Friday Reads: Facts, Lies, Damned Lies, and then there’s the Media

history_kennedy_and_nixon_4th_debate_speech_sf_still_624x352Good Afternoon!

We’re closing in on the first general election debate of the season and speculation is running hot and heavy in the pundit class.  I think they’re actually taking bets as to which one of Donald Trump’s persona will appear on stage.  They’re also trying to find out who is standing in for Trump at Clinton’s practice debates. That’s just soooooo scoopworthy and newsworthy and très importante.

As usual, Hillary is off doing her homework,prepping for the big day, and getting her facts down since hope isn’t too high that Lester Holt will do much of that being the News Reader of the Day given work that should be above his pay grade.  The big questions of the day for Hillary Clinton and the debate can be seen on Between Two Ferns as BB posted yesterday.  What will she wear?  Will she smile enough?  Will her eyes wobble to and fro and her cankles hang low?  Inquiring Lester Holt will probably ask (sigh) and the journalists (sic) will discuss it endlessly until the next debate.

Lying, Crooked, Scumbag*  Donald Trump has already told Holt not to fact check the debate.   * Hey, just mimicking his debate and speech style.

Donald Trump says NBC’s Lester Holt should not correct his or Hillary Clinton’s facts while moderating the first presidential debate.

“I think he has to be a moderator,” the Republican nominee said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday.

“I mean, if you’re debating somebody and if she makes a mistake or I make a mistake … we’ll take each other on,” he added. “But I certainly don’t think you want Candy Crowley again.”

I’m never quit sure why they actually pick “news” personalities to do these things rather than ask a few experts to grill the candidates on their subject of expertise. But, like anything on TV news poof these days, it’s a ratings game and they’re after those sound bytes from hell.  Josh Vorhees from Slate has done Lester’s homework for him which is usually what the bright kids do for the rest of the planet.    Don’t forget, we’ve got letters from economics experts, foreign policy experts, diplomats and military experts and scientists all begging folks to leave Donald Trump to the trashbins of TV and scams.  Really, check my links that’s about 300-400 of the world’s biggest brains flashing a don’t go there America sign!!!  It’s like between 50 -100 of them per link up there.

The list of lies covered by Vorhees include lies that that Donald Dumbf tells about himself, the country, the economy, the world, the criminal justice system, the state of US inner cities and a host of topics.  Go check them out. kennedy-nixon-debate-hThey’re full cited.  Here are the lies he tells about our country and our extremely good economy.

Lies Trump Tells About the Country


Lie: There could be as few as 3 million or as many as 30 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Truth: The Department of Homeland Security last estimated the size of the undocumented population at 11.4 million at the start of 2012, down from a peak of 12.2 million five years earlier. As PolitiFact points out, that figure is line with the most recent estimates from the Pew Research Center (11.3 million in 2014), the Center for Migration Studies (10.9 million in 2014), and the Center for Immigrations Studies (11.7 million in 2016). While the government does not know the exact number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, there are no credible estimates that approach either Trump’s high- or low-end numbers.

Lie: Assimilation among American Muslims is nearly “non-existent.”

Truth: The Pew Research Center conducted a major survey on the topic in 2011 and concluded “Muslim Americans appear to be highly assimilated into American society.” Public polling of Muslim Americans likewise suggests that a majority identify strongly with the United States.

The electoral process

Lie: The general election debates are “rigged” against him because two overlap with NFL games.

Truth: The Commission on Presidential Debates consulted with both parties before setting the fall schedule for the three presidential debates and the single vice presidential one. Furthermore, the bipartisan panel announced the dates in September of last year, more than four months before this year’s first nominating contest and nearly seven months before the NFL released its schedule for the season. Scheduling conflicts between major sporting events and the general election debates are also neither new—there were two NFL conflicts in 2012 alone—nor easily avoidable, given the NFL now plays on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, while MLB playoff games up to and including the World Series can fall on any day of the week. (Bonus lie: Trump claims the NFL sent him a letter alerting him about the conflict; the NFL says that didn’t happen.)

Lie: The election itself is “rigged” against him.

Truth: Trump’s claim was, in the words of the usually staid Associated Press, an “unprecedented assertion by a modern presidential candidate,” one that could “threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections and challenge the very essence of a fair democratic process.” Trump has laid the groundwork for only two possible outcomes in the eyes of his most passionate supporters: He wins the presidency, or he has it stolen from him. Meanwhile, his campaign has produced no credible evidence to support the extraordinary claim that the outcome of an election that has yet to happen will be illegitimate.

The economy

Lie: The United States is one of the highest taxed nations in the world.

