Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump, Russia, and the 2016 Election

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Good Morning!!

This has been one of the strangest and most dramatic weeks in the history of U.S. politics.

We have seen the nomination of a woman for President of the U.S. by a major political party after 240 years of male candidates only.

On the G.O.P. side, we are watching a madman campaign for President while praising the autocratic leader of Russia and inviting Russian intelligence agencies to hack into U.S. government computers and computer systems used by his Democratic opponent. This madman has also suggested that we should let Russia have Crimea and lift the sanctions on Russia that were applied after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

What the hell is going on!

The Guardian: Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows more tangled all the time.

A key figure at the Republican national convention where Donald Trump was nominated for president has strong business ties with Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.

The party platform written at the convention in Cleveland last week removed references to arming Ukraine in its fight with Russia, which has supported separatists in eastern Ukraine. Trump’s links to Russia are under scrutiny after a hack of Democratic national committee emails, allegedly by Russian agents.

Frank Mermoud also has longstanding ties to Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who in 2010 helped pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych refashion his image and win a presidential election in Ukraine. Manafort was brought in earlier this year to oversee the convention operations and its staffing.

Three sources at the convention also told the Guardian that they saw Phil Griffin, a longtime aide to Manafort in Kiev, working with the foreign dignitaries programme. “After years of working in the Ukraine for Paul and others, it was surprising to run into Phil working at the convention,” one said.

The change to the platform on arming Ukraine was condemned even by some Republicans. Senator Rob Portman described it as “deeply troubling”. Veteran party operative and lobbyist Charlie Black said the “new position in the platform doesn’t have much support from Republicans”, adding that the change “was unusual”.

And that’s just the beginning. The article spells out and analyzes Donald Trump’s and his advisers’ extensive past ties to Russia. For decades, the G.O.P. was the party of anti-communism and anti-Russian sentiment. In 2012, Mitt Romney even argued that Russia was the top geopolitical threat to the U.S.; in 2016, Romney’s party is getting very cozy with Russian and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin.

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Now it has become crystal clear that Russia is behind a number of cyberhacks on U.S. and Democratic Party computers.

Thousands of Democratic National Committee emails were hacked and published by WikiLeaks on the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia this week. They showed that officials, who are meant to remain impartial, favoured Hillary Clinton and discussed ways to undermine her rival, Bernie Sanders. The leak led to the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The FBI is investigating, with all signs pointing to Russian involvement, though Moscow rejects this. Experts note Vladimir Putin’s past attempts to damage western democracy, including cyber-attacks on French, Greek, Italian and Latvian elections. In 2014, malware was discovered in Ukrainian election software that would have robbed it of legitimacy.

Alina Polyakova, deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, said: “We can’t say 100% that Mr Putin had a hand in any of this but this kind of meddling in other countries’ affairs is part of Russia’s toolkit. It’s a kind of asymmetric warfare. To me, this looks like something straight from the Russian secret service playbook, but I’m surprised at how brazen they’ve been.”

Trump and his campaign have denied any connection but on Wednesday he ignited a firestorm by calling on Russia to find 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s private server. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press,” he said. He later claimed that he was being sarcastic.

Please read the entire article to learn about Donald Trump’s extensive ties to Russia and Putin.

Russian President President Vladimir Putin holds up a glass during a toast at a luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

ABC News: Trump’s Russia Reset Ideas Alarming Allies, Many in US.

Donald Trump’s flurry of offhand remarks and abrupt zingers on Russia — praising Vladimir Putin, dismissing NATO — have jolted the world, not to mention the U.S. presidential campaign.

With Russia’s behavior rattling nerves in the U.S. and elsewhere, Trump is accused of cozying up to a “dictator.” Of threatening the very underpinnings of America’s relationship with Europe. And of naiveté.

Some of the GOP presidential nominee’s goals are consistent with long-held U.S. views, many experts say. The idea of fostering U.S.-Russian cooperation isn’t outlandish. After all, Hillary Clinton tried to “reset” relations with Russia when she was secretary of state. Also, past U.S. administrations of both parties have quietly complained that other NATO members should pay their share to the alliance.

It’s what Trump is willing to do to achieve those goals and the way he expresses his views that have shocked many foreign policy experts.

The notion of refusing to defend NATO allies who don’t pay their bills, for example, or of buddying up to Putin despite his aggressive stances is jarring to Democrats and Republicans alike. And it’s on the minds of foreign leaders.

“We’re going to talk about NATO and Russia,” Secretary of State John Kerry said as he met Saturday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris. Kerry wouldn’t address Trump’s comments specifically, but said he would discuss anything Ayrault wanted to talk about “that has to do with our relationship.”

