Stephen Colbert Mocks Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Stephen Colbert mocked how Hillary Clinton handled the question when Scott Pelley asked her about lying on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Friday. Colbert asked, “How can you be this bad at it?! Just say no! You’re running for President of the United States!” Of course that would have been a lie. Colbert further mocked Clinton by bringing out a kid with better lying skills.

Earlier in the week Colbert mocked Clinton by going after the youth vote “with an ad on the youth-friendly social network, America Online.” He then described “Her new campaign slogan,” with the types of sounds we used to hear on dial up. Colbert suggested she might next attempt to attract the youth vote on Bingo night, with a Murder She Wrote Marathon, or on AM radio.

Colbert also took a call from Donald Trump last week.

Saturday Night Live had this skit on Bernie Sanders’ support among younger voters, with Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Jeb Bush came turned out to be the biggest loser.

Clinton Lies About Her Lying In Interview With Scott Pelley

Clinton Pelley Interview

Scott Pelley asked Hillary Clinton a hard question considering that a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 67 percent of voters said they don’t think Clinton honest and trustworthy, with only  30 percent saying she is. Even 3o percent of Democrats do not think she is honest and trustworthy.

PELLEY: You know, in ’76, Jimmy Carter famously said, “I will not lie to you.”

CLINTON: Well, I have to tell you I have tried in every way I know how literally from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as secretary of state to level with the American people.

PELLEY: You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?

CLINTON: I’ve always tried to. Always. Always.

PELLEY: Some people are gonna call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself.

CLINTON: Well, no, I’ve always tried —

PELLEY: I mean, Jimmy Carter said, “I will never lie to you.”

CLINTON: Well, but, you know, you’re asking me to say, “Have I ever?” I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever will. I’m gonna do the best I can to level with the American people.

Chris Cillizza discussed what a horrible answer this is:

First, it does nothing at all to quell concerns about her ability to be honest and straightforward. In the New Hampshire exit poll, more than one in three (34 percent) of all Democratic primary voters said that honesty was the most important trait in their decision on which candidate to support. Of that bloc, Bernie Sanders won 92 percent of their votes as compared to just 6 percent for Clinton.

That’s broadly in keeping with national polling over the last year, which has consistently shown large majorities of voters voicing skepticism about Clinton’s trustworthiness. Her answer to that criticism has, to date, been to blame it on a Republican party obsessed with her and willing to say or do anything to tarnish her reputation.  There’s truth in that but, as the New Hampshire exit numbers suggest, the problem is bigger than just Republicans out to get her.

Second, the answer from Clinton on honesty reinforces a perception that the former secretary of state tries to play with words, giving a heavily couched response when a simple one would — and should — do. You can imagine people rolling their eyes or saying, “Why doesn’t she just answer the question?” while watching that painful response by Clinton.

I’ve been told that there are 2, 10 and 15 minute versions of “Clinton Lies Compilation” on YouTube. I am more concerned about the four or eight year version of Clinton Lies we will see if she is elected.

Either Clinton is lying again here, or she is delusional. Maybe she thought she was telling the truth when she claimed that there were ties between Saddam and al Qaeda in the run up to the Iraq war. In that case she was either lying or showed she is incompetent to manage our foreign policy. She took plenty of heat last fall for her revisionist history on supporting the Defense of Marriage Act.

As I mentioned in December, Factcheck.org had quite a list of lies from Clinton in their article naming Donald Trump the King of Whoppers. And that list of whoppers from Clinton was far from complete. I discussed the types of dishonesty we have seen from Clinton back in November. Plus there were her lies in the last Democratic debate, which even a former Clinton adviser has chastised her for.

Hillary Clinton claiming she is not a liar is as ridiculous as Richard Nixon saying he is not a crook. Or as ridiculous as Clinton claiming to be a progressive.

Clinton Liar

Sanders Continues To Gain On Clinton In Polls; Does Better Than Clinton Against GOP

Sanders Clinton

The Hill summarizes the problems faced by the Clinton campaign:

Tightening race rattles Clinton World’s nerves

Allies of Hillary Clinton are growing nervous as the Democratic presidential race with Bernie Sanders tightens ahead of contests in Nevada and South Carolina.

A new CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday found Clinton with a 1-point lead in Nevada, which hosts its caucuses on Saturday. That’s a huge change from the 23-point lead Clinton enjoyed in a late December poll by Gravis.

In South Carolina, which hosts its primary election on Feb. 27, Clinton has a more comfortable 18-point lead according to a CNN/ORC poll. But even that edge has narrowed since Sanders crushed her in New Hampshire’s primary last week.

As recently as mid-January, a poll from NBC, The Wall Street Journal and Marist found Clinton with a 33-point lead in South Carolina.