Truth: This is a slightly softer version of his original claim that America is the most  taxed nation, though the rewrite still isn’t enough to save it. According to a Pew Research Center report from this year—based on 2014 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—Americans’ tax bills are below average among developed nations.

Lie: The true unemployment rate is as high as 42 percent.

Truth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest estimate pegs the nation’s unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, roughly where it has been for the past year. That figure does not factor in those Americans who are unemployed but not currently looking for work. BLS, however, offers a second statistic—known as the labor underutilization rate—that in addition to the officially unemployed, also counts part-time workers who would like to be working more and those who want to work but are not currently looking for a job. That figure was 9.7 percent in August.

Lie: The black youth unemployment rate is 59 percent.

Truth: Again, no. According to BLS, the unemployment rate for blacks between 16 and 24 years old was 26.1 percent in August. While Trump has never said where his figure came from, the most likely scenario is that he is relying on a metric that misleadingly factors in those who don’t work and aren’t looking for a job, including high school and college students.

With his wife Rosalynn Carter looking on at center, Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, center left, shakes hands with President Gerald Ford at the conclusion of their debate at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Oct. 6, 1976, San Francisco, Calif. Others unidentified. (AP Photo)

With his wife Rosalynn Carter looking on at center, Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, center left, shakes hands with President Gerald Ford at the conclusion of their debate at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Oct. 6, 1976, San Francisco, Calif. Others unidentified. (AP Photo)

Meanwhile, Clinton picks up the endorsement of another of the nation’s major newspapers.  This time it’s the LA Times.  No one in the know or a functioning brain wants Donald Dumpf near the White House.  No.One.  How’s this for a headline? “Hillary Clinton would make a sober, smart and pragmatic president. Donald Trump would be a catastrophe.”

American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president.

Donald J. Trump, a billionaire businessman and television personality, is the latter. He has never held elected office and has shown himself temperamentally unfit to do so. He has run a divisive, belligerent, dishonest campaign, repeatedly aligning himself with racists, strongmen and thugs while maligning or dismissing large segments of the American public. Electing Trump could be catastrophic for the nation.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton is one of the best prepared candidates to seek the presidency in many years. As a first lady, a Democratic senator from New York and secretary of State in President Obama’s first term, she immersed herself in the details of government, which is why her positions on the issues today are infinitely better thought-out than those of her opponent.

She stands for rational, comprehensive immigration reform and an improvement rather than an abandonment of the Affordable Care Act. She supports abortion rights, wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, hopes to reform the sentencing laws that have overcrowded American prisons, would repair the Voting Rights Act and help students to leave college without enormous debt. Abroad she would strengthen America’s traditional alliances, continue the Obama administration’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately defeat” Islamic State and negotiate with potential adversaries such as Russia and China in a way that balances realism and the protection of American interests. Unlike Trump, Clinton accepts the prevailing science on climate change and considers the issue to be “the defining challenge of our time.”

The racists are out in droves over the protests in Charlotte, N.C. which is one of the key swing states in this election. The first two nights of protests saw some vandalism and even a shooting.  However, last night was peaceful.  I fe73c13f32d25e27af454f6763909589noticed that the presence of the National Guard mixed in with Police in NOPD after Katrina was a good thing.  The police behaved when they were being monitored by the Guard.  People also were more calm and the usual agitators and criminals that follow protests around to take advantage were gone last night.  I’m beginning to think that a state’s national guard is key to policing in places where the police aren’t all that professional.  Anyway, here’s the latest idiots suggesting protesters should be harmed or are some how doing something illegal.  This one is from a Tennessee (no surprises there) Law Professor.

The University of Tennessee is investigating a tweet by one of its law professors after the faculty member and contributing columnist for USA TODAY and the Knoxville News Sentinel urged motorists to run over demonstrators blocking traffic in Charlotte, N.C.

Twitter briefly suspended Glenn Reynolds’ account after he responded to a tweet from a TV news station in Charlotte that showed protesters on Interstate 277.  “Run them down,” he wrote.

Reynolds, the creator of the Instapundit blog, tweets from the handle @Instapundit.

He posted to Twitter shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday that his account had been unblocked after he agreed to delete the offending tweet.

UT College of Law Dean Melanie D. Wilson said in a statement Thursday morning that she and university administrators are investigating the matter, calling Reynolds’ post an “irresponsible use of his platform.”

“The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas,” she wrote. “My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.”

She called the concerns about the tweet from students and staff, along with those from citizens across the country, “serious and legitimate.”

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek released a statement about an hour later supporting Wilson and her comments.

