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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
July 30, 2016

WaPo - Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine - Coincidence?

The Trump campaign pretty much went along with the RNC's rightward shift when it developed the Republican platform. However, the most notable exception was with respect to the Ukraine:


The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Still, Republican delegates at last week’s national security committee platform meeting in Cleveland were surprised when the Trump campaign orchestrated a set of events to make sure that the GOP would not pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States.

Inside the meeting, Diana Denman, a platform committee member from Texas who was a Ted Cruz supporter, proposed a platform amendment that would call for maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia, increasing aid for Ukraine and “providing lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainian military.
July 29, 2016

Bernie’s Revolution – Will it be a Movement or a Moment?

Watching the DNC convention, I can see that most of those in attendance are excited and ready to get to work to try to realize one of the most progressive platforms to be adopted by a major U.S. party. The Democratic platform was in large part based on input from Bernie Sanders and his supporters. This is as much his platform as hers.

Yet, there is still a loud, but vocal minority of delegates who more interested in expressing anger and disapproval at the results. Think of Cornell West who was asked to participate in the development of the platform, yet he walks away and endorses the Green Party candidate. Or, you have Nina Turner getting 15 minutes of fame and then some in order to dutifully play the role of a Democrat still on the fence as to who she might support for President. However, expressions of anger without direction, purpose and, most importantly, only serve to make those who are yelling a part of the problem they are complaining about.

The question I wonder is whether Bernie’s revolution will ultimately be seen as a movement or a moment? Were Bernie’s supporters invested in his ideals, which have now been incorporated into the party’s platform? Or, was Bernie himself simply being used, yes used, by his supporters as a convenient vehicle for expressing rage irrespective of his policies?

Right now. In the midst of a Presidential election with a would-be demagogue running as the Republican candidate, the underlying issues of the election will get overshadowed. The protests themselves often get muddled and create confusion as to what is being advocates as was the case when you had TPP protestors disrupting speeches by Rep. Cummings and Lewis as they addressed the concerns of BLM activists.

However, when it is all said and done, will Bernie’s movement endure? Will Bernie himself remain engaged and continue to try to work to get progressive Democrats elected? Will Bernie’s supporters remain invested in pressuring Congress to pass bills that incorporate the Democratic party’s platform? Or, will they both retreat, disengage, and complain from the distance in elections to come?

In short, the real measure of whether Bernie’s revolution is a movement or merely a moment is where will Bernie and his supporters be during the 2018 midterms. That could be the pivotal year where a movement emerges from the background of a Presidential campaign and transforms Congress. In 2010, a CNBC/Fox inspired Tea Party halted the progressive trajectory of the Obama presidency fresh off the adoption of the ACA, saving the U.S. auto industry, creating a consumer protection agency, and adopting the Dodd-Frank act. Can Bernie’s movement offer a similar change in 2018 albeit in a progressive direction?

July 28, 2016

Michelle Obama delivered the winning oratory we Republicans have forgotten: Rick Wilson

Very interesting opinion from a Republican regarding Michelle Obama's speech along with an implicit put-down of Donald Trump's campaign.


As a Republican who pays attention to how the other side wins, I’ve spent a lot of time fighting to drag my party out of the stone-knives and bear-skins era of politics. America is screen-agnostic, and the accelerating future isn’t about destination television with Mom, Dad and 2.25 adorable scamps watching Family Guy in the blue glow of the widescreen. But even now, the power of a great speech can have real political impact.

In the age of Donald Trump and his shoot-from-the-lip, we-don’t-need-no-stinking-consultants campaign, his supporters are embracing what Tom Nichols calls The Death of Expertise. Field operations? Nah. Television and digital ads? Those are for RINOs. Data and voter targeting? They’ve got Trump’s Twitter account for that. Fed on a steady diet of revenge fantasies against the “elites” who won almost 1,000 elected offices for Republicans in the era of Obama, Trump Republicans are proud to be rid of the tools and techniques that won the White House.

As important, the post-Republican Trump party has left the ancient power of rhetoric and speech-writing behind. There was no cohesion or strategic underpinning to the speeches in Cleveland, and with a few exceptions, the Republican convention speakers were a hot rhetorical mess. Closing with a nearly incoherent Castroesque 76-minute shoutfest, delivered with the volume and hate turned up to 11, told viewers that the art of Republican speech-writing is in mortal danger. This was no shining city on a hill but a dumpster fire on a burning tire pile.