So Trump’s remarks are already threatening our relationships with our allies.

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Reuters claimed last night that the Clinton Campaign itself has been hacked.

A computer network used by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Clinton campaign spokesman said in a statement late on Friday that an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by the campaign and a number of other entities “was accessed as part of the DNC hack.”

“Our campaign computer system has been under review by outside cyber security experts. To date, they have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill.

Later, a campaign official said hackers had access to the analytics program’s server for approximately five days. The analytics data program is one of many systems the campaign accesses to conduct voter analysis, and does not include social security numbers or credit card numbers, the official said.

The U.S. Department of Justice national security division is investigating whether cyber attacks on Democratic political organizations threatened U.S. security, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The involvement of the Justice Department’s national security division is a sign that the Obama administration has concluded that the hacking was sponsored by a state, people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The Clinton Campaign told The Washington Post that their internal computers have not been compromised.

The Clinton presidential campaign said Friday that an “analytics data program” maintained by the Democratic National Committee had been hacked but that its computer system had not been compromised, denying news reports from earlier in the day that the campaign had become the third Democratic Party organization whose systems had been penetrated.

So far, campaign computer experts “have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.

Merrill said that “an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by our campaign and a number of other entities was accessed as part of the DNC hack.” The campaign did not provide details, but a source familiar with the situation said that the hacked material was generally dull and did not include email communications, memos, research or other potentially inflammatory communications. Mostly, the source said, it included innocuous data such as computer code and lists of email addresses.

Nevertheless,

Senior figures in the national security community are warning that the Russian hack of the DNC and the subsequent release of committee emails by the anti­secrecy group WikiLeaks may be part of a broader attack on the U.S. electoral process….

If the email leak was orchestrated by the Russian government, “this is an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy,” the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, a group of 32 homeland security and counterterrorism experts, said in a statement.

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Besides his obvious reasons to think he could easily manage Donald Trump if he became POTUS, Putin has reasons to dislike and fear Hillary Clinton. From The Washington Post:

Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state of interfering in Moscow’s affairs — and if Russian security was behind last week’s release through WikiLeaks of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails, it would look a lot like Kremlin payback.

Even if the breach was carried out by a mid-level intelligence official acting on his own initiative, hoping to please his boss, disclosures that seemingly raise questions about the legitimacy of Clinton’s nomination speak directly to Putin’s complaints about her….

In December 2011, large protests unexpectedly broke out in Moscow following parliamentary elections that featured brazen cheating. Clinton, as secretary of state, called the election “neither free nor fair,” and Putin jumped on that as an attack on Russia and, by extension, him.

“She set the tone for some of our public figures inside the country, sent a signal to them,” Putin said. “They heard this signal and launched active work with the U.S. State Department’s support.”

The rest of that winter saw ever sharpening attacks on the United States as Putin was in the midst of his own presidential election campaign. In the year that followed, some of the strongest anti-American steps that Russia took were only tangentially related to Clinton — expelling the USAID, forcing Radio Liberty off the AM dial, harassing then-U.S. Ambassador Michael A. McFaul….

Clinton had also pushed hard for the Libya intervention in the spring and summer of 2011, which Putin was appalled by, seeing it as unwarranted interference in another nation’s sovereignty. After she stepped down as secretary of state, she made a well-publicized visit to Yalta — in 2013, when it was still part of Ukraine — to support Ukraine’s signing of an agreement with the European Union. Putin hoped to strong-arm Ukraine into joining his Eurasian Economic Union, which Clinton had called an attempt to “re-Sovietize” areas of the former Soviet Union.

That comment and others “were in part seized upon for domestic political reasons,” Samuel Charap, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Wednesday. “She became a convenient scapegoat.”

Read more analysis of the Clinton-Putin relationship at the link.

Joy Reid has been covering this story extensively on her MSNBC show. If you missed it this morning, please check it out on the website. She had some experts on who were quite alarmed by what is happening with Trump and the Russian hacks that seem designed to help him become POTUS.

More important stories to check out:

Washington Post: Appeals court strikes down North Carolina’s voter-ID law.

Mother Jones: Voting Rights Advocates Score a Huge Win in North Carolina.

Kansas City Star: What a great day for protecting voting rights in Kansas and elsewhere

Slate: Islam, Equality, and Pocket Constitutions: How the DNC Did Religious Liberty Right.

NBC News: Parents of Capt. Khan Warn GOP’s Ryan, McConnell Over Trump.

