Friday, December 2, 2016

The Friday Link for 12/2/16

Some clown in Alexandria (!) thinks 'A Christmas Carol,' the classic Dickens' holiday story about the redemption of a cold hearted fool, is just liberal propaganda.  No seriously.

This clown's name is Steve Moore, and to prove I'm not making this up, here's the link to the story from BlueStem Prairie: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2016/11/since-theater-is-no-place-for-liberal-rants-alex-man-will-boycott-dickens-christmas-carol.html

Who looks at a pre-ghost Ebenezer Scrooge and says, "I like the cut of that man's jib!"?  What kind of dystopian personality insists the extreme serfdom Bob Cratchet lives under is the worker's utopia we should all strive for?  Who listens to the heart warming singing of Tiny Tim and says, "if only the young boy could die!"  What kind of Christian person, at a time of the year when Christians are supposed to be celebrating the gift of Jesus, asks for a gift receipt.

Happy Holiday's from Trump-land, you ungrateful jerks!

To tell the truth, they railed against "It's a Wonderful Life" too, something I detailed in the December 2014 post, 'Waterboarding George Bailey.' 'A Christmas Carol' is a great story, and, if any of it is true, I can only imagine three ghosts will be visiting Trump Tower early in the morning of December 25th.

There are a lot of great TV and film versions of the play, but my favorite is the Albert Finney 1970 musical version.  A few cuts from that one for you as we begin the December Links.  First up, the feel good hit, 'I Hate People'!


Then there is the great song from the days of Christmas Past, 'December the 25th'!


From the Days of Christmas Present, 'I Like Life'.


Then comes one of my favorite all time musical numbers, 'Thank You Very Much'.


Then The Reprise of 'Thank You Very Much'.


Can someone get Marley's ghost over to Steve Moore's house.  Have a great weekend everyone!




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Return of the DFL, Part 2

I disagree with Representative Collin Peterson.  Democrat Peterson is actually a moderate Republican, but with the GOP in fascist territory, he took over a heavy leaning Republican district, MN-07, and has held it as a Democrat.  It's not a bad play.  He can't be primaried by the MNGOP, and he carries just enough Democratic issues to scare off any Democratic primary challenge.  He won pretty handily on Election Night 2016, while most Democrats struggled.


In case you didn't read The Washington Post interview, Collin Peterson is now being heralded in certain arenas as the only Democrat who 'gets it.'  What 'it' is, according to Peterson, is how the Democrats need to fundamentally change who they are, abandon the ideals of FDR and Kennedy, and morph into 1980's moderate Republicans.  Where I agree with the Representative's comments on gerrymandering, something the GOP took a masters course in, unless states overturn the GOP strangleholds by 2020, there's little the Democrats can do.  How else does Peterson think the DFL should change?  He infers the Democrats should abandon all gun control initiatives (even with 33,000 gun deaths a year), should stop supporting gay marriage (which the US Supreme Court has officially decided.  What would Peterson do with all the legal marriages already in place?), and should do more to stop deficit spending (even though the GOP are FAR worse at deficit spending.  This is just Peterson being lazy and pushing GOP talking points).  He feels Democrats need to stop being so politically correct, allowing for some levels of mild racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance (because it's just harmless fun, right?!?), that grief counselors are only a sign of the wussification of America (I know you were raped, but rub some dirt on it and get back to work!), and he clearly implies Democrats can't possibly win any longer in rural America.

BULLS#*T!

Let's talk about outstate Minnesota, and rural America as a whole.

To start, two points I want to address about double standards.  The first is how many in rural America accuse city folk of labeling them with inappropriate stereotypes, as they themselves use WILDLY inappropriate stereotypes to insult all metro area citizens.  When I worked at KDAO in Eldora/Marshalltown, Iowa, there was a saleswoman who HATED me because I was from a city, always insulting me.  One evening, she got in my face and said, "you ain't country unless there's s#*t on your boots!" I immediately responded, "well you're not from the city unless you get an oil change and a bagel at the same place at 2 AM."  She so hated me!  She labeled all city people as libertards (first time I ever heard that term), N-word lovers, W-B- lovers and F- word for gays.  She was a delight, you know real heartland Christian values.  I've come across many people like her in my years of living in rural America.  If stereotypes are wrong, then they're wrong for everyone.

The second double standard is how rural people (justifiably) feel their local politicians should vote for the best interests of their districts, but metro area politicians voting for their districts is somehow not to be allowed.  The best politicians fight for their district first, but also realize they're part of a political body which represents the state as a whole.  Politicians should prioritize their districts, but both metro and outstate politicians need to remember there's a larger responsibility.  Since no politician in the Twin Cities has ever suggested outstate Minnesota gets no governmental help, don't insist the metro area should have zero representation, zero tax dollars and zero governmental benefits.  We can work together.

And let's be honest, since metro area taxes subsidize lot of outstate Minnesota, I don't think we want to go down that path.  I'm for funding outstate Minnesota and the state's metro areas too.

I think resentment between country and city residents has always been a thing.  The minute someone stopped growing crops, and decided to become a distributor instead, encouraging a centralized larger population where they could sell the product and ship it to other communities, was the minute the friction began.  Up until the beginning of the 20th century, this country was much more rural than metropolitan, but that started to change after the country was mostly sectioned off, and more non-farm labor opportunities became available.  Business owners started to see cost savings by being in a larger city (better distribution, lower transportation costs, readily available workforce), so the growth of the cities exploded.


A lot of the current anti-city resentment began in the 1980's, when low crop prices, a banking/housing crisis, and an evolving business model thinned out America's farming communities.  Massive corporate farms gobbled up foreclosed farms and fields.  Some families stayed and adapted, but a lot of farmers left, leaving the life their family had known for generations behind.  With farming far less cost effective, kids graduated high school and left town.  In many small towns, especially ones where farming is the main industry, the populations today are largely 18 and under or 55 and older, and they're much smaller than they were 50 years ago.  Many small towns are drifting away.  With loss comes anguish, and anguish becomes resentment, not only for the person who left, but for the big city most of the kids moved to, regardless of whether it was by necessity or not.


Republicans, the party behind the destruction of family farms in the 1980's, started appealing to the farming communities they destroyed by encouraging rural anger at cities.  Republicans are masters at deflection.  They can get people to hate something which has nothing to do with their circumstances, and with that false hatred, create an action plan.  They fanned the flames with stereotypes; city slickers who sit in their high rise apartments eating bonbons, not working a day in their life, pathetically inept at any 'real ' job needing to be done.  It created a villain which the GOP has been able to use effectively.  Low income housing, job training, immigrants, and mass transportation; all of these issues have been used to create lava hot hatred in small town America towards the larger metro areas.  For a comparable analogy, imagine if I got everyone in Edina or Maple Grove or Mendota Heights united against all things non-urban, with a goal of greatly diminishing the power of rural Minnesota.  That, rightfully, would never be allowed, but instead of fighting back against this Republican fueled mythology, Rep. Peterson thinks the DFL should accept the unwarranted 'all city people are bad' mentality.

There's something else ugly in small town America.  Virtually all media, (radio, newspapers and television stations) have an EXTREME right wing tilt, ensuring most people in small town America are brainwashed with a daily deluge of right wing propaganda.  The outright lies the rural news media passes off as fair coverage would shock you.  Conservative zealots, like Bill Hanna of the Mesabi Daily News, a newspaper I often mock for it's insane right wing bias, have zero interest in neutral coverage.  Outside of a handful of media outlets (I'll mention the Timberjay newspaper and online news blog BlueStem Prairie), most outstate Minnesota gets MPR as the sole non-right wing viewpoint.  MPR isn't bias towards the left, it's just not drenched in GOP talking points. I have no idea how the DFL can undo the conservative grip on outstate media, but they have to find a way to get their message out.


