How The Obsolete Electoral College Can Save Us From ‘President’ Trump

Before I write a single word on the subject in the title of this article, I want to acknowledge that it is an extremely unlikely proposition. So anyone hankering to post frantic accusations of deranged liberals in denial, STFU. I know. That said, this deserves support purely from a conceptual perspective. It puts a focus on the legitimate reasons that Donald Trump’s election is an aberration of democracy. At the same time, it exposes the anachronistic nature of the Electoral College whose time was over long ago. And in the unlikely event that this notion should gain steam and become plausible, so much the better.

Trump Newspapers

The election of Donald Trump has caused a tsunami of critical analysis, most of which revolves around the shock that it occurred at all. Trump was opposed by an unusually broad array of Americans, including Republicans, national security experts, economists, and more. His utter unpreparedness for the job wasn’t sufficient to dissuade voters from choosing him over a far better qualified woman. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s experience was portrayed as a flaw. Because who wants experience in the most powerful leader in the world?

The day following the election, citizens across the country took to the streets to protest Trump’s victory. It was a spectacle unseen since the protest marches for civil rights or against the Vietnam war. Clearly there is a significant faction in the nation that is looking for a way out. And there just might be one.

There is nothing in the Constitution that binds members of the Electoral College to vote for any particular candidate. Some states have laws that impose a fine if the Elector doesn’t vote for the candidate who won the state, but those rogue votes are still counted. Consequently, Electors could still vote for Clinton when they meet on December 19, and she would then become the president-elect. And since Trump won with a bare majority of 279 Electoral College votes, only ten Electors would have to switch.

The Arguments For Electoral Vote Swapping:

Changing a vote in the Electoral College ought not to be done lightly. It should require thoughtful consideration and persuasive reasoning. Here is a summary of what might justify this radical step:

  1. THE POPULAR VOTE: Hillary Clinton received nearly a quarter of a million more votes half a million more votes than Donald Trump. The popular vote rarely diverges from the electoral vote, but this year the divergence is profound. Electors could be prevailed upon to honor the choice of the people.
  2. FRAUD AND SEX CRIMES: Trump is currently being sued for fraud with regard to his phony Trump University. Barring a postponement or settlement, the trial will be held later this month. If Trump is found to have committed fraud, it might sway some electors to rethink there obligations. There are dozens of other lawsuits pending against him. And he has promised to file suits of his own against women who have accused him of sexual assault.
  3. THE KKK KONNECTION: Trump has an unsavory relationship with the alt-right, white nationalist community. This includes the CEO of his campaign, Stephen Bannon, who is also the chairman of Breitbart News. Breitbart has become the alt-right’s home on the Internet. And racist icons like David Duke have been cheering on Trump’s candidacy. This affiliation makes it impossible for Trump to represent all Americans.
  4. THE PUTIN FILES: Trump’s ties to Russia are deeply disturbing. He owes millions of dollars to Russian financiers connected to the Kremlin. He has been linked to the Russian hacking that targeted Clinton. His policies are frighteningly aligned with those of Vladimir Putin (i.e. weakening NATO). And it was just disclosed that his campaign has been meeting with Russian officials. Need I say more?
  5. UNFIT TO SERVE: There is a general concern about Trump’s temperament that suggests his unfitness to carry out the duties of the president. He is thin-skinned and vengeful and subject to childish outbursts when he is opposed or criticized. Furthermore, he’s ignorant and shows zero interest in educating himself about the issues upon which many millions of lives rest.

These are serious arguments that could justify an Elector (or ten) voting against Trump. Taking an action like this would be an extreme measure reserved for only serious threats. But if anyone represents a clear and present danger to the United States, it’s Donald Trump. And there are many citizens who are worried about the prospect of his assuming residence in the White House. To that end they have started a petition directed to the Electoral College. It currently has over 1,000,000 2,300,000 3,500,000 signatures (and rising fast) and poignantly asks “Why not use this most undemocratic of our institutions to ensure a democratic result?”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That’s a good question. Feel free to sign the petition. No matter how long a shot this is, it’s still a good way for citizens to express their disgust and refusal to submit to the horror of a Trump presidency. Progressives are now the loyal resistance, and they should act like it.

You Maniacs. You Blew It Up. Damn You. Goddamn You All To Hell!