“I don’t get it. I don’t think anyone expected this race to look like this,” said one former Clinton aide who maintains ties with the campaign. “A big loss in New Hampshire, basically a tie going into Nevada. You have to ask yourself, ‘What’s next?’ ”

Team Clinton maintains confidence that its lead in South Carolina will hold, but the potential loss in Nevada has put people on edge about a “domino effect” in which states could fall one by one to Sanders as he gains momentum…

Quinnipiac, NBC, and Fox all have bad news for Clinton.

Quinnipiac, which has also shown the national race to be near tied in their last two polls, shows Sanders doing  better than Clinton in head to head matchups against Republicans:

  • Sanders over Trump 48 – 42 percent;
  • Sanders tops Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 49 – 39 percent;
  • Sanders leads Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida 47 – 41 percent;
  • Sanders beats Bush 49 – 39 percent;
  • Sanders edges Kasich 45 – 41 percent.
  • Clinton with 44 percent to Trump’s 43 percent;
  • Cruz with 46 percent to Clinton’s 43 percent;
  • Rubio topping Clinton 48 – 41 percent;
  • Bush at 44 percent to Clinton’s 43 percent;
  • Kasich beating Clinton 47 – 39 percent.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll still has Clinton leading in the national polls but her lead has fallen from twenty-five points a month ago to eleven points in the latest poll.

While possibly an outlier, Fox now has Sanders leading Clinton nationally:

Bernie Sanders now tops Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination.

The latest Fox News national poll finds 47 percent of Democratic primary voters now back the Vermont senator, up from 37 percent in January.  Clinton gets 44 percent, down from 49 percent a month ago.

CLICK TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

This is the first time Sanders has been ahead of Clinton, who not long ago was regularly described as the “presumptive Democratic nominee.”

Clinton led Sanders in the Fox poll by as many as 46 points last summer, and had a 22-point lead as recently as two months ago.

Sanders also does better against Trump than Clinton does:

Sanders outperforms Clinton in a hypothetical matchup against Republican front-runner Donald Trump.  He leads Trump by 53-38 percent.  Clinton has a narrower five-point edge over Trump:  47-42 percent.

It appears that Clinton’s smear campaign is not working, and might be backfiring against her.

Misguided Fear of Bernie Sanders From The Center

Thomas Friedman NY Times

Thomas Friedman is again upset that everyone is not firmly in the middle of the road and does not understand why so many voters are opposing the establishment of both parties:

I find this election bizarre for many reasons but none more than this: If I were given a blank sheet of paper and told to write down America’s three greatest sources of strength, they would be “a culture of entrepreneurship,” “an ethic of pluralism” and the “quality of our governing institutions.” And yet I look at the campaign so far and I hear leading candidates trashing all of them.

Donald Trump is running against pluralism. Bernie Sanders shows zero interest in entrepreneurship and says the Wall Street banks that provide capital to risk-takers are involved in “fraud,” and Ted Cruz speaks of our government in the same way as the anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist, who says we should shrink government “to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” (Am I a bad person if I hope that when Norquist slips in that bathtub and has to call 911, no one answers?)

Simon Maloy responded to his column:

Thomas Friedman is terribly perplexed. The New York Times columnist asks “Who Are We?” this morning, a question prompted by his chilling realization that some of this year’s presidential candidates are doing quite well despite not believing in the same things as Thomas Friedman. This disturbing rebuke of Friedmanism has left the man unnerved and unsure, grasping for any sort of anchor as the world he observes from inside taxi cabs and airports stops making sense…

The rap on Sanders, per Friedman is that he’s too hard Wall Street “fraud” and insufficiently celebratory of entrepreneurship. Bernie is “right that Wall Street excesses helped tank the economy in 2008,” Friedman allows, but “thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that can’t easily happen again.” Oh, well, if it’s more difficult now for the engine of wealth inequality to nearly destroy the global economy with its “excesses,” then what is Bernie’s problem? As for entrepreneurship, Friedman thinks Bernie needs to talk it up more because “we’re not socialists.” (If you’d like to read Sanders extolling the virtues of entrepreneurs and small businesses and explaining the threat Wall Street poses to both, I’d direct you to this interview and this debate.)

Yes, if Friedman had wanted to write about how those angry on the right are misguided in supporting either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz I would agree. Unfortunately Friedman himself is misguided in his evaluation of Bernie Sanders. Sanders’ goal, despite the Democratic Socialist label, is to reform and repair our capitalist system, not replace it with Socialism, following years of abuse by Republicans (along with DLC neoliberals or New Democrats such as Bill Clinton).

Of course we should not be surprised when people have a misleading view of Sanders’ views in light of the distortions from the Clinton campaign and red-baiting by her surrogates. The reality is that Sanders has repeatedly expressed support for the role of entrepreneurship while criticizing the “casino capitalism” we now have. As I have discussed previously, there was no Red Dawn in Vermont when Sanders was mayor of Burlington. Inc, Magazine even found the Burlington to be the best city in the Northeast for a growing business when Sanders’ director of community and economic development succeeded him as mayor.