It should also be mentioned the GOP has UNDENIABLY fanned the flames of racism, homophobia and religious intolerance in certain alcoves of rural America.  Lack of ethnic, religious and GLBTQ exposure in smaller communities creates opportunities to build distrust and hatred.  Sometimes it's small gatherings, but sometimes it's disturbingly large crowds, where the applause is loudest for the irrefutable Christian only, anti-gay, white power vomit coming from GOP politician's mouths.  We need to continue to call the hatred out, not allow non-existent political gains to stifle our outrage at the unacceptable.  Rep. Peterson, with all due respect, the racists will never vote Democrat, so the Democrats shouldn't ease up on our tone of condemnation!


We now have a rural America voter block whose family income is primarily 40K or less, who elected an incredibly self centered billionaire who'll only lower taxes on himself and every other billionaire, under the guise Trump voters will all become millionaires, due to the long disproven theory of trickle down economics.  It's a voting block which used the financial problems 20% of the public had with Obamacare to validate their Trump vote, and in turn will watch a complete repeal of ALL government healthcare programs (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security).  Its a voter block which has ALWAYS supported US mining first and foremost, now supporting a man who proudly said he'll use cheaply mined foreign steel over any domestic product.  These aren't the rational arguments of misunderstood masses.  These are the voting justifications of a manipulated populace.

But according to Rep. Collin Peterson, we need to take their side.

How does the Minnesota DFL start winning back the rural vote?  The first step is compromise.  We need to put forward a very friendly Agricultural Bill, not one focusing on environmental issues and certain types of crops, but one that encourages all agricultural growth in small towns.  It pains me to put aside environmental issues, but you can't save nature when a minority of the government wants to.  Help open new markets for products  Offer major tax breaks for new companies employing between 10 and 50 people, located in towns with fewer than of 30,000 residents.  Introduce this bill in a major press conference and, as soon as the camera are off, take it to rural Minnesota to sell the benefits.  Immediately put the Republican's on the defensive.

Hammer the Republicans on their failed promise of broadband for outstate Minnesota.  They've broken their promises for years and there's no way they'll fund a statewide expansion.  They'll likely deliver for a handful of communities, but in every community where they fail, billboard and bumper sticker the phrase "Hey MNGOP, Where's My Broadband?"  It's simple, truthful, and a political kidney punch.

Propose expanding Metro Mobility to a statewide, state funded program and open it up to seniors.  Introduce the legislation at a major press conference and then get into rural Minnesota, presenting it to every senior gathering you can.  Our aging population being able to call a day ahead to get a ride to church, the store, the doctor or just to the local park will change 200,000 votes immediately!  The GOP hates public transportation so they'll fight it.  They'll lose!  The GOP ripping away a great program for seniors will only hurt the GOP.


Finally, get all those great Minnesota DFL education minds together and fix our school funding issues.  Many outstate school districts don't have the budgets to deal with special needs and an expanding technology demand.  By centralizing the funding for both of those programs (something the Republicans would NEVER do), you allow local school budgets to address other local issues.  And this will help inner city schools too.  The Republicans are only going to weaken schools by trying to expand vouchers and charter schools, two solutions which are only meant to help a small percentage of any school's population.  "Hey MNGOP, Public Education shouldn't be a lottery for wealthy kids only!"  Get that on billboards and bumper stickers too.

For the record, my criticism of Rep. Peterson in this blog post will probably further endear him to his voting base in the MN-07, but that's my point!  What works for his district shouldn't become the standard for all Democrats.

What path do you think the Minnesota DFL should take?  Should we follow Rep. Collin Peterson and change the essence of who Democrats are, or do we realize we've made some mistakes, change our game plan, highlight DFL core values which deliver for outstate Minnesota, and take back the MN House and Senate?  You know my choice.  What's yours?



Monday, November 28, 2016

The Return of the DFL, Part 1

I knew Terri Bonoff was going to lose her race, when, on the Wednesday before the election, her media person called and said, "Terri would love to do an interview!  When can you get her on?"

Why would this interview request tell me she'd lose?  It's because the Democrats have gotten themselves into a destructive pattern.  In races where the district's political lean is either a tossup or leans Republican, the Democrats almost always run away from being a Democrat.  I usually only hear from a Dem running in one of those races during the primary race, at the very beginning of a massive underdog general election campaign, or when the Democrat realizes they're going to lose, when they're attempting a last ditch effort at embracing the Progressives they've ignored since the convention.  Since I hadn't heard from Terri since before the primary...

Democrats immediately need to change their mentality when it comes to their base, and do what Republicans do.  Republicans NEVER forget their base, and rarely ever change their tune to try to win over moderate Democrats.  Republican candidates are always talking to their core constituents as proud Republicans.  Even looking back on this last election, a lot of them shook their head at the horrible things Trump said, but none of them said, "I'd rather work with the Democrats," and only a few uttered, "I'm not going support the Republican candidate for President."  The GOP has a lot of racists and idiots, but they're proud and consistent with who they are.  They rarely bend in the slightest, and their commitment to their ideals, regardless of how flawed they are, pulled some moderate Democrats to their side.  They looked like they had integrity.


Compare that to the Democrats who, at times, can resemble an inflatable dancing guy outside of a car dealership.  Democrats, in the races I described, after they win their primary, focus all their attention on a minuscule amount of voters, the moderate Republicans closest to the Democrats.  Almost everything they do is geared around the idea of convincing that handful of voters, "Sure I'm the DFL candidate, but I really don't like to be called a Democrat and I like to work with the other side of the aisle!"  This game plan is toxic for both Democrats (don't vote for me because I'm not really one of you) and for Republicans (I have questionable morality, I don't stand by my political party, and since I'm only going to vote Republican, you might as well just vote Republican yourself).  They look like they have zero integrity, and the results back that up.

Smart Democrats realize immediately they need their base on board to win.  That's why Tim Walz and Rick Nolan keep winning in their districts.  They know if they turn their back on the Democrats there's no way they can win, so they hold true, never shying away from their party, and focusing on the elements of the DFL which have universal appeal, not a mutilated GOP platform with a sprinkling of DFL.  David Snyder, the candidate who got walloped in the MN-06 district, was a really good Democrat.  He was always looking to represent the DFL, not some consensus of Moderate Democrats and Republicans, with a few Independents mixed in.  He just ran in a district where it's an overwhelming Republican lean, with a GOP Presidential candidate who spoke to the MN-06 Republicans.


Terri Bonoff could've won the MN-03.  Her campaign sprinted away from the DFL base the minute she got the nod.  If she would've stood by DFL core principles, avoided the 'I'm not with them' strategy, and hammered Erik Paulsen far more on his weaknesses, she might've pulled it off.  I tried getting her on the show at least six times, but I only got a call back when they were desperate.  Democrats avoiding being Democrats was a trait of many of the DFL Minnesota House and Senate candidates in the MN-03 district.  If you don't give the voter a reason to respect you, they won't.  She lost.  That lack of party pride also pulled down a few proud Democrats.


When Bonoff's campaign called me, I felt sad for her.  Here was a candidate who was screaming "I don't need you" to most of the DFL, but now that the writing was on the wall, she had an attitude of, "Hey buddy, we're still part of the same team, right?"  After a campaign of avoiding Democrats, her calling up one of the few Progressive media outlets for an interview was a clear sign she was looking for a Hail Mary.

Another example of how not being a fully committed Democrat hurt, showing me how little margin of error there is when it comes to embracing your own party, is from MN-02.  Angie Craig was a good DFL Candidate for the MN-02.  Unlike Bonoff, she did embrace the DFL, but only to a point.  I kept asking her campaign for an interview, twelve times by my count.  I never got a call back.  Another Progressive media outlet told me (off the record) they too were being given the cold shoulder by the Craig campaign.  Meanwhile, GOP candidate Jason Lewis was going out of his way to talk to the most conservative radio stations he could, hammering home his Trump friendly schtick.  While he wallowed in the pig sty that's his base, Craig seemed to be, at times, trying to avoid die hard Progressives.

