterize this as a “sane alternative.”

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Agree. A Libertarian agenda would be a disaster. The more I hear of Johnson, the bigger an idiot he seems. Still, he did promise to stay off the marijuana throughout the campaign, and throughout his presidency if he won. Now that’s a bumper sticker – Johnson: No dope in the White House.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          Made me laugh! 😀

  20. Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I am having a very tough time with this election. Like JC, I do not like either candidate, but will vote for Clinton because Trump has a severe personality disorder and the make-up of the Supreme Court for the foresseable future is at stake. Trump’s choice of Pence as VP signals that he will destroy the SCt if elected.

    I also think liberals who want to ensure Trump is not elected should leave voters like Jerry and myself alone. We don’t like her, but will vote for her. And I will not be told who or what I am allowed to criticize.

    Instead they should focus on people intending to vote for a third party candidate in protest. I believe there is a real danger that many folks who would never vote for Trump will vote independent and we can have a repeat of Bush Gore.

    Finally, I saw a great rebuke to some idiot Trump supporter who told a woman that she was supporting Hillary only because she was a woman. The woman replied that I guess you are supporting Trump only because he is an asshole!

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Gore lost because he was a weak candidate. He didn’t win his home State [TN] in FLA if you look at *actual data* it wasn’t Nader voters that tipped the scales, it was Democratic voters voting for Bush across party lines.
      Much like Gore, Clinton is a wounded candidate. She still has an electoral advantage and its her election to lose. 3rd party voting won’t come close to having any influence on the outcome.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        It must be wonderful to be able to predict the future with such absolute certainty. I have seen some polling numbers giving Johnson 7%, hardly insignificant.

        As far as Bush Gore, Nader’s effect is still open to debate, and there are studies contradicting the popular meme that Gore blew the election and Nader was irrelevant. See for example an article written by Bill Scher on May 31, 2016 on realclearpolitics.com.

      • Filippo
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        “Gore lost because he was a weak candidate.”

        Good thing he wasn’t any weaker, else he would have lost the popular vote, eh? The Electoral College – democracy in action. Let’s have an electoral college form of voting all the way down to dog catcher and high school senior class officers.

        I’m from Tennessee, and remember an omniscient lady castigating Tennesseans in the local newspaper for not sufficiently voting for the native son (as opposed to voting ones convictions). Every state thinks it’s the highest embodiment of Amuricun Exceptionalism.

      • KD33
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Small historical comment: I think the “Democratic voters… across party lines” as the cause of Gore’s loss was debunked, in that *more* Repubs crossed than Dems. Even besides this, I do not forgive the Nader supporters, since the closeness of the election was known on the day.

        Fortunately a 3rd party will likely not have the same influence this time, since Clinton’s lead looks solid.

  21. flemur13013
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    ‘Do you really think she’s dishonest?’
    Yes.

    ‘Do you really think she lied about her email?’
    Yes.

    ‘Do you really think there’s something sleezy [sic] about raising money from rich people?’
    The way she does it, yes.

    ‘Do you really think there’s something sleazy about the Clinton Foundation?’
    Yes.

    I think Hillary is, if not an actual psychopath, then the next worst thing.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      “I think Hillary is, if not an actual psychopath, then the next worst thing.”

      You’ve forgotten the “Goldwater Rule” — never diagnose someone you’ve never examined personally.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      OFFS.

      This is exactly the kind of stuff I was talking about in my previous post above. The next worst thing to a psychopath? Get a grip.

  22. Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    “she puts herself in problematic situations that could have been avoided”

    This is spot-on.

    “the lesser of two weevils”

    I saw what you did there! 🙂

  23. eric
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    My biggest complaint about Hilary at this time is that she is a lot weaker of a campaigner than I expected. Ahead by 3% after everything Trump has said and done? The man is running the worst Presidential campaign in modern history. He’s drastically behind in fundraising, has little in the way of an organization, and has fired his staff twice now (or is it three times). He’s intentionally alienating the fastest growing minority in the US, and has insulted the handicapped, women, and dead veterans. The fact that Republicans are coming out publicly against him, their own candidate is unprecedented in the modern era. In short, he’s a complete train wreck. And yet, Clinton can only manage a 3% margin? You gotta be kidding me.

    Scandals and all, she should be wiping the floor with him. Any competent campaigner should be wiping the floor with him. Its pretty clear in my mind now that she deserved to lose the 2008 primary. Not because of her views or race or gender, but simply because Obama out-campaigned her…and Donald Oh My God I Can’t Believe It Trump is coming pretty close to out-campaigning her too.

    Both the Clintons have been accused of triangulation and political caution. But its pretty clear now (IMO) that where Bill could make this strategy work as an asset to gain votes, Hilary doesn’t know how to do that. She has not been able to make it work to pick up independents – and yes, in this election, even the mainstream Republicans who have vocally said they are unhappy with Trump – the way she should have.

    She’s very very lucky that Trump is such a screwball. The way this election is going, I doubt very much she could’ve won against any more normal GOP campaign machine.

  24. Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Forward the light brigade, despite being justifiably dismayed. Let’s hope there’s enough menthol salve.

  25. Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I would vote for Clinton over Trump if she was the rightful nominee. But the DNC (in coordination with her campaign) stole that nomination. Their actions were reprehensible and possibly treasonous.

    What was Clinton’s reaction to the sickening series of revelations about election fraud during the Democratic primary? She hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the DNC, that’s what.

    I simply can not support the DNC, or their candidates, after this. The Democratic Party is lost to me; it’s policies no longer concerned with unions, or the lower and middle class. It has just officially rejected progressivism and fair play. I MUST reject it – even if it means not voting for the lesser of two evils.

    And if Trump gets elected because others vote as I intend to do – don’t blame me. Blame the DNC. Blame yourself for not insisting on an honest primary.

    A preliminary investigation now shows that election fraud /dirty tricks by the DNC account for more than enough votes/delegates to steal the election from Sanders:

    http://electionjustice.net/democracy-lost-a-report-on-the-fatally-flawed-2016-democratic-primaries-table-of-contents/

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Except, burning down the house to clean out the garage is not sustainable either.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        “Burning down the house to clean out the garage” – I’m stealing that!

    • eric
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      the DNC (in coordination with her campaign) stole that nomination. Their actions were reprehensible and possibly treasonous.

      Its a private club, not a federal organization. They can use any system they want to to pick their nominees, and its neither theft nor treason. For the first 100 years the party existed (until 1836) backroom deals were the norm.

      You have every right to leave the club because you don’t like their rules, of course. But they’re allowed to nominate basically whomever they want.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget that Bernie Sanders became a Democrat for the first time in his public service life on 5-Nov-2015.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Election fraud is a “system to pick nominees” which is not theft or treason? I must belong to the wrong clubs.

        • eric
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          The DNC doesn’t even have to have primary elections if they don’t want to. Prior to 1938, a candidate needed 2/3 of the delegate votes to win. Because this was practically impossible to do just on popularity, the nomination basically devolved into who could horse trade back room favors the best. They changed it in the ’30s to 50%, but party bosses were still much more involved in the process than they are now. That changed again in 1968, and in ’68-’76 they had a system with all elected, representative delegates. What you probably think of as the proper system – because its the most democratic – was in place a whopping 8 years out of the party’s 200+ year history. Then in ’76 they decided to give some power back to party bosses again by creating superdelegates, and pretty much every election cycle since then, the number of superdelegates has increased.