Reuters: Clinton leads Trump by 6 points after Democratic confab: Reuters/Ipsos poll.

New York Magazine: Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years.

 

 


Friday Reads: Amazing People for Hillary

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There were many memorable moments this week as history was made with the nomination of Hillary Clinton by the Democratic Party for President of the United States.  For me, the most amazing thing was hearing the stories of the many people whose lives were touched by Hillary Clinton at one point.  Then, once touched, she stayed in touch and followed up and through for them.  Last night, the stand out story was from grieving but determined father  Khizr Khan whose Anti-Trump Speech was so amazing that Fox News ignored it and provided what can only be called an outright propaganda campaign with the images.

Fox News ignored a speech by the father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 in the Iraq war, instead opting to air commercials during the speech. Fox later went live to a song by pop singer Katy Perry after the speech.

During the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, Khizr Khan spoke about the honor he felt to be present at the convention with his wife, “as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” Khan’s speech was preceded by a video that showed Hillary Clinton calling Captain Khan “the best of America” and explaining the circumstances of his death, for which he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

CaptHumayunKhanUS-Army_rev24095411925-e1469804552433This actually is a tribute to the massive effectiveness of the speech and it’s also telling. Why hide a true story that represents a slice of America?

While CNN and MSNBC aired the video and Khan’s speech in full, Fox News’ The Kelly File instead continued with its regular commentary featuring Brit Hume, then went to commercial as the speech began, showing slightly more than two minutes of the speech in a small window as commercials — including a Benghazi attack ad — overplayed it.

I watched the full speech on CSPAN without the distraction provided by what has to be the most horrid collection of talking heads possible. The father of the dead Muslim soldier’s testimony and rebuke of Trumpism was a powerful testament to the strengths that our immigrant population bring to us. Every new American is an American that wants to be here and takes nothing for granted.  It was a strong juxtaposition to a comment that Bill Clinton made to Muslim Americans on Tuesday.  His suggestion they stay if they “love America and hate terrorism” was patronizing at best.  Who gives a speech suggesting any group of Americans would abandon their country or love attacks on it?  The specific quote is this “”If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you.”   Muslim Americans are a part of “we” as Khizr Khan demonstrated so eloquently last night.  I hope every one heard his message.  Insha’Allah.

But the worst moment of the speech came near its end, when Clinton began to riff about the different kinds of people who should join Hillary’s effort. “If you love this country, you’re working hard, you’re paying taxes, you’re obeying the law and you’d like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over someone that wants to send you back,” he said. Fair enough. Under any conceivable immigration overhaul, only those undocumented immigrants who have obeyed the law once in the United States—which includes paying taxes—will qualify for citizenship. Two sentences later, Clinton said that, “If you’re a young African Americ#an disillusioned and afraid … help us build a future where no one’s afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.” No problem there. Of course African Americans should be safe from abusive police, and of course, police should be safe from the murderers who threaten them.

But in between, Clinton said something dreadful: “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” The problem is in the assumption. American Muslims should be viewed exactly the same way other Americans are. If they commit crimes, then they should be prosecuted, just like other Americans. But they should not have to prove that they “love America and freedom” and “hate terror” to “stay here.” Their value as Americans is inherent, not instrumental. Their role as Americans is not to “help us win” the “war on terror.”

Whether Clinton meant to or not, he lapsed into Trumpism: the implication that Muslims are a class apart, deserving of special scrutiny and surveillance, guilty of terrorist sympathies until proven innocent. I think I understand where the formulation came from. In the 1990s, one of Clinton’s key New Democratic innovations was his insistence that with rights, come responsibilities: To receive government assistance, welfare recipients must work. If people commit crimes, the government will punish them harshly.

The problem with transferring that formulation to Muslims today is that Muslims aren’t asking for benefits from the welfare state. They’re simply asking not to be discriminated against. Clinton’s formulation was like saying, in 1964, that as long as African Americans eschew violence and love America, they deserve the right to vote.

coulter-khan-tweetHear are a few comments I read from a friend’s discussion on Facebook. I refer to him only as the initials NT.

FR: “There’s no need to read into it to see how he’s advocating two-tiered citizenship. It is quite clear.”

NT: “That’s premised on the concept that leaving’s an option, because they’re after all somehow all immigrants, who choose to stay. Like FR pointed out, it’s clear and unadulterated advocacy for two-tiered citizenship. And considering that both parties voted overwhelmingly to restrict visa-free travel for Europeans of dual citizenry with Iran, Iraq, Syria, and some other countries, this is on small point.”

