Trump pot mocks Franken kettle

President Donald Trump has mocked Senator Al Franken after revelations of sexual harassment.

Trump wading into this has raised a few eyebrows given revelations and accusations involving him and harassment. And Franken has at least admitted bad behaviour, Trump attacked rather than acknowledged wrongdoing.

the exposure of Trump’s misconduct during last year’s presidential election campaign was a significant step towards the flood of revelations and accusations over the last month, started with the crash and burning of Harvey Weinstein.

NY Times: In Mocking Franken Over Claims of Sexual Misconduct, Trump Joins a Debate He Started

Last fall, Donald J. Trump inadvertently touched off a national conversation about sexual harassment when a recording of him boasting about groping women was made public at the same time a succession of women came forward to assert that groping was something he did more than talk about.

A year later, after a wave of harassment claims against powerful men in entertainment, politics, the arts and the news media, the discussion has come full circle with President Trump criticizing the latest politician exposed for sexual misconduct even as he continues to deny any of the accusations against him.

In this case, Mr. Trump focused his Twitter-fueled mockery on a Democratic senator while largely avoiding a similar condemnation of a Republican Senate candidate facing far more allegations. The turn in the political dialogue threatened to transform a moment of cleansing debate about sexual harassment into another weapon in the war between the political parties, led by the president himself.

Indeed, Republicans on Friday were more than happy to talk about Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, who apologized this week after a radio newscaster said he forcibly kissed her and posed for a photograph a decade ago appearing to fondle her breasts while she was sleeping.

Democrats, for their part, sought to keep the focus on Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate in Alabama who has been accused of unwanted sexual conduct by multiple women going back even further, including one who was 14 at the time.

It has embarrassed both Democrats and Republicans, with both being guilty of partisan attacks while turning a blind eye to their own transgressors.

But the notion that Mr. Trump himself would weigh in given his own history of crude talk about women and the multiple allegations against him surprised many in Washington who thought he could not surprise them anymore. A typical politician with Mr. Trump’s history would stay far away from discussing someone else’s behavior lest it dredge his own back into the spotlight.

But as Mr. Trump has shown repeatedly during his 10-month presidency, he is rarely deterred by conventional political wisdom even as he leaves it to his staff to fend off the cries of hypocrisy.

White House aides labored on Friday to distinguish Mr. Trump’s case from those of others, arguing that the president’s conduct was not at issue because he won the election last year after voters had a chance to evaluate both the claims against him and his denials.

That’s typical of the excuse making for their own, something that has more than tacitly approved of and enabled ongoing sexual harassment going back at least fifty five years to the abuses of President Kennedy.

“This was covered pretty extensively during the campaign,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “We addressed that then. The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.”

She added that Mr. Trump still maintained that the more than a dozen women who have said that he kissed or groped them against their will were all lying. And she acknowledged no double standard in the president chastising others for sexual misconduct.

“Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t,” she said. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.”

Yes, it is a clear distinction. Franken has admitted what he did was wrong, happening in an area that allowed it.

Of course Hillary Clinton has waded in to this.

But Democrats saw the distinction differently. Hillary Clinton said Mr. Franken’s apology and call for an ethics committee investigation “is the kind of accountability I’m talking about — I don’t hear that from Roy Moore or Donald Trump.”

Speaking with Rita Cosby on WABC Radio, Mrs. Clinton added, “Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump, who have done neither.”

There’s a high degree of irony there given that tacl of apology and accountability of her husband, Bill.

For her own part, the sexual harassment conversation has been uncomfortable for Mrs. Clinton as well. Conservatives defending Mr. Moore point to various allegations made against Bill Clinton when he was president, including sexual assault, and even some liberals said they should rethink their defense of the 42nd president.

On Franken versus Ttrump she has a valid point.

But the condemning of opponents alongside defending of their own politicians by both Democrats and Republicans is evidence of a morally corrupt political system in the United States.

Trump’s denials, now alongside his mocking of Franken, looks distinctly like a socially corrupt president. The worst rot, whether it be Kennedy, Clinton (Bill) or Trump, is clearly at the top.

