The Constitutional Convention Concept Is A Republican Con Job.

The GOP's Con Con.

American democracy is headed for peril. A quiet campaign to legally overwrite the Constitution of the United States of America, with the ostensible purpose of proposing a balanced-budget amendment, has been silently building steam.

The process is known as a Constitutional Convention, a legal apparatus by which the contents of our Constitution can be altered.

Prominent extremist Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have supported it, and the Koch brothers‘ libertarian network has long placed its financial power behind their push.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to amend the Constitution by a two-thirds vote. It gives the states the power to call for a convention to amend the Constitution if two-thirds of the states can muster support for the measure.

Having the radical right wing rewrite our Constitution would be an unparalleled disaster for the American people, not to mention the rest of the world.  The Center on Budget and Priority Policies understates the case beautifully by telling us that it’s got “serious risks”. That’s a soothing way of telling us our entire global economy will be wrenched.

David Super of the Los Angeles Times wrote that “It would also drastically reduce America’s standing in world affairs,. far more than handing the presidency to an incoherent, shop-worn reality TV star.”

Conservatives have been after what is best called the “Con Con” for years. The Constitution is a nuisance to them because it stops them from completely disenfranchising everyone who’s not in the good ol’ boys club.

Although the same people who brought you “Medicare for All” and the Free College plan are able somehow to convince themselves otherwise, it is virtually certain that conservatives would dominate a convention held today.

They have control of the White House, Congress, and 32 state legislatures. They’ve also got all the money. They would clearly have marked influence over every provision in the project.

The right has also retained control of the Supreme Court, thanks to Republican refusal to vote in the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s candidate Merrick Garland. This too would obviously give conservatives the upper hand in any litigation arising out of the convention.
Whether the delegates run for election in heavily gerrymandered districts or are appointed by state leaders, the result would be the same. A convention with a heavily right-wing bent.
If the Tea Party or the alt-right of Richard Spencer and Sebastian Gorka, were to write us a new Constitution, it hardly requires speculation to imagine a lack of improvement.

The things on their agenda read like a grocery list of bad ideas, but then again, that’s the Republican way.

They will make English the official language of the US.

They intend to “define life at conception“, which is a polite euphemism for criminalizing abortion and perhaps even contraception.

They will also include corporations as people with every constitutional right, clarifying the matter legally in favor and confirmation of the horrendous Citizens’ United ruling.

They will reverse gay marriage, as former Alabama judge and alleged molester Roy Moore proposed by way of a Con Con in 2014.

They will codify in the 1st Amendment their right to impose Christian faith and values on everybody in the whole country.

They will change the 2nd Amendment to forbid regulation. All hope of reasonable gun control would thus disappear.

The big thing they’re emphasizing now, the balanced budget amendment, might even involve the doing away of the income tax and the Federal Reserve altogether. This would leave the American poor to scrabble for a living like beggars in the sewers of Calcutta- in the richest country in the world.

Once a constitutional convention is called, all bets are off. “Regardless of why a convention is called, there is nothing to stop it from becoming a runaway convention that could ultimately overhaul the U.S. Constitution completely,” said Scott Swenson, the vice president of communications for Common Cause, to Salon Magazine.

The Constitution and the foresight of the Founding Fathers in making it so hard to alter are all that has saved us from Donald Trump and the other Republicans, who have been trying to get around it for years. Overhauling it would be an atrocity.

The only thing that has prevented it from happening already is the Democratic Party, which is now doing its best to stave off completely unnecessary threats from the far, radical left. Unbelievably, they are for this too.

Organizations such as Justice Democrats founder Cenk Uygur’s Wolf-PAC have been fighting for this as hard as the Tea Party has.

“It’s got to be an amendment,” said Wolf-PAC’s Texas state director, Todd Jagger.

That someone on the left could actually believe this defies the limits of human understanding.

Concluding, the big takeaway from this article, is that an Article V convention call is a terrible danger to American democracy.

If the Republicans manage to pull this off, we will all be rendered helpless. They could do anything they wanted. The states would lose all control.

We’ll be flat on our backs for the rest of our lives.

We have to get the word out about this, and we’ve got to do it now, or we may very well see the very foundations of the United States – the rights we hold so dearly as Americans – shake or disappear.

The best way to stop them is by electing Democrats to state legislatures, and everywhere else. Our professionals are tough. They will shut this thing down across the board. The Blue Wave is the first step. We must all make sure we vote.

#TheBlueWave- Where We Stand, Going Forward.

Millennial Democrats and #TheBlueWave

New House and Senate ratings from CNN point the way to an excellent set of midterms for the Democratic Party.

That said- Beware complacency.

Those two words are so gigantic in this case, that they could be the whole article.

There’s a number of different factors at play in the political scene of America at this time. Some of them are in no way American, but most of them are.