NT: “Some folks I know of were prevented from traveling to the US since the November legal change, which practically nobody noticed. This problem is real, and his quote is tangible.”

I also would like to rebuke the people that were criticizing Ghazala Khan for standing quietly next to her husband on the stage wearing her hajib. Who are we to infer her motives for either?  American values respect religious practice.  American values also respect a grieving mother.  But, back to the content of this amazing speech which was both a tribute to their son and a take down of Trumpism.

In 2005, The Washington Post interviewed Khizr Khan. “They did not call him Captain Khan,” he said of the men his son led. “They called him ‘our captain.’ ”

“We are honored to stand here as the parents of Captain Humayun Khan,” the elder Khan said at the Democratic convention, “and as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” He spoke of his son’s dreams of becoming a military lawyer and how Hillary Clinton had referred to his son as “the best of America.”

Then he focused his attention on Trump.

“If it was up to Donald Trump, [Humayun] never would have been in America,” Khan said. “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.

“Donald Trump,” he said, “you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” He pulled a copy of the Constitution from his pocket. “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’ ” Earlier this month, Trump promised congressional Republicans that he would defend “Article XII” of the Constitution, which doesn’t exist.

“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan asked. “Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.

“You have sacrificed nothing. And no one.”

If there ever was a statement that could be characterized as a mic drop, those words on sacrifice from Khan represented a loud and resounding mic drop. Wonkette’s take was great.

Khizr Khan, we’d submit to you, is a far better patriot than any of the morons who think a patriot’s job is to take over wildlife refuges or keep an eye on scary Muslims as they attend their mosques. And what you really need to keep this country free is equal protection under law and the First Amendment, not an AR-15.

Khan’s speech blew up on social media, although not everyone was a fan. Spite-fueled rageparrot Ann Coulter, for instance, didn’t think much of a guy whose son merely saved the lives of a bunch of The Troops, and she had excellent reasons…

 

Additionally, I loved the speech given by Anastasia Somozo, a disabled rights advocate and long time friend of Hillary Clinton.0OAYBWSL

She was beautiful. She was magnificent. And in four riveting, I’m-not-playin’ minutes, she schooled the world that disabled people don’t want the able-bodied to speak for them.

They want the able-bodied to listen to them and respect their equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If you missed Anastasia Somoza’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, Google it and grab the Kleenex. You’ll be moved by the dignity and ferocity of Somoza, 32, a disability-rights advocate who was born with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia.

The tiny Somoza owned the Wells Fargo Center from the instant she rolled onstage in her motorized wheelchair to declare her belief in Hillary Clinton and to reject Donald Trump’s limited views of people who are different.

“I fear the day we elect a president who defines being American in the narrowest possible terms, who shouts, bullies and profits off of vulnerable Americans,” she said. “Donald Trump has shown us who he really is, and I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart.”

Then came the line that brought cheers so loud, they must’ve busted windows.

20810915-mmmainThen, there was the equally amazing story of survival during and after 9/11 of Lauren Manning.

Lauren Manning, a former executive and partner atCantor Fitzgerald who was wounded in the World Trade Center attack, spoke about how her life “changed forever” after the terrorist attack and lauded Clinton for having stood with her “through that fight” to recovery.

Manning is one of the few Cantor Fitzgerald to survive. The company lost 658 people in the attack.

She survived despite burns covering more than 80 percent of her body.

Here are Manning’s remarks to the DNC:

“When I arrived at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, I was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald.

A moment later, my life changed forever. I was burned over 82 percent of my body, my chances of survival next to zero.

I battled for months, to live, and for years, to recover.

I fought in tribute to the friends and colleagues I lost, and all 2,996 people who were killed that day. I fought to honor our troops, who were fighting on frontlines around the world.

I fought to return to my young son. I fought as hard as I could so the terrorists wouldn’t get one more.

Hillary Clinton stood with me through that fight.

In the darkest of days and the hardest of times, the people who show up mean everything.

Hillary showed up.

She walked into my hospital room and took my bandaged hand in her own. Our connection wasn’t between a senator and her constituent. Our connection was person to person.

She visited, called, and checked in for years, because she cared.

When I needed her, she was there. When our first responders needed her, she was there.

Now our country needs her.

I trusted her when my life was on the line, and she came through. Not for the cameras, not because anyone was watching, but because that’s who she is. Kind. Caring. Loyal.

This is the Hillary Clinton I want you to know. She was there for me. That’s why I’m with Her.”

