Trump Suggests Veterans With PTSD Are Not ‘Strong’

Donald Trump on Monday seemed to imply that military veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder are not strong because they “can’t handle” the “horror stories” they’ve seen in combat.

Trump delivered a brief address to veterans in Herndon, Virginia, before participating in a Q-and-A session, during which the Republican presidential nominee was asked whether he would “support and fund a more holistic approach to solve the problems and issues of veteran suicide, PTSD, [traumatic brain injuries] and other” mental and behavioral health issues facing veterans, as well as if he would “take steps to restore the historic role of our chaplains and the importance of spiritual fitness and spiritual resiliency programs.”

Trump responded in the affirmative, adding that the U.S. needs that “so badly.”

“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat — and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” Trump said. “And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie. Nobody would believe it.”

The real estate mogul called for more assistance with veterans’ mental health, noting that “it’s one of the things that I think is least addressed” but also “one of the things that I hear the most about when I go around and talk to the veterans.”

“So we’re gonna have a very, very robust — very, very robust — level of performance having to do with mental health. We are losing so many great people that can be taken care of if they had proper care,” Trump continued. “You know, when you hear the 22 suicides a day — big part of your question — but when you hear the 22 suicides a day, that should never be. That should never be. So we’re gonna be addressing that very strongly, and the whole mental health issue is going to be a very important issue when I take over, and the VA is going to be fixed in so many ways, but that’s gonna be one of the ways we’re gonna help, and that’s in many respects going to be the No. 1 thing we have to do because I think it’s really been left behind.”

In a statement released Monday afternoon by Trump’s campaign, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn blamed the media for what he framed as a blatant attempt to “deceive voters and veterans.”

“The media continues to operate as the propaganda arm of Hillary Clinton as they took Mr. Trump’s words out of context in order to deceive voters and veterans—an appalling act that shows they are willing to go to any length to carry water for their candidate of choice,” Flynn said. “Mr. Trump was highlighting the challenges veterans face when returning home after serving their country. He has always respected the service and sacrifice of our military men and women—proposing reforms to Veteran Affairs to adequately address the various issues veterans face when they return home.”

(h/t Politico)

Reality

Trump’s comments were part of a call for more focus and resources on veteran mental health. It’s a worthy call, of course, but his statement betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding about mental health.

Veterans are not weak for having a mental health disorder. The science shows that PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control.

It is insulting that Trump is speaking from ignorance on a very serious subject.

And Trump is no stranger to insulting our veterans.

  • In July, 2015, Trump slammed Senator John McCain for not being a war hero, “because he was captured.”
  • After four months of bragging he gave $1 million dollars to veteran charities that Trump pledged during his Rally For Vets event, journalist uncovered that Trump was lying the entire time. Only then did Trump donate his money to veterans.

Although the rate of veterans suicide was previously estimated to be 22 a day, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs updated that number to 20 in July.

Media

Donald Trump’s ‘Fiduciary Duty’ Tax Rate Excuse is Nonsense

There’s no evidence yet that Donald Trump violated any tax laws with his mammoth $916 million reported loss in 1995 when he paid no taxes. But the claim by Trump and his surrogates that he had a “fiduciary duty” to his family and investors to pay as little tax as possible is pretty silly.

Fiduciary duty, of course, applies to public company executives who have to maximize shareholder value by paying the lowest legal rate. But this has to do with corporate tax returns, the question raised by the New York Times is about his personal tax return, which are not the same thing.

(h/t Politico)

Reality

Either Donald Trump does not know there is a difference between personal and corporate tax filings, he doesn’t understand what the word “fiduciary” means, or he is banking on the idea that you don’t understand the different tax fillings by stringing together a nonsensical sentence.

Trump Peddles Google Conspiracy Theory

Donald Trump on Wednesday touted a long-debunked conspiracy theory that the most popular internet search engine suppresses negative headlines about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump didn’t cite a source to back up his claim, but the most recent report alleging this came from Sputnik News, a Russian state-owned news agency.

“Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton,” Trump said, apparently referring to Google searches during the first presidential debate on Monday night.

Trump’s remarks Wednesday night came two weeks after Sputnik News, a Russian government-controlled news agency, published a report claiming that Google search results are biased in Clinton’s favor. Conservative news outlets, including Breitbart News, whose chairman became Trump’s campaign CEO last month, linked to the report.

