10-10: Snowden, The Movie

[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.]

Date Night

My wife and I saw Snowden the other night.

Fact Check

Oliver Stone, a Vietnam Vet and unabashed lefty (like myself), directed Snowden, and therefore one could argue that not everything portrayed in the “documentary” is literally correct. Having accepted that, if Edward Snowden did not exist and this was just a fictional “thriller,” it would still be a good movie. I liked it.

I believe the events in the movie actually happened. What cannot be ascertained are Snowden’s motives. What cannot be denied is the fact that his revelations about NSA spying on American citizens via cyber-technology has resulted in government introspection and legal challenges. CNN’s Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue wrote:

A federal appeals court ruled … that the telephone metadata collection program, under which the National Security Agency gathers up millions of phone records on an ongoing daily basis, is illegal under the Patriot Act.

The link that follows, rt.com, lists eight international embarrassments–to put it nicely and mildly–revealed through Snowden’s disclosures.

https://www.rt.com/news/163396-nsa-snowden-political-scandals/

8. Afghanistan & Bahamas: Wiretap Paradise

One is an economically prosperous island paradise which doesn’t even have a military, the other a landlocked and war-torn nation racked by poverty and an extreme climate. So what could they have in common? Both countries have almost all of their domestic and international calls recorded and stored by the National Security Agency (NSA) for up to 30 days….

7. Here’s to the Reset!

American spies operating out of the UK intercepted the top-secret communications of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the 2009 G20 summit in London. Barack Obama definitely came out of the situation looking as two-faced as Batman’s Harvey Dent, as Medvedev’s missives were seized just hours after his first meeting with the US president, where they struck a warm tone and promised a “fresh start” in US-Russia relations. The leaks came just before Obama met current President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of … the … G8 summit…. [Donald Trump raised this “reset” issue during his first debate with Hillary Clinton.]

6. Spying on Israel

‘America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East’ was seemingly taken for a ride when it was discovered that the NSA had been spying on the country’s leadership for years. “The secret is out,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said. “The US is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?” …

5. What Was That You Said about Chinese Hackers?

The US has been beating the China cyber crime drum for years, so when it was revealed that the US was not only spying on the country’s top leaders, but also Chinese telecom giant Huawei, national banks, and the Chinese Trade Ministry, well, Washington had a lot of explaining to do….

4. Que Diabo??? Brazil Gets Quite Irate

Most leaders did their best to keep up appearances after finding themselves with NSA egg dripping down their faces, but Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff threw everything but the kitchen sink at her northern neighbor for spying on her, the country’s citizens, and its strategic industries…. For Rousseff, the issue was cut and dried: “The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.” Ouch.

3. Ich Bin Ein Berliner?

For a child of the German Democratic Republic who grew up under the shield and sword, revelations that the NSA was tapping her phone were particularly hard on Chancellor Angela Merkel. To add insult to injury, the US government has refused to grant her access to her NSA file or even answer formal questions from Germany about its widespread snooping….

2. You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are …

Perhaps one of the biggest political rifts inspired by the Snowden scandal had nothing to do with actual NSA spying, but rather the fate of the whistleblower himself…. (He) … ended up stranded in the transit zone of a Moscow airport…. Moscow granted Snowden temporary asylum.

Snowden certainly didn’t start the US-Russia drift, nor did he create the massive rift that erupted this past February over Ukraine. But as things have gone from bad to worse between the two former Cold War rivals, Snowden’s definitely played a part in that drama….

1. City on a Hill, Landside on the Horizon?

At the very center of the NSA spying scandal has been the US public itself, which seems to have been overwhelmed by the lengths to which its leaders have flirted with being a security state at the expense of a free one…. Pew found that 70 percent of Americans didn’t believe they should surrender their freedom in order to be safe from terrorism. Those surveyed were virtually split, however, over whether Snowden’s disclosures helped or harmed the US…. 9The) US House of Representatives (has) passed the so-called NSA reform bill, intended to reign in the agency’s dragnet domestic surveillance programs…. As for Snowden, his goal was always to start the conversation, and whether America changes course or pushes full steam ahead, he has no regrets.

Go see Snowden for yourself.

10-6a: The Anti-Hillary Argument

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., this piece rom author and blogger Ted Rall.]

[Ted Rall is author of Trump: A Graphic Biography, an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form.]

