Thanks, Russia!

All over the press, mainstream media, social media, water coolers, and barstools the talk is about President Trump’s relationship with Russia. Every person he knows that ever spoke to a Russian is being presented as further evidence of collusion with Russia between his campaign and even President Trump himself in order to alter the results of the vote last November. A serious charge that if proven true should mean more than the removal of just Donald Trump as President. Since the accusations extend to numerous individuals within his campaign, a legitimate case could be made that the election itself is invalid. However calling telephone conversations that have been documented as not having been found to have any evidence of collusion along with the total lack of any hard forensic evidence means that the charges, if true would be hard to prove. In fact, there are significant reasons to discount every justification being made by the press and the government to take the idea of Russian meddling in the US Presidential election seriously.

But there was election tampering and it all occurred by US interests without any foreign assistance. Hillary Clinton actively rigged both sides of the primary. She manipulated the media with the assistance of the “unbiased” DNC, laundered contributions that were intended for other Democratic candidates in other races. There was also money used by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to create a hidden stash that was used to create social media propaganda and outright attacks on Sanders and his supporters. Additionally there are questions outstanding as to the validity of the actual votes counted in the Primaries due to red flag discrepancies between the count and exit polls. On the Republican side, the Clinton campaign enlisted assistance from various media outlets to minimize their coverage of Sanders and fill in that void with an overdose of coverage of the two most extreme Republicans, Trump and Cruz.

During the general election, Republicans had already proactively rigged the vote by engaging in wholesale voter suppression of targeted likely Democratic voters. There was minimal, exit polling which is the international standard in which to gauge the validity of the vote. Additionally when challenges did arise, recounts were either impossible due to all electronic votes tabulated without a verifiable audit trail, or both parties conspired to raise the costs of funding recounts as to make them all but impossible to achieve.

And after all that known improprieties by US interests we are supposed to get all worked up because the Director of the FBI stated that Vladimir Putin hates Hillary Clinton? That was an actual reason provided at one point by then FBI Director Comey.

But still, when I mention these issues, people tell me to ‘get over it’. Why? The supposed two party system was manipulated so that the choice would be between a person whose only accomplishment in life was marrying a guy who later become President, while she garnered an incredible resume, but little else and a man who rose to fame and fortune by the grace of his father’s business acumen backing him up. Ever since his father’s death, his career has been a string failures punctuated with a few get rich quick schemes. In other words, this election was not between two people who have been proven capable, but between two corrupt and incapable individuals. Whether the Russians had any influence in the outcome, the damage was done before they ever got involved. Maybe, the Russians did us a favor, or more likely we are just giving them another reason to make a toast and down a shot of vodka.

Won’t Get Fooled Again

BRADFROMSALEM

The other day I heard a rerun of the tail end of the May 5 Stephanie Miller program still touting the wonderfulness of all things Hillary. I find her hard to take anymore. Then, later that same day Bill Maher demonstrated for all to see and hear, how very wrong he and the establishment Democrat’s analysis of why Hillary Clinton lost to the only candidate in the entire 18 (or was it 19?) field of Republican candidates for President that she had a chance of beating. But the star of the “Still with Her” of the Democratic establishment supporters defending Hillary’s loss as not HER fault, was Hillary herself.

I think it was on a Thursday that Clinton addressed her loss, admitting she made mistakes. But what Clinton went on to say after her mea culpa, demonstrates precisely why she lost, when her intention was to explain it. If Clinton stopped at saying she made mistakes, it would have been a tiny step toward understanding both why Progressives rejected her and why the Reagan Democrats voted for Trump. But instead, not being able to keep her trap shut (I sympathize with her on this disability, I have been known to toss politest to the wind myself, to my own detriment. However I have never run for president.) Hillary goes on to minimize and even trivialize her mistakes by noting that nobody runs a perfect campaign. No shit, (S)Herlock Clinton. Without stretching out to rebut the further points she made, none of which actually mattered, such as Comey’s now revealed reason during the day prior to her speech, for sending a letter to Congress about reopening the Clinton server investigation or the release by Wiki Leaks of the DNC emails. A reason that as Comey explained made some sense. I still think there is more to the story, but none of that is the reason I am writing this post.

In all of these diatribes about how, in the words of Clinton, on Oct 27, she was winning. And that was an actual juvenile whine by a person that her supporters had ardently claimed to be the most qualified person to ever seek the office of President of The United States, explains why she may have had the best resume, but as it turns out still was not qualified for the job. And to any Hillary sycophants, like Stephanie Miller, drooling into their microphones at the thought of a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and now drooling about Clinton joining the “resistance” that just jumps their heart rates right into the danger zone, I just have to say.. Fool.me once, shame on me, Try to fool me twice… I Won’t Get Fooled Again. Yes, paraphrasing W’s really jumbled thoughts now passes for cleverness.

