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Browsing Posts published in October, 2016

Michael Moore has released his new film ‘Trumpland” and you can see it here.

Salon has this review…

But the art of Moore’s political comedy has really taken a turn this election cycle. During the primary season, Moore released what I consider to be the most important film of his career: “Where to Invade Next,” which thinks deeply about how we can improve our nation by adopting the practices of a series of other countries that get it right. Turning the practice of U.S. military invasions on its head, Moore’s “invasion” strategy is to steal good ideas and bring them back to the United States. While Moore had spent most of his career exposing corruption, deception, abuse and exploitation, this film took a completely different angle. Rather than expose the negative and ugly, it celebrated the possible. While just as hilarious as his other films, “Where to Invade Next” delved into the failures caused by American exceptionalism and imagined ways our nation could come together and enact positive social change.

It is this side of Moore that we have to keep in mind in order to fully understand “Michael Moore in TrumpLand.” Rather than viciously attack Trump and praise Clinton, the film takes an entirely different tack: it begins by showing respect for Trump supporters, by understanding their rage, and by acknowledging their views — including their hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Even if that angle had been the sole contribution made by this  film, it would have been a revelation. This election has not just been a mud-slinging contest between candidates; Trump supporters have also been viciously attacked as stupid bigots filled with hate. The marquee of the theater where Moore is performing proclaims “Trump supporters are welcome.” Moore stays true to the invitation: he really does welcome them.

The Atlantic takes a look at one of the Libertarian Party’s priority issues – Privatized Education.  Jonathon Khee examines Why For-Profit Education Fails….

Indeed, over the past couple of decades, a veritable who’s who of investors and entrepreneurs has seen an opportunity to apply market discipline or new technology to a sector that often seems to shun both on principle. Yet as attractive and intuitive as these opportunities seemed, those who pursued them have, with surprising regularity, lost theireducation-fail shirts. JP Morgan backed Edison Schools’ ill-conceived effort to outsource public education in the late 1990s and saw the business lose 90 percent of its value during its four years as a public company; Goldman Sachs was one of many private-equity firms that came up empty after betting on the inevitable ascendance of for-profit universities; the billionaire Ronald Perelman shut down his futuristic K–12 educational-technology company, GlobalScholar, after spending $135 million and concluding that the software was faulty and a “mirage”; by the time the hedge-fund titan John Paulson was able to sell the last of his stake in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in 2015, he had likely lost hundreds of millions financing the company’s misguided mission to remake textbook publishing.

Not all financial investments in education end badly, but the number that have is notable, as are the magnitudes of the fiascos, in stark contrast to the successes of many of these same investors in other domains. The precise sources of failure in each instance are diverse, as are the educational subsectors targeted and the approaches pursued. But what many share is the sweeping nature of their ambition.

While FBI Director James Comey is violating protocol  by playing games with this election as documented in FBI Still Does Not Have Warrant To Review New Abedin Emails, it seems increasingly doubtful any illegal activity on the part of Hillary Clinton is involved.

That said, this election may involve law breakers as documented in 10 Ways Trump Broke The Law And Got Away With It from our friends at Alternet.

But nobody should confuse Clinton’s unfortunate use of a private email system in which a handful of classified messages seeped into the tens of thousands sent and received with Donald Trump’s lifetime of borderline criminality, as evidenced by being sued more than 4,500 times for his business practices, his extensive bilking of small businesses, his deliberate tax evasions, and his on-camera boasts of sexual assaults.Image result for Image, 10

Friday’s disclosure by FBI director James Comey, a Republican appointed by President Obama three years ago, will raise more questions than can be answered before Election Day. Others will parse the politics, noting the unnerving development serves the Trump-Republican National Committee strategy of suppressing voter turnout. A Bloomberg profile this week, quoting top Trump staffers, described this as the campaign’s only path to victory because Trump is stuck in the low 40s in polls.

What’s lost in the media frenzy over the FBI investigation is that Clinton’s mishandling of several dozen emails simply cannot be compared to Trump’s outrageous history of bending or breaking the law, and getting away with it.

“Trump launched his campaign with fraud, as the Trump Tower crowd that interrupted him 43 times with applause on June 16, 2015, consisted of actors paid fifty bucks apiece,” David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who has covered Trump since the 1980s and is the author of The Making of Donald Trump, wrote earlier this week. “For his whole life, Trump has cheated workers, shortchanges small business owners and ripped off investors, as courts have determined in some of the 4,500 Trump lawsuits.”

