This story may get lost amid the war between Trump and the Khan family – which is more proof that what Trump is doing is a political blunder as well as a moral disaster – but it shouldn’t be. The press ought to be able to cover both of these stories.
As Noah Rothman comments, our choice in this elections is between two inveterate liars.
The ease with which both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appeal to falsehoods is matched only by their clumsiness. It isn’t just that the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees are habitual liars but that they are simply inept practitioners of the craft. No one has to dig into the annals of history to support this contention. You only had to watch a selection of moments on the Sunday morning news programs in to understand the full measure of these candidates’ compulsive need to distort the truth.Clinton lied again about her server even though she was shown video of the FBI Director specifically calling out for her lies. Trump went on ABC and blathered on about how Putin isn't in Ukraine. Read what he said - it's incoherent and contradicted by things he's said previously.
In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump indulged again in his bizarre habit of abasing himself before Vladimir Putin when he went about excusing the Russian autocrat of his decision to invade and annex sovereign Ukrainian territory in 2014.Then he denied that he had a relationship from Putin despite he's previously bragged about his relationship with Putin.
“He’s not going into Ukraine,” Trump said of Putin. “He’s not going to go into Ukraine; you can mark it down.”
“Well, he’s already there,” ABC host George Stephanopoulos countered.
“Well, he’s there in a certain way,” Trump replied.
In the ensuing word typhoon Trump conjured up to extricate himself from another mess of his own making, the GOP nominee conceded that Putin had absorbed Crimea into the Russian Federation following military intervention. Trump may not view that as much of a concession, though, as he later insisted that the Crimean people were thrilled by Anschluss. “The people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were,” Trump said. “So with all these strong ties to NATO, Ukraine is a mess. Crimea has been taken. Don’t blame Donald Trump for that.”
In 2015, Trump addressed a conference of foreign policy professionals via video link in which he acknowledged the invasion of the Crimean peninsula and the subsequent slow motion proxy invasion of Eastern Ukraine by Russian regular forces and volunteers.
What is the point of all these lies? For Clinton, they are to find exculpation for her reckless behavior. For Trump, they are to telegraph fealty to the Russian government, as well as to seek his own personal aggrandizement. For both, lies come easily to their lips. One of these two people will be elected to the White House. They will become role models for America’s children, and they will guide the course of our national culture. What will that culture look like four years from now?O tempora! O mores!
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Whenever Hillary Clinton has taken even a modestly conservative stand, she will abandon it at the first sign that it might hurt her the teensiest bit electorally. The WSJ points out how she has abandoned her former support of charter schools in order to stifle the slightest bit of opposition from her union buddies.
No one would call the 2016 election a battle of ideas, but it will have policy consequences. So it’s worth noting the sharp left turn by Hillary Clinton and Democrats against education reform and the charter schools she and her husband championed in the 1990s.It's not as if she has any doubts that the teachers' unions would support her. But even so, she must kowtow to their shibboleths on charter schools. It's disgusting and disheartening.
Mrs. Clinton recently promised a National Education Association (NEA) assembly higher pay, student-loan write-offs, less testing and universal pre-K. She had only this to say about charter schools, which are free from union rules: “When schools get it right, whether they are traditional public schools or public charter schools, let’s figure out what’s working” and “share it with schools across America.”
The crowd booed, so Mrs. Clinton pivoted to deriding “for-profit charter schools,” a fraction of the market whose grave sin is contracting with a management company. Cheering resumed. When she later addressed the other big teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), she began with an attack on for-profit charters.
We remember when Mrs. Clinton wasn’t so easily intimidated by unions. Bill Clinton’s grant program took the movement from a few schools to thousands. In Mrs. Clinton’s 1996 memoir, “It Takes a Village,” she wrote that she favored “promoting choice among public schools, much as the President’s Charter Schools Initiative encourages.” And here’s Mrs. Clinton in 1998: “The President believes, as I do, that charter schools are a way of bringing teachers and parents and communities together.”
But now Mrs. Clinton needs the support of the Democratic get-out-the-vote operation known as teacher unions, which loathe charter schools that operate without unions. The AFT endorsed Mrs. Clinton 16 months before Election Day, and the NEA followed.No Sister Souljah moment for her.
Shortly after, in a strange coincidence, Mrs. Clinton began repeating union misinformation: “Most charter schools, they don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids,” she said on a South Carolina campaign stop in November. But Mrs. Clinton used to know that nearly all charter schools select students by lottery and are by law not allowed to discriminate. The schools tend to crop up in urban areas where traditional options are worst. A recent study from Stanford University showed that charters better serve low-income children, minority students and kids who are learning English.
There’s an irony in Mrs. Clinton’s pitch that schools should simply share best practices. In 2005 the United Federation of Teachers started a charter school in Brooklyn, N.Y., to prove that unions weren’t holding up success. The school rejected the hallmarks of charter schools like New York’s Success Academy: order, discipline and other concepts progressives view as oppressive. Principals, for instance, were renamed “school leaders.” So how’s that experiment working out? Grades K-8 didn’t meet state standards last year and closed.
