Returning the Favor of the Nightmare that is Trump

The depth to which supporters of this President will sink is stunning. From parsing words, would means wouldn’t or shouldn’t or couldn’t, to resurrecting long discredited stories of Uranium deals and Obama “emptying” the Treasury to give cash to Iranians and citizenship to their government officials, their pursuit of reviving the comatose brain-dead Commander-in-Chief is pathetic.

A sad, pathetic smoke screen to the reality few of us ever thought we’d see in America.

I may disagree with the policies of a President, but I never want him to fail. Particularly with international matters affecting our sovereignty. No matter how inept the man in the Oval Office may be, our system of government offers a shield to incompetence through intelligence agencies, military branches, Justice department professionals, and an experienced State department to give sound advice and guidance in a complicated and treacherous world.

Such resources are only useful when listened to by the President.

It is abundantly clear this President not only believes himself to be the smartest man in the room, but he believes he is the smartest man ever. Combine that with an attitude of infallibility, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Helsinki wasn’t an aberration; it was a culmination of the disaster that is this administration.

One commentator offered the most disingenuous defense yet by comparing Trump’s interaction with Putin to Kennedy’s dealing with Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He argued that Trump took a playbook out of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War by not humiliating Putin on the national stage. The writer endowed Trump with the wisdom to defeat, but not crush, the enemy in public. Something he claims Kennedy did with Khrushchev by not gloating over the Russians withdrawing their nuclear missiles from Cuba.

The truth is Kennedy agreed to withdraw OUR missiles from Turkey in exchange for the Russians pulling theirs out of Cuba. Kennedy did not try to demean Khrushchev because he recognized that two could play that game. If the original goal of the Russians placing missiles in Cuba was to negotiate the withdrawal from Turkey, one might argue the Russians won that challenge.

Kennedy and Khrushchev played a harsh, but intelligence based, gambit to reach a joint agreement.

Trump is no Kennedy. Putin, on the other hand, is more potent than Khrushchev ever was.

Republican Senator Bob Corker said “The president’s comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover and I was disappointed in that, “ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-summit-corker/republican-senator-corker-trump-comments-on-putin-make-us-look-like-pushover-idUSKBN1K62D2

Corker also tweeted, “ The president in 15 minutes at a press conference can do more damage on the foreign policy than months of us passing resolutions and making calls to our counterparts.”

If the Russians compromised Trump, then when the full story comes out we are facing the greatest disaster to American standing in the world ever. If the Russians did not compromise him, then we are at the lowest point of the Presidency in history because of sheer incompetence.

Nixon was a corrupt and evil man, but at least there was intelligence behind his machinations, no matter how evil, and he never risked our national security while he ignored the law.

Trump is either the biggest traitor since Benedict Arnold or the most profoundly inept man to hold the office of the President. Despite all this, some will continue to support him. Such blind allegiance withstands all logic and reason.

But it cannot withstand most Americans who, regardless of the political leanings, will not stand by and let treachery or incompetence destroy this country.

How do we return the favor of the Trump nightmare?

I thought of something supportable by rational argument if a bit vengeful.

Return the leadership of the country to the respect and admiration of the world with an eminently competent rational American.

MO2020 President Michelle Obama.

Now that would be sweet justice.

(The reaction to this should be delicious)

 

 

 

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Guest Post: The Political Machine Reexamined by Professor Nicholas Easton

Guest columnist Nicholas Easton is a community activist, former member and President of the Providence City Council during the turbulent Cianci administration version 1, and Political Science Professor. 

My recent book, The Political Machine Reexamined, for which I am still seeking a publisher, examines in considerable detail, the political machines that so dominated American politics for over a century.  What is unique, though, is that I mount not a critique, but a strong defense of this phenomenon.  Furthermore, I make an argument that the Democratic party should return to building machines. I synopsize that argument herein.

democrat-donkeyTo begin let me lay out a few propositions. First is the idea that, generally speaking, for at least a century or so the Democratic Party has represented the economic interests of the poor and the Republican Party has represented the economic interests of the wealthy.

Second is the idea that, generally speaking, there are only two sources of power in our democracy, money, and people.

Finally is the idea that, given the two previous assertions, Republicans will win most political battles based on money and Democrats will win those based on superior organization and mobilization of people.