You know who WAS trying to talk to Progressives?  Paula Overby, the transgender woman who ran a pretty sensational 3rd party campaign.  She took advantage of people being ignored by Craig, and it worked.  Angie Craig lost by 7,000 votes, 174,000 to 167,000, and Paula Overby received near 29,000.  That's amazing, better than most third party candidates.  My guess; the vast majority of Overby's votes were Progressives.  That loss hurt.  I know Angie tried to embrace DFL core principles, but she seemed to take the Progressive side of the party for granted, opening the door for a Paula.  As much as it pains me to say, her lack of Democratic votes cost Craig a race she should've won 99 times out of 100.


The Minnesota DFL needs to remember most people in Minnesota believe in Democratic principles.  They need candidates who are going to be proud Democrats, even in districts where they're going to be a long shot at best.  Instead of focusing an entire campaign's message on a tiny fraction of the voting base YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WIN, get your base on board first, and never forget they're your strongest ally!  Democrats need to embrace their local base, not change their platform and policy depending on the group they're talking to that day.

For the record, this post isn't me over emphasizing my influence.  There are plenty of proud Democrats I interviewed who lost, and many I didn't interview who won.  This is about trying to find the pattern in the wreckage of the 2016 election, and the one which keeps screaming in my face is the lack of party aptitude in certain MN DFL candidates.

The Minnesota DFL needs candidates who want to win as a Democrat, as opposed to lose as Republican lite.  Then, the DFL will stop losing races they should easily win.  Then they will stop grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.


Friday, November 25, 2016

The Friday Link for 11/25/16

There are not many Thanksgiving only oriented movies.  There are some with Thanksgiving in them, but they're usually set ups for Christmas.  TV shows are more likely to have Thanksgiving stand alone episodes, with the gold standard being either the Cheers' Thanksgiving episode with the food fight or WKRP in Cincinnati's turkey skydivers, both of which I've featured on Thanksgiving posts from years gone by.

I'm surprised movie studios don't do more Thanksgiving features.  Probably because they're dated after the weekend and releasing it before Halloween would lead to a bad opening, and a bad run.  Looking at the movie website Box Office Mojo, since 1986, there have only been 19 total movies where Thanksgiving was the theme of the move, and most of them were serious dramas or major box office bombs.  Only a few Thanksgiving comedies exist and the best of those is a Thanksgiving tradition for my family - Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

The story is more about the horrors of business/holiday travel, with an ad executive (Played by Steve Martin) trying to get from New York to Chicago for Thanksgiving, and the interaction he has with a fellow traveler, a salesman (played by John Candy).  To say it captures the nightmare travel can be is an understatement, but it's also a very endearing film, with a great message of coming home to family, and bonding with people you might not ever meet, if not for unique circumstances, all wrapped up in some real classic movie comedy.  My theory is the acting and holiday travel element are what kept this movie from getting lost.  It opened a few weeks after Less Than Zero and The Running Man, opened the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week against Three Men and a Baby, and had to compete in a December with Throw Momma From the Train, Wall Street, Empire of the Sun, Raw, Broadcast News, Moonstruck, and Good Morning Vietnam.  The holiday movies of 1987 were insane!

The only problem with the movie is the white privilege it portrays (wealthy executive from Chicago who has a lovely family, great house and a lot of money might miss ONE holiday.  The horror!) but Candy's Del Griffith makes Steve Martin's Neal Page see the world a little more realistically, and there's a nice pay off in the end.  One warning, if you do see the film with your family, you'll want to skip past a very funny, profanity laced scene at the rental car counter in the St. Louis airport.  You've been warned!

Here are some of my favorite scenes from the film.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!








Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving with Terry John Zila!

Terry John Zila, the radio show's food correspondent, joined us for the annual Thanksgiving cooking episode of the show!  He had so many links I wanted to promote, I decided the best thing to do would be to do a blog post.

First up is the Williams-Sonoma mixer event at Ridgedale.  Here's the Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1789086738022588/

Here's the Facebook page for his wedding cake business, JohnJeanJuan Cakes:

https://www.facebook.com/johnjeanjuan-CAKES-281722032921/?fref=ts

Here's the Facebook page for his Interior Design business:

https://www.facebook.com/terryjohnziladesign/?fref=ts

To ogle his food, follow him on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/terryjohnzila/

To take a cooking class with him at Cooks of Crocus Hill, click here:

https://www.cooksofcrocushill.com/classes/terry_john_zila


And finally, it's the Brine recipe.  This is the absolute best way to prep a turkey for cooking.  It is so freaking juicy.  Trust me, I love it.

Apple Cider Brine
Ingredients:
1 fresh or thawed turkey
2 oranges, sliced
8 cups apple cider
2/3 cups kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
8 slices fresh ginger root
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons allspice berries, crushed
4 cups cold water

1.     Combine the cider, salt, sugar, ginger, onion, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and crushed allspice berries in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat, add the cold water, and cool to room temperature.
2.     Have ready a pot large enough to hold the turkey and the brine. Place a plastic oven bag inside another to create a double-thickness.  Rest in the bags in a pot or roasting pan to collect any possible leaks and to make moving the turkey easier. Wash the turkey inside and out and remove the giblets and neck and reserve for gravy or stuffing if desired.
3.     Place the turkey inside the double-thickness bag and stand it upright. Place orange slices in the main cavity. Cover the turkey completely with the brine.
4.     Cover or tightly close the bag and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Turn the turkey 3 or 4 times during the brining.

5.     Before roasting, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels before roasting.



Enjoy!

“No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


Green Day, from the American Music Awards, Sunday, November 20th, 2016...


Full Performance:





Word!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

'Legit' Perspectives

For the record, Donald Trump won the Presidential Election of 2016.  Where some people are floating the idea of a rigged election, I find it hard to believe.  You'd need to have corrupted at least nine individual states voting processes, beyond the already bias standards in place.  Unless someone has proof I have yet to see, Trump's win was "legit." (notice the quotes...)

There's a lot of speculation on why he one.  I'll point to the 108 million who stayed at home and didn't think this election was worth their time.  Sure, we can talk to a lesser extent about the DNC split, Hillary's un-likability, and third party candidates, but none of those match up to the pathetic 108 million people who just didn't care.  They have the right to not vote (that's America too), but I feel the non-voters have forfeited the right to complain about the world of pain we're all about to experience.

Some people are railing against the electoral college, but the electoral college works when people show up to vote.  White racists who usually don't vote, showed up in droves to support their new white racist God, while disinterested, disaffected, easily distracted and overconfident Democrats stayed at home, thinking there was no way Trump could win.  Surprise!