There has been a lot of similar expressions of shock by centrists since Sanders’ victory in the New Hampshire primary, where, incidentally Sanders’ margin of victory among moderates was almost identical as it was among liberals. Robert Reich, the Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, had this to say about the of misinterpretation of the primary results:

You will hear pundits analyze the New Hampshire primaries and conclude that the political “extremes” are now gaining in American politics – that the Democrats have moved to the left and the Republicans have moved to the right, and the “center” will not hold.

Baloney. The truth is that the putative “center” – where the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” of the 1990s found refuge, where George W. Bush and his corporate buddies and neoconservative advisers held sway, and where Barack Obama’s Treasury Department granted Wall Street banks huge bailouts but didn’t rescue desperate homeowners – did a job on the rest of America, and is now facing a reckoning.

The “extremes” are not gaining ground. The anti-establishment ground forces of the American people are gaining. Some are so fed up they’re following an authoritarian bigot. Others, more wisely, are signing up for a “political revolution” to take back America from the moneyed interests.

That’s the real choice ahead.

Reich also recently wrote that, “Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.” Unfortunately some centrists such as Friedman fear change, no matter how badly it is needed.

Former Clinton Adviser Chastises Hillary For Her Smear Campaign Against Sanders

Clinton Liar

Former Clinton adviser Bill Curry predicted in June that Bernie Sanders would beat Hillary Clinton. We do not know yet if his prediction will come true, but Sanders has definitely beaten expectations. In response, Hillary Clinton did exactly what would be predicted–launch a dishonest smear campaign. Curry now writes that The Clintons really don’t get it: False attacks and failed strategies as Hillary repeats 2008.

How Clinton lost is as telling as the historic margin she lost by. Just as in 2008, she presented as a hawk to a party bone-weary of war. Now as then, her high-dollar, tone-deaf, leak-prone campaign telegraphed every punch. Her backers harp on her experience — but experience only counts if you learn from it. Eight years later, Clinton makes the exact same mistakes. Still, party elites have bet the farm she’ll have it all sorted out by October. Dangerous wager.

She isn’t learning from this race, either. Her response to New Hampshire has been to double-down on her strategy. How such a bright person could be such a slow learner is a mystery. Her worst moments prior to New Hampshire were her ham-handed attempts to take down Sanders. Chelsea distorted his healthcare plans, Bill ripped his character. Hillary accused him of an “artful smear” for suggesting, obviously, that banks give to super PACs to influence policy. She voiced “concern” over reports he’d mingled with real live lobbyists at Democratic fundraisers. But to many voters the Clintons attacking Sanders’ integrity was like draft-avoider George W. Bush swift-boating Purple Heart-winner John Kerry — except this time it backfired, and her whole family took the hit.

At this point she might have decided to curtail the personal attacks, but alas, no. In a public television debate two days after the primary, she waited till the last second to launch an attack, this time on Sanders’ alleged disloyalty to Obama. It seems this will be a principal theme going forward, so in case you missed, a sample:

“Today Senator Sanders said President Obama failed the presidential leadership test…. he has called him weak. He has called him a disappointment. He wrote a forward for a book that basically argued voters should have buyers’ remorse when it comes to President Obama’s leadership and legacy it is the kind of criticism I expect from Republicans. Calling the president weak…  [Saying] several times he should have a primary opponent when he ran for re-election…”

Much of this is flat-out false; all is shorn of context and rife with what Politifact called “half-truths.” Bill Press wrote a book criticizing Obama, but Sanders didn’t write the foreword (just a blurb that doesn’t criticize Obama). He never called Obama weak or a disappointment, though he once said Obama showed weakness in budget negotiations. Talking to a radio host who wanted Obama primaried, Sanders said open debate was a good thing. But notice in the above quote how Clinton, the Mary Lou Retton of syntax, made it seem Sanders said all these things.

When Clinton at last holstered her weapon, moderators Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill, who’d done yeoman’s work to that point, said there wasn’t time for Sanders to answer her final fusillade, but that he could do so in his closing remarks. Off balance for the first time all night, he split the difference, which made for a weak finish to an otherwise strong performance. Too bad; he deserved a chance at a full rebuttal even if it meant shaving a minute or two off “Antiques Roadshow.”

Clinton’s playing an explosive game, especially since she herself spent much of 2015 sniping at Obama. When Obama described his foreign policy as “Don’t do stupid stuff,” she ridiculed him. When he wouldn’t violate international law by declaring a no-fly zone in Syria, she broke with him. She talks a lot about being commander in chief. She must know it’s hard to be one when your old secretary of state is taking shots at you. Ironically enough, on foreign policy Sanders has been more loyal to Obama than Clinton, but the irony doesn’t end there.