HillaryClintonRyanMoore_FeaturedSome how, I cannot imagine a huge number of ordinary people with extraordinary lives showing up and giving similar testimony to Bernie Sanders or very many other pols in this country.   This native son of Nebraska was also a favorite of mine. I remember hearing his story back in the day. To see that young boy grow up into such a young man was just inspiring!

Ryan Moore from South Sioux City, Nebraska was selected as one of the “everyday Americans” who will address the 2016 Democratic National Convention this week. Moore is one of twenty individuals from across the nation to share their stories as an America that is stronger together. Moore was selected to speak by the Democratic National Convention Committee and Hillary for America. According to the DNCC, “Ryan has known Hillary Clinton since 1994 when his family came to Washington, DC for an event to advocate for health care reform. Ryan has stayed in contact with Hillary ever since.”

Moore is set to speak Tuesday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, and will talk about growing up with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia dwarfism and the difficulties his family faced when his father lost his job because his employer did not want to have to cover Ryan’s health care and treatment costs. When asked about being selected to speak 2016 DNC Moore stated, “I was completely shocked when I found out I was being asked to speak at the DNC. It’s such an honor and privilege to take part in this historic event! I’m so glad to be able to represent the state of Nebraska in this speech, and hope and pray that I make my home state proud.”

Anyway, there were so many awesome Americans testifying for Hillary Clinton all week that I may never tire of going back and reading their stories some where, of how Hillary became a meaningful part of their lives, and the things Clinton did because she is Hillary Clinton; no less or more.

The most tearful moment for me came during the testimony of the “Mothers of the Movement.”   Again, the strength of a parent’s grief turned into determination is something that just blew me away.  Each and every one of these women lives each day making sure that no other woman experiences what they did and they do so while supporting Hillary Clinton. No one should underestimate the abiding and strong power of women together.

Nine black women whose sons and daughters died in racially-charged incidents took the stage at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday as party delegates shouted “Black Lives Matter.” They urged voters to elect Hillary Clinton, arguing that she cares deeply about racial injustice and will try to reduce tensions between police and communities of color.

The decision of Clinton’s campaign to have these women on stage at the convention was the latest illustration of the growing influence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This anti-racism campaign, which did not even exist at the time of the DNC in 2012, has successfully pushed Clinton, President Obama and the broader Democratic Party to focus more on issues of policing and racial disparities.

Clinton has repeatedly used the phrase “Black Lives Matter” during her campaign and has called for a number of police reforms, such as creating a national standard for when officers can use force and increasing implicit bias training for law enforcement personnel.

“This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about saving our children,” said Sybrina Fulton, whose 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida in 2012 in a controversial incident that drew so much national attention that President Obama eventually said that “Travyon Martin could have been me.”

She added, “In memory our children, we are imploring all of you to vote this Election Day.”

Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, said “Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter.”

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So, I’m closing the post today with a bit of Bill Clinton and balloon fun from last night that I lifted from Ralph’s Facebook.  Thank’s for the early morning smile Ralph!!!  Buzzfeed says that Bill Clinton really likes Balloons.

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sub-buzz-21947-1469801801-2What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 

Easter EGG!!  Bonus Content!!!

All of this reminded me of how much I want for my daughters.  Thought I’d share this with you.  My fellow NOW members gave this album to me during a baby shower in 1983. It became one of Jean’s favorites and we would sing and dance to it all the time when she was little.

Here’s free to be you and me after 40 years.


Thursday Night: It’s Time for Hillary

It’s that time of the DNC Convention! It’s time to hear from Hillary Clinton our next President!AP_16209121691988-1000x716

Chelsea Clinton will be introducing her mother as the Democratic Nominee. This should be an interesting contrast to the Sith Lord’s dark vision for and of our country.

Here’s a preview from the LATimes.

As released by the campaign, here are portions of what Hillary Clinton plans to say tonight as the first woman to accept a major party’s nomination for president:

“America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our founders there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we’re going to work together so we can all rise together.

“We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid.  We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.

“So I want to tell you tonight how we’re going to empower all Americans to live better lives. My primary mission as president will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States. From my first day in office to my last. Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind. From our inner cities to our small towns, Indian Country to Coal Country.  From the industrial Midwest to the Mississippi Delta to the Rio Grande Valley.

“The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security. Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face. From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated. No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance — looking for steady leadership.

“Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger.  None of us can do it alone.  That’s why we are stronger together.”

The story behind Michelle Obama’s beautiful blue dress on Monday night is truly beautiful too.michelle-obama-dnc

The ever-stylish first lady of the United States, 52, donned a custom Christian Siriano dress with cap sleeves and an A-line silhouette, dipped in the Democrats’ signature shade — it almost perfectly matched the backdrop. (While Obama’s was made to order, a very similar style is available for $995 at christiansiriano.com.) She added an understated touch of shine with dangling earrings and metallic, pointed-toe Jimmy Choo pumps.