Many Democrats have come to recognize this problem and urged the party to focus more on capacity building and the so-called ground game. When it does so, however, it tends to approach the problem by trying to raise even larger sums of money and use that to support efforts to knock on doors and make phone calls before individual elections. While this seems to have worked fairly well in the special elections since 2016 one wonders if such an effort is sustainable with nationwide elections this year. There is also the question of whether Democrat’s recent success is simply a function of having a great enemy in Donald Trump.

There are two fundamental problems with this recent approach. First, it again relies on money, a game the Democrats simply can’t win. Second, it addresses only short-term wins and doesn’t really build capacity at all, it simply gins up turn out at a particular time. What’s needed is a fundamental reexamination of the way the party approaches elections.

My invocation of the machine model is not accidental as it serves several purposes. First of all, it is provocative and meant to be so. The Democratic Party needs a profound shakeup. It is absolutely ridiculous that the party that represents the interests of an overwhelming majority of Americans is so out of power. Second, the party needs to re-examine the fundamentals of its approach, not just individual pieces. Knocking on doors is great and communicating with voters is great but communicating with them only at election time is insufficient to building long-term change. And long-term change is indeed what is needed. The Obama election offered an opportunity for sweeping change, but it only lasted for two years as we got completely outmaneuvered in congressional elections for the following six years and with the possibility of losing complete control of the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future the party has to think about long and broad change in its approach.

Third, there are significant reasons why the machine model worked and I lay out some of those reasons in my detailed examination of 18 characteristics of the machine, characteristics that are both significant and separable. Foremost among these is the so-called “exchange system” which basically means you do something for people before asking for their vote as opposed to making vague promises of the Nirvana that will result from your ascension to power. Another very significant characteristic is the 24/7/365 full-time nature of the machine.

Finally, my book debunks the myth that machines were more corrupt than present-day politics. For example, hiring people based on a test as opposed to who they might know only assures that higher social classes will beat out lower ones for jobs that may not require any specific skills. Such practices turn the poor into Trumpers.  And contracting out public services means that jobs are handed out by the same people who contribute tons of money to Republicans to get the contracts, and they are certainly no less corrupt. Think Blackwater and Kellogg, Brown and Root (a division of Haliburton).

In my book, I examine these things in much greater detail. Thus, people can reject my central claim of a need to return to the machine and yet, by looking at how the machine worked, find many valuable pieces that can be very useful to rebuilding the party. For example, I note that machines were usually a coalition.  The present-day party which relies on women, African-Americans, Hispanics, environmentalists, gays, Jews and others has a lot to learn about the management of coalitions. I also included 80 interviews with former residents of the machine neighborhoods in Providence indicating strong support among the populace for this institution.

At this point in time, I find myself extremely torn. I believe and I hope that the outrages that we have endured under Trump will indeed bring the expected Blue Wave and bring Democrats to significant power in 2018. The question is, in their euphoria will they believe that the problem was messaging and now they found the right one and all is well. The problem is not the message it is the messenger and he needs and deserves a thorough self-examination.

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A Tweet a Day, Keeps Rationality Away

In the latest tirade from the Commander-in-Chief, the President whined,

Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!”

Aside from the blatant inaccuracy and disingenuous nature of these words (let alone the second-grade grammar), there is something more troubling on display. In the words of William Shakespeare, a man who knew the power of words, there is this,

“There is no darkness, but ignorance.”

words-have-powerThe mark of a person is not made by their words but by their deeds. Yet, words offer a window on a person’s character. How one expresses yourself—the tone and timbre of the language—is an elementary part of one’s approach to life.

With emotional and intellectual maturity comes the wisdom to understand the necessity of choosing words carefully. A rational and respectful person learns to make a point without resorting to infantile name-calling.

It would seem with the president we see evidence of intellectual dystrophy and emotional immaturity. Not generally a concern for most who have little international influence, frightening in the case of a man with sole determinant authority to launch nuclear weapons.

History is the arbiter of success and failure. When history reviews the Trump Presidency, the self-serving blaming of others for all things he’s failed to accomplish or been taken to task for will rise to the surface as one of his most glaring defects.

To stand idly by, wringing his hands in-between writing sophomoric tweets, as children are torn from their families is the epitome of disingenuous cowardice. If he seeks to be perceived as even the least bit Presidential, issue a Presidential Executive order halting the policy of separating the children and see who challenges the order in court.

I can guarantee it will not be a Democratic challenge.

The one truth is nothing is permanent. This too will pass.

The President, for all his braggadocio, claims of success, and superlative laced tales of his performance, along with his constant complaining about everybody not on Team Trump, would do well to heed the admonition of Ozymandius by Shelley.

