Two Republican bootlickers being considered to lead the FBI

The FBI is supposed to be an impartial organisation, not beholden to just one side. Having it led by Gowdy, the GOP’s Clinton attack dog, or Cornyn, the #2 Republican in the senate, both throw the FBI’s reputation and reliability into question.

After Comey was fired for looking too closely into Trump’s alleged connections with Russia, choosing either of these two bootlickers would be like having Huma Abedin investigating Hillary’s emails.

Trump’s obsession with loyalty is dangerous. He evidently expects the presidency to be just like running a company. Unfortunately for him, the presidency is supposed to have protocols and systems for keeping the president in check.  It appears they’re just not strong enough. While a company can be run as a dictatorship, a federal presidential constitutional republic can’t be.

New Zealand’s refugee numbers worse than even Trump’s

Refugees outside the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre
Refugees outside the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre

The Spinoff reports:

If we just take the refugee quotas on their own, Trump’s slashing of Obama’s quota by more than half – from 110,000 to 50,000 – brings them to just 15 people, per capita, fewer than us. Since New Zealand aims for +/- 10% of our quota we actually took less than the Trump figure in half of the years in the last decade.

Refugee quota

Bill English’s New Zealand: 750

Donald Trump’s US, adjusted to NZ population: 735

In a cynical move designed to make our tiny refugee quota look less like a Trumpian horror show, immigration minister Michael Woodhouse has started trying to include other aspects of our humanitarian intake within the official quota. So let’s take a look at those expanded numbers, which would include asylum seekers and the Syrian emergency intake. The numbers now look even worse for us.

Refugee Quota + asylum seekers + emergency intake

Bill English’s New Zealand: 1,111

Donald Trump’s US, adjusted to NZ population: 1,119

New Zealand is taking less refugees per capita than Trump’s shockingly low targets. New Zealanders are largely outraged by Trump’s rhetoric, if not just disapproving, yet fail to see the hypocrisy of taking less refugees than Trump.

We are as bad, if not worse, than Donald Trump.

This needs to change.

Unsurprisingly, ISIS is Trump’s ban’s biggest fan.

The Independent reports:

Al Qaeda, Isis and other jihadi groups are thrilled with US President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration targeting Muslim countries, describing it as proof that the US is at war with Islam.

Extremist social channels are calling this new ban “blessed” for fuelling growth in anti-western sentiments, much like the invasion of Iraq.

Nobody should be surprised. Islamic extremists have always perpetuated the idea that the west is at war with all of Islam, as a method of fueling recruitment and radicalisation.

After 9/11, President Bush recognised this, and made it clear the US was at war with terrorism, not Islam. Obama did the same. They refused to play into the hands of the extremists.

Unfortunately, Trump doesn’t share the same tact.

“[The ban] plays into this clash of civilisations idea, which is something that global jihadis need as fuel, to claim Americans are against them, that the West is against them,” Dr Renad Mansour, a fellow from the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, told The Independent. “Trump is seen to be validating what they already claimed was happening.”

While both Bush and Obama had flawed foreign policy, it’s clear that ISIS and extremism will not be defeated under President Trump.

Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, one of the countries affected, tweeted that the travel ban “will be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters”.

What a mess.

It sure isn’t national security.

No, this is just a messy, chaotic, and unjustified attempt at proving he can stand up to Muslims- but only the non-threatening ones.

Benjamin Wittes wrote an insightful article on Lawfare:

On the underinclusive side, the order wouldn’t have blocked the entry of many of the people responsible for the worst recent terrorist attacks. There is, in fact, simply no rational relationship between cutting off visits from the particular countries that Trump targets (Muslim countries that don’t happen to be close U.S. allies) and any expected counterterrorism goods. The 9/11 hijackers, after all, didn’t come from Somalia or Syria or Iran; they came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt and a few other countries not affected by the order. Of the San Bernardino attackers (both of Pakistani origin, one a U.S. citizen and the other a lawful permanent resident), the Orlando shooter (a U.S. citizen whose parents were born in Afghanistan), and the Boston marathon bombers (one a naturalized U.S. citizen, one a green card holder who arrived in Massachusetts from Kyrgyzstan), none came from countries listed in the order. One might argue, I suppose, that the document is tied to current threats. But come now, how could Pakistan not be on a list guided by current threat perception?

If this executive order was supposed to advance national security, then there is no explanation for why it only includes Muslim countries that aren’t actual threats to the United States or aren’t allies.

When do you do these things? You do these things when you’re elevating the symbolic politics of bashing Islam over any actual security interest. You do them when you’ve made a deliberate decision to burden human lives to make a public point. In other words, this is not a document that will cause hardship and misery because of regrettable incidental impacts on people injured in the pursuit of a public good. It will cause hardship and misery for tens or hundreds of thousands of people because that is precisely what it is intended to do.

There is no justification for this chaotic move. It’s simply a cruel way to prove he’s a strongman figure- and proving himself weak at every turn.

I strongly suggest you read Wittes’ insightful article.

Anti-vaccine activist likely to head vaccine commission under Trump

Robert F Kennedy Junior: son of Senator Bobby Kennedy, nephew of President John F Kennedy, environmental activist, proud Democrat.

Also a loud anti-vaccination activist who peddles the conspiracy theory that vaccines can cause autism.

Kennedy has been asked by President-elect Trump to head a commission to “study” the safety and scientific integrity of vaccines.

It is not surprising Trump has chosen someone who thinks the government is trying to cover up a vaccines-autism link to lead such a commission.

Back in the September GOP debate, Trump claimed that vaccines were causing an autism “epidemic”.

“You take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks like just it’s meant for a horse and not for a child,” Trump said. “We had so many instances [in which] a child had a vaccine, and came back and a week back had a tremendous fever, got very very sick, and now is autistic.”

Even Dr. Ben “pyramids stored grain” Carson rebuked Trump’s statement.

Trump’s distorted opinions on vaccines have no scientific basis, and are only an anti-government anti-pharmaceutical industry conspiracy theory.

There is absolutely no evidence disproving the scientific consensus that vaccines are safe and effective, yet somehow 9% of Americans still think vaccines are unsafe. Then again, only 54% of Trump voters think PizzaGate isn’t real.

Of course, all of Trump’s unjustified opinions on vaccines are shared by Robert F Kennedy Jr.  It looks like Trump is doing what he can to de-legitimise vaccines, killing more kids and bringing back diseases once eradicated by vaccines.

Andrew Wakefield has a lot to answer for.

So were the media biased towards Clinton?

Especially near the end of the campaign, Trump supporters rallied around the idea that the media was rooting for Clinton to win, even giving media outlets names like “the Clinton News Network”. But was Trump really unfairly treated by the media?

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center did a study on the media coverage of the two candidates throughout the presidential election.

figure-1-general-election

Now, these results are interesting, though don’t show any kind of bias. These results would mainly reflect how the campaigns were actually going.

After the primaries, Clinton certainly had more positive coverage than Donald, however the difference isn’t that significant. Clinton only had 13% more positive coverage, which reflects the polls and the overall stability and demeanour of the Clinton campaign.

When the primaries are included, Trump received more positive coverage than Clinton overall. That shows that Clinton received significantly more negative coverage in the primaries while Trump had significantly more positive coverage during the primaries (back when the media thought he was a fun joke).

So, overall, the difference in coverage wasn’t too different.

If anything, the media was more unfair to Clinton- but that’s another story.