Even with the electoral college victory, Trump lost huge in the overall popular vote total (over 1.5 million as I type).  He lost by a margin of error as big as the entire Jacksonville metro area, or Oklahoma City, or Memphis, New Orleans, or Salt Lake City metro area.  This isn't just running up numbers in liberal states, this is a massive rejection of President Trump by the majority of the US voters.  But it's even worse when you look at the vote totals as part of the entire US population:


This is what Republicans think a 'mandate' looks like.  80.5% of all Americans didn't vote for Donald Trump, only 19.5% did!  We can't allow bloviated Trump fans to scream this reality away.  As a matter of fact, let's take a little bit closer look at this last election, but remove the United States, Trump and Clinton from the description:
  • The winning candidate, Candidate A, lost the popular vote by over a million and a half voters to Candidate B, and didn't even capture support from 20% of the entire country's population.
  • Candidate A overruled the popular vote by using a legal, but usurped, election procedure to install himself as President.
  • Candidate A was bombastic media personality and the darling of the extremist fringe; zealots who's main goal is a near forced rule under the guise that "they know what's best for everyone."
  • The losing candidate, Candidate B, was a milquetoast moderate who was constantly labeled a criminal by almost all entities in the country, even though Candidate B wasn't.
  • Candidate A's long list of disqualifying business connections, illegal activity, sexist and discriminatory comments, and boneheaded statements were all grossly downplayed by most media and pundits.  
  • Any minor infraction from Candidate B was turned into a crime on par with the most evil dictators the world has ever seen, by the same media and pundits.
  • Candiate A had untraceable money flowing like a hydrant into the race, outspending Candidate B by a wide margin, likely three to four times more, all untraceable, most of it spent to discourage people from voting for Candidate B
  • Candidate A had the country's state police force actively working to ensure Candidate A's victory, even coordinating with a current politician and a former politician to spread a false story to discredit Candidate B in the weeks before election day.
  • Candidate A was directly receiving assistance from a foreign country, including advisors, an infiltration of the electing country's social media using fake and falsified accounts, and the illegal hacking of various websites, including Candidate B's campaign websites and the websites for Candidate B's political party.
  • The foreign country disseminated both hacked and falsified information to an international media outlet, an outlet whose owner is avoiding prosecution by hiding in a third party's embassy, a media outlet which was proudly trying to sway the country's election towards Candidate A.
  • The electing country's national media was incredibly biased towards Candidate A.  At best, this bias was due to incompetency, and at worst, the media was actively working to get Candidate A elected.  Regardless, the national media failed to report on the election with any fairness, especially in regards to Candidate A's clear connections to extremist fringe hate groups.
  • Individual states within the country had imposed draconian election rules in a targeted, and successful, effort to limit the amount of voters from Candidate B's political party.
  • Individual states purged voter registrations, and limited voting dramatically, in a targeted, and successful, effort to limit the votes for Candidate B.
  • Agents for Candidate A spent millions of dollars and countless hours on misinformation campaigns to confuse and intimidate voters for Candidate B.

Most people would read the above bullet points and think we were describing some third world country where their elections have a tendency of being called into question, not the bellwether of supposed election fairness, not the USA.  For goodness sake, Reagan himself would have used 1/10th of what happened in Election 2016 to justify invading said country under the argument Candidate A violated the country's trust, unfairly oppressing the population's democratic rights.  Reading what happened in 2016 points out how compromised and susceptible the US's election system has become. 

And a reminder, even with the overwhelmingly tilted playing field towards Trump, they still had to use the electoral college to secure the victory by overriding the will of the American people.

What I laid out above is a justification for the 80.5% of Americans who DID NOT VOTE FOR TRUMP to loudly and proudly, scream, post and brag, "Donald Trump is #NotMyPresident!"  Racists and Idiots, an extreme minority in America, fueled by evil entities who worship money and greed, have used a flawed and broken election system to install an evil, Machiavellian near fascist dictator/demagogue as our elected President, ├╝ber alles!  

How ignorant are the people who've placed Trump atop the US's throne?  Just look at their incredibly misguided protests against Starbucks (where they're encouraging people to buy more of the product they're supposedly boycotting) and Hamilton (where they're picking a fight with a beloved, sold out for a year, Broadway play which is far more hopeful, Presidential, and American than ANYTHING Trump represents).  In case you're missing my point, Trump supporters are really stupid, and need to be called out on it!

Don't downplay this.  Don't validate them. Don't try to find a nuance which doesn't exist.  These people are racists and idiots.  These number, these facts, demand we call the election of 2016 what it truly was; Why we need to correctly label the GOP for who they are (at best, racist enablers!); Why we need to recognize the election was more of an attempted overthrow of Democracy; Why we need to protest and get angry with a loud voice; Why we need to get active and mobilize from now until the elections of 2018 and 2020!

Plus it really infuriates Trump fans when you point out Hillary had a million and half more votes, and that less than 20% of the population actually voted for Trump.  Trump backers were hoping for a coronation of racism of ignorance in America.  I outright refuse to recognize either as my Commander in Chief.





Friday, November 18, 2016

The Friday Link for 11/18/16

With the first snow storm of the season, I've lost power.  I'm frantically trying to get this posted via a iPhone which is not long for battery power.  Here we go!

A trio of fun from The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, an underrated special, which most people know.  There aren't a lot of good kid's Thanksgiving specials, and this one actually has a good message too.  Plus it makes me feel better as I see more and more nightmarish additions to the incoming Trump administration...

Just remember, your Thanksgiving dinner could be toast, popcorn and jelly beans!  If Trump's fiscal plans go the way many think, it could be a feast for most of us soon.

By the way, Woodstock eating turkey is weird!

I hope you have a great weekend everyone!











Monday, November 14, 2016

Minnesota Democrats - A Quick Look Back Before We Look Ahead

It's mind numbing.  After years of pathetic Republican leadership, where we actually had a GOP Governor claim he'd balanced the budget by throwing the entire Education sector into a future fiscal cycle without any plan to pay it back, where you had a Republican House and Senate shut down the state government because they insisted the Democratic Governor should have no say in what bills got passed, where we had a front row seat to the nightmarish seventh circle of hell next door, Wisconsin, as their personal income levels have plummeted, education has gone from top ten to bottom ten, and deer carcasses litter their roadways for months due to Republican policies, where we had the continued MNGOP incompetence of the Republican Speaker of the MN House Kurt Daudt, and considering we had two years of utopia, when Democrats controlled everything, with an end result of Minnesota showing up at the top of every national quality of life and economic poll, you'd have thought the DFL would've been in the drivers seat for election 2016.  Nope!  Daudt's allowed to begin his quest for the Governor's office with a larger majority in the MN House than before, and the MN Senate looks to be headed towards a one seat Republican majority too.  The national races were more even, with Republican Jason Lewis using a 3rd party candidate to help win MN-02, but Democrat Rick Nolan officially ended Stewie Mill's political career by breaking his back in the MN-08.

If we're going to look forward, we have to take a quick look back and try to figure out what the heck happened.  I don't think this was a DFL leadership issue, as Ken Martin, Marge Hoffa, Paul Thissen, Erin Murphy and the majority of the state's DFL leaders were working their cabooses off to try to win.  I especially stand by Ken Martin.  He's still the best state party chair I've ever seen.

What about voter turnout?  Minnesota's 74% in 2016 is pretty darn good.  Noting my reluctance to criticize any of the DFL get out the vote effort, I'll point out the slight decrease 74% actually represents.  In 2012, it was 76%, and in 2008 it was 78%.  Those decreases matter, as that's likely the difference between the MN Senate being Democrat and Angie Craig winning the 2nd.  Suggestion:  in the future, let's make sure the questions "When are you planning on voting?" and "Do you need a ride to the polls?" are being asked on all phone banks and when door knocking.

If voter turnout is a minor issue, what really happened?  Here are my four thoughts:

Quality of DFL candidate - My radio show's 'Democrat of the Day' segment was a real eye opener, and in hindsight, explains the gnawing concern I've had in the back of my head since August.  The DFL had some sensational candidates, many of whom won, but, as much as this pains me to say, the DFL had some horrible candidates too.  The party seemed to be too focused on a handful of races, as opposed to delivering quality Democrats in every state race.  I won't name names, but some examples:  the candidate who had a real chance to pick off the Republican, but instead of trying to win, he seemed to treat the race like a college class project.  The candidate who was so micro-focused on a polarizing tertiary issue, she might as well have never even been on the ballot.  The DFL endorsed candidate who did nothing but bad mouth the DFL before hanging up on me.  These three represent SOME of the lesser quality DFL'ers.