Rall’s title:

7 Reasons I Won’t Vote for Hillary

To my many friends and readers who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton: please stop bullying me.

Also please lay off other people, progressives and liberals and traditional Democrats and socialists and communists, citizens who identify with the political left, who plan to vote for Dr. Jill Stein or stay home.

I’m not going to vote for Donald Trump. I agree with the mainstream liberal consensus that he should never hold political power, much less control over nuclear launch codes. He’s dangerous and scary. But that doesn’t mean I have to vote for Hillary Clinton.

So I won’t.

Rall’s Rationale

  1. The main reason that I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton is the same exact main reason that I’m not going to vote for Donald Trump: I don’t vote Republican…. Hillary Clinton’s politics (and her paranoia and insularity) remind me of Richard Nixon’s….
  2. I’m anti-political dynasty. There should be a constitutional amendment banning anyone related by blood or marriage to a former president from running for the presidency.
  3. There’s a big difference between an impressive resume and a list of accomplishments. Hillary has the former, not the latter. I hold her resume against her: she has held tremendous power, yet has never reached out to grab the brass ring….
  4. #MuslimLivesMatter. More than a million people died in Iraq. She voted for that. [Not really. She and all the others voted to allow the president–Bush–more flexibility in his use of the military after 9/11. –pd] …
  5. She still hasn’t made an affirmative case for herself. By clinging to President Obama, she’s running as his third term. The standard way to pull this off is to present yourself as new and improved: the old product was great, the new one will be even better. Her campaign boils down to “I’m not Donald Trump.” No matter how bad he is, and he is awful, that’s not enough…. [S]he has no imagination, no vision thing.
  6. She has made no significant concessions to the political left. Frankly, this makes me wonder about her intelligence. Current polling shows that the biggest threat to her candidacy is losing millennial, working class, and Bernie Sanders supporters to the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson. She would not have this problem if she’d picked Sanders as her vice presidential running mate. Even now, she could bag the millennial vote by promising the Vermont senator a cabinet post. Why doesn’t she? For the same reason that she won’t embrace the $15-an-hour minimum wage (she gets $225,000 for an hour-long speech but wants you to settle for $12) — she’s a creature of the corporations and therefore the political right. She’s not one of us. She doesn’t care about us.
  7. My vote is worth no less than the vote of someone who supports a major party nominee. So what if the polls say that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected president? Why, based on those polls, should I strategically vote for someone whose politics and personality I deplore? …

I [Rall] don’t have a problem with you if you plan to vote for Hillary. This year is the best argument ever for lesser evilism. But the fact that we are selecting between two equally unpopular major party presidential standardbearers indicates that the two-party system is in crisis, if not broken. We need and deserve more and better options. The only way to get them is to start building viable third parties — voting for them, contributing money to them. What better time to start than now?

There you have it. Fair and balanced.

 

10-4: Chelsea Manning Update

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece.]

Demand Progress has somehow discovered my left-wing tendencies and sent yet another e-mail … requesting money. Since I posed the question last week about whistle blowing versus traitorous actions, I thought it appropriate to pass along this message concerning Chelsea Manning.

Dear Paul,

Iraq War whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, a transgender woman who has been subjected to ongoing abuse during her six years in all-male military prisons, just got sentenced to solitary confinement because of her July suicide attempt. We can’t mince words. Solitary confinement for someone already struggling with unmet mental health needs could literally put Chelsea’s life in danger. Her sentence must be reversed.

Health experts warn that even short periods in a solitary confinement cell can dramatically increase a person’s risk of suicide.1 Chelsea is already vulnerable as a transgender woman. Due to discrimination and violence, close to 50 percent of transgender individuals attempt suicide at some point in their lives.2 And the frightening reality is that 73 percent of all prison suicides happen in isolation cells, and prisoners in solitary confinement are seven times more likely to try to harm themselves than those housed with others.3 That’s why medical professionals are reacting to this punishment with shock and outrage.

Chelsea has already faced horrific treatment during her court martial and while serving her 35-year prison sentence for exposing war crimes committed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. She’s been denied medical care.4 She’s been denied access to her own lawyers.5 She’s been severely punished for petty infractions.6 But this is an appalling new low….

 … and then the request for a donation.