Monday night, the first lady reminded this Republican that a passionate speech with heart, poetry and grace is still one of the most powerful and effective tools in the political toolbox. It was the instrument of the speech itself that impressed me, not its politics. Even if you’re not a Michelle Obama fan, it was authentically her voice, beautifully crafted and strategically on point.
July 25, 2016

Trump doubles down on NATO pullback, slaps at GOP Senate Leader McConnell for second-guessing him

Source: LA Times

Donald Trump reiterated his call for the U.S. to pull back from its commitment to NATO and said the Republican leader of the Senate was wrong to ascribe the proposal to "a rookie mistake."

"He's 100% wrong. OK?" Trump said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "He's 100% wrong if he said that."

Trump shocked many in the country's defense and foreign policy establishment when he said Wednesday in a New York Times story that, as commander in chief, he would not automatically come to the defense of America's NATO allies if they were attacked.

* * *

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who had given a less-than-rousing speech in support of Trump's nomination at the Republican National Convention, responded by suggesting the remark showed the political neophyte's inexperience and the need for guidance from more seasoned lawmakers.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-1469369642-htmlstory.html

Any coincidence that a Russian hack turns into an anti-Dem disclosure?
July 13, 2016

Dallas tragedy proves a good guy with a gun shouldn't be the only thing that stops a bad guy ...

...with a gun.


“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Well, that gun lobby rubbish was again disproved in Dallas.

Twelve good guys — law enforcement men and women trained to shoot — were stopped by one bad guy. Five officers were killed and seven wounded. Two civilians also were injured before the bad guy was finally stopped by a bomb-carrying robot.

How many good guys with guns were there trying to subdue this bad guy? Maybe 100? More?

The bad guy himself, like so many killers, apparently also was a good guy, until he wasn’t anymore — until he decided to shoot white cops. Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old black man, had no known criminal record or ties to terror groups. He was formerly a U.S. Army reservist stationed in Afghanistan.
July 9, 2016

New Yorker - "The Horrific, Predictable Result of a Widely Armed Citizenry"


The killings in Dallas are one more reminder that guns are central, not accessory, to the American plague of violence. They were central fifty-plus years ago, when a troubled ex-Marine had only to send a coupon to a mail-order gun house in Chicago to get a military rifle with which to kill John F. Kennedy—that assassin-sniper also fired from a Dallas building onto a Dallas street. They are central now, when the increased fetishism of guns and carrying guns has made such horrors as last night’s not merely predictable but unsurprising. The one thing we can be sure of, after we have mourned the last massacre, is that there will be another. You wake up at three in the morning, check the news, and there it is.

We don’t yet know exactly by whom and for what deranged “reason” or mutant “cause” five police officers were murdered last night, but, as the President rightly suggested, we do know how—and the how is a huge part of what happened. By having a widely armed citizenry, we create a situation in which gun violence becomes a common occurrence, not the rarity it ought to be and is everywhere else in the civilized world. That this happened amid a general decline in violence throughout the Western world only serves to make the crisis more acute; America’s gun-violence problem remains the great and terrible outlier.

Weapons empower extremes. Allowing members of any fringe of any movement to get their hands on military weapons guarantees that any normal dispute—political or, for that matter, domestic—can quickly lead to a massacre. Our guns have outraced our restrictions, but not our imaginations. Sometime in the not-too-distant past, annihilation replaced street theatre and demonstrations as the central possibility of the enraged American imagination. Guns allow the fringe to occupy the center.

* * *

Once again, it needs stating because it can’t be stated too often: despite the desperate efforts of the National Rifle Association to prevent research on gun violence, the research has gone on, and shows conclusively what common sense already suggests. Guns are not merely the instrument; guns are the issue. The more guns there are, the more gun violence happens. In light of last night’s assassinations, it is also essential to remember that the more guns there are, the greater the danger to police officers themselves. It requires no apology for unjustified police violence to point out that, in a heavily armed country, the police officer who thinks that a suspect is armed is likelier to panic than when he can be fairly confident that the suspect is not. We have come to accept it as natural that ordinary police officers should be armed and ready to use lethal force at all times. They should not be. A black man with a concealed weapon should be no more liable to be killed than a white man with one. But having a nation of men carrying concealed lethal weapons pretty much guarantees that there will be lethal results, an outcome only made worse by our toxic racial history. Last night’s tragedy was also the grotesque reductio ad absurdum of the claim that it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. There were nothing but good guys and they had nothing but guns, and five died anyway, as helpless as the rest of us.

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