“Wilson’s statement about the faculty member’s social media post reinforces the university’s commitment to fostering a civil and inclusive learning environment,” he said in a news release.

959f5c5c-c78c-4f02-b54c-fea4961be96a-2048A North Carolina Congressman suggested that “Charlotte protesters ‘hate white people’.”  That sounds like something straight out of the Alt-Reich handbook of racism.

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger apologized Thursday after saying the violence in Charlotte stems from protesters who “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”

Pittenger is a Republican whose district includes parts of the city where protests have turned violent in the wake of a police shooting of a black man.

He made the statement on a BBC-TV news program Thursday when asked to describe the “grievance” of the protesters.

“The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” Pittenger said. He then criticized people who receive welfare. It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, and we’ve put people in bondage, so they can’t be all they’re capable of being.”

He later apologized on Twitter, saying his answer “doesn’t reflect who I am. I was quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV. My intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies.”

1228f400721a0b623e2d98adf6f6fdb9Yeah. Right. Lack of “economic mobility” because “they all hate white people”, I suppose.

Then there was this doozy from a USA Today columnist who suggested you should just run people over with your car if they get in your way.

Which brings us to Glenn Reynolds, known online as InstaPundit, one of the most prolific bloggers on the Internet. On Wednesday night, Reynolds tweeted this.

The tweet involved protesters who were blocking a highway near Charlotte in protest of the killing of Keith Lamont Scott.

Twitter suspended Reynolds’ account, on the grounds that his tweet was an incitement of violence.

After being suspended, however, Reynolds defended his tweet. He allowed that “run them down” didn’t capture his intent “fully” — but he blamed Twitter’s character count, not his own judgment, for the message.

But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.

“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.

Reynolds’ tweet was just 14 characters — far below Twitter’s limit of 140, which could have allowed for at least a little more nuance.

He then appeared on the Hugh Hewitt show and made clear that, upon reflection, he did not apologize for his tweet.

Can I just say I’m really tired of these white dudes trying to swing their lily white, tiny dicks in every one’s face?  So, what explains the current state of the voting public and the inability of some voters to see Trump for what he is? tdih-debates_lobby

What makes white people tick? This question will occupy campaign strategists and forecasters through November. Given that voters of color have, on the whole, decided resoundingly against Donald Trump, the coveted swing voters who will decide this election are overwhelmingly white. This is nothing new, of course, but in the wake of a campaign season that has played heavily on white identity politics, rejection of diversity and race-baiting dog whistles, the specific concerns of white voters have taken on a renewed salience.

It’s an open secret in electoral politics that you can guess someone’s vote pretty accurately based only on her census form. So rather than trying to suss out the sentiments and ideological profiles of voters based on individual testimony, let’s tackle a simpler question: Which demographic traits affect how white Americans vote?

Instead, the two most predictive variables are religious attendance and education. Crucially, these two variables are still more explanatory when considered together. Roughly speaking, a white voter will lean left if she is “more college than church” and will lean right if she is “more church than college.”4

More precisely, we can assign an educational score (no college = 0, some college = 1, college degree = 2) and religious attendance score (never attend = 0, sometimes attend = 1, attend weekly = 2) to each white American. Those with a higher education score are likely to support Clinton, those with a higher religious attendance score are more likely to support Trump, and those with equal scores are more divided.

So, I’m not going to comment in the post about that but you can read more at the FiveThirtyEight link above.  There’s more in depth analysis from Milo Beckman there.   I’ll be more open with my thoughts downthread but needless to say, if you’re already gullible enough to take iron age myths literally, you’re pretty far removed from reality.  If you’ve never really studied science and learned about how theories come about and hypotheses are tested, you’re going to be doubly vulnerable to scam artists.  Opps … I went there.

So, don’t forget to join us for the first debate next week and our live blog!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Happy Note: There’s a full page in the New York Times today with just this poem by Langston Hugheslangston-hughes

I, Too, Sing America

Langston Hughes, Lincoln University ’29

Poet, Social Activist, Novelist and Playwright

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.


15 Comments on “Friday Reads: Facts, Lies, Damned Lies, and then there’s the Media”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Cincinnati Enquirer:

    It has to be Hillary Clinton

    Presidential elections should be about who’s the best candidate, not who’s the least flawed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case this year.

    Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the most unpopular pair of presidential candidates in American history, both have troubled relationships with truth and transparency. Trump, despite all of his bluster about wanting to “make America great again,” has exploited and expanded our internal divisions. Clinton’s arrogance and unwillingness to admit wrongdoing have made her a divisive and distrusted figure as well.

    The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century – a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.

