A Case Study in Fake News- Uranium One, The Scandal That Wasn’t.

The Uranium One story is a prime example of fake news.  It is a GOP talking point known to be false. That knowledge, however, is not very important to the Republicans, who have gone to great length to keep America talking about it this week.  The opposition has spent an awful lot of money to kick off the conversation.

The whole thing is a cheap attempt to shift the Russiagate narrative by blaming it all on Hillary Clinton.

As this was being written, the first news came back that Paul Manafort and his sidekick Rick Gates were indicted on money crimes going back to their Ukraine days. A jubilant Trump tweeted out a statement distancing himself from these activities.

But Mueller wasn’t finished. The true bombshell was yet to come.

It turns out that former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, had admitted lying to the FBI about contacts with foreign officials close to the Russian government who discussed “dirt” relating to emails linked to Clinton. He was quietly arrested on July 27. He’s been fully cooperating with the government ever since. 

This is why we’ve spent the week hearing about the Uranium One deal.

The relation of truth to a given subject is not a considered factor when we’re talking about the Trump administration. This story was manufactured conservative disinformation from beginning to end. It has been threaded back into the national narrative as a political countersuit against Democrats.

It’s just Trump’s old Manhattan real estate strategy in his new role as president. This is the political equivalent of a countersuit. The ghost of Roy Cohn has got to be gnashing its teeth in glee, down there in hell.

Joy Reid recently summed up the Trump strategy by quoting from the presidential debate last summer. “I’m no puppet. You’re a puppet”.

The idea is that to relieve the pressure on him, Trump will attempt to shift the nation’s attention and anger toward Hillary Clinton.  Accuse your enemy, of that which you are guilty of. The concept is called swiftboating. Its purpose is to scare Democrats into shutting up and going home. To make us tap out due to fear for the safety of our leader. “You leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone. If not, there will be trouble.”

This is the face of fascism.  Manufactured excuses. Rampant what-aboutism. Legitimate science is either discarded or adapted. It all becomes part of the new authoritarian ideology. It is then gradually dripped into the heads of the people by the likes of Boris Epshteyn and Sebastian Gorka.

This concept is not abstract, or something that only happens elsewhere. Companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Company, which is said to be in talks with conservative TV show host Bill O’Reilly, will be threading pro- Trump messaging into every aspect of television. Their virulent brand of right-wing commentary and so-called “classic propaganda” may soon reach three-quarters of US households.

Insofar as Democratic involvement is concerned in the U1 deal, there’s nothing controversial at all. It’s an attempt to shift the national narrative back against Trump’s enemies and give his supporters some new and soothing lie to hold on to.

The important issue here is why this ordinary transaction was cooked up into a scandal in the first place; and the troubling implications that it has for the future of American democracy.

As to the details of the controversy surrounding Uranium One, they are not very controversial.

The company is a subsidiary of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear technology corporation. In 2010, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State, Rosatom wished to acquire a majority share of Uranium One. In order for it to share in the control of uranium mines in the United States, the sale had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment In the United States (CFIUS).

Because the deal would ultimately place Uranium One in control of 20% of U.S. uranium production capacity, the transaction required federal approval. During the 2016 election campaign, Trump asserted that Clinton “gave 20% of our uranium — gave Russia for a big payment.” This is untrue on every level.

The mining licenses remained with U.S. subsidiaries controlled by U.S. persons. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed the transaction and gave its approval. All nine members of the CFIUS board voted for it with a clear conscience and say today they’d do the same again.

Uranium One does not hold the proper export license, so none of its uranium can be exported. It can never be taken to Russia and turned into nukes.

All the committee members have told everyone Clinton was not involved in the decision.

This “scandal” consisted of a Canadian company, the Northern Uranium Corporation,  selling a Russian company some stock in uranium.

The nuclear recycling angle, specifically the Koch Industries interest in the valuable uranium that comes out of them, is likely of tantamount importance here. The educated guess of one expert who spoke with Millennial Democrats under the conditions of anonymity is that the Kochs did not want the competition from recycled uranium.

Most likely, this was why they needed a reason to keep recycled uranium politically unpopular. They also needed a reason to keep Hillary Clinton unpopular. It would seem they put two and two together.

These two things have nothing to do with one another, but it proved easy to make it seem otherwise. This is where the slanderous spin on Uranium One came from.

This libel has no basis in any historical record. It comes out of a wingnut book called Clinton Cash. Its production was financed by an organization called the Government Accountability Institute. This is a conservative nonprofit founded by the book’s author, Peter Schweitzer. They teamed up with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon to conduct the research for the book. Billionaire Robert Mercer, the same guy who is still paying the bills for Breitbart News, signed the check on this one, too.

Needless to say, it has been thoroughly dismantled by experts.

The story was ridiculous and crooked back then, but its revival in the national dialogue at this particular time is troubling in the extreme. It means the RNC is willing to drag a private citizen into government affairs, for no reason other than to deflect attention from the truth. You don’t prosecute your political opponents using show trials and Congress in order to attack anything but the fabric of our democracy.

Going forward, the Uranium One slander serves as an excellent case study for the examining and reverse-engineering of Republican propaganda. There will be more of this to come than we can imagine; Russian ads alone reached over 120 million on Facebook this year.

By thinking critically and staying alert, however, we can spot these things as they come. We can dismantle them, dissect them, and lay bare their innards to the light.  In this manner, we will come to see how they work.

Then we hold them up as examples of the disingenuity of our opponents. Our job is to expose lies and bear witness.

There’s still a lot we can do. We still have everything it takes to fight the attempts of Trump and Putin at tyranny. The time-honored power of the vote can still save us. Make a specific plan for voting, and do what you can to get others to do the same. Once we take back the Congress, we can rid ourselves of Trump. In short, #RiseAndOrganize.

Russiagate’s First Criminal Charges Filed- The End of the Beginning.

CNN reported Friday night that a federal grand jury has formally approved the first round of criminal charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It is still unclear what the exact nature of the charges are, as they remain sealed under orders from a federal judge. According to “sources briefed on the matter”, anyone charged faces incarceration on Monday.

The Mueller team’s information lockdown has been total. This is coming out because he wants it to.

The DC federal court in which the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the Russia investigation was host to Andrew Weissmann and other top lawyers who are helping to lead the Mueller probe.

Reporters present saw a flurry of activity in the grand jury room, but officials made no announcements.

Regardless of who they indict, this is a move guaranteed to send shockwaves throughout the Trump administration and the nation’s capital.

Until now, the Russia investigation has certainly cast its shadow over Trump’s mutated presidency, but the danger has been theoretical. A federal indictment of anyone connected to the Trump campaign or the White House will turn that theoretical danger into hard reality.

The GOP has been up to something all week. Intensifying conservative criticism of Mueller’s probe managed to dominate the headlines for a few days. Trump-aligned media figures latched onto a CNN report that Clinton campaign officials had funded the creation of the Steele dossier, in a transparent attempt to discredit the overall Russia investigation.

Mueller is authorized to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s order. That includes scrutinizing Trump and his associates’ financial ties to Russia.