As Hillary laced into Sanders, Bill was miles away lacing into Obama. In a listless swipe at the banking system, he said, “Yeah, it’s rigged, because you don’t have a president who’s a change maker.” It’s what Hillary accuses Bernie of saying. (Note too, the tacit admission that Bernie’s right on Dodd Frank.) All in all, Hillary looks cunning, not loyal. Because integrity is for her what intelligence was for Dan Quayle, she can ill afford to appear hypocritical or be caught doctoring the truth.

Clinton’s ad hominem attacks — call it the politics of personal destruction — poison the air around her. Just before New Hampshire, deservedly beloved feminist icon Gloria Steinem told Bill Maher that young women join Sanders’ campaign to meet guys. Steinem got taken to the Internet woodshed for making a lighthearted, self-deprecating joke, on a comedy show, no less, but only because the tone of Clinton’s campaign is so rancid. Clinton must see how her scorched-earth policy hurts her family, her friends and her campaign, but for her there’s never any turning back.

I had also debunked several of Clinton’s dishonest attacks at the last debate here.

Curry proceeded to discuss other unsavory aspects of the campaign, later discussing the Black Caucus PAC endorsement and actions of the DNC to improve Clinton’s chances of winning:

The real problem with the Black Caucus PAC endorsement isn’t anything Lewis said, but the way Washington works. Only seven of 46 caucus members voted on the caucus endorsement but 11 lobbyists voted, including at least two tobacco and two healthcare industry lobbyists. Like the Iowa Democratic Party, the PAC won’t reveal the tally — but we know at least two of the seven actual members voted no.

On Friday we learned that DNC chairwoman and Clinton lifer Debbie Wasserman Schultz ended Obama’s ban on federal contractors donating to the party. (So much for loyalty to Obama.) On Wednesday we learned Clinton will get a majority of New Hampshire delegates despite losing in a landslide. Schultz told CNN the reason 700 unelected superdelegates get to vote at the convention is to spare grass-roots activists the burden of having to primary them. No matter how much money Schultz wrings from contractors or how many superdelegates Clinton piles up in states Sanders wins, it won’t equal the price they pay for such cynicism.

He discussed Bill Clinton’s Neoliberal views which he states are “killing the middle class.” He concluded:

 When Clinton isn’t calling Sanders a traitor, she says she shares his goals. But she doesn’t. Clinton was part of the neoliberal revolt that destroyed the Roosevelt coalition and she is as we’ve seen, a woman of markedly fixed views. She may be Obama’s heir, but Sanders is FDR’s. She campaigns as she does out of habit, and to hide the very real choice. The neoliberal experiment is over. Democrats, proud heirs to Franklin Roosevelt, are ready to come home.

In 2008 several prominent Democrats, including Ted Kennedy, cited false attacks from Clinton in their endorsement of Obama over Hillary Clinton.  Hopefully more Democrats will see through Clinton’s dishonest campaign this year, especially as there is the danger that, if elected, she would govern with the same disregard for the truth. After all, what could go wrong electing someone who is both a pathological liar and a war monger?

Updates in Related Posts about Clinton’s Lying:

Clinton’s Latest Deceitful Statement: “I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.” Includes multiple lies from Clinton during the campaign.
What’s Wrong With Hillary? One Big Problem Is All Her Lying
Democratic Strategists Finally Realizing There Is Danger In Nominating A Candidate Who Is Disliked and Distrusted Like Clinton

Scalia, Trump, and Clinton on Civil Liberties

Scalia Clinton

The recent death of Antonin Scalia (which I discussed here when the news first broke) has led to a lot of well-deserved criticism of his record. While his conservative votes have been damaging in some areas, it should be kept in mind when evaluating the candidates that, on civil liberties issues, Hillary Clinton is to the right of Scalia.

I have previously discussed Clinton’s conservative record on civil liberties issues in posts such as here and here during this election cycle.Civil liberties were a bigger election issue eight years ago during the conclusion of George Bush’s presidency. This was discussed in a post here, which also notes the expansion of police powers under Bill Clinton. During the 2008 campaign Hillary Clinton was the only Democrat who refused to sign a pledge to restore Constitutional liberties. All the Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, also refused to sign. The Nation wrote:

The effort to get presidential contenders to sign on the American Freedom Pledge has been promoted by organizations ranging from the Center for Constitutional Rights to Human Rights Watch, MoveOn.org , Amnesty International USA, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and True Majority.

The pledge is anything but radical. It simply asks candidates to affirm a statement that reads: “We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people’s phones and emails without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power. I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from attack by any President.”

Truth-Out had an article in December which looked at Hillary Clinton’s legacy of moving the Democratic Party to the right as she promoted the policies of the Democratic Leadership Council, and included her record on civil liberties while in the Senate:

More importantly, Clinton adopted the DLC strategy in the way she governed. She tried to portray herself as a crusader for family values when she introduced legislation to ban violent video games and flag burning in 2005.