But BY FAR the biggest problem was the same problem I've had with the Democrats in Minnesota and nationally for years; Democrats who are ashamed of being Democrats.  I would call a Democrat and say "come on the air, talk about yourself, talk about the district, talk about about what you want to accomplish, and make an appeal for donations and volunteers."  I wasn't exactly making people swear a blood oath on the SWLRT alter, but yet 20+ Democrats turned down the free publicity by saying, 'I don't want be labeled as too much of a DFL'er."  For the record, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM LOST!  Meanwhile, in a tight race, Tim Walz retained his House seat in MN-01, a solid lean Republican district.  He might be a moderate Democrat, but he's still a proud Democrat, and at the end of the day, it's what propelled him to victory.  Same can be said for Nolan.  Proud Democrats win! Weak Democrats don't.  It's that simple.

Tom Bakk - This is subtle, but it's relevant.  When Bakk sided with the GOP in 2015, instead of his own party, he angered a lot of Democrats who felt double crossed, he unintentionally told outstate Republicans the Democratic Senate Majority Leader chose to work with the GOP instead of DFL Governor Mark Governor, and handed the power position for the last two years to Daudt.  If Bakk would've only stood by Dayton in 2015, instead of his fishing buddy K-Dogg (who played him like a fiddle) the Democrats would've done better in 2016.

The MNGOP controlled the issues - The repetitiveness of the talking points the DFL'ers gave me was stunning.  More pre-K education, higher education, and stopping Daudt's last second theatrics were the three issues DFL'ers most wanted to talk about.  Although I feel those issues are good issues, Pre-K education was an issue many felt had already been addressed, higher education costs did not resonate with voters (unless you're talking about free college), and the voters (outside of the Dems) didn't seem to care about Daudt's last second shenanigans.  The MNGOP went around the state screaming about light rail being the only issue DFL'ers cared about, MNSure killing everyone, and the metro area stealing every tax dollar from outstate, all of which were lies.  Not only did the candidates not aggressively go after those lies, they (in many cases) ran away from them, especially in regards to transportation, an issue Democrats could've dominated.

Racism - Not all outstate rural voters are racists, but we just saw that a shocking amount are.  We never had a game plan to attack the racists, and in many cases were afraid to even go after Trump in the state because the DFL candidates didn't want to turn off rural voters.  The DFL should've hit back harder on the racism.  I'm not saying you would've changed any racist's vote, but we would've at least had the truth out their for voters who were on the fence.  And Nolan West would've lost.

Alright, enough wallowing in the past.  Where does the Minnesota DFL go from here?  I'm glad you asked:

1) Beg Mark Dayton to run for a third term.  Seriously, the DFL would easily win the Governor's mansion in 2018 if he does, and his coat tails are good ones to ride.  He's been, hands down, the best Governor in the country.  He's a proud Democrat and he has shown an epic ability to beat down Republican games.  Please Governor Dayton, the state needs you for one more term.  In the case that he doesn't run, coalesce the DFL race as quickly as you can.  Having a candidate who can walk hand in hand with Governor Dayton, learning from him for a year before the election, will help a lot.

2) Immediately start the attack on Kurt Daudt.  He is going to run for Governor, and he'll likely have very little MNGOP competition.  He got into a gun fight in Montana, had his credit cards mysteriously paid off, and he's incompetent at writing legislation.  He hates minorities, and he HATES the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  His path to the governor's mansion, without the Twin Cities metro core, consists of winning two of the following three areas - wealthy predominantly white suburbs, Duluth and the Iron Range, and outstate Minnesota.  Start hammering him in those districts like the election is already going, because it is!

3) Start beating up the Twin Cities Republicans on the issue they're most susceptible.  In the metro area, transportation is the MNGOP's greatest weakness.  Even if the voters in a metro area agree with limiting light rail, the metro area roads are woeful, needing immediate expansion and upgrades.  Republicans aren't about to start funding major construction projects in the Twin Cities on a large scale.  Since many of the GOP held seats have voters who depend on roads outside of their district, you can beat the crap out of them by asking, "Okay MNGOP, you're not funding metro area mass transportation projects, so where's the money to add extra lanes to (insert heavily used metro road here)?"  The earlier you start on this one, the better.

4) Start beating up the Outstate Minnesota Republicans on the issues they're most susceptible.  Broadband! Broadband! Broadband!  The MNGOP has promised full state broadband coverage and they've refused to follow through.  This session, they likely will only fund it for a handful of towns.  In every district they don't deliver broadband, hammer them on their failure to deliver.

With our aging population, outstate Minnesota is impossible to navigate for an elderly person without a drivers license and/or car.  A major initiative, which would solve a very legit problem and garner a lot of votes, would be a state subsidized, statewide expansion of a metro mobility type of transit system for the elderly and the handicapped.  Elderly people being able to get to the doctor, the store, or to community events would be a win/win for the DFL.

Public school K-12 costs is another major issue in outstate Minnesota, with some communities having budget problems just because a family with one or two special needs kids moves into their district.  The state should focus on a better way of funding schools statewide, making sure outstate Minnesota schools, AND the inner city public schools, have the same opportunities as the wealthy suburban school districts.



I'd love to focus on the environment, welcoming in immigrants, and health care of all, but those issues will not translate into outstate votes.  It doesn't mean you sacrifice those issues, just focus your attacks more pointedly.

The last piece of advice is the hardest.  We need to work harder.  The election cycles for 2018 and 2020 are officially underway.  Don't just fight the fight on social media, get active in your community.  Organize, inform and ATTACK!!!  These MNGOP'er are weak, and they pander towards racist elements which promote hate.  They've unfortunately won the battle of 2016, but we'll always win the war as long if we continue to fight!





Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Heretics

Modern Republican Christians ignore 90% of the Bible so they can embrace Republican political dogma which matches the, heavily distorted by modern man, and greatly edited and misquoted, remaining 10% of the Bible.  This validates, under the thinnest of religious veils, their claim they vote GOP based on religion.  They scream any Biblical passage, heavily edited or not, which corroborates their feelings on abortion and anti-gay politics, while ignoring the actions of the same Republicans as they deny the hungry food, the homeless shelter, the sick healthcare, and refuse to welcome in strangers from strange lands.  Let's face it, most Republican Christians seem to feel as if 'Love they Neighbor' is more of a suggestion, something to agree with when they're in a pew, but rarely elsewhere.

A few years back, I got into an argument with a Republican Christian.  It was around Christmas, 2014, and he was lamenting about how us not forcing everyone to celebrate Christmas, including all non-Chrisitans, was somehow violating Jesus' teachings, another sign of the 'War on Christians.'  This was also the year of the Ferguson uprising.  In the aftermath of that tragedy, 14 predominately black churches across the south were firebombed, destroyed in an undeniable, actual War on Christians.  I asked him why he wasn't far more upset about that.  He first insisted he hadn't heard anything about it.  After I forwarded him article after article about the arsons, he shrugged.  "That's a shame," said in the same way one might refer to a Viking's football loss.  This is when I began to realize how corrupted and broken the modern right wing Evangelicals and Christians had become.

Now we have them shouting their love of Trump, a character who IS a villain straight from the Bible itself, an evil figure Christians were warned to avoid, but the Christian right in this country has placed him on their shoulders and are parading him around.  They seem to have decided Christianity has been worshiping Jesus too long, and now it's time for Judas and Pontius Pilate to get some adoration.  They've become so obsessed with stopping a woman's right to choose and gays getting married, they've begun jubilantly worshipping a man who places money and power over everything else.  And I haven't mentioned the numerous sexual assault allegations against him.  He's the most anti Christian major party politician I've ever seen, and he's beloved by the Religious Right in America today.

This week, in the aftermath of the stunning, and terrifying, Trump victory, we've witnessed hundreds, if not thousands, of racist and bigoted attacks across America.  In churches, schools, colleges, parks, stores, restaurants, in big cities and in small towns, embolden racists feel a new age of 'White Power Over All' has dawned, taking their pent up, evil, and misguided rage out on innocents.  Has anyone heard the President Elect condemn any of these anti-Christian attacks which are being done in his name?  Nope, neither has the GOP, or the Evangelicals and right wing Christians.  This is the easiest behavior to condemn, atrocious actions, behavior more akin to the crowd who placed Jesus on the cross.  They've all been silent, and, sadly, many likely approve.  But if one of the millions of anti-Trump protesters gets out of line at all, I'm inundated with social media harpings from the fake pious, bellowing about how the left needs to be reigned in.  "Why aren't the police shooting them?"