This has had Trump making all sorts of noise earlier this week attempting to frame the old news regarding the Democratic funding of the latter half of the Steele dossier as a breaking scandal.

It seemed like a reach even for the Republicans, and the Millennial Democrats team felt it was nothing but a cheap and obvious distraction. It’s like their recent attempted revival of the uranium scandal that never was. Or the House decision to have one last dance with Hillary Clinton’s old emails.

With so many actors involved in the crimes, it’s impossible to know who exactly might be facing federal authorities on Monday, but the name of Paul Manafort, at the very least, seems like a shoo-in. The New York Times reported in September that Manafort was informed of his impending indictment in August, during an early-morning raid at his Virginia home.

Last year, the FBI ran an investigation monitoring the communications of Manafort, as well as former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as part of the investigation into Russian meddling. Earlier this month Page invoked the Fifth Amendment, refusing to speak to the Senate Intelligence committee

Then-director James Comey had his employment terminated for his failure to help Trump cover it up. Trump denied this at first but later admitted it openly against the advice of his attorneys.

POLITICO has learned that last week, the realtor who helped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort buy the Alexandria, Virginia condo that was recently raided by the FBI testified before the federal grand jury in the matter of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Mueller’s team has also examined foreign lobbying conducted by Manafort’s old partner Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and others.

His team has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony to a number of others involved in the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya,  Donald Trump Jr and other officials from the Trump campaign.

It also came out on Friday that Veselnitskaya shared the information, information she thought would be disparaging to then-candidate Hillary Clinton, she was going to give the campaign with the Kremlin first. This runs in direct contradiction to statements she herself has made. In the past, she has stated she was working alone and without state sanction.

Three committees on Capitol Hill are conducting their own investigations, independently of Mueller’s probe. The competitive atmosphere is a given.

We wish also to extend our thanks to Robert Mueller. He looked tired and sad today. It’s got to be heartbreaking, having to watch a thing like this take place after a lifetime of good service. It should never be forgotten that he came out of retirement for reasons of sincere patriotism.

The struggles ahead are going to register as the greatest legal showdown ever to touch a courtroom. The best America has to offer will be squaring off against Donald Trump, whose billions will undoubtedly raise a defensive army to dwarf even O.J. Simpson’s Dream Team.

We have reached a major turning point. The end of the beginning has come.

Trump is said to have become unhinged today upon learning of the imminent nature of the charges. If that is any indication, the beginning of the end has come as well.

It’s important to place the correct median of emphasis on the significance of this event. This is fantastic news, but it won’t end the case by this year. A great deal of patience will still be called for.

Sooner or later, this will burn Donald Trump and the Republicans down to the ground. In the meantime, we’ve got to start preparing for the midterms. Robert Mueller has performed a great service for the people of this nation, and he’s got his work cut out for him going forward. So do we.

Unfair Hot Air and the Steele Dossier- A Great Big Orange Distraction.

It’s always a little sad, watching Republicans mangle the truth to get at some political goal. Even though we’ve come to expect it, they’re still leaders of the country, ones the public has placed their faith in. It will never be pleasant to observe their disingenuity.

This GOP tendency is the reason that much of the “new” information that recently got highlighted in the news regarding the Democratic funding of the latter half of the Steele dossier consisted of things we have known all along.

A source told CNN on Tuesday that the law firm Perkins Coie, as part of its representation of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the intelligence firm Fusion GPS and entered “into an engagement for research services that began in April 2016 and concluded before the election in early November.”

The infamous Steele Dossier, compiled by retired MI-6 officer Christopher Steele, has been the subject of intense scrutiny as of late by Special Investigator Robert Mueller’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2016 United States Presidential election, and the Russian interference in it. Millennial Democrats would like to thank the patriots who might one day have to sit through the viewing of that pee-tape.

Republicans are howling with unjust rage, but they are also scrambling to change the subject. The fact is that the Republicans were the ones who began the creation of that dossier.

Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with that. For one thing, it’s well within the boundaries of FEC regulation. For another, Donald Trump is a slouching corruption, a living personification of all the ills too much money can give to an intemperate person. Everybody knew it, on both sides of the aisle. We only needed proof and evidence.

Fusion GPS is a Washington, DC intelligence firm that in 2016 retained a well-respected former British spy, Christopher Steele, to research any connections between Republican candidate Trump and the Russian government.

The firm was first employed by Republicans during Trump’s primary run and later by Democrats to produce opposition research on Trump. CNN reported early on the Fusion efforts in researching Trump were first funded by Republicans. Democrats ended up adopting the project after Trump became the presumptive nominee.

In short, none of this is new in any way. Most of it we knew the same day the Dossier broke news. The GOP’s attempt to frame this as a breaking scandal is nothing but a cheap and obvious distraction. It’s like their recent attempted revival of the uranium scandal that never was. Or the House decision to have one last dance with Hillary Clinton’s old emails.

It’s just Trump’s old Manhattan real estate strategy in his new role as president. This is the political equivalent of a countersuit.

Accusations and insult are buzzing like hornets because some high-ranking Democratic officials did not have knowledge of the deal directly. Others chose not to make public what they knew, but so what? What did people expect them to do? Hold a meeting about it? Put it around on a memo?

After all the ways Russia has proved it could hurt us with information, it is only logical for our strategists not to be jumping around and shouting about anything sensitive, no matter how trivial. The process of compiling that dossier required secrecy and caution. Of course they would tell as few people as needed to know directly. To do otherwise would have been clumsy and stupid.

It is an objective fact that the Clinton campaign was well within the bounds of decency by picking up the Fusion efforts. But in the highly polarized atmosphere of the time, even having a decent bank account was something to apologize for, according to the radical left. One can just imagine how they would have howled had they known about this.

Also, we’d just gotten through cleaning up the mess made before the Democratic National Convention by a number of criminally obtained documents used against us by the cyber-terrorist organization Wikileaks. We didn’t know where the source of the leaks were, so we did what anyone sensible would do, and took precautions against giving up our strategies as ammunition to the opposition.

It’s standard practice in the fascist playbook to immediately accuse their opponents of whatever crimes they have just committed. For a ready example, how many times has Trump accused mainstream media sources of fake news?

The purpose of all that slander is not only to defend himself. It is also to obfuscate the very meaning of the term. Fake news refers to bogus articles put out by bogus Internet websites that exist solely to deliberately produce, publish, and promote fake news, e.g. hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real. It does not in any way refer to any articles produced by reputable journalists working for reputable organizations.

The facts surrounding the Democratic involvement in the matter of this dossier are actually quite ordinary. It is standard practice to find out all you can about your adversary in a political election. As long as you respect the boundaries set by the law and the dictates of conscience, you have nothing to apologize for.

What is not standard practice, is to receive that information from hostile foreign powers that want nothing more than to knock America down and take all she has.

Comparing this to what the Trump campaign was doing when they sent Donald Jr. and the rest to that meeting with Russian lawyers is like comparing what a surgeon does to Jack the Ripper, to paraphrase the former World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov. They both cut people open, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Fusion GPS is a United States entity. The man they hired to compile this data, Christopher Steele, was a foreign national originally from Great Britain, one of our closest allies. He is also a lifelong intelligence professional. By every standard, he has excelled in his chosen field of expertise.