          Sure, they’d be breaking their own bylaws if they don’t count someone’s votes, but they won’t be doing anything illegal…because, again, it’s a private club. And it certainly isn’t serving some foreign power against the US government to change a private club’s bylaws about how to elect delegates and candidates, so thus, not treason.

          Lastly though, Bernie lost 1,819 to 2,814. 60% to 40%. Are you seriously claiming that secret Democrat operatives dumped so many Bernie ballot votes that they produced a fake 20-point swing? This is really black helicopter level conspiracy stuff. He lost. I kinda wish he had won, but he didn’t. It wasn’t rigged, it wasn’t due to secret operatives, or back room rules changes, he just lost because most of the people who went to the Democratic primary polls voted for Hilary. There is no deeper explanation needed.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        For the first 100 years the party existed (until 1836) backroom deals were the norm.

        I think you must mean “since” 1836 (although the Democratic Party’s founding is usually dated to Andrew Jackson’s first successful campaign for president in 1828).

        Anyway, I think we can date the backroom deals by party bosses through the 1968 convention’s nomination of Hubert Humphrey — all the way until 1972, when the McGovernites cleaned house.

        Seems like it’s time for some housecleaning again.

        • Historian
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          It’s probably a meaningless quibble but some claim that the Democratic Party started with Thomas Jefferson when the party was called Democratic Republican. That’s why the current Democratic Party has an annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner.

          In the late 1820s and early 1830s those opposed to Jackson broke away from the Democratic Party to ultimately form the Whig Party. After the demise of the Federalist Party in the early part of the nineteenth century almost all politicians called themselves Democratic Republicans until Jackson polarized the country.

    • KD33
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      All I can ask is, do you actually believe the primary was stolen, based on “research” such as this?

      And, yes, I’m afraid that I will have to blame you …

  26. GM
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    it’s fundamentally anti-liberal to censor yourself about problematic aspects of a cause that is generally good.

    Is it really (generally good)?

    I don’t see much “good” in what the Democrats do when they’re in office that elevates them to a substantially higher moral level than the Republicans.

    The much more accurate description of the situation is that we have two rival oligarchic structures fighting for control.

    A minority of their supporters stands to benefit from success in that fight, but the majority are rooting for one of the two the same way sports fans root for their teams, as manifestation of human’s innate urge to engage in tribalism.

    • eric
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Equating them is silly. They differ on many real issues of public policy, including:
      Immigration policy
      Education policy
      Social security and welfare policy
      National Health care
      Gay rights
      Women’s rights on procreation
      Election rules and regulations (including both campaign finance and voter ID requirements)
      Judicial nominations

      Now, its true that there are a lot of policy areas where liberals wish the parties differed a lot, but they don’t. Such as foreign policy (both in regards to trade and military intervention), defense policy, financial regulation, and environmental policy…to name a few. But the fact remains that there are a lot of differences between how these two “oligarchic structures” act when they get in charge.

      • GM
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Only one or two of the items on your list actually matter.

        And the difference between the two parties on many of the others is nowhere near as great as you might think it is.

        And the truly important stuff (environmental, economic and foreign policy) is not on your list.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          There’s a good chance we’d never have gone to war with Iraq if Gore had won. I think that matters a bit.

        • Historian
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          In regard to the issues on Eric’s list, I think the differences between the two parties are vast. I think they are also important. Would you care to list those issues that are not important and those you believe the policies of the parties are the same?

          • GM
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Immigration policy — where exactly is the difference that matters? Also, this is an issue on which both parties are completely out of their minds and divorced from reality,

            Education policy — where exactly is the substantial difference? One party destroys it in one way, the other in a different way. What is a subject to discussion is trivial.

            Social security and welfare policy

            Again, what exactly is the difference? Rhetoric aside, look at the actual policies as implemented when in power. The issues debated are minute.

            National Health care — neither party is for a real solution

            Gay rights — completely irrelevant in general

            Women’s rights on procreation — Women’s rights’ discussions in general tend to devolves into more identity politics BS that distracts from real issues. Regarding reproductive rights, I am pro abortion and against choice. The issue that are debated are trivial and irrelevant in comparison.

            Election rules and regulations (including both campaign finance and voter ID requirements) — Again, what it is that i a subject to debate that would actually make a difference?

            Judicial nominations — see above.

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

              “Regarding reproductive rights, I am pro abortion and against choice.”

              Could you elaborate on that? Because it doesn’t make sense to me unless you’re for forced abortions. If so, what are the conditions that merit forced abortion?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, that’s a new one on me. Even the Red Chinese allow for a “one child” policy. Maybe GM is trying to out-Mao Mao.

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

                Oom papa Mao Mao…

              • merilee
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

                +1 Diane. Hadn’t thought of that song in eons!!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                Extra points for spelling it onomatopoeiacly. -1 to me for writin that last word.

              • merilee
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

                Isn’t it actually Papa ooo Mao mao, whatever that “means”? Now I can’t get the damned song out ofmy head!

              • GM
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

                The world is vastly overpopulated and the population is not going to reduce itself by 90% voluntarily

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

                Thanks. You answered half the question.

                As to the “anti-choice” part I’m still confused. Would you deny a woman the choice to abort? And if so, why, and under what conditions?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

                So you would … what? Let every 10th person in the world reproduce once for the next generation? How would you go about picking the lucky breeder, pray tell — Lottery? Some sort of merit system?

                Would all other pregnant women have abortions forced upon them? Or would you simply outlaw bangin’ for procreation or pleasure?

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

                @ Merilee–damn, you’re right. Musta been conflating it with boom chicka boom boom…

              • Merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:03 am | Permalink

                @Diane: thanks for yet another ear worm:-(

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:38 am | Permalink

                Ooh, ee, ooh ah ah, ting, tang walla walla bing bang…

              • Merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

                Diane’s onna roll!!! Why in the world can we remember all these lyrics from sooo long ago??? One-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater🎶🙀

              • GM
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 5:44 am | Permalink

                So you would … what? Let every 10th person in the world reproduce once for the next generation? How would you go about picking the lucky breeder, pray tell — Lottery? Some sort of merit system?

                If you want the global population in the year 2100 to be 500 million, you just make sure that not much more than 500 million people are born between then and now. So that makes it around 6 million births per year. Compared to the ~150 million that we get today.

                A lottery would be most fair indeed.

                But then, for various reasons that should be obvious after a little reflection, you need to also separate biological parents from their children, if you don’t do that, there will be all sorts of problems. Unfortunately, we just invented cheap whole-genome sequencing in the last few years, which will make that very hard in the not too distant future. Not that anyone is going to try, of course

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

                I’m getting an inkling of why you haven’t found a comfortable home in either of the major US parties. 🙂

                What’s your plan for reducing world population when people prove unwilling to give up their reproductive rights via democratic processes?

            • Diane G.
              Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

              You haven’t provided any descriptions of the parties’ actual stands, just declared that there are no significant differences. Sorry, you haven’t supported your assertions at all.

              • GM
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 5:40 am | Permalink

                You don’t expect me to write a 10,000-word essay on he topic in the comments section here, do you?