Hillary and her resistance crew. Yes, Hillary, by claiming she is part of the waste of time anti-Trump resistance has become its titular leader. When I heard Miller on the radio jumping for joy, that Clinton claimed to be part of the resistance and she was about to embark on creating a new political organization, recruiting board members and raising funds told me all I needed to know. In Clinton world, and with the resistance groupies it is still about money. The lessons of 2016 and how she stole money from local candidates, and outspent Trump, and that she spent all of it on telling everyone how horrible Trump would be is totally lost on her and her followers. That includes opinion makers such as Bill Maher and Stephanie Miller; who both seemed to bother to actually think things through when it came to Bush. And here, finally is my point. It ain’t my freaking fault that Donald Trump was elected President. Because that was the point of Maher’s rant. It was unsaid by Hillary, but you could feel it. By what rubric did I “owe” my vote to Hillary Clinton?

See, that is what people mean when they complain about how many votes Jill Stein got, and that if Stein’s votes all went to Hillary, then it would be “Madame President” instead of “Madman President”. Sorry, that argument holds no water. I owed her my vote because she ran with a “D” after her name? I did not hear or see Hillary Clinton come to me and tell me why I should vote for her. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment paid lip service to the movement instigated by Bernie Sanders, and expected us to fear Trump and fall in line. My vote costs a lot more than that. A lot. She could have won me over, and by extension millions of more Progressive Americans. She could have won. Hillary was quoted in the forthcoming book “Shattered” which is about her campaign, where she noted that she has no idea what is going on with the American electorate. That statement says it all. Trump does have at least a gut feeling of what is happening, and being a con artist salesman that is how he ran his campaign and now his administration. But a person’s whose profession is politician that does not know the pulse of the nation, cannot possibly be president. We have won, because Trump can be manipulated by the masses. He is like the creatures that often show up in Star Trek and other Sci-Fi movies and literature. Those monsters feed off of some chosen emotion, usually anger or hate, Trump feeds on his ego and the main staple of his diet is making the sale. Joining with Trump supporters, gently welcoming them to our ranks, will eventually bring Trump himself to the political table with something we want him to sell us. Political affiliations don’t matter anymore.

So, Hillary people, please just forget the idea that most Progressives did not vote for Hillary because she did not pass a “purity” test. That is just a continuance of the condescension spoken out loud by Hillary supporters since the day Sanders announced. We did not vote for Hillary for two important reasons. I’ll wait a second here, for Hillary people to get pen and paper. _____________________________________________ Ok. Progressive did not vote for Hillary because she marginalized Progressives, and that includes treating us with contempt, especially when she called herself a Progressive. And second because she won the nomination via cheating. We are damn certain that her campaign managed the DNC leaders and there is sufficient evidence to justify an investigation into the actual Primary voting. And she expected us to vote for her because her opponent sucks? This was not a matter of the lesser of two evils. It was a matter of no more evil. A conservative friend noted that during the Primary, when he marked his ballot for Sanders, how wonderful it felt to vote FOR someone. The Identity politics of gender, party, and resume was where Clinton got the vast majority of her votes. Almost nobody voted for HER. And that is why she lost.

The Apprentice Learning on the Job

BradFromSalem

Pardon me for revisiting the election, or should I say “election” that happened last November. Before anything else, I would like to apologize to all my friends that supported either Hillary or The Donald. I truly do respect that you made your choice and acted upon that choice by voting, but I get the feeling from both camps, inspired by the candidates themselves, that the implications and the stories of the November 2016 Presidential election are still reverberating and being digested. Listen up folks that support or just voted for The Donald, let’s talk about your guy. Mainly because you won, but also because I am pretty sure that most of you just thought your vote was a middle finger statement to the establishment. Admit it, you probably thought your guy would not win. Not for popularity issues, but because you were sure the election was fixed.