While generally extremely conservative, Antonin Scalia was often liberal on civil liberties issues. Slate has reviewed the occasions in which Scalia did side with liberals. This includes opposition to laws against both flag burning and restrictions on video games. Both were discussed in further detail, with the conclusions below:

In the end, Scalia’s vote was decisive: A bare five-justice majority ruled that the First Amendment protected the right to burn the American flag. An incensed Congress quickly passed a federal statute banning flag burning nationwide—a law which the same five justices struck down the very next term…

Once again, Scalia’s vote here proved decisive: He wrote a lively majority opinion for just five justices, holding that a state could not constitutionally forbid children from accessing violent expression. Two justices held that states could sometimes censor violent video games; two justices held that states always could. But Scalia’s spirited pro-speech opinion garnered the necessary votes to become the law of the land.

Clinton not only comes out unfavorably when compared to Scalia on civil liberties. Techdirt compared recent statements from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in which both showed their lack of respect for freedom of speech. Here is a quote from each, starting with Donald Trump:

We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet. We have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people. We have a lot foolish people.

The speaking style was a little different, but the views expressed by Hillary Clinton were no different:

You’re going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, et cetera. But if we truly are in a war against terrorism and we are truly looking for ways to shut off their funding, shut off the flow of foreign fighters, then we’ve got to shut off their means of communicating. It’s more complicated with some of what they do on encrypted apps, and I’m well aware of that, and that requires even more thinking about how to do it.

Of course Donald Trump has made many other statements which are abhorrent on civil liberties issues, but it remains disturbing that on an issue as fundamental as freedom of speech there is so little difference between Trump and Clinton.

Often followers of a candidate demonstrate the same values as the candidate. I have found this to be the case with many followers of Hillary Clinton. I have received a lot of arguments from conservatives who disagree, and sometimes get quite upset, when I criticize Republican politicians. However I find the response from Clinton supporters to be even worse. They not only get upset about criticism of Clinton, but beyond disagreeing their arguments quite often center around claims that it is wrong to criticize Hillary Clinton. At least conservatives understand that criticism of their candidates is part of living in a democracy. Far too many Clinton supporters do not have this rudimentary understanding of freedom of expression.

SciFi Weekend: Bryan Fuller Named Star Trek Showrunner; Valentines Day For Marvel Heroes; Agent Carter; Gilmore Girls; Flash & Supergirl; Outlander; 11/22/63; Better Call Saul; House of Cards; Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton As Comic Book Leads

Bryan Fuller Star Trek
Bryan Fuller has been named to be the showrunner for the upcoming Star Trek television series on the CBS All Access streaming service starting in January 2017. Fuller has certainly demonstrated his skills in running a first class genre series with his work on Hannibal. He is also a long time Star Trek fan:

“My very first experience of ‘Star Trek’ is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls. Before seeing a frame of the television series, the ‘Star Trek’ universe lit my imagination on fire,” said Fuller. “It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of ‘Star Trek’ with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no ‘Star Trek’ series has gone before.

Fuller also has experience with Star Trek, including writing two episodes of Deep Space Nine (which he has called his favorite Star Trek series) and twenty episodes of Star Trek: Voyager.

Variety reports that “The creative plan is for the series to introduce new characters and civilizations, existing outside of the mythology charted by previous series and the current movie franchises.” This still leaves open whether it will occur in the Roddenberry or Abrams time line, at what point it time it will occur, and whether it will encompass the entire Star Trek universe or be more limited as Voyager was.

For Valentines Day we have a special edition of Marvel Super Heroes in the video above.

Elsewhere in the Marvel universe, there is now a question as to whether Agent Carter will return as Haley Atwell has been cast in a pilot for an ABC drama entitled Conviction. It sounds doubtful that she will return to Agent Carter if the pilot is picked up, although this is a series which might return at any point in the future as time allows.

Girlmore Girls Rory Jess

Being Valentines Day, it is also significant that yet another of Rory’s old boyfriends has been cast for the Gilmore Girls revival, now adding Milo Ventimiglia. In an unexpected addition, Sutton Foster has also been cast. Will she reprise her role as Michelle and make this a Gilmore Girls/Bunheads cross over episode, will Foster play another Lorelei stand-in, or will she have an entirely different part.

Supergirl Flash Instragram

Grant Gustin has uploaded the first picture of himself and Melissa Benoist in this Glee reunion and Flash/Supergirl cross over.

The latest trailer for Outlander deals with attempting to change the future due to Claire’s knowledge of history. Outlander returns on Saturday, April 9th at 9pm ET.