This dossier has not met with refutation. On the contrary, we are finding facts contained therein, according to all sources. The sheer speed at which the revelations are coming has many experts believing that we’ve already got more than Watergate gave us against Nixon.

In the end, it makes no difference who paid Fusion GPS. The only thing that matters is the accuracy of the facts contained within. It is our task moving forward to help people realize that the slanders and insinuations directed at Democrats are nothing more than unfair hot air.

Stephen L. Hall, a retired chief of the CIA’s Russian operations, summed it up best in a tweet: “Still not sure why this is getting all the press play. Nothing new here.”

Third Party Spoilers- The Nader Effect.

The political atmosphere of America has reached the highest level of polarity it has seen in decades. Pew Research found that 50 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats find discussing politics with opposing party members to be “stressful and frustrating.”

This state of affairs has given rise to great unrest. In turn, that has led some to believe that the nightmarish 2016 electoral cycle created momentum for a third-party challenge in 2020.  It seems a likely year to successfully make some waves. It is not unfair to observe that a third party’s traditional goal has been to make waves in the United States.

In recent history, several of those waves have been tsunamis.

During the summer of 2015, the editor of Millennial Democrats found that a simple Google search of the very word “nader” would instantly direct you to a Wikipedia article called “The Spoiler Effect”, which since the year 2000 has also been known as The Nader Effect.

These terms are used to describe the ghastly effect third parties tend to have on crucial elections. The United States has now had five Presidential races in a row that were absolutely key. As a result, third parties have had the chance to do more and more harm to causes they claim to advocate.

They ruined us in 2000. They hurt us in 2004. In 2008 Nader was the most hated man on Planet Earth. And in 2016, Nader passed the Spoiler’s Torch to Bernie Sanders, eager as his 2012 Green Party successor Jill Stein was to secure that role for herself. Bernie and Ralph, of course, are old friends.

No third party has ever managed to get a candidate of their own elected. What they have done, though, is to pull off dramatically awful effects on major elections, and therefore the political foundation of the country. They cause the major parties real harm. They sometimes get them to adapt and to change. But much more often, they bring the candidates they have the most in common with crashing down. To the overwhelming detriment of everyone.

Third-party candidates can impact the national outcome if they capture just the right percentage of votes in the right states, which is precisely how Ralph Nader was able to do such harm to the Democratic Party in the year 2000.

He insisted, against the dictates of all reason or common sense, upon campaigning for crucial swing states such as Florida, the state that cost Gore the election, by 537 votes. As the Greens are a left-wing party, they compete for votes with Democrats.

For this reason, the 97,000 votes that Nader won make it clear that George W. Bush would never have made it to the White House without him.

GOP strategists knew it, too, which is why they were paying to run swing state ads for Ralph Nader in 2004, slandering John Kerry on his behalf. Nader, who has made a career out of complaining, was strangely silent on this repugnant issue.

Barbara Perry is the director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and co-chair of the center’s Presidential Oral History program. She made a crucial point last year when she said that Bernie Sanders supporters leaning toward supporting Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton have to ask themselves an important question: “Are you willing to accept that your third party vote may help someone you utterly disagree with?”

The answer, sadly, usually ends up being yes. Stein and the Greens were invaluable to Trump against Clinton. It’s essentially certain that why she was at that famous meeting with Putin and Paul Manafort was to discuss her party’s part in ruining the chances of Hillary Clinton. And Nader is said to have been secretly jubilant at the knowledge that he’d ruined the chances of Al Gore.

Revelations came out last month about the ways the Russians used Facebook ads to hurt Hillary Clinton. Politico reported last month that some of the ads explicitly endorsed Jill Stein, and Bernie Sanders.

Left-wing third-party energy is all but completely limited to out of touch white leftists with no real interest in or ability to organize beyond their immediate circles. They tend to adopt a fanatical and uncompromising stance on every issue, and they tend to lack diplomatic finesse.

They call themselves progressives, but this is a misnomer.  In order to call yourself a progressive, you have got to demonstrate you can make progress. That takes cooperation and communication. All or nothing will not suffice.

We realize there are good people out there who share many views with us, people who would like to be allies but not formal members of the Party. We would like to thank those people for what help and support they are willing to offer. But we ask that they keep out of our way.

Progressives of every stripe have got to realize that their best chance of seeing their goals achieved is to give all the support they can to Democrats. Those are the folks who’ve been looking after the people of this country, ever since Franklin Roosevelt passed the New Deal. This is why we have spent the last hundred years getting rid of all the racist reactionary elements out of our apparatus.

When Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he carried the South because of it. Lyndon Johnson continued to push through civil rights legislation, although he was warned that in so doing he would lose the South for Democrats for a generation, a prediction that proved more than accurate. Didn’t matter. It was the right thing to do, and so we did it. It was a big part of how Democrats became the People’s Party.

The next election is going to be even closer than 2016 was, in all these battlegrounds. The bitterly divided parties, the high degree of partisan and ideological polarization, and the people confused and bewildered. Moving forward, we have got to pour light on this strategy.

Third parties cannot work in the United States. What will work is to highlight and draw enthusiasm toward exactly what we’ve been doing. The Democratic Party is currently in the process of continuing our decades-long transition towards a nationwide, liberal, labor oriented coalition. We will not let ourselves be distracted from this goal by the pipedreams and fantasies of third-party Utopian dreamers. We have a good idea of where we’re going. And we’ve got a decent plan as to how to get there.

#WeWillEmbraceYou- Our Answer to Far-Left Hatred.

The cause of leftist unity suffered a disappointment on Tuesday, when Senator Bernard Sanders(I-VT)  announced that contrary to earlier statements, he will not be running as a Democrat in future elections.

In November 2015, Sanders made a point of making clear that in fact he would run as a Democrat in future elections, after the subject came up during an interview.

“In future elections, potential future elections, will you also run as a Democrat?” the reporter asked Sanders as he campaigned in New Hampshire.

“Yes,” Sanders replied.

It seemed to make sense at the time. Bernie has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the DNC for decades. But he does vote with us more often than not. The DNC has hoped that he would join us for many years.

Bernie Sanders was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990. He was not long in establishing the contrary M.O. that so alienated allies and colleagues, during his first year in Congress and all the ones that followed. The first indicators of what we were in for were not to be long in coming.

Sanders introduced the “Health Care as a Right for All” bill on March 4, 1993, in the middle of Clinton’s push for health care reform, because after painstaking research she decided that his single-payer option was not feasible. It was an unfortunate diversion, at a time when we needed total focus. This plan of Bernie’s has failed many times.

As a result, when the Clinton administration-backed Health Security Act, was introduced in the House on Nov. 20, 1993, it had 103 cosponsors. Sanders was not among them. At a time when every vote was needed, he abstained for all-or nothing reasons. And so, America was to need nearly another quarter of a century to start filling this basic human need of the people.