I'll never take the religious bluster from any 'Christian' or 'Evangelical' who voted for Trump seriously ever again.  As a matter of fact, I've decided it's time for us to start calling them what they truly are, Heretics.  Merriam-Webster defines 'heretic' as "a dissenter from established religious dogma; someone who believes or teaches something that goes against accepted or official beliefs."  It was bad enough when these fake Christians ignored the vast majority of Jesus' teachings to validate hatred towards a particular group of people, or to validate a political party's legislative platform which made the needy needier.  This silent endorsement of the worst of humanity is the final straw.  They're not anything religious or Christian I've ever seen.  They're Heretics.

I'm Catholic.  One of the benefits of the Catholic faith is Saturday evening services, so last night, my family and I went to our church in Eden Prairie for the 5 PM mass.  Father Bill started off by addressing the week's news, and the feeling of dread over the country.



Father Bill told the story of an African American man, a US citizen, who lives in Eden Prairie, but works for the church in St. Paul.  This week, while at Target in Eden Prairie, a white male Trump supporter threatened to shoot him.  The loud gasp which emanated from the parishioners will stay with me forever.  Father Bill continued, talking about how at the next stop for this man, an Eden Prairie fast food restaurant, the counter employee insisted they wouldn't serve him if he was Somali, something they implied he had to prove he wasn't.  Another terrified gasp.  Then the man had a third encounter, this time getting pushed around by another Trump supporter.  Tears were flowing from the elderly women who sat across from us.  I felt the fire in my eyes, but held it back as my youngest daughter clutched me tightly, out of fear.

Father Bill had a wonderful sermon.  It talked about hope, and not allowing ourselves as Christians to wallow in anger and hate; to try to put the sadness and frustration behind us and move ahead as Christians.  It was at this point I felt large pangs of guilt.  I've described 95% of Trump voters as either racists or idiots.  Even though I have a hard time explaining Trump voters any other way, maybe instead of 'idiot,' I should've eluded to their Trump choice as being ignorant, but I don't think that's any better.  Clearly, I need to work on being a better person, a better Catholic, but even so, how do you describe the moon without calling it a moon?  A planetary body which orbits the Earth, glows white and goes through phases which present us with various waxing and waning views.  It's still a moon.  I'll work on it.

Father Bill finished up, got a round of applause from the adoring parish, and the service continued.  That's when it happened.  I started to look around the church to see if I could figure out who the Trump voters were.  They had to be there.  I wished I was watching to see if anyone was chuckling to Father Bill's story of racism in Minnesota, as the rest of us were emotionally shaken to the core.  There was one guy, a big fella wearing a red shirt who had a look of frustration on his face.  He didn't clap for Father Bill after the sermon.  Is he just not a clapper, or did he completely disagree with the church's lack of full Trump endorsement.  Underneath his frowning lips and furrowed brow, was he trying his hardest to not jump up on the pew and start screaming "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!"

I stopped.  I felt shame.  I was embarrassed and wrong.  My frustration at the Heretics was driving me into a bad place with my religion.  I held my daughter tighter, and when it was time to say 'Peace' to everyone, I went out of my was to be as euphoric and exuberant as I could, hugging my kids tighter and longer than usual.

Dear Lord, please don't let this get worse.  Please help all Christians realize your teachings condemn this racist behavior; that you preached against intolerance.  Please help us all, Christians and non-Christians embrace your mantra of welcoming in strangers from strange lands, and let us remember to 'Love thy Neighbor.'  Please help me, by not allowing my anger and hatred to get the best of me, and please let me learn from all this, so I can become a better man, father and Christian in the face of this adversity.  Please remind us love isn't reserved for only one race, one religion, one sex, or only for those with agree with us on a political level.  Please help us remember the most important race is the one we all belong to, the Human Race.  Thanks for all that you've given me.  Bless Father Bill, and God bless us All.  Amen.



Friday, November 11, 2016

The Friday Link for 11/11/16

First off, a wonderful Veteran's Day to all those who served.  From a fellow veteran, it's greatly appreciated.

Instead of making this whole Friday Link a crying, whining pity party over the election, I decided to only do one clip from the week's comedy shows addressing the shocking Trump victory.  It's not either Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers, both of whom had eloquent, passionate, emotional discussions of the horror of a Donald Trump win.  Tonight we go somewhere else.  Hasan Minaj is a great corespondent on The Daily Show.  He occasionally addresses his ethnicity in his 'news' pieces, but this time, due to his heritage, this new Trump world has a far more personal and terrifying outlook for him.  Hasan's take, which is from his broken heart, makes the Trump racism and bigotry very real, and very scary.  Click the link below the photo.




To lighten the mood, if you are going to have a maniacal system of oppression, leaving citizens in fear of the world they are living in, nothing beats the Spanish Inquisition.  NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!  Top five Monty Python skit; please click the link below the photo!



Hold your loved ones close, hope the worst doesn't happen, rest for the weekend and get ready to fight back and kick ass on Monday.  We have a lot of work to do...





Wednesday, November 9, 2016

W T F

WOW!  I never saw that coming.  President Trump.  To a point, it feels like people who, after watching the World Trade Centers collapse, kept saying, "it didn't seem real.  It was like watching a movie."  This is a very different type of American tragedy, but as I watch it, I feels like I'm watching a bad movie.

This is how I'm getting through my morning:


Thank God for her...

Hillary Clinton's political career is over, and Trump supporters are eagerly waiting for her to get hauled off to Guantanamo without charges or a trial.  Her biggest crime was she was 30 years too soon for this country to accept.  Then again, where the heck this country will be in 30 years remains to be seen.  This morning, my retirement fund is taking a beating.  Just because Trump was elected, my retirement is pushed back 2 to 4 years, and that's BEFORE any Trump economic policies are initiated (shudder).

What happened?  Thinking about it last night (I didn't sleep much) I've come up with a list of reasons on why Trump won, and although the analysts and numbers people might have some different theories, you can't deny all of these played a part; some larger, some smaller.

Before I get into the list, I've already heard from some Democrats starting to float the idea of a conspiracy of a magnitude I can't grasp.  Considering how many states voting systems would've had to be undermined, and how each of those states vote differently from each other, that's laughable.  Democrats in swing states just didn't show up (more on that in a bit).

Here's why I think Trump won:

Racism

Racism is indeed alive and well in the USA.  We all knew it was still here.  When you hear someone say, "Obama is black so racism is over," that's racism to it's core.  The root cause of the racism has changed.  Older racism was based on the incorrect feeling other races were inferior, and it still exists in the darkest elements of our society, but this modern racism is additionally fueled by our blame someone else culture.  You didn't get a job?  It wasn't because you weren't qualified; it was those damn Latinos!  You didn't get into college?  It wasn't because you didn't have the grades; it was because black people took all the scholarships!  You don't have any money?  It's not because you were foolish with your money and did't save it correctly; it was the Jews!  This modern racism is directly cultivated out of the resentment of the 1960's civil rights movement, and now it's gone mainstream.  Yes, racism is alive and well, and by cultivating the unbelievable racism against our first black president, and embracing the white power culture, Trump got them to show up and vote.

Misogyny

The comedian Patton Oswalt said it best last night on Twitter:  "What I've learned so far tonight; America is WAAAAAAAAY more sexist than it is racist.  And it's pretty F-ing racist."  There's a definitive sexism in America today, epitomized by WOMEN wearing t-shirts encouraging Trump to grab them by the P-.  It's bad enough this frat boy world has been legitimized, setting this country's fight for women's equality back 25 years, but to see women so gleefully root against their best interest is mind numbing.  They must really like that 75 cents on the dollar.

