Another Shoe Drops In Trump-Russia Probe (President Dictated Son’s 6/9/16 Meeting Response)

I have often thought that Donald Trump is his own worst enemy, and the latest news is more proof, as if we needed more, of this. I will ask my dear blogger-friend Gronda to tell you … the rest of the story. Many thanks, Gronda, for this excellent post and for allowing me to share it!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of trump and trump jr TRUMP JR./ TRUMP

This is the latest news in the Trump-Russian saga…

On July 31, 2017, Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Phillip Rucker and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post penned the following report, “Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer.

Excerpts:

“On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril. ”

“The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF TRUMP ON AIR FORCE ONE

“But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed. Flying home from Germany…

View original post 1,388 more words

The Last Laugh …

If I were Hillary Clinton, I would be laughing and feeling pretty darned good right about now!  Sure, she won the election but lost the presidency, most likely due to some high-level hijinx.  But Donald Trump has paid her the highest compliment she may ever receive, though I doubt he realizes it yet.  How so, you ask?

For the entire six months Trump has been in office, he has not let up on his criticisms of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton.  Almost weekly there is some new empty threat or meaningless accusation from his tiny-twitter-fingers.  He simply cannot let it go, cannot seem to get her out of his small mind.  All of which tells me one thing …

Donald Trump, the man with an ego the size of Manhattan Island, feels very insecure and very threatened by Hillary Clinton.  There is simply no other possible explanation.  He won the electoral vote and thereby is now sitting with his pudgy butt in the chair in the Oval Office, yet he is still bashing Hillary Clinton, a woman who can do him no harm now and who probably only wishes she could put the ugly memory behind her.

February 15th“This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”

March 20th“What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?”

March 27th“Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech…. …money to Bill, the Hillary Russian “reset,” praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!”

March 28th“Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?”

April 3rd“Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!” and “Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?”

May 31st – “Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate. Hits Facebook & even Dems & DNC.”

June 9th“How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?”

June 25th“Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!”

July 12th“Why aren’t the same standards placed on the Democrats. Look what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful!”

July 16th“HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?”

There’s more, but you get the picture.  Donald Trump has a very unhealthy obsession for Hillary Clinton that can only stem from feeling insecure and threatened. It would be funny, were he not supposed to be focusing on the things we pay him to do, like running the country. It would be funny … if he were a 16-year-old kid who lost his best marble in a game against a girl.  It would be funny if it did not speak volumes about the mentality of the man who has the nuclear codes at his tiny fingertips.

Although there is evidence to the contrary, Trump continues to claim that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”.  Then in March, Trump established the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, or as Trump himself refers to it, the Voter Fraud Committee. As per my July 1 post, the commission attempted to jeopardize our voting rights by requesting private information on every voter, but the majority of the states refused to comply.  The commission held its first meeting yesterday, during which vice-chariman of he committee, Kris Kobach said that due to voter fraud, “we may never know” if Hillary won the popular vote or not.  It is apparent that this commission was established, at least in part, to attempt to legitimize Trump’s unsupported claim of voter fraud, though Kobach claims otherwise.

In elections past, the losing candidate congratulates the winning candidate, then goes home to lick his/her wounds.  The winning candidate then spends his time preparing for the job ahead, learning from people already in office, reading and studying.  Then on January 20th, that winning candidate assumes the heavy responsibility that is the office of president.  His days and sometimes nights are occupied with decisions, foreign policy, budgets, policy-making, learning the ropes, etc.  But in the case of Donald Trump, he eschewed the learning process, partly because he did not understand what he was being told, and partly because he already thought he knew everything.  Then once in office, rather than knuckling down to the task ahead, he chose to spend his time ruminating on two people:  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  His own insecurities are costing this nation in ways we may never fully understand.  But to return to my initial point, if I were Hillary Clinton, I would be laughing long and loud, for even eight months after the election, he is still afraid of her!