Here are 10 examples of Trump’s borderline or admitted criminality, all taken from The Making of Donald Trump, a book with 44 pages of source notes, and subsequent articles and interviews with Johnston.

Friday afternoon’s media extravaganza following the release of a letter from FBI Director James Comey has turned into a dozen eggs on the face of the “journalists” involved.  I know ratings and revenue to these multinational corporations is at stake but  responsibility seemed to be in order.  Media Matters has another perspective.

 

A dumb Friday evening media freak out

It was a usual Friday afternoon in late October, when all of a sudden seemingly the entire media freaked out. FBI Director James Comey had sent a formal letter to Congress about reviewing new materials related to Hillary Clinton’s email server when outlets lost it and ran with breathless, unconfirmed, and ultimately erroneous coverage. Instead of due diligence, media outlets substituted the spin of Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz. They completely ignored that Chaffetz just days earlier had promised to launch endless investigations of Clinton from the moment she was sworn in. As more information came out, journalists began criticizingoutlets for so easily failing for false Republican spin. This led to the humiliating spectacle of outlets being forced to walk back their over the top headlines within the span of an hour. The fact is that Chaffetz had spun the media with patently false information previously and the media should have known better. If this sounds remedial, it’s because it is. It should not take a media watchdog for media outlets to actually report stories and not just go into full meltdown mode because of partisan spin.

Andy Borowitz shares his take on the FBI’s investigation in Anthony Weiner…

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—James Comey, the embattled director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, presided over a special ceremony on Friday evening to commend the brave F.B.I. agents who had to touch Anthony Weiner’s computer.computer

In awarding the commendations to the agents, whom Comey called “the bravest men and women this country has to offer,” the F.B.I. director criticized the political uproar that he said had overshadowed “their selfless acts of heroism.”

“These agents have performed far and beyond the call of duty,” a visibly angry Comey said. “I know we’re eleven days away from an election and tensions are running high, but we shouldn’t let that subtract in any way from what these brave agents did with their own hands.”

“Who among us could look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘I have what it takes to touch Anthony Weiner’s computer’?” Comey asked. “I know I sure as hell couldn’t.”

Michael Stumo posted this piece on the tax avoidance practice of multinational corporations known as Transfer Pricing or Profit Shifting.  Learn all about it in The Progressive Tax Reform You’ve Never Heard Of…

Imagine we started a coffee business, Really Great Coffee USA, Inc., ten years ago. We had venture-capital backing to build our global coffee supply chain. We established prime retail locations across America and other countries, creating a world-beating brand that signifies quality, taste, and happiness.

Really Great Coffee, Inc. (RGC USA), has gone public. We as founders are now very wealthy because of our innovative and profitable business model—also because our tax and legal advisers had wonderful solutions to avoid U.S. corporate taxes. The U.S. statutory rate is 35 percent of taxable income, but because of various shelters it is effectively just over 27 percent. But even that 27 percent rate only applies to earnings booked as U.S. income. So the true rate can be far lower.

Early on, RGC USA set up subsidiaries in tax havens—countries with low populations and absurdly low tax rates. Our valuable brand and our coffee preparation patents are owned by RGC Luxembourg, a subsidiary created for the express purpose of avoiding taxes. Our lawyers wrote a contract saying that RGC USA must pay 6 percent of each sale to RGC Luxembourg for royalties. (Luxembourg has an effective corporate tax rate of just 1.1 percent.) And there are others to choose from.

Our tax advisers said RGC USA can buy the world’s best coffee beans, but that our subsidiary in the Cayman Islands should roast the beans, mark them up, and sell them to our Bermuda subsidiary. Our lawyers set up these subsidiaries and wrote another contract for RGC Cayman Islands to sell high-priced roasted coffee beans to RGC Bermuda. They said the high price was justified due to our special roasting processes, which may or may not exist. The effective tax rate in the Cayman Islands is less than 5 percent.

RGC Bermuda then grinds the roasted beans and sells them to RGC USA with a generous markup. Our lawyers said we do not need to justify the price, other than to agree with RGC Bermuda that the price is “fair and reasonable.” RGC Bermuda makes a lot of money—the effective tax rate in Bermuda is zero.