In 2016, it was more of the same. We held out a hand to Bernie Sanders and his followers time and again, only to be rebuffed. It was tiring and it was frustrating. 1 in 10 Sanders voters ended up voting for Trump anyway. It was hard to resent the time we’d wasted trying to convince people who did not want to be convinced. This is the truth.  Rebuilding trust has to start with an acceptance of truth.

The anger and despair caused by the 2016 election opened a door. The smear job on Hillary Clinton represented a quarter- century’s work and God only knows how many millions of dollars on the part of the GOP. They had long ago ensured there was no end of mud to sling. And trusty Wikileaks was always around to make sure there was no shortage of new ammunition, straight from the Russians like Kalashnikov rifles.

The last month of the Democratic primary was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division. That acrimony caused a schism in the Democratic Party that ended up not being fixable. It cost us the election.

That schism has been terribly visible over the last few days, when many Bernie supporters regarded an invitation to Bernie to join the Democratic Party as an attempt to force him out of the Democratic Party. It is not clear how to correct these sorts of misconceptions.

This rabidity and overzealousness on the part of a dangerously high percentage of far-left supporters of Bernie Sanders made for an extremely nasty cocktail of filth for Putin and the Russians to fling about on social media, amplifying their messages through a mixture of robot armies and highly targeted advertising. The campaign was more successful than even the Russians expected. It directly paved the way for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” attacks.

Since then, the gap between the Democratic Party and the rogue Sanders element has widened continuously. The 2017 Democratic National Committee chairmanship election between Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota was the first contested DNC chair election since 1985. It gave us a solid look at the discord brewing in the party.

The Unity tour that Bernie and the DNC undertook together was a disaster as well. Many Sanders supporters even went so far as to boo and curse our party chairman, Tom Perez, while on the tour. One reporter asked at the time, if Bernie considered himself a Democrat.

“No”, said Bernie.

And as recently as this month, Bernie caused nationwide outrage by accepting an invitation to speak at the 2017 Inaugural Women’s Convention. We did not ask for much, to remedy the situation, only that he publicly state that he’ll endorse in the future only those candidates with an ironclad respect for the reproductive rights of women.

Sadly, rather than fully embrace this long-hallowed progressive moral, Bernie chose to decline the invitation.

The pattern is clear, and it is widening all the time. The natural response on the part of most Democrats, who after all have been lied to for years by Senator Sanders, is outrage. This is only to be expected, but we have to keep in mind that more fighting will get us the opposite of what we all are after.

The author of this article struggles with this personally and is honest enough to admit it. Just the same, Millennial Democrats realizes the necessity of coming together. The only thing that matters, for as long as he’s in office, is getting rid of the maniac Donald Trump. We will therefore make a sincere attempt to put that behind us and offer a handshake. That is what the situation requires. That is what the lot of us owe our country.

The Sanders camp started a number of rather insolent and aggressive political organizations in the aftermath of the country’s heartbreak over the disastrous result of last year’s election. This is inexcusable, but also understandable. Everyone was really angry at the time, and pointing fingers is always easy. Everyone makes mistakes.

But even among these heavily radicalized organizations, there is one that stands out particularly for the sheer ugly brazenness of its slogan, a hashtag called #WeWillReplaceYou. This is another supposedly liberal or progressive group looking to take out sitting Democrats from Congress in 2018.

Instead of focusing their attention on the Republicans who are ravaging our federal government, they are instead choosing to pose a threat to elected Democrats.

This kind of idea goes beyond obnoxious. It’s actively dangerous. The last hope of the nation is that most people, on both sides of the fence, will somehow come to realize this. Acrimony on the left is exactly what Donald Trump and the Koch network are really after. We have got to perceive their strike, and pull back before it is too late.

While this squabbling goes on, the Republicans are halfway to passing the most brutally corrupt tax plan in American history. We have got to come together before it’s forever too late.

Both sides have now had ample chance to air grievances and get them out on the table. It is now time for us to move past it. Honesty is the only way to meaningful unity between the Sanders camp and real Democrats. We hear you out, you hear us out, and then we all shake hands and get back to work.

It is for that reason that we’ve decided to promote a counter-hashtag, #WeWillEmbraceYou. We don’t want to fight. One way or the other, this internecine war has got to end. It does nothing but rip us all up. The discord between our two camps still amounts to a quarrel between brothers.

So when they shriek at us, “We will replace you!”, we will respond calmly and say “Well, we will embrace you.” This is easy for us, because we are Democrats. The Democratic Party is strong. And the strong are always kind. It will come naturally to be magnanimous.

What it means to be a Democrat, is to be on the side of the people. All the people. Even the ones you don’t always agree with. In order to call yourself a progressive, you have got to show you can make progress. That takes cooperation and communication. All or nothing will not suffice.

At the end of the day, our message to our natural allies to the left of us is simply this- Even if you insist on wanting to be our enemies, we are still your friends.

We will not give up, on attempting to open dialogue with you. We will always be willing to work with you. Should you ever decide to return to the fold, you will hear no I-told-you-sos or recriminations. What you will find, is a dignified welcome, and a place on the bench. Please keep this in mind.

Tyranny and Taxation- A Budget Breaking Bad.

The budget plan the Senate just signed off on can be safely described as unpleasant.

Tax plans are confusing. They tend to be full of numbers and technical jargon. They give the gift of throbbing temples to most of us. But one thing, at least, is easy to grasp. This plan is legislative savagery at its worst.

As American citizens, we have a duty to stand up and oppose this criminal concept with all the force we can muster. If we do not, the same GOP Congress that attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of total nonsense is all but certain to approve it. This new scheme is pitiless even for Trump. Its implications are brutal.

Trump’s tax plan is much like his other policies. Ill conceived, worse planned, and terrible for very nearly everyone. It’s really more of a tax plot.

As expected, the plan would help the wealthy at the direct expense of the middle class. It will actively hurt the poor. It is also known that foreign oligarch investors, including many from Russia, will be the beneficiaries.

The tax break improves for each income level, meaning that the people who need the most help get the least of it. The top 1 percent would get an 8.5 percent break.

Many Americans will indeed receive a tiny, immediate tax cut, but in the long term they will end up paying significantly higher numbers overall. Better than a third of American taxpayers are living on levels of income that fall below their standard deduction and personal exemptions. According to New York University law professor Lily Batchelder, that group will derive no benefit whatsoever.

This favoritism to the wealthy will increase both their holdings and the nation’s debt tremendously. The richest Americans are the biggest source of tax revenues. Trump has no answers as to where we might find a suitable substitute for them.

The plan will do great damage to parents of school-age children.  The head of household filing status will be eliminated. They will lose the personal exemption middle-class families used to receive for each child. That means almost 10 million parents will see their taxes increase.

The Republican Senate passed a budget bill on Thursday that would cut federal funding by $5 trillion over the next decade. The people to suffer the most from these cuts would be senior citizens, the poor and the disabled. By the time it’s all been said and done, the only ones who won’t be suffering are Donald Trump and his hideous cronies. Good thing the religious right’s got indulgences for sale.
A 10 year proposal that would gut Medicare to the tune of $473 billion in cuts is on the table. That would devastate the finances of more than 55 million Americans.
One might expect such a large tax cut to produce a large surplus in the federal reserve, but such an expectation would meet with disappointment. The Tax Policy Center said that the Framework of Trump’s 2016 plan will actually increase the national debt by $7 trillion over the next 10 years.