            • eric
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

              Immigration policy — where exactly is the difference that matters?

              The deportation of millions of people.

              Education policy — where exactly is the substantial difference?

              Creationism in schools. Whether and how much of yours and mine’s public tax funds go to religious private schools and other hardly-regulated private schools.

              Social security and welfare policy. Again, what exactly is the difference?

              As one example, the GOP wanted to take a million kids off of SNAP assistance. That’s food for poor school kids. And in a gesture of pure cheek, they put that legislation in the farm bill designed to give millions in handouts to agribusinesses. So clearly, cutting costs wasn’t the priority.

              National Health care — neither party is for a real solution

              This is simply wrong. The House Dems originally proposed a plan with a public option as well as expanding Medicare to more lower-income people (which is another variant on a public option). Senate Republicans rejected both, along with a host of other measures in the original bill.

              Gay rights — completely irrelevant in general

              Wow.

              Regarding reproductive rights, I am pro abortion and against choice. The issue that are debated are trivial and irrelevant in comparison.

              It’s a procedure more than 1.2 million women get every year. Whether it is legal and safe or criminalized is a big deal. Though with your draconian (and economically laughable) views on population, maybe you should be supporting criminalization, as it would kill more women.

              Election rules and regulations (including both campaign finance and voter ID requirements) — Again, what it is that i a subject to debate that would actually make a difference?

              Well, both parties appear to disagree with you. After all, if gerrymandering and voter ID laws don’t significantly impact election results, why do you think the GOP and Dems fight over them?

              Judicial nominations — see above.

              Anyone who thinks SCOTUS nominations make no difference is, IMO, naïve.

              The world is vastly overpopulated and the population is not going to reduce itself by 90% voluntarily

              Evidence says you’re wrong. In practically every nation where women are given equal access to education, jobs, and control over their own reproduction (via birth control), the number of kids per couple has voluntarily dropped to slightly below the replacement rate (“practically” because France appears to be the lone exception). In the US, for example, the rate is about 1.8-1.9 kids per couple while the replacement rate (to keep the population stable) is about 2.1. Again, this is entirely voluntary.
              If you want to reduce the world’s population of humans, but do it in a non-draconian way that allows people to voluntarily choose how many kids to have, the solution is actually quite easy: fight for women’s rights. It works. Statistically, empirically, we see that it works.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

                Fantastic. I’m beyond sick of this political relativism – ‘they’re all the same’ is the stuff you hear from people who have little to no patience with gradual meliorist change. Well that’s fine, but they shouldn’t expect liberals to admire them for pissing their virtue-signalling vote up the wall, especially if they claim to be liberals themselves.

        • eric
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          Only one or two of the items on your list actually matter.

          …to you, maybe. My guess is they matter quite a bit to others more personalyl affected by them. As Historian asked, which ones (in your opinion) do and don’t matter?

  27. Historian
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    People who both want to see certain policies enacted by governmental bodies and understand how the political system work realize that no politician is perfect, but one is better than the other in terms of policy. They reject purist fantasies. In other words, people who hope to accomplish anything realistically embrace the lesser of the two evils concept. Such people do everything they can to elect the lesser evil (or even a person they don’t consider evil at all), recognizing that the person, like all people, is flawed. This means that criticism of the candidate is muted. Such persons are not supposedly objective journalists (if there actually are such people) or scholars. They are partisans with a political objective. This is how the American system has always worked and surely, for the foreseeable future, always will.

    I am a partisan – unabashedly a liberal and a Democrat. I believe without equivocation that the policies proposed by the Democratic Party are much superior to those proposed by conservatives and Republicans. As such, I ardently support Hillary, despite her flaws, because Trump would be a disaster for this country of epic proportions. It is not my job as a partisan to point out her flaws. That is the job of the opposition.

    If Hillary is elected, my partisan enthusiasm will inevitably diminish. I will be freer to criticize her policy initiatives that I disagree with. I will try to encourage her not to make the judgment errors she made in the past. But, Hillary is not a criminal (that is a right wing smear). So, my refraining from criticizing her during the general election is not a matter of integrity or lack thereof. It is a matter of politics and the operation of a democratic system – my attempt to elect a candidate whose policies most align with my own.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you.

      • merilee
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Me, too, which is why I am frustrated with all the Hillary-bashing before the election (imperfect as she might be, but orders of magniture better than the Drumpf).

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Me three. Well said, Historian.

    • KD33
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      With you …

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Very well said.

  28. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s history of corruption is mind-boggling. So why is Clinton supposedly the corrupt one?

    Trump has an actual “pay to play” scandal, one in which he used his charity to make an illegal contribution to a state attorney general who was in the process of deciding whether to pursue him on Trump University charges.

    Hillary, with the Clinton Foundation mess, has suspicions that certain donors may have received favor, but nothing concrete came of it. No wrongdoing was found.

    Why the double standard?

    Many of Hillary’s troubles are rooted in a spouse problem. The Clinton Foundation is reportedly a very good charity, and it is a perfectly acceptable thing for a former president to be involved in. But it’s not a good thing for a potential president to be involved in.

    I have read a book written by Trump. He says he doesn’t like politicians who take his money but don’t do him favors. Am I supposed to believe that he would be the kind of politician he despises?

  29. alnitak
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Some people take the time and effort to understand politics, and some don’t. When someone says that there is an “appearance of preferential access to her granted to donors to the Clinton Foundation”, they are relying too much on the headlines about such supposed access, rather than digging for the truth. On the other hand, some scientists are well-read, and do the hard work of digging out the truth, and the interesting implications, of dense scientific papers. For that I am very grateful and continue to read for that reason. (I skip the kitty pictures too.)

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but you’re giving me flowers with one hand and hitting me with a brick with the other. The message is that I don’t understand politics. In fact, a lot of journalists are worried about the appearance of bias, which is prima facie true: that’s always a possibility unless you sever your ties with the Foundation. So no, I am not relying on just headline. If you don’t sever your connections with donors, there can always be accusations of preferential access if there IS access, as there appears to have been.

      So, unless you apologize for that slur (I’ll let your gratuitous comment on kitty pictures pass), you can go elsewhere from now on.

      What an extremely rude post–tricked up with compliments to make the “medicine” go down. But what you got is homeopathic.

  30. Mark Perew
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    When the fear is losing is greater than the value of truth, censorship is inevitable.

  31. Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Great post.

    This situation is now commonplace everywhere even in the smaller trenches. For example, the “social justice” proponents see criticism of their movement with maximum hostility, especially when it comes from the Left. They regard it is tantamount to betrayal, backstabbing, and helping the “other side” and in a second quick step, through extreme distortion of the political space, they declare such detractors as “reactionary”, “neocon” or — latest fashion — as “alt right”.

    The very act of critising “allies” makes someone an enemy to many. Every raging postmodernist loon can be such an ally, as long they seem to care for the right causes. The whole movement of Atheism Plus once ran with the “With Us or Against Us” byline that is still very much the mindset among its followers, even when their name didn’t catch on.

    Interestingly, this faction also favoured Clinton, and they saw the common “Berniebro” as the worst opponents. Of course, the Berniebros were not so distant siblings of the common “Dawkbros”. Nevermind agreement on 97%, the 3% and not appearing to help the Great Cause makes you an enemy. Hence, proponents are so keen on virtue signalling: They’re scared they could be called out by the tribe.

