Beware Of Those Who Tell You Trump Can’t Win

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Beware the pronouncement that Donald Trump hasn’t a chance in November, and that his defeat will leave the Republican Party in ruins from which it might not be able to recover.  Conservative mouthpiece David Frum made this assertion on Fareed Zakaria’s show this morning.   For most on the left it probably sounds pretty good, but there’s inherent danger in what he’s saying.   A danger that goes beyond the question of whether it would be good or bad for the Republican Party to suffer an irreversible loss.

The danger, is that so many will feel Trump cannot possibly win the election, that millions will feel it’s not necessary to vote.  That initial problem, coupled with Sander’s supporters who feel angry and betrayed and who therefore also will not go to the polls, might provide Trump with the momentum he needs to win.

Sander’s supporters who feel betrayed by Bernie’s endorsement of HRC need to think about this as do those who are contemplating casting a vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party.  They need to remember the race in 2000, when Ralph Nader’s candidacy on the Green Party ticket helped split the vote  leading to the defeat Al Gore and giving the election to George W. Bush.

Young people who are thinking about staying home on election day because they believe Hillary is a shoe-in need to reconsider their positions.   Bernie supporters who are saying they will not vote, or that they will switch their vote to the Green Party, really need to think this through, particularly those saddled with college loan debt.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, being ousted from her leadership position at the DNC would be a good move for the Democratic Party, particularly in light of HRC’s VP pick.  Tim Kaine, who most of us never heard of,  looks more like a moderate Republican than a Democrat.   For many of us, he’s another bitter pill to swallow from a campaign that looked more Republican than Democrat before Bernie Sanders forced Hillary’s move to the left.   Wasserman Schultz, should have been kicked to the curb months ago when it was revealed that the DNC was making campaign financing deals with the HRC campaign ostensibly to provide more “downstream” funding to Dem candidates,  refusing to give the Sander’s campaign access to a DNC list of Dem voters and scheduling debates to keep Sanders away from the limelight.  Only now, after WikiLeaks released emails indicating that the DNC was actively discussing ways to torpedo the Sander’s campaign,  is the leadership of Wasserman Schultz being seriously threatened.

The email thing gets really interesting if you consider a report in June, in the Washington Post, to the effect that the Russians hacked into the DNC’s computer system.    Some are speculating that the emails WikiLeaks released were provided by the Russians, who (again speculation) are doing all they can to support the candidacy of Donald Trump, who has been speaking out in favor of  Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, and  against traditional U.S. support for NATO.

This goes beyond being nothing more than a conspiracy theory nutjob assertion when you consider past affiliations of Trump advisor Paul Manafort.  According to Buzzfeed, “Manafort may be best known for managing the 2010 campaign of Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian politician whose ouster as president prompted a Russian invasion of the country. He has, according to court documents, managed tens of millions of dollars for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch denied entry to the U.S. reportedly for ties to organized crime, but so close to Vladimir Putin that top Russian officials fought (unsuccessfully) to get him a visa.  Gary Schmitt, a former Reagan Administration official now at the American Enterprise Institute, said he believed Manafort’s ties merit extra scrutiny.”

The fact that Wasserman Schultz has apparently been stripped of some of her duties at the convention (CNN is reporting that the “DNC Chair wil not preside daily over convention”),  is an indicator of Sander’s impact on the party.  It’s a hopeful sign for progressives.   However, you can be sure that any chaos at the top of the DNC will be used by the Trump campaign.   They will tout it as another sign that the system was rigged in Hillary’s favor and that Bernie didn’t have a chance as they again urge Bernie’s supporters to vote for Trump or possibly Jill Stein.  Either way, Trump wins.

Voting for Clinton/Kaine won’t be easy for some of us, but it must be done.  Not voting for Hillary Clinton or voting for Jill Stein,  will, in a very real sense  be the same as casting a vote for  Donald Trump.

 

The “Amazing” Republican Convention

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Donald Trump, is  now  saying the Republican Convention was “amazing.”   Perhaps it was.   Amazing for its self-centered, self-aggrandizing, arrogance, deception and conceit.

Stealing Michelle Obama’s words was minor in comparison to  Mr. Trump’s promise of curing all the country’s ills while cutting taxes with no real plan for getting any of it done.   His proposal is insane.