One of the biggest is voter apathy.

Millennial readers, ask yourselves this: How many conversations have you had, with people our age about politics, in which you have heard somebody say: “Ah, all governments are fascist. There’s no difference between one or the other.” Or had a menu of talking points from Fox News or Infowars with them?

Many others act like they’re afraid to talk at all, either because they don’t know enough, or because they don’t care enough, or because people get so intense about it.

This is the state of things when a polarity this extreme and disparate exists between the people of the country.

People aren’t getting their information from the same places anymore. You can tell when you’ve been talking to someone deeply indoctrinated by Rush Limbaugh and the Breitbart band. You’ll immediately be confronted with a whole galaxy of half-truths, lies, and slanders.

Most of the time you won’t even know what they’re talking about, the stuff will be so out there. And by the time your smartphone has proved them wrong, they’ve already made fifty more specious claims. It becomes clear very quickly that they don’t have any interest in getting at the truth.

You can’t even talk to them anymore.

An understanding of this fundamental truth is where any realistic discussion of how to win the midterms must begin.

A great deal of time and money has been invested by those currently in power, seeing to it that those without it remain apathetic and confused regarding the process. Nor have they closed their wallets.

Charles Koch and members of his Seminar Network- donors who contribute a minimum of $100,000 to the various political organizations run by the Koch brothers– have big plans for the midterm elections.

At a retreat this weekend, the group announced plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million in 2018- a 60 percent increase from its spending in 2016-  to defend Trump administration policies that Charles and David Koch and their network overwhelmingly support- while distancing themselves from a man that is personally unfit to serve as president.

They want it both ways, and they figure with enough cash they can get it. Once the strategy gives them the power they are seeking, they figure it will all be worthwhile. If they can dominate and make a shell of the governmental apparatus, they can change things around all they like. Those changes will be catastrophic to every environment we live in.

We have to find a way to stop them and to do so we will need to surmount some difficult challenges.

Republican standing has improved recently. It’s going to take awhile for people to understand just how stupid those tax cuts were. It’s going to take a while before it hurts them.

CNBC’s John Harwood calls Trump’s tax reform a “remarkable paradox,” as middle America will not benefit as much as the coastal elites his base so loves to stick it to.

Howmuch.net, a cost information website, has created a handy infographic to help us understand how middle-to-low income households are losing.

Howmuch explains that “Some taxpayers would definitely benefit from Trump’s tax reform — especially those at the higher end of the income scale. There are others, however, who would see their tax rates go up. Especially those on lower incomes.”

This is important, because the tax plan is the reason the GOP has been polling better recently. Their strategy going forward will be to beat that drum as hard as they can. It’s the only legislative accomplishment they’ve got.

Many of them are showing signs of indigestion of the conscience, as evidenced by the fact of so many of the GOP leaders in Congress retiring, but it’s a little late for that.

Another key factor to watch this year will be Russian interference in our elections.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was asked during an interview with the BBC on Monday whether he anticipates a Russian influence campaign later this year.

“I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that,” he said.

“But,” he added, “I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election — that we’ll push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

What a joke.

Later the same day as those comments were made, the Trump administration announced that it will not impose the new Russian sanctions. And the other Republicans are just as bad. All of them are complicit in the biggest treason of all time.

Aside from all that, there’s the usual electoral stuff to consider. The House, in which Democrats need a 24-seat pickup to win the majority, looks very favourable. And ever since the stunning victory of Alabama’s Doug Jones, a plausible path to control of the Senate has arisen.

 

If the Blue Wave is indeed going to sweep over this country in the midterm elections, we are going to have to work very hard, because nobody is going to do it for us. It can and will happen because we will be here to fight for it tooth and nail.

Going forward, the key is to find out which races are the most competitive, target them, and put our resources into fighting for them. We are actively asking our readers for help on this. Anything you’ve got that might be useful, please feel free to send it in. We’ve got a lot of work to do. And it is going to take us all.

A Media Monopoly- Koch Network Funds Time Inc. Buyout.

Wicked adversaries

History has taught us that the media industry in Washington is capable of posing a considerable threat to our democracy. It stands to reason that a sound and empowered federal regulation ought to exist, one capable of holding media outlets accountable. There’s got to be a mechanism overseeing the news, to see it stays within the bounds of reason.

Hardly any such protections exist, however, and haven’t since the FCC disposed of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. President Bill Clinton observed this is not a topic frequently discussed by the media giants who govern our screens.

The world of American media is currently going through some fundamental changes. As part of this massive transformation, media companies have dramatically increased efforts to wield influence in Washington.

With a massive lobbying presence, and a steady dose of campaign donations to politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, big media has been pressuring the government to allow it more consolidation. A corollary goal involves privatizing and commodifying the internet.