9-30: What’s Wrong with 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.]

The Huffington Post lead with this headline Wednesday.

Stop Pretending You Don’t Know Why People Hate Hillary Clinton

So, with a little format editing I will present their hypotheses and counterarguments.

Untrustworthy

Fact checkers rank her as the second-most honest prominent politician in the country. (And her opponent as by far the least.)

Transparency

Her opponent refuses to release his taxes and the current administration sets records for secrecy.

Ties to Corporations and the Financial Industry

Yet some support a walking tax shelter …

 HP goes on.

In truth, the Hillary haters seem to resent her more than disagree with her. They demand to be humored and catered to. They hold her to wildly different standards than her male counterparts. They regard her with an unprecedented degree of suspicion. Above all, they really, really want to see her punished. And an aggressive male presence—even if dangerously incompetent—seems to comfort a great many of them….

Bad news for the haters: History is decidedly unafraid of “the woman card.” It doesn’t care how many people will stand on tables today and swear they’d feel the same if she were a man. It will see us for what we are—a sick society, driven by misogyny and pathetically struggling to come to terms with the fact that women do not exist solely to nurture….

Rolling Standards

When the Bush administration was discovered to have erased millions of emails illegally sent by 22 administration officials through private, RNC-owned accounts, in order to thwart an investigation into the politically motivated firing of eight US attorneys, just one talk show covered it that Sunday.

When (Governor) Mitt Romney wiped servers, sold government hard drives to his closest aides and spent $100,000 in taxpayer money to destroy his administration’s emails, it was barely an issue.

When Hillary Clinton asked Colin Powell how he managed to use a Blackberry while serving as Secretary of State, he replied by detailing his method of intentionally bypassing federal record-keeping laws:

I didn’t have a Blackberry. What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient.) So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels.

 

Or is the real scandal that

her family runs but does not profit from a charitable foundation awarded an A grade by Charity Watch, a four out of four star rating by Charity Navigator and responsible for helping 435 million people in 180 countries get things like clean drinking water and HIV medication? Because the AP seems super concerned that she encountered people who donated to it—specifically Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus—in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

Donald Trump, On the Other Hand

It should at this point be observed that her opponent is a shameless con artist who has built an empire bilking people with fake businesses, fake universities, fake charities and, now, a fake campaign.

 Voters, it seems, are his easiest marks yet.

HP’s Bottom Line

It’s time to stop pretending that this is about substance. This is about an eagerness to believe that a woman who seeks power will say or do anything to get it. This is about a Lady MacBeth stereotype that, frankly, should never have existed in the first place. This is about the one thing no one wants to admit it’s about.

Are we just not ready for a female president? What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

9-29: Argument Pro: Edward Snowden, Patriot, Deserves Pardon

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece comes from an e-mail I received from an organization called Demand Progress.]

Last week I blogged about whistle blowers. Serendipitously, I received the e-mail below which I have transcribed entirely and without edit; anything in bold was bold in the original. After the signature box at bottom of the e-mail there is a “Donate” button–the only thing I omitted.

I am not endorsing this position, nor am I encouraging anyone to donate to the cause. Further, I ask for–and will publish–any reader’s reply that opposes Ms. Kizer’s point of view.

(From) Demand Progress

Paul,

As the movie launching this week reminds us, Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revealed the NSA’s massive, secret – and unconstitutional – surveillance programs.

He took a huge personal risk to bring these programs to light. And his actions launched a vital national debate on whether the NSA should be spying on innocent Americans.

But three years later, Snowden is still being forced to live in exile and threatened with likely spending the rest of his life in prison if he ever comes back to the country he loves.

We have less than 125 days to push President Obama to officially pardon this important American whistleblower.

Tell President Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden now!

Presidential pardons are about justice. They are for when the legal system has failed, or the laws are unjust or when our consciences demand it.

Snowden made his sacrifice not for personal gain, but because he knew it was the only real way to expose the unconstitutional spying programs he witnessed.

So when the White House tries to claim Snowden “is not a whistleblower”1 because he didn’t follow the “proper” whistleblower process, they’re just playing cynical word games.

Intelligence contractors, like Edward Snowden, are NOT protected by the Intelligence Community’s whistleblower protections. The Intelligence Community’s own lawyer, even admits it.2

Even had Edward Snowden followed the “proper” process, his whistleblowing wouldn’t have been protected.