Trump has been repeatedly criticized for being too praiseworthy of Russian President Vladimir Putin and for promoting foreign policies that would benefit Russian interests around the world. And several of his top advisers — most notably his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — have extensive ties to Russian government officials and oligarchs.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment asking where Trump sourced his claim.

But the remark was not an off-the-cuff ad lib — it was included in the prepared remarks Trump read from during his rally speech Wednesday night.

The conspiracy theory first popped up in a viral video dating back to June, in which the pop culture site SourceFed claimed Google actively altered search recommendations to benefit Clinton’s campaign, which search engine optimization experts quickly debunked.

Despite what you might have seen online, Google is not manipulating its search results to favor Hillary Clinton.

Google also rebuked the claim in a statement last June.

“Our autocomplete algorithm will not show a predicted query that is offensive or disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person’s name,” a Google spokeswoman said. “Google autocomplete does not favor any candidate or cause. Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how autocomplete works.”

(h/t CNN)

Trump Campaign Manager: He Didn’t ‘Lie’ About Lester Holt, He Spoke Without Knowing the Truth

When confronted with the fact that Donald Trump falsely accused NBC host and Monday night’s debate moderator Lester Holt of being Democrat, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway insisted on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Trump didn’t lie, he just spoke without knowing the truth.

“He said Lester Holt was a Democrat. Lester Holt is a Republican. How could he say such a thing that just black-and white factually incorrect?” asked guest and Bloomberg Politics host Mark Halperin.

“I don’t know that he knew what Lester Holt’s voter registration is,” Conway said.

“Without knowing then, he asserted he was a Democrat?” Halperin asked.

“First of all, if you tell me the media are not overly populated with Democrats, that’s false,” Conway argued.

“I’m asking about a very specific thing,” Halperin said. “He made a factual claim about the moderator who deserves the right to be treated fairly and it was just wrong. And it’s a metaphor for his frequently in public stating things with no basis, that are wrong.”

Conway replied that they were happy with Holt as moderator, and went on a long defense of NBC’s Matt Lauer‘s handling of the presidential military forum. “This is a filibuster,” host Mika Bzrezinski said partway through.

“You’re not answering what I asked you,” Halperin said. “I’m asking you how someone running for president can assert on the eve of the debate that the moderator is a Democrat, which is factually incorrect? How can he do that?”

“Should he have asked him his voter registration?” retorted Conway, somewhat condescendingly.

“He shouldn’t have asserted– he didn’t say, ‘I don’t know what he is, but I think he’s biased,’ he said he’s a Democrat,” Halperin insisted.

Conway again pivoted, and attacked Hillary Clinton for her own working of the refs ahead of the debate and attacked the media coverage of the campaign. “I don’t understand what that has to do with Mark’s question,” Brzezinski said when she was finished.

“We are frustrated by media coverage,” Conway replied.

“We were asking why he lied about Lester Holt.”

“I don’t think he lied,” Conway said.

“Um, I think he did,” said Brzezinski.

“Mika, a lie would mean he knew the man’s party registration,” argued Conway.

“So as president, would he say things that are false without knowing the truth?” asked a disbelieving Halperin. Unfortunately, co-host Joe Scarborough cut in then to wrap up the discussion, and he never got an answer.

(h/t Mediaite)

Media

Trump Cites Hacked and Fake Online Polls to Prove He Won Debate

Part of Donald Trump’s persona is that he “wins all the time.” So what happens when he objectively loses in the first presidential debate in virtually every scientific poll by a far more prepared opponent? Apparently Trump goes into full denial and finds every online poll that supports the outcome he desired and it doesn’t help that pro-Trump media like Fox News joins him.

However there are a couple of problems with using online polls for gauging election results. First, they are not restricted to likely voters, so an 8-year old who is not of age can cast their vote. Scientific polls look for sample demographics that are in-line with the national population, online polls do not. Also, most online polls do little to prevent duplicate votes. For example, you can vote on a laptop, then a phone, then an iPad. You can also open the poll and vote in different browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. If you turn on a browser’s “privacy mode” then browser cookies are disabled, which are used to track your activity on a website, and this opens up to hacking using automated programs called “bots” which can continuously cast votes.

On top of the issues with online polling, each online poll Trump cited is either faked, didn’t exist, or was the victim of a coordinated hacking attack.