Accusations and trials in public by media are far from ideal, and will be manifestly unfair to some.

But this rot has been allowed to continue for a long time, and actions outside the old way of doing things (blind eyes and under-carpet sweeping) needed something drastic and unconventional to break the cycle of harassment and abuse.

And apart from the nonsense of “the president’s conduct was not at issue because he won the election last year after voters had a chance to evaluate both the claims against him and his denials”:

RCP average Trump approval:

  • Disapprove 56.9%
  • Approve 38.4%

The US voters did choose a president with a highly suspect past, but that was over an opponent with her own suspect past plus the known poor sexual behaviour of her husband. That’s not a strong position from which one can claim the moral high ground.

There is evidence at least of Trump having an appalling attitude to women in the past. The pot should start by addressing that adequately.

Obama’s pessimistic convention speech

There has been some raving about the greatness of Barack Obama’s speech at the Democrat’s convention.

Like “That was incredible.”

I haven’t seen or heard any of it but haven’t been a fan of much of his speaking in the past.

I’ll watch some of it when I get a chance:

CNN: Barack Obama slams Trump, makes appeal for Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama made a fervent plea for Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, casting the Democratic nominee as a custodian of his legacy while rejecting Republicans’ message as fostering anger and hate.

In remarks that demonstrated Obama’s lasting appeal to wide swaths of the Democratic Party, the President sought to describe country headed firmly in the right direction, despite the loud protestations otherwise by Donald Trump.

Obama said his former secretary of state is a better qualified candidate than even he or her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been when they sought office.

“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” Obama said to a roaring crowd — and a belly-laughing Bill Clinton — at the Democratic National Convention.

Even as a pessimistic attitude pervades the presidential campaign, Obama attempted to harness the optimism that propelled him into office eight years ago.

“America is already great,” Obama insisted, rejecting Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” “America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”

In remarks that defended his own record as a progressive leader as much as they boosted the candidate who could maintain them, Obama argued that two terms of a Democrat weren’t enough to finish the work he started.

“I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands,” Obama said to scattered sighs among the delegates. “My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything; as much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do.”

An army of writers should at least make to content passable.

But Vox: Comparing Obama’s 2004 convention speech and his 2016 convention speech is depressing

 In 2004, a much-younger Barack Obama stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention and gave a speech that literally changed the course of American history.

“There are those who are preparing to divide us,” he said, “the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.”

 

That was the Obama who thrilled an unsuspecting nation. He didn’t have a plan to heal the country. He had an argument that it wasn’t really sick. The impression of division, he said, was the work of “spin masters.” It was “the pundits” who liked “to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states.”

Then there was the Obama of 2008. In four short years, he had shot from state senator to presidential nominee. He had served in Washington. He knew the divisions were real. He had stopped blaming the pundits and spin masters.

Now he sought to convince both sides that the gaps, though real, could be bridged with new thinking, with a spirit of compromise. He warned that “Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.” He said that what is “lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.”

The Obama of 2016 wrapped his speech in the language of hope. “While this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge,” he said, “I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America.”

But it was not a hopeful speech. Obama no longer suggests our divisions are illusory; he no longer proposes new thinking as a salve for old battles. Tonight, the choice wasn’t merely between red and blue, but between democracy and authoritarianism, between a public servant and a would-be autocrat.

The Obama of 2004 did not think it necessary to say Americans don’t look to be ruled. The Obama of 2008 was happy to say, “I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.” The Obama of 2016 was reduced to warning of “homegrown demagogues” and a “self-declared savior.”

“This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me,” Obama said tonight, “to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us.” Implicit in that cry was that 12 years after Obama gave his inspiring speech in Boston, our politics courses with more cynicism and more fear than ever. Donald Trump is campaigning for president — as of this moment, he is even leading in the polls — by summoning the worst in us.

Obama says he is more optimistic than ever about America’s future, and he may well be. But this was a speech that revealed a deep pessimism about America’s present, and correctly so.

