What if they gave a riot and no one showed?

I reject outright the idea that every single Republican politician knows or understands that their agenda is immoral, just as I reject the idea that the Democrats understand the consequences of implementing more failed neo-liberal economic strategies are perilous. No matter where those policies are implemented. A reason given for rejecting the idea that the government and the media are conspiring, each for their own reasons, to force conflict between the Nazis and opposing strong arm groups is that Republicans intentionally commit evil acts and by implication, Democrats do not, is inherently false. The real issue is not memorial and statutes, or if a few hundred people show up in random cities proclaiming themselves Nazis. Energy is wasted and opportunities for real change is missed when people show up to counter-protest and encourage engagement. The Nazi numbers are small, but the media always goes with the sex story, followed by violence. Especially violence by people that the viewing audience hates, or has been trained to hate. Counter protest instead at another site. Instead of telling people that Nazis suck, tell people that we can guarantee jobs for everyone, explain that health care can be available to all, that public college can be free and all past debts to public colleges will be forgiven or repaid. Tell people that ancestral slavery victims will receive reparations along with reparations to those whose land was stolen by the United States as it conquered the native peoples. All this is not a pipe dream. It is economically feasible and socially desirable.  Does not solve all problems, but simultaneously insisting on truth and refusing to let lady liberty to even peek beneath her blindfold will move the needle ever closer to true justice.

Our problem is not that the President is an incompetent asshole and that by relieving him of duty will change anything. Nor will punching a Nazi in the nose, instead it will only escalate the anger and confusion seething through the country and the world. Our problem is that we have an economic crises, where unemployment is artificially deflated by not including those that have been discarded by our Capitalistic job market. Young people across the country are destroying themselves sometimes to death through opioid and meth addictions, because for just a bit the desperation to survive is subsumed by the high. Another problem is that we have a nation that claims to exercise democracy, yet the two parties that rule do a little dance with one party stopping people from voting and the other singing quietly from the sidelines “ooooo, you bad, and you naughty” but they don’t do a damn thing about it.

I don’t care if Nazis march. And you will not find me endorsing using their tactics against them. It is their tactics of violence and repression that make them strong, using them only strengthens them. I want to snuff out Nazis by refusing to feed them the attention and blood they crave. Destroy Nazis with the light of ideas that bring positive changes to our individual lives, opportunity to our economic system, justice to our justice systems, and peace  to our international positions.

 

Hello, Is there anybody in there?

I have had it with this Trump guy.  I am not amused at his juvenile tweets, his sleazy salesman phrases, and most of all the never ending articles friends and foes alike explaining to …  who?  Explaining that Trump is an asshole, Trump just said the worst thing a President ever said, Trump is insane, and so on and on it goes. Every hour of every day. But let me get back to that dangling sentence, who are these never ending articles explaining all of Trump’s faults aimed at?  Not me, I am certain. I lost interest in The Donald about one week after he announced he was running. Not that I was so certain that he couldn’t win, but I was much more concerned about who the Democrats would nominate. You see, I never gave voting for a Republican a moments thought, and there was not one person out of all 17 that were running that I would vote for. Also, in MA, where I live, if you are registered in any party then you can only vote for a candidate in that party, so why bother listening to Republicans openly fight among themselves about which one will harm more people when they became President.  If I paid attention to them, perhaps I would have tallied each one’s blood lust potential score; great sport!

I am still curious though about the shares and posts, the tweets and MSM news and the wannabe MSM news talk endlessly about Trump. That reminds me, have you heard that most of the world leaders have decided to just ignore Trump?  Imagine that! Angela Merkel and I have something in common! Wonders certainly do never cease.  But in America there seems to be, especially among the large number of people who despise that Trump is President, a need to tell each other? just how awful Trump is. Certainly, they don’t think that Trump supporters will read one of these articles, or a MSM story  in the paper or on their telly and slap their forehead while shouting out, “damn I had no idea what an ignorant, incompetent, racist, buffoon Trump is”. No, they won’t.  That is why I rarely write about Trump, other than to note that the only good for America reason he should be impeached or removed from office is for gross incompetence.

Do you think if I wrote to Ms. Merkel we could be pen pals?