This is no longer the Republican Party, it is the Party of Trump, the party of bluster, braggadocio and fantasy.  It is of, by and for Donald Trump.  It is authoritarian and driven by fear and prejudice.   It’s an act the world has witnessed before, with devastating consequences.

I, for one, am very afraid.   Trump, may be deeply in debt and on the verge of his next bankruptcy.   We don’t know because he won’t release his tax records.   He has no history in public office, so we have no idea as to how he really feels about  anything, except that he wants to be the most powerful man in the world and that he will apparently say anything to get what he wants.  And what will he do once he gets there?   We really have no idea at all.

Was there ever a demagogue who didn’t get started by stirring the very worst primitive emotions in a segment of the population while good people stood by doing nothing, thinking “this can’t be happening here?”

Well, it is.

At Least We Still Have Baseball

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When the shooting, the killing, the madness of religious carnage in some foreign land becomes just too damn much, we do still have baseball.   The teamwork, fairness and simple predictable reality of the game can serve as a refuge for those of us running out of places to go.

Places to hide, where nobody can find you, and if they do, they will likely just leave you alone because….well, because it’s baseball, and it matters in a world gone mad, because baseball still offers what it has always offered – balance.   When things threaten to go badlly out of balance, the umpire is there to restore sanity.    This is a kind of holy thing.   It is sanctified.   It’s the holy church of the house that Ruth built and the garden of O’malley in Chavez Ravine.   People instinctively know this, and they will leave you alone.  It has to do with Hank Aaron,  Roy Campanella, Kevin Costner and Sandy Kofax.  It’s mystical.   Like the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson looking for redemption or a fastball that makes the air scream in pain or a slider that’s gone before you know it’s even coming.

Baseball doesn’t give a damn about color or caliber or anything else.  It cares only about your ability to buy into the game and deliver on what it demands.  If you’re good enough for baseball, then baseball is waiting there for you.  A thoroughly American game, representing so much of what is good about our country .   Baseball, is egalitarian, and Americans, some of them anyway, instinctively know this from birth.  It’s  a feeling that creeps into your bones with the approach of summer in every small town in every state on the great plains and in every big city on both coasts, as the kids come out to play, all dreaming of blasting a homerun or pitching a no-hitter.

It’s okay to go back.  Back to making a perfect pocket in your glove by drowning it in neatsfoot oil, and then wrapping it around a ball and tying it tight with string overnight to form a pocket.  I still love the smell of neatsfoot oil in the morning, or imagine I would, if I still had some.   I have never needed it for a single thing, since the “Mighty Mights” and “Pee Wees” of  Little League, back in Minnesota, where I once nearly killed a batter with a wayard pitch.  We had no batting helmets, and my fastball hit this poor kid bang in his head.    I always regretted that.  I really needed a pitching coach.   All we had was the local EUB minister.   He did the best he  could.

There was also the technique of forming a pefect brim on your baseball cap by wrapping it around a Coke or Pepsi  bottle and then tying it with string or rubber bands and leaving it overnight.   This might have involved soaking the cap in water, but I can’t remember that part of it.  I do remember that in the morning you could take off the string and the formerly flat and unsightly brim would have a wonderful curve to it.  A little thing, but important in those younger years, when the kid with the coolest ducktail and the best cap got all the sharpest girls.  Or we thought he did, which was pretty much the same thing, since none of us really knew what to do with girls anyway,  irrespective of any wayward romantic advice scrawled on dugout walls obviously based upon a massive foundation of weeks or maybe months of hard-earned experience.

Older now,  I’ve come full circle and find myself watching a lot more baseball.   The Orioles are my team, and Buck Showalter is my manager.  For a couple of hours Buck and the O’s take me away from all the insanity that’s currently going on politically and militarily.   For a couple of hours, baseball, takes me back to order and sanity with occasional bursts of heroism and humor.

In a world gone mad, that isn’t half bad.

The Turkish Conundrum

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It’s interesting that the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a Sunni  Muslim.   Most of Turkey, is Sunni.   ISIS was created by Sunni Muslims who were kicked out of their jobs and lost their power base when the Bush/Cheney regime invaded Iraq.

Fethullah Gullen, the cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, who Erdogan blames for causing this most recent coup attempt by the Turkish military, is said to be a secular Muslim who promotes “a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam (with) staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue. He left Turkey in 1999 and had a massive falling out with his former ally Erdogan about three years ago.”

