An argument with a Trump Supporter about the Clinton Foundation

I argued with a Trump supporter at Peanut Fest last night. She said that Trump’s foundation got a higher rating that Clinton’s. I told her that it wasn’t true; that Charity Navigator gave the Clinton Foundation the highest rating. There were two kids, about twelve years old, watching. She asked them who they thought was winning. One said she was. The other abstained. We ended up with me saying that she’s wrong, but I promised to go home and check it out.

It wasn’t difficult. The Clinton foundation has a four star rating from Charity Navigator. Their rating was recent, which some right wing sites claim is suspicious, but the reason for the late rating is explained.

In 2013, the Clinton Foundation merged with one of its affiliates, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). This merger made it difficult to compare financial information of the combined entities with financial information from the Clinton Foundation before the merger. In situations like this with any charity, we will reevaluate if the charity provides consolidated financial data that will allow us to perform an accurate year-over-year comparison.

Meanwhile, the Trump foundation is not rated because it is a private foundation, not a charity.

So, in the eyes of a 12 year old, my opponent may have won, but like Pence during the VP debate, she did so by lying. Thankfully, among those of us who were old enough to vote, most of us seem to be more impressed with the truth. I hope that holds for another month.

Comparing Clinton’s and Trump’s Plans for Veterans, Military Members and their Families

At the top of Hilary Clinton’s page for “Veterans, the armed forces, and their families”
is a paragraph about Clinton’s father who was a Chief Petty Officer during World
War II. Trump’s “Veterans affairs Reform” page, of course, describes no connections to the military, since his entire family has avoided service.

Both pages include three or four paragraphs of general vision statements. Even in these general statements, Clinton’s page provides more detail than Trump’s, but Clinton’s also links to a fact-sheet that details how she plans to meet her goals.

Clinton’s page says she will narrow the focus of the VA so that it concentrates on providing health care for service-related conditions and treatments that Veterans need but have difficulty getting outside the VA. For issues that can be dealt with outside the VA, she’ll have the VA coordinate with other existing programs, and “Strategically purchase private-sector care when it makes sense to do so.” She promises to hold regular meetings with the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense. She will look for ways to streamline the VA by removing redundancies and co-locating operations. She will push to implement the electronic health record system, which has been delayed for years. Her fact sheet is filled with such details.

Trump’s page as no such details. It’s pretty much a short list which he calls a “10 point plan to reform the VA”. There is no link to any fact sheet.

The first of Trump’s ten points is “Appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans.” We already have a VA Secretary whose sole purpose is to serve veterans. Recently the VA Secretary failed to fulfill that purpose, but the position and the purpose both exist, so Trump’s first point is meaningless.

Points 2,3,4, and 5 are all about punishing poor performers at the VA. They’re one point divided into four because a “10 point plan” sounds better than a “7 point list”. So far, it’s really just a 6 point list because point 1 is nonsense.

Half of Point 6 is a good idea. Yay Trump. He will create a 24 hour, live manned, “private White House hotline”. I like the 24 hour part. We already have a VA hotline but it only runs during East Coast business hours. It can be trouble finding time during the workday to deal with government agencies. So that’s great, but I don’t know what Trump means by “private White House hotline”. It would be stupid to put the hotline in the White House, and what does he mean by “Private”? The hotline would be better off in a VA facility were someone might be able to turn the call over to a health care professional.

Point 7 is about punishing non-performers, so it should get rolled in with points 2,3,4, and 5. Now it’s a 5 point plan.

Point 8 is about visas. Even if a crackdown on visas would help veterans (and I’m not saying it wouldn’t), it’s not a point in a plan to reform the VA. Trump really has a four point plan to reform the VA.

Points 9 and 10 sound good to me. He’ll increase the number of mental health care professionals and allow veteran’s to choose between care at the VA or at a private service provider. But since it’s mainly the cost that keeps vets from getting care outside of the VA (there’s no rule that says we can’t), if Trump wants to make sure that vets can get care outside of the VA, he should provide some clue about how he plans to cover the cost.