    I think overcoming cheap signalling is however a superior concept of what we see. In my view, this policing and attacking of nominally “friends” and “allies” is a kind of expensive signal. In my view, plain virtue signalling is an ordinary process linked to the expressive function in communication. I think Generation Selfie wants to show off who they are, and construct a public identity that “matters”. Online communities and social ties seem fragile and they see how people get tossed away, and get banned and blocked. Hence, they want to “matter” somehow to their tribe, and if it’s through being a special snowflake. Note that such persons seem often introverts, socially shy, nerds and geeks etc. Their online environment is hugely important and that powers their angst.

    They are also afraid that future generations view them unfavourably, and at once, the signalling of Goodthink is made (too) easy. You don’t matter much if you share Upworthy around, as everyone can do this with one lazy click. Good progressive stuff is also clickbait junk. Hence, people of the “social justice” affliction like to burn bridges and police their friends. That’s more expensive, and shows true commitment. Someone committed matters (and is not cast away as quickly). I suspect this also makes them prone to gravitate towards the controversial and lunatic fringe, since they can never go against the grain, and are thus pushed forward by the peers. They are thus commonly accused of sitting in echo chambers, but once where the signal created by the flock gets stronger everytime it bounces off: more like an ear-crushing feedback signal.

    Such people soon rationalize why they are against the Berniebro and the Dawkbro so much. The task is to rationalize their irrational hatred for people who are otherwise very close in views to them, who even vote the same way (i.e. were it matters). Though a technique called “mental leapfrogging”, olympic discpline among the oppressed, these same “bros” reprise as “alt right” — somehow. They then think that Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris and Co were right wingers; how else justify the hatred.

    People who don’t show the same zeal as them, by necessity, must become the Other. And you can observe this in real time. In some places the Other is right wing conspiracy loons, elsewhere its the Fedora Atheist. Some place it’s GamerGator, Slymepitter, Dawkbro, rabid fans of Harris, and so forth.

    Why care about politics and an honest assessment of other people’s position when you belong to the Thoughtpolice and you need enemies (everyone who isn’t helping in “fighting the good fight”). Alas, this climate almost forces everyone to virtue signal all the time, as even Jerry has done when he listed Trump’s “qualities”. Identity politics is an effective mind-virus, excellent at replicatung itself.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Ups, got quite long, and the final paragraph could be misunderstood: It means that someone, anyone, who is a member of the thoughtpolice doesn’t care about an honest assessment. Attacking friends and allies is the effective to show virtue, and honest assessments are in the way for reasons elaborated above. Called out, friends either get back in line, or are cast out. Hence, its viral, since you avoid the call out by calling out yourself.

  32. chris moffatt
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    It isn’t just a question of Clinton. It’s a series of questions: if the next president becomes disabled (or in Trump’s case simply doesn’t want to do the work) who do you want in his/her place? Pence or Kaine? Pence IMO would be worse than Trump; he’s a dedicated dominionist with a rare degree of malevolence. Kaine I think we could all live with – in fact were he the presidential candidate he’d win it in a walkaway. Consider also who would become defence secretary. With Clinton the likelihood is a neocon like Flournoy or Nuland – very scary proposition if allied with Clinton’s own hawkishness. Who would Trump propose? We don’t know but I’ll bet there’s a cluster of superannuated four stars trolling and kissing tail to get considered for the job. Scary again; especially allied with Trump’s volatility and ignorance.

    I’m a canadian so don’t have to make what must be an agonising choice and my wife is tired of hearing my opinions. But I have to say Nova Scotia or Vancouver Island are looking better and better as places to live out my declining years.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      I am going to vote for Clinton and I’m not agonized over it.

      She is clearly superior to Drumpf in all things that matter to me: ssentially every area of policy, she is more likely to decide in a way I prefer. And Presidents are all about executing policy.

      Drumpf is one of the most amoral, underhanded, sleazy, dishonest, and almost certainly felonious candidates to ever walk the national stage in the USA (he’d make Harding look like a boy scout). And I dislike his policies too.

      • busterggi
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        “And I dislike his policies too.”

        I don’t see how you could dislike all his policies as he’s held every possible position at one time or another. You have to limit it to a four hour window at most.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        If I had the opportunity to vote it would be for Hilary. Like you say, no ‘agonising’ involved. She would have to be exponentially more untrustworthy, ‘corrupt’, etc. for the thought of not voting for her to even occur to me.

        I understand holding your nose when voting for her(although I still feel like, as a Brit, I’m missing something that would explain why she is quite so despised by so many Americans), but the idea that a liberal, left-of-center voter would find the decision agonisingly difficult baffles me.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Of course, she has much to criticize as well. Fair enough.

  33. ladyatheist
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m a dyed-in-the-wool democrat but I don’t delude myself that any human being, much less a politician, is above reproach or criticism. I was for Bernie until I realized he was a cranky old man whose intransigent attitude would sink any chance of him getting his ideas turned into law or policy. I have always been lukewarm about Hillary more because the right hates her as much as they hate Obama, which bodes ill for Congress.

    But is she a rapist? I don’t think so. Trump has a case pending from a Jane Doe, who claims he raped her when she was an underage teen. A Tiffany Doe corroborates the story. Can we have a president who is a rapist?

    It’s sad that we have a choice between very imperfect people, but it’s probably always been that way. We just know more about them now.

    • Petrushka
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Can we have a first spouse who is a rapist?

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        First spouses have no official standing.

    • Filippo
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      “I was for Bernie until I realized he was a cranky old man whose intransigent attitude would sink any chance of him getting his ideas turned into law or policy.”

      It may be that Mr. Sanders has been “cranky” ever since he was a prattling babe. At what age do you say he became “old,” and, do I correctly surmise that you hope to live to at least his age?

  34. Hal Broker
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Jerry is being hounded by the Clinton super PAC that attacks her critics on social media.

    From the L.A. Times in May: “Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton’s campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.”

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-clinton-digital-trolling-20160506-snap-htmlstory.html

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Wow! I thought only Putin does this!

      • Filippo
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Or Dick Chaney blowing the covers of CIA agents.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          Or blowing holes in people while hunting. ;). Sorry, I had to. The joke was right there!

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            “People”? It was a lawyer that Vice shot — not like a regular, human-type person.

  35. Glandu
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I globally agree with you.

    Still.

    You USians have been spoiled by a super kickass president the last 8 years. You’re back in the average(and far worse on your right side). You’re no more used to the average. Sad, but unavoidable.

    I think the last French leader as excellent as Obama was Louis the IXth. In fact, probably the only one.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Maybe Obama has had good domestic policies, but as a European, I’d respectfully disagree about his foreign policy. We Europeans were spoiled by US presidents who would respect their own “red lines” and not allow countries in the close vicinity of Europe to fall into a humanitarian abyss.

      • mordacious1
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t that an EU problem?

        • Posted September 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Yes and no. In the sense that the EU countries are among those that suffer and are threatened, it an EU problem. But in the sense of “seeking a solution”, it can hardly be an EU problem, because the solution obviously requires a military operation, and the EU has no army! To me, it was a pity that European politicians didn’t accept Robert Schuman’s idea to create European armed forces. Now, each country tries to guard its borders as it can.