You voted for The Donald, and some of you still embrace his Presidency; while others are pissed that you had no choice. It was the hated Hillary Clinton or the middle finger to the establishment Donald. Those were the choices. But oddly, a number of persons that voted for The Donald have come forward and have spoken out that Bernie Sanders was their first choice, or that at least in a race between The Donald and Bernie, there was a distinct possibility their vote may have gone to Bernie. – Fascinating. But the choice was not Bernie vs. The Donald, you voted for Trump, you got Trump. If you really are happy with his performance so far, then God bless you. It truly is beyond my comprehension, because he has failed at every attempt to implement his agenda. Either by the courts, performing their Constitutional duty to uphold the Laws of the US and defend the Constitution; or by politics. It is a funny thing about being a politician, it’s sort of like any other profession. Take Librarian for example. A Librarian needs to know how to manage a library and what the numerous tasks are that only a librarian could enumerate. The same is true for a politician, they don’t just make laws and there are numerous tasks they must perform. Someone that has demonstrated little patience to actually learn the job, or bring in as close advisors people that have learned the job, is destined to fail. Donald Trump is failing, his campaign positions are melting away and his promises are morphing into mere suggestions when they are not being spun around 180 degrees. This emasculation has taken place over his first 100 days. He may recover, but until that happens I will find it very hard to support him on any issue. One last comment to all my Hillary supporting friends, no I do not regret not voting for her. The Donald is worse than I thought he would be, but I should have seen that coming based on his business success rate.

Deep State – sounds ominous

BRADFROMSALEM

The deep state is in revolt! The deep state is controlling everything. Elections don’t matter, even the President is vulnerable to the deep state. Deep State. DEEP STATE. DEEP STATE. At what point did you get scared? No, Perhaps two more iterations. DEEP STATE. DEEP STATE.

I give up, if you are not terrified by now, then perhaps you are familiar with what makes up the deep state.

Contrary to much of the fear whistles being blown about our friends working for the deep state, by and large they are people just like you and me. II bet the majority of people do, and many of those people are the dreaded DEEP STATE. Whoops, I mean deep state. Especially if they have any sort of decision authority. Yes your next door neighbor that manages the local Agriculture Department office is part of that deep state that operates inside the grey and beige corridors of Federal office buildings, immune to elections, Presidential authority and the will of the people making decisions about the lives of everyday Americans. And while her garden is lovely, her kids pretty normal, and she even invites you to her cookout every summer, will you ever look at her the same?

Of course you will, and you should. She is just an everyday American working a job, but with a special added responsibility. She has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend America from enemies foreign AND domestic. That’s right, the lady next door that runs a small office for the Agriculture Department has taken an oath that actually allows her to interpret the Constitution of the United States! Is that as friggin’ democratic as you can get? The fears that you hear about the deep state acting on their own to stall or even block Mr. Trump’s agenda is part of the design that created the Civil Service which is a large portion of the deep state. So while most of the deep state consists of average Americans doing the best they can at jobs that are mostly thankless and often reviled, there is also the deep state permanent government employees such as the CIA, the FBI and the other 15 spy agencies not to mention other parts of the Defense Department, State Department, and Treasury Department. These people include many, many people with as wide a range of viewpoints as you will find in any other large enterprise. The deep state is not a group of people with similar outlooks and agendas. And many of the ones in the agencies I noted can and do have an impact on serious and dangerous and controversial issues affecting everyone in the nation and potentially the entire world. But, there is one thing they all have in common with our neighbor who runs a small office for the Agriculture Department; they have all taken that same oath to uphold the Constitution. Even the ones with guns. Sure many will abuse their power, but if a large number perceive that the President of the United States is a threat to the security of the United States isn’t their first responsibility to protect the nation against such a domestic threat. And, if the method chosen is to leak information to the press about activities that shows evidence of incompetence are they not fulfilling their oath?

What are they supposed to do? Sit quietly while someone that up close may be demonstrably incapable of handling all aspects of such a critical job. They cannot go up the chain because the top of the administrative chain is the danger. It’s not as if big huge government secrets are being revealed. The worst was that it was leaked that Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador. It happens every time a new guy takes over as President, and it ain’t even illegal. So far, the deep state is doing their job, fulfilling the oath that each and every one took. This is how our democratic government is supposed to work. Certainly, there is opportunity for abuse, but we have laws against that and the elected state is not afraid to use those laws against the deep state, just ask Edward Snowden.

HOW YA GONNA DO THAT?

BRADFROMSALEM

Election season in America.  There is nothing like it anywhere in the world.  Some , maybe even most, do it better.  And surely there are also a lot places that do it worse. But I really doubt that any nation can have such a convoluted, impractical, inconvenient, illogical, costly, undemocratic process of a electing the only nation wide elected office holder.

And we got ourselves a doozie this year. But that is just an observation and not what this blog post is about.  However, as you read on, keep that observation in mind.

I am strong supporter of US Senator Bernie Sanders to be elected President, and so I get to read and talk about his candidacy with many Hillary supporters.  And a theme that I have heard from these supporters from the earliest days of the campaign has been, that “other people” will not vote for a Socialist so he can’t beat a Republican, and even if he did win, he can’t pass any of his plans because Congress is overflowing with Republicans.