Keep Political Parties Away from our Elections

The evidence proves that Political Parties running elections is bad for Democracy.

Ideas for election reform have been flowing across my facebook screens nearly daily for the last month. Many of the ideas individually have a lot of merit, but there are some that are downright dangerous. The most common ideas are ranked choice voting, eliminating gerrymandering, open primaries, making election day a holiday, even more early voting, vote by mail, automatic voter registration, and mandating paper ballots. I am sure there are others that I missed listing and others that I have not heard about.

Why is election reform such a hot topic all of a sudden? A major driver was the recent election for president that did not turn out in any way how the experts all expected it would.  Their malfeasance has turned into a state of shock all across America. So the next question is, what went wrong that never went wrong before. As far as I can tell, nothing went wrong that hasn’t gone wrong before. That means that the problems that need fixing haven’t changed. Why all the fuss now? My thesis is that nobody wants to admit that anything was going wrong before. Especially the pundit class, that group of people who sit around tables that are near TV cameras and pontificate just as I am doing now, except my laptop camera is turned off and I don’t get paid. Also the pundit class keeps getting to talk into cameras and say stuff and two weeks later when they are all wrong, the same group gets brought back in front of the cameras and are asked to pontificate some more. Instead of looking back and asking what are we missing, they pretend that the real problems with our entire election are not consequential, and as the cognitive dissonance distance between what is broken and what the pundit class bases their predictions increases, the less reliable the predictions are, and the less the public believes them.

A reliable election process is where the best candidates are selected and those candidates should represent as much of the spectrum of ideas as possible. It also depends on all the votes being counted, and anytime the count is in doubt, a recount should be expected as a matter of course. Enforcement of election procedures along with the same level of audits used to validate that a bank is responsibly and honestly counting all the money individuals have handed to them for safe keeping is the minimum we should expect if protecting democracy is a true government objective. Are any of those standards happening in our election system? I don’t think so at all. In fact until we implement procedures to assure we have a process that brings forth candidates that advocate a broad spectrum of ideas, and elections whose results are trusted by the electorate, then any changes that do not directly address those problems will remain small band-aid patches on a deep wound. And if that is all we implement, then the band-aid will fall off and the wound will open even wider.

In order to bring forth multiple candidates with differing philosophies the two-party system has to be relegated to back of the line. It was obvious to the Founding Fathers that as odious as political parties are, they will form nonetheless. That should be accepted but in no way be legislated as a requirement for candidacy nor should parties be outlawed. People will do what they always do and form cliques, it is government’s role to make sure that parties do not make the rules.  Right now, our election system is so locked down as Democrat vs. Republican that around 98% of all elected officials in the US are members of one of those parties. That only two candidates are considered viable in at least 98% of our elections means that other ideas are literally stifled. Actual discussion is diminished and the voter finds nobody that truly represents their personal point of view, resulting in lower voter turnout. Counting ballots must take place on paper, but technology should not be eliminated. While scanner software is easy to manipulate, there is no reason that programming the machines cannot be done using open software, data entered (such as candidates names and their related printed information that appears on the ballot) should be in plain language. The program code should be written in an interpretative language so that any literate individual can read and understand how the program tabulates the votes .  Audits of at least 10% of the polling places must be mandatory and the audits must be a hand count of the scanned paper ballots.

There are two more critical issues that must be addressed since their impact on elections is profound. First, a law must be passed overturning the Supreme Court decision to release certain states and other jurisdictions from Justice Department oversight of changes to their election laws. It became obvious within days that the court had made a mistake since one state after another passed voter restriction laws as soon as the oversight was removed. Along with that, the law should provide tools for any polling places that are insufficiently supplied with voting machines or ballots to have those ballots printed at any nearby printing facility via a temporary eminent domain authority.

The second critical point is to remove any political party restrictions for Primary elections. This has become a frequent point made by many, but most do not go far enough since they only require that anyone can pick which party’s ballot they want. But consistent with my earlier point that parties must be relegated to the back of the line, each person showing up to vote in a Primary gets only 1 ballot with all the candidates on it. This becomes more critical when there is more than one office on the ballot. A person can then vote for the person they want in the primary no matter what parties their choice of candidates aligns with.

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.