Ozymandius

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

Could This Be the One?

Under the Heading Giving the Devil his Due.

President Trump has potentially achieved two things no President has ever done before. He’s created an opportunity for the formal end of the Korean War and the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But, as history shows us, this is not the first time this has been tried. Let’s hope the formal negotiations come to a swift, successful, and verifiable conclusion.

As Mark Twain (allegedly) once said, “History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes”  We can turn to history for a perspective on negotiations with the Hermit Kingdom.

The number of agreements with North Korea that have been successful.

One*

*(The Armistice ending open hostilities of the Korean War. Technically, the war is still on-going.)

The number of agreements, in particular, those seeking to prevent the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, that have succeeded.

None*

*The number of agreements made, and broken, by the North Korean are too numerous to count.

This piece from the Arms Control Association (www.armscontrol.org) gives an interesting chronological perspective on negotiations and agreements with North Korea.  I’d include it here, but it would run to almost forty pages.

Click here for the full article https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/dprkchron

If I were inclined to bet, I’d say the odds ain’t good for the world’s greatest dealmaker.  There is hope, and we all should embrace it in the interest of world stability, but the hope is tainted by the reality of this administration.

All we have so far is our unilateral decision to end joint US-South Korean military exercises (a decision that surprised both South Korea and our own Pentagon and Defense Department.)

ChosenI suppose Kim Jong-Un can argue the first step to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would be the withdrawal of US forces. He seems to have maneuvered us into the first stages without giving much up except an offer to continue talking. (Remember, the peace talks at Panmunjom took two years to reach a conclusion that paused the Korean War in 1953 with a promise of a formal end that has never happened.)

Somehow, in the last few weeks, our new BFF is Kim Jong-Un and North Korea and our new worst enemy is Pierre Trudeau and Canada. This is the frightening reality and mindset of those who are negotiating this agreement.

A success here would be a major accomplishment for this administration. A failure here will make the Iran Nuclear Agreement look like an unconditional surrender by Iran. If it does succeed, we can move all those troops from the 38th parallel and put them on the Canadian Border.

 

Trump’s Brief Shining Moment

For the briefest of moments, I almost believed. The strategic opportunity of the century seemed with grasp. The official end of the Korean War and a denuclearized North Korea rejoining the world are elusive goals.

The moment shattered by the reality of this Presidency.

North Korea was never serious about abandoning its weapons. They played the “master deal maker” for a chump. They essentially bypassed the US to deal with South Korea directly and maneuvered themselves out of sanctions with the Chinese and potentially the rest of the world.

All without giving up anything except a few well-placed explosives to offer a technically meaningless “coup d’état” to their already collapsed nuclear test site. They know, even if Mr. Trump might not, what the Libya-model means.

How did the “hermit” kingdom manage this? Because they understand Trump better than we do. Those of us who disagree with Trump’s policies and those who agree with them share common ground in one respect.

We all think he acts intentionally from a perspective of beliefs and deeply held philosophies. The difference is in our view of his motivation.

Some think him intrinsically evil and bigoted others seem him as a political outsider who cares little for the diplomacy of politics in favor of accomplishing goals and changing the fundamental nature of government.

Both positions give the man way too much credit. He is much simpler to figure out and to predict.

President Trump is consistent. His life has been one persistent crusade for self-aggrandizement and personal satisfaction. He is neither a bigot nor a buffoon, does not demonstrate savant business acumen or financial wizardry, nor does he follow a deep-seated philosophy of life.

He is a man incapable of empathy, devoid of feelings for others, and unable to concede the reality that everyone, including Donald Trump, makes mistakes.

Trump embraces a sort of twisted Buddha-like philosophy in the way he can ignore the past (as if it never happened) and hold no attachment to anything that does not suit him at that moment.

Trump lives in the now. Anything he said, or did, yesterday does not matter. His thought process, when confronted with past statement or actions, creates a three-pronged self-delusion.

I never said (or did) it.

I was misquoted (or they are lying)

It’s fake news.

And with that, he moves on without another passing moment to consider his actions. Each day for him is like a reboot with the same bug in the operating system.

In personal matters between a President and his wife, I do not believe them to be matters of national concern. They are private matters best dealt with in a private setting. But when the President tries to ignore legitimate questions of his truthfulness, such issues are a concern.

A person of character, when facing a personal crisis, takes responsibility for their actions. When Trump was confronted with a threat to unveil an affair outside his marriage, he opted to buy his way out. Had he addressed the issue within the confines of his marriage, and the story still broke, it would be a quick splash and then fade away.