A large debt increase of this type tends to stunt economic growth in the long run. When a country’s debt-to-GDP-ratio is more than 100 percent, investors get concerned. They demand higher yields on the nation’s debt,  increasing interest rates. Those higher rates slow growth. It’s the old question of risk vs. reward.

Trump’s plan will also reduce the U.S. gross domestic product after 2024. The interest payments on the debt will end up consuming a large portion of the federal budget.

That money will be unavailable for the public use. It will not be there for the building of infrastructure or other job-creation uses. It will also not be there in case of an emergency, like the California wildfires or Hurricane Harvey.

The administration’s plan is relying on archaic and outmoded ideas of supply-side economics. Under the guidance of this principle, large scale tax cuts are granted to big corporations. In an ideal world, these corporations would wisely invest this added capital into projects that create more jobs.

In the real world, however, the one in which Millennial Democrats is slogging through this article, this never worked out as it was supposed to. During Ronald Reagan’s administration, underperformance in this area led to the crisis we know as inflation. This was held up and exemplified, and given the name of Reaganomics. And that was still at a time when the highest tax rate was 70 percent.

These days tax rates are half what they were in the 1980’s. The results of pursuing a trickle-down economic strategy now would be far worse.

That is why those of us with sense enough to stand against these cuts must speak out. Loudly, and now. If not, then Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs will be gutted and burned. All so that the GOP can pay out a tax cut to the ones who need it least.
“This nasty and backwards budget green lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans. It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I think it will go down in history as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed.

Koch Industries has been working toward getting a bill like this past Congress for forty years.  The Senate has stamped their will with a seal of approval, bypassing Democratic votes and therefore bypassing democracy. “America First” is taking on a whole new twist.

 

Great Education, No Segregation- Controlled Choice Policy.

Conservative America has never given up on segregating the country’s schools. Donald Trump has given them a free hand to do it.

Think tanks across the country have been working out a legal method to do so. It is proving effective. American schools are more segregated than they were in 1968.

The privatizing of education has been their long term goal for a number of different reasons. Some of these are financial, of course. Education is a market of tremendous value. The private sector is eager to gain a toehold.

Conservatives believe shrinking public education will further their goal of drastically reducing the public sector.

The school choice movement in America has a lot to do with racism, which does not express itself the same way it did in the Jim Crow era.

The Republicans used to support our public schools. Theodore Roosevelt was a great believer in it. But after the Civil Rights Act, everything changed.

A plan to win the votes of citizens who favored public aid for private schools because they opposed school integration began under Nixon. Lee Atwater’s infamous “Southern Strategy” to get Reagan reelected in 1984 was a natural continuation of that plan.

Privatization also undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party. We saw this all over the Midwest in 2010, most notably under Scott Walker. He used a scummy, lousy back door bill to cripple the school system there. Libraries stand dark and empty. Music rooms have fallen silent. Art rooms that serve no function save the collecting of dust and wistful memory.

Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education who is widely perceived as being Trump’s worst Cabinet pick, is from a family that has contributed millions of dollars to the cause of school choice and unregulated charter expansion throughout Michigan.

Millions of our nation’s public schoolchildren will be adversely affected by her policies at the Department of Education. Recent studies have shown us that they are likely to have disparate effects on public schools that serve a majority of black and Latino students.

Voucher schools end up sapping money from the public schools. This is because they must legally accept, but not keep, any student who doesn’t suit their often-arbitrary standards. They kick the unwanted kids out, and keep the money budgeted to the school for their accommodation. These funds do not follow the child to the public school they are reassigned to.

Their education is to be paid for at the expense of both parents and the public system. This is one of the ways in which voucher programs divert much-needed public funding and students from public schools to private institutions that do not have the same accountability guidelines and that do not serve as many children with special needs.

By the time the vouchers and the charters get done cashing their checks, there are few funds left for public schools.

DeVos, in particular, has championed vouchers — publicly funded credits parents can use to send their kids to the school of their choosing Many of those schools are charter schools, private schools, or magnet schools.

Schools in less affluent areas are getting increasingly short-changed by the states and localities that fund them. In March of 2015, the richest 25 percent of school districts were receiving 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, according to the federal Department of Education.

In Midwestern red states, particularly Wisconsin under Scott Walker, the entire public school system has been gutted. This has manifested constantly since 2010.

During the spring of 2013 the ACES Xavier Educational System rebranded as the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System, and was alloted Wisconsin taxpayer money. This marked the first time state funds were allowed to flow to private, predominantly religious schools.

This is a clear case of the Koch network goal to bring about the circumvention of the doctrine of separation of church and state.  Every time they are able to gain access to federal funds for religious organizations, they tacitly gain legal recognition.

Likewise, leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. As with school choice, it seems innocuous enough. But actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter. And they can get the people of the state to demand it on their behalf, through the guise of things like protecting their cherished offspring from dreaded “government schools”- and the inner-city kids who attend them.

Matt Kussow, executive director of the Wisconsin Council for Religious and Independent Schools, estimates that between 130 and 150 private schools are “seriously looking” at trying to join the statewide program.

In 2011, close to 80 percent of the nation’s African-American students were enrolled in public, mostly minority schools, according to a report released by The Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The percentage of students majoring in education has dropped to almost nothing. The idea of holding a job as a teacher these days is becoming increasingly unpalatable in the Midwest and elsewhere.

The teacher shortage has gotten progressively worse, particularly in rural areas. Things have descended to the point where anyone with a bachelor’s degree can get a job as a teacher in Wisconsin. Nothing like mandatory classroom time or training for special ed is required anymore. It’s easy to get a license for life without tough requirements. Competence standards have lowered tremendously.

Meanwhile, down South in Kentucky, Republicans have been trying to bring racial segregation back to schools by getting a bill designed to regulate education in places passed in the state’s House of Representatives.“It will rebuild our communities,” he wrote in an article for in the Courier Journal. “It will, after four lost decades, reconnect those two things that never should have been disconnected in the first place — neighborhoods and their schools.”

The effect this so-called “school choice” bill could have on students of color is of such concern that the NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives recently called for a moratorium on any participating school.

Historically black colleges and universities(HBCU’s) were formed in the face of just this type of systemic discrimination.  African-American students were excluded from many white institutions, particularly in the South.  Alternatives did not exist for the future of their education. Choice was not an option.

Betsy DeVos, however, thinks they are a great example of school choice. She recently released a statement praising the schools for their innovation.

“They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

The system” that wasn’t working at the time was Jim Crow-era segregation.

DeVos was pressed during her confirmation process on school desegregation policies.Her answer was “I do not support programs that would lead to increased segregation”. The record proves clearly that the opposite is true.

Even for students enrolled in schools of choice, it’s not much better. In Detroit, kids who depend on Detroit’s problematic public transit are too far away from the state’s top-performing school districts to make attendance there feasible. And most of those districts don’t participate in the schools of choice program anyway.