These purely internal transactions are accounting fictions, and we save a fortune in taxes. Our advisers called it “transfer pricing” and “profit shifting.” RGC USA reports virtually no taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service on U.S. sales. But we can and do report very high company profits to our shareholders because our RGC Luxembourg, RGC Cayman Islands, and RGC Bermuda make a lot of money.

New evidence reveals that the man who knows more about defeating ISIS than our generals and doesn’t think John McCain is a hero because he was captured but prefers people who weren’t captured is now explaining his deferment from service in the armed forces.  The details are in Donald Trump’s Draft Deferments: Four for College, One for Bad Feet…

Back in 1968, at the age of 22, Donald J. Trump seemed the picture of health.trump-mccain

He stood 6 feet 2 inches with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10.

But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels.

The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from military service as the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year.

The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam. The others were for education.

His experience during the era is drawing new scrutiny after the Muslim American parents of a soldier who was killed in Iraq publicly questioned whether Mr. Trump had ever sacrificed for his country. In an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention last week, the soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, directly addressed Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, saying, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Mr. Trump’s public statements about his draft experience sometimes conflict with his Selective Service records, and he is often hazy in recalling details.

Alas, Mr. Trump is not hazy on the sacrifices he has made…

Since Mr. Khan publicly addressed him in the Democratic convention speech last week, Mr. Trump has been pressed about his sacrifice, including by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” Mr. Trump said to Mr. Stephanopoulos. “I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”

Thursday in North Carolina the Stronger Together Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama for a historic rally.  Early voting is taking place in North Carolina and the energy was bubbling to the surface as these two accomplished ladies shared their take on the state of the race.  I hope you enjoy their comments as much as I did...Michelle and Hillary

Hillary Clinton Holds Campaign Rally With Michelle Obama in Winston-Salem, NC | First Lady Michelle Obama will campaign with Hillary Clinton for the first time at an early vote rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, today. The Clinton campaign has described Obama as its “not-so-secret weapon” on the trail as she’s crisscrossed the country campaigning for the former secretary of state.

The BBC had this account of the event…

The event at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem drew some 11,000 people, one of largest crowds of Mrs Clinton’s campaign.

She praised the first lady, saying: “Seriously, is there anyone more inspiring than Michelle Obama?”

Then Mrs Obama took to the stage, saying of the former first lady: “Yes, she is absolutely ready to be commander-in-chief on day one.

“And yes, she happens to be a woman!”

She said Mr Trump’s strategy was to “make this election so dirty and ugly that we want no part of it”.

“They are trying to take away your hope,” she told the crowd.

DT  is trying to get this video taken down so watch ASAP!  Shockingly, this interview with the orange man is focused on his opinions of the Clinton’s and their accomplishments.  looks like he was singing a different tune before he entered the race for the White House.conspiracy-theory

Of course, the transition from the real world to the alternative world of GOP conspiracies was required once he became a candidate.  While pandering is never a pleasant it has fueled the rise of more than one GOP opportunist. You will recognize some of these whoppers in  You Know These ARE ALL Debunked Hillary Conspiracy Theories , Right? 

According to Psychology Today, “conspiracy theories tap into some of our deepest desires, fears, and assumptions about the world, and resonate with our brain’s built-in quirks and foibles. In proposing that events are carefully controlled from behind the scenes, for example, conspiracy theories fit neatly with the intentionality bias—our tendency to assume that ambiguous events happened on purpose. By explaining significant events as the result of grand conspiracies, they tap into our assumption that big events have big causes. And by ceaselessly connecting otherwise unrelated dots, they satisfy our never-ending quest to explain what’s happening in the world around us.”

Clinton doesn’t control the media. There is no massive election rigging. Dead people aren’t voting. It’s just that Trump is losing support and so he’s preying on our inner demons. And our unfortunate tendency to believe this kind of nonsense.

“I don’t care what facts I read, Hillary is a crook and nothing will change my mind.”

Perhaps you are just looking to rationalize the fact that you don’t like her? If that’s true, just come out and say so. It’s a lot more honorable than peddling the snake oil we’ve listed above.

 

 

DailyKos  features this Jen Sorensen illustration of the media attempt at false equivalency….

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