Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

A Bogus Inauguration?

Why do so many people keep dancing around the truth – the fact that without Russian hacking coupled with FBI Director Comey’s ill-timed and out-of-policy email pronouncements – Donald J. Trump, would, in all probability, not be on the doorstep of becoming the next President of the United States?

Putting it plainly, we, dear friends, are in one hell of a mess.

Hillary Clinton, was leading in the polls, remember?   And then, just days before the election, FBI Director Comey decided it would be a good idea to link her to Anthony Weiner.   It turned out to be totally baseless, but her numbers took a four point hit.  The right-wing propaganda machine went to work and Mrs. Clinton,  never recovered.

There are those who would argue that Comey’s “bombshell” letter, implying a link between Clinton and  Weiner (when there was none), leading to pics of Mr. Weiner’s throbbing member all over the internet and television news, coming just eleven days before the vote, had no impact on the election.  Really?   Give me a break.

Take it back even further.    Try and imagine the campaign without the email scandals, or the FBI releasing information about the server investigation, which, it turned out, contained nothing chargeable.

Hillary Clinton did nothing that merited being charged, Comey said, and yet the FBI failed to follow its own policy by releasing information regarding an ongoing investigation.  Once again, Director Comey was doing all he could, intentionally or unintentionally,  to torpedo the Clinton campaign,  and in doing so, playing right into Russia’s hands.

At this point it really doesn’t matter whether Comey did it to intentionally attack Hillary Clinton, or if his judgement (and possibly the judgement of his boss Loretta Lynch) was just that horrible.   The damage was done.

Stop pretending it never happened and that it doesn’t warrant a major investigation into not just the impact but the motivation of those involved as Donald Trump continues to do all he can to promote his friend and ally Vladimir Putin, and Putin, does all he can to return the favor for Trump, with a huge oil deal for Exxon hanging in the balance in Russia as Mr. Trump tries to assign the job of Secretary of State to the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, much to the delight you can be sure, of Vladimir Putin.

At the same time, Mr. Trump seems determined to do all he can (and tweet all he can) to insult our time-tested friends and allies in NATO.

Take off your blinders.  Connect the dots.  Remember that the Russians hacked both Clinton and Trump, but only released damaging material on Mrs. Clinton and appear to be withholding whatever they might have on Trump.  Think about it as you watch Donald Trump being sworn in on Friday.   Imagine Vladimir Putin standing by his side as Trump raises his hand and pledges to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  

Kudos to those public officials and celebrities who are refusing to attend, which would only lend unspoken approval.    Kudos to members of the press who refuse to accept nonsense as being acceptable.

Blaming the media and placing restrictions on our free press will be among of the first signs that the ship of state is in danger of going down. Watch for it.  The Trump camp is already making noises about closing the White House press room.

As the Ben Bradlee character so aptly put it in All The President’s Men,  “Nothing’s riding on this except the first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country.”

At this moment in time we need all the Ben Bradlees we can get our hands on.

The 650 Club

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The number, is 650.   We heard it first from someone telling us that the FBI had found an additional 650-thousand emails that might or might not be related to a previous investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.  I believe I heard it first from Donald Trump, on 10/31, when he delivered a speech in Grand Rapids.  I immediately wondered who could store away that many emails without having their hard drive explode.   But maybe.   Maybe it’s a really big laptop.  I also wondered how Trump came up with the number of 650-thousand, when, at that point, the FBI was saying they really didn’t know what they had.   Maybe nothing.

In releasing the news that they might or might not have something to the Congress, which ensured a leak to the press, the FBI, intentionally or unintentionall (it really doesn’t matter at this point), was helping to throw the election to Donald Trump.

Can this be happening in America?

But there was another “650,” still to come.  Once again, I heard it from Donald Trump.    This time it was Trump warning us that Mrs. Clinton has plans to allow “650-million” immigrants into the country.   Now that’s really interesting, since the total population of the United States is only 324-million.  You can only imagine what we’d do with an influx of 650-million immigrants.

What next?   A proclamation that someone is “hearing” that 650 illegal immigrant rapists are hiding out in the basement of Clinton’s home?   They can send the FBI out to investigate, just to be sure there isn’t a problem.   That should be good for another three or four points in the polls.    This close to the election it won’t matter that it’s total nonesense.

Neocon Republicans created this monster by stretching their practices farther and farther beyond acceptable political norms.     Now,  like the creature from Mary Shelley’s tale,  the big orange patchwork politican from New York is totally out of control and the Neocon bosses, holed up in their castle on the hill are helpless as the product of  their outrageous, self-aggrandizing, irresponsible behavior threatens to run roughshod across the land.