Presidential pardons exist for exactly this kind of extraordinary situation. It’s time that President Obama uses that power to recognize Snowden’s public service.

Sign and share the petition to President Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden now and let him come home!

Snowden acted out of desperation and patriotism to inform Americans of the unconstitutional mass surveillance the NSA was conducting.

Even former Attorney General Eric Holder agrees: “I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made.”3

Snowden stood up for our rights. Now it’s time we stand up for his.

Stand up for Edward Snowden and tell President Obama: Three years is enough. Pardon Snowden and bring him home!

Thanks for standing with us,

Kate Kizer
Campaigner
Demand Progress

Sources:
1. Politico, “White House: Snowden ‘is not a whistleblower’,” September 14, 2016.
2. The Intercept, “Giving Intelligence Contractors Whistleblower Protections Doesn’t Have to Be “Complicated”,” November 6, 2015.
3. The Guardian, “Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed ‘public service’ with NSA leak,” May 30, 2016.

PAID FOR BY DEMAND PROGRESS (DemandProgress.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Join our online community on Facebook or Twitter.

8-10: The Danger of a Trump Presidency

[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.]

At SameFacts.com,  Blogger Mark Kleiman, who also happens to be Professor of Public Policy at NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management, gives us two frightening lists of things Donald Trump could do as POTUS. To wit:

With the Stroke of a Pen

  1. Withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on global warming.
  2. Abrogate the nuclear deal with Iran, setting the stage for either war with Iran or Iranian development of a nuclear weapon. (Or both.)
  3. Deny hostile, or even objective journalists and media outlets access to information …
  4. Institute criminal investigation and prosecution of political opponents…. Now imagine FBI Director Chris Christie reporting to Attorney General Jeff Sessions….
  5. Use tax enforcement and the award or denial of tax-exempt status to punish enemies and reward friends. The Director of the IRS is also a political appointee….
  6. Attack “liberal-leaning” universities and not-for-profit enterprises by either interfering with the grant process directly or by using financial or compliance audits to disqualify them.
  7. End enforcement of the Voting Rights Act….
  8. Cease Department of Justice investigations into police misconduct.
  9. Mount a massive deportation process….

There are 10 more. And then there is this list.

By legislative action or with the advice and consent of the Senate, or the help of state governments

  1. Appoint at least one and perhaps thee Supreme Court justices on the Alito model, locking in a right-wing majority for a generation.
  2. Reduce tax rates for the rich.
  3. Block grant food stamps and/or Medicaid.
  4. Appoint anti-worker and anti-union members to the National labor Relations Board.

And there are four more. Kleiman concludes:

This is not a game. Institutions do not maintain themselves. Not all damage is reversible. I do not believe Trump will be elected, and I do not believe that, if he were elected, that would be the last relatively free and fair election for President. But it’s not impossible. Let’s not do the experiment.

There are “thinkers” among our electorate. That is encouraging. When thinkers become doers, we have a democracy. That is worth fighting for.

8-2: Speeches

[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.]

Polls on Convention Speeches

Polls are polls and can certainly be refuted. Statistics can be twisted into any desired configuration desired. Most important for me is my own instinct; I do not want to place my vote for president based solely on a candidate’s speaking ability, and definitely not on one speech. But speeches often do matter.

What struck me about the respective convention speeches over the past two weeks was that they seemed to summarize their respective quadrennial gatherings. For me, the GOP rhetoric in Cleveland was simply negative about everything. The very motto “Make America Great Again” implies that we live in a morass. “Stronger Together,” the Dem’s choice of rallying cry, works a whole lot better for me. It acknowledges that we are not perfect, while urging us to do better, to build “a more perfect union,” if you will.

Trump According to Gallup

… Trump’s speech got the least positive reviews of any speech we (Gallup) have tested after the fact: 35% of Americans interviewed … said it was excellent or good. Of the nine previous speeches we have rated, the top one was Barack Obama’s in August 2008, which 58% of Americans rated as excellent or good.

Clinton According to CNN

Here is the result of CNN’s instant poll on Hillary’s speech:

Assessment of the speech:

71% VERY positive

15% somewhat positive

12% Negative

I would like to see an analysis of how many times each candidate used the words “I” and “we.”

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.

7-28: 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.