“It is an incredible honor to have such an amazing woman wear one of my creations,”Siriano, 30, said in a statement. “I am in such awe.”

Sirano is best known for using the word “fierce” on Project Runway and dressing the fabulous Leslie Jones of the remade “Ghostbusters” and victim of racist and fat-shaming bullying on Twitter.  Sirano is also known for designing dress for full figured women.

“I just don’t think anyone should be excluded from having a beautiful dress,” he said to me when we were talking about the Jones brouhaha, and why he had volunteered to play fairy godfather.

 Lest you think Mrs. Obama’s wardrobe choice was just happenstance, however, know that the convention appearance was only the second time she has worn Mr. Siriano; the first time was this month, at the funeral for the police officers killed in Dallas.

Throughout her time in the White House, the first lady has made something of a secondary cause out of supporting new, independent American designers, and choosing her clothes not only because she likes them but because their back story has a certain resonance that goes beyond the aesthetic. Monday night was no different. Fashion is not known for its embrace of togetherness (more for its exclusion). But Mr. Siriano is.

bill-for-first-lady-2Fierce!  Like Michelle Obama and our next President Hillary Clinton!!!

So, what’s a convention closing night for the Democratic Party without A List Celebrities!  Here’s who will be on the stage tonight!

The Democratic National Convention comes to a conclusion Thursday night with the nomination of Hillary Clinton, no surprise there. First daughter Chelsea is expected to make the introduction. Also speaking tonight: former Mayor Michael Nutter; actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen; Pa. Gov. Wolf; basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabaar; and performances by Carole King and Katy Perry.

Jennifer Granholm is warming up the crowd right now and I understand Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is on his way!

katy-perry-3-435Here‘s a brief look at the schedule for the Democratic National Convention tonight!!    ‪#‎DemsInPhilly‬

Musical performance by Carole King.

Remarks by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Hillary for America’s Marlon Marshall; House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; Sen. Barbara Mikulski; Hillary for America’s Lorella Praeli; Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Stronger Together: An Economy That Works For Us All. Remarks by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH); Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper; Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen; home care worker Henrietta Ivey; worker Betha Mathias; equal pay advocates Jensen Walcott & Jake Reed; Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf; former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Stronger Together: Americans for Hillary. Remarks by former Reagan Administration official Doug Elmets; Director of Health Policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of Republican Women for Hillary Jennifer Pierotti Lim.

Stronger Together: Tribute to Fallen Law Enforcement Officers. Remarks by Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez; family members of fallen law enforcement officers Jennifer Loudon, Wayne Walker, Wayne Owens, Barbara Owens.

Stronger Together: An Inclusive America. Remarks by Rev. William Barber, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar; mother of fallen Muslim U.S. soldier Khizr Khan.

Stronger Together: Supporting Our Military. Remarks by Ted Lieu (D-CA); Gen. John Allen (USMC, retired), former commander, International Security Assistance Forces and commander, U.S. Forces in Afghanistan; Medal of Honor recipient Cpt. Flo Groberg (U.S. Army, retired); actress Chloe Grace Moretz; Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

Musical performance by Katy Perry.

Here we go!!!!

Let’s Celebrate that it’s TIME FOR HILLARY!!!


Thursday Reads: Democratic National Convention, Day Three

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Good Morning!!

President Obama was magnificent last night. He praised Hillary Clinton and called her the most qualified person ever to run for president–including himself and Bill Clinton. Here’s the full transcript. An excerpt:

I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together—black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love. That’s what I see. That’s the America I know!

And there is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, has devoted her life to that future; a mother and a grandmother who would do anything to help our children thrive; a leader with real plans to break down barriers, and blast through glass ceilings, and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American—the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton. That’s right!

Let me tell you, eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough, because Hillary was tough. I was worn out. She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards in heels. And every time I thought I might have the race won, Hillary just came back stronger.

But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team. And she was a little surprised. Some of my staff was surprised. But ultimately she said yes—because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us. And for four years—for four years, I had a front-row seat to her intelligence, her judgment, and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn’t for praise, it wasn’t for attention—that she was in this for everyone who needs a champion. I understood that after all these years, she has never forgotten just who she’s fighting for.

Hillary has still got the tenacity that she had as a young woman, working at the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.

She’s still got the heart she showed as our First Lady, working with Congress to help push through a Children’s Health Insurance Program that to this day protects millions of kids.