 

laughing-Hillary.gif

Confirmation Of President’s Goal To Lift Sanctions Against Russia ASAP

These days I am finding it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to keep up with the investigation into Russia’s interference with last year’s election, the key players, who said what and when, and how the tangled web all fits together. As if that weren’t enough, there is, as I always believed, evidence that Trump intended all along to lift the sanctions against Russia in exchange for Putin handing him the election. In addition to my other writing, I just throw my hands up and sigh. But not my friend Gronda … she gets down to business and digs … and then I smile, for she has just saved me HOURS of reading, researching and writing. So today, I share with you, dear readers, Gronda Morin’s excellent summation of the latest ins-and-outs in the plan of the administration to lift the sanctions against Russia. So much is going on behind the scenes, and Gronda has dug it all up for us. This is the “Who’s Who” of the matter, so please take a few minutes to read and absorb. Thank you Gronda, for all your hard work, spot-on research, and as always, for your permission to share.

Gronda Morin

Image result for PHOTOS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP/ REX TILLERSON WITH RUSSIANS AT WHITE HOUSE

Any reader who has been following this blog knows that I have been alleging that I am convinced that the republican President Donald Trump and his close surrogates’ goal have been to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia by the USA and G7 European countries as part of NATO from 2014-2017.

The republican President Donald Trump along with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are currently (May-June 2017) hard at work to attain their goal of lifting sanctions against Russia which were enacted against it by US and G7 European countries as part of NATO because of Russia’s 2014 unprovoked invasion of Crimea, Ukraine. This is why Russia is no longer part of what was the G8 conference.

Image result for PHOTOS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP/ REX TILLERSON WITH RUSSIANS AT WHITE HOUSE LAVROV/ TELLERSON

But now in June 2017,  there is confirmation, that the White House had been taking actions to have the sanctions against Russia lifted as soon as they moved into the…

View original post 1,429 more words

Voter Suppression – 2016

vra-1The Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution of the United States. The act significantly widened the franchise and is considered among the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history.

In 2013, the Supreme Court declared that voter discrimination was no longer a problem and effectively struck down the only portion of the act designed to stop discrimination before it affects an election. The court let stand the provisions of the act that allow lawsuits after a discriminatory law takes effect, but unfortunately, the United States has learned the hard way that there is no satisfactory cure for discrimination after an election occurs.

vra-2Under the 1965 law, jurisdictions with a history of discrimination had to submit changes in voting practices to the Justice Department for review. But in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the trigger used to determine which jurisdictions would be subject to preclearance, effectively removing this safeguard. In 2015, U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, and U.S. Representative John Conyers introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 which would apply preclearance evenly among all 50 states. Under the new law, any state or jurisdiction that demonstrates a consistent pattern of discriminatory voting practices would be subject to preclearance. When the discrimination stops, the jurisdiction would automatically be freed from the requirement. This bill offers a modern and thoughtful response to voter discrimination that ensures the minimal possible federal interference in state elections. Unfortunately, despite the legislation having more than 100 co-sponsors, Congress still has not acted on it.

vra-3Which brings us to today, less than a week from election day, and in seven southern states alone, some 868 polling locations have been eliminated, thus ensuring that in the areas where polling places were closed, voters will have longer distances to travel and longer lines to stand in.  Arizona’s most populous county, Maricopa County (coincidentally home to controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio) slashed the number of available polling places from 200 to 60, calling it a “cost-effective” move. In the March primary, this county saw voters waiting in line for 5 hours, many turning away rather than wait, and some polling places ran out of ballots.  There was, in Maricopa County, approximately 1 polling place for every 21,000 voters.

poll-closings

# of polling locations closed in 7 southern states = 868

More than a few times in the past year, I have stated my belief that when it comes to civil rights we are moving backward rather than forward.  The fact that 868 polling places closed in a mere 7 states, all southern states, seems to validate my belief.  It isn’t just in the south, either.  Rhode Island cut 66% of its polling places, as did some counties in Indiana where hundreds of voters were turned away after the polls closed.

In March 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law one of the most restrictive Voter ID laws on the books.  Republicans praised the bill as a measure to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats accused them of trying to disenfranchise minority, elderly and urban voters. Three months later, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai was caught on videotape saying, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done.”