For example, the morning after the debate Trump called into Fox and Friends and claimed:

“I won Slate,” Trump insisted on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning. “I won Drudge in almost 90% of the vote in the poll, I won Time Magazine. I won CBS. I won every single poll other than CNN.”

Trump also made the same claim at his event in Miami, Florida the same day. The reason why this is so strange is that CBS never held an online poll, they did however conduct a focus group of undecided voters, and Clinton came out ahead.

Later, Trump tweeted out an image of 11 online surveys which he felt backed up his claims.

Again, outside of the inherent problems with online polling, some of the numbers did not even match up. The white supremacist site Breitbart.com held a more scientific poll which had Clinton winning at 48% to Trump’s 43%, a far cry from Trump winning at 75% as he claims.

But most important, every single one of these polls were the victim of a coordinated attack by hackers on 4chan, who used automated bots to vote multiple times and skew the results.

4chan-first-debate-online-poll-hack

In the end, even Fox News had to remind employees that unscientific online polls “do not meet our editorial standards,” and had to go so far as to reprimand Trump spokesperson Sean Hannity for continuously using online polls to justify his belief that Trump won.

Even so, Sean Hannity still continues to push these online polls on his show in defiance of ethics and standards.

In Post-Debate Interview, Trump Again Criticizes Pageant-Winner’s Weight

At the end of Monday night’s presidential debate, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of taunting one of his former Miss Universe contestants about her weight.

Clinton said the Republican nominee’s criticisms of Alicia Machado, a Venezuelan who won the Miss Universe contest in 1996, was “one of the worst things he said” about women. “He called this woman Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina.”

While Trump appeared to dispute Clinton’s accusation on the debate stage, he called into Fox and Friends Tuesday morning and once again called Machado fat.

“I know that person. That person was a Miss Universe person,” Trump told the Fox News morning show. “And she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst, she was impossible,” he said. “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude.”

With his past statements about Machado playing into critiques Clinton wanted to make at Monday night’s high-profile debate, the Clinton campaign was quick to pounce. An hour after the debate ended, her campaign tweeted a two-minute video about Machado’s experience with Trump.

“He was very overwhelming. I was very scared of him,” she says in Spanish. “He’d yell at me all the time. He’d tell me ‘you look ugly’ or ‘you look fat.’ Sometimes he’d ‘play’ with me and say ‘Hello Miss Piggy, hello Miss Housekeeping.’ ”

The Clinton campaign’s video also includes archived footage of Trump telling reporters “she weighed 118 pounds, or 117 pounds, and she went up to 160 or 170. So this is somebody who likes to eat.”

Articles at the time confirm Trump’s comments.

  • In 1997, Donald Trump told Howard Stern that Machado was an “eating machine” who “ate a lot of everything.” “You whipped this fat slob into shape,” the radio host told Trump. “I don’t know how you did it. I see all these diet plans, everything else. God bless you.” When asked if Trump had “gotten her down to 118,” he said she is going to be there soon.
  • Around the same time, Trump told Newsweek: “We’ve tried diet, spa, a trainer, incentives. Forget it, the way she’s going, she’d eat the whole gymnasium.”
  • Machado told the Washington Post at the time she was caught by surprise about reporters being present. “I asked him to please send me to a trainer or a nutritionist or something because I needed some orientation, and he sends me to a gym in New York,” she said. “When I get there, there are 80 reporters waiting to watch me sweat. I thought that was in very bad taste.”
  • Donald Trump wrote in his 1997 book Art of the Comeback, “I could just see Alicia Machado, the current Miss Universe, sitting there plumply. God, what problems I had with this woman. First, she wins. Second, she gains 50 pounds. Third, I urge the committee not to fire her. Fourth, I go to the gym with her, in a show of support. Final act: She trashes me in The Washington Post — after I stood by her the entire time. What’s wrong with this picture? Anyway, the best part about the evening was the knowledge that next year, she would no longer be Miss Universe.”

Machado told the campaign that the experience led to long-term eating disorders. “I wouldn’t eat, and I would still see myself as fat, because a powerful man had said so.”

“He always treated me like a little thing. He always treated me like trash,” Machado said Tuesday in a conference call organized by the Clinton campaign.

She said she was caught off-guard when Clinton talked about her Monday night. “I started to cry because I never imagined that someone so important would care about my story,” she said, speaking in Spanish.

