8-1: Republican for Hillary

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

In case you missed this incredible speech at the Democratic Convention last week, it is a “must read.” Doug Elmets, the renegade, is as solid a Republican as one can be, having worked as a speech writer in the Ronald Reagan White House. His total defiance and rejection of Donald Trump is music to my ears. It also reminds me that not all members of either party are willing to compromise their core values to win an election at the sake of compromising the country.

Reality Check … and Guts

The speech in toto:

It is an honor to be here. Candidly, It’s also a shock.  Not because of the momentous nature of this event or the size of the crowd, it is a shock because unlike many of you, I’m a Republican.

Forty years ago, I  cast my first vote for a president, voting that day like I would do, time and again. I have not just voted Republican, I worked in President Reagan’s White House. I recently led an effort to place a statue of Ronald Reagan in California’s capital. I’m here tonight to say, I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.

President Reagan famously said tear down this wall. Trump says, build a wall, because that will make America great again? Reagan saw nuance and Trump sees the world as us versus them, where somebody with brown skin or a foreign sounding name is likely to blame for our troubles.

Reagan knew that a leader needs diplomacy to steer us safe . Donald Trump is a petulant, dangerously unbalanced reality star. He will coddle tyrants and alienate allies.

I shudder to think where he will lead our great nation. Fortunately, I don’t believe he will get that chance.

While Hillary holds many policy positions different from my own, her qualifications are indisputable. Hillary knows that our strength as a nation lies in uniting, not dividing. This year’s Republican platform is the most alarming I’ve ever seen. It is laced with anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-women positions that do not represent the views of most Americans.

That is why this year, I will vote for a Democrat for the first time.

To my fellow Republicans, if you believe like I do, if you believe that loyalty to our country is more important than loyalty to a party, if you want a president with good judgment, a steady hand and a temperament to represent our nation to the world, and our children, I ask that you join me in voting for Hillary Clinton as president of the United States.

Thank you.

No, Mr. Elmets. Thank you.

7-29: The Russians Are Coming

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

DNC’s Finale

Tonight (Thursday) we will hear from Hillary Clinton. Although not known as a particularly great speaker, she has to be better than her GOP opponent Donald Trump, he who speaks in superlatives and no facts. More than oratorical skills, however, is the substance of what speakers at both conventions have to say.

I came away from the Republican convention feeling dirty somehow. There was nothing uplifting about it. The world as we know it is coming to an end, only Donald Trump can right the universe, all Democrats are liars, end of story.

This week the DNC has played a more soothing tune. There were many more “we”s in the speeches that “I”s. For me, that works much better.

Russian Influence on the GOP

Trump is such a bombastic, hypocritical, self-serving liar that it’s difficult to pin anything on him. Having said that, consider these excerpts from Thursday’s Daily Kos, written by SouthSideDem.

The big news today is that Trump explicitly urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mail — i.e., to commit an act of espionage and cyberwar against the former Secretary of State and the current nominee for one of America’s major political parties.  It goes without saying that this is shocking, unprecedented, and beyond the pale.

But it’s not inexplicable.  Trump’s coziness with Russia in general and Putin in particular has become a feature of this campaign.  We know that his campaign manager, Manafort, has disturbingly close ties to Russian interests.  We know that Trump never fails to praise Putin, an autocrat, at every given turn.  And we know that Russia reciprocates the love.  There is a growing consensus in the intelligence community that Russia was behind the DNC hack, which shows that Russia and Putin believe that a Trump victory is in their best interests.

All of the above has been discussed at length in the media in recent days.  One question that has gotten less attention is why.  Why does Putin want Trump to win so badly?  What is it about Trump that is so appealing to the Kremlin?

Trump answered that today.  This aspect of his disastrous press conference has gotten less attention than his call for a foreign power to spy on his political adversaries, but it explains why he has Putin’s support:

Donald Trump said Wednesday that, if he is elected president, he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting the sanctions against Russia.

At a wide-ranging news conference, Trump said he “would be looking into that” when asked about his stance on Crimea and Russia. The Crimean Peninsula has been part of Ukraine for decades, but Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the territory in March 2014 after a popular revolt toppled Kiev’s pro-Russian government.