          • mordacious1
            Posted September 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Yes, the EU has no army per se, but individual countries do. There should be, and may already be, some mechanism for using those forces within Europe to maintain peace and stability. Originally, the US did not have much in the way of a federal military and relied mainly on state militias to provide its military muscle when needed.

            Could you give me one example of where you would have liked Obama to intervene militarily and he did not?

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

              Well, there was the very explicit ‘red line’ he drew re. Assad and the use of chemical weapons – which ended up being no kind of line at all. Assad just rolled right over it.

              I’ve a feeling the failure to keep to his own ‘red line’ promise will end up being used by future historians to characterise his entire foreign policy stance.

              • mordacious1
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

                When the red line in Syria was crossed, Obama had two choices. One was to remove Assad immediately, which would have brought him in direct conflict with Russia. Instead, he chose option two, the slow game. This has also got Russia involved, but in a less dangerous way. Since he crossed the red line, Assad now has American armed and trained Kurds in the North and East of his country. His control is perilous at best. The Russians have pulled his butt out of the fire for now, let’s see how long that lasts.

                Of course, if the Europeans aren’t happy with what’s going on there, we’d be happy to stand down while they invade. This won’t happen because they’d have to spend their blood and their treasure. This is something that they’d prefer America to do, as usual. They’ve made their choice to let America handle it and have to suffer the outcome. The guy in the stands doesn’t get to call the shots on the field.

              • merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

                Putin got most of those chemical weapons removed, iirc. At the time it seemed to me like a good solution. I don’t judge Obama as harshly about his red line actions as some do.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted September 8, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

                I can be critical of both Obama on Syria and my own government’s pathetic, Milliband-led inaction on the same issue without engaging in Europe vs America partisanship. One doesn’t exclude the other. And I don’t particularly like being hit over the head with the myth that Europe is a gutless hanger-on that disappears behind American coattails any time there’s trouble. History shines an unkind light on that particular characterisation.

              • Filippo
                Posted September 8, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

                “I can be critical of both Obama on Syria . . . .”

                What specifically would you have the U.S. do?

              • Merilee
                Posted September 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

                Did you hear our Libertarian candidate, Mr.Johnson, ask last night: “What’s Aleppo”????

            • Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

              The example is Syria. I would also have liked Obama to sell some weapons to Ukraine. Putin has no such inhibitions.

              As for the armies of individual countries… here you touched me where it hurts. After much talk how after entering NATO we do not need a large army anymore, now we haven’t enough men to protect our southern border. It is “guarded” partially by gangs of vigilante thugs. One of them, Dinko Valev, gained international notoriety.

              • mordacious1
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

                Good lord. It’s not America’s business to keep immigrants out of Europe. That is a problem of European leadership. People like Merkel, who basically opened the doors wide and said, “Come in”. As far as Ukraine goes, we have no alliances with them. They’re not part of NATO. The only way you could justify overtly arming them, is enforcing the Budapest Memorandum, which you may note, is not called “The Treaty of Budapest”. If it were, we’d be obligated. It’s the difference between promising a girl to marry her and officially getting engaged.

                Most, if not all, of our NATO allies were opposed to handling the Ukraine Crisis any more stringently than we did. Germany, France and the UK have the ability to arm them to the teeth, but opposed doing so. Ukraine is Europe’s back yard, not America’s. We cannot fight everyone’s wars for them. Europe needs to sort that situation out. That being said, we have been willing to supply them covertly and if Russia moves any further east, they will get a nasty surprise.

  36. Petrushka
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Hillary can tell classified information, even when it is unmarked. The FBI tested her on this by showing her an innocuous email marked classified. She recognized the inappropriate marking by the content.

    Now about those 11 lost phones…

    I can remember when the loss of a laptop by a diplomat was considered a crisis.

  37. Kevin
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    No candidate who proclaims that he/she believes in some supernatural being is going to get my respect. Clinton, like Trump, deserves a fair amount of criticism, but with regard to the crucial ‘Hitcharian’ tenet of secularism, these two candidates are either hypocrites or panderers, or both.

    The American public needs to grow up. Only then will the presidential race will lose the God card.

    • eric
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Well if you’re going by the ‘pandering scale,’ you should vote Trump. The guy fired his campaign manager for telling him to shift to the middle in the general election, the most innocuous, mundane, and expected form of pandering in US politics. But in this case, my own personal choice will be sane moderate panderer over nativist non-panderer.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Hell, Trump panders all the time. What do you think that “two Corinthians” noise and his newly bleeding heart for the plight of the nation’s veterans is all about?

        He just doesn’t want to pander toward the middle — not when pandering to the base by tossing out red meat at rallies is so much more fun.

  38. merilee
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article on PC by U of Toronto philosophy prof Mark Kingwell:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/who-has-the-right-to-say-whats-correct/article31697013/

  39. Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    If many liberals dont want to hear criticisms of the Clintons its in a large part because of right-wing media and especially Fox News. After all, they’ve spend decades relentlessly pursuing the Clintons with one ridiculous claim after another… and all with a thinly disguised and childish hatred. So if people are numb to the latest ‘scandal’ its because Fox News has been the ‘boy-who-cried-wolf’ for too long

  40. nwalsh
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    So, Frank Underwood it is then.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Better Frank Underwood, when the alternative is Frank Booth.

  41. Hazel
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    “It’s fundamentally anti-liberal to censor yourself about problematic aspects of a cause that is generally good—or in this case, the best of a bad lot.”

    This is precisely the principle that leads Noam Chomsky to criticize the United States, yet you and others regularly take shots at him for it. And the rebuttals you’d likely proffer to that observation apply just as well to your own situation.

    That’s something to consider.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Nope. Insofar as I’ve criticized Chomsky for his politics (which I don’t often do), it is not that he should shut up about criticizing the U.S., but that some of his criticisms are misguided. On the other hand, some of them are very good, like the U.S.’s ignoring the situation in East Timor.

      Never would I tell Chomsky that he’s no entitled to criticize our country, as people are implying that I and others should do about Clinton.

      You, however, are not only wrong, but rude. And that’s something to consider.

  42. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Far as I’m concerned, boss, criticize Hillary to your heart’s content, shout it from the steeples. (I haven’t quit criticizing her, or Bill, either.) Just make sure you get out there and vote for her on the first Tuesday in November (as you’ve said you intend to) — and, please, urge everybody over whom you might have some sway to do the same. Also, if you’ve got any extra time or dosh on your hands, pinch la nez and lend her campaign a little support. You know why.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      I’ve already registered for an absentee ballot as I’ll be in Hong Kong on election day, but I will vote. And, in truth, everybody I know is gonna vote for her anyway. I’m not sure if I could even be friends with a Trump supporter, but fortunately I don’t have to find out.

  43. Craw
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Are you being honest? You are. Your critics would sacrifice your honesty for their preference.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Ohhh. I’m so gonna steal that.

      “Your critics would sacrifice your honesty for their preference”

      BAM.