Instead, it serves as another illustration of the man’s character. (For those of you who will feel the need to point out Bill Clinton did the same thing, yes he did. And the same standard applies. Still waiting on a similar episode with President Obama.)

Trump is neither a bigot nor a white supremacist. If Mr. Trump thought embracing MS-13 would help or enrich him, he’d be flashing gang signs and sporting tattoos.

If Mr. Trump thought for a moment that the “horde” of illegal aliens would support him with their vote, he’d disband the Border Patrol and send buses to the Mexican Border.

If Mr. Trump thought he could find a kindred spirit in Black Lives Matter or Alt-right groups, he’d invite them to the White House (but not the Trump Tower, those people don’t belong there.)

Kim Jong Un understands this. They share the same philosophy. If it’s good for me, it’s good until it’s not, then it’s wrong regardless of the cost.

With North Korea, Mr. Trump saw the shiny Nobel prize and wanted it. Even he might admit he is never getting a Nobel Prize for economics or science, so this was his one chance, Kim Jong Un was his opportunity.

And then it wasn’t.

Even when it appeared Trump had awoken to the realities and complexities of geopolitics and canceled the summit, in his letter to the North Korean leader he couldn’t help but turn it into a juvenile pissing contest.

“You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/24/politics/donald-trump-letter-kim-jong-un/index.html)

The US would prevail in a nuclear war. Mr. Trump also knows the personal cost to him would be minimal. He and his family ( maybe Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as well) would be safely ensconced in the bunker.

But the cost in human lives would be unfathomable. This is immaterial in Mr. Trump’s mind. Collateral damage is insignificant if there is a net benefit to Mr. Trump.

The hope those surrounding Mr. Trump bring sanity and a bigger world-view to the administration is fading. The John Boltons of the world are not known for rational and reasoned policies with any nuanced understanding of global complexities.

The Chief of Staff, John Kelly, despite his admirable record as a Marine, has been reduced to nothing more than a doorman at Trump Tower. He has the power to keep most out but can do nothing about those who have bought they way in.

The concept of Mr. Trump being a complex personality of deep thought and contemplation is a false one. He is a nuclear-armed sociopath with severe ADHD. The trick is to make sound policy attractive and, once it is set in motion, divert the President’s attention with something else.

I wonder if Stormy Daniels would consider helping us out, as a matter of patriotic service?

Forget the Silent Majority Worry about the Soft-Spoken One

U.S. President Richard Nixon on November 3, 1969, said, “And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.” Nixon’s plea to this so-called ‘silent majority’ is similar to Mr. Trump’s pandering to his not-so-silent and decreasing supporters.

Both presidents missed the point.

The majority of Americans are neither silent nor rabid. They are mostly reasoned, rarely pugnacious, and care deeply about their country.  They are neither “my country, right or wrong” zealots nor “America has failed in its responsibilities” apologists.

free speechIf they are guilty of anything, it is an innate sense that America can survive any administration, any do-nothing Congress, or any political crisis. Yet, when faced with such a mess, this soft-spoken majority will rise to the occasion and let their voices be heard at the polls.

They do not focus on party affiliation, Congressional majorities, or rhetoric. What they focus on is ensuring the country steers itself back to the slightly conservative side of centrist policies.

It has been the hallmark of the most successful periods in American history.

Resisting involvement in European internecine wars until it became necessary.

Formulating trade and foreign policies guided by a modicum of consideration for any adverse effect on the rest of the world.

Implementing meaningful government programs to sustain and support people in need while assuring an equal opportunity to rise out of poverty through access to education and hard work.

Some would argue we have stepped away from that America.  I would agree. Post-World War II America went through growing pains as a world power, stumbling in places, i.e., Vietnam, South America, while achieving great things elsewhere.

The changing nature of asymmetric warfare, the growing number of nuclear-armed countries, and globalization has changed the geopolitical world we live in.

And we must change with it.

The fissure of partisan politics has grown over the last several Presidential administrations, hastened by the death of a Congress once guided by the art of compromise.

Through this, the majority of Americans may have lost their focus. But no more. The rising tide of change is evident everywhere. No longer will the majority of Americans sit back and let the screamers and the schemers control the field. No longer will lobbyists pull the strings of the PAC money addicted Congress. No longer will the country suffer a President who embarrasses America on the world stage

The soft-spoken majority will not raise their voices, chant slogans, or poison the public discourse with lies or ‘fake’ anything.  They will take to the ballot box and send a clear and unambiguous message.

