Russian Interference Matters Bigly, but Republicans ARE in Charge.

I agree in part with the notion that Van Jones seems to be giving voice to – progressives cannot let impeachment in and of itself be a policy goal of the left.


However, the Russian investigation should be important to the left and “real people” because we need to be very clear about how bad of an actor Russia is on the international scene and we cannot accept any known interference from foreign powers on our national elections, no matter how that foreign power sells it’s interests.  That is another reason why this investigation is so important, yes we have to get the bottom to what President Trump and his campaign did using connections to Russia AND we have to take measures to protect future elections from interference.

This can get cloudy for progressives, in part because of a successful propaganda campaign by Russians that have offered a mouth-piece via Russia Today to outstanding progressives such as one of my heroes – Thom Hartmann, and have offered support to third party progressives such as Jill Stein.

Here is a very short list we on the left (and “real people” who I contend DO have a capacity to want the US to have a positive influence on international affairs) cannot or should not forget about Russia:

 *It is a brutal oligarchy.

 *Slain journalists and opposition.

 *Annexation of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

 *Support of Assad when he was vulnerable to regime change in the later stages of the Arab spring.

 *Support of Serbian nationalism in the mid 1990’s.

My views on Russia are of course informed by my sympathy for Muslims and other vulnerable people within Russia and within the countries they seek to either absorb or influence.  And I think these sympathies, or their political polar opposites are exactly why many on the right-wing fringe can see Russia more of an ally and less of a hostile foreign power.

Having said that, this is where I agree with Van Jones.  Republicans are in control and they will determine whether or not those responsible for crimes, if any, are held to account.  We need to be there to support those conservatives of conscience and principle who do take governing and equal applications of law seriously, but until 2018 at the earliest, we remain at the mercy of the Republican concept of governing.


I just wanted to share this tweet as an example of how thoroughly the right wing tabloid press has wrapped reality with a 30 year negative campaign against the Clintons.  81 year old Peter Smith who was a Republican operative in search of damning Clinton e-mails on the “dark web” has become a focus of the collusion investigation.

Sadly, you don’t really have to imagine, the seeds of conspiracy are already being sown.  From Glenn Beck’s digital tabloid – The Blaze:

Glenn Beck


more on Crimean Tartars under Russian rule:

Russia Is Trying to Wipe Out Crimea’s Tatars



Russia has not taken kindly to this dissent. Russian authorities have shut down Crimean Tatar media. Russian forces have raided homes and mosques, and harassed and imprisoned Crimean Tatar activists, some of whom have disappeared or been killed. Russia has tried to block the Crimean Tatars from publicly commemorating the deportation and has even re-exiled Mustafa Dzhemilev, the Crimean Tatars’ political leader.

According to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, about 20,000 Crimean Tatars have fled the peninsula since the annexation. This is devastating for a people who spent 45 years banished from their homeland. Many thought they were done with Russia once and for all when the Soviet Union disintegrated and Crimea belonged to Ukraine. Few predicted that their nightmare would begin anew in 2014.

If the Crimean Tatars are to survive, Western governments must do more to help.




The Voters Spoke. We Chose Hillary. This Is a Good Thing..

That’s Democracy.  It’s one of the world’s best.  It is the world’s most important.  The process wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t categorically unfair.

This time California counted – at least if it was an overwhelming victory for Senator Sanders, but it wasn’t.  With a great deal of new Democratic registrants, Secretary Clinton won handily.

And for those of you wondering how, here is one example.  I had a conversation with a well known graffiti-removing Humboldt County Democrat yesterday and asked him for whom he would be voting for president.  He said Hillary and this surprised me because we are often on the same page politically.

When I asked him why he gave reasons with which I couldn’t disagree.   $15 minimum wage nation wide was probably unworkable, he didn’t believe that free college for all is necessaryily a good thing because vocational school might suit some just as well.  These are practical realities that I can understand and if those are your policy reasons for voting affirmatively for Hillary for President,  I get it.

He also mentioned that he thought Hillary was our best chance to beat Trump.  When I mentioned the polls that say otherwise, he said he didn’t believe them, in part because Bernie would be vulnerable to conservative attacks.

So as the short serendipitous meeting was ending and we were walking toward our lunch-time destinations I asked him if he had heard of Thomas Frank.  He hadn’t.  I recommended Thomas’ book Listen Liberal and told him it interested me because it was how the Democrats had become the party of the 10%.

He said he was part of the 10%.  I told him that makes sense.

I like and respect that person and his politics.  There were a lot of Democrats like him and many very different who wanted and voted for a different candidate than I did.  I respect that and now will work to make Hillary the best Democrat she can be.

If there is one thing I hope we all can remember about the 2016 Democratic Primary it is the map below (source NYT) where dark green means overwhelming Sanders victories, dark blue overwhelming Clinton victories, and shades of green and blue mean less convincing wins for each.   A couple of things about this map.  First, these votes are from  Democrats and/or people that should be within the Democratic tent.  Remember that during this primary there was a fight for the heart and soul of the GOP going on to, so the people voting in the Democratic primary are almost exclusively left-of-center.  This map represents people whose statements would not make you involuntarily cough up your drink out of shocking statement during a meal (with the possible exception of Democratic friends and family from West Virginia?).