The first point is totally irrelevant, since if Socialism is so despised, then how will he win the nomination? And if the fear of Socialism only exists in Republicans, then most of them they are not voting for him anyways, and we all know Republicans would never vote for Hillary.  But more importantly, Bernie Sanders in all his years in office always worked to promote private enterprise, expansion of Democracy, and using government as the organization to operate certain industries where profit is not in the public benefit. Industries such as schools, health care, and infrastructure projects. These areas have always, since Colonial times been administered, at least partially, as social institutions in the US.

The second point is unique. Because once the point is made that he will not be able to pass any legislation they are in the awkward position of justifying it with outright misinformation. The reason is quite obvious. The point is made under the assumption that Congress will have both houses under Republican control. If that happens, then Congress will block every thing Hillary proposes as well.  We all know the song, it’s been playing almost continuously for 7+ years. So, in order to hide that the Hillary supporters make two points. First is that Hillary has actually passed legislation, and Bernie has not.  Without going into details, that simply is not true.  The second point assumes the first point is correct and is more of a demand. How will he pass his legislation proposals, is the query. One person even asked for a detailed plan. Whether or not the Republicans hold both houses, there will be different players. For example, Harry Reid will not be the Democratic leader. This would be like asking Peyton Manning exactly how will you win the Super Bowl, what plays will you call, who will be your receiver? Not the day before the Super Bowl, but at the beginning of pre-season.  Not only that, when the question is reversed, the answer gets flipped back to Hillary has a history of getting things done so there is no need to explain it.

So, in a year when all the assumptions have turned out wrong, we are being told to elect a candidate based on the type of assumptions that have turned out wrong, based on facts that are misleading.

WRONG REASONS TO SUPPORT HILLARY

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Sunset in Salem
BRADFROMSALEM

Starting almost the day after (or maybe it was the day before?) that VT Senator Bernie Sanders announced he was running for the Democratic nomination for President there has been strong disagreement within the Democratic Party in particular, and all Progressives in general, regarding his candidacy.  Most prominently there have been numerous arguments taking place between supporters of Sec. Hillary Clinton and supporters of Sanders.

To the credit of both the former Secretary and the Vermont Senator, neither has carried much, if any, of these arguments to the campaign trail.  But for those that have not decided irrevocably for any candidate from  any party it may be useful to review some of the debate points regarding the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and how it affects Bernie Sanders. Full disclosure, I am an unabashed Bernie Sanders supporter. Also, just to be clear, as everything stands in August of 2015, I will not vote for Hillary in the General. And I can confidently add that I will also not vote for any Republican. So yes, I do have an agenda. Very simply, most of the reasons that are being pushed by Hillary supporters to not vote for Sanders are based on a set of assumptions that are not very strong.

One of the most common arguments for supporting Clinton over Sanders is that Hillary has the best resume of any candidate in modern times has had to be President. There are 2 ways that postulation is really a moot point as well as wishful thinking on the part of her supporters.

First, is that the resume includes her position as First Lady at both the state and national level.  But how does that translate into a qualification for the job of President of the United States? The answer is, it does not. Who can confidently say they are qualified to give advice about their spouse’s job? Only couples that do the same job, that’s who. And First Spouse is not the same as being the elected Governor or elected President. Yes, she was an adviser and probably a strong voice and even an participant during Bill’s administrations. So has nearly every other First Spouse, she just happens to be the first one running for President.

Second, even if we accept that her service as First Lady counted and the fact that she was a lawyer at the Watergate hearings are legitimate resume items that add to her qualifications the questions remain about the value of a resume.  For the job of President, in modern history (post WW I) the person with the best resume was clearly George H. W. Bush.  He served in Congress, was an official adviser to a President and he even served as Director of the CIA as well as Vice President. Additionally, he served as a distinguished fighter pilot. Was he a great President, or even an OK one? No. He was certainly not the worst President, but with all those qualifications his performance still fell short of anything remarkable.  Resume is not a qualification to be President.  A resume may get you an interview, but we have a long campaign season for the people to conduct their interview and to demonstrate your competence, resume or not.