“I’m very sorry that I might be an uncomfortable person for Mr. Trump,” Machado said, “but that’s how things happen, that’s how things go.”

(h/t NPR)

Media

Links

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/05/17/when_donald_trump_humiliated_miss_universe_for_gaining_weight.html

At Debate, Trump Says He “Did a Good Job” On Racist Birther Issue

Hillary Clinton sharply criticized Donald Trump for pushing a “racist birther lie” about President Obama during a heated exchange at Monday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Moderator Lester Holt asked Trump to explain his yearslong campaign supporting the conspiracy theory questioning Obama’s citizenship and birthplace.

“I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job,” Trump said.

“We’re talking about racial healing in this segment,” Holt interjected. “What do you say to Americans, people of color, who…”

Trump cut him off. “I say nothing,” he said, again congratulating himself for getting Obama to release his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii in 2011.

Rather than answer the question, Trump set off on a fantastical diversion. He reiterated the lie that Clinton started the racist Birther conspiracy. Then he went further to claim that Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008 admitted it on CNN last week:

“[H]er campaign manager, Patty Doyle, went to — they were in the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard – and you can go look it up and you can check it out – and if you look at CNN this past week, Patty Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened.”

That didn’t happen, Trump is misrepresenting what was said in the Wolf Blitzer interview. Here is the video on CNN where Solis Doyle explained that a rogue staffer sent out an email promoting a birther conspiracy, and that person was promptly fired, which does not match at all what Trump described.

“There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe in late 2007, I think in December. One of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa, I don’t recall whether they were an actual a paid staffer, but they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy.”

“The birther conspiracy?” Blitzer asked.
“Yeah. Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go, and it was so, you know, beyond the pale, Wolf, and you know, so not worthy the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run or that we as a staff wanted to run that I called David Plouffe, who was obviously managing Barack Obama’s campaign in ’07, to apologize and basically say this is not coming from us.”

Trump also brought up longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal pushing birtherism to McClatchy, thereby tying Hillary to the conspiracy theory. However there is no direct proof of this, and even as McClatchy concedes, is ultimately a case of he-said-she-said which can’t be considered as strong evidence.

Trump said that “Blumenthal sent McClatchy — a highly respected reporter at McClatchy — to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard.”

According to James Asher, an editor in McClatchy’s Washington bureau in 2008, Blumenthal suggested the news organization look into Obama’s roots, and Asher said he asked a Nairobi-based reporter to look into the tip. McClatchy last week reported that there is no direct proof that Blumenthal shared the birther rumor, though Blumenthal did share other ideas about Obama with Asher. Asher has said he recalls the conversation clearly, but has no record of it.

Blumenthal told Fox News earlier this month “This is false. Never happened, period,” adding: “Donald Trump cannot distract from the inescapable fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the racist birther lie and bears the responsibility for it.”

(h/t Yahoo, DailyKos, McClatchy)

Media

During Debate Trump Claims He Didn’t Call Climate Change a Chinese Hoax, He Did

Hillary Clinton called out Donald Trump at their first debate for labeling climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

Trump denied saying that. But his own Twitter feed contradicts him, with the real-estate magnate tweeting back in 2012 that global warming was a hoax.

Trump’s tweet said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

(h/t MarketWatch)

Reality

There is nothing in the scientific literature that can back up Donald Trump’s claim. On the contrary there is overwhelming scientific evidence that carbon dioxide [CO2] is a pollutant.

For anyone who disagrees with the empirical evidence that CO2 is a pollutant ask yourself; Would you ever think it is safe to breath in the exhaust from your car for an extended period of time? (Prius and Tesla owners pretend you have a Chevy.) You absolutely wouldn’t because tragically hundreds of people die each year from carbon monoxide [CO] poisoning. Along with carbon monoxide, cars release carbon dioxide [CO2], hydrocarbons [HC], nitrogen oxides [NOx], and other particulates which are all pollutants, have proven contributions to climate change, and are harmful to your health.

Science has been aware for over 150 years that carbon in the atmosphere will retain heat. The year was 1859 to be exact, and it was scientist John Tyndall who made the discovery that carbon in the atmosphere trapped heat. Then in 1896 Svante Arrhenius calculated that, based on this simple principle of physics, higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would raise global temperatures. These discoveries are the cornerstones of climate science, in 150 years have yet to be disputed, and instead continues to be confirmed by observation.