Pessimistic about the present, and pessimistic about future possibilities.

Clinton accepts nomination

Unsurprisingly Hillary Clinton has been nominated as the presidential candidate for the Democrats and she has accepted at their convention.

They keep rolling out big guns to talk her up, including husband Bill.

It’s hard to get enthusiastic about her. A majority of Americans don’t trust her.

But she’s got a shot at the big job.

And we only have three months and a bit to go before the US election. Not much can happen in that time.

US politics seems as full of substance as the billion or so balloons they use at their conventions.

Wasserman Schultz’s resignation

Just before the Democrat convention that presumably would have tried to show they were less of a circus than the Republicans the Democrat National Committee ringmaster has resigned, in part due to embarrassing emails leaked by Wikileaks, but some feel this was just the last straw.

Jim Manley at The Wall Street Journal: Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s DNC Resignation and Headlines the Clinton Campaign Doesn’t Want During Convention

A few days ago I thought the Democratic convention in Philadelphia would be a boring and news-less event–a prediction blown apart by the fight over Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the announcement Sunday that she would resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee at the end of the convention.

With Democrats desperate to show a more united front than the circus on display at last week’s Republican convention, this could not be happening at a worse time. The congresswoman’s departure was forced by the WikiLeaks site’s release of more than 19,000 emails, some of which disclosed discussion and behavior of party staffers that appeared aimed at undermining the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as he competed for months against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s decision to step down and try to avoid fanning the flames was the right one–but a day late and a dollar short.

Sanders has said he still fully supports Clinton, who says she knew nothing about the one sided campaigning by Wasserman Schultz, but this all suggests the Democrats have their share of internal problems.

To many Democrats, some of Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s actions seemed to reflect her personal objectives rather than party goals. The leaked emails were not themselves decisive–politics is a blood sport–but for many they were the last straw.

After months of tensions, Ms. Wasserman Schultz has come to embody what some see as establishment efforts to undermine the Sanders campaign and ensure that Mrs. Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination.

With Sanders supporters sensitive to slights of their candidate and his agenda, allowing her to stay on through the convention and to address the hall is likely to be a bad decision. The Sanders folks smell blood in the water–they are all but certain to make her time at the podium a living hell.

While Sanders will presumably put party interests first many of his supporters have been very negative about Clinton already, and may now make their displeasure known at the convention.

What’s the chances of Gary Johnson being given a serious shot at the presidency by media? Probably bugger all.

But there must be an opportunity begging for an ‘A Pox on Both Parties’ campaign.

Sanders wins Clinton, N.Y.

In an odd ongoing run of results in the US primaries Bernie Sanders has won in Clinton County, New York.

This follows wins for Sanders in Clinton County Ohio. And Clinton County, Illinois. And Clinton County, Missouri, Clinton County Iowa and Clinton County Michigan.

– Source Five Thirty Eight

But these have only been small skirmishes.

Sanders lost the big battle in New York State by a significant margin, 42.1% to Hillary Clinton’s 57.9% and 104 delegates to Clinton’s 135.

He wasn’t helped by another bizarre electoral rule – voters had to be registered to vote inn the democrat primary in New York by last October, before anyone knew Sanders would be contesting the state with Clinton. This disadvantaged Sanders who is appealing more to younger people and first time voters.

And Sanders is losing the Democrat primary war. It’s looking quite unlikely he will be able to close the delegate gap sufficiently now.

So it’s looking more like the big battle will be between Clinton and Donald Trump.

Clinton versus Sanders

Bernie Sanders scored three state wins in the weekend but the chances of catching Hillary Clinton’s lead in the delegate count look slim.

Yahoo News: Sanders wins 3 states; Clinton retains big delegate lead

Bernie Sanders scored three wins in Western caucus contests, giving a powerful psychological boost to his supporters but doing little to move him closer to securing the Democratic nomination.

While results in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii barely dented Hillary Clinton’s significant delegate lead, Sanders’ wins on Saturday underscored her persistent vulnerabilities within her own party, particularly with young voters and activists who have been inspired by her rival’s unapologetically liberal message.

