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Game of Thrones *Major Spoiler*

Does Hillary Clinton face a different standard for honesty?

Source: Washington Post, Janell Ross

Some "highlights" from the article, featuring 2 experts, Kelly Dittmar and Julie Dolan (qualifications at link).

Gender-related issues?

DOLAN: Absolutely. Her candidacy raises questions as to whether any woman can be president of the United States, whether female presidential candidates can ever overcome voter stereotypes and media narratives that question women’s suitability for the White House.

Clinton is the most experienced candidate in the field, but campaign rivals Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are leveling attacks against her that she’s not qualified for the job. In doing so, they're playing into a longstanding narrative that women lack what it takes to succeed in the male-dominated world of politics. The fact that two less-experienced male candidates are leveling this attack against her is telling. Neither Trump nor Sanders feel compelled to shore up their own credentials or justify their own relative lack of experience because they don’t need to; they benefit from a gendered double standard where men are automatically presumed qualified for public office and women are not.

An honesty issue?

DOLAN: They care, but it's not typically at the top of the list of desired character traits. In voting for the president, voters tend to prioritize masculine traits (toughness, decisiveness) over feminine traits (empathy, honesty). Because honesty is considered a feminine trait, it carries less sway with voters than do other competing traits.

Who's more honest?

DITTMAR: Research on gender stereotypes has shown that women are often perceived as more honest than their male counterparts. For example, a 2014 Pew poll found that 34 percent of respondents believe that women in high-level political offices are better than men at being honest and ethical, while just 3 percent see men as better on the same traits.

DOLAN: Voters typically draw on gender stereotypes in evaluating political candidates and tend to punish candidates who diverge from gender expectations. Because the generic female candidate is presumed more honest than the generic male candidate, voters judge a female candidate more harshly if she appears to violate the expectation of honesty. For male candidates, dishonesty is problematic but the critique is muted because generic male candidates are presumed to be somewhat less honest from the start.

Hillary vs Trump!

DITTMAR: ...Trump's "Crooked Hillary” moniker indicates that he will work to ensure that Clinton’s dishonesty is front and center in voters’ minds, contributing to these negative effects and deflecting attention from his own problems with truthfulness. Still, if voter surveys are any indicator, it’s likely that other considerations will matter more to voters’ decision-making in November. That may be why Clinton has focused more on Trump’s lack of qualifications to be president, emphasizing the risk of having him in the Oval Office.

Read it at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/29/does-hillary-clinton-face-a-different-standard-for-honesty/?hpid=hp_special-topic-chain_fix-honesty-1020am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Hillary needs 73 delegates to get to 2,383 - Victory!


June 4th and 5th (next weekend) Virgin Islands (12) and Puerto Rico (67) vote. Hillary is expected to pick up 40-50 more pledged delegates.


Given how Bernie has been stirring the pot with veiled threats of disunity and disruption, how hard would it be for 30-40 out of 120 plus remaining Democratic insider superdelegates - OUR people - to commit to Hillary this coming week - and make June 7th completely irrelevant?

Feds fight to prevent Clinton deposition in email case

Guess who else has had about enough of this silly crap?

The Obama administration is trying to prevent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from being deposed in an ongoing open records case connected to her use of a private email server.

Late Thursday evening, the Justice Department filed a court motion opposing the Clinton deposition request from conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch, claiming that the organization was trying to dramatically expand the scope of the lawsuit.

Judicial Watch is “seeking instead to transform these proceedings into a wide-ranging inquiry into matters beyond the scope of the court’s order and unrelated to the FOIA request at issue in this case,” government lawyers wrote in their filing, referring to the Freedom of Information Act.

The lawyers wrote that the request to interview Clinton “is wholly inappropriate” before depositions are finished in a separate case also concerning the email server.

Judicial Watch’s FOIA case began as a way to seek documents about talking points related to the 2012 terror attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, but has since grown to encompass wider questions about Clinton’s use of a personal server while working as secretary of State.


Hillary Clinton’s Emails Are a Threat to Life as We Know it

A humorous and cynical commentary on the OIG email "reporting."

Source: Mediaite, Tommy Christopher

Any glance at most political websites today, you might think:

If the past two days have taught us anything, it is that Hillary Clinton‘s use of a personal email server during her tenure at the State Department is a threat to the American way, and even to all human life on Earth. The media’s sirens-a-blaring reaction to the State Department Office of the Inspector General’s report on email practices would lead any rational observer to conclude that the only crime greater than using personal email to conduct State business is the crime of ever believing a word that Hillary Clinton says.