The media controls the information flow. It has acquired an unparalleled power to reach into people’s lives. If consolidated and twisted to authoritarian purposes, it would turn into a weapon of terrifying strength. Any would-be dictator would naturally perceive this as well, and seek to acquire it.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see that the Koch Brothers are providing $500 million of the cash needed to buy out Time Magazine.

Meredith Corp., a magazine publisher and broadcast company, will acquire Time Inc. in a deal totalling $2.8 billion, the company announced Sunday.

The Koch brothers are the domestic source of most of the worst indignities we have suffered these last ten years. All of this is a part of their grand strategy to eliminate government interference from the business sector. Anti-monopoly laws, anti-pollution laws, anti-public aid laws. These things cost the likes of Koch Industries a lot of money every year. This is why they are willing to spend so much to get rid of them in the long run.

They are the money behind many Republicans like Scott Walker, for example, the governor of Wisconsin who used a lousy backdoor bill to cripple the school system there. It was a crucial step in breaking the backs of unions nationwide and in inciting conservatives to wickedness.

If the Koch Network comes to dominate the American media, it will probably come to dominate the American government shortly thereafter.

If that happens, all hope of turning humanity back from the road to ruin it has started down is lost.

Stephen Hawking warned in July that if we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

He also predicted that humanity’s natural greed would prevent us from properly addressing the problem.

None of this matters to the Koch brothers, however, whose fervent commitment to libertarianism- laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog capitalism- coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions.

Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock. And the only power strong enough to hold them accountable is the government.

However, there is one sure way they can succeed in tipping the balance against governmental regulation.

Seizing control of the government itself.

The Kochs have been planning this out for a long time. Their father, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the John Birch Society, which can fairly be considered the centre of neo-conservative politics.

The trademark tenets of its philosophy include liberalism being the root of all evil, mistrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change. It is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power. It carries within it the essence and spirit of fascism.

This is why they are paying so much money to take control of Time Magazine is one of the most highly recognizable and respected magazines in the world. To buy it out and fashion it into a vehicle of their propaganda would carry obvious strategic significance.

The tactic is to manipulate the national dialectic through their control of mouthpieces in the right-wing media. Recent shows like The Young Turks suggest their ideas have begun taking root on the left as well. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

In 1983, journalist and professor Ben Bagdikian published his groundbreaking book, The Media Monopoly, which revealed that just 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number has gradually dwindled over the years and eventually led us to our current crisis, where more than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies: Viacom, News Corporation, Comcast, CBS, Time Warner and Disney.

To take control of the media once and for all, they have only to conquer these six companies. Here, we can look to Russia for a model. Putin did it in the post-Yeltsin era within a couple of years, with a nearly identical strategy.

The concept of the media they share, however, is a far cry from the First Amendment. For Putin and the Kochs, it’s a simple equation. Whoever owns the media controls what it says.

Putin pursues a two-pronged media strategy. At home, his government clamps down on internal communications while at the same time positioning abroad by deploying RT, the international news agency formerly known as Russia Today to challenge Western ideas and warp the lines of truth.

However, there is one key difference. Putin controls Russia’s government so thoroughly that he basically is Russia’s government.

The Koch brothers do not yet hold such power here.

So that is what they’re after. By way of achieving this goal, they have targeted the center with a political pincer attack. Their plan is to employ both ends of the radical spectrum with candidates in line with their philosophies and take over from within.

2016 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed out during the cycle that “Interestingly enough, the candidate I most often side with, on 73% of the issues, is Bernie Sanders”.

Putin spoke highly of Bernie as well. And it seems an unlikely coincidence that the Justice Democrats, a Sanders-affiliated organization started by Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, have targeted Democrats nationwide in primary challenges.

“It is time for them to step aside and let us lead. If you want unity, we’re ready to lead,” Uygur said on his popular internet TV show, The Young Turks.

The sheer brazen insolence! How many Presidents have you helped get elected, Cenk? Worthless as can be. Good for nothing but hurting real Democrats.

Any reasonably intelligent person ought to see this is a time when every dollar should be focused on targeting the GOP and waking our country up from the nightmare we’ve been in since last November. We should be sticking together like the opposition is.

As we prepare to enter the New Year, we’re going to be seeing these themes arise time and again.These are all topics we’ve covered before. Media consolidation. Anti-union sentiment. Attacks of governmental regulation of all kinds. It all comes down to economic slavery gift-wrapped with a fancy word, libertarianism.

2018 is the year that we start taking back our country. The only way we’ve got a shot at cleaning all this up is to retake the Congress. All our energies will be given to keeping #TheBlueWave alive.

There is a reasonable alternative to the pandemonium created by conservative greed and the current administration. Please join us in the task of helping the concept evolve.

 

Democrats Stand Up for Senator Franken- MD DissectFake.

The Republicans are at it again. These people can’t even spell “accountability”.