I don’t believe Trump could point out Ukraine on a map. And his “looking into that” has been his catchphrase response to questions he has no clue how to answer.

http://www.politico.com responded to the allegation.
This is jaw dropping.  The annexation of Crimea violated international law and sparked a prolonged and bloody conflict in the Ukraine.  It was an unacceptable act of aggression that has no place in a post-WWII world.  But here Trump is, ready to “look into” giving it his official stamp of approval.
We knew Putin wanted Trump to win.  Now we know why.  Trump will not only turn a blind eye towards Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.  He will excuse, allow, and enable it.
Believe it or not.
The stakes of this election are unfathomable.  Trump must be stopped at all costs.
Update:   Timaeus makes a great point.  Trump has been bleating for months that he’s interested in reducing American support to NATO.  What he said today is simply a more explicit version of what he’s been saying along.  Trump is just fine letting our European allies fend for themselves.
Update II: Thanks so much for the rec list!

 

7-28: Big Dawg

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Clinton Does What Clinton Does

He didn’t change any minds in his convention speech about how people feel about him personally. With former President Bill Clinton there is no middle ground: people love him or they hate him. But he did manage to weave a convincing tale of spouse Hillary’s personal/professional life of helping others, whether in or out of office.

His delivery was pure Bill Clinton: finger wagging, pregnant pauses, and a bit of lip biting. Clinton haters tuned him out if they ever tuned him in at all. But for those who listened to him–I among them–his (a bit rambling) mingling of their love affair and her public works dove-tailed into a (again, for me) convincing argument as to why this woman, Hillary, his wife, former senator, former secretary of state should become the next president of the United States.

Clinton never mentioned Donald Trump.

Speaking of Whom …

Republican opponent, Donald Trump, said at a press conference that “if” Russian Intelligence hacked into the DNC’s servers to release the internal e-mails that brought down DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, he hopes that they go further. He would like RI–or whatever group hacked the DNC–to dig deeper to see if they can find any dirt on Hillary Clinton while she served as Secretary of State. This is serious stuff, folks. Think about it.

Meanwhile, Trump refuses to release his tax returns, as 100% of candidates for the presidency have done in the past. This only leads to speculation … which I will leave to the speculators … except for his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday morning Trump vehemently denied several times that he ever met the man. However, I remember him saying not so long ago that he and Putin shared a “green room” while waiting to appear on television. I can only paraphrase, but I remember him saying that at the very least this was a man he could “deal with.”

“Before the cock crows twice you shall deny me thrice,”

Jesus said to Peter, his rock. It’s a hyperbolic metaphor, I know. For me, however, it demonstrates the frailty of all humankind, the primal instinct of survival. Peter remembered his leader’s words, then wept in sorrow. I honestly do not believe that Trump and Putin are plotting against America as we know it. Putin aside, however, I do believe that Trump will say, and has said, outrageous things in the past for reasons known only to him. I doubt he cries.

Trump was one of the original “birthers,” many of whom continue to believe that President Barack Obama somehow came to this hallowed ground not as an American, born in Hawaii, but as a Muslim, born in Kenya. He even claimed that he sent a team to Hawaii to set the matter straight. To this day, his team, whose names have never been revealed, has not issued a declaration, an indictment, or statement of any kind regarding Obama’s citizenship. Yet the myth lives on.

Things to Come

As I compose this blog on Wed. afternoon, I look forward to seeing tonight’s heavy hitters, Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama. Gifted speakers both, I expect more unabashed optimism at this convention. In addition to touching all Americans, in general, I sincerely hope that entrenched Bernie Sanders supporters will embrace Hillary as the party’s nominee and turn their disappointment into affirmative action and work for Clinton’s election.

7-27: Big Night for the Dem Opener

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Warm-up Acts

Oh, hecklers heckled, but opening night of the Democratic Convention was one of coming together and unity. And, who could ever imagine these three as crowd warmer uppers: Al Franken, Sarah Silverman, and Paul Simon? Not a second-stringer in the trio. When Franken and Silverman had to stretch their time on stage, Silverman, a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter all along, told her fellows not to be “ridiculous” by heckling and threatening not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Humor turned serious real fast.

Heavy Hitters

Then came prime time. We heard incredible–and I mean absolutely incredible–speeches by New Jersey Senator Corey Booker, First Lady Michele Obama, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and erstwhile presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Each carved out a niche in oratorical lore.