She’s still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11—which is why, as a Senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders, to help the city rebuild; why, as Secretary of State, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out bin Laden.

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You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. You can read about it. You can study it. But until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis, or send young people to war. But Hillary has been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes—what’s at stake for the working family, for the senior citizen, or the small business owner, for the soldier, for the veteran. And even in the midst of crisis, she listens to people, and she keeps her cool, and she treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.

That is the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why 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.

And Bill Clinton loved it! He stood and cheered along with the rest of the crowd.

Obama on Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton:

You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?

If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, if you’re really concerned about pocketbook issues and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, and better benefits, and a fairer tax code, and a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you’re rightly concerned about who’s going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world, well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world—not just by leaders, but by the people they serve.

I have to say this. People outside of the United States do not understand what’s going on in this election. They really don’t. Because they know Hillary. They’ve seen her work. She’s worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. She has the judgment and the experience and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It’s not new to her. Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out their leaders, taking back territory. And I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed. She will finish the job. And she will do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit and she is ready to be the next Commander-in-Chief.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection.

Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens. That’s one of the reasons why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago when I took office.

America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn’t depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election—the meaning of our democracy.

Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix. It doesn’t matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they’ve been in decades—because he’s not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. He’s just offering slogans, and he’s offering fear. He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.

And that’s another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he’ll lose it is because he’s selling the American people short. We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that We the People, can form a more perfect union.

And there was much much more. At the end, Hillary came out on stage and they hugged. It was a beautiful moment.

Of course this morning’s papers are filled with warnings that Hillary had better be good tonight, and that she can never live up to Obama’s performance last night. There are even multiple articles about Bill and Hillary’s supposedly horrible, “incomprehensible” marriage. You know what? I’m not going to link to any of those. I believe that Hillary will do very well tonight. The crowd in the hall will love her and lift her up; and women and girls around the country will shed tears at the thought of a woman finally becoming President of the U.S.

The media will pick her speech apart; they’ll find fault with her appearance and her manner of speaking. It’s what they do. And we will do what President Obama asked:

Time and again, you’ve picked me up. I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you’re who I was talking about twelve years ago, when I talked about hope – it’s been you who’ve fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; the audacity of hope!

America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me – to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.

Thank you for this incredible journey. Let’s keep it going. God bless the United States of America.

Yes we can, Mr. President. We’ll pick her up and carry her to victory in November.

There were many wonderful speeches last night, including Tim Kaine and Joe Biden. The entire night was a parade of A-listers–what a contrast to the pathetic GOP convention! But I’m worn out from two late nights and lots of emotion, so that’s all I have to say for right now. I’ll add some news links in the comment thread. Have a great day everyone!

 


Holy Hell, Wednesday Afternoon

Today is Wednesday, and it is a day of most importance to all “Gawd Furrin'” good xtians in Banjoville….it is a day that you will find most businesses closed. Yup…can’t even get you a new confederate flag or a can of lighter fluid down at the Local Red KKK Convenient Store because Wednesday is a day of rest and reflection and prayer for bigoted racist in this quiet red-neck backwoods mountain town.

I wonder if the talk at church this evening will be about the historic moment from yesterday’s DNC in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton: The First Lady to Become the Nominee – The Atlantic

In a historic moment, the Democratic Party formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, making her the first female nominee for the nation’s highest office in 240 years.

 

I am so grateful for Boston Boomer, for putting up a thread this morning…as you all may know, we are in the process of moving to a new house…and today we are moving the big items. So again this is an open thread. Here are a few links to get you started:

Here is the transcript of the speech last night by Bill Clinton. I didn’t even get a chance to see it. We cannot even get satellite service here…the new house is that far into the mountains that the trees block all line of sight to the satellites above! From what I understand, it was a knockout:

Transcript: Bill Clinton’s DNC speech – CNNPolitics.com

And next, a few links on Trump:

Trump Says Russia Will Be ‘Rewarded’ For Hack, But Pence Promises ‘Serious Consequences’ | Mediaite

In a bit of mixed messaging,Donald Trump promised mighty rewards to Russia in exchange for interfering in the election, while his VP pick promised “serious consequences.”

At a press conference Wednesday morning Trump encouraged Russia to release State Department emails in order to injure Hillary Clinton‘s campaign. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

Shortly afterward, his Vice Presidential nominee, Indian Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement saying that, rather than rewards, there would be “serious consequences” to Russia if it was behind the hack of the DNC emails released to the public last Friday. (Expertsbelieve that Russia is responsible.)