FBI Director Comey Had Better Get Busy

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Eleven days away from the election, with Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump at the polls and beating him rather soundly, the Director of the FBI breaks with Justice Department tradition and policy, and releases a letter to members of the Congress (which ensures it will be released to the general public) stating that he has found even more emails relative to an already concluded FBI investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email address and a private email server at her home in New York.   Or maybe not.  The emails, on a computer owned by former Congressman Anthony Weiner, may or may not be related to the former investigation by the FBI of Mrs. Clinton’s private email server.   An investigation heavily promoted and pushed to the max by Republican members of congress.

Comey’s letter says he doesn’t know what he has.   Maybe nothing.   With the election only eleven days away, and no search warrant for Comey to go through the emails in question, all of it starts the pundits and social media buzzing about the damage it might do to the Clinton campaign.   It also connects Mrs. Clinton’s name and her campaign to Mr. Weiner, who is under investigation for allegedly using his computer for so-called “sexting.”  What a coincidence.   But then it could be that Mrs. Clinton never even sent an email to Mr. Weiner’s computer that may or may not have been used by his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin.  So many unknowns.

With only eight days to go, Comey, who was a Republican with heavy high-level ties to Wall Street and international financiers (he was on the Board of HSBC Holdings) prior to registering as an Independent in 2016, announces that he has finally obtained a warrant to go through the emails,  even though the FBI has known about them for several weeks.  It’s another coincidence that sends poll numbers for the Clinton campaign falling, possibly ensuring another stolen presidential election by the Republican Party, which, in the case of this particular election, is being openly promoted and therefore supported by none other than Valdimir Putin.   But all of this is also, mere coincidence.   We are supposed  to believe there is no political motivation on the part of Comey.   Which could be the case.  Or maybe not.

If Director Comey and his FBI are determined to place Mrs. Clinton under this kind of public scrutiny,  a nearly unprecedented scrutiny which breaks with FBI policy of releasing nothing until an investigation has at least gotten to the point of being able to draw valid conclusions from it, not to mention this close to an election, then the same must be done for every elected and non-elected federal official and employee with a security clearance who has (or had) a private email address since 2009.   He should also obtain search warrants for the hard drives and servers of each and every email address those same federal officials and (or) employees have sent emails to or received emails from since his investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s server began, again, dating back to 2009, to determine whether any of them might have caused a breach in national security.

That’s a whole lot of snooping to do.   Director Comey had better get busy.    He needs to do it fast if he is to make it clear to the general public that at this point, Mrs. Clinton is innocent of having done anything chargable and is therefore not worthy of all this attention so close to a national election.   Unless all of this is something more than mere conincidence.

The burden of proof rests not with Mrs. Clinton, but with FBI Director Comey, who had better get  moving unless he wants to be remembered as the guy who threw the election in favor of a reality show host who refused to release his tax  records while being openly supported by the Russian Government.   That doesn’t sound very good, does it?

While we’re on this road, which Mr. Comey has chosen to follow, how about a public pronouncement from the FBI  with regard to any  information they may or may not have regarding Mr.  Trump’s friendly relationship with the Russians that might or might not go anywhere legally?  What’s that you say?   That you can’t discuss an ongoing investigation?   That it’s longstanding FBI policy not to do so?  Do tell.

The Case For Hillary

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Early voting is underway here in Maryland.   This is much to the State’s credit, although I wish they would get rid of their stupid closed primary so I could go back to being the independent I was for most of my adult life.

But back on topic.  I think two outcomes are possible in the presidential election.   One, is that Hillary will win by a huge margin.   The other, is that she won’t.  Either way, what we are witnessing appears to be the  politics of desperation.   A shoot-from-the-hip kind of non-fact-based rhetoric, that turned Donald Trump’s buffoonery into a serious threat.    If the polls are to be believed, a great many people are now desperate enough to elect a man whose campaign began as a kind of political joke.   A sideshow to the real race that eventually turned reality on its head as millions of Americans, living on the edge and feeling abandoned, gave up on the “business as usual” politics represented by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, thrusting the nation into the politics of desperation.

Why desperation?   That’s easy.

In October of 2014, Christopher Inghram wrote a piece for the Washington Post entitled, “Child poverty in the U.S. is the worst in the developed world.”   In his story Inghram reports that “The United States ranks near the bottom of the pack of wealthy nations on a measure of child poverty, according to a new report from UNICEF. Nearly one third of U.S. children live in households with an income below 60 percent of the national median income in 2008 – about $31,000 annually.  In the richest nation in the world, one in three kids live in poverty. “

You need more?  Okay, here it is.   According to the U.S. Census Bureau, things are improving, but we still have a big problem with 43.1 million Americans living in poverty in 2015.  That’s 3.5 million fewer than 2014.   It’s an improvement, but still an outrageous number condering the United States is the seventh richest country in the world.