“Give us back the America we love.”

A “Pander” Bear as President

Trying to understand knee-jerk irrationality from someone who has turned it into an artform is a waste of time. If the word “pander” did not exist, it would be invented to describe Donald Trump.

PandaAt his “listening session” with the student and teacher survivors of Parkland, Trump clutched his speaking points cue card and, in the end, almost seemed genuine in his concern. Later, he announced what amounted to monumental proposals from a Republican White House, banning bump stocks and raising the legal age to purchase all firearms to 21.

And then the NRA and other pro-gun advocacy lobbyists came calling.

But fear not, Trump made new announcements.  We would arm teachers, and the NRA were great Patriots defending America and let me rethink my earlier proposals. Apparently, he did a better job “listening” to the NRA.

I am not trying to demonize the NRA. They have every right to advocate for their position, some of which I agree with, but their membership is five million Americans out of three hundred million.  They are not the voice of America on sound gun policies. The NRA is, in essence, a fringe group representing a small fraction of gun owners and a smaller fraction of American citizens. They are a squeaky, well-funded, well-organized, wheel.

After his brief moment of rationalism, Mr. Trump put his short memory loss front stage. He’s like a five-year-old telling one story about a broken window to his mother and a different version to his father, never expecting them to compare notes.

I know many will disagree with this, and I look forward to hearing from you, but I would offer this as a suggestion. Since you will disregard my take on our President, perhaps you’ll believe it in his own words.

Here are two books portraying Mr. Trump in his own words. One he says he wrote, The Art of the Deal, and proclaimed it underscored his suitability for the Presidency (although co-author Tony Schwartz has a different perspective.)

The other is based on an extensively researched profile done with Mr. Trump’s cooperation by the New Yorker magazine and later turned into a book by the reporter, Mark Singer, called Trump and Me. Keep in mind, the New Yorker profile was written long before anyone considered Mr. Trump as a serious candidate for President.

Actions reveal character. Words offer a window into the thought processes. Comparing the two unveils the truth. If you take the time to read these books, as I did, your perspective may change.

The one thing that jumped out at me was the number of business associations Mr. Trump held with former Soviet military and civilian government officials dating back into the 1980’s and 1990’s. A troubling sign casting a shadow on the “no collusion” mantra.

But wait, there’s more. I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself. Don’t take my word for it. (as if you would 😊)

I will put the links to the books here. I hope Mr. Trump appreciates the bump in sales.

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

Trump and Me by Mark Singer

As a bonus, here’s what the co-author Tony Schwartz has to say about the book

P.S. While you’re at it how about reading some of these books? Click here to help a starving writer.

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Cold War Redux

Let’s assume for the moment that President Trump is correct in his assertion that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians during the 2016 campaign. Indeed, to this point, there is nothing but conjecture and innuendo to show any such collusion.

PutinLet’s accept that premise.

Let us also agree that there is compelling evidence that the Russians intentionally interfered with the 2016 election seeking to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected President. I think this is a legitimate contention. Not certain, but less speculative than most other scenarios.

Which leads us to the question, why did the Russians go to such extreme lengths to interfere in the election and derail Hillary Clinton’s candidacy?

Let’s consider the question.

While there would have been minor differences in Clinton’s domestic policies compared to President Obama’s, her foreign policies would likely have been much different. She might have sought to alter or solidify the Iranian nuclear agreement, take a harder stance on North Korea, or (here’s the key) enforced the sanctions against Russia as voted on by Congress. (https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/29/politics/russia-sanctions-announced-by-white-house/index.html)

As it has turned out, the Trump administration did exactly that, deciding not to impose sanctions. (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/29/russia-sanctions-white-house-congress-376813)

President Trump also makes another viable contention. The Russian interference began as early as 2014, long before he announced his candidacy when it was clear that Hillary Clinton was favored (as it turned out, the fix was in) to win the Democratic nomination and, at that point, the Presidency.

If these reasonable and defensible points are factual, then the Russians feared a Clinton presidency more than any other candidate back in 2014. One could conclude they saw Mr. Trump’s later entry into the process in the same light. Better for Russian interests.

If this is the case, one can also suggest one of two probable corollaries. Mr. Trump’s campaign actively worked with the Russians to secure their own purpose or were duped by the Russians.

Either one is troubling.

Divining Russian motives is not an exact science, but once again we can rely on ole’ Occam’s razor for guidance. Look for the simplest explanation.