  44. Posted September 6, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    sub

  45. Adrian
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    The criticism you’re receiving is more evidence the Leftist/Liberal split is actually real and very important. The CPUSA endorsed Clinton and most leftists, “BernieBros”, etc. will also hold their noses and vote for Clinton all while rightly criticizing her. To liberals, that’s not enough. Take for example:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/15/beware-the-hillary-clinton-loathing-donald-trump-loving-useful-idiots-of-the-left.html

    Literally every leftist mentioned in that article has denounced Trump, but apparently not being a loyal follower of every whim of the Democratic Party Leader is enough to make you a Trump supporter. You have Clinton surrogate Peter Daou blame ANY criticism of Clinton on misogyny and Paul Krugman act like a hero for writing an editorial in the NYT defending Clinton and the Foundation. The more you see this, the more it becomes clear that the Regressive Left is not some far left group of Stalinists being too ideologically pure, but primarily a faction of neoliberal centrists that claim to be pragmatic and rational, while weaponizing identity politics and tribalism. I think it should go without saying that no one ideology is entirely blameless (I’m no apologist for the far left and their issues), but a consistent, falsifiable narrative about who really constitutes the Regressive Left is there waiting to be tested.

    • KD33
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      “… and Paul Krugman act like a hero for writing an editorial in the NYT defending Clinton and the Foundation.” I’d hardly characterize Krugman’s article that way, and I’m not sure where you get the “act like a hero” barb. I thought his article was spot on. Can you please respond to his actual points? It is hardly an example of what you claim is ” but primarily a faction of neoliberal centrists that claim to be pragmatic and rational, while weaponizing identity politics and tribalism.” In fact, I’d say that most of the articles that weight the good vs.d bad of Clinton do not hew to your description. But I seem to find plenty of that right here in the comments section.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        I have that Daily Beast article bookmarked. It’s superb.

      • Adrian
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        KD33,

        Whether you like him personally or not, Glenn Greenwald has what I think is a very fair and nuanced article that explains this particular situation with Krugman et al. here:

        https://theintercept.com/2016/09/06/the-unrelenting-pundit-led-effort-to-delegitimize-all-negative-reporting-about-hillary-clinton/

        He gives Krugman credit where it’s due, makes sure to call out Trump’s much worse indiscretions, and agrees that Clinton must win the presidency.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 8, 2016 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Greenwald writes: “That’s all the more reason why journalists should be subjecting Clinton’s financial relationships, associations, and secret communications to as much scrutiny as Donald Trump’s.”

          Wouldn’t it be nice if that were so? Instead, Clinton’s financial relationships, etc., have been subjected to an approximately, oh, infinitely greater degree of scrutiny than Trump’s. Greenwald’s just repeating the MO of every other Clinton-hater by talking about “rumors” and “appearances”–what Krugman accurately calls weasel words–without bothering to come up with anything concrete behind those innuendos.

          • merilee
            Posted September 8, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

            +1

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted September 9, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

              I think Clinton tries to play by the rules, but she’s extremely suspicious of the press and of her right-wing opponents, and for good reason.

              The rules mean nothing to Trump. His entire persona as an outsider is dedicated to breaking the rules. That’s what his supporters love. Wrestlemania is challenging normal American national politics.

              • Diane G.
                Posted September 9, 2016 at 1:16 am | Permalink

                “Wrestlemania”–ha!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      There’s still a CPUSA? Are either of them registered to vote? Nobody’s paid party dues since J. Edgar Hoover’s last uncover agent dropped out four decades ago. 🙂

    • eric
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      The criticism you’re receiving is more evidence the Leftist/Liberal split is actually real and very important.

      I somewhat disagree. I don’t think the urge to close ranks and put on a united, best, face is necessarily something only associated with leftists. You see that pretty much with any political group on occasion.

      I think this is one of those arguments where reasonable people can disagree on the best strategy or right thing to do. To be sure, the people sending Jerry idiotic one-liners and knee-jerk insults aren’t whom I’m talking about. But its a reasonable argument to say that if you think the best thing for the country is to have Hilary elected, and the way to do that is to convince moderates to vote for her, then your/our goal in messaging should be to say the truthful things that actually make people want to vote for her. Saying things that make people not want to vote for her works against your goal (getting her elected). I don’t necessarily agree with that. Neither does Jerry, it seems. Nor do many of the people on the list. But as long as the messaging is honest, I think there’s reasonable room for debate over the gray area between highlighting strengths of ones’ position and candidate (okay) and sinning by omission (not okay).

    • chris moffatt
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Is the Daily Beast article supposed to be read as satire? Or is the writer so stupid and ignorant that in 2016 he actually believes the “shining city on a hill”, ‘american exceptionalism” and America’s doG-mandated rule of the whole world? Geez I thought that was pure Reaganism. Can we please move on and realise that it is now a multipolar world whether or not America likes it?

  46. harrync
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    For some reason, all these liberals who bash Hillary remind me of xkcd 774: “…the important thing is that you feel superior…”

  47. KD33
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I get it, but the degree and frequency of these posts baffles me.

    “Yet still I’m told either that Hillary Clinton is pure and untouchable, without a whiff of scandal to her name.” Is anyone really saying that? Most of the pushback I’ve read, here and elsewhere, has to do with degree.

    Also, the sources chosen (e.g., “From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer,” and the AP report) tend to be quite skewed. (Analysis of the AP report readily available…)

    I am in agreement with Krugman’s post in the NYT today, “Hillary Clinton Gets Gored,” sums up my views pretty well.

    Would be interested in your response.

  48. Steve Pollard
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m not at all sure that it’s appropriate for a Brit to comment on a US election campaign, especially given the monumental fiasco of the recent Brexit vote, but seen from here any other choice than Hillary would be a disaster not just for you but for all the rest of us.

    On the face of it, the email and Clinton Foundation issues look damaging. But I can easily believe that she never had a proper security briefing before taking office as SofS. Many of our own Ministers have been equally cavalier with sensitive issues. And the problems with the Foundation can be sorted, and look like they might be by the time of the election.

    If elected, she must be aware that she will be under continuous scrutiny not just by her nutjob enemies, but by articulate critical friends like PCC(E). I trust that this will keep her honest – more so than Trump would be, anyway!

    • FA
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Really? As an Australian, I’d prefer a Trump presidency. There’s only two things I want from a US President. First, not dragging Australia into foreign adventuring. Second, killing the TPP because Australia’s government is too weak to do so. Both are far more likely under a Trump presidency. Clinton is a war hawk who had a hand in making all the problems in the MENA region worse, Trump is an isolationist. Killing the TPP is also a major, unchanged policy position for Trump.

      On the other hand, had I been a Brit, I’d have voted to leave. (I do have EU citizenship, as I have two passports, but I’m very sceptical of the European Union.)

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        “Really? As an Australian, I’d prefer a Trump presidency. There’s only two things I want from a US President. First, not dragging Australia into foreign adventuring. Second, killing the TPP because Australia’s government is too weak to do so.”

        Really? A thin-skinned, unstable, ignorant narcissist having his finger on the nuclear trigger doesn’t bother you?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Steve Pollard knows that, like the narrator in Randy Newman’s “Political Science,” when the Donald drops the big one:

          We’ll save Australia
          Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo
          We’ll build an All-American amusement park there
          They got surfin’, too!

        • eric
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          You forgot “…who is easily manipulated by Putin…” that, alone, should be pretty frightening to our allies.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Trump could be America’s Berlusconi.