No matter what misinformed, disinformed or just plain deluded individuals might shout out at rallies, we are not number one.   Based upon data from the IMF we are number seven, Behind Qatar, Singapore and Norway among others, all of whom appear to be unaffected by the much publicized evils of socialism the right continues to promise will be the end of  us all.   Not really.   That’s disinformation.  For some of the wealthiest countries on earth, a little Socialism is a very good thing.   It’s working very well.  Not Communism.   Take a deep breath, try and calm down before you start shouting.  What many countries have is Socialism in conjunction with free enterprise.  It works, no matter what Ayn Rand and her Neocon fear peddlers might tell you.

Believe it or not, Mr. Ripley, in most of the developed world, there are people who think others who are sick or infirm or broken and  bloody, deserve healthcare, even if they can’t afford to pay for it.  It’s called advanced human civilization.    Beyond that, and amazing as it might seem, keeping people healthy is far more cost-effective than letting them fall terribly ill and then paying to sustain their illness for months or maybe even years.  What a shock.

It was along those same lines, undoubtedly in consort with a fact-based investigation, thatBarack Obama began promoting a public option as part of the ACA.   That’s the “Affordable Care Act,” or what some call “Obamacare.”  He wanted a form of national healthcare that would actually compete with the private health insurance industry, but had to give up on it lest his entire health reform package might be shot down by legislators bought off by lobbyists for the healthcare industrial complex.    And so, again according to the Census Bureau, 29-million Americans remain uninsured, while the cost of private health insurance continues to rise.

At the same time, as Bernie Sanders loved to point out before his campaign was sideswiped and run off the road by the Clinton machine assisted by a less than impartial DNC,  “America now has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the 1920s.”   Another factoid Bernie loved to hammer home was that, “There is something profoundly wrong when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.” 

Yes there is, and Bernie got it, but Bernie, unfortunately, is no longer in the race, leaving us with Hillary and Donald Trump.

I don’t care for Hillary Clinton, what with her ties to Wall Street and big corporate money.   But I will vote for her.   With Hillary, at least we know what we’ll be getting.    At least she has given some indication of who she is – a centrist Republican in Democrat’s clothing.   With Mr. Trump, there is no certainty as to what he might try and wose yet,  do,  as president, other than continue to objectify and belittle women while making outrageous statements containing little or no fact as he launches childish ad hominem Twitter attacks and threatens lawsuits against anyone who questions his opinions as master of the universe.   Except for people he likes, like Vladimir Putin, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Governor, Chris Chrisite, who is currently under investigation in connection with the “Bridgegate” scandal.

Mrs. Clinton, is clearly far from perfect.  My biggest concern is whether she will be able to poke her head out from inside the beltway bubble that encapsulates so many in D.C., preventing them from seeing the deperation that exists in a world with no connection to the toney eateries of Georgetown.   A desperation that has convinced millions that it will be a good idea to let Mr. Trump blow up the existing broken government rather than giving Hillary a shot at trying to fix it.

For me, the risk of voting for the political fantasyland of Donald Trump, is far too great.   I’ll be voting for Hillary in the hope that she can permanently shake off the Neoliberal persona that had firmly taken hold of her before Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders came along pulling her back to the traditional ranks of real Democrats, providing hope to so many of the hopeless.   Like millions of students, being crushed by student-loan debt and homeowners facing foreclosure by corrupt bankers.   A wealthy nation being smashed by income inequality with a neo-feudal system ignoring those in need while people like Donald Trump promise to give even more tax-cuts to the wealthy, perpetuating the practice of “trickle down Reagonomics” which has failed the nation’s common good so miserably.

With Hillary, at least we know what we’ll be getting.    At least there is hope for her to continue along a less Neoliberal path.  Hope that she will be further persuaded by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, that there is a better way.    With Mr. Trump one fears that we will all eventually see fiction turn to fact,  with millions of us relegated to being litle more than steet urchins standing out  in the cold with our outstretched hands pleading on behalf of our empty bellies, “Please Sir, I want some more.”  

Michael Moore, Glenn Beck And America’s Class Divide

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It had never occurred to me, but now it’s clear.    It came from two disparate sources, Michael Moore and Genn Beck,  at exactly the right time.    A time in which I and millions of others (I suspect) are at the end of our patience with listening to an endless stream of electioneering lies and blather to the point that it is becoming nearly meaningless.

First it was Michael Moore, talking about millions of Americans, many in the rust belt, who feel betrayed by the system, and who will be voting for Donald Trump because they believe he will blow up the process that has shown them nothing but neglect.   These people are desperate and they don’t care what the New York Times reports about Trump’s taxes.   Desperation will do that to you.