Idiots 

There's a incredible amount of Republican voters who are stupid.  They just are.  When they went into the voting booth yesterday, their only motivation was to vote against Hillary.  At no point did they actually think about what they were doing, because if they did, they'd realize they're idiots to even think about voting for him.  Much like the aftermath of Brexit, when Britain realized they'd voted for an absolutely insane idea, Republicans, after they get done with their high-fiving and their chest bumping, will start to second guess themselves.  They're the idiot who throws their phone into a lake, right at the moment where they release the phone from their hand, when the throwing of the phone seemed like a great idea.  It won't take long before the reality of what they've done sets in.  Here's the wildest part of the idiots; no matter what disastrous policies Trump puts into place, they'll always find a way to blame the Democrats, regardless of how out of the loop the Dems are.

Fake Religion

Evangelicals can now officially give it up.  There is no way I will EVER take your Christianity seriously ever again.  Your first God is voting against Hillary, your second God is voting against Democrats, and then you embrace Jesus, but only the parts which don't interfere with the GOP political platform.  He's the least Christian candidate I've ever seen, a villain straight from Biblical passages itself, and you proudly put him on your shoulders.  He likely has sexually assaulted women, his wife has a less than Christian past (remember when you hacks got upset because Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless shirt? I've got some photo's to show you!  Who am I kidding.  You've already seen them and you don't care!), he proudly bragged about grabbing women by the P-, and, until recently, he was facing charges of raping a 13 year old at a party thrown by a known pedophile, but he's the guy you think is Christian.  For goodness sake, he doesn't even know the books of the Bible.  You justify your love of him by saying 'everyone has faults,' but you never gave Hillary any leeway on HER faults.  Nope, you're frauds and I'll never take your Christianity seriously ever again.

Debbie Wassermann Schultz

DWS, by her pandering to the Clinton camp for a potential cabinet position, actively tried to make Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee, while she was in charge of the DNC.  No one was fooled by her claims of neutrality.  Back when RT Rybak and Tulsi Gabbard brought up their concerns, her vindictiveness showed me the truth.  Bernie hurt himself by not competing in the Southeastern primaries/caucuses, but her undeniable favoritism helped drive a wedge between the Democrats, which was utilized to perfection by Trump.

The FBI

The FBI went out of their way to make sure Hillary Clinton lost.  This whole dog and pony show about the 'new' e-mails was a red herring, a canard designed to make Hillary look unelectable right before the election.  Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Jason Chaffetz worked with the FBI to ensure the release of the fake information had the most effect, and FBI director Comey's Sunday admission was designed to make it seem like the FBI has done their due diligence, but his 'findings' were specifically released on the Sunday before the election to give the FBI minimal cover, while reaping the benefits of their fake allegations.

Voter Suppression 

You can't deny the GOP has masterfully thinned the ranks of Democratic voters by creating incredible hurdles for Democrats to vote.  They even bragged about it in North Carolina.  Today, victorious state Republican parties are writing new voting restriction laws to be passed ASAP.  This is going to get a lot worse.

Blind Allegiance

The GOP had a toxic candidate, someone who clearly should've driven the moderate and Reagan Republicans away from him.  They had very little national coordination of a get out the vote campaign, and most of their money was delivered via a handful of big donors who focused on ads ripping Dems instead of encouraging voting.  The Democrats had a less toxic candidate, a more effective level of national voter coordination and a succinct get out the vote campaign.  What we learned in 2016 is the entirety of the GOP will always vote for whomever is on top of the ticket, even a massive pile of orange crap, as long as there is an 'R' next to their name.  Every freaking Republican showed up and cast a vote for Trump; everyone of them.   The Democrats for Clinton?  Not so much.

Russia/Wikileaks

The Psy Ops campaign run by Russia and Wikileaks succeeded in its goal.  When Comedian Samantha Bee went to Russia and actually talked to Russians who had set up numerous fake social media accounts, pretending to be Americans to convince voters that Trump was a viable option, it terrified me.  It worked like a charm, and it will likely work for elections to come.  Any argument Wikileaks is anything more than an offshoot of Russian propaganda is moot.  The goal was to get an extremely friendly pro-Putin President in power, and it worked.  The US has officially been taken over by the Russians.  Can you imagine if this level of coordination existed between the Clinton camp and, say, the Chinese?

Third Party Candidates

Jill Stein and Gary Johnson individually didn't cost Hillary the election, but combined they sure didn't help the Democrats.  A lot of Bernie supporters and millennials felt as if they were being avant garde with their third party vote, like it was a decorative scarf or hot new phone app.  The reality is those votes, whether you consider them a sign of America's greatness or a stupid waste of an individual's voice, helped ensure President Trump.

The News Media

I hashed this out in the post 'Media Fail' (http://progressivecitizenx.blogspot.com/2016/11/media-fail.html).  Already, the news media is insisting they were very honest about Trump's faults from the beginning.  I don't think I'll ever trust traditional mainstream media ever again.

Clinton Supporters

I want to be delicate here.  I don't want to rub salt in the copious wounds, but we need to face a fact: Clinton supporters were too intense at stopping anyone from getting in Hillary's way.  The DWS anti-Bernie hijinks aside, Clinton-ians were over the top at times.  When rumors began that Vice President Joe Biden might enter the race (by the way, the only Democrat who could've won in 2016), Clinton supporters started an all out assault on his age and mental health, a vicious attack which focused on Biden losing his son.  The only reason they did this was to discourage his running, and to convince Democrats he wasn't a viable candidate.  I understand 2008 hurt Clinton fans, but the feeling Hillary should've been coronated without a contest was misguided, and hurt the party in the long run.

Bernie Supporters

This morning I was greeted by Bernie supporters spraying smugness across social media like they were the real victors last night.  This glee at Hillary losing, and it's a jubilant glee, embodies their secret desire to see Hillary fail first and foremost.  Now they are all applauding the house fire their country has become.  1) You might have been right about Hillary's electability, but Bernie wasn't a slam dunk either, and you're being jackasses, 2) I can guarantee your candidate next election will be a hard sell for me after you've shown me how loyal you really are to the Democrats.  3) You're not a bystander.  You're on fire too.  Let's see how you feel after the rights you've grown up with are taken away, likely never to return in your lifetime.  My guess is your smugness will decrease just a smidge.  Bernie supporters wanted Bernie to win, but needed the Democrats to pull it off.  There are quite a few Bernie-crats who never cared at all about the Democratic ticket, outside of a handful of candidates.  If you were more excited about the social media zingers you were going bandy about the day after the election, verses being angry about a fascist getting elected, you were part of the problem in 2016.