This is no accident. It was created by an ideological lobby that has fanatically promoted free-market education reform for decades. At the center of that lobby is the Koch network, and the DeVos family.

This trend of heading forward to a devoid educational wasteland is deeply dysfunctional. Failure is being rewarded among students, faculty, and system. Opportunities for expansion and “choice” have proven to mean the reverse for thousands of children.

Moving forward, we have to examine and adapt working models to other parts of the country, and draw public attention to a logical plan that makes sense. As it works, there’s a wonderful and scarcely-mentioned alternative gaining momentum and getting results.

The Controlled Choice Policy began in 1980 when the Cambridge School Committee voted to desegregate the schools by moving away from a neighborhood schools model.

San Francisco has a city-wide controlled choice model with no school boundaries and algorithmic school placement.   The resulting educational diversity has created one of the highest quality urban school systems in the country.

Controlled Choice is designed to create diverse, academically rigorous schools with equal access to educational resources.

Research has shown that a student body comprised of the whole spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds produces the best educational outcomes. Both overall and for students at every socioeconomic level.

It’s genius. And it’s been proven to work already. The answer to the education problem has already been solved. All we Democrats have to do now is to make sure the people notice it.

 

 

End Discord Among Democrats, Bernie- Join Us, or Don’t.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. It all comes down to that. Everything he does makes perfect sense, once you’ve considered that he isn’t on our side.

A great deal of the blame for what happened in 2016 can be attributed to that fact. The primary started out well enough. Both sides were respectful and willing to dialogue. Both agreed that they had more in common than not, and that the entire thing basically amounted to a quarrel between brothers. We had a passionate, issues-focused, ideologically driven primary. It exemplified all that is right with the American political system. Everything was going fine.

Then Bernie started losing.

April was the turning month. On the seventh, he reviled Hillary Clinton in a speech in Philadelphia, calling her “unqualified” to be President, a blatantly sexist and stupid thing to say. It drew him a monstrous backlash from across the country, and from that day forward things began to change.

Bernie himself walked back from the comments. And many of his supporters refused to sign on with them. But many others, most notably the members of Bernie or Bust, followed their leader out too far and burned their bridges. That caused a schism in the Democratic Party, and things were not to improve.

As the weeks went by, things got worse for Bernie nearly every Tuesday. The delegate count and the popular vote were against him after Super Tuesday, and it just kept getting worse. By the time May rolled around, it was all but mathematically impossible for the Sanders campaign to prevail. It had been a good fight, but barring an unforeseen tragedy he was lost.

The best thing for the party, and for the country, would have been for Bernie to concede the race by June. Had he spent his time as vigorously campaigning for Hillary Clinton as he had for himself, things may well have worked out differently. As it went, by the time he finally gave his endorsement, far too much had happened.

The story of sensitive e-mails suggesting that Debbie-Wassermann- Schultz and Bernie did not like each other turning into an anti- Sanders conspiracy in the minds of his devotees has by now become legendary. They rioted in the streets while Paul Simon was playing “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.

Their attitude was a giant wet blanket on the enthusiasm of the general election, which was almost anticlimactic after the primary. There was nothing unexpected. Clinton and Trump were polar opposites; everybody knew what they were getting. But many in the Sanders camp persisted in drawing false equivalencies.

On Election Day, the former supporters of Bernie Sanders went around saying, “Hold your nose to the polls!”.

The day after the election, Bernie was trending on Facebook. Everyone was talking about whether Bernie could have won. Anyone who watched last night’s debate with Ted Cruz should be wondering no longer. It was a slaughter. Trump would have taken Bernie to the cleaners.

Since then, the gap between the Democratic Party and the rogue Sanders element has widened continuously. The 2017 Democratic National Committee chairmanship election between Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota was the first contested DNC chair election since 1985. It gave us a solid look at the discord brewing in the party.

For more than a year, real Democrats have been asking our leaders to deal with this matter, in no uncertain terms. It’s dangerous to be in a trench with people who are trying to kill you. The time has come to settle the issue.

This is why the DNC has offered a formal invitation to Bernie Sanders to join the Democratic Party. It’s time we all knew which side we were on. If you are one of us, then say so, and we’ll start burying the hatchet. If you are not, then form your own party. One way or the other, this internecine war has got to end. It does nothing but rip us all up.

The DNC has also announced its picks for the DNC’s at-large positions ahead of this week’s fall meeting in Las Vegas. The party’s new slate of at-large delegates is reflective of reality. The radical left elements in our party have seen themselves ousted, and replaced with personnel who are both competent and loyal. Millennial Democrats is happy to welcome back Donna Brazile.

The beneficiaries of all this infighting have been the Republicans and Donald Trump. The man is insane and also a billionaire. We have got our hands as full as we can handle. We can fight a war on two fronts, if we have to, but we cannot fight one from within. Join us or don’t, Senator Sanders. We’ve all got work to do.

 

The Tangled Tale of Tulsi Gabbard- Progressive Phony.

The giant circus that the 2016 election cycle became, and the second Dark Ages that has followed it, is a time that’s seen a great many attempts to effect  the altering of the meaning of time- honored positives. Words like “Facts”, “Truth, and Justice” have all had their turn in the mud bath. However, when it comes to sheer brazen abuse of a term, “Progressive” may have taken the deepest dive of all- especially in the matter of the Hawaiian Representative, Tulsi Gabbard.

Hence, the old Sanders wing of the party is suddenly quite vocal about selecting as their champion Tulsi Gabbard, a politician who has come to embodify misguided attacks by so-called progressives on the so-called liberal elite. In point of fact, however, the evidence indicates quite otherwise. Tulsi Gabbard does not act like a progressive darling

Her voting record, world view, and connections resemble much more closely a resume, tailor- made to be both barely acceptable to the leaders of the Democratic Party, and a perfect Libertarian plant. The organization Progressive Punch is a searchable database of Congressional voting records, from the perspective of the far left. They gave Bernie Sanders an A, for his lifetime support of progressive causes. Tulsi Gabbard got an F. 

The tangled tale of Tulsi Gabbard makes most sense, if you consider the possibility she might really be a carefully cultivated mole, used to leak data to our enemies. It would be clear that she makes for a powerful pivotal point strategically. The far right has often been able to use her voice and power to manipulate the far left. Stirred up radicals often end up signing off on very bad ideas. Anytime they need their opposites to go along with some plot they’re cooking up, they give the job to Tulsi. Her views are often much more in line with the conservative end of our spectrum, as exemplified by her trip to Syria recently and her unending support of Assad. 

Take the DNC mole. President Obama admitted that he had no intelligence on how Wikileaks got ahold of the Podesta emails whose release caused the supporters of Bernie Sanders to riot in the streets of Philadelphia. But a man named Chris Murray, a former British ambassador, had claimed that days earlier, a high ranking DNC member, said to be “disgusted” by the supposed favoring of Hillary Clinton by the DNC, had actually been the one to leak those emails, to him.  At this time, Tulsi Gabbard held the position of Deputy DNC Chairman. She resigned in a huff. 