In much of the world, religion and politics are one and the same, something too many in our governement and media continue to ignore.  The question of whether the West would be better off without Erdogan in power, is both valid and reasonable.

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Update:    On Sunday, 7-17 the Associated Press reported that the government had put  down a second coup attempt.  According to the AP, the government said that  “6,000 people had been detained in the investigation, including three of the country’s top generals and hundreds of soldiers. In addition to those mentioned by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, dozens of arrest warrants have been issued for judges and prosecutors deemed to be government opponents. ”  Earlier reports indicated that 3000 judges had already been removed by the government.

Getting good information on what’s happening in Turkey won’t be easy.  The Erdogan regime is infamous for throwing reporters in jail.   In 2013 Al Jazeera called it “The world’s biggest prison for media.”

In 2016, Nina Ognianova of The Committee to Protect Journalists testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that, “Turkey has intensified its repressive actions against the media in recent months, Ognianova said. In an attempt to stifle criticism, authorities have used broadly worded anti-terror laws; brought charges against journalists under an archaic law that carries jail terms for insulting the president; replaced the editorial management of opposition media outlets and fired their staff; routinely imposed bans on the reporting of sensitive stories; and has prosecuted and imprisoned journalists on anti-state charges in retaliation for their work.”

Accordin to the Committee to Protect, 25 journalists have been killed in Turkey since 1992.   22, have been murdered.

 

What Follows The Tragedy Of Nice?

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What can one’s reaction be, other  than profound sadness, following the Bastille Day attack on so many innocent people in Nice?  What sensible course of action can be taken, other than recognizing that the threat posed by ISIS, is an international criminal conspiracy combined with traditional conventional warfare in Iraq and Syria, and as such, an old-fashioned response of simply declaring war and sending in the troops will offer only a partial solution, or perhaps no solution at all?

For the United States and the West, this third attack on France in 19 months could lead to another perfect storm, another gross overreaction of the same kind that led to the US invasion of Iraq, which in turn led to the creation of ISIS, when the Bush Administration so foolishly let the Iraqi government fall into the hands of the Shia, alientating those of the Sunni faith who then, with nothing left to lose, went off into the desert and created their new power base which came to  be known as ISIS.

With the  Bush Administration loudly banging the drums of war, the United States marched into the quagmire of Iraq, creating an even bigger problem with ISIS.   And now Donald Trump follows that same drumbeat,  boldly proclaiming that he would ask the Congress for a formal declaration of war.   Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s possibile picks for VP thinks all American Muslims should be forced to swear their rejection of Sharia Law or be deported.   In other words, Gingrich would gut the First Amendment, while initiating faith-based witch-hunts in America.    His other suggestion, that anyone who visits a website that smacks  of Islamist extremism should be charged with a felony, is beyond ludicrous.

Donald Trump’s modus operandi, appears to be ratcheting up rhetoric that draws a response  from his audience.   If that means appealing to  fear and race, then so be it, regardless of the implications for the war on terror.   His approach is irresponsible, unpresidential and unacceptable.   Simply put, it is an appeal to ignorance.

This same kind of fear-mongering and wrong-headed thinking that led to the invasion of Iraq, serves onlly to feed the fear and misinforation ISIS uses as recruiting tools.   It also further alienates American Muslims and others of the Muslim faith around the world whose help we badly need in the ongoing fight against global terrorism.

Mr. Gingrich does not seem to understand that Muslims are also being killed in ISIS sponsored or inspired terrorist attacks.   Mr. Trump is apparently blind to the reality that a conventional army can do nothing against an international criminal conspiracy while wealthy extremist Saudis, and others in the Middle East continue funding both conventional ISIS fighters and their unconventional offspring, lying in wait in places like Nice and Boston.

Perhaps the pressure currently being applied to Iran, should instead be turned on the Saudis and others who continue to  fund the ongoing efforts of ISIS and its offspring?

This “new reality” so many are talking about, requires, it seems, a whole new way of thinking.   A conventional attack on the identifiable battlefields in Syria and Iraq, and a more unconventional attack working alongside Muslims who can help identify ISIS hidden progeny while, at the same time, doing all they can to promote peace and tamp down the fires of hate as their religious past smashes into the present.