Minnesota Senator Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment today by conservative talk show host Leann Tweeden, in a particularly transparent and unfair attempt to display false equivalence.

This news comes hot on the heels of Franken delivering up to the alleged child molester and Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore one of the most classic Senatorial flayings of all time.

This is just another case of the rampant “what- aboutism” that the GOP has been trying to distract us with since time immemorial.

The GOP has a clear agenda in this matter. The Roy Moore scandals are a disaster for them, and they know they can’t escape it. The only thing they can do now is to try and get us dirty too.

Al Franken is one of the most effective Senators we have. He has proven clever and reliable at countering that agenda. So now, the dirty trick thugs are being sent out to try and destroy him.

The story broke on Breitbart this morning, but somehow political goblin Roger Stone already knew that Al Franken would be accused of sexual assault hours before the story actually broke.

“Let’s just say Sen. Franken’s time in the barrel is about to come,” Stone told The Daily Caller over text early Thursday morning, hours before Leeann Tweeden came out with her claims.

Stone did not care to elaborate to TheDC exactly how he knew Tweeden was going to come out with her claims. But he did. And that means it was plotted out.

An independent observer will remember that “time in the barrel” is the exact same term he used, right before Wikileaks dumped the Podesta emails that the supporters of Bernie Sanders rioted in the streets over. That’s another time Stone was found boasting off some dirt he criminally acquired. This is his M.O.

Rob Dew of Infowars was quick to hop on the bandwagon right behind Stone.

“I predict @SenFranken will be accused of groping & sexual harassment. He is also very short and an idiot, yet people still like him ,” tweeted Dew.

Note that use of the #metoo hashtag. Conservatives would like nothing better than for women to get the message that their only advocates, the Democrats, only talk a good one and are really no different than the Republicans. Most likely, this is being employed as a way to discredit that burgeoning movement.

Senator Franken, however, must have shocked the cynics good. The statement of apology he released this morning blew the doors off the GOP attempt to ruin him.

“While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.
“And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.”
Compare this with the statements of Roy Moore, when his first victim came forward with her story.When asked about his first accuser, Leigh Corfman, Moore said, “It never happened.”

“I don’t know Miss Corfman from anybody. I never talked to or never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false,” Moore told Hannity.

“I never knew this woman. I never met this woman and these charges are politically motivated,” he added. Seven more victims have since come forward, and the number is rising.

Within those two statements, are the difference between the Republicans and us.

There’s no excuse for victim-shaming. That’s not what Senator Franken would want, and that’s far from what we’re after. That said, the timing on this is a gigantic red flag. The benefit to the conservatives Ms. Tweeden has cast her lifetime’s lot with is obvious and huge. It is therefore worth taking a thorough look at the circumstances surrounding this incident.

This is a really unfortunate time for such a rumor to get started. Tensions are already so high. That might lead one to wonder about all the other times this year, that such a revelation was made. Every single time something awful has happened, this entire year, someone has grabbed hold of it, politicized it, and used it as fake news.
Who was responsible for it then? There were an angle and a clear connection. Sooner or later, it always led back to the alt-right propaganda machine. Why should this time be any different?

Leeann Tweeden was a commentator on Sean Hannity’s Fox News opinion show on multiple occasions. Fox’s Red Eye program was graced by her presence as well.

That connection to Hannity would make her statement suspect under any circumstances. Combined with the timing of the release of her “bombshell allegation”, it is positively unbelievable.

The night before she decided to unburden her heart, after all these years, happened to be the day Sean Hannity himself was forced to finally concede that he has been backing up a probable child molester for about the last two weeks.

Currently, Leeann Tweeden is employed as a news anchor for 790 KABC’s morning show, McIntyre in the Morning.  She is a frequent social and political commentator on various conservative television shows. Tweeden was formerly Co-Host of UFC Tonight on Fox Sports.

However, hard times have befallen the radio industry. Cumulus Media, which owns her radio company, is billions of dollars in debt. It’s in the news right now, filing bankruptcy. It is strictly speculative, but it seems to me that cutting a deal with a few billionaires to save your company by doing a favor would be attractive to the owners of the company.
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that these factors make Cumulus an untrustworthy source for news.

It’s very close to keeling over entirely, and they syndicate Rush Limbaugh over 33 channels. That combination reeks of desperation.