This year in North Carolina, GOP leaders launched a meticulous and coordinated effort to deter black voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. The law, created and passed entirely by white legislators, evoked the state’s ugly history of blocking African Americans from voting. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the 4th Circuit recognized the legislature’s discriminatory intent and struck down the law. Republican Governor Pat McCrory tried to appeal, but the Supreme Court refused to stay the lower court’s order, thus the law will not be in effect for this year’s election. Score one for justice!

Federal courts have also struck down new voting restrictions in Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas and North Dakota. In all cases, the laws were enacted by Republican legislatures and governors. And in all cases, discriminatory impact on minority voters is at issue.  What’s next … literacy tests?  Poll taxes?  This whole thing reminds me of trying to blow out those trick candles that keep re-lighting themselves on a birthday cake … you think you’ve blown out all the candles, then another starts burning again, then another.  Just when we thought we had fairness and justice for all in voting rights, fires keep popping up, trying to deprive U.S. citizens of their Constitutional right! 

Federal Judge James Peterson, who struck down a series of voting restrictions in Wisconsin this year, wrote: “The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities. To put it bluntly, Wisconsin’s strict version of voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease.”.

We elect people to represent us in our counties, our states, and in Washington.  We elect these public servants with the expectation that they will be fair and honest and do the best job they can to represent all the people of the United States, not just people with light skin or European ancestry! All these attempts by the GOP to keep African-Americans from voting this year indicate one thing:  Republicans do not have faith that their candidates can win an honest election. To disenfranchise African-Americans, Hispanics, and other groups simply to win is an abomination! Are we, as a nation, truly willing to reverse the strides in equality, gains in the democratic process, that were made more than 50 years ago?  If we are, then perhaps we deserve what we get. Think about it.

Stop The Presses … The Election Is Over … Try Again Next Year … President Obama Will Stay In Office For Another Year!

comeyIt does not matter how you do it, just so long as you do it.  It does not matter that your motives are not pure, nor that your methodology is dishonest, just so long as you succeed.  This, apparently, is the motto of the Trump campaign.  In the news today, in reference to FBI Director James Comey’s letter of 28 October, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, claims that “I think my father-in-law forced their hand in this. And I think if he had not put that pressure on, I don’t even know if we would be seeing this happening right now. I just think she’s had a big problem on her hands, and this is going to be, you know, the nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned”

If, in the next eight days, it can be proven that Trump had any part in the fiasco that was started by James Comey’s letter, or if it can be proven that he had prior knowledge of the letter, then his claims that the election is ‘rigged’ certainly become true, only with him as ‘the rigger’, not the ‘riggee’.  As such, here is my proposal.

obama.jpgI suggest there is no other option than to throw out this election before November 8th and start over.  Each party will have the option to stick with their current candidate, or start over with the primary process.  The election should be held in one year, on November 7th, 2017.  Meanwhile, President Obama will retain the position of President of the United States, which will at least provide some stability to this nation still reeling under the onslaught of ugliness that has been heaped upon us by Trump.

Elections for the Senate and the House should not be postponed, but should proceed as planned on November 8th.  Thus, with a Democratic majority in the Senate, President Obama should be able to nominate and the senate confirm a Supreme Court Justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

trump-as-clownIn order to maintain the schedule, whomever is elected president in 2017 will serve only a three-year term, and the next election will be held in November 2020 as planned.  Some will decry that this is an aberration, but really … hasn’t this entire election process been an aberration?  It has been nothing more than a three-ring circus with Trump playing the role of head clown, Clinton the tight-rope walker.