Shutting off the money would seem to be a logical place to start, followed by a methodical partnership with those who wish to promote a real solution as opposed to race-baiting and fear mongering by those whose principle interest is in personal political gain.

 

The Two Faces Of Hillary

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Watching the political antics of Mitt Romney in 2012, one was left with the impression that he had to be kidding.    The about-face he pulled between posing as a hero for all things consevative during the runup to the primary and then suddenly changing personas to become more centrist for the general was horrific in its assumption that the American people would be so stupid as to fall for it.   Well, a great many did.   He got 47.2% of the vote, or nearly 61-million people.   And now, Hillary Clinton, it appears, is doing that exact same thing.

The song “Sidestep” from the play “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas” keeps replaying in my mind.  It’s about running for office.  In part it goes-

“And, fellow Texans, I’m for progress and the flag – long may it fly.

I’m a poor boy, come to greatness. So, it follows that I cannot tell a lie.

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t-

I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,

cut a little swathe and lead the people on.”

A proposal, just out from the Clinton camp suggests that there should be student debt deferral, but not for all students, just for those who go out in the world and put together a “startup” tech business.   So she wants  to discriminate between those who form a tech startup and everybody else?  Why not just forgive debt for grad-students and saddle all the underclassmen with repayment of all that government-sponsored debt?

And so the Clinton political dance begins,  doing a little sidestep as she walks back what will probably the first of many  concessions she had to make to appear more liberal  than she really is.   Making her look more like a liberal Democrat than a centrist Republican in Democrat’s clothing.   The woman who went from being Secretary of State to being Wall Street’s favorite paid guest speaker.   The boys on the Street must love Hillary.    Why else would they shower her with all that lovely money?

Many of her top donors are the big banks.   According to “opensecrets.org” during her career, Hillary Clinton has received-

$927,700 from Citigroup

$888,850 from JP Morgan/Chase

$867,828 from Goldman Sachs

$844,649 from Morgan Stanley

$413,436 from Bank of America

Keep in mind that those are donations.   HRC received speaking fees as well after leaving office as Secretary of State.   CNN reports that she was paid $675,000 from Goldman Sachs, alone.    Even more startling,  The Huffington Post reports that Mrs. Clinton raked in $9,680,000 in speaking fees in 2013.   According to HP,  Mrs. Clinton was demanding $225,000 minimum per speech.    That was her fee, not “what they offered,” as she has stated.

The Republicans already hate HRC.    Some progessives, too.  More lefties will undoubtedly feel the sting of disappointment once she’s elected, as Mrs. Clinton does whatever is best for our new masters of war and the economy on Wall Street.

This new neo-liberal insanity representing the rich dictates that the “Market” backed by alleged free trade in what is actually a fixed and superficial economy controlled by wealthy elites is the greatest good, that it must be supported by the world’s strongest military, and that American citizens are no longer human beings but “human resources.”   Just living widgets in the giant economic machine, to be used for that which is in the market’s best interest.  If that means creeping privatization to replace the dependability of proven social services like Medicare and Social Security, then so be it.  An agrument can be made for anything, regardless of the damage it does as Oligarchy trumps American Democracy and the song plays on-

“…ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,

cut a little swathe and lead the people on.”

Hillary Clinton.   She is not what she appears to be.    She’s been paid off and she’s “gonna dance with the one that brung her.”   A Trump presidency on the  other hand, is too terrible to even consider.

Boris And Donald Explained

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There’s something more about Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.    Both are blonde and from New York.  Both sport bizarre hairdos, oh so carefully quaffed.  Almost like they are overly concerned with their hair.   Like it’s a bicycle helmet for Trump and a system of tiny antennae for Johnson.   His hair seems a mess, but a purposeful mess.  Like it’s intentional.  As though it’s what he was programmed to do.

But by who?   Or what?

Trump, the rich, spolied, thin-skinned playboy who is liable to say anything about anybody,  and Johnson, the rumpled rugby player type from the UK,  a character-study straight out of a London pub.  Except that he was born in New York?

It’s beyond belief, staggering really, that either of these stereotypically buffoonish characters could reach positions of international importance in our world.   Is it because we are so small and incompetent, with a system that is so easily co-opted?   Or is it something else?   Something far more sinister?