          • FA
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            Better Putin than the Saudis.

            • Posted September 7, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

              Given the inertia in US foreign policy, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was manipulated by *both* Russia and SA.

        • chris moffatt
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          “A thin-skinned, unstable, ignorant narcissist”….exactly how Clinton looks to me.
          Ah well it’s all a matter of perception

    • Filippo
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      “I’m not at all sure that it’s appropriate for a Brit to comment on a US election campaign, especially given the monumental fiasco of the recent Brexit vote . . . .”

      By all means comment via cyberspace, which apparently did not satisfy Mr. Obama, as he felt compelled to make a special trip over to basically lecture Brits in person about what they ought to do about Brexit. Reminded me of Mitt Romney’s giving Brits the white glove treatment over their management of the 2012 Olympics, and the Prime Minister’s response. USers seem to have a singular gift for that sort of thing.

      I think the U.S. should join the E.U. and subordinate itself to the Brussels cognoscenti.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:25 am | Permalink

        Yes, Obama’s attempted intervention backfired spectacularly (like all the others, including most European leaders, the IMF, etc). But, if you recall, he said among other things that, in the event of Brexit, “the UK would be at the back of the queue” when trying to negotiate a new trade agreement. Wouldn’t most Americans have said “end of the line” or something similar? Makes one wonder who actually drafted his speech…

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        His comments were reasonable and restrained. He was asked a direct question and answered honestly. He’s also exactly the kind of centrist democrat to whom the idea of the EU as a flawed but generally positive stabilising force would appeal so it’s no wonder that he’d be in favour of it. In the event though he said no more than a few, incredibly mild sentences on the subject. Given the revisionist Leave take on it you’d think he came over, kidnapped the Queen for the duration of the campaign and threatened to plug her if the result didn’t go the way of the Remain-ers.

  49. William Bill Fish
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The Clinton Foundation does a lot of good and is ranked as one of the best. It is transparent with respect to it’s donors. No one jumped all over Bush Senior’s Foundation when Georgie W was POTUS. Many foreign countries and private individuals donated and got access/favours to/from the PRESIDENT. http://occupydemocrats.com/2015/04/30/bush-foundations-accepted-unlimited-secret-donations-from-foreign-countries/

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I fear that I am more an more sounding like a standard arrogant European, but perhaps Americans should have jumped over it, should have given the Bushes a message that their clan does not own the country and the world and, above all, should have elected someone other than Georgie W.

      • GBJames
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m among those who think we did elect someone else. The Supreme Court called it, not the voters.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          This.

        • chris moffatt
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          exactly right.

      • KD33
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        What I always tell my European friends: when observing American politics, keep in mind that 3 in 10 of us are batshit crazy. This election has brought those “3” into the light like never before.

        Remove them, and the discussion can actually be pretty rational.

  50. Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    When liberals tell each other to shush over malfeasances with other liberals, they are fueling the perception of Liberals as deceitful liars on the right because, guess what?

    I think a lot of liberals don’t realize that conservatives don’t just disappear under the bed when the elections are over. They have to be dealt with and when most of the conservative voter base doesn’t trust the liberal base because they keep trying to protect their own from criticism then why would they even consider cooperating when a liberal tries to convince them that so-and-some-such program is a good idea?

    We deplore lying for Jesus, why lie for Hillary? You can’t even think about having a conversation with a Trump leaning voter (guess what? Most Republicans are holding their nose and voting for Trump too!) without acknowledging that Clinton isn’t exactly the bees knees? Trump is actually more corrupt and has used money to sway politics to an even higher degree, but, in this race, “Yeah, Hillary sure screwed that one up, but did you know that Trump actually did this one thing worse?”

    Denying Clinton’s malfeasances and pretending she is the best candidate EVER just makes liberals seem stupid and out of touch, which fits most conservative opinions anyways so how does that help keep them from voting for Trump? Because that’s the real challenge isn’t it? Not to make sure democrats are going to vote for Hillary, but that those closer to and even over the fence don’t vote for Donald!

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      “…pretending she is the best candidate EVER…”

      That is just such a ridiculous strawman in this particular discussion.

  51. GBJames
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious about where the “stifle yourself” comments are. On the long list of responses above I’m not seeing any, although perhaps I missed something.

    FWIW, I agree about the substance of this post. I, too, am an unenthusiastic Hillary voter-to-be. Still, it is an incredibly easy decision, given today’s Republican Party.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I just saw #52. I was wrong about the lack of “stifle yourself” comments.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Where’s Archie Bunker when we need him? Or was it Meathead who said Stifle youself to Gloria?

        • GBJames
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          It was Archie, unless my memory cells are all trash. Which is a possibility.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 6, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            It was Archie to Edith.

            • merilee
              Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

              Didn’t he also call her Dingbat?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

                Yeah Archie wasn’t a very nice husband. I probably shouldn’t have watched so many episodes as an impressionable child but I think I turned out alright.

      • Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Look also at No. 46 and 47, and also No. 29 which was already dealt with by our host.

        • merilee
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Not sure we need to be tattle-tales…

  52. DarwinsHominid
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    You won’t shut up? Fine! I hope you enjoy the Trump presidency!

    • Posted September 7, 2016 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      Oh, I see: I am going to be personally responsible for Trump’s victory, which he is not going to get.

      BTW, your comment is uncivil.

  53. Posted September 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I think criticism of politicians is a good thing. I suppose some things I dislike about Obama are due to lavish praise and insufficient criticism of him.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      The Fox News Corp channels don’t play in Bulgaria? They do nothing but criticize the President 24/7 — enough to slake anyone’s thirst. 🙂

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention talk-radio!

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

          [Hey, DG — Entre nous, any idea what’s with these new avatars, most of ’em green? Did I miss some announcement?]

          • Diane G.
            Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:19 am | Permalink

            Hate to break this to you Ken, but I’m seeing the usual…

            Don’t be alarmed, but I think this means your device’s been commandeered by Nigerian Identity-Stealing Pirates. (NISP)

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 7, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

              Must be the signal that the corrupt Nigerian general’s widow is finally going to park all that filthy lucre in my bank account — either that, or it’s a psychedelic flashback.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

                Infinite noticed this too and I’ve seen it here and there. We thought it was a browser thing but maybe WP is just messing with us!

              • merilee
                Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

                Mine has stayed the same boring green.

      • Posted September 7, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes, most of our cable providers include it (but I do not watch it, and rarely open the site).
        I meant criticism by people of the center, and even by Democrates. If I am a soccer trainer, and the fans of the opposing team whistle at me, I won’t give a damn, because I expect nothing else from them. But if my team’s fans whistle… I may think.

  54. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of holding my nose and voting (and volunteering for) B.Liar.

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Every voting American should read that, those who can’t read, should have it read to them.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Excellent article!

  55. jeffery
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m already looking forward to 2020, hoping that we’ll have a BETTER choice of candidates!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Baring some unforeseen health circumstance, exactly three years from now, on the day after Labor Day 2019, I’d look for Madam President formally to announce her intention to seek reelection.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        er … “barring.” Not asking Hillz to go the full Monty.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:04 am | Permalink

          Hilarious gaffe! 😀

  56. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    When I was born Truman was the President. There has been a few disappointments since then but who’s counting. The United States has one of the poorest turnouts when voting time comes and it is getting worse all the time. So the quality of those to vote for continues to decline and the voters do the same. It’s suppose to be government by the people and half of them don’t even show up. Kind of a self-full filling thing I would say.