During the coming year, under this plan, certain changes in federal election law will be drafted and passed.  Here are my suggestions:

  • Citizens United will be suspended for the duration of this election.
    • Contributions by corporations and lobbying groups will be limited to an amount as yet to be determined.
  • There will be only two presidential debates and the following rules apply:
    • The only discussions will apply to issues pre-determined by the moderator or CPD.
    • Time limits for speaking will be strictly observed. Any candidate who talks over the one speaking or the moderator will have his/her microphone turned off immediately.
    • Debates will not be broadcast live, but will be broadcast a full hour later, in order to provide real-time fact-checking.
    • There will be no tolerance of slurs, mud-slinging, or personal criticism between the two candidates. 3 violations of this rule will result in the end of the debate.
    • There will be no audience.
    • The two independent candidates ranking highest in the aggregate of polls will be allowed to participate in the debates.
  • Attack ads will be strictly forbidden, either in print, television, or online. Advertisements will be allowed only to promote the ideas and qualifications of the candidate purchasing the ad. Any violations will result in hefty fines and potentially the loss of public media rights.
  • The release of a minimum of ten years’ tax returns is mandatory for all candidates. No exceptions.
  • The trial of any candidate facing felony charges will be moved up on the court docket such that all trials will be heard and decided prior to May 31st, 2017.  If a verdict of ‘guilty’ is returned, that candidate is immediately disqualified from the race.
  • Rallies will maintain civility. Incitements to riot, people sent to disrupt rallies, or calls for violence will result in severe penalties for the guilty candidate.  Hate speech will not be permitted at rallies, and violations will result in the termination of the rally.  Legitimate mainstream media cannot be barred from any candidate’s public events.

While I would like to add rules for the media, I cannot in all good conscience, as it would violate the 1st Amendment right to a free press.  I would, however, hope that the media has learned a valuable lesson from this year and would use their conscience, rather than their financial goals, as a guideline to responsible reporting.

Well, I think these rules would lead to a much more peaceful and informative  election process next year.  Gone would be most of the stresses that are causing those of us with consciences and functioning brains to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Voters would have an opportunity to learn what each candidate actually stands for or against, to hear their platforms and ideologies.  Civility would reign in the entire process.  The more I think about it, the more I like my idea.

Black Friday … 28 October 2016 …

This is my attempt to be the voice of reason amidst the hue and cry surrounding yesterday’s fiasco.

The Facts, Ma’am, Only The Facts

Anthony Weiner, former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York City, has been involved in three sexual scandals related to sexting, or sending explicit sexual material by cell phone.  There is currently an FBI investigation into illicit text messages from Mr. Weiner to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.  Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is an aide to Hillary Clinton and has been so for many years.  In the course of the Wiener investigation, the FBI confiscated electronic devices owned by Weiner and his wife.  On one laptop, there were some emails that may or may not have pertained to Ms. Abedin’s job as Ms. Clinton’s aide.

The Infamous Letter Read ‘Round The World

On Friday, 28 October, FBI Director James Comey issued the following letter to specific members of Congress:

Dear Messrs Chairmen:

In previous congressional testimony, l referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.

Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.

Sincerely yours,

James B. Comey, Director

Also on Friday, Comey sent the following letter to all FBI employees:

To all:

This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation.  Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case.  Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.  At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.  In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.

Jim Comey

Almost immediately, Comey’s letter to certain members of Congress was reported by nearly every media outlet far and wide.  The following is a list of the addressees of the letter:

Richard M. Burr, Chairman Select Committee on intelligence

Charles E. Grassley, Chairman Committee on the Judiciary

Richard Shelby, Chairman Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

Ron Johnson, Chairman Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Devin Nunes, Chairman Pennanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Robert Goodlatte, Chairman Committee on the Judiciary

John Culberson, Chairman Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

Jason Chaffetz, Chairman Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

I am sure that members of Congress receive hundreds of emails and letters every day that they do not release to the press, yet for some reason, Jason Chaffetz felt it was necessary to share Comey’s letter.  Why did Chaffetz release this letter to the press?  We all know why.  Why, given that, by Comey’s own admission such a letter is not standard operating procedure, was the letter written in the first place?

An Attempt To Sway The Election, Or CYA?

Why did Mr. Comey, who admits that it is not standard operating procedure, feel obligated to notify Congress about the discovery of emails in an entirely unrelated case before the emails had even been summarily reviewed by the FBI?  There are two schools of thought here.