The awful truth could be that both men are space alien imports, the result of some kind of terrible human clone spaceguy hybrid sent here as a cruel experiment.   Beings from another planet having a good laugh by placing a couple of unpredictable bozos in leadership positions and then sitting back and watching all the fun as the Earth goes to pieces.

It’s no wonder Clinton, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren seem so human.  It’s because they actually are.   And it explains John McCain, Sheriff Joe, Jan Brewer and the entire State of Arizona.  Except for a few snowbirds and undocumented workers from the south, it’s loaded with spaceguys.   They probably have a big landing pad and a clone factory hidden somewhere out in the mountains.   They could be homing in on you at this very moment, scrambling your gray matter.

Before long  you too could become Benghazi obsessed, hanging on every word from Paul Ryan while praising the accomplishments of Dick Cheney,  Dubya Bush and Sarah Palin.  Feeling an overwhelming urge to send out checks to Pat Robertson at the 700 Club to get more “News from a Christian perspective.”   As opposed to the other thing.   You know.  Actual news.

This will probably be my last post.   You can be sure the spaceguys will be coming for me once they learn that I’m onto their terrible scheme.

 

Let The Queen Fix It

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Well, they did it.   The Brits dropped out of the evolving world and went all isolationist on us.   They voted for regresssion rather than progression.  And now the tv-talkers are threatening us with financial ruin.   Our pensions they say, are probably in jeopardy although they really don’t know.    It’s fun to talk about it though, isn’t it?   Gives all the old folks palpatations as we again face the instability of an uncertain future.

The Brits have forced the world to abandon the devil they knew.  The lynchpin has been pulled.  As with the Bush/Cheney Administration, fear has significantly lowered the bar,  pushing us once again up against the time-tested axiom that throwing a big enough scare into people will clear the way  for tyrants and greedfreaks to do damn near anything they want.

I awoke today with the distinct feeling that we should all be grateful that the “Brexit” occured at the end of the week, as it will give the bug-eyed greedfreak traders a full two days to calm down.   Without the weekend to catch their collective breath while falling into an alcohol-induced stupor, they just might have wrecked the world’s economy.   Again.   And they still might.

I’m still wondering where all those billions of pounds went.   Where does that much money go?   Can’t fit that much cash under the mattress.   Some island maybe?

Perhaps the most interesting facet of this latest great-quake on the historical landscape is speculation that what happened to the Brits, is about to happen to us here in the United States.    Even without a Muslim being elected Mayor of New York City.   Not that Sadiq Kahn being elected Mayor of London had anything to do with the Brexit gaining momentum.  At least nobody’s talking about it.   Wouldn’t be PC.

The British elites, it is argued, were so out of touch with the masses that they couldn’t see it coming.   Couldn’t even imagine it.   But there it was.

Here, instead of Boris Johnson, we have Donald Trump, and like the UK, we are a nation filled with anger and frustration and a very real division between those who are doing well and those who are not.   It feels as though those who are doing well don’t necessarily get it on this side of the pond, either.   Or they don’t care, particularly those who subscribe to the economic philosophy of “boom and bust,” which some believe is a cycle we are destined to endure regardless of our wants and needs.    It’s an idea I particularly detest as it dictates that we are, and always will be, unable to overcome our lust for money.  Our need for greed.  An inability to overcome some of our worst instincts as a species.

But I’m getting in way over my head.    One might as well hope for the British to roll back the will of the people, someow keeping the UK in the EU.   That would require a denial of the democratic process and they can’t do that.   So I have a solution.   Since Britain is a monarchy,  let the Queen decide.   She could issue a Royal Decree overriding English statutory law with a command that the Brexit be reversed, which would probably lead to a popular uprising.   The royal family would in all likelihood eventually be overthrown but through all the confusion the UK would stay in the EU, the traders would sober up and calm down, and our pensions would no longer be threatened.

Of course none of this is going to happen, so we remain basically screwed, at least over the short-term, and by short I mean for the next several years as those who are supposed to know say that’s how long it will take for this Brexit mess to sort itself out.

Could the Brexit possibly represent the principle that led the founders to put so much faith in the electoral college as opposed to letting the people decide an issue through the employent of pure democracy?