To explain further, the science, in short, says the following. CO2 lets through short wave light, the kind that passes through our atmosphere, but traps long wave radiation, the kind that is reflected and travels back into space. This experiment can be done in a laboratory, and should you have the time you could see it for yourself.

The site at this link has compiled a list of just a handful of the published scientific papers of laboratory measurements of CO2 absorption properties, ranging from 1861 all the way up to 2008. Knowing this evidence, scientist reached a consensus a long time ago that CO2 is indeed a contributor to global warming.

Just to reiterate here, Donald Trump’s acceptance of science predates the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War, and the First Transcontinental Railroad. This is the equivalent trying to attack a state-of-the-art military drone with a Civil War era musket.

Media

 

 

On The Debate Stage, Trump Lies About His Iraq War Support

At the first Presidential debates, Donald Trump lost his temper and flew into a sharp defense of a question from moderator Lester Holt that he supported the Iraq War. Trump was defiant, calling it “main-stream media nonsense,” and that “the record shows that I am right!”

Trump gave his own timeline of events, saying he did an interview with Howard Stern in 2002 an when asked about the Iraq War he said “very lightly, I don’t know, who knows… essentially.”

Except that is not at all what Trump said. When asked by Stern about the war, Trump’s exact quote was, “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.

Trump then said he did an interview with Fox New’s Neil Cavuto after the war began where they talked about the economy, but Trump willfully neglected to mention that called the Iraq War a success when he said the invasion “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint, and I think this is really nothing compared to what you’re going to see after the war is over.”

After more blustering Trump told the media to call Sean Hannity because they had private conversations where Trump opposed the war and Hannity didn’t. So the media did and Sean Hannity, the informal advisor and public supporter to Trump, said this was true.

However when asked for actual evidence, Hannity said it was no longer available because they switched syndication and stations.

Reality

Taking someone at their word alone is not strong evidence. It wouldn’t even be admissible in a court of law, they would have it dismissed as hearsay.

What is evidence is the audio recordings that exist of Donald Trump supporting the Iraq War before and after the beginning of the invasion.

We can lay out the timeline of events, and we can see that Trump is indeed lying when he said he was always against the Iraq War.

Media

Trump Jr. Compares Syrian Refugees to Poisoned Skittles

Donald Trump’s eldest son has caused uproar on social media by comparing Syrian refugees to the fruit-flavoured sweets Skittles.

Trying to suggest the US should not accept any refugees, Donald Trump Jr posted an image that asked:

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?”

“That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

He added: “This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.”

The food analogy has been used before to imply that, if a few people in a group are bad, it would be dangerous to take a single one in.

The language in Donald Jr’s tweet was used in a post by conservative radio host Joe Walsh in August. Joe Walsh was a former single-term Congressman most remembered for being kicked off the air for using racial epitaphs to describe African Americans and for trying to incite violence against President Barack Obama.

But following the tweet by the Republican presidential candidate’s son, the company that owns Skittles, Wrigley, stepped in.

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people,” said Denise Young, vice-president of corporate affairs for Wrigley America.

“We don’t feel it is an appropriate analogy,” she added. “We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

Meanwhile the photographer who took the picture of the Skittles said the picture was used without his permission and revealed that he was himself a former refugee.

(h/t BBC)

Reality

In the US, each year, you are far more likely to die due to choking on candy than due to a terrorist attack by a refugee. According to the US National Safety Council and Cato Institute you have a:

  • 1 in 3,408 chance of choking to death on food
  • 1 in 3,640,000,000 chance of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack

The fact is, the refugee resettlement program is the single most difficult way to enter the United States. So refusing refugees was truly about preventing some “Trojan horse” terrorist, it is such a highly ineffective policy that should put into question the very qualifications of this candidate.

Instead this follows a pattern of white supremacist from Donald Trump Jr. and his father and keeping brown people with different beliefs from them out of the country. Some examples include:

  • On March 3rd, Donald Trump Jr. appeared on a radio show and took questions from a known white supremacist.
  • On July 5th, Donald Trump Jr. liked a tweet by one of the worst and most active member of the “alt-right” neo-Nazi movement on Twitter.
  • On August, 29th, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a post from known white supremacist Kevin MacDonald.
  • On September, 10th, Donald Trump Jr. shared a meme with him next to a white nationalist symbol.
  • On September, 15th, Donald Trump Jr. casually made a holocaust joke on a radio show.
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