The first is that Comey, a Republican, used a fairly innocuous bit of information to attempt to create the illusion of a scandal where there is none, and that his motive was to swing voters away from Clinton.

The second is that Comey, who came under a great deal of criticism from Republicans when he closed the case against Clinton in July, saying there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, issued the letter as a CYA (cover-your-ass) maneuver, just in case something did result in a re-opening of the Clinton case.

comeySince Comey appears to have been, to this point, a fairly straight-shooter, I lean toward the second explanation.  One could almost feel sorry for Comey in light of the harsh criticism he took earlier this year from Republicans, and now he is taking even more from Democrats. However, one could also argue that Mr. Comey acted irresponsibly, as he certainly knew that: a) that his letter would be made public within a matter of hours; and b) the effect of his letter, just 11 days before the election, would have far-reaching consequences on the political scene and for the future of the nation.

chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz

It could be argued that Comey did nothing wrong – nothing more than send a brief letter to a handful of Congressmen – and that the actual wrongdoing was on the part of Jason Chaffetz, who unconscionably released the letter to the media.  However, there does seem to be a ‘double standard’ here, as the FBI has chosen not to comment on or even confirm the existence of other campaign-related investigations, such as any connection between Russian hacking into the email accounts of powerful U.S. political figures and the Trump campaign, but has rightly refused to publicly confirm whether or not an investigation is underway.

Debunking The Myths

Predictably, once the story broke, initial reactions were immediate and mixed, depending which side of the aisle you inhabit.  Democrats experienced a heart-dropping moment, while Republicans reacted almost giddily with glee.  Within hours, the polls began reacting by narrowing the gap between the two candidates, and the stock market took a plunge.  But both sides, I believe, over-reacted based on the brevity and vagueness of the letter issued by Mr. Comey.  The letter neither stated nor indicated that the investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails would be re-opened, but some media outlets and most Republicans made that huge leap from point A to point Z.

The new emails at issue here were not from Clinton’s server, they did not appear to have been deliberately withheld from the FBI, and the separate investigation that turned up the emails was not related to the Clintons themselves. Furthermore, the FBI doesn’t even know if the new emails contain any meaningful information — the bureau hasn’t even gotten access to them yet.

Responses and Results

Some notable responses to the untimely release of the letter:

  • Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein: “The FBI has a history of extreme caution near election day so as not to influence the results. Today’s break from that tradition is appalling.”
  • Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, one of the direct recipients of the letter: “The letter from Director Comey was unsolicited and, quite honestly, surprising. But it’s left a lot more questions than answers for both the FBI and Secretary Clinton. Congress and the public deserve more context to properly assess what evidence the FBI has discovered and what it plans to do with it.”
  • Republican Senator John Cornyn: “Why is FBI doing this just 11 days before the election?”
  • Entertainer Bill Maher: “I think it is rather appropriate that this election is so close to Halloween, because what happens in every scary movie? You think you killed the monster—you killed him ten times—and then a tiny, orange hand comes out of the grave. Believe me: for Hillary, tonight was Nightmare on Email Street.”

Interestingly, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, called to suspend classified briefings for Ms. Clinton. Does he seriously not realize that she knows more than he will ever know about classified matters? Ms. Clinton took the bull by the horns and held a press conference on Friday evening.  She criticized FBI Director James Comey on Friday for failing to disclose additional information about the nature of a new inquiry into her private email server, and said, “The American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.” Clinton noted that Americans across the country are already voting and that it is “imperative” that Comey explain the issue “without delay.”

“We don’t know all the facts,” Clinton said. “Even Director Comey noted that this information may or may not be significant, so let’s get it out.”

Trump, on the other hand, put on his usual dog-and-pony show, claiming, “The FBI would not have reopened this case at this time unless it was a most egregious criminal offense. Justice will prevail. They are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.”