God bless us everyone.   We are going to need it.   Except for the doomed masses those at the top fail to understand.    Those poor souls who have given up on finding a decent-paying  job, who can’t afford college or decent food,  who worry about their pensions and healthcare running out and  see a flood of immigrants from war-torn countries only making matters worse.   Those poor souls who feel they have almost nothing left to lose.   Like the Brits who voted to leave the EU.   They just might get through this crazy Brexit journey in better shape than when they started.

Bernie Sanders – Let’s Go A Little Crazy

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Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.   When are you gonna give it up?  How long will you hold out before conceding to the Clinton political machine?  Or do you know something the rest of us don’t?

Let’s go a little crazy.

Suppose there is something out there on Hillary, something really, really bad, like the Donald’s latest assertion that she used her office while Scretary of State to enrich her family and then hid the evidence away on her home server.   You know, the mysterious emails she deleted and can’t get back.   Something that would be a dealbreaker and Bernie, acting on real information or just a hunch is waiting for it to surface while the Trumpster hides out in Scotland, for reasons no one can really understand.

I’ve been a Bernie supporter from the start.    Don’t care for Hillary and I will not vote for Trump.   So allow me my little fantasy.   Maybe Bernie knows something we don’t?   It’s crazy, I know, but so was the idea that Donald Trump might one day be the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

Don’t count anything out.   Not here in “the land of the weird.”*

 

*with thanks to hst

Pigs Seen Flying Above Nation’s Capitol

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“When pigs fly,” used to be a popular phrase for describing something that would never happen.   Well, it’s happening.  This highly unlikely event is taking place at the nation’s capitol, where a relatively small group of rebellious Democrats have done something progressives have been wanting the President to do for the past seven years.   They have gone over the heads of the do-nothing, stop Obama at all cost,  party of no Republicans, and taken their cause for good government directly to the American people.

It took the slaughter of 49 innocent people in Orlando to get it done, but the Democrats are doing it.   Their method is an old-fashioned “sit-in” straight out of the 1960’s civil rights playbook.   They have occupied the floor of the House of Representatives.

It’s only fitting that this unprecedented political protest should be led by 76 year-old civil rights icon John Lewis of Georgia after the idea was raised by Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusettes, one of many Dems, who, along with much of the country, is obviously weary, frustrated and disgusted with a Republican majority in the House that has repeatedly refused to allow debate on issues of critical importance regardless of the impact their inaction will have on the country.

This is the same Republican Party whose leadership declared early on, that they would block any and all progress in conducting the nation’s business because it would be considered an achievement for the country’s first black president.  That, in and of itself is beneath contempt.    It is possibly racist and bordering on treason.  It had to be stopped, so the Democrats are now going over the heads of the Congress and taking their case directly to the American people.   There was no other way.

This current Republican Party is not the party of Eisenhower and Lincoln.   Ike and “Honest Abe” would reject these people  outright.   They are small, hateful, greedy people, who have repeatedly put their personal interest and the interest of a wealthy few above the best interest of the country.

The Democrats have finally had enough.   They have siezed control of the House to draw attention to what’s going on so that the only group of people who can do anything to correct it, the American people, will rise up in indignation and take their country back from a relatively small group of millionaire, billionaire and corporate greedheads who have used their lobbyists to buy off the system to fill their own pockets while middle-American is wreaked by economic deveastation.

In short, the Republican Party has refused to manage the nation’s business by stonewalling nearly every issue, every bill, every bit of progress that has been put before them in the House and Senate.  And now they are being called on it.   They don’t like it, of course, so they are doing what they always do.    Spewing falshhoods.   Telling lies.   Telling the country that the Democrat’s only real interest is in getting publicity to raise money for their party.   Which is a lie.  This protest was born not out of a need for fund-raising,  but from the obvious need to stop the slaughter on American streets.

House Speaker Paul Ryan loves to complain that the whiny Democrats already brought their bill up in committee where it was voted down, and besides, if they want to bring it up for a vote on the floor, all they need to do is get a majority of the House to support their motion.    The Dems,  Mr. Ryan complains, need to follow proper procedure.  Well fine, but what reporters never seem to understand is that there are more Republicans than Democrats in committees and on the floor, and because the Republicans have no interest in any kind of a compromise, the bills coming from the Dems don’t stand a chance of ever getting to the floor for debate, much less a vote.  And that’s just the way the Republicans and their masters in the gun lobby want it.  Ryan’s argument about the need to follow proper procedure is nothing but a smokescreen covering Republican intransigence as around 30,000 Americans a year continue dying from gun deaths.