That’s it. Four ideas: Set up a 24 hour “private hotline”, increase the number of health care professionals, improve access to private health care,and make the VA a scary place to work where great resources are devoted to punishment and employees are rewarded for turning in their coworkers. There is nothing about the economic challenges faced by active duty military members. There is no mention of their families. There is nothing about education.

Most of all, there is no framework for how Trump plans to meet the four goals he spells out in his so-called “ten point plan”. There is almost no accountability.


Photo by: Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Clinton’s plan has several specific objectives that later we can review to hold her to her promises.

Trump’s plan reads like a book report done on the morning bus by a student who didn’t read the book. It is an insult that shows no regard for veterans, military members, or their families.

This is how bad it is

We have to elect Clinton and down-ballot Democrats. They we’ll have to deal with violent ignoramuses who will think Trump’s loss is due to rigging and are dreaming about a civil war.

Reporter tweets from Trump rally:

Jared Yates Sexton @JYSexton

I’ve covered the Trump campaign for over a year now and have seen this worsen. The anger changes, grows. It’s going to boil over.

It started with Muslims and moved to BLM. Then it was Clinton and calling for her death. Now it’s media. It won’t stop spreading.

Trump wasn’t Trump tonight. He was a megaphone spouting off Breitbart copy. It was organized and structured. Nuanced. That’s terrible news.

He kept crowd’s attention, which he’s never been able to do. He crafted a very dangerous narrative and they swallowed it whole.

See more:

Black Lives and Blue Lives

There’s a meme going around complaining that while mothers of “Young Men” (sarcastically printed in quotation marks) who were killed by police spoke at the Democratic National Convention, there were no family members of fallen heroes who were killed by “Thugs” (quotes mine).

Image described in paragraph above

But there were no family members of fallen heroes at the Republican National Convention, either. Family members of fallen heroes didn’t speak at either convention because we already agree that the deaths of police officers are tragic. That’s why we have severe penalties for violence against the police and compensation packages for family members of fallen heroes.

Those compensation packages would be more generous if Republicans didn’t fight against police unions. It’s only Republican lies that suggest Democrats are against the police. Democrats do more to support the police than Republicans do, but we all agree that the police deserve our support.

What we don’t all agree on is that something should be done about the few rogue cops who murder or brutalize the citizens they’re supposed to protect. Republicans seem to feel that the lives affected by dangerous or murderous acts committed by police don’t matter, as long as it’s not happening in their own neighborhoods. They claim that it’s best to just shut up about it, and that even mentioning the fact that sometimes people are murdered by police is the same as calling for the deaths of good cops.

Except for a few bad actors, nobody is calling for attacks on the police. That’s why Hillary Clinton praised the 500 applicants who wanted to become police officers in the aftermath of the Dallas murders, and why she said of the police, after Baton Rouge “They represent the rule of law itself. If you take aim at that and at them, you take aim at all of us. There can be no justification, no looking the other way.”

In my city, where “Police hugs make Sydnee smile”, community leaders and the police are working together. For those in Suffolk, there will be a Unity Parade, during National Night Out, and community leaders and police departments across the nation are working together in similar outreach efforts.

Dead cops isn’t the answer, but neither is ignoring the problem. It’s too bad that the phrase “All Lives Matter” was born as an attack on the Black Lives Matter movement. Indeed, all lives do matter, Black lives and blue lives included.

We’ve Never Seen Lying Like This Before

Via Think Progress

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. -Donald Trump July 27 To be clear, Mr. Trump did not call on, or invite, Russia or anyone else to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mails today. -Trump senior communications advisor Jason Miller July 27

Photo By Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Marines Corp
via Wikimedia Commons

when was the last time Goldberg and I agreed about something?

“when was the last time Goldberg and I agreed about something?”

That’s Keven Drum, and the Goldberg he’s writing about is Jonah Goldberg. What they agree on is this, from Drum:

Trump repeatedly said “I disavow, I disavow, I disavow,” without ever mentioning who he was disavowing. …

… I don’t think this was a mistake. Trump has done it too many times. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Good Morning America, and then again last night. …

… there’s no video of him clearly and unequivocally condemning the Duke or the KKK—and they understand perfectly well what this means. They’re old hands at the wink and the nod.

and from Goldberg:

It is obvious to me that Trump didn’t want to denounce David Duke and the Klan in the Jake Tapper interview. The “bad earpiece” explanation is a transparent lie…

… But even when Trump disavowed Duke in the Friday press, this is how he did it:

“David Duke endorsed me? OK, all right. I disavow, OK?”