These folks are not among the grass-fed beef eating and educated “elites” who will be voting for Clinton.   These people are our neighbors who need to go fishing and hunting to put protein on their tables because they can no longer afford the price of groceries.   They are living from paycheck to paycheck or with no paycheck at all and they feel overlooked and neglected, cut off from an elitist process that favors the wealthy.   So they will vote for Trump, because he promises to blow up the process.  Because with America’s new class system the process is leaving them behind, opening the door for an extremist  (possibly someone with unacceptable ties to Russia who refuses to release his tax records) to get elected as our next American President.   Even that will be better than what they now do not have.   Or so they think.

That was Michael Moore’s thesis, except for the part about a disenfrancihsed electorate opening the door for tyranny to sieze the White House.   That part came from Glenn Beck, who, almost totally (as hell froze over), agreed with Michael Moore.   All of it struck me this morning, as I had just finished reading an excellent piece in The Guardian entitled “Hidden Faultline”   How Trump v. Clinton is laying bare America’s class divide.”    

David Smith’s story, profiling some of my fellow Marylanders,  paints the picture  for those of us who still don’t get it regarding the divide between educated organic food eaters who are logically (they think) voting for Clinton, and all those others who think that almost anything, including Donald Trump, will be better than a continuation of the broken government we already have.

This dear friends, as Glenn Beck has pointed out, is how tyrants come to power.    Which could very well happen, unless we all pull together to demand a more representative government, one that can be trusted to look out for the best interests of all Americans, and not just a priviledged class.    On this point, I fear, Mrs. Clinton is dropping the ball.  Reforming the broken, bought off and generally bribed to death federal government she has been a part of for so long  is the  elephant in the room.   We need to recognize that it’s there before it steps on us all.    Sending Bernie Sanders out to plead with politicially exhausted Americans to vote for Hillary because Trump is unacceptable may not be enough.   One gets the feeling that Bernie’s real conviction is that Hillary is still too much of an insider.    Too much of a Wall Street moderate Republican in Democrat’s clothing to deserve a full-throated Sander’s endorsement.   Just more of the same old, same old politics as usual, and Bernie’s supporters know it.   It’s why they aren’t tripping over one another to throw their support to Mrs. Clinton.

We should not be heading into an election with (by some estimates) 40% of the electorate prepared to rise up in anger if their guy loses because they have lost all faith in the American political process.  If their side loses, they will be sure it was because the fix was in with the result assuring that they will remain locked in a lower class.  Doomed to pay their fair share of taxes while the uber-wealthy,  like Mrs. Clinton’s Wall Street buddies, dodge their tax responsibilities with tax code hustles, corrupt banking practices and offshore accounts.

This cannot be sustained at a time when Vladimir Putin is positioning himself to take advantage of our division by hacking out our electronic guts.

Our politics have let us down.   We appear to be on the brink of something very, very bad.   On the other side of the equation is the thought that if Glenn Beck and Michael Moore can be in agreement on anything then perhaps, just perhaps, we might get through this madness in one piece.   If only someone can show enough leadership to heal our class divide.    Clearly, Donald Trump, with his border wall, racial fearmongoring and derogatory comments about women and the disabled, is not that person.

 

We Need A Wall Alright – But Not On The Border

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I know I said I was getting off the bus until November, but hey,   I’m gonna hop back on for just a minute or  two.   Have to, or my head might explode.  And it’s Trump’s fault, with his latest nonsensical attack on Hillary Clinton.

It’s bad enough that she’s worked herself into a state of falling prey to pneumonia, but now Donald’s people are firing up the Republican Party’s favorite old campgian trail technique (other than telling outright lies), and charging Mrs. Clinton with doing what Donald’s been doing all along.  Preacing the politics of hate.  In other words, he’s accusing his opposition of doing what he originally did.  It’s verbal misdirection.  Politicial trolls used it successfully in both Bush campaigns and now they’re using it again.

It is a bit confusing, so here’s an example.  You go  out and say something totally outrageous and hateful,  like implying that all Latinos or Blacks are poor and living in the inner-cities or refusing to denounce a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.   Or making the claim that the first black President of the United States, wasn’t born on U.S. soil.  You then charge your opponent with spreading the politics of hate.   Actually, you were the one who was spreading hate but by saying your opponent did it (misdirecting it), you are forcing her to defend against something she did not do.  In the process the truth becomes lost in all the smoke, at least partially taking the onus of racial hatred away from your campaign.   Republicans love it, they’ve been using it for years.   Apart from outright lies, like implying John Kerry was self-serving for being awarded three purple hearts in Vietnam.    Stuff like that.   Stuff that is so outrageous as to be nearly insane.   Statements that leave pundits and reporters alike sitting there wide-eyed and slack-jawed, mouths hanging open, unable to respond from lies so big and bold and nonsensical that no adult would believe they are coming from the mouth of someone chosen by his party to run for the presidency.