Booker was so fired up he had to wipe his brow several times and then concluded with lines of poetry from Maya Angelou. Obama simply shone with elegance. Anyone not moved by her reflection on waking up every morning in a house built by slaves has cement for blood. Warren, the practical one, aimed plenty of her ammunition directly at Donald Trump.

Sanders came a long way, baby, in this primary cycle. He knows it and so do his supporters. His role now, as he has said for some time, is to make sure that Donald Trump is never President of the United States. In order to do that he has to persuade his hardline backers that not voting for Hillary Clinton is a big mistake. That was his message. In the end I think that he will succeed in this mission. But it is not a given.

The Debbie Wasserman-Schultz leaked e-mail scandal has kicked the entire democratic party in the stomach. Understandably, Sanders supporters feel the most pain and will be last to get over it. But get over it they must. To his credit, Sanders’ speech was a clarion call for party unification. If that does not happen, his campaign will have been for naught. That would be a pity.

Connection to PTSD

Imagine Trump as Commander-in-Chief. It depresses me to this day when I think of civilian political (and some military) leaders during the Vietnam Era, which leads me to Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, which I do not want to lead to Trump/anybody. When Trump refers to Russian, North Korean, and Iraqi leaders as laudable because they executed radicals, I want to puke. I wonder if we are supposed to infer that he, as president, will advocate the same sort of “swift” justice. I wonder if we are supposed to infer that mimicking dictatorships will make America great again. I wonder.

7-26: And So It Begins

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Debbie’s Out

In the only reasonable outcome, now former DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, will not participate at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this week. Leaks of her lopsided leadership brought about the downfall. But the “show” will go on.

I am looking forward to tonight’s heavy hitting lineup: Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

Meanwhile …

The dirt gets dirtier at Fox News where more female on-air talent are coming forward with allegations against males at the network … Roger Ailes in particular. I know this is salacious, but it is an important insight into the minds that hid behind the mantra “We report, you decide.”

Connection to PTSD

Donald Trump is the undisputed Republican nominee for President of the United States. Despite their propaganda about being fair and balanced, Fox News has been the major driving force behind the Republican party for two decades. What they say, on air, matters. Now we come to discover that what was allegedly going on behind closed doors also matters. Fox spawned Trump who could be the next POTUS. Is this the leader we want? Is this the leader we deserve?

The outcome of this week’s Democratic convention is no less obvious than last week’s Republican ship of fools. Hillary Clinton will be the party’s nominee, thereby making history as the first woman to have climbed the ladder this far.

Unless the temperature in Hell drops below 32°, one of these two will become Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces. He or she will make momentous decisions about where our men and women in uniform will be asked to serve. And die. And suffer psychological wounds.

Listen to these candidates. Ponder what they say. Our future and the welfare of our soldiers depend on our decision.

7-25: Nasty Behavior on Both Sides

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Politics, Yuck!

I have written about the violence at Trump rallies and the fiery rhetoric of Republicans, specifically Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And that animosity played out right into the coronation convention last week.

A Pox on Both Your Houses

Sunday’s news carried enough dirt–on both sides–to fill a small farm. I am referring to Democratic National Committee Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Fox impresario, Roger Ailes. Wasserman-Schultz was trying to tilt Democratic primary voters toward Hillary Clinton and specifically away from Bernie Sanders. That is no way to run a committee. The omnipotent Ailes got sacked from Fox for sexual harassment. I guess at some point the powerful among us really do not believe they bear responsibility for their actions.

The Democrat

Following revelations of emails showing what appears to be clear prejudice within the ranks of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has announced that she will be stepping down. (Daily Kos)

This is a breaking story, as I type, so details are sketchy. The crux of her problems, however, seem to relate to e-mailed remarks referencing Sanders’ religion, which happens to be Jewish. Wasserman-Schultz has admitted her wrongdoing and has stated that she will resign her post “after” the convention. She should step aside NOW. Donna Brazile, Deputy Chair of the DNC, should preside over the convention.

The Republican

Roger Ailes Out at Fox News Channel (The Houston Chronicle)

Roger Ailes has resigned as chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel effective immediately. 21st Century Fox Executive Co-Chairman Rupert Murdoch will assume his responsibilities.

The man credited with founding the network exits in disgrace amid a lawsuit filed on July 6 by former “Real Story” host Gretchen Carlson, who accuses her erstwhile boss of sexual harassment. 21st Century Fox swiftly opened an ongoing investigation into the claims that remains ongoing.

… Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes claims he sexually propositioned her, then fired her in retaliation after she complained about discrimination and harassment. Ailes has called her claims “false” and “offensive,” and promised a vigorous defense.

While numerous Fox News employees have publicly defended Ailes, Megyn Kelly was oddly silent until a New York magazine report, also by Sherman, claimed she, too, was harassed by Ailes.

When will they ever learn?

This past primary season saw mud slinging all ’round. And there is no doubt in my mind that each side will now attack the other, referencing these particular outrages. You know, I don’t want to hear, from anyone, garbage like “politics is a tough business.” Maybe so but you and I deserve better. We deserve the truth from government and we deserve honesty in all matters from those who lead.

Ailes, of course, was never an elected official but he certainly was/is a political animal. Wasserman-Schultz should have known better. The system stinks. Period.

7-15:

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Mark Sumner of the Daily Kos wrote an insightful, revealing blog about Donald Trump’s latest version of himself. It ran under this headline:

Trump Creates an Imaginary Crime Wave to Justify His law and Order Chest Thumping

Now that Donald Trump has adopted another plank from the campaign of George Wallace by declaring himself the “law and order candidate,” he needs some disorder to run against.

Of course, Trump is primarily playing a very familiar tune on a very old dog whistle. That tune is called “The blacks are getting uppity.” His timing of his law and order campaign is intended as a response to Black Lives Matter, and his “inner cities” is a shorthand so well worn Republicans probably have an emoji for it….

Nationwide, crime is down, and it keeps moving down. That’s true across cities of all sizes. What’s increased over the last twenty years is not crime, but our awareness of crime. For good and ill, we now experience shootings on the far side of the country as if they happened on our block.

Art Imitates Life

I liked the early episodes of TV’s Law and Order. The first half-hour was devoted to the cops running down leads and catching the innocents-until-proved-guilty, most of the remainder of the story was filled with courtroom drama where tough-as-dynamite prosecutor Jack McCoy tried to put the bad people in jail for a long time. It was “law,” as in the breaking thereof, then “order,” as in “order in the court.”

As noted above in Sumner’s piece, George Wallace was a law and order candidate for president; he ran proudly under the banner of “segregation now and segregation forever.” Glad he didn’t advance. Richard Nixon first ran as a law and order guy. Abruptly, his VP, Spiro Agnew, was indicted for tax fraud. Under Bill Clinton, three-strikes-and-you’re-in for a long time became the mantra of the tough guys du jour. Today it is Donald Trump whistling at your dog.

Officer Safety

Another Daily Kos blogger, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, claims:

Cops Are Safer under President Obama, Whether Critics Like It or Not

I do not mean to conflate crime against cops with crime in general, but Chimurenga’s point shines a bit of light on the overall problem we have dealing with crime in America–whether it is rising or falling. Statistics nuts on both sides can roll out their data to support their respective points of view.

July 7 saw the most deadly violence inflicted on U.S. law enforcement officers since September 11, 2001. Twelve police officers were shot during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas, Texas. Five of those officers did not survive. Critics of President Barack Obama took the opportunity to once again harangue the president for his alleged tacit support of Black Lives Matter and his alleged lack of support for police….

The Dallas shooting was a jarring, sobering reminder of how precarious the lives of police officers can be, but under Obama—the president harsh critics say does not support law enforcement—police have been the safest they have ever been in decades.

Choose your own statistics, as you will. Conclude what you will from the data you have excavated. I just honestly do not believe that anyone running as a “law and order” candidate for any office is the kind of person I can support. I do want our laws to be obeyed and honored and I do want miscreants taken off the streets. What I do not like is a pretender walking ground upon which he has never trod.

PTSD Connection

I used the word “pretender” in the previous paragraph. Here is the connection. While I was serving in Vietnam, some of the best and most heroic soldiers I knew were draftees: privates, specialists, and buck sergeants. Some of the worst were RA (Regular Army): NCOs and officers alike. Many of the RAs predominantly worked on their careers, unfortunately for them they got caught in a war. Draftees had no long-term military agenda. Which is precisely what made them better soldiers.

It doesn’t take much to set me off … but … in my experience tough talkers are usually meek walkers. And meek walkers, when it counts in combat, get other soldiers killed. That gets to me.

 

 

7-14: How to Transfer Power

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Sound Familiar?