11.22.63 also deals with attempts to change historical events. It premiers tomorrow and it is disappointing that USA Today gives it a very poor review, advising to just watch the final episode if you are curious as to what happens. The New York Times and IGN have more mixed reviews. Adaptations of Stephen King novels do not have the greatest track record on television, as with Under The Dome.

The New York Times has a much better review for Better Call Saul, which returns for its second season tomorrow.

The latest trailer above for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which premiers on March 25th, 2016.

Syfy has renewed The Magicians for a second season.

Aniz Ansari’s Master of None has been renewed by Netflix for a second season.

House of Cards  returns to Netflix on March 4th. Trailer above.

Amazon has renewed Mozart in the Jungle for a third season. The show recently Best Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe awards and Gael Garcia Bernal won for Best Performance in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.

Bernie Sanders Comic

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are the stars of their own comics. More on the comics here.

Accusations Of Lying Dominate Republican Debate

It was a difficult week in debates for the truth. I already discussed the dishonesty from Hillary Clinton at the PBS Democratic Debate. At the CBS Republican debate in South Carolina (transcript here) there were accusations during the debate of candidates telling lies nineteen times. This doesn’t include any lies which fact checkers  have found.

Donald Trump was in the rare position of being the one telling the truth when he pointed out that George W. Bush got us into the Iraq war based upon lies:

“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right?” Trump thundered when asked about his call for then-President George W. Bush to be impeached. “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.”

Trump added, “George Bush made the mistake. We can make mistakes, but that one was a beauty.”

Trump later pointed out that Jeb was wrong about his brother keeping us safe:

“The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe,” he continued. “The world Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton [didn’t] kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him. And George Bush– by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his C.I.A.”

“How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center…excuse me, I lost hundreds of friends!” Trump said as the crowd booed loudly.

On the other hand, I’m not sure how Bill Clinton could be blamed when the Republican Congress obstructed his attempts to fight al Qaeda, and they certainly did not give any credit to the president who did kill bin Laden.

Trump called Ted Cruz the biggest liar, probably a position he holds due to being his most serious challenger at the moment:

TRUMP: You probably are worse than Jeb Bush. You are single biggest liar. This guys lied – let me just tell you, this guy lied about Ben Carson when he took votes away from Ben Carson in Iowa and he just continues. Today, we had robo-calls saying. “Donald Trump is not going to run in South Carolina,” — where I’m leading by a lot.”

I’m not going to vote for Ted Cruz. This is the same thing he did to Ben Carson. This guy will say anything, nasty guy. Now I know why he doesn’t have one endorsement from any of his colleagues.

CRUZ: Don, I need to go on…

TRUMP: He’s a nasty guy.

CRUZ: I will say, it is fairly remarkable to see Donald defending Ben after he called, “pathological,” and compared him to a child molester. Both of which were offensive and wrong.

Cruz counterattacked with an attack on Donald Trump for supporting funding of Planned Parenthood. Trump then defended Planned Parenthood despite his current (but not past) opposition to abortion rights:

CRUZ: You said, “Planned Parenthood does wonderful things and we should not defund it.”

TRUMP: It does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion.

CRUZ: So I’ll tell you what…

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me, there are wonderful things having to do with women’s health.

CRUZ: You see you and I…

TRUMP: But not when it comes to abortion.

In yet another exchange which came down to honesty, Marco Rubio made this accusation against Ted Cruz:

I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish.

Cruz then responded in Spanish.

Implications Of The Death Of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

scalia-jpg

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a Texas ranch where he was staying while on a hunting trip at age 79. He was appointed to the Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986. His conservative rulings have had a profound, and negative, effect on the country during that time.

The legal and political ramifications are likely to be enormous. The next several months could be dominated by a fight over confirmation of Obama’s appointment, likely expanding the range of issues which the presidential candidates must discuss over the next several months. Voters might think more about issues such as reproductive rights and voting rights, which could be greatly influenced by the balance of the court, during the election year.

Republicans might try to prevent any Obama appointee from being confirmed hoping that a Republican could be elected an make the next choice. Such obstructionism might also backfire against the Republicans, along with demonstrating how many of their views are not accepted by a majority of Americans. It is also possible that Democratic Senators will block right wing choices should there be a Republican president in 2017.

For the current year (and possibly beyond) this means one less conservative vote on matters the Supreme Court is now considering, including  abortion rights,  affirmative action, and another challenge to Obamacare. I also wonder to what degree Scalia was able to influence any swing justices to side with the conservatives. There is also the possibility of some matters coming down to a four to four tie.

The Washington Post had an article in December suggesting that  tie votes on the court, due to a vacancy, will favor liberals, even if the author doesn’t seem happy with that prospect:

Thanks to a wealth of recent Democratic appointments on the lower courts, letting the Supreme Court go down to eight justices would favor liberals. Conservatives wouldn’t like the regime of liberal rulings that would govern in most of the nation without Supreme Court oversight. And the prospect of liberal dominance may actually stiffen the spine of the historically more accommodating Senate Democrats…

A Supreme Court vacancy would favor liberals, because an eight-member court would often divide 4 to 4, affirming the decisions of the predominantly liberal lower courts.