Some people willingly buy into lies.  For others, just making an implication is all it takes.  They heard their guy say it at a rally or on tv, so for them it becomes the truth.    Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump is running a “hate-filled” campaign.   Not really.   That’s what Donald said, but it’s actually the other way around.   Now that you know how the technique of verbal misdirection works, you can get past it and seek out the truth.  Unless you don’t really care.   Unless you are one of Trump’s followers who will buy into anything the man says.   But why?

In The Washington Post, Dana Milbank writes, “In June, the Pew Research Center found that 79 percent of Clinton voters believe the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities is an important issue, while only 42 percent of Trump supporters feel that way. As I wrote previously, earlier Pew research found that Trump supporters were significantly less likely than other Americans (and supporters of other Republican presidential candidates) to think that racial and ethnic diversity improves the United States. ” 

Racism by any other name is racism.   While Milbank argues that half of Trump’s supporters have proven their bona fides as being racist, there are those who are not racist but are supporting Donald Trump simply because they can’t stand Hillary Clinton, who, many of them say,  represents “more of the same.”

With  sixty-percent of Americans having a hard time paying their rent each month and fifty-three percent worried they might not be able to pay their mortgage, “more of the same” is not good  enough, creating a huge desperation factor that’s playing to Donald Trump’s favor.

History teaches that desperate people will turn to a strongman who promotes himself as prophet and savior while using those who are too weak or too poor to fight back as a scapegoat.

In a brilliant piece in The Guardian, Bill Moyers reports that the gap between rich and poor Americans is the widest it’s ever been, as “the top 10% now hold more than three-quarters of the country’s total family wealth.”

Hillary Clinton, needs to hit the wealth gap issue hard and to keep hitting it once she is rested and ready to go.   She has to convince Trump supporters that she’s actually going to do something about it.  She also has to keep hammering away on Trump’s failure to produce substantial medical and tax records.

Forget Hillary’s pneumonia.   With some rest and antibiotics she’ll get over it.   As for her medical history, she’s been around long enough to have provided a pretty clear picture of any condition she might have as well as having her doctor produce a substantial breakdown on her health.   Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has left American voters in the dark, issuing reality talk show generalities about his health but no real numbers.    Donald needs to report into the Mayo Clinic for a complete physical with the understanding that the Clinic will release the results to the press.

Those three issues, the great American wealth gap and Donald’s health and tax records might swing the election for Mrs. Clinton, provided the electorate and the media can get past all the lies and verbal misdirection, building a big, beautiful, BS-proof wall that Mexico won’t have to pay for.

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.

He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken

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So Donald Trump made another outrageous statement?    This time, birther Donald is implying that the President of the United States may be sympathetic to the country’s enemies.   Which would be treason.  And he’s using the salughter of 49 innocent people in Orlando as a platform for his newest nonsensical accusation.  Unbelievable.  Then, at nearly the  same time, in an apparent hissy-fit, he is denying credentials for the Washington Post to cover  his campaign because he doesn’t like what the Post is writing?

At this point it’s impossible to determine whether it’s a personality issue or if Trump is in the race to intentionally try and lose the election but win the publicity.    Who cares?   His base, obviously, and the rest of us who are being forced to put up with this charade by a Republican Party that’s gone completely bezerk.  Therefore, those of us who actually try and sort things out through critical thinking as opposed to moving forward based upon nothing but emotion, have only one option.   It is time for everybody, including the President and Mrs. Clinton, to simply ignore Donald Trump.   Make him a real-world Voldemort.   He whose name must not be spoken.   It’ll drive him nuts.  That alone will be worth the effort.

Admitting that he whose name must not be spoken may be the most dangerous national political gadfly in the nation’s history,  and denying his very existence, may be the only way to stop him from further poisoning the process and potentially the entire system.

The System Rolls Over, Groans And Goes Back To Sleep

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Forgive me while I show my disgust with the President,  the Associated Press, the entire cadre of phony progressives and all who are pretenders to the thrones of both journalism and progressive politics, as they now turn their focus to pulling the Democratic party back together again, convincing Bernie Sanders to go away and behave himself, joining the mainstream club or being forced to face the possibility of being indicted by the jabbering mob for handing the election to Donald J. Trump.   Or worse yet, to be accused of not supporting the first woman candidate for president, regardless of her “baggage.”