Democrats

One undeniable reality, Democrats SUCK at voting.  Even though Hillary will likely win the overall vote total, the voter turnout for Democrats in swing states was horrific.  I'm convinced this wasn't just Democrats who hated Hillary not showing up.  You're telling me the MN-02 Democrats hated Hillary so much they opted for Jason Lewis AND Trump?  Please.  This Democrat malaise goes well beyond anti-Hillary sentiment.  108,600,000 eligible voters DIDN'T vote in 2016.  With research showing the non-voters are overwhelmingly Democrats, it's not a big jump to say if only 10 million more people voted, Hillary would've won in an electoral college landslide, and Republicans would be lucky to have 25% of the US House and 30% of the US Senate.  I'm not sure what it'll take for Democrats to take voting in elections seriously, but we're about to test those limits.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF TRUMP FOLLOWS THROUGH ON ALL THE CAMPAIGN PROMISES HE'S MADE, CAMPAIGN PROMISES HIS SUPPORTERS ALL ENDORSED WITH THEIR VOTES LAST NIGHT:

Hillary Clinton will be arrested, without a trial, and locked top.  We're going to build a wall across the Mexican border which will cost us trillions, and no, Mexico will not pay for it, nor will it stop undocumented workers from entering the country.  We're going to start rounding up Muslims, throwing them out of our country for no other reason other than their religion.  We are going to start encouraging more nuclear weapons in more countries.  We're going to start torturing our enemy, and the enemy's families.  We're going to witness the end of NATO, and our world alliances, and our foreign relations will be tested at World War II levels.  We're going to have a government who'll consider Vldamir Putin's concerns prior to the well being of our own.  We'll see the end of US industry as Trump will encourage the shipping of the remainder of our industrial base to foreign countries, as they can do it cheaper.  We'll have millions of people without any health care options at all, as the ACA will be repealed.  Social Security and Medicare are also likely gone.  Roe v. Wade will be overruled by a constitutional amendment, which will allow wealthy people legal access to US abortions while the non-wealthy will be prosecuted for trying to attain one, even in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.  The Supreme Court will have unqualified, extreme pro corporate interest judges appointed, which will erode American citizen's rights for decades to come.  We'll have the national parks chopped up and sold to the highest bidder for industrial use and private vacation homes.  College will become A LOT more expensive, and only available for a select few.  Transportation projects designed for the public good will be scrapped.  Toll roads are about to become FAR more common.  Climate change will not only be ignored, CO2 fuels will be used at higher and higher levels as we opt out of our emission reduction promises.  The wealthy will not only pay zero taxes, they'll actually get refunds for no other reason other than they're wealthy.  Workers rights will be annihilated.  Unions will be outlawed.  The average American worker will make 10-25% less per year.  The US's economy will likely face a 2nd Great Depression, dragging the world's economy down with it for decades to come.  Gay marriage will be made illegal again, and my guess is there will be tremendous pressure to make the LGBT community itself illegal, forcing big government into people bedrooms.  Guns are going to be EVERYWHERE! And we'll likely have multiple wars, costing us thousands of American lives, and being waged at an astronomical cost to the taxpayers,

In 2018 and in 2020, it'll begin all over again, with every single one of these elements working against the Democrats, again.  Do we give up?  Hell no!!!  We have to accept the reality of the 2016 vote.  That's our punishment.  But I'll not just roll over and take it.  I'll quietly soak in this massive embarrassment, and prepare to fight the next fight.  Right now, hope is all the Democrats have got...




Monday, November 7, 2016

Media Fail

Every international friend I have has asked the same question:  "the US isn't dumb enough to elect Donald Trump, are they?"  I say no, and on this election eve, I stand by my prediction, but my wife did ask why they keep asking in such a dire tone, like they're begging for a loved one to not be sacrificed.  The answer is simple.  Media outside of the United States has actually covered the Donald Trump campaign as journalists should, rather than the US's clearly broken to the core 4th Estate.

No one exemplifies this dichotomy better than the Washington DC correspondent for the Toronto Star, Daniel Dale.  By doing a Journalism 101 basic, fact checking the statements coming out of Donald Trump's face, something the US news media doesn't do nearly as competently as Mr. Dale, you get a real gauge of who Trump is.  He usually generates between 10 and 40 lies, PER DAY!  Compare that to how the current Vice President, Joe Biden, had his 1988 Presidential run torpedoed by some mild plagiarism and a few lies about his school days, very timid stuff comparatively.  Contrasting the reporting done by Dale and many other foreign reporters, to what US citizens see, hear and read, you can only come up with one conclusion; our news media has failed horrifically.

The US news media knows scrutinizing Trump at the level they've scrutinized past Presidential candidates would've made this election a blow out by August 1st.  Instead, they took the path of glossing over Trump's character flaws, comments and behavior just to keep him a viable product on the national stage.  Trump's constant disqualifying lies aside, his extremely questionable business partners and financial mismanagement, his wife openly plagiarizing Michelle Obama (forgot about that one, didn't you?), his clear and disturbing connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin, his campaign working with rogue FBI agents to sway the election, his insistence he'll jail his opponent, his insinuating he'll ignore the results of the election, his numerous sexual assault accusations, his bragging about grabbing women by the 'P,' and the allegation he raped a 13 year old should've driven him from the race, but instead, the news media, even IF they mentioned Trump's indiscretions, shrugged their collective shoulders and moved on.  

Some news media personalities have tried to talk about Trump as a presidential candidate, but they're quickly shouted down.  Van Jones tried to critique Trump's insane policy points from the 3rd presidential debate, but was swarmed by milquetoast pundits, reporters and commentators, who brushed off Jones' very valid points as nothing more than 'Trump being Trump,' like it's a catchphrase.  Trump says something which should remove him from Presidential consideration, and the media treats it like it's Fonzie saying 'Sit on it,' or JJ Walker's 'Dyno-mite,' or Robo-Cop's, 'I'd buy that for a dollar!'



International media isn't trying to tilt the playing field to make Trump viable, so their reporting (the reporting my international friends see, hear and read) actually covers the real Trump, without trying to whitewash (pun intended) his faults.  Why is American news media so broken on this?  Could be they feel an obligation to the GOP, one of the two major parties in the US, to make their candidate seem legit.  Could be the media has been completely corrupted by conservative elements.  Could be they just wanted better ratings and a better story than Cruz, Bush or Rubio could deliver.  Could be they're controlled by their profit margins, so to ensure obscene campaign spending until November 8th, they purposely made this seem like an evenly matched contest.  Could be a little bit of 'all of the above.'

In the unlikely scenario that Trump wins, and the inevitable disaster consumes the United States (and that's not an exaggeration.  A Trump Presidency would damage this country to the core on many levels) there's a real fault to be laid at the feet of American news media.  The most die hard Trump fans will always swoon over the man, but the Reagan Republicans and moderate Republicans who've blindly supported him would start to come to grips with what they've done.  Their first excuse will be, "the Democrats were the bad guys for placing Hillary on top of the ticket.  If the Dems hadn't forced us down the dark road of Trump, we would've never picked him."  That's a bull crap defense, as the GOP had plenty of far less toxic candidates to choose from.  Somewhere down deep inside of the Republican voter, they wanted the nastiest politician available, so they steered themselves, intentionally or unintentionally, towards Trump Harbor!  Ironically, if Jeb or Kasich were the nominee, I think they'd probably be winning.



But if Trump does win, there will always be this hypothetical question:  if the news media would've just reported on Trump with half the vigor they usually use on Presidential candidates, would enough GOP voters have come to the same conclusion as the vast majority of the globe, that Trump's not worthy of the office?  They likely would've voted for someone else, saving the country, and the world, from a Trump reign.  The US's news media owes it to the American public to do their job, and in the case of Donald Trump, they've outright refused to do it.

The US news media already has their excuses ready to go in case of a Trump victory.  They'll insist they did cover all of Trump's scandals and lies, when they didn't. They'll insist they warned the American people of the dangers of Trump, but the American people ignored their reporting.  That also is a lie.  They'll insist they gave the same due diligence as Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star did.  That's laughable.  Daniel Dale is just doing Journalism 101 effectively, and most American reporters are not worthy of carrying his notepad.  The American media will scream, "it's not our fault."  It's not entirely your fault, but you played a major role.



The last time the American news media was anywhere close to this reckless was with the Iraq War.  Even though American news media insists they questioned the motivations of the W. Bush Administration back then, they didn't.  They were either pandering to the Administration in an attempt to get access and exclusives, or they were too afraid to do their job.  Regardless, it lead to an unGodly mess, which in hindsight shows us we need a 4th Estate to act as a dissenting opinion, asking the questions the American people can't; the questions the news media knows they should ask, but, in the case of the Iraq War, refused.  Here's hoping tomorrow we avoid another American news media catastrophic failure, one which would make the Iraq War seem quaint.