On November 8,2016, the United States of America achieved a historic milestone. It elected as its president the first openly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic, wannabe dictator. A majority of the American people [UPDATE: Clinton won the popular vote] voted for an ignorant, unbalanced, pathological liar (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) who made childish insults and hate speech the centerpiece of his campaign. Donald Trump will now prepare to take up residence in the White House and proceed to make America an international embarrassment.

Planet of the Trump

To get there he defeated Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most experienced candidate to ever run for the office. She herself would have been a historic milestone as the first woman president. Apparently it didn’t matter that Americans regarded Trump as dishonest and temperamentally unfit to be president. They still favored him over a qualified woman, proving that male privilege continues to dominant the national culture.

So for its poor judgment, America can now look forward to the Trump agenda that consists of an array of idiotic and/or unachievable promises:

  • A wall along the southern border. Mexico pays.
  • ISIS defeated quickly and easily.
  • A dozen women getting sued by the President for reporting sexual assault.
  • ObamaCare repealed and replaced.
  • Eleven million undocumented immigrants rounded up by deportation force.
  • Outlaw abortion and punish women.
  • Guns everywhere.
  • Muslims prohibited from entering the U.S.
  • Hillary Clinton? Lock her up!
  • Threaten the media with loosened libel laws and lawsuits.
  • Cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
  • End all crime in the cities.
  • Disband NATO.
  • Cease all efforts to mitigate climate change.
  • Appoint more conservatives to the Supreme Court.
  • Shadow president Vladimir Putin.

Speaking of Putin, we have him to thank for our president-elect. Along with his accomplices Julian Assange and FBI director James Comey, there was a successful coup against the United States. Clinton’s defeat can be directly tied to Russia’s interference in our election. By stealing private documents, publishing them online, and fomenting fake allegations of criminality, this cabal swayed enough voters to surrender our national sovereignty to hostile foreign powers. Congratulations.

There will be many eulogies delivered today, along with some attempts to rekindle a strained fighting spirit. But there remains an unshakable reality that much of the progress we achieved over the last eight years (eighty years?) is destined for a ruinous reversal. Under the circumstances it’s hard to hold our heads up. At least for today. But this day will pass and the duty we have to our children, our planet, our future, must be honored. So grieve, rest, and then rise up with a roar. There isn’t any other alternative.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Putin Voted

Hillary Clinton Gets The Most Bizarre Endorsement Ever From A Fox News Douchebag

And now, as the 2016 presidential campaign consumes its final hours, the evidence of its historic peculiarity becomes unmistakable. Fox News has spent the past year and half trying to package Donald Trump as a reasonable choice to lead the free world. At the same time they have been blistering Hillary Clinton with vicious attacks, many made up out of thin air. But nothing could have prepared us for the segment Monday on Stuart Varney’s Fox Business program.

Fox News Ralph Peters

Varney hosted Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, one of the most wild-eyed, vitriolic members of the Fox Contributor Corps. Peters is notable for his unhinged tirades against America’s bitterest enemy, Barack Hussein Obama. One especially deranged Obama rant (also on Varney’s show) saw Peters become hopelessly overcome with loathing. In mid harangue he blurted out that “This guy is such a total pussy it’s stunning.” That earned him a mild rebuke from the host and a two week suspension.

However, on Monday Peters made a shocking announcement with regard to the presidential election (video below). Despite his radically right-wing views, Peters affirmed that he will be voting for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Of America! But his endorsement was somewhat, let’s say unconventional:

“I think Hillary Clinton is despicable. She has committed criminal acts. And she’s greedy. She’s corrupt. And yes, I’m going to vote for her. I’m voting for Republicans down the ballot, but I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because it’s a vote against Donald Trump.”

OK, so it’s more of an anti-endorsement of Donald Trump than an endorsement of Clinton. But his explanation of what he finds so objectionable about Trump is worth noting:

“I don’t want Moscow’s man in the White House. I know I could be a lot more popular this morning if I said ‘Trump’s the Messiah, I’m gonna vote for him.’ This is about the future of our country, it is about our security. And here’s a guy who apologizes for everything Vladimir Putin does and makes crazy remarks about NATO, about Syria, about nukes, about the Mosul offensive. And, oh by the way, about foreign trade. Do you want a global recession? Do you want to see your portfolio really tank? Sure, just walk away from all our trade deals.”