At The End Of The Day

If Comey’s or Chaffetz’ intention was to undermine the Clinton campaign and give a boost to Donald Trump, it may well backfire, as anger is building among those of both parties regarding the inappropriateness of this tactic.  In the long run, Ms. Clinton may well be seen as the victim of more of the scandal-mongering that has plagued this election.

Though the polls have narrowed, I am still confident of a Clinton win on November 8th, as people put the Comey letter in perspective and realize it is truly a non-issue.  The reality is that most sensible voters are voting based on a candidate’s stand on issues, not gossip.  We have heard so much scandal rhetoric this year that we should be fairly inured to it by now, and just need to give the dust time to settle. What the end result of the review of the emails found on Weiner’s computer will be is anybody’s guess, but I suspect it will be anticlimactic, to say the least. Personally, I call for disciplinary action, not only for Comey, but also for Jason Chaffetz for recklessly attempting to interfere with the results of a presidential election. Meanwhile, the media could do the nation a great service by relegating this entire issue to the historical archives and moving on with actual news.  Will they?  Well, I think we can all guess the answer to that.  Sadly, “if it bleeds, it leads” is still the motto of the free press.

On ‘Single-Issue’ Voting …

There are many challenges facing our nation today, and those challenges become the issues around which political candidates build their campaigns.  Each of us may prioritize those issues differently, often depending primarily on two things:

How well we actually understand a given issue

How much impact the issue has on our own life

 A recent survey by ABC News lists the top 15 issues Americans are most concerned with:

  1. 54% – The availability and affordability of healthcare
  2. 53% – The economy
  3. 51% – The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  4. 46% – The Social Security system
  5. 46% – The size and power of the federal government
  6. 46% – The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.
  7. 43% – Hunger and homelessness
  8. 43% – Crime and violence
  9. 39% – Illegal immigration
  10. 38% – Drug use
  11. 37% – Unemployment
  12. 34% – The quality of the environment
  13. 28% – The availability and affordability of energy
  14. 28% – Race relations
  15. 25% – Climate change

I imagine it will come as no surprise to most readers of this blog to find that my own top four priorities from this list are #14 – Race relations, #7 – Hunger and homelessness, #15 – Climate change, and #12 – Quality of the environment.  Actually, I see #12 and #15 as being intertwined. I would also add a couple that are not on the list – Wildlife protection and LGBT rights..  Interesting that none of my top priorities align with the national average, isn’t it?  Not surprising, though, as I tend to swim upstream.

Amidst all of my rambling here, there is a point.  The point is that there are many issues at stake, many challenges our nation needs to deal with, and they are all important.  One cannot single out just one issue to the exclusion of all else.  The next president and Congress will certainly have to address all the above-listed issues and much more, such as the refugee crisis and foreign trade.

Unfortunately, it appears that many citizens in this contentious election year have seized on a single issue on which to select not only the president, but also senators and representatives.  These people are known as ‘single-issue’ voters.  The term single-issue voter describes people who may make voting decisions based on the candidates’ stance on a single issue (e.g. “pro-life” or “pro-choice”, support for gun rights or gun control). The existence of single-issue voters can give a distorted impression: a candidate’s overall views may not enjoy the same support. For example, a person who votes for a socially conservative Republican candidate, based solely on his or her views on abortion, may not necessarily share the candidate’s views on other issues, such as gun rights, immigration or climate change.

I do not attempt to tell a person how to prioritize the list of issues … that is a personal decision and we are each entitled to our own ideology.  However, I do argue against the principle of voting for a particular candidate based solely on his/her view on a single issue.  Never will a candidate completely match our opinions on every issue, but it is important that we elect officials whose values most closely match our own.  In a democracy, it is both a privilege, but also a responsibility to be informed about all the major issues in any election. Until the advent of the Internet, voters had to work to be informed about the issues, but today, with a few clicks of a mouse, practically everyone in the country can get reliable (or sometimes less-than-reliable) information in a short period of time.  There is no excuse to be uninformed!