The national news arm of Cumulus is called Westwood One. It hosts Michael Savage, who is even further out there than Rush.
Since 2009, Savage has been barred from entering the United Kingdom, for “seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred.
Before Savage was working for Westwood One, he was working at the Oregon based Talk Radio Network. It was well known as an extremist organization. Its involvement in this affair should be enough at a glance to discredit it based on dubious motive.
In the meantime, Ms. Tweeden graciously accepted the gracious apology Senator Franken offered. It seems that between the two the matter has been addressed and settled. It’s a shame that the opposition isn’t decent enough to simply leave it at that.
The bottom line is this- No way should Al Franken resign. He’s one of the best we’ve got. The thought of getting rid of him makes them chortle with ghoulish glee. That’s why Roger Stone was gloating about it hours before it broke. We refuse to let the GOP convince us to turn on our own.
Our job is to expose lies and bear witness. So please, when you see a story that looks like it could be suspect, let us know. Send it in so we can get to the bottom of it, and send it packing once and for all. Those who seek to educate will always stand as defenders of the truth. That is the purpose of the Millennial Democrats DissectFake project.

 

#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.

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.

 

 

Rex Tillerson- Icon of Lesser Evil.

Discord between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his chief diplomat, is reportedly at an all-time high. It’s been spilling all over the public view in recent days. It was crowned with a NBC News report released Wednesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” in a Pentagon meeting.

John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, abruptly scrapped plans to travel with President Donald Trump on Wednesday so he could try to contain his boss’s fury. and manage the fallout, according to six senior administration officials. It’s enough to make a sane man sick, watching these animals and their incompetence drag this venerable American through the mud this way. Forcing a four-star general to manage a kindergarten full of nitwit monstrosities is nothing short of a crime.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was still basking in the glow of being the keynote speaker at the Koch network’s upcoming convention, is basking no longer. This latest chaos is said to have had Pence fuming during his recent travel to Phoenix, seven officials told NBC News. He and Tillerson spoke on the phone before the secretary’s public appearance on Wednesday morning, and one can imagine how that conversation went.

There’s no doubt it is very satisfying to see yet another Trump pick go up in smoke. Bearing witness to the discomfiture of a smug oil tycoon arch-polluter like Tillerson has also been worth the price of admission. However, as tempting as it might be to see Trump’s White House even further on the rocks, it isn’t what’s best for the country.

In this madhouse of a White House, Rex Tillerson is one of the few sane voices left.

Nobody knows where all this is going. That has been true all along. Ever since the sickening theft of the presidency last November, we have seen things get worse and worse. Blood in the streets was predicted last year on election night. That’s exactly what we’ve gotten, at Charlottesville.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that Trump didn’t think he had a chance, any more than most of us did. The Trump campaign headquarters were all but silent, the night of the election, right up until he won. The tens of supporters present did their best to kick up a big roar, but there were more cops and drug dogs there than actual people, which will put a damper on just about anything. As the night rolled on, and the districts kept coming back red, they were just as shocked as the rest of us.

Since then, the collective hope of the country has flickered badly. Robert Mueller alone represents our ability to get rid of Trump, there’s a new disaster daily in the news, and we’re stuck in the mud completely in terms of getting anything done. On the contrary, we find ourselves and our value system completely under assault.

Trump chips away at something fundamental every day. Our system has never had to withstand the test of such a concerted and thorough attack on our foundations before. Its unusual potency arises because it is spearheaded by the very man charged with its leadership and upkeep. Today, he managed to scrap part of Obamacare relating to Planned Parenthood, under the grounds of religious freedom.

There’s no doubt at all that a guy like Rex Tillerson being anywhere near a Presidential cabinet  would be a travesty, under normal conditions. It sickens one to look back on the 1989 oil spill of Exxon- Valdez. Tillerson became general manager of the central production division of Exxon USA this same year, and as such, bears personal responsibility for that environmental disaster.

Six years later, he replaced Lee Raymond as the CEO of the company. The reckless and cavalier attitude of the fossil fuel industry is well known. It was a darkly ironic travesty, that someone in charge of the company responsible for the second worst man-made climate disaster was made the overseer of United States diplomacy on climate change.

While all of this is true, and while it certainly makes Rex Tillerson an unpalatable occupant of a presidential Cabinet, he is still part of the bedrock. He’s a solid American, if nothing else. He is also one of the last members of the civilian world to have any voice in the Trump White House, which is well on its way to being another wing of the Pentagon.

We are grateful beyond words for the Pentagon’s role in holding up our country out of the muck this past year, but we can’t stress enough the paramount importance of civilians continuing to govern civilian life. Both are necessary. They provide stability, check, and balance to the other. Every part of our American society helps to achieve a certain balance.

For Tillerson’s part, anyway, he has announced an unequivocal intent to remain at his post. For this reason, Kelly, Tillerson, and their ally Defense Secretary James Mattis had an emergency meeting at the White House to discuss a path forward, according to three administration officials.

However, it is said that Trump was beyond enraged that Tillerson refused to disavow having called him an idiot on TV, which is not surprising. He was telling the world he meant exactly what he said. I’m sure Trump was enraged.

It seems likely that if it were not for the military men who have become Trump’s inner circle, Tillerson would have been gone long ago.