Любой, кроме Хиллари (Anyone but Hillary)

Words (and acts) of Wisdom once Common in America

I think we can learn something from the words of a great Republican President’s wise warnings about the future of America. This is a from the farewell address of President every-gun-that-made-is-every-warship-launched-every-rocketfired-signifies-12030955Dwight David Eisenhower to the American public before the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.

“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Where have all the Americans like Eisenhower, or the “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” gone?

Here’s the ransoming of America’s future.

Conspiracies: Imagined or otherwise

One of the frustrating characteristics of debating with supporters of Mr. Trump is their proclivity to interject accusations or criticisms of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, or other Democratic figures. I have often asked the question if, assuming all these various charges are true, how does that mitigate or negate the criticisms leveled against the President?

The most common answer is that I am deflecting the discussion. A reasonable interpretation of this response is that they are guilty of their accusation. No one answers the question. I can only assume that his supporters believe pointing out some perceived grievous behavior in the past serves to inoculate Mr. Trump from any criticism.

Nonsense. Someone getting away with robbing a bank does not automatically grant absolution for another caught in the act.

This got me thinking about the most absurd accusation promoted by the right. President Obama, fresh off his fooling the entire country with his birth certificate scam, convinced the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOJ in their entirety to target the Trump campaign and help Hillary win.

gIBSOThis must be the worst conspiracy in the history of conspiracies.

The other conspiracy propagated by the right is Mr. Mueller orchestrating his investigation for the sole purpose of dethroning Mr. Trump. Once again, it boggles the mind.

On September 8, 2001, the FBI was considered the premier criminal investigative agency in the world. It’s reputation outstanding, not perfect, and universally admired. With the advent of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI transformed itself, almost overnight, into the premier terrorist hunting agency on the globe. They added enormous intelligence-gathering tools to the US arsenal, targeted and captured the chief conspirators of the 9/11 attack, killing Bin Laden with the cooperation of US Special Forces as the point of the spear.

Robert Mueller guided the transformation of the FBI.  Talk to anyone at the FBI. They will tell you this is a fact. Mueller is as honest, capable, and incorruptible as they come. If he can’t be trusted, no one can.

The other laughable conspiracy theory is the Clinton Murder Machine. Some rightwing nuts would have you believe the Clintons have methodically, surreptitiously, and, so far, successfully eliminated those who would offer evidence against them by having them killed.

Not even the best written Stephen King novel could pull this off convincingly.

If you looked at the history of President Clinton and the FBI, Clinton held Louie Freeh, his FBI director, in contempt. They did not care for each other. Since a Republican followed Clinton in the Whitehouse, if such an allegation of organized homicide to silence critics were true the FBI would have jumped at that chance.

These conspiracy theories are nothing but childish games dredged up from some immature and uninformed minds.

The real problem isn’t just Trump, or the Republicans, or the Democrats.  It is a combination of them all.

Democrats and Republicans all seek power, the path to power is the key here. The difference is the path they choose. One caters to a pro-business, isolationist America the other caters to an open border welcome all and keep them dependent.

The pendulum of politics swings back and forth from conservative to liberal. The voters are supposed to limit the swing of the pendulum, to keep it from the extremes. But our world of instant unfiltered, unverified, unsubstantiated continuously breaking news has altered reality. Made-up headlines and slanted reporting replace in-depth analysis and thoughtful discussion. 255 character Tweets, complete with spelling and grammatical errors, are considered Pulitzer prize level writing.

Both sides are guilty.

The genius of the founding fathers was a government that to function it must cooperate. No one policy dominates, but the blending of the best each offers. The beauty of our system emulates a time-tested recipe. Taken alone some ingredients may be bitter, or spicy, or overly sweet, but in combination with just the right blend, they create a masterpiece.

Both parties have chosen to ignore the recipe for success in their selfish pursuit of power. Until we insist, by way of the voting booth, to a return to a government of compromise and cooperation nothing will change.

A forceful debate is a powerful tool for creating ideas. However, it is only useful if both sides listen. Maybe the first qualification for a candidate should be a hearing test.

The next big hurdle to take back control of government is term limits. There are people in Congress who have been there before the invention of cell phones and personal computers.  Think about that for a minute.

P.S. As always, dissenting points of view are welcome.  I’d be happy to post your thoughts on this or any topic of interest. If you would like to submit a piece feel free to contact me.  No topic is off-limits.
joe.broadmeadow@hotmail.com