It’s clear he’s simply paying lip service, and reluctantly at that.

Trump’s racist supporters expect Trump to disavow them even if wants their vote, but they must be pleased about how he avoided specifically saying anything bad about them.

What was true about voting Republican is twice as true about voting for Trump.  In order to cut support for the poor, to close the borders to people fleeing for their lives, to keep government from interfering with the economic status quo of a nation who’s strength was bolstered by slavery, exploitation, and war, you have to side with White supremacists.  You may he a decent person with reasons that you feel are valid, but your positions are so unpopular that if it wasn’t for the worst people in the nation voting with you, your candidates wouldn’t win any elections.

Hugo Reyes joins SDC at Peanut Fest (and takes a selfie)

Hugo Reyes, Virginia’s candidate for the State Senate’s Third District, and his partner Mary Meyers will be joining the Suffolk Democratic Committee’s tent at the Suffolk Peanut Festival this weekend.

Hugo Reyes Selfie at SDC Tent

SDC volunteers have been manning the tent since Thursday, and turnout should be good this weekend since the usual Peanut Fest storm hit us early this year.

Peanut Fest Tent

Hugo Reyes Campaign Kickoff July 23rd

Hugo Reyes, our Candidate for State Senate District 3, will kickoff his campaign at the Corner Pocket, 4805 Courthouse St in Williamsburg, on July 23rd at 5:30.

Reyes for Virginia Banner

Join Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and Mr. Reyes as they officially kick off the Reyes for Virginia campaign for Virginia State Senate.

Your 2nd Amendment Rights are Protected in Waller County, Texas

It’s good to know that your Second Amendment rights are protected in Waller County, according to the home page of the Waller County Sheriff’s Department. But if Sandra Bland was removed from her vehicle for a minor traffic violation, beaten for speaking out, held in jail for 3 days over trumped up charges, and finally executed in her cell, then Waller County would seem weak on protecting some of those other rights.

I did a Google news search on Waller County, restricting the date range to before July 2015. Waller seems to have more than it’s share of corruption and misconduct. It’s not a scientific study, of course, but it seems a little high. I don’t know what the results will be of the investigation into Sandra Bland’s suspicious death. I suppose it’s possible that the seemingly normal, educated, and well loved woman who was in town to start a new career was inexplicably belligerent enough during a routine traffic stop to justify her arrest, then killed herself in her cell without leaving a note while nobody noticed. But whatever the results, it might be a good idea for the Sheriff to emphasize more than just the 2nd Amendment. Maybe if the website said, “All of your rights are protected in Waller County”, it would help foster a better attitude of public service.

The Internet and the Civil War

Imagine if 30 years ago someone were to tell you that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, and to prove it showed you a quote like this one from General Robert E. Lee, here taken from Confederate American Pride:

There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery is an institution of a moral and political evil

Assuming that you believed the quote to be accurate, you might be left scratching your head and wondering why this seems so contradictory to what you’ve always heard. You’re probably not going to run to the library to research Robert E. Lee quotes to see the context from which that quote was taken. Which is, by the way, via Wikipedia and Rad Geek,

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise God.

Of course, 30 years ago, few people would have heard the misleading out-of-context quote to begin with, so the Internet helps spread lies along with the truths that debunk them. Which is why there are still so many Confederate battle flag lovers who think the flag isn’t a symbol of racism.

I know that such true believers exist, but if they honestly do their research, they should have a change of heart.

People with busy lives who don’t think much about the flag and what it has stood for may be forgiven for not knowing the truth. But for anyone willing to make a stand, the Internet leaves little excuse for such ignorance. By the time someone is yelling “baaa, baaa” into a bullhorn at counter-protesters to a Confederate rally to drown out the truth, or has compiled a website full of out-of-context quotes and misleading facts, that person is not a true believer. That person is a liar.