Trump has grown resentful of what he considers Tillerson’s high- handed manner of deciding policy issues. He feels his secretary of state to be overly dismissive at times. Trump is insecure above all else, and a plain-spoken old timer like the Secretary of State is not likely to have much patience for the tender ego of a seventy year old billionaire man-child.  People willing to speak up to this large orange tyrant is what this country needs.

Going forward, it is necessary to realize that until next year when we Democrats take back the Congress- #RiseAndOrganize– there are no good choices, when it comes to Trump’s personnel. Only less bad ones. Rex Tillerson has become the walking embodiment, of the lesser evil.

The Koch Network- Enemies of Democracy Revealed.

When examining American political life today, the discussion has to include the Koch network. This conglomerate of groups covers a wide range of recent and radically conservative organizations, such as the infamous Tea Party movement. They have been responsible for a great deal of trouble in recent history as a result. It is therefore worth taking a close look at who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing it.

Charles and David, the Koch brothers, are the sons of Frederick C. Koch, who co-founded Koch Industries. It has grown to be the second-largest privately held company in the United States, of which they own 84%. If their individual fortunes were combined in one place, they would likely represent the wealthiest person on earth.

They have used this gargantuan wealth to subjugate one of the two parties and subordinate it to an ultra-conservative and authoritarian agenda. They have spent a fortune on it. Most estimates show numbers of more than a billion dollars, every one of which proves the rise of the Tea Party movement was far from an accident. It was orchestrated, and it was well funded. It also had a deliberate aim: to destroy Washington’s ability to pay for its social programs, which would be to break Washington itself.

In this way, bothersome regulations passed down from the Teddy Roosevelt era could be smashed at last. Unions could have their backs broken, forever. The era of graft and corruption and big bosses could return with a police state to back it up. They tipped their hand when they used Wisconsin as a model, by creating the golem known as Scott Walker.

In short, the entire apparatus of American government itself, is to gradually be delivered, bound hand and foot, to the door of big capital, thereafter to act at its behest. Fascists are not against centralized authority per se, although they will make such a pretense if expedience requests it. They fight it because they are trying to gain control of it. It’s an exercise in reverse engineering. They want to strip it down to the core and reassemble it, to suit their laissez-faire agenda. The goal is as ugly as it is audacious.

Koch Industries was initially a company for refining crude oil, which has always played a big part in the Koch family fortune, dating back to the 1930’s. Fred Koch was one of its founding members. He was a founding member in another organization also- the John Birch Society.

The society was built on Fred Koch’s oil money in the 1950’s. It can fairly be considered the center of neo-conservative politics. Both the JBS and the Tea Party fit into this mold of liberalism being the root of all evil, mustrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change.

This value system, which is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power, is the essence and spirit of fascism. So the question begs asking: when did Fred Koch become so attached to the ideas he passed on to his sons? Foreign radicalism is generally not thought to have taken deep root over here. But evidence now suggests that may not be the case at all.

One book, “The Kochs, A Nazi Past, Oil & The Foundation of The Rights,” by Damien Crisp, claimed that Fred C. Koch was both related to and involved with Hitler-era Nazis. Crisp made the statement that “Koch Industries is the child of the violence of Buchenwald.”

Information concerning the family backgrounds of Buchenwald commandant Karl and Ilse Koch is hard to find, and it should be noted that this claim is unproven. While there are fragments of information that suggestively connect the American and German Kochs, and although it gives a clear image of the sentiment behind the Tea Party and conservative American politics since the 1950s, the connection between the Buchenwald Kochs and Fred Koch is tenuous at best and should probably be discounted.

Democrats fight with honor, and have no need to rely on disinformation. That’s what the German Kochs were doing back then, and that’s what the American Kochs do now. The significance of this claim, lies rather in the fact that it’s so easy to believe and that its belief is prevalent.

If you have embarked down a course of conduct that makes you resemble those two monsters(Karl was executed by other Nazis for corruption, whilst Ilse, known best for her plan to make lampshades of the skins of tattooed Jewish prisoners, was the only woman charged for war crimes during WW2), closely enough so that millions of people would suspect to ask this question and believe the accusation true, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that you ought to cut it out.

However, although there is no solid evidence the American Fred Koch was related to Ilse’s family, there are ties to other Nazis named Koch that are far more solid. Erich Koch was a Nazi official placed in charge of Prussia in the days of Nazi Germany, who invited Fred Koch to sell his oil there. After the Nazi fall, Erich and Fred Koch expanded their oil empire to the Soviet Union. Erich Koch had been in charge of Prussia for Hitler, so his ties to the neighboring Soviet Union ran deep. However, a few years later, the Soviets purged some of his colleagues and prosecuted Erich for war crimes.