It is human nature to be most concerned and interested about the issues that directly impact our lives.  If you are unemployed, or struggling to make your paycheck last until the end of the month, then certainly you will be most concerned about the economy, unemployment, and wages.  If you or a family member is suffering from a serious illness, healthcare may be among the most important issues for you.  All of which is normal and perfectly understandable.  However, it is a mistake to focus on one particular issue to the exclusion of all others.  You and your family will also be impacted by such issues as the environment, racism, the threat of terrorism, and in short, every single issue that the government will be making decisions about.  One cannot simply bury one’s head in the sand on all but one or even two issues.  We must consider long-term consequences, as well as others besides ourselves.

Those who claim not to care about such things as climate change or the refugee crisis are wearing very thick blinders and are doing a disservice to not only every person in our nation, but around the globe.  Domestic issues that hit closer to home may well be a higher priority for most people, but that does not mean we can simply put on our blinders and ignore what is happening in the EU, in the Middle East, in the African nations, or Turkey.  We cannot, as we are a part of the world, be merely a stand-alone player. It is no longer possible to take an isolationist stance, as we discovered some 75 years ago.

Those who would vote for a candidate only because he says he will nominate a Supreme Court Justice who will ‘overturn Roe v Wade’, or vote against a candidate only because she says she will ‘take on the NRA’ are casting their vote foolishly to the wind.  There is no single issue that overshadows or dominates all others.  They are all important, and each one will impact our lives in one way or another.  ‘Single-issue voting’ may be arguably the second most ridiculous method I can think of.  What is the first?  Voting for someone based on physical appearance, race or gender.  Some do.  Sigh.

Not Just The “Lesser of Two Evils”

bill-pressOne of the columnists I follow regularly is Bill Press.  Although Bill is a liberal and a Democrat, his views are always fair and well-reasoned.  His latest column is a must-read for anyone who plans to vote in the November 8th election, Republican and Democrat alike.  Some of us, myself included, have been so busy bashing Trump that we have not given much attention to the only viable candidate in the race.  We have been so busy defending Hillary Clinton against the attacks of da trumpeter and his minions that we have missed opportunities to extol Clinton’s virtues.  As Bill Press points out in his column, she is actually a very strong candidate in experience, qualifications and temperament, and most of that has been overlooked in this divisive, contentious election period.  It is a disservice to vote for Hillary simply as “the lesser of two evils”.  So, without further ado, I shall let Mr. Press speak for himself ….

Don’t just vote against Trump; vote for Hillary

Regular readers of this column will remember two recent offerings on this crazy 2016 presidential election: one, a warning not to risk destroying everything we’ve gained by voting for Donald Trump; two, a plea not to make a mockery of this election by voting for Gary Johnson.

Here today the important third installment: Making your vote count — not just by voting against Trump or Johnson — but by voting for Hillary Clinton.

For all Democrats, for all Republicans who love their country more than their party, and, yes, for all former Bernie Sanders supporters like me, voting for Hillary Clinton should be an easy, automatic and enthusiastic choice. A no-brainer.

She is, hands down, as President Obama frequently notes, the most qualified person to run for president — ever! Yes, we know, experience doesn’t always count for everything. But it counts for a lot. And certainly her experience as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state gives her an unparalleled grasp of how government works and how to get things done. There will be no period of on-the-job training needed for Hillary Clinton.

Even outside of public office, Clinton has a lifetime record of fighting for good causes, especially children and women’s rights. In high school, she volunteered to baby-sit children of migrant workers. In law school, she volunteered on child abuse cases at New Haven Hospital. Her first job after law school was as staff attorney to the Children’s Defense Fund. And her lifelong passion for women’s rights led directly to her historic 1995 speech to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing where she looked China’s repressive leaders in the eye and declared: “If there is one message that echoes from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

For Americans sick of Washington’s ugly political battles, Clinton also offers the best hope of ending partisan gridlock. She definitely will have a better working relationship with Congress than President Obama ever had. She proved it, in the Senate, where she sponsored dozens of bills with Republican senators, including such conservative icons as Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and James Inhofe (R-OK) (payments to public service officers after Sept. 11); Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and John McCain (R-AZ) (auto safety); and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (health care for National Guard families). In 2001, she so surprised GOP senators by showing up and becoming a regular member of their weekly prayer meetings that Sam Brownback, then Republican senator from Kansas, stood up and begged forgiveness for hating her. She was confirmed by the Senate for Secretary of State 94 to 2.