Even more to the point of this current gun control fight, The New York Daily News reports that “More than 2,000 suspects on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist bought weapons in the U.S. over the past 11 years, according to the federal Government Accountability Office.”   Paul Ryan says the topic needs more study.    One wonders if Mr. Ryan will be selling swampland and snake oil over the Summer break.

In addition, the Republicans,  predictably, are again using the old argument that Democrats are trying to kill the Second Amendment.  This is another fabrication without any basis in fact, since the founders could not have imagined an assault rifle capable of spitting out thirty rounds a second or even multiple bursts fed from a banana clip.  The founders carried flintlocks, capable of maybe two or three rounds a minute.

According to opensecrets.org, the NRA contributed more than $800,000 to federal candidates during the 2014 election cycle.   Nearly all were Republicans.

The Democrats are taking the unprecedented action of staging a sit-in on the floor of the House because it was the only way to get the party of no to allow debate on legislation to prevent those on the terrorist watch-list from buying guns and to expand background checks for firearms purchases.

The Democrats are demanding that the Republicans allow a vote.   That’s all they want, just to be permitted to do what they were elected to do.   To debate an issue and then vote on it.

Following the slaughter of innocents in Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and so many other places, the Democrats, are attempting to put the best interests of the American people first regardless of what the NRA lobbyists might want.   They are trying to take a first step in stopping the slaughter on American soil.

Government by sit-in.   What an interesting idea.  Good for John Lewis and his Democrats.   They have finally found a way to stand up to the party of no.   It is a first step in removing the cloud of deceit imposed by the current oligarchy and restoring govenment to the people.   The degree to which it is successful will depend upon the determination of the Democrats and the willingness of millions of Americans to provide support for our elected leaders ability to debate issues and then cast votes on those very same issues.

The founders envisioned a system of checks and balances, where the parties would come to together to reach a compromise, certainly not what we have now,  the best government money can buy, with a group of corporatists and billionaires dictating policy to the Congress.

It’s called representative democracy.   The Republicans and their oligarch-masters have done all they can to kill it.  It’s time for the rest of us to bring it back.

Dems Stage Sit-In On Floor Of The House To Protest Inaction On Gun Control

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   Rep. John Lewis – D-GA

In a throwback to the 60’s, nearly 30 House Democrats led by John Lewis of Georgia, are conducting a sit-in on the floor the House of Representatives, to protest a lack of action on gun control, specifically Republicans blocking a vote on “no fly, no buy” legislation and expanded background checks.

The House was supposed to be gaveled in at 1:00 eastern. C-SPAN is reporting that the House will remain in recess until the sit-in ends. Lewis says the sit-in is taking place for something that is “long overdue.” Adding, “We have turned deaf ears to the innocent, to the blood of this nation….where is our leadership? What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? We were elected to lead. We cannot continue to stick our heads in the sand. Now is the time to get in the way….we will be silent no more.” Congresswoman Janice Hahn of CA tweeted, “We are not in order……we will not be in order until you schedule a vote.” House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer of MD, is among those taking part in the sit-in.

C-SPAN was carrying video of the sit-in, until the cameras were turned off by the Republican-controlled House.   According to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, spectators are being prevented from entering the House gallery.

Politico, has more.  Click here.

Why The Brexit Matters – No Really, You Need To Read This

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Most Americans, thanks to the sad state of our  cultural desire not to look beyond our shores until someone begins flying jets into our skyscrapers or slaughtering people with assault rifles  in public venues, probably have no idea what the “Brexit” is, or that it’s even going on.   But it is.   And it’s important.   And there are reasons we should all be paying attention.

There’s an amazing thing going on over in the UK, which includes England, the country we fought in our Revolutionary War so that we could break away from the tyranny of the mother country from whence our first settlers arrived.

They came here of course,  at risk of life and limb, so that they could decide matters for themselves, free of the English yoke, or as a gang of Massachusettes Yankees called it, “Taxation without representation.”   We’d have none of that.   No, our founders, God bless them,  decided it would be better to fight to the death on their feet than to live on their knees while taking orders from the British Empire, which wanted us only for the profits they could take from our sweat, toil and soil.   So our anchestors fought, and with the help of Washington, LaFayette and France, we won.   So stop your bitching about the French.   They are our oldest ally and we owe them our very existence.   Because of their assistance,  the United States of America, a Republic, was born.