Peters’ sacrilege clearly bothered Varney, who made a valiant effort to bring him back into the Fox fold. Varney tried to explain his reasons for being a Trump supporter. Let’s just set aside the impropriety of an alleged “news” anchor announcing that he’s a supporter of a political candidate. His reasons rest on his desire for an economic growth plan that will spur prosperity. So he ought to be supporting Clinton, whose continuation of Obama’s expanding economy, and record eighty consecutive months of job growth, is what he professes to want. Peters responded accordingly by asking with regard to Trump:

“Where is the plan? Show me the plan. Of course we want growth. He is lying to the American people. He is lying to blue collar workers and that is the background I come from. The village blacksmith shop is not coming back. People need skills for the jobs of the future and this cult of Trump is going to lead a lot of places.

“Look, Hillary Clinton’s domestic policies repel me. She is awful, but she is safer for this country’s security than Donald Trump. And I think Vladimir Putin has a deep hold on Trump and we should all be much more alarmed than we are.”

To reiterate, Peters is the guy who thinks Obama is a pussy. But he’s supporting Clinton because she’ll keep us safe and Trump is Putin’s puppet. If it weren’t on video it would be easy to dismiss as a prank or a lost SNL sketch. As it is, it may be the best Clinton endorsement we’re gonna get from a Fox News pundit. And it seems fitting to end the campaign season with an arch-conservative blowhard throwing Trump under the bus and backing up a couple of times to make sure he’s thoroughly flattened.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

EXPOSED: WikiLeaks And The Anti-American Trump / Putin Cabal – With New Pussy Riot Video

WikiLeaks began as a disrupter force in the battle for government transparency. They heralded a movement that professed freedom of information and open access to the inner sanctum of officialdom. Unfortunately, they have now devolved into just another self-serving political propaganda outfit. Their motives are blatantly partisan and they are affiliated with shady foreign powers.

Pussy Riot

The evidence of the downfall of WikiLeaks is all too apparent. They continue to release packets of documents stolen exclusively from Democrats and others associated with Hillary Clinton. And they don’t appreciate the difference between exposing government secrets and invading the privacy of individuals. They’ve bastardized their supposed mission of open government by peeking into the private lives of their ideological foes. They have even endangered the lives of people by exposing personal and identifiable information.

At the heart of WikiLeaks is its founder Julian Assange. He is currently a “guest” at the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he attempts to evade extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. It’s ironic that this alleged rapist is now furthering the candidacy of a fellow sexual abuser. And while many consider Assange to be a hero, the truth about him is beginning to leak out.

Nadya Tolokno is a member of the Russian music and art collective, Pussy Riot. She recently spoke about her encounter with Assange in an interview with the Daily Beast. What she revealed was a shocking affiliation with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. She said that:

“He couldn’t deny it [working with the Russian government]. On the next day after I visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, the head of Russia’s biggest propaganda network, Russia Today, the editor-in-chief came to him and they had a project together. He often works with the Russia propaganda machine, and doesn’t try to hide it. […] He’s connected with the Russian government, and I feel that he’s proud of it.”

Assange certainly shares that in common with Donald Trump, whose connections to Russia are tightly woven into his financial and personal life. Tolokno explained that Assange is motivated by deeply held anti-American views:

“He’s in a state of war with the American government. He’s smart and charismatic and will use any means to destroy the American government. And we had a conversation if it was really the ethical thing to do that with the hands of another government [Russia] which is, in fact, much worse and a real authoritarian government.”

According to Tolokno, Assange dodged the question. He refused to concede the ethical dilemma of advancing Russian totalitarianism at the expense of democracy. It’s an interesting paradox for a man who professes to believe in freedom of speech, but takes the side of one of the world’s most oppressive and censorious regimes.

Tolokno also had something to say about Donald Trump. She assailed his misogyny, racism, and immigrant bashing. The new Pussy Riot music video (below) is a punishing put-down of Trump and his campaign of hate and tyranny. And she drew some poignant parallels between Trump and Putin:

“They want to oppress people and don’t want them to raise their voices. Their reaction when it comes to people who try to criticize them is very similar: Putin put us in jail, and Donald Trump wants to put Hillary Clinton in jail if he’s elected President of the United States. So it makes perfect sense that Putin would want someone like Trump to take power. […Trump wants] to establish a new conservative right-wing oppressive order all around the world. And we need to do everything we can to stop them.”