Then, all of a sudden, the hacking started, and sensitive data ended up in the hands of the Russian-controlled WikiLeaks. She knew the access codes and she knew the setup.  She had a clear motive for wanting material on Clinton leaked. She has had a long-standing love affair with Syrian president Assad and with Putin, and reviled Clinton’s Syria policy with all her might, but to oppose her flat out, as a Republican, would have been suicidal due to the political climate of her home state Hawaii. This must have made the endorsement of Bernie Sanders a cheap and lightweight solution.

Neither her policies nor her personnel suggest any affiliation with the ideology of Bernie Sanders- but by endorsing someone with whom she largely disagreed on policy (and didn’t have to worry about winning), she won the unyielding adulation of his followers. And by meeting with Donald Trump on her own initiative, mere weeks after his upset of Hillary Clinton, she assured herself the undying love of the #NeverHillary branch of the Sanders wing. 


One angry supporter of Bernie Sanders wrote the following nonsense on 7/23/17, on a thread discovered on Facebook. 
“No REAL progressive is gonna vote for more of the Clinton style, corporate special interest, Big Bank donor loving, false progressive garbage. Yet…here are the Democrats showing us early on that they haven’t changed. Ready for a repeat of 2016? Personally…I will work to expose and destroy the hopes of any candidate that the DNC tries to ram down our throats again by using Super Delegates and closed Primaries…and any candidate who remained silent against the DNC’s attack on our Democracy by rigging the election against Bernie Sanders. #Sanders/Gabbard2020 #Gabbard/Turner2020
This same man later went on to beg and plead for unity among the former supporters of Sanders- so that they will have greater success in attacking not Republicans, but Democrats. Mentioned at the spearhead of this assault on their fellows in the left, is always one name- Tulsi Gabbard. 

Ironically, Gabbard is a member of the Democratic Party. She has been the United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013. She was also a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned to endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary. 


This primary was one of the most acrimonious and bitter races in history, and no one did more to make it so than did this Hawaiian representative. The real question, however, is why? What would make it so appealing to someone, to consistently act against the interests of their own party? Wouldn’t that mean they were acting against their own interests, too? 


Merriam- Webster defines the term “political operative” as a person who does secret work for a government or political organization. And no one can deny that the resume of Ms. Gabbard would be ideal for one. Although her personality and policies are very much against the grain of the usual progressive agenda, there can be no doubt that on the surface, she is a diverse and fascinating candidate. She is the first American Samoan elected to Congress. She was the first elected Hindu (she took her oath of office on the Bhagavad- Gita) and one of two female combat veterans to join Congress in 2013. At that time, at age 31, she was also the youngest female member of the Congress.

So far, so good. And yet, for all these fantastic leftist qualifications, she gives the Democratic Party more trouble than does many a Republican. There are several reasons for this. Gabbard often sounds more like a hawkish Republican than a potential future Democratic leader. She repeatedly blasted Obama for failing to talk about “Islamic extremism”– a phrase very similar to the pet phrase of Donald Trump. 

Perhaps we can find a clue into the peculiar politics of this enigmatic woman, by examining her father. Even upon taking the most cursory glance at him, Hawaii state Senator, former Republican and anti-gay activist Mike Gabbard is a man who has had to do a lot of reforming. The elder Gabbard has made a career out of evasion. With reporters, with constituents, and with pretty much everyone except his daughter and his old cronies from the days of Chris Butler’s (Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, also known as #SwamiSalami) Hare Krishna cult. 

Of course, it’s predictable that he would be wary of the media. Even Googling “Mike Gabbard” will lead you to a seemingly endless series of negative stories. It seems clear there are many questions that he doesn’t want to answer. Specifically, he has been reticent on those queries concerning his ties to the aforementioned swami. The Butler cult has built a shadowy and global organization that according to some numbers in the tens of thousands, and the Gabbards are its most public and conspicuous members. 

This splinter group has given rise to a number of political candidates over the past 30 years. And two of Tulsi’s most important campaign staffers came from her father’s organization’ . Those questions must be especially touchy during election seasons, when much of his political support and money comes from Christian conservatives. 

No one should have to be held accountable for the political views of their parents. But Tulsi Gabbard’s political connections to her father go far beyond the family relationship. Despite her recent claims to socially-progressive views, the pattern established by examining her staffers and donors makes much more sense when viewed as a conservative family network than the product of more regular Democratic fundraising efforts.

In fact, according to one list of major contributors to the Tulsi Gabbard campaign, published by DailyKos in 2012, Democratic donors were actually exceptions on this list.  Many of these people have not donated to campaigns other than Mike Gabbard’s Congressional campaign, or Richard Reed’s Senate campaign, both as Republicans. Reed’s Senate campaign was allegedly connected to both the Gabbards’ and to Butler’s religious group. 

The plot continues to thicken and grow stranger. A website called the Cult Education Institute has a thread on Tulsi Gabbard and her activities and connections with Chris Butler that is literally hundreds of pages long, and provides links to a stultifying wealth of articles and other information. It should be, and is, pointed out that much of it is unverifiable. However, a great deal of it is very verifiable. And the sheer amount of it alone is suggestive. One would be hard-pressed to find another politician anywhere on the nation’s entire political coastline with such a bewildering array of data arraigned against them. The process of vetting candidates means that if you’ve got 100 pages of cult websites detailing your activities, you’re not going to make it through.

So what does it all mean? Where are they going, with all of this? A look at the politics of Hawaii might be of use in this context. The Democratic Party has had a long reign in Hawaii. Some of it comes from the popularity of the labor movement there in the 20th century, and the efforts of the Hawaii Democratic Party to push for greater inclusivity of the electoral base have traditionally been venerated. These factors have combined to earn Democrats near-complete control of the state legislature. But such an extended period of dominance has been resulting in increased voter apathy and increased factionalism within the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

This apathy is what led Mike Gabbard to try and challenge Democratic incumbent Ed Case in 2004. The elder Gabbard, known for his virulent anti-gay crusade in the 1990s, was attempting to overturn the status quo and win as a Repulican the race to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. Unfortunately for him, that virtually no one could have won this way. At that time, a reporter for Honolulu Magazine requested an interview on the Chris Butler ties, which prompted the following rejoinder from Tulsi.
 “I smell a skunk,” she emailed back. “It’s clear to me that you’re acting as a conduit for … homosexual extremist supporters of Ed Case!”

The Democrats held the day, in 2004, and the star of Mike Gabbard was soon to wane, but that of his daughter was on the rise. And by 2013, the situation was very different. A schism was forming in the larger Democratic Party of America that was similar to the one in Hawaii. In the absence of a super-villain like one of the Bushes, Democrats were starting to divide into the camps now roughly labeled “liberal” and “progressive”. 
Around this same time, public awareness began growing toward an occuring trend that is still reshaping the entire scale of political spectrum. The far left began linking up with the far right, unbeknownst to nearly everyone, in a plot to manipulate the national dialectic into demanding a third party.

The left and the right have often historically converged when a common friend or foe suits both of their needs, usually for different reasons. This is known as the Horseshoe Theory, and as far as Congressional Democrats go, nobody seems to personify this more than Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard. We are in the middle of watching nothing less than a full-fledged attempt at a Libertarian revival.