Now, some 240 years later, our legislative process and position in the world relative to Britain’s legislative process and position in the world, is most interesting to ponder.

The Brits, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, are about to vote in a national referendum with regard to whether the people of the United Kingdom (also known as Britain) want to leave or remain in the European Union.   In a move that is pure Democracy,  those who live in the UK are being given the opportunity to tell their political leaders what they the people, want to do.   This is a big deal.    A wrong decision could spell economic disaster for the UK, and much of the world.   As in 2008, if the UK leaves the EU, some are predicting it could all come tumbling down again, throwing world markets into another tailspin and doing God knows what to the British economy for years to come.   But the point here, is that the decision is being made by a national referendum, by the people of the UK, and not by the dictates of their politically motivated leaders.  It is call Democracy.   With a captial “D.”   It is pure self-determination.

Our only truly national election, our only referendum, as such, is to elect a president, and even that has effective limits, with electors and not the American people, casting the deciding votes.   Meaning, in short, an elite group of political bigshots get together every four years and decide who is going to run the country.   That was supposed to be balanced off by the Congress, but since they were bought off there is no balance, only stalemate.   A broken government that does not work.   We elect a few others to run the country and then go back to our daily lives, paying no attention to what’s going on until things fall apart.

Here in the U.S., the country that shed its blood to break away from the British, we have no such thing as a national referendum.   No, here, we have no Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliment giving proportional representation even to the smaller political parties.   Here we have only two politicial parties controlled by corporations and other big-money interests with a stranglehold on the system.   Here, there is no referendum.   Not on the TPP, not on NAFTA, not on gun control, not on abortion not on national healthcare.   Here, there is no Democracy, only the best corrupted government money can buy as we veer off into a new round of gun-control legislation that will once again, go nowhere, following yet another mass slaughter on our soil.

Who would have imagined, all those years ago, that the country with a monarch would turn out to be the true democracy, while the nation that fought to break away in what appeared to be their own best interest for self-determination would sink into a corrupt system, denying the will of the people while favoring the desires of the wealthy few?

The founders would surely be incensed at our lack of sensible gun control as a flintlock couldn’t spit out more than 30 rounds a second, nor could they possibly forsee a government willing to sell itself to the highest bidders.   It’s a valid analogy.  These things need consideration.  The mother country may be able to provide some guidance after all.

Orlando: Playing Politics With Tragedy

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What an interesting confluence of events, even while the President was in Orlando attempting to comfort shattered American lives.

Event number one was CIA Director, John Brennan, warning the Senate Intelligence Committee  that Mr. Obama is failing in Syria and Iraq, that U.S. led efforts have not slowed ISIS,  and that the terror group is undoubtedly working up a variety of new methods to smuggle their people into the west.

At the same time, CNN International continues to report that ISIS is being forced to retreat from its former stronghold in Falluja, being beaten back by US-aligned Iraqi forces.  This and other media reports appear to contradict Mr. Brennan’s report to the Congress.  There is also a statement from the President just a few weeks ago, when he said,“…our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose.” 

It’s fascinating to see such a vast gap in opinion between the media, the White House and the CIA.   In this case at least,  media reports appear to side with the President.   US-supported forces are making progress against ISIS, even while the CIA Director insists that the glass is half-empty.

Event number two, was Senator John McCain, making the outrageous comment that President Obama, was somehow directly responsible for the mass shooting in Orlando, even though there is no confirmation that the shooter was anything other than a madman, with no direct link to ISIS.

Event number three is this morning’s New York Times article with information said to have been “leaked” by an official from the State Department to the effect that “More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.”    Kinda feels like an attempted strike three, doesn’t it, with all three pitches against the Administration coming in such rapid succession?

It’s probably all coincidental though, with no evidence that all three events were in any way coordinated by those on the right who prefer more and not less war in the Middle East and North Africa, and who, again coincidentally, are all deeply invested in the Republican Party.   A body threatened by implosion as it attempts to draw attention away from the inane ravings of its presidential candidate while struggling to tamp down that same candidate’s out-of-control rhetoric going forward, his statements including the bizarre implication that the President of the United States may be an ISIS sympathizer.

Surely, it’s all nothing but coincidence.