From the beginning the Bernie Sanders campaign was an interesting aberration but we all know that he never had a chance.   That’s what they kept telling us.  Not a chance.  Not when millions of new and mostly younger voters joined his push to restore progressive politics to the Democratic Party which had been turned into a clubby bunch of centrist Republicans posing as Democrats.   Not when Hillary Clinton hijacked much of his platform and claimed it for herself, possibly one of the cleverest lies of any politician in any time while pundits and reporters alike moved her campaign along – buying into her gameplan by telling us that numbers don’t lie and that the election was a done deal dictated by DNC-approved “superdelegates.”  Even before it was.

A post-primary analysis in the San Francisco Chronicle makes the interesting point that Sanders was let down by young and poor voters in California, a state that might have offered him one last best chance at a true challenge to Hillary Clinton.   It’s an interesting proposition, but you must also wonder how things would have gone had the media been less of a cheerleader for Mrs. Clinton all along.   From the very beginning, the mainstream treated the Sander’s canididacy as a joke, even when it became clear that he was picking up serious support, the Clinton-biased media continued to blather on that “The Sanders candidacy is interesting, but we all know he really doesn’t stand a chance…”   No, he didn’t, not with that kind of bias being fed to the electorate day after day from a crowd of political insiders with no concept of the changes taking place away from their insulated and well-healed orbit.   What chance did Sanders have with MSNBC becoming the “Hillary Channel?”

The cherry atop this hot smudge sundae of bluster and bias came the day before the California primary when the once venerable Associated Press announced to the world that they had contacted enough superdelegates to determine that Sanders was officially done.    A new poltical meme that was dutifully picked up and spread like a rash throughout the corporate media, delighted that what they had been saying all along was finally coming to pass.   It must be true, if it was coming from the mighty AP, giving so many California voters no reason whatsoever to go to the polls.   If it was over, it was over, so why bother?

This wasn’t some pundit or small town paper or blogger speaking out, this was the mighty Associated Press.  What giant of journalism at the AP decided it would be a good idea to officially invalidate the California primary?

How sad for the press and for America.   But never mind any of that. So much more important to now join together in one massive effort to defeat Donald Trump, no matter the cost.  Time to forget the past and come together to insure our future regardless of the process.   It will all be forgotten soon anyway as we move on with more of the same old, same old and the old man from Vermont and his crazy egalitarian ideas become nothing more than a distant bump on the political highway.

Oh, California! – A Morning After Poem

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Oh, California!

By Ron Olsen

The Surfliner pulled out in the early morning haze

Rattling down the tracks

No looking back now

Hillary dressed like the palace guard

Wearing a white tent

Smiling far too broadly

A cheshire cat that swallowed a server

That ate the dove

That gobbled up a relationship with greed

Secrets impossible to keep

Smiling ear to ear

Supported by superdelegates

And a system rigged from the top

An unimpartial media

Telling us all along

Bernie had no chance

Sooner or later

You too will believe

As they peat and repeat

Endlessly bellowing

Bernie can’t win

Bernie’s a joke

Bernie’s a Socialist

The only straight-shooter out there

Who

In the end

Was betrayed by even the free-thinkers

And radical freaks in California

Who turned their backs for a woman

No matter the price

Or didn’t know they had to ask for a special ballot

Confusion breeding success for the lady candidate

And her husband’s Foundation

Depriving the country

Of one last chance

At throwing the money changers

Away from the temple doors

You did it sunny Cal

No calling it back now

As media mavens gush

With satisfaction and self-congratulation

Oh, California!

Liberal, righteous, progressive California!

Proving they were right all along

Bernie never had a chance

Even when he did

The old Vermont steamer

Slammed by a wall

Of conspiracy and collusion

Intended and unintended alike

Leaving those on the inside

Insulated from any real accountability

As the nation returns to business as usual

And the political hacks blather on

About all the baggage she carries

Needing safari bearers

Hauling it on their broken backs

The train now just a dot

In the distant

California sun

Matlin Quits The Republicans

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Prominent Republican strategist Mary Matlin, is quitting the Republican Party.   She’s jumping ship and declaring herself to be a Libertarian.   What’s next?   Dogs and cats sleeping together?   Frogs falling from the sky?

Another goodie is the new poll that shows people aren’t voting for Hilary or Trump because they like Hillary or Trump.   No, they are voting for Hillary because they hate Trump and for Trump because they can’t stand Hillary.    A majority likes Bernie Sanders, but he can’t get nominated because so many Americans can’t vote in states with closed primaries and the Democratic Party has rigged their primary system with phony balloney “superdelegates”  who can defy the will of the majority.