Another, irrelevant attack on Senator Sanders used more and more by Hillary supporters is that Bernie Sanders is a Socialist. And we all know that Socialism means that the entire economy will come under the control of a vast bureaucracy. Sorry, but that is not Socialism, that is Communism.  While both are based on similar premises, their implementation are vastly different. The Socialism that Sanders adheres to is used throughout many countries that also support a thriving Capitalist economy integrated with Socialist principles. The Socialism that Sen. Sanders wants to bring to the US is called Democratic Socialism. The name does not mean Democrats that are Socialists, it means that the government is a democratic institution created by the people for the benefit of the people.  Sort of sounds like something a long ago Republican once said. The election of Bernie Sanders will not result in Congress being replaced by a Politburo, along with the imposition of 5 year plans and Party apparatchik enforcing conformity.  Although that does sound like something a modern day Republican might think of as a good idea. Bernie Sanders does not now, nor has he ever advocated the entire political and economic systems of the US be transformed into anything other than a democratic system operating as an advocate for the people, providing opportunity and protection against the more powerful for everyone.

Lastly, the Hillary supporters insist that having Sanders even competing against Hillary hurts her chances in November 2016. And the roughly similar argument that only Hillary can beat the Republican candidate because she can raise almost? the same amount as the Republicans. Neither of these arguments make any sense in a open democratic election. First, only the media decides who is winning based on how much money a candidate has raised. I have never heard anyone ever claim that they are voting for Rufus Firefly because he raised the most money. And unless Sanders reveals some deep secret that somehow he or his staff dug up on Clinton, he is not going to say anything that will be used as ammunition by the Republican nominee. (I am certain the Republicans have been accumulating their anti-Clinton talking points since 2006.)

The bottom line is that all the pro Hillary supporters are using misleading information that does not stand up to scrutiny.  And if you are a Hillary supporter because a) It’s her turn; b) She’s a woman; or c) We need to be sure a Republican will not win. Remember, that it is never someone’s turn to be President, and just as Hillary would be the first woman president, Sanders would be the first Jewish President. Neither is a reason to vote for either one.  If Bernie can compete against an intelligent and competent opponent such as Hillary, what makes anyone think that he cannot compete and win against any of the Republicans running.

So What Happens Now?

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BRADFROMSALEM

I read posts and comments and columns about the upcoming catastrophe. The end of our nation, is how I would best summarize it. The Democrats lost the Senate and as I noted in my previous blog, it was not the fault of the electorate, but instead it was the fault of the party. So, does that mean, next week when the new Congress convenes, their first order of business will be to mobilize a special military force or perhaps a special media force, whose entire purpose will be to dismantle the US as we know it. Or, at least think we know it. How much will change?

From where I sit, not much. First of all both of the mainstream parties are terribly fractured. So that on the Republican side you have a small vocal minority of individuals that mostly have no idea how government works. These, of course, are the Tea Party adherents. There are just enough of these silly people to allow the other two Republican factions to actually put together a coherent Birthday Party, let alone a political platform.  The other two are the Ayn Rand Libertarians/Objectivists and the rest all want to be Ronald Reagan, or at least what they imagine him to be.  Whatever comes out of this crew is sure to be horrible legislation that in most cases will rarely have enough Republican votes to pass. And the ones that do get through, usually with the help of some Democrats will almost never have enough support to pass a Presidential veto.

Democrats of course have their Progressive Wing and the Blue Dog wing, they at least talk to each other, but it appears they have not figured out that if they had a common agenda, they can probably run the board. Instead, they just run away from using common messages. The look just like Will Rodgers described them years ago.  “I do not belong to any organized politic party! I’m a Democrat.”

And there, my friends is the problem. Knowing this tells us exactly what the outcome of this Congress will be. It will be whatever President Obama wants it to be. The worst of it is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A treaty with a group of Pan asian nations that has been years in the making, a treaty that for most of those years was being negotiated in secret, a treaty that the administration is looking for Congress to authorize it without amendments, and to give that authorization prior to actually seeing the agreement.  This agreement is more of the same ilk as NAFTA, only more so.

By taking our cue from this particular treaty, we can surmise that the President will allow us continue down the same path started by Reagan (perhaps Nixon, but that is another story). Pushed onto the American public by Presidents Clinton and both Bushes. President Obama had a chance to break this cycle when he first arrived in office. Instead he brought on board the old Clinton crew. We can expect that public policy will mostly be framed by a simple concept. The American government should do nearly anything in its power to ensure that American corporations are profitable in the world markets.

Of course, I do expect that in really lame cases, such as the Keystone pipeline and a few other environmental issues, Obama may show some toughness. In other words, it won’t be all bad, and the worst stuff will be mostly the same as it is now. Foreign policy is run from the White House, and will continue to, so that won’t change much.

Real, transforming change can occur in 2016. Until then. Let’s just watch the show, let the Republican pro business agenda loose. Let the American people see for themselves what it really means to believe that supporting businesses over people actually helps more than a few persons. I am willing to bet the 2016 election it, unless Hillary is the Democratic candidate.