Tolokno is providing a unique perspective of someone who has spoken with Assange and been the victim of the Russian oppressors that he is now aiding and abetting. She is right that we need to stop Trump, but we also need to stop Assange and his treacherous acts.

No one should give any credence to his document dumps. They are a breach of personal privacy and cannot even be certified as genuine, unaltered information. He is working with Putin, a former KGB agent, on his projects and is not to be trusted. And the media should refuse to cover the WikiLeaks stories without fully disclosing Assange’s unsavory affiliations and motives.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Watch Pussy Riot’s awesome anti-Trump music video “Make America Great Again”

Russia Defends Torture-Loving Trump After Criticism By UN Human Rights Chief

The continuing saga of Donald Trump’s long-simmering romance with Vladimir Putin is heating up. The Associated Press reports that Russia took to defending Trump after some harsh criticism at the United Nations.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

According to the AP, Russia filed a formal complaint last month in response to remarks by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, was upset by Zeid’s inclusion of Trump in a coterie of known human rights abusers. Zeid had said that:

“In what may be a crucial election for leadership of this country later this year, we have seen a full-frontal attack — disguised as courageous taboo-busting — on some fundamental, hard-won tenets of decency and social cohesion that have come to be accepted by American society. Less than 150 miles away from where I speak, a front-running candidate to be president of this country declared, just a few months ago, his enthusiastic support for torture.”

Indeed, Trump has made his advocacy of torture a key focus of his campaign. Last February he promised that “I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” The U.N. has called for rescinding “any interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, that constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

In criticizing state sponsors of torture Zeid included Trump along with Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage (UKIP), Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, French nationalist Marine Le Pen, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Czech President Milos Zeman.

Given recent revelations about Trump’s affection for the Russians, and vice versa, this should not come as a surprise. Just yesterday he was caught parroting the false claims of a Russian media outlet. He has appeared on Kremlin-controlled cable networks criticizing America and defending Russia. And his financial entanglements with members of the Russian oligarchy and government are well-documented.

The Clinton camp responded with a short but firm statement by senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan:

“This is not only strange — it’s scary. A major-party candidate for the presidency of the United States is being protected by the Kremlin. Wow.”

In addition to the frightening aspects of this, Trump’s campaign has embraced a broad array of pro-Russian policies and praise. He consistently has better things to say about the Russians than he does about America, which he has called a hell hole.” Likewise, he has greater admiration for Russia’s leaders than any of those in the U.S. of either party. The AP addressed all of this saying:

“Trump has praised President Vladimir Putin’s strength and leadership, vowing to improve ties between Washington and Moscow if he defeats Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8. He has questioned whether NATO, an alliance of Western nations formed to counter the Soviet Union, is outdated. He has suggested Russia hasn’t entered Ukraine although it annexed the Crimea region in 2014 and is supporting anti-government rebels in the east. And he urged Moscow to find emails that Clinton deleted from the private server she used while secretary of state.”

There really is only one question that comes to mind after observing all of this evidence. And that is: Whose side is Trump on? His open hostility to so much of what makes America great raises doubts about what the country would look like under his toxic leadership. He rejects the welcoming prose engraved at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. His policies violate domestic and international laws against human rights abuse. The bigotry he espouses is contrary to our nation’s quest for tolerance and equality. And his attraction to authoritarianism ought to chill the spine of every citizen.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It is not incidental that the only country in the United Nations that felt compelled to stand up for Donald Trump was Russia. The two share a philosophy and an agenda for international affairs. And who knows what other incentives tie Trump to the Russians, including a vast web of indebtedness.

Hillary Clinton Has Some Urgent Questions For Trump About His ‘Bizarre Relationship With Russia’

In the past few weeks there have been some shocking stories about Donald Trump’s connections to foreign politicians and financiers. Especially Russian leader Vladimir Putin and figures associated with Russian mobsters. The media glosses over these alliances, even though they would have doomed the electoral prospects of any other candidate. If Hillary Clinton were linked to such shady characters they might start calling her “crooked.”

Trump Putin

Consequently, it was left To Clinton to raise the issues that the press fails to properly cover. A post on her website enumerates a few of the inquiries that ought to be at the top of every journalist’s agenda. Here is a summary of her concerns:

6 questions every voter should ask about Donald Trump’s bizarre relationship with Russia

1. What’s behind Trump’s fascination with Vladimir Putin?
Trump is on record praising dictators from some of the world’s most brutal regimes, from Kim Jong-Un to Saddam Hussein. But his praise for Russia’s president is the most extensive and the most adoring.