  57. peltonrandy
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    “She’s also lied about the Bosnia incident,…”

    Why are you so sure that this was a lie? Why is it not possible that she was a victim of a false memory, a phenomenon studied in psychology and which has some compelling evidence supporting it. As I am sure you know the human memory is susceptible to any number of misfirings. It is not uncommon for a person to conflate several different memories into one memory. I am more inclined to think this is what happened in her case than that she flat-out lied about it.

  58. docbill1351
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I think one of the greatest problems we face is the American public having the attention span of a fruit fly! (Apologies to your favorite thing, Jerry!)

    But, it’s true. Where is the exposition that shows what an awful, awful, awful job the Government has done with it’s IT deployment? Why are the VA computer records STILL screwed up after spending billions of dollars on software and systems?

    Why does the email services at the State Department stink so much that Hillary had to stand up her own server?

    What are the real issues with the Clinton Foundation? Are we so jaundiced that we believe that people who run foundations are on the fiddle?

    There are large and serious issues to discuss and that does not include musing about a southern wall. Yet we have become a people of the sound bite, the quick fix, the easy answer and above all else ENTERTAINMENT!

    Are we not yet ENTERTAINED? Well, buck-o’s, let’s elect Trump and burn the place down! That would be entertainment!

    Hillary Clinton is smart, seasoned, experienced, well-connected on the world stage, steady and strong. She’d make a fine president in spite of her voice and pantsuits. Seriously, what is wrong with people?

    • Merilee
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Poor Hillary and her pantsuits. I dare anyone, female or male, to stick to her kind of schedule in pantyhose😖

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:33 am | Permalink

        Maybe Joe Namath, back in the day…

        • Merilee
          Posted September 7, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          Lol

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I’m ok with pantyhose but not the shoes she probably has to wear.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Serious post by Doc Bill is serious.

      Fully concur, Doc.

      (I’ve long thought Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 specter of “the Parlor Walls” is a premonition come true. Rather than an informed citizenry we have masses enthralled by schlock.)

    • Filippo
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      ” . . . the American public having the attention span of a fruit fly!”

      Not when it comes to, e.g., the Kardashians, reality TV shows, Dancing with the Stars, scrutinizing the appearance of female TV news anchors, and assiduously checking their portable digital devices.

      ” . . . awful, awful, awful job the Government has done . . . .”

      Perhaps the private corporate tyrant Elon Musk should be put in charge, considering the unblemished track record of his driverless technology road tests and SpaceX launches. (Will U.S. taxpayers get at least a refund if not a dividend from their involuntary investment in SpaceX?)

      She’d make a fine president in spite of her voice and pantsuits.”

      Pray tell, what to do about the voice? Shall one pray for her to be delivered from this alleged vocal ailment? The herd expects her (and any other politician) to caterwaul and ululate and yell – into the microphone – as part of stroking the collective herd ego. (A raspy voice results from this, as was so evident with Bill Clinton.) Her voice is fine when she doesn’t have to raise it. (I don’t know of any voice that sounds dulcet and pleasing when it’s raised.)

      What ought she wear in lieu of pants suits? A semi-burqa (sp.?)? And hey, what about her hair? Some omniscient folks (like a certain female relative of mine – thankfully at a several hundred-mile distance) – in whose presence I bite my tongue to Keep The Peace when she holds forth at length about such crucial matters) believe that a woman of a certain age ought to wear her hair shorter. I never hear what specifically that age, or length, is. Male politicians are being giving short shrift in not having their sartorial and tonsorial choices similarly, monumentally fleaed (with our cousins the baboons the term is “groomed”) to death.

  59. Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Clinton’s e-mail shenanigans are anything but trivial. Excerpts from the relevant executive order and law, easily found on the Internet:

    E.O. 13526

    (b) Officers and employees of the United States Government, and its contractors, licensees, certificate holders, and grantees shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently:

    (1) disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified under this order or predecessor orders;

    U.S. Code 793 Section f:

    (f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

    Note in particular the references to negligence. The information in Hillary’s e-mail was most definitely relevant to the national defense.

    What it boils down to is what’s more important to you; the truth or the victory of your ingroup in an election.

    • JamesB
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      And yet the FBI who understand this law and the legal precedents about as least as well as you do declined to charge her and others with similar violations.

      So, I’m sticking with the experts. It was stupid, but not criminal.

      • Posted September 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        The law is clear. It was both criminal and stupid. I don’t defer to any “experts,” since I have worked in the classification business for over 20 years. The fact that Hillary wasn’t charged with a crime says nothing about the law, but speaks volumes about the integrity of the “experts” you refer to.

    • sullis02
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      What sanctions do you recommend, expert? For the 3 ‘C’ emails she passed?

      Something along the lines of the fine Petraeus got?

  60. Posted September 7, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    To those Bernie folks et al out there who plan to cast protest votes, rather than to vote for Hillary, please just bear in mind ‘discretion is the better part of valour’. IMO, you’ll have a better chance of fighting the good fight *without* Trump occupying the seat of power. Why take the risk of a wasted vote?

  61. JamesB
    Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m all in for Hillary, so take this as you will.

    I think a better explanation for the Bosnia story is that human memory sucks. Like Brian Williams story about being under fire or Reagan’s tale about him filming the liberation of NAZI Concentration Camps. It is well understood that our brains often merges memories together, especially when something dramatic happens or could happen.

    The facts of the story is that she did receive a number of warnings about sniper fire before and after she got on that plane. The opening ceremony was cut short due to the danger. She wasn’t hurried off the plane due to the danger as she later claimed she did.

    However, it also isn’t hard to imagine that over the next 10 years or so in her mind the warnings of sniper fire grew and the greeting ceremony replaced with her be rushed to safety.

    Of course, it could be me being overly generous here and trying excusing a direct lie she made. But I don’t think so based on my understanding of how human memory works. So I think like Brian Williams story and some of Reagan’s just as fanciful ones we should look at her Bosnia tale with more of a skeptical eye and the understanding that human memory is very fallible. Then use as a way to teach science, instead of an additional club to bash Hillary with.

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted September 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I think so, too. The trouble is that instead of saying that she instinctively lied, saying she’d misspoken. She misspoke extensively and repeatedly.

  62. sullis02
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Bash HRC all you want. Just don’t neglect to put her perceived sins in the context of *the other guy’s* sins.

    Because they are running against each other. For the f*cking Presidency. And it matters.

  63. merilee
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Somebody, Ken?, mentioned Ike a little while ago (can’t find where.) Last night on Charlie Rose, Fareed Zakaria mentioned that Ike was the only US President since WWII, I believe, NOT to send troops anwhere abroad, but only to Little Rock to help segregate schools.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I saw that on the TV machine just last night. (Zakaria on Ike and troops.)

      • merilee
        Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Micklethwaite, formerly editor of The Economist and now a bigwig at Bloomberg News, was also very good. (I just wish Charlie wouldn’t interrupt so much!)

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:06 am | Permalink

      In today’s political climate, I think Ike would have been a Democrat.

      (And of course you meant, “desegregate.” 😉 )


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