Ties would be most common if the vacant seat belonged to swing voter Kennedy. If Scalia were the one to leave, Kennedy’s conservative tilt would sometimes generate the ties, barring the occasional walkabout from Chief Justice John Roberts. And if Ginsburg or Breyer left, Kennedy would side with the three remaining liberals often enough to sometimes tie the court in important cases. In addition to his much-touted vote for same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, Kennedy has voted with the liberals in civil rights and environmental cases, to rein in partisan redistricting and to grant Guantanamo prisoners the right to challenge their detention.

A tied Supreme Court traditionally issues a per curiam, or unsigned, decision affirming the ruling of the lower court. So under an eight-member court that regularly produced split decisions, each circuit would be like a little Supreme Court of its own. Obama has overseen a significant transformation of the federal courts, with nine circuits now dominated by Democratic appointments and only four by Republicans. On really important cases, the circuit courts are likely to meet en banc, with most or all of the judges sitting, meaning raw numerical dominance will always matter.

The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th circuits, where conservative decisions would stand in the case of Supreme Court ties, mostly cover red states in the South and Midwest. Only some of the Great Lakes states are caught offsides. Meanwhile, the blue states on the coasts, along with purple Western states such as Colorado, are in liberal circuits. But here’s the kicker: Since most of the circuits are controlled by liberals, much of the conservative heartland is marooned in blue circuits. Arizona, Idaho and Montana are in the much-reversed liberal 9th Circuit. The entire Southeast, from Virginia to Florida, is covered by two circuits liberalized by Obama appointees. One liberal circuit, the 10th, has just one reliably blue state, New Mexico.

Update: Mitch McConnel says that a new justice should not be chosen until after the election.  SCOTUSbLog has more on cases currently under consideration. President Obama is about to speak as I am typing this, and is expected to say he will be nominating someone despite GOP objections.

Lacking A Message, Clinton Again Relies On Misinformation In PBS Debate

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At the PBS Democratic Debate Hillary Clinton recycled some old lies about Sanders, and created some new ones. I’ll debunk some of each. The full transcript can be found here.

An early point of contention between the candidates was over health care, with Clinton falsely claiming that “before it was called Obamacare, it was called Hillarycare.” No, actually Hillarycare was a seriously flawed plan with major differences from Obamacare.  Making matters worse, Hillary got Bill to agree to veto any other health care proposals. The Republican counter proposal was far closer to Obamacare, although, not surprisingly, it was friendlier to the insurance industry. Clinton kept us from getting either something close to Obamacare, along with any other Democratic proposal. She was hardly a progressive who gets things done.

Clinton continued to portray Medicare For All as eliminating other plans while ignoring all of its advantages. Although single payer is far less expensive than our current system, Clinton claims we would “actually be worse off than they are right now.” How could we possibly be worse off if we no longer have to pay towards the corporate profits of the health insurance industry, not to mention its huge infrastructure? How could we possibly be worse off than with the current high premiums on the individual market, which still leave us with astronomical deductibles? Clinton talks about this as starting over, but Medicare for All is actually just expansion of a highly successful program.

They next disagreed over expansion of Social Security as Sanders and most progressive Democrats advocate. Slate discussed this further in an article entitle Clinton’s Social Security Plan Is a Little Hazy. And Sanders Called Her Out on It.

Clinton tried to hide the major differences in how their campaigns are funded in claiming, “I’m very proud of the fact that we have more than 750 thousand donors, and the vast majority of them are giving small contributions.” That is probably why I keep getting emails from the Clinton campaign asking for a $1 donation. By asking for $1 they can pad the numbers. The real source of Clinton’s donations can be seen from how the DNC just rolled back their limitations from lobbyists. It is just one more way in which the DNC is acting to help Clinton, and smelling a lot more like the RNC.

Sanders pointed out the difference:

What we are talking about in reality is a corrupt campaign finance system, that’s what we’re talking about. We have to be honest about it. It is undermining American democracy.

When extraordinarily wealthy people make very large contributions to Super PACs, and in many cases in this campaign, Super PACs have raised more money than individual candidates have, OK? We had a decision to make early on, do we do a Super PAC? And, we said no. We don’t represent Wall Street, we don’t represent the billionaire class, so it ends up I’m the only candidate up here of the many candidates who has no Super PAC. But, what we did is we said to the working families of this country, look, we know things are tough, but if you want to help us go beyond establishment politics, and establishment economics, send us something. And, it turns out that up until — and this has blown me away, never in a million years would I have believed that I would be standing here tonight telling you that we have received three and a half million individual contributions from well over a million people.