2. Why does Trump surround himself with advisers with links to the Kremlin?
Trump’s top adviser and campaign manager Paul Manafort built his political career as a lobbyist for international dictators, rebel groups, and human-rights violators. […] Manafort isn’t the only Trump adviser with a cozy relationship with the Kremlin.

3. Why do Trump’s foreign policy ideas read like a Putin wish list?
Trump’s talk of “America First” isolationism worries our allies, threatening the alliances that have kept America strong and safe.

4. Do Trump’s still-secret tax returns show ties to Russian oligarchs?
Unlike every other major party presidential nominee for the past 40 years, Trump refuses to release a single tax return—you have to ask yourself “what’s he hiding?”

5. Why is Trump encouraging Russia to interfere in our election?
Russia has a known history of interfering in foreign elections, and there’s now extensive evidence that they’re doing just that in the United States.

6. Is Trump’s pro-Russia stance the result of his business ties to Russia? And what is he going to prioritize as president: our national security or his business interests?
Trump has worked to keep his business dealings a secret (as of today, he still refuses to release his tax returns). But reporters at ABC News uncovered a bombshell: Trump has profited from hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian interests.

The affinity Trump shows for hostile foreign dictators is more than a curious quirk of personality. It would pose a dangerous conflict of interest and an overt threat to national security. Question #3 in particular requires further examination. The fact that Trump’s agenda could serve as a to-do list for a Putin lobbyist should not be dismissed. Trump actually went on a Russian controlled TV network and took Putin’s side against America. And Trump’s stubborn unwillingness to be forthcoming about any of this only deepens the mystery.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

THIS JUST IN: U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.

“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.”

Trump Goes On Russian TV – Takes Putin’s Side Against America (VIDEO)

At Wednesday’s Commander-in-Chief forum on NBC, Donald Trump once again expressed his admiration Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He told anchor Matt Lauer that “He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.” Trump’s view seems to be rooted in his innate narcissism. He also told Lauer that “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”

Trump/Putin

True to form, Trump appeared on RT (the state-owned Russian Television network) praising his pal Vladimir Putin. He was interviewed by Larry King on RT’s PolitiKing. Among the subjects discussed were Trump’s contempt for the American media that he said was “unbelievably dishonest.” As opposed to Russian media? Consequently, he goes on Russian TV to bad mouth the President and his opponent Hillary Clinton.

The most striking part of the interview was the segment where King asked Trump about the charges that the Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other attempts to disrupt U.S. elections. Here is how Trump responded:

King: Putin recently said that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was a public service. Do you agree?

Trump: I don’t have any opinion on it. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know who hacked. I’m not sure who, I mean, you tell me. Who hacked? Who did the hacking? But I have absolutely no opinion on that. I don’t know. I haven’t heard that statement.

First of all, Trump is flat-out lying about not having heard about this. He previously addressed the subject at his rallies and press conferences. In one instance he acknowledged reports of Russian involvement and then literally asked them to do more of it. He promised that they would be rewarded if they hacked into Clinton’s emails. What’s more, Trump himself has been implicated in Russia’s hacking operations.

More to the point, Trump’s insistence that he has no opinion about a foreign adversary illegally breaching the security of American political organizations is astonishing. He repeatedly expressed his skepticism about who did the hacking. Even though U.S. intelligence has concluded that it was most likely the Russians. That is giving cover to Putin and his KGB hacking squad. And King didn’t ask him who hacked. He asked if he agreed with Putin that the hacking was a public service. So Trump has no opinion about Russians stealing private communications from Americans and publishing them.

But that wasn’t all. The interview continued with Trump essentially forgiving the Russians for trying to interfere with American elections:

King: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies reportedly are investigating whether Russia launched a covert operation to disrupt the 2016 election. What do you make of that?

Trump: I don’t know. I mean I’ve been reading about it. I think it’s probably unlikely. I think maybe, maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think it’s probably unlikely. But you know, who knows? I hope that if they are doing something, I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it. Because that would not be appropriate at all.

Again, Trump is pleading ignorance (which, for him, is a believable excuse). But his effort to absolve Putin & Company is further evidence of his affinity for the Russians. He doesn’t explain how he arrived at the conclusion that “it’s probably unlikely.” However, to do so he is taking the side of the Russians against American intelligence agencies. Even worse, he attempts to shift the blame to Democrats without any foundation whatsoever. Someone should ask Trump why Democrats would hack themselves.