National Map
From the NYT.

Secondly, this map does not represent voting totals well.  The largest population centers and their political power are barely visible.

Keeping those two things in mind, what this map shows us is a geographic and likely rural/urban divide within the Democratic Party.  This is something that may be just a coincidence of geography since Bernie did make his home in Vermont and Hillary joined a political force that was from Arkansas.

But I think there is more there for which liberals must pay attention.  Liberals like Elizabeth Warren have a message that will have to resonate with Democrats all over this country.  I still believe the divide between Hillary and Bernie voters is less about race and ethnicity than the media would have us believe, but Bernie’s liberal message clearly didn’t have the resonance in the Southern half of our Nation that it did in the Northern half.  At least in rural America.

I believe this is the residue of right-wing media and culture permeating into liberal and Democratic values and dreams.  That’s my hypothesis, we’ll see what the future brings.  Whatever it is, I hope those of us who believe in things like equal justice for all, universal health care, living wages, stronger Social Security, poverty which does not devastate children or adults, are paying attention to this map.

Continue reading “The Voters Spoke. We Chose Hillary. This Is a Good Thing..”

Hey, There is a Democratic Debate Right Now

Who knew?

When it’s over, or during the commercial break, check out this amazing fake Trump ad from Saturday Night Live.

Media-splaining Democrats and Socialism

I’m going to say this bluntly. The only person standing between a confirmed socialist who is calling for political revolution in this country winning the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, which has always been more moderate than that, is you.

– Chris Matthews interviewing (or mediaspaining to?) Hillary Clinton

There is so much to unpack in this sentence alone, not to mention the entire interview.

Let’s talk about 3 words that Chris uses to instill the view with fear.

a) Socialism:  When Bernie talks about socialism he is talking about a political system such as Denmark which insures workers are not exploited. For example, in Denmark, McDonald’s employees that get $20/hr.  Bernie is decidedly not speaking about Communism where adjectives such as “confirmed” might be necessary.  It’s simple and Democrat FDR would have understood this.

b) Revolution:  When Bernie talks about revolution, he isn’t speaking about journalists getting murdered in the streets, he is talking about a political revolution, one where money is not speech, corporations are not people, and the news is not infotainment.  It’s simple and Democrat FDR would have understood this.  Political revolutions are common in Democratic governing history and they include the SSA, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and the Civil Rights Act.  Bernie’s revolution is to continue to walk back the destructive Reagan Revolution – something we are only beginning to do.

c) Moderation:   There was nothing moderate about the reforms Democrat FDR passed that continue to help us avoid the natural down cycles of a free market system.

We still depend on the modern-state and worker-protection reforms such as Social Security, FDIC, et. that he and the Democrats were able to pass while the “economic royalists” did (and are still doing) everything they could to prevent and then repeal these.  Btw, the first Republican president after these reforms, President Eisenhower, also understood the importance of a modern state and invested in infrastructure like our highway system while maintaining a 90% top marginal tax rate.  Today, arguing for returning to these top marginal tax rates or protecting SSA programs or even Medicare is seen as immoderate or even unconstitutional.  This doesn’t mean it is, it just means the conversation has moved so far to the right that protecting and expanding common goals such as universal health care or paying for the maintenance of our common infrastructure now seems extreme.

So if you can make it through that first sentence of mediasplaining in the Matthews/Clinton interview you should.  You’ll learn a lot about the common-sense of the media middle right now and what is at stake. (Don’t forget this is the media that gets slammed as being too liberal.)

Thankfully Hillary didn’t take the bait as much as she could.  I think she comports herself well and I understand sentiments of hers like (paraphrasing) “rolling up one’s sleeves and compromising”.  Here is one example of Hillary pushing back.  Chris Matthews said this.

Can the Bernie people be taught—not him, he can’t be taught—can the kids behind him be told that this is how it works in our system?

Darn kids, we in the media gotta learn ’em good.  Secretary Clinton replied, in part, with this important concept.

People have to believe they have a stake in it, that their voices count, but then they gotta see results from their investment in our democracy. Our democracy has to work better. Our politics have to work better.

Yes, Secretary Clinton thank you, and I would add this.   Even more than just believe, our politics have to work better in having people actually have a stake in the results.

My question to both Secretary Clinton and for Mr. Matthews who mentioned a NDC mentality (November Doesn’t Count) from the sixties, what becomes of the middle when the right is made of up exaggeration, false narratives with the left as the “enemy”, and  outright lies and deception.  Isn’t the moving of the center rightward through obstruction and fabrication part of the game they play?

What can we on the left then do to prevent that strategy alone from moving the governing center when in the end the right does not even care if there is governing?

I would like to hear some mediaspaining on that topic please. Thank you.

Continue reading “Media-splaining Democrats and Socialism”