Personal email not "allowed?" The "big lie?"

Page 37 of the report does say that “OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server,” but then again, Secretary Clinton isn’t saying that she requested or obtained guidance or approval. She’s saying it was “allowed,” an assertion that is backed up by many instances in the report which recognize that personal email use, while generally discouraged, is permitted, as per a 2009 regulation which states “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system,” and which is repeatedly cited in the report.

As the OIG report also states on page 5, it wasn’t until after Hillary Clinton left the State Department that personal email use was prohibited, and even then, not completely.

Hillary didn't want to or attempt to retain her records?

This didn’t quite work out because, as the unreported main focus of the report makes clear, the State Department system is a hot-assed mess. If it weren’t, then none of this would be happening, because they’d be able to sort and retrieve emails the way any Gmail user can. But since I’m a reasonable person who doesn’t hate Hillary Clinton and isn’t trying to justify swallowing a year-and-a-half worth of Republican leaks like some kind of journalistic Linda Lovelace, it makes sense to me that a person would think “Hey, if I send an email to someone with a dot-gov email address, they’ll be able to find it if they need it.”

Read much, much more in the full article at: http://www.mediaite.com/online/hillary-clintons-emails-are-a-threat-to-life-as-we-know-it/

A Democratic perspective on Hillary's emails

The great nonexistent Hillary email scandal

by Bill Press

Trump and his fellow Clinton haters immediately pounced on the IG report, claiming it disqualifies her from running for president. But not so fast. A more careful reading shows just the opposite. In several respects, the State Department report actually absolves Clinton, rather than condemn her.

The inspector general finds: She was not the first secretary of state to use a private server. So did Colin Powell. Nor did she create the problem. She was just the latest to deal with the State Department's "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" with records that "go well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state." And, most significantly, the report concludes that, while Clinton did break existing department rules, she did nothing illegal -- which will come as a huge disappointment to all those who were banking on Secretary Clinton's indictment as their sole hope for winning the White House. It's not going to happen.

In other words, while Hillary's setting up her own personal email server was dumb, it was not illegal. She broke the rules, but she did not break the law. She has already released 30,000 emails, and not one bombshell was found in any one of them. Plus, this so-called scandal has now dragged on for almost a year with no smoking gun. It turns out Bernie Sanders was right, last October, when he said: "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your d--ned emails" -- which is why he hasn't talked about them since.

Bottom line: It sounds a lot worse than it is. Gertrude Stein was talking about Oakland, California, when she famously observed: "There's no there, there." She could have been talking about the Hillary email scandal.

The conclusion of the OIG report.

Longstanding, systemic weaknesses related to electronic records and communications have existed within the Office of the Secretary that go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State. OIG recognizes that technology and Department policy have evolved considerably since Secretary Albright’s tenure began in 1997. Nevertheless, the Department generally and the Office of the Secretary in particular have been slow to recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks associated with electronic data communications, particularly as those risks pertain to its most senior leadership. OIG expects that its recommendations will move the Department steps closer to meaningfully addressing these risks.

Recommendations of the OIG report.

To ensure compliance with Federal and Department requirements regarding records preservation and use of non-Departmental systems, OIG has issued the following recommendations to the Bureau of Administration, the Office of the Secretary, the Bureau of Information Resources Management, the Bureau of Human Resources, and the Department’s Transparency Coordinator. Their complete responses can be found in Appendix B. The Department also provided technical comments that OIG incorporated as appropriate into this report.

There are 8 recommendations issued to the State Department by OIG.

State Department management responded to each recommendation.

The OIG replied in each case:

OIG Reply: OIG considers the recommendation resolved.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's name is mentioned nowhere in conclusions, recommendations, responses, replies.

Case closed.


Doesn't matter which party wins?

Restrictive Reproductive Laws in Texas Have Resulted in as Many as 240,000 DIY Abortions

Source: Mic, Natasha Norman

Between 100,000 and 240,000 women of reproductive age in Texas have attempted self-induced abortions as access to abortion clinics throughout the state becomes more restrictive, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Policy Evaluation Project, known as TxPEP.

Texas is seeing a rise in black market sales of misoprostol, which terminates pregnancy and makes it look as though it was a miscarriage. Miso has long since been popular in regions like Latin America, where abortion access is both extremely difficult and risky.