On the Issues, a non-partisan informational website that rates and categorizes lawmakers and candidates, describes Tulsi Gabbard as a “Libertarian-Leaning Progressive” based on her voting record. 

Progressives are not the only ones in love with Tulsi Gabbard, and the way she constantly does numbers on Democrats. The Hill reported that it was Steve Bannon who arranged the November meeting between the new president-elect and the Hawaiian congresswoman. “He loves Tulsi Gabbard. Loves her,” a source familiar with Bannon’s thinking told The Hill. “Wants to work with her on everything.” 

Following their meeting, many speculated that Gabbard might receive an appointment in Trump’s cabinet, a move that appeared to excite many Trump supporters. It seems clear that this was rejected because of the toxic effect this would have had on Tulsi’s ability to get progressives to follow her blindly. That would have blown years of hard work. 

Her political record viewed as a whole gives one the eerie impression that it was tailor-made to be borderline acceptable to the Democratic hierarchy, while actually placing her much more closely in line with the Koch brothers brand of libertarianism, an experiment that failed back in the 1980’s, but whose adherents have never really abandoned. Googling “tulsi gabbard libertarian” will lead you to an entire galaxy of Libertarian newspapers, each singing her praises more fervently then the last.

BeingLibertarian.com eagerly lists us off all the reasons why Gabbard 2020 is a shoo-in, with a headline saying “Democrat Tulsi Gabbard Will Likely Be Next President. 

ALibertarianFuture.com also goes to great effort to laud Tulsi for her willingness to work against Democratic interests, in this article explaining that Libertarian hero Rand Paul introduced Tulsi Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Act in the Senate. 

Libertarian Christians sing her praises even louder, with these next words being a direct quote from the article. “Thank you, Mrs. Gabbard, for having the courage to tell the truth. I don’t have to share your ideology to share your human conscience. You are seeing through the double-bind foreign policy trap of our bipartisan war policy: Satan casting out Satan.
In today’s world, people who consider the United States satanic tend to be receiving money from Russia. But even aside from that, it makes you wonder how such a high-powered chameleon ended up with a reputation for being an uncompromising progressive. An examination of her recent polling trends reveal she’s doing very nearly as well among people of both parties, and this is extremely troubling given the extreme and total decency gap existing between them. The Democrats gave us Obama. The Republicans gave us W. Bush and Trump.

Jacobin Magazine, long regarded as one of the most professional and serious left wing magazines out there, recently did an article on all this. They gave it the headline, “Why Tulsi Gabbard isn’t your Friend.” And there it all was. The whole tangled web. Tulsi Gabbard is the all-purpose fishing lure being trotted out by the people so carelessly trying to realign the national power structure in their interest. She’s got something for everyone, and all of it is dishonest.

Modern Indulgences- Trump and the Religious Right.

At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right declared itself for Trump, with great enthusiasm and thunderous applause. Trump went on one of his rants about saying Merry Christmas, and the crowd went wild.

This is a travesty, and a hard to understand one. This president is the antithesis of every religion’s value systems, all of which emphasize right living and a connection with a higher power. Trump is a sack of walking debauchery. Christmas will not be merry at all, until he’s been shown the White House door. Neither will Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday.

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference, held in Washington, D.C. for ultra- conservative operatives and elected officials from across the United States.The president was received there as a conquering hero, especially after declaring that there’s been a War on Christmas going on all this time, and that it has just been won.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that if the president wanted to win an imaginary war, he might have invested some of his billions into an X-Box.

Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, who both were fired from the White House due to their virulent extremism, were both present, and both out for blood. “There is a time and season for everything,” said Bannon. “And right now, it’s a season for war against a GOP establishment.” The whole event was a fraud. That’s a room full of people at war with itself.

This is the bill being presented to the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. The alt-right is a golem, called forth to do the bidding of a small and shrinking group of men. And like any golem worth its salt, it has risen to consume its masters.

These are the fruits of the policies that the Conservative Coalition started. This term refers to an unofficial, Tea-Party like outfit in the U.S. Congress that existed between the 1960’s and 1990’s. Its goal was to bring together the Northern Republicans and the minority of Southern Democrats who were incapable of changing with the times.

The term became obsolete once there weren’t any Democrats left; we showed the door to the reactionary and bigoted elements of the Democratic Party long ago. The philosophy and approach lived on, however, and seems to be making an unfortunate comeback.

Many people think this way of doing business came largely to an end with Jerry Falwell’s declaration to end the Moral Majority in 1989, declaring under George H.W. Bush that their goals had been achieved. It didn’t. It just shifted gears and chose a new name.

Since then, America has continued watching the process of one of its political parties drained utterly of mercy and benevolence. This has never been so clear as since Trump took office.

Over this last year, the Republicans have proposed legislation to destroy unions, the healthcare system, and the education system. The Environmental Protection Agency was placed in the charge of Oklahoma’s former attorney general, Scott Pruitt, a man who has spent his entire life opposing it.

They want to defund Planned Parenthood, they want to restrict abortion. Legislature has been proposed in sixteen states to stifle public protest. Increased risk of violence against transgender persons and other at-risk groups are the inevitable result of a roll back of anti-discrimination laws, but they do not seem to hold this important.

What they do hold important is to funnel wealth from the poorest to the richest. Their desire seems to be to roll back the clock arbitrarily, to a time that most of us are very glad is past. All of this is being done with the full support and sanction of the religious right, who are making big bank too.

This is why they were so happy to see the election of Donald Trump. They knew he would be good for their finances. Franklin Graham at the time said that he was convinced it was the “hand of God that got Donald Trump elected. Not Wiki-leaky, or anything else. The hand of God”.

The finances of the people who make up their congregations were not considered. Even the ability of those people to receive basic health care and keep breathing was ignored, as none of them were heard protesting Trump’s decision to gore Obamacare. The disgraceful examples set by Trump, i.e. greed, profligacy, nepotism, corruption, etc. were shown a blind eye also. Even the infamous “Grab em” tape in which he blatantly proves himself a sex offender didn’t do the trick. All of it was ignored.

One thing only was taken into account- their plan to lay waste the First Amendment, with its insistence on enforcing the separation of church and state.

Leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. It seems innocuous, but actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter.

This is why they’ll forgive Trump anything. It’s why Franklin Graham attributed his victory to the Hand of God, and not “Wiki-leaky, or anything else”.

The way the whole thing works out is markedly similar to the historical sale of indulgences, where corrupt priests caused an entire Reformation, selling God’s permission to live licentiously to the rich. Wow. In the meantime, we’re to start saying Merry Christmas again, but one wonders what Christ might think.

It’s all being made possible by Donald Trump, which is why they’ll forgive him anything. Martin Luther must be turning over in his grave, to see Protestants selling indulgences. The whole operation drags the spirit of the church through the mud like nothing since the Spanish Inquisition.

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before,” President Donald Trump said on Friday. “That’s what’s happening. We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

It is the very definition of irony, that the people who’ve been screaming about the End of Times and the Antichrist all these years, would end up lining up with the guy who best fits the description. For Democrats, this all provides a pleasant reminder of the reasons we can look at ourselves in the mirror and sleep at night.