They’ve taken what we’re used to, voting for the lesser of two evils, and kicked it up onto a whole new level of insanity.   The owner of an auto repair shop here in Bel Air expressed his frustration by posting the following on a sign outside his shop, “This is the craziest election ever, Rep or Dem.” 

Whatever happens, it’s important to maintain your sense of humor.   Don’t let the crazies suck you in.

Which leads us to the question of why Democrats should even bother going to the polls?   It’s a valid question, answerable with the academic response that not going to the polls will be like voting for Donald Trump, even if you can’t stand Hillary Clinton.

So go.  To thine own self be untrue and vote for Queen Hillary, the next American royal family member in line to the throne of the Goddess Columbia.

Take away the superdelegates and open all the primaries and Bernie would probably be in the lead.  But he’s not, giving us the very real possibility that Donald Trump has a shot at being President of the United States.  Oh no?   Look out your window.   Those are real frogs falling from the sky.

 

Bernie Sanders, Hunter Thompson And The Second Wave

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Without getting all maudlin about it, the runup to the conventions has finally gotten to me.   Yes, Trump will in all liklihood be the Republican candidate, and yes, Hillary will in all probability be the Neo-Liberal Democratic candidate, another right-of-center Republican posing as a progressive until she gets in and then it’ll be the same old, same old.  Back to Wall Street friendly business as usual, continuing the devastation of America’s middle class as secret trade deals move forward and giant corporations continue scooping up the profits with even less regulation and accountability and the Clinton Foundation grows fat and happy with donations pouring in from every corner of the planet as the politicos sell their souls while carping about the need for greater transparency.

Or maybe she’ll fool us all, turning her back on all that money she took from the big bankers and the favors accepted from the corporatocracy that helped her get elected.   Maybe once elected, she’ll come down on the side of the common folk and not the rich and powerful.  Maybe she’ll deliver on her platform, so much of which she stole from Bernie Sanders, and deliver for Main Street instead of Wall Street.  Ya, right.  Maybe the  leopard will change its spots.

Sure, an unexpected turn of events could lead to Bernie getting the nod, but at this point it feels as though the Sander’s campaign will go to the convention ready for a fight only to be confronted by what we already know, that the fix is in and the process is headed for an inevitible result – a symbolic fight over super delegates to make it look good for the common folk, even while a decision was made months ago.  It’s Hillary’s turn.

It feels like we’ve been here before.  Like the Millenials are being given the same treatment they gave us Boomers.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote that George McGovern and Jimmy Carter were both beset by the same flaw.   They were both too honest for American politics.    Or perhaps for politics period.   It could be that Bernie Sanders has that very same problem.

Bill O’Reilly doesn’t.   Last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he repeated a bit of misinformation those on the right love to keep passing along even though it’s incorrect, that Sweden, one of their much-hated examples of Social Democracy gone wrong, has “one of the highest suicide rates in the world.”   That’s not true.  According to the World Health Organization, Sweden is ranked 58th in the world.   The U.S., is ranked 50th.  So we’re even worse off, here in our bastion of free market Capitalism.    But it’s not only that.     A recent poll shows Scandinavians, with the security their social democracies provide, to be among the happiest people in the world.

Thompson’s gone now, and there’s no one of his peculiar intellectual bent to provide us with a proper gonzo perspective on the bad craziness that has the country by the throat.   Sometimes it takes someone like Thompson, with an exaggerated sense of reality, to pull us back into seeing the truth.   And now, even without him, what’s happening feels like somehow it’s all happened before.   There’s something vaguely familiar.  Just as we thought we might reach out and own it, a righteous resolution is once again being snatched away.

A passage from Thompson’s book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” comes to mind.   It struck me the first time I read it and it feels appropriate now, more than 40 years later, tying what was to what is, and maybe leaving us hoping for more than we can possibly have.   Just like before.  Stripped of idealism and facing the cold, emotionless face of reality.  The politics of power.  Like staring into the eyes of a shark.  Is that something Thompson wrote?  I’m really not sure.   But it’s a good line.

Here was the doctor’s take on it, back in 71.

“And that, I think, was the handle-that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil.   Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that.  Our energy would simply prevail.  There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs.  We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”  -HST, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

Bad Craziness In The Land Of The Weird

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There’s a wonderful line delivered by Bill Murray as Hunter S. Thompson in the film “Where the Buffalo Roam” when the good doctor proclaims “What do you want?   You already live in the land of the weird.”

Yes we do.   Our political process is about to nominate two of the most untrustworthy candidates out there.  According to a Quinnipiac Poll from July of last year, 57% of America doesn’t think Hillary Clinton is “honest and trustworthy.”    The number for Donald Trump is nearly the same, at 58%.    And this is the best we can do?   A crown prince booted out of a Republican clown car and a recycled Clinton?