    That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I do believe the editors of the Cincinnati Enquirer just called our girl “uppity”…

    • gregoryp says:

      Hillary is only unpopular because of all the LIES told about her and all the mean spirited media bias against her. She is actually quite a wonderful person who has dedicated her life to helping others. Not sure how anything she has ever done or said can be construed the way it has been. At some point, our fellow citizens need to wake the fuck up and start using some critical thinking skills.

  2. quixote says:

    “Clinton’s arrogance and unwillingness to admit wrongdoing have made her a divisive and distrusted figure as well.”

    Yes, I’ve noticed that. She’s never said she’s sorry about the whole private server non-event. (Oh, wait. Only about 1000 times.) When some mouthbreather wants her to get a neurological exam, she responds politely instead of telling him to get some oxygen to his brain. When there are asinine questions about the Clinton Foundation, she and her whole family make sure they’re distanced from it without affecting the work it does, saving people’s lives. She listens to people and then, get this, alters policy based on new information.

    That is sooo arrogant. Right?


    (Sorry about shouting. At least I managed to stay away from the bold flashing font.)

    Anyway. Good they endorsed her. yadda yadda yadda. Maybe next time they could leave their dumb misogyny at the door too.

  3. NW Luna says:

    “arrogance” = woman running for President.

    • babama says:

      “arrogance and unwillingness to admit wrongdoing” = refusal to apologize for aspiration and ambition while being female.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin, by Michael Isikoff

    The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow over the summer as evidence of “significant and disturbing ties” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.

    Some of those briefed were “taken aback” when they learned about Page’s contacts in Moscow, viewing them as a possible back channel to the Russians that could undercut U.S. foreign policy, said a congressional source familiar with the briefings but who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The source added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being “actively monitored and investigated.”

    A senior U.S. law enforcement official did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News. “It’s on our radar screen,” said the official about Page’s contacts with Russian officials. “It’s being looked at.”

    Page is a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in Moscow who now runs a New York consulting firm, Global Energy Capital, located around the corner from Trump Tower, that specializes in oil and gas deals in Russia and other Central Asian countries. He declined repeated requests to comment for this story.

    • William says:

      This story should be headlined every day for the rest of the election, but of course it won’t be. After all those decades of Republicans accusing Democrats of being Communist dupes, or giving aid and comfort to the enemy by criticizing aspects of the government, here we have the Republican nominee employing someone who is trying to broker a backchannel deal with Russia, while Russia tries to help him win the election.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m just thinking it must be on the TV in hell looping continuously for folks like Whittaker Chambers. Richard Nixon, and Joe McCarthy.

        • William says:

          What a frightening image. I think I saw a headline today that Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Adam Schiff have concluded, apparently based on a study of Intelligence material, that Russia is actively trying to influence the election. The Republicans are such utter hypocrites and fakes, that they ignore all of this. I don’t think that there is anything that they would not hide or suppress in order to win elections.

  5. bostonboomer says:


    A lawyer asked Trump, “Did you yourself do anything to obtain any of the details with respect to the Florida gaming environment, what approvals were needed and so forth?”

    Trump: A little bit.

    Lawyer: What did you do?

    Trump: I actually spoke with Governor-Elect Bush; I had a big fundraiser for Governor-Elect Bush…and I think it was his most successful fundraiser, the most successful that he had had up until that point, that was in Trump Tower in New York on Fifth Avenue.

    Lawyer: When was that?

    Trump: Sometime prior to his election.

    Lawyer: You knew that Governor Bush, Jeb Bush at that time, was opposed to expansion of gaming in Florida, didn’t you?

    Trump: I thought that he could be convinced otherwise.

    Trump tried to bribe Jeb Bush.

  6. William says:

    It appears that Hillary’s people had to make significant concessions to even get Trump to agree to debates. Wallace is a Fox News person, who is clearly far Right. Holt is registered as a Republican; and as you note, is by no means a highly respected analyst of issues. I don’t know Raddatz well, but those who have seen her are pretty sure that she is conservative, Cooper is the most reasonable moderator.

    The entire campaign as covered by the media, has been as entertainment spectacle. They have no interest in discussing policy matters. We’ll get debate coaches on to analyze style; partisans to insist their person won; and of course cable “newspeople” making the expectations for Trump as low as possible, and then saying he exceeded them. At this point, I’d accept just having a debate where there aren’t accusatory questions put to Hillary by the moderator, where she has to defend herself. What the debates should be about, are discussions of policy positions, and what they would mean for the country and the people in it. However, it is my understanding that the second debate is going to feature “topics which are trending on Facebook.”