Subsequent to Trump’s RT interview, his spokesman sought to gloss over his comments telling CNN that he thought he was doing a podcast for Larry King and that “Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else.” So what? While making these unpatriotic comments on RT is rich with irony, they would be just as abhorrent on King’s podcast. And how could Trump and his handlers not know where this interview would be aired? That’s just another indication of his incompetence and unfitness for the presidency. [UPDATE: Contradicting the Trump camp, the producers of Larry King’s program released a statement saying that “Mr. Trump was always booked on ‘PoliticKING with Larry King'”]

On a tangential matter, the interview ended abruptly when King brought up the subject of immigration:

King: Let’s get something clear, cause I’ve known you a long time. On this immigration, what are your feelings about Mexican immigrants. What are your gut – what do feel about this?
Trump: [Silence]
King: Don are you there? … I don’t know what happened there. We did not lose the connection.

Curious. Let’s just leave that to stand on its own. Although the Democrats probably had something to do with it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

[Note: Trump on hacking starts about 8:50]

Trump Campaign Linked To Russian Hacking Of DNC, FBI Asked To Investigate

In the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention reports that the party’s computer networks were hacked threatened to derail the entire affair. Stolen emails were timed for release in a deliberate attempt to harm the party’s prospective nominee, Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t long before Russian operatives were identified as the likely perpetrators.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

The notion that Russians were attempting to interfere with American elections was not especially significant. The KGB has done this sort of thing before. However, their interest in advancing the campaign of Donald Trump ought to have raised red flags. What would motivate them to go to these lengths to get Trump into the White House? And who else would have an incentive to achieve that goal? There’s an obvious answer to the latter question and it may have been revealed in this article in The Hill:

“The ranking members of four House committees have asked the FBI to investigate whether officials from Donald Trump’s campaign had any role in recent cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).”

There are legitimate reasons to suspect that the Trump camp is connected to the hacking of Democratic networks. The Democrats, including House Oversight Committee member Elijah Cummings, have genuine concerns that they are asking FBI Directer James Comey to investigate. They want to know whether “connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed” to the cyberattacks. As The Hill article notes:

“The five-page letter lists a number of press reports detailing an apparent relationship between Trump aides and Russia, including foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s reported dealings with Russian energy firm Gazprom and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian official in Ukraine.”

That’s just the beginning. Trump’s affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin has been well established, along with myriad political and financial connections. He frequently praises Putin’s leadership. And who can forget Trump’s explicit request for the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email? That’s a naked call for foreign adversaries to commit crimes against an American candidate for president.

In addition, Trump has articulated policies that are favorable to the Russians. Most notably his willingness to abandon the NATO Treaty and allow Putin to annex parts of Ukraine and the Baltic states. What’s more, Trump and his associates are deeply intertwined with Russian financiers who hold significant amounts of his debt. Time Magazine recently reported that:

“…as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows.”

The cumulative affect of these facts make it all the more critical that a full investigation is conducted. The integrity of our elections are stake. Republicans will howl, but this is not the sort of partisan hustle that typifies GOP efforts to slander Democrats.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Republican Congress spent eight years twisting the nation’s legislative branch into a private investigative arm of the GOP. They held dozens of hearings on everything from Benghazi to Planned Parenthood. And in every case the only purpose was to harass Democrats and waste taxpayers’ money. Yet for all their trouble they never proved a single misdeed by the Democrats they sought to defame. By contrast, the abundant and sordid details evident here make the Democrats’ request for an investigation into Trump’s possible role in Russian hacks appropriate and necessary.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

GOP Debate Lowlights Featuring Donald Trump’s ‘Sarah Palin Moment’

Fox Business Network is patting itself on the back for pulling off the most boring primary debate to date (transcript). They led the candidates through what amounted to a two hour Republican infomercial. The moderators were so detached that when Donald Trump flew off on a tangent about China in response to a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they failed to inform him that China was not a party to the deal. Rand Paul stepped in to correct the record, but they never followed up to get a straight answer from Trump.

And speaking of Donald Trump, he contributed some of the most hair-brained comments of the evening. Most notably, Trump may have delivered what will become his “Sarah Palin Moment.” He was asked what he would do in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Trump said “I got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes.” That’s about as delusional as Palin’s belief that her geographical proximity to Russia gave her insight into the region’s labyrinthine complexities.