And let there be no doubt for Bernie Sanders supporters, young and older: If you really believe in what Bernie stands for, if you really want to see the progressive agenda become real, Hillary Clinton’s your only hope. She’s already embraced many of the issues Sanders raised during the primary: opposition to TPP; tuition-free community college; $15 minimum wage; cutting prescription drug costs and adding a public plan option under Obamacare as a first step toward a single-payer health care system. The challenge will be to hold her feet to the fire once she’s in the White House. But that’s the job of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and progressive organizations.

There’s one other reason for voting for Clinton, one she never talks about. Voting for her because she’s a woman is not alone sufficient reason, but it is important. We made history in 2008 by electing our first African-American president. How great to make history again in 2016 by electing our first female president. Madame President? It’s about time!

And if you had any doubts about voting for Hillary Clinton, this week’s third and final presidential debate should have convinced you. She was never stronger or in more command of the issues. He was never more flummoxed or unhinged. Trump bragged about his respect for women, then called Clinton “such a nasty woman.” He asserted his confidence in the military, then accused the U.S. military of helping the Iraqi Army retake Mosul only to help Hillary get elected. And then he refused to say whether he would accept the results on Nov. 8, thereby undermining the very foundation of democracy, which has carried us for 240 years.

Isn’t that enough? Rule No. 1: Any candidate who refuses to accept the will of the voters should be disqualified from running for president.

Link to this and other of Bill’s columns

The Relevance of Thomas Paine

Mr. Hugh Curtler shares many of my posts, and today I am sharing this one from him, titled ‘The Relevance of Thomas Paine.’ It is proof that good ideas never outlive their usefulness, just as the writings and ideas of Thomas Paine have survived and thrived throughout the centuries and still have relevance for us today. Thank you, Hugh, for this post and for allowing me (albeit implicitly, since I didn’t actually ask this time) to share.

hughcurtler

I have been reading Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” about which Wikipedia has this to tell us:

Thomas Paine has a claim to the title The Father of the American Revolution,which rests on his pamphlets, especially “Common Sense,” which crystallized sentiment for independence in 1776. It was published in Philadelphia on January 10, 1776 and signed anonymously “by an Englishman.” It became an immediate success, quickly spreading 100,000 copies in three months to the two million residents of the 13 colonies. In all about 500,000 copies total including unauthorized editions were sold during the course of the Revolution.

The pamphlet came into circulation in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was passed around, and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the idea of republicanism, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army. Paine provided a new and convincing argument for…

View original post 576 more words

Keep the Faith

I think most of us have wondered what this divisive election year and the ugly environment it has created will bring when all is said and done. Too much has been said and done to simply return to the status quo of a year or two ago. What will our nation look like? How will we mend the fences, fill in the rifts that have been caused by all the hate and rhetoric? I have certainly asked these questions and many more, and have contemplated writing about it, but the questions in my mind had no answers. My blogger-friend, Erik Hare of Barataria, however, has written a very good post about it. He has no firm answers, either, but he has vision well beyond my own. I urge you to read his post and drop him a comment to let him (and me) know your thoughts.

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

CNN was on in the background, the sound turned off. It didn’t matter, however, because the heat of the discussion came through in vivid colors all the same. It’s all bad, it’s all hot, it’s all gonna burn down.

With the sound off and other distractions around me, however, it was easy to find some kind of hope. People passed by the noise and hardly registered it all in the hotel lobby. Life went on. Life will go on, once this nonsense is all over in a month. What will go down then?

The short answer is that America will be the same, but America will never be the same. Trump and his people more or less promised us all along that they would burn it all down and they will. We live in a different nation now, one which will have to reboot somehow from the ashes of what…

View original post 406 more words