Of course, Bill Clinton's Sister Souljah moment was one of the most overblown moments in modern American politics. It is hailed as this courageous repudiation of extremism from a group that supported his candidacy. How much courage does it take to reject someone saying that black people should kill white people? I guess it takes as much courage as saying "all lives matter." Remember how Martin O'Malley had to apologize for saying that and how Bernie and Hillary delicately refrained from daring to say it.
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So why won't Obama or his administration name the Russians for the hacking the DNC as he named North Korea for the hacking of Sony?
This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers—as well as former intelligence officials, retired military officers, and security experts—urged President Obama to call out Russia for the hacking campaign. After all, these experts say, that’s what he did when North Korea was blamed for a damaging cyber attack against Sony Pictures in retaliation for a satirical film.Of course, if they have good evidence that Russia is responsible, there would be pressure to impose strict sanctions on Russia, something Obama has been loath to do even after Russia's invasion and annexation of the Crimea.
That hack was seen as an assault on core American values of freedom of expression. Similarly, the breach of the DNC is viewed as an affront to the U.S. electoral process that cannot go unanswered.
Jonathan Last lists the 10 stages of excuse-making Trump supporters will make if Trump loses the election.
1) He didn’t lose.
(2) If he lost–and I’m not saying he did–then it was the fault of those cuck-traitor conservatives who aren’t real conservatives.
(5) He meant to lose. He’s a businessman, not a politician, and he didn’t really want to be president anyway. His brand is worth a thousand times more now than it was in 2015. To him, this whole thing was just another amazing business deal.
(6) You think he “lost”? It’s the day after Hillary Clinton’s big “victory” and instead everyone is talking about Trump. He’s a genius.
(7) Trump knows that we’re guaranteed to have another recession and a major terrorist attack during the next four years. Hillary and Dems own that now so when he runs again in 2020, he’s going to take CA, NY, and NJ in a total realigning election. They’re playing checkers; Trump is playing 15-dimensional chess.
(10) If you think about it, Trump basically won.
Trump just can't stay on topic. Instead of talking about the economy with a laser-like focus, he has to talk about Ted Cruz.
Robert Kagan writes that Donald Trump has a personality disorder. I'm not in favor of giving psychoanalysis long-distance of public figures, however there is something very bizarre about how Trump can't stop himself from lashing out at anyone who criticizes him no matter how unimportant the critic may be. He can't seem to to stop himself from punching down.
Kagan is right to ponder how this characteristic of Trump's would play out if he were to be elected.
Imagine such a person as president. What we have seen in the Trump campaign is not only a clever method of stirring up the anger in people. It is also a personality defect that has had the effect of stirring up anger. And because it is a defect and not a tactic, it would continue to affect Trump’s behavior in the White House. It would determine how he dealt with other nations. It would determine how he dealt with critics at home. It would determine how he governed, how he executed the laws, how he instructed the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies under his command, how he dealt with the press, how he dealt with the opposition party and how he handled dissent within his own party. His personality defect would be the dominating factor in his presidency, just as it has been the dominating factor in his campaign. His ultimately self-destructive tendencies would play out on the biggest stage in the world, with consequences at home and abroad that one can barely begin to imagine. It would make him the closest thing the United States has ever had to a dictator, but a dictator with a dangerously unstable temperament that neither he nor anyone else can control.
Jim Geraghty contrasts how the media treated Patricia Smith and the Kahn family.
Hey, remember when the first night of the Republican convention featured Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, one of the Americans slain in Benghazi? Remember how her speech was called a “cynical exploitation of grief”? Or the “unabashed exploitation of private people’s grief” or “the weaponization of grief”? Remember how she “ruined the evening”? How it was, “a spectacle so offensive, it was hard to even comprehend”? How some liberal commentators said, “Mrs. Smith was really most interested in drinking blood rather than healing”? How her speech represented an “early dip into the gutter”? Remember how a GQ writer publicly expressed a desire to beat her to death? [Links in the original]
In every interaction about the Kahn family, Donald Trump reveals what most observers already knew: He’s a narcissistic ass who can’t even be bothered to fake empathy. But the Democratic convention organizers’ decision to showcase the Khans as the spokespeople for the message that Trump is morally unacceptable to be the leader of the country is the mirror image of the Republican convention organizers’ choice to showcase Smith. And we see that most people’s reaction to each grieving parent aligns precisely with their partisan perspective.
One more point on the mass amnesia about Patricia Smith: Democrats fumed that she held Hillary Clinton responsible for her son’s death; we can argue about just how much responsibility for the attack in Benghazi falls on Clinton’s shoulders. But Smith’s fury against Clinton is also driven by her belief that the former Secretary of State lied to her; she said, “when I saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony, just days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible.” Hillary denies the claim and implies Smith is lying.