The Republican Foreign Policy Dream Team:
Donald Trump Sarah Palin

Furthermore, Trump never actually met Putin who taped his 60 Minutes segment in Moscow. Trump was interviewed in his Manhattan penthouse. So what he meant by being “stablemates” is incomprehensible. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was being deliberately misleading.

In addition to his fudging a close relationship with Putin, Trump came out against raising the minimum wage because he thinks that people “have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.” He continued saying that if wages were higher it would make the U.S. less competitive. In other words, he expects American labor to compete with the slave-wage earners of China and other nations that abuse their working class. That should make a good campaign bumper sticker.

But a Trump rant wouldn’t be complete without his descending into rancid bigotry. And Trump didn’t disappoint. While answering a question about his utterly ludicrous proposal to round up and deport eleven million undocumented residents, Trump sought to validate his approach by comparing it to a program implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. And as if to put a sunny disposition on the controversial program, Trump introduced the comparison with a reminder of Eisenhower’s chummy campaign slogan, “I like Ike.” What Trump left out is that Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback (yes, that was what it was called) resulted in dozens of fatalities and a taint of racism. Approximately 1.2 million people were deported to rural areas of Mexico with none of their possessions or other resources necessary to survive. Trump is calling for ten times as many deportations and still won’t explain how he will do it.

Now we don’t want to pick on Trump exclusively. Ben Carson also indicated his opposition to raising the minimum wage saying that “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” Once again, Carson is pulling data out of a human body part far removed from area that he generally operated on. There is ample evidence that raising the minimum wage has no negative impact whatsoever on job creation. But not satisfied with merely misstating reality, Carson went on to actually call for lowering the minimum wage for some workers.

Marco Rubio weighed in on the matter of wages and education. Apparently he is not too anxious to encourage Americans to seek higher education. Consequently, he advocated for vocational training as opposed to college. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with vocational schools, which may be superior alternatives for some students. But Rubio reduced the argument to “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” However, Rubio’s argument is not based in reality. The median salary for philosophy professors is almost $64,000. The median salary for welders is about $37,400. And philosophy majors (who often go into many other lines of work where an understanding of people and society is required) command higher average salaries throughout their careers. We need both welders and philosophers, but no one should be persuaded based on dishonest applause lines from self-serving politicians.

Rand Paul’s breakout moment in the debate came during a discussion on income inequality when he said that “If you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.” Not surprisingly, this is another Republican distortion of the truth. Of the ten states with the worst income inequality gaps, six are run by Republicans. Do these people ever get tired of being wrong?

Apparently not. Because Carly Fiorina joined the parade in a rant against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She inexplicably said that “We’ve created something called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no congressional oversight that’s digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to detect fraud.” What Fiorina considers a “vast bureaucracy” is a relatively small agency with fewer than 1,000 employees. For comparison, the IRS has about 90,000. What’s more, it has the same measure of congressional oversight of almost every other federal agency. It’s director must be confirmed by the Senate, and it is subject to budgetary constraints imposed by Congress. Finally, you’ll have to ask her what she finds so offensive about uncovering fraud and protecting America’s consumers.

To give credit where it’s due, there some questions that where genuinely probing and worthwhile. Sadly, not one of them got a direct answer. The candidates exercised the old debate strategy of not answering the question you are asked, but the question you wish you were asked. And the moderators did nothing in the way of follow ups to attempt to get a responsive answer. Here are three outstanding, and unanswered, questions:

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal: Now, in seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs a month. Under President Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 jobs a month. Under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you’ll probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?

Maria Bartiromo, Fox Business: [Hillary Clinton] was the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state under Barack Obama. She has arguably more experience, certainly more time in government than almost all of you on stage tonight. Why should the American people trust you to lead this country, even though she has been so much closer to the office?

Baker: Income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This debate was a peculiar creature from the start. The Fox Business Network has program ratings so low that Nielsen doesn’t even publish them. The only explanation is that it was a gift from the Republican Party to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News family. As it turns out, it was a generous gift in that the debate drew a record number of viewers (13,500,000) for the tiny network. Although it was still the smallest audience of any of the debates held so far this election cycle. The next debates are scheduled for November 14 (Democrats on CBS) and December 15 (GOP on CNN).