Pence’s statement reads in full:

The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they’ve been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job. [emphasis added]

Not backing down, Trump tweeted, “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”

Shakesville: What Donald Trump Just Did Is Tantamount to Treason

At a press conference earlier today, Donald Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.”

Holy fuck!

To put that in perspective…take a look at this headline:

Donald Trump To Begin Getting Intelligence Briefings : NPR

Now, let all that sink in a bit, and tell me if you don’t feel ill right about now.

More links to ponder:

From Wonkette: Donald Trump Wishes Democrats Would Maybe Use Some Patriotic Imagery, The Commies

Cheering crowds greet Pope as he arrives in Krakow – BBC News

Pope Francis calls for solidarity with refugees during speech in Kraków | World news | The Guardian

Column: What we need to do to prevent food shortages on a global scale | PBS NewsHour

Hey, It Was Hard Not to Cry at This Historic DNC — Vulture

The glass ceiling: a metaphor that needs to be smashed | US news | The Guardian

I hope everyone has a smashing afternoon!


Wednesday Morning Open Thread: History Made

Good Morning!!!

I’m still tearing up when I think about last night. I’m so proud of the Democratic Convention and so very very proud of our nominee Hillary Clinton. Back in 2008, I thought I’d never see this day and I’d probably never live to see a woman President. Now it looks like it could happen. Thank goodness for C-Span and social media. We can now bypass the Hillary-hating media with their focus on ugly gossip and “scandal.” Last night was truly glorious.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Live Blog: It’s Official!! Hillary Clinton has made Herstory!!

It’s official!  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has become the first woman ever to win the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties.

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This is the Louisiana Delegation featuring Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former Senator Mary Landrieu, and State Senator Karen Carter Peterson

After the roll call completed  with the final votes caste by the state of Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders rose to suspend the rules  to move that all votes cast be given to Secretary Clinton and that she be acclaimed the party’s nominee!!

Vermont ends it all: On behalf of Bernie Sanders, “who has changed the trajectory of this country in a way that will make the lives of working Americans better for generations to come,” a delegate said, “Vermont casts our votes: 22 votes for our beloved Senator Sanders and four for the next president, Hillary Clinton.” Then Sanders himself addressed the crowd: “I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States.”

Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton applauds First Lady Michelle Obama as Eric Holder and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland take their seats during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has followed the roll count with an inspirational talk on his personal relationship with the Clintons as well as speaking to his pride in his Virginia’s favorite son Tim Kain, the Vice presidential nominee. Here’s the Schedule for this evening’s speakers where the keynoter  will be former President and future First Gentleman Bill Clinton.

Starting at 10 p.m., the latest speakers will echo the day two theme, “A lifetime of fighting for children and families.” According to NJ Advance Media, the convention Tuesday night will hear from Philadelphia children’s advocate Thaddeus Desmond, a fifth-grade teacher in Arkansas named Dustin Parsons and a student who works at an academy for at-risk youth.

The Clinton campaign will also fold in its platform on gun control, with speakers like Anton Moore, who founded a youth group to talk about gun violence, and representatives from Mothers of the Movement, an organization of mothers who have lost children to gun deaths or police brutality.

Tuesday big-name politicians include Democratic National Committee vice chair of voter registration and participation Donna Brazile, former Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Last but not least, Clinton’s husband Bill will headline the night, likely delivering a speech appealing to his ethos as former president to voice his enthusiastic support for his wife.

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CNN announces the moment via my friend Matt Harris from Georgia

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi–standing with all the Democratic Congresswomen –is discussing how Clinton will be shattering the “Marble” ceiling.  The theme of unleashing the power of women and helping our children is key to the program tonight because this is Hillary’s crusade. The theme is entitled  “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families“. Each Congresswoman is speaking on the role of women in creating our great country.

Tuesday will feature the roll call vote and how Hillary has spent her entire career working to make a difference for children, families, and our country. The Mothers of the Movement participating include Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontré Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Headlining speakers

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton
(This is an excerpt of a bio taken from the White House’s website.) Bill Clinton is an American politician from Arkansas who served as the 42nd President of the United States (1993-2001). He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first baby-boomer generation President.

Mothers of the Movement
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontré Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

You can find the names of the other speakers at the link .

Cameron Joseph provides the picture of when Senator Bernie Sanders moves to unify the party by asking the party to suspend the rules to acclaim Hillary Clinton the nominee.

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Here’s my Friend Franklin live from the floor at the very moment it happened representing for Augusta!!!

Meanwhile!  Let’s Celebrate!!!