While Donald Trump is benefiting from a ‘not the political establishment’ vote Sanders is not getting the same level of protest vote, although he appeals to young and far left hopefuls.

But from HuffPost Politics: It’s Time for Hillary Clinton to Concede the Democratic Nomination to Bernie Sanders

With Bernie Sanders now slightly ahead of Clinton nationally in the latest Bloomberg poll, it’s time to reevaluate the meaning of pragmatism. Hillary Clinton might be ahead of Bernie Sanders in delegates, but Vermont’s Senator has a monopoly on political momentum.

Sadly, his opponent has a monopoly on controversy, and will face FBI interviews in the near future. A Los Angeles Timesarticle titled Clinton email probe enters new phase as FBI interviews loom highlights why Clinton’s campaign is stuck in political quicksand.

Yes, federal prosecutors will interview Hillary Clinton, in addition to her close associates.

At what point will establishment Democrats admit this fiasco is horrible for a general election?

When federal prosecutors are interviewing your candidate for president, even Donald Trump has a good chance at the White House.

Yes, federal prosecutors will interview Hillary Clinton, in addition to her close associates.

At what point will establishment Democrats admit this fiasco is horrible for a general election?

When federal prosecutors are interviewing your candidate for president, even Donald Trump has a good chance at the White House.

Political Background – Clinton:

Hillary Clinton first rose to elective office in 2001 and stepped down from an elected position in 2009. Clinton has served as an elected official for a total of 8 years, which is 7 less than the average 2016 presidential candidate (15 years).

  • United States Secretary of State, 2009-2013
  • Sworn In, United States Secretary of State, January 21, 2009
  • Senator, United States Senate, 2001-2009
  • Candidate, United States President, 2008
  • First Lady, President Bill Clinton, 1993-2001
  • First Lady, State of Arkansas, 1979-1981, 1983-1992

Political Background – Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders first rose to elective office in 1981 and holds an elected position to this day. Sanders has served as an elected official for a total of 34 years and counting, which is 19 more than the average 2016 presidential candidate (15 years).

  • Senator, United States Senate, 2006-present
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, 1990-2006
  • Mayor, City of Burlington, 1981-1989
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, 1988
  • Candidate, Governor of Vermont, 1972, 1976, 1986
  • Candidate, United States Senate, 1972, 1974

Source: http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/compare/35-40/Bernie-Sanders-vs-Hillary-Clinton

Super Tuesday in the US

It’s still yesterday in the US, and one of the most important days in the presidential primaries.

In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers informally to one or more Tuesdays early in a United States presidential primary season when the greatest number of states hold primary elections.  In 2016, Super Tuesday is on March 1.

More delegates to United States presidential nominating conventions can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar. Candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party’s nomination.

Since Super Tuesday primaries are typically held in a large number of states from geographically and socially diverse regions of the country, Super Tuesday typically represents a presidential candidate’s first test of national electability. Convincing wins in Super Tuesday primaries have usually propelled candidates to their party’s nomination.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Tuesday

New Zealand Time the results will come in this afternoon and this evening.

According to FiveThirtyEight predictions Clinton is likely to strengthen her position substantially over Bernie Sanders.

Super Guide to Super Tuesday – Democrats

Polling average:

  • Clinton 69.5%
  • Sanders 24.5%

Donald Trump is leading in 10 of eleven states so could also get a strong grip on the Republican primary.

Super Guide to Super Tuesday – Republicans

Polling Average:

  • Trump 39.4%
  • Rubio 19.6%
  • Cruz 15.1%
  • Carson 9.9%
  • Kasich 5.5%

The real crunch will be when it’s down to Trump versus the survivor of the rest.

Cruz looks too fundie right to appeal to a lot of people.

Rubio has resorted to cringe campaigning to try and out-trump Trump, which could  backfire on him.

Both Cruz and Rubio are reported to have raised over $300 million for their campaigns. That’s nuts. Just imagine how many flags you could change with that sort of money.