We don’t know Patricia Smith. We don’t know if she’s a generally honest person or a generally dishonest person. We don’t know if she’s remembering the interaction clearly or if overwhelming grief has affected her perception of things.
But we do know Hillary Clinton from almost three decades in the national political spotlight. And we know she lies when she’s cornered. Running from snipers in the Balkans, being “dead broke” upon leaving the White House, “all my grandparents” immigrated to America, her tale of trying to join the Marines, her claim she never received or sent any material that was classified on her private e-mail system, her claim to have started criticizing the Iraq War before Barack Obama did… she lies, and she lies, and she lies. And so between Smith and Clinton, one has earned the benefit of the doubt, and the other hasn’t.
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The news keeps getting worse about Brazil and the Olympics and we're just days away.
The weekend collapse of the main access ramp at Marina da Gloria, the Olympic sailing venue, was symbolic.
There is a slump in mood and expectations ahead of Friday's opening ceremony.
Previous Olympiads have faced budget blowouts, delays and mistakes, so Rio is not alone....
Jose Cabral Gomes is one Brazilian who is worried about all the last-minute improvising.
He controlled the traffic flow on the huge construction site of Rio's newest metro station.
It is part of the much-anticipated Line 4 subway — a key legacy project.
American sailor Brad Funk and Brazilian volunteer Camila Avelar collect garbage in the notoriously dirty Guanabara Bay.
It is expected to cope with many thousands of travellers daily during the Games, and benefit 20,000 local residents.
But on the cloudy mornings of early July, concrete mixers and other trucks were still buzzing in and out of the site bringing in construction materials and taking away excavated waste.
The station was originally scheduled to open on July 1 after a year of rigorous system testing.
The station is now partially open, with spectators allowed to ride on the day the Games begin.
But locals will be barred from using the train, and Olympic ticket holders will effectively be testing the system.
And here's some helpful advice to athletes and tourists attending the Olympics.
ust days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press.
Not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but the AP's tests indicate that tourists also face potentially serious health risks on the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.
The AP's survey of the aquatic Olympic and Paralympic venues has revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution, a major black eye on Rio's Olympic project that set off alarm bells among sailors, rowers and open-water swimmers.
Since the AP released the initial results last July, athletes have been taking elaborate precautions to prevent illnesses that could potentially knock them out of the competition, including preventatively taking antibiotics, bleaching oars and donning plastic suits and gloves in a bid to limit contact with the water.
But antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. And the AP investigation found that infectious adenovirus readings — tested with cell cultures and verified with molecular biology protocols — turned up at nearly 90 percent of the test sites over 16 months of testing.
"That's a very, very, very high percentage," said Dr. Valerie Harwood, Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. "Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this."
While athletes take precautions, what about the 300,000-500,000 foreigners expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics? Testing at several of the city's world-famous beaches has shown that in addition to persistently high viral loads, the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad — and sometimes even exceed Rio state's lax water safety standards.
In light of the AP's findings, Harwood had one piece of advice for travelers to Rio: "Don't put your head under water."
This is the sort of story that helped to pass Brexit.
RIOTING Calais migrants set fire to a lorry as they blocked roads with debris and made a mass bid to reach Britain last night, according to reports in the port town.
Pictures emerged on social media of a charred truck which locals say was set alight by gangs of asylum seekers who stormed the ring road leading to the port.
Describing a “night of violence” campaign groups in the lawless northern French town described witnessing a “riot” as migrants attempted to slow lorries headed for the UK.
According to reports they piled up debris on the motorway and set fire to it to force trucks to slow down, so that they could smash the locks and stow away inside.
The latest night of violence comes as the population of the Jungle camp continues to swell despite French police attempts to dismantle it, with a new census revealing it is now home to a massive 7,300 people all hoping to sneak into Britain.
ISIS is calling for mass killings in Russia. Hopefully, these threats will turn out to be meaningless. But I wonder what Putin's response would be to such attacks. We've seen how he responded to Chechnyan violence. But I don't believe that there has been any response to the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt by terrorists
Ah, the priorities of the Palestinians.
This week, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority decided to take action. It wasn’t to reform their corrupt government, make progress toward genuine peace, or anything else that might improve the plight of their people. Instead, they’re going to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration. It’s no joke. The Palestinians are serious about legal action to undo a historical document. The plan is the brainchild of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and was announced by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki. They are asking Arab states to support them and plan to launch the suit in an as yet unnamed international court.
Ah, the priorities of the Veterans Administration.
While up to 1,000 veterans died waiting for VA healthcare; while many calls to the suicide prevention hotline were answered by voicemail; while the healthcare claims appeals process was described as "the hamster wheel"; and while the VA created 40,000 new positions, but hired only 3,600 doctors (2012-2015) – the agency managed to spent $20 million on artwork.
Included in the expenditures is a 27’ artificial Christmas tree for $21,500 delivered to Chillicothe, OH and two sculptures costing $670,000 for a VA facility in California that serves blind veterans. Blind veterans can’t see fancy sculptures, and all veterans deserve to see a doctor.