"It was like we were back in the days of the Wild West, like we have to figure this out by ourselves and just grit our teeth and get through it," a 23-year-old musician who wanted to remain anonymous told Reuters. She, herself, had a self-induced abortion in 2014.

The rise in self-induced abortions correlates with Texas HB2, the state's 2013 omnibus bill on reproductive health, which relates "to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities; providing penalties." Critics have argued the bill is unconstitutional and the contentious case has advanced to the Supreme Court where arguments were heard in March.

The rest at: https://mic.com/articles/144421/restrictive-reproductive-laws-in-texas-have-resulted-in-as-many-as-240-000-diy-abortions#.jKhOf9by6

Delegate math: How Clinton wraps up nomination by June 7

Source: AP, Hope Yen


Because of Clinton's big lead, Sanders must flip her superdelegates if he hopes to reach 2,383.

But first, in order to sway them, Sanders will have to win a majority of pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses, his senior strategist Tad Devine has acknowledged. Superdelegates have never before lifted a candidate to the nomination when he or she trailed in the number of pledged delegates.

"I know that it is a steep road," Sanders said at a recent campaign rally, "but if we do very, very well in New Mexico, California and the other states on June 7, my hope is that we end this process with 50 percent plus one of the pledged delegates."

Sanders is far behind on that front.

Clinton is on an easy path to reach 2,026 pledged delegates - or more than half the 4,051 total - on June 7. She will get there even if she loses solidly in all six states.

Sanders needs more than 67 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to overtake her, requiring landslide victories.

Read the rest of the math at: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEM_2016_DELEGATE_FIGHT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Looking to Harry Truman to Understand Hillary Clinton

Source: New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait

In important ways, Truman clarified the center of American politics. Roosevelt’s Democratic Party had amassed an enormous but impossibly quarrelsome coalition, stretching from rabid-segregationist white southern reactionaries to peace activists who sympathized with the Soviet Union. Truman had to choose whether Democrats would retain the full loyalty of southern whites or attract the burgeoning support of African-Americans in northern cities. By endorsing a landmark report, “To Secure These Rights,” that called for equal treatment of African-Americans and by desegregating the military, he infuriated the party’s southern-segregationist wing, which bolted to support Senator Strom Thurmond’s “States’ Rights Democratic Party” presidential candidacy. Truman also chose to prosecute the Cold War, at the cost of alienating peace activists. His support for the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild Western Europe, and his commitment to sending supplies to West Berlin, whom the Soviets hoped to starve into submission, enraged Wallace, who ran a left-wing campaign against him. And so by the time Truman ran in 1948, he was an unpopular incumbent facing a Republican opponent as well as splinter candidacies on both his left and his right. In retrospect, however, Truman created the model for a liberal, anti-communist party that had both coherence and endurance.

There is a model here for Clinton, and not just that a presidency lacking in ecstasy can still deliver the longer-term satisfaction of effective governance. Though the country is not in a 1940s-style crisis, its politics is strained. A passion for conflict and ideological purity defines the Sanders movement on the left; the right is enveloped in reactionary madness. (During Truman’s presidency, that madness took the form of the surreal ascent of pathological liar and demagogue Joseph McCarthy.) Clinton, by rejecting both impulses, has reminded us that she has always been a creature of the middle. An Über-Establishment president leading in anti-Establishment times may, over the long run, come to be seen as commanding the American center — even, perhaps, something like an American consensus.

Truman was a figure of crushing ordinariness, a quality that, over time, came to assume something close to greatness. Clinton gives off a similar sensibility (despite her extraordinary life experience). If you withdraw the presumption of calculation that is attached to her every action, one can see her character aging well through history: a woman who broke into male-dominated fields; a policymaker who is one of the few nerds who are still not cool. It is impossible to predict how Clinton will handle foreign policy, but it is not fanciful to hope that her experience (unusually deep for a president) will enable her to imaginatively face the confounding challenge of radical Islam.

And even if Republicans stymie her domestic initiatives, she might put her imprint on new policies that inspire successors. Clinton has proposed a modernization of the welfare state to include early education and child care. Though Truman’s proposal for universal health insurance failed, the power of his vision remained, and over time its association with Truman added to its grandiosity. And when Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, that evening, he and his aides celebrated its passage on the Truman Balcony.

Read it at: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/05/harry-truman-hillary-clinton.html
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