Another more recent poll, done in April of this year, shows that only 20% of Americans think that Hillary Clinton represents “very well” their views on “issues they care about,” while only 15% think the Donald represents their views on important issues.   Clearly, most Americans are not crazy about either of  these people.

Could this be because Secretary Clinton was in favor of pushing us into three wrong-headed regime change wars in Iraq,  Libya and Syria and now wants to increase our fight with ISIS by sending in more American ground troops while the Saudis stand idly by?   Well, they aren’t exactly idle, they’re sending out millions of dollars to Wahhabi schools (madrassas) that preach the kind of distored view of Islam that supports terrorism.  It should be pointed out that apparently the funding is coming from wealthy private individuals and families, and not the royal family that runs the government.   For some, I guess, that’s supposed to make it okay, letting the Saudi government off the hook.

According to PBS, Wahhabism’s explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques from Islamabad to Culver City, California.”   Sounds like the Saudi Government should be very much on the hook, doesn’t it?

So there’s that to chew on.  And so much more.

The so-called pottery store rule of “you break it, you own it” keeps coming back, doesn’t it?   Well, it should.   This whole stuck in the muck in the Middle East mess got started in 1990 with Operation Desert Storm, when, guess who?   Yes, you guessed it, the Saudis asked us to send over our military to defend them against a possible attack by Saddam Hussein.   Some believe the attacks of 9-11 were in response to the U.S. putting its troops on “holy” Saudi soil.

The Saudis, who are now the third largest military spender in the world,  don’t want to clean up the extremist mess in their own back yard, so they let us do their fighting and dying for them – letting us break it so they won’t own it – while they continue living their 16th century lives awash in the grandeur of their royalty, treating women like chattel, starting off the new year by beheading 47 people in one day including pro-democracy Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.   The Shia are in the minority in Saudi Arabia.  Too bad for al-Nimr.

And HRC wants this to continue by getting us in even deeper with more money spent and more Americans killed?

There’s also the issue of her six years as a member of the Board of Directors for Walmart and the money she’s taken from Wall Street, and corporations she helped establish in Ireland and elsewhere offshore while she was Secretary of State which later were friendly to the Clinton Foundation, or the Clinton Global Initiative putting together a deal to help the people in Flint Michigan fix their poison water problem just before the Michigan primary,  but that horse has been beaten so repeatedly and with such gusto that it’s carcass is no longer identifiable.    It’s probably too complicated for most folks to understand anyway, which you can be sure,  is what the Clinton machine is counting on.  The Clintons didn’t accumulate millions by being stupid.

But don’t despair, if Billaries questionable background troubles you there’s still the Donald, with his four bankruptcies, bloviant narcissim and overt mysogeny.   What do you want from a poor kid who started out with nothing more than the gift of a mere million dollars and a snakeoil salesman’s grin that got him a tv reality show?   Anyway, he’s gonna fix everything, right?  With his big wall on the Mexican border and deals he’ll cut with Putin and China, carpet bombing the opposition into submission and everything will be wonderful because he loves us all so much and there’ll be jobs galore and God, it’ll be just great cause he knows how to cut a deal.   What a pantload, and millions are buying into it.

But that’s the way it is here in the land of the weird.   Oh, how I miss Hunter Thompson.   He’d be shredding these people into tiny bits and feeding them to  a flock of bats somewhere out  in the Mojave, in an overheated car on a lonely road from L.A. to Vegas, which perhaps, is where we all belong.   We’d be better for it, so long as the drugs didn’t wear off.

You can trust me, I’m a doctor.

In A World Of Contrast, Rome Feels The Bern

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Awoke this morning to news that Bernie Sanders had been granted a meeting with Pope Francis. It was only five minutes in the foyer of the hotel on the Vatican grounds, but it was nontheless, a meeting with the Pope.

Sanders left for the Vatican conference on social justice just prior to the primary vote in New York, even though it’s unlcear whether his meeting with Pope Francis will have any impact on his campaign for the presidency.

Brooklyn born Bernie Sanders, is the first Jewish American to win a presidential primary.   New York City, has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.   Polls indicate that New York’s Jewish population is supporting Hillary Clinton and not Sanders.

While Sanders was in Rome, speaking at an international conference on human rights and economic justice, Hillary Clinton was in San Francisco, hangin’ with movie stars.   Tickets were going for $353,400 to sit at the head table with George and Amal Clooney.  Sander’s supporters protested outside.

After his meeting with Sanders, the Pope flew to the Greek island of Lesbos, to meet with Syrian refugees.   He returned to the Vatican with three refugee families in his plane,  6 adults and 6 children who were bombed out of their homes.