Fred Koch returned to the US as the most fervent anti-communist crusader one could imagine, and was allowed to do business in the States again. He hated Communism and Communists so much that he even expressed public admiration of Mussolini’s tactics against it. When he embraced this sort of thinking, he started down a road that led him to become a staunch opponent of civil rights. He grew more rigid as he grew older, and he passed both his grudge and his empire to the sons who have carried on his causes.

Since then, the brothers have attempted to impose this secretive agenda on the rest of America. Significant financial contributions by the fascist Koch network have been made to conservative, Libertarian, and Republican causes by way of effecting these changes. They pledged to spend $889 million from 2009–2016, and although the Citizens United ruling makes it impossible to say exactly how close they came, most specialists agree that this estimate is very low. The political infrastructure they have built has been said by Politico to rival that of the Republican National Committee.

Conveniently, the Koch brothers’ fervent commitment to libertarianism coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions. Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock.

It is no accident that Scott Pruitt ended up heading the EPA. It was one of the concessions made by Trump’s team to reconcile themselves with the Koch brothers, who were opposed to him all the way up until when it became inevitable he’d be the Republican candidate.

Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, recently published a  book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, detailing the corrosive practices of the Koch network.

The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.”

But it didn’t take long for the apparatus of the “radical right”, or what we now have come to think of as the alt-right, to to prepare a counterattack. The attacks came from the same individuals and institutions that the Duke University history professor documents in her book.

At some point, the Libertarians, particularly people who are part of the apparatus in one way or another — either academics or the think-tanks — weighed in, and did the same thing with my work as they have done with climate science,” says MacLean.

MacLean’s book charts the “radical right’s stealth plan” through the fortunes and influence of the late James M Buchanan, a pioneer of so-called economic “public choice theory” who was awarded a Nobel memorial prize in economics in 1986. For a look at his thinking process, we can look to the explanation given by Buchanan himself in a famous essay. By helping the unlucky, we cushion them against the consequences of their bad choices.

Luckily for no one, the dutiful Kochs are busy as can be even now, making sure to seek out and destroy every such cushion they can find.

Their most visible front is Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded by David Koch. This branch comprises the ground forces of the Koch Network. They hold rallies in 34 states, they bus people into them, and they use them to exert pressure for their anti-government, anti-education Libertarian agenda. For example, Koch think tanks spend at least $19.4 million annually, to cripple the public school systems.

The Koch donor network has exploited Buchanan’s economic system to mutate the rules of American politics. This is exactly the sentiment voiced by Republicans of both branches of Congress who voted to strip away Obamacare.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Doug Deason, one of the few known donors in the Koch network’s fundraising rolodex, told GOP leaders recently. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done.”

Every new proposal the Republicans tried jamming through the Congress would have sorely punished people with preexisting medical conditions. They were perfectly aware of this, of course. Congressman Mo Brooks even touted it as a benefit in one CNN interview, stating that the new bill has the advantage of “reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives.” This is a pure application of James Buchanan. The term he used was “misguided Good Samaritanism”.

In the wake of America’s increasing disgust with Trump, the Koch brothers are currently enjoying a new level of ascendancy. The announcement last week by the Koch network that Vice President Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker at the brothers’ policy and political strategy meeting, set for October 12 and 13 in Manhattan, is a big sign.

Another sign was the placement of Americans for Prosperity president, Tim Phillips, just one seat from Trump at a White House dinner last week for conservative group leaders. Phillips has long been one of the Kochs’ top lieutenants. In announcing Pence’s appearance, top Koch aide James Davis crowed, “Pence truly understands how good policies can help all Americans improve their lives.”

Also notable was that the only Trump cabinet member at the dinner, seated across the long table from the president, was Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. Pruitt, the former Attorney General of Oklahoma, has literally spent his entire life fighting the agency that he is now the head of. This appointment in particular embodies the Trump administration’s desire to turn over crucial environment and energy policy decisions to the collective fossil fuel and chemical industries of which the Kochs are bedrock members.

This donor network has been tremendously successful in the spreading of self-serving misinformation to elected officials. They’re doing it for banal reasons like the rights to save money dumping waste in local rivers. This is why climate change is a reality the oil moguls do not want to face.

The consequences of that policy are so far reaching and brutal in their effects, that they require most of the populace to be kept in a disgraceful state of ignorance. They can’t let us learn, because what they’re up to is so obvious, and they don’t really bother to hide it. They just counterattack with viciousness and lies. A people softened up by decades of misinformation coming from the Koch Brothers and others were lambs to the slaughter for disinformation coming from the Russians.

It’s a liberal tendency to assume that Republicans and the right wing media can’t possibly really believe its message, but there’s too much evidence that the contrary might be true. At the level of the populace, those who deliver and receive the message are being manipulated by their fears, for a profit so large that it’s hard to imagine: global domination in total. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

The disastrous election of Donald Trump has had one good effect and one only- it has brought America’s people to the point where more and more people are recognizing the issue and acknowledging the problem. Women in particular are mobilizing like never before. We must all join their struggle, en masse and in dead earnest.