Now, Secretary Clinton’s Super PAC, as I understand it, received $25 million dollars last reporting period, $15 million dollars from Wall Street. Our average contribution is $27 dollars, I’m very proud of that.

When Clinton tried to dodge the issue, Sanders went on:

SANDERS: The people aren’t dumb. Why in God’s name does Wall Street… (APPLAUSE) But let’s not — but let’s not — let’s not insult — let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren’t dumb.Why in God’s name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it; they want to throw money around.

Why does the pharmaceutical industry make huge campaign contributions? Any connection maybe to the fact that our people pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?

Why does the fossil fuel industry pay — spend huge amounts of money on campaign contributions? Any connection to the fact that not one Republican candidate for president thinks and agrees with the scientific community that climate change is real and that we have got to transform our energy system?

Factcheck.org also pointed out Clinton’s dishonesty in claiming that Sanders “took about $200,000 from Wall Street firms” through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. While Sanders did receive money from the DSCC, which hardly sounds like a crime, Factcheck.org pointed out that a relatively small percentage of the DSCC’s contributions came from Wall Street.

Sanders attacked Clinton regarding her views on regime change, including in Iraq and Libya. Clinton repeated her previous tactic of lying about Sanders’ record in bringing up resolutions he voted for which had nothing to do with overthrowing other governments by force in Iraq and Libya as Clinton advocated. As I discussed after the third debate, Politico fact-checked this and pointed out the resolution Clinton referred to was a nonbinding resolution “calling on Qaddafi to desist from further violence, recognize the Libyan people’s demand for democratic change, [and] resign his position.” This is far different from the promotion of the removal of Qaddafi by force which Clinton orchestrated, leading to catastrophic results. Similarly, the resolution regarding Iraq which Clinton keeps mentioning was to promote the move towards democracy in Iraq. Sanders supported economic sanctions and did not support the invasion of Iraq as Clinton did.

Clinton bragged about Obama hiring her to be Secretary of State but his was far more for political reasons than an endorsement of her judgment. Throughout her four years as Secretary of State, Clinton’s neoconservative advice was generally rejected (other for in Libya, where the policy was a failure). Clinton’s defense of her foreign policy views became even more bizarre when she embraced Henry Kissinger. As Sanders responded:

Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate — and I believe in her book — very good book, by the way — in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.

I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

Clinton once again tried to make herself look like a great supporter of Barack Obama and make Sanders look like a constant critic. She falsely claimed that Sanders wrote “a forward for a book that basically argued voters should have buyers’ remorse when it comes to President Obama’s leadership and legacy.” This refers to the book Buyer’s Remorse–How Obama Let Progressives Down by Bill Press. The book begins with:

I speak as a  proud liberal.

I speak as a strong supporter of President Obama.

From there it does criticize Obama for letting progressives down, discussing both the positives and negatives of the Obama administration. Sanders does not have a forward (at least on my copy of the book) but there is a brief blurb on the back cover from Sanders:

Bill Press makes the case why, long after taking the oath of office, the next president of the United States must keep rallying the people who elected him or her on behalf of progressive causes. That is the only way real change will happen. Read this book.

Hardly the sort of near-treason which Clinton suggests. The next blurb on the back cover is from Robert Reich, the Secretary of Labor under her husband. Reich also recently wrote that, “Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.”

Clinton was also wrong when she said Sanders was “calling several times that he should have a primary opponent” in 2012, grossly exaggerated anything which Sanders did say on the subject. She totally ignored how she opposed Obama before she supported him. This not only includes th2 2008 primary battle, which included her campaign spreading the Reverend Wright smears, and other dirty tricks. Clinton was quite hostile towards Obama’s foreign policy views after she left office as Secretary of State, and was running against Obama’s policies earlier in the current campaign. She will turn on Obama’s legacy again should she find it politically expedient.

Clinton concluded in her closing remarks yet another smear, which Sanders could not respond to, that he was a single issue candidate. In this post alone there are multiple issues which separate them such as on the role of money in politics, their views on Medicare for All, Social Security reform, disagreement over embracing the legacy of Henry Kissinger, Clinton’s support for regime change in Libya as well as Iraq. Other issues which Sanders is running on also came up which I have not included here, such as ending the drug war and reforming marijuana laws. There are also many other differences on other issues which were not raised during the debate, such as substantial differences over climate change and on social/cultural issues.

While Sanders certainly concentrates on limited issues during the campaign for political reasons, he has demonstrated many reasons to support him on a variety of issues. In contrast, Clinton’s bright yellow jacket  (which I  think she borrowed from Curious George’s friend in the yellow hat) seemed to receive more attention than anything she had to say at the debate. Clinton’s problem is that she lacks any real message at all, failing to provide voters a reason to support her. Even many of  those who do support her are acknowledging this problem.

Update: Accusations Of Lying Dominate Republican Debate