The Huffington Post reports:

Theresa May has said the “mission” of her new government will be to look after working people, as she took charge as prime minister.

“We will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us,” she said….

Looking directly down the camera lense, May said she would focus on helping people who “work around the clock” but find life a “struggle”.

Following his country’s surprising (?) vote to disenfranchise itself from the European Union, David Cameron announced that he would step down as prime minister. That was three weeks ago. Three weeks. Today, kissing Queen Elizabeth’s ring to make it official, Theresa May assumed power of America’s greatest wartime ally.

Why the Difference?

Not particularly an Anglophile, per se, I certainly concede that the U.K.’s peaceful transfer of power routine is much less dramatic than ours. Three weeks. Our election “season” takes up nearly three years. Why?

The amount of days of actual work missed by our professional political elites, while campaigning for another job, is staggering. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio come immediately to mind. They spent the vast majority of their time over the past two years campaigning for the republican nomination for president; they were not sitting in shirt sleeves while the committees they were appointed to were in session. No, they were mostly on the road.

The same goes for the governor of my state, Chris Christie. Having been plowed over by the Trump phenomenon during the primaries, Jolly Jolly Christie is still out of New Jersey, now looking to become the vice presidential nominee. Here’s just one question, Guv: what happened to trooper salaries … you know them, the men and women who form a human shield around you, even when you are out of state embarrassing us.

Back to Britain

May vowed to tackle injustice, saying “the government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few”, adding that “together we will build a better Britain”. [Oh that the same could be done in America. Of course, May is only at the talking stage right now; but at least she is talking.]

“When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you,” she said. [I wonder if the Koch brothers have relatives in Britain.]

“When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.”

Is This the Year of Women?

Angela Merkel has been hanging in there in Germany, May  has taken the reins in the U.K., can Hillary follow–not the rhetoric but the promise? Will women’s hands guide us to a more peaceful world? I hope so.

7-13: CNN Lights Dim

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Go to Network?

Back in the day, CNN was my go-to network whenever a big story–domestic or international–was breaking. They seemed to have knowledgeable reporters everywhere.  No more. Now, CNN more resembles a tabloid newspaper than a “legitimate” news source. Today, July 12, instead of leading with President Obama’s moving speech in Dallas, or Senator Bernie Sanders’ official endorsement of Secretary Hillary Clinton, or even the race of rats vying for the Republican vice presidential nod, CNN chose to hype this tripe (a Daily Kos headline):

CNN Invites Joe Walsh on Network after Walsh Tweets ‘Watch out Obama’ Threats. Why?

Walsh is a one-term former Representative from Illinois, known mostly for his bluster not his effectiveness as a lawmaker. Today he is a conservative talk radio host. Of course he is. After five police officers were gunned down dead in Dallas, this is what the bum tweeted for his followers:

This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.” [“War,” “punks,” and “real America” just about sums up all America’s problems. The problem is Joe Walsh and his ilk.]

This is what Walsh told CNN host Don Lemon Friday night:

“I stand by what I meant, Don” …regarding the flood of tweets he sent blaming activists, liberals, and Obama for the deaths of five police officers …

Then he snidely began to backtrack.

He didn’t intend to threaten the president, he explained. [Then what did he intend to do? Was this a magnanimous gesture to Americans in general warning them to watch their backs?]

What Matters?

Black lives do matter … and so do inflammatory words. War is not a word to be thrown around lightly; it insults warriors and victims alike when used capriciously. In essence, Walsh trivializes combat by likening the actions of a “lone wolf” to an act of war.

In my view, CNN has demoted itself to third-rate journalism. And Walsh’s use of the word war–via Tweet and TV–really riles me. CNN at one time had the premier war correspondent in the world, Peter Arnett, then along came Christiane Amanpour, also a heavyweight in the international division. These two top-shelf journalists were followed by another, Michael Ware, an Australian.

We do not see Ware dodging shrapnel anymore. He is suffering from PTSD. That’s why real American, chicken hawk punks like Walsh are so dangerous. They do have followers, and every now and then one of them acts. The Black Lives Matter march in Dallas was a peaceful protest conducted under the protection of the local police. How dare Walsh call them punks and then have the nerve to insinuate that the murderer is a real American. He has a frightful case of PTSD, which in his case refers to Petty Tarnished Stupid Dope.

Wake up, CNN.