That is the only hope we have of taking back the reins of our democracy.

If the majority understood what they were doing, they would stop it. I think that’s a really powerful thing to know,” said MacLean.

They are doing all of this in the knowledge that they can’t win if they say openly what their end game is. If people work to patiently inform and activate the majority, then they could be stopped.”

Moving forward, our goal will be to do exactly that. We will spread the word every way we can. We will also be sure to avoid the past errors of excess and rage that awareness of these people and their garbage have caused in the past. It’s understandable to want to get back at people who are hurting you, but if in so doing, you strengthen their position, you are only making sure you get hurt some more.

We have learned from the lessons of Occupy. We won’t make those kinds of mistakes again. We will remain calm. We will acknowledge the existence of their propaganda tanks. We will drag them out into the light. We will refute both their pseudoscience and their petty lies.

We will learn to recognize their organizational structure and the techniques they have employed to subvert our democracy. They are like poison ivy, sucking life out of a grand old oak tree. The record shows that clearly. We will just have to highlight it. Most importantly of all, we will continue to provide better alternatives to their unkind and ungenerous schemes. America is strong, because America is kind. The strong are always kind. We can do better than Charles and David Koch.

How The GOP Grew Gangrenous- From Nixon to Trump, Pt. 5

“Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.”
-Harry Truman

Is it fair to start with Checkers?

In 1952, a young Senator from California named Richard Nixon was tapped to become the running mate of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Muckraking columnist Jack Anderson and investigative journalist Drew Pearson wrote an article about money that Nixon might have taken from corporate interests during his tenure thus far in government, where he had served in the Congress since 1947.

In response to this claim, Nixon crafted and delivered his famous “Checkers speech,” in which he decried his opponents and stated that no matter what anyone said, he would not return his daughters’ dog, Checkers, which had been given to them as a gift. In Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture, professional correspondent Mark Feldstein gives a useful analysis of how that went over with the people.

“That resonated emotionally with the public, and a huge base — particularly of hard-core Republican conservatives — swelled to his defense and pressured Eisenhower to keep Nixon on the ticket,” Feldstein explains. “Meanwhile, liberal Democrats were nauseated by it and thought it was a maudlin speech. And the polarization that Nixon’s career would have ever after was indelibly marked.”

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Richard Nixon with his daughter’s dog, Checkers.

Thus did Richard Nixon embark upon his road to the White House. Many books have been written as to how he spent his time there, and it is not our purpose to touch on it deeply. Our interest rather lies in what effect it had on our system, to have weathered an assault on its every parameter. The Nixon administration treated America like an old Commodore 64.

Nixon’s failings were tempered and intertwined with great political gifts and considerable vision. His judgement was uneven and delusional, but he had a keen and nimble mind. In penetrating to the core of our system, he was to lay bare the groundwork of it, and expose key vulnerabilities to the light. This paved the way for a systematic undermining and devaluing of truth and objectivity.

Nixon went down in something rather less than a blaze of glory. The affair that became known as the Watergate scandal was a major political fiasco that occurred in the United States in the early 1970’s. Several Nixon operatives were caught attempting a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972.

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The Watergate Complex

The articles of impeachment drawn against him did not consider the break-in itself to be of primary importance in the reason why Nixon had to go. They focused rather on the tyrannical and power-hungry way he’d tried to cover it up. The first two of them read as follows.

(1) Making or causing to be made false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States.

(2) Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States

He was convinced to resign by the four-star general sent in to be his chief of staff toward the end of his tenure in office, Alexander Haig, who played the role that his fellow four-star general John Kelly is playing in the Trump White House now. As Nixon became increasingly paranoid and miserable, Haig ran the daily affairs of the White House, and was instrumental in effecting the president’s resignation. It can only be hoped that Kelly will have similar luck.

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Alexander Haig

The legacy of the deleterious effects of the Nixon era on our democracy cannot be overstated. He had his fingerprints all over the most fundamentally anti-democratic projects ever put together in America, such as the Enemies List. This was the roster of famous liberals targeted by Nixon for IRS audits and other forms of extralegal retaliation. His smear campaigns against his likely 1972 opponent, Senator Edward Kennedy, were reminiscent in many key regards to the fake news attacks on our people last year.

The elimination of the American people’s ability to think critically has had many an epoch. It is certain that a large one took place under Nixon, who in one famous speech toward the end, insisted to America that he was “not a crook.” That statement proved sadly untrue. Nixon was a crook, and his crookedness has reverberated clearly into our own times.

By now it should be getting pretty clear. This new GOP, the one that came to power after the death of John F. Kennedy, was not at all the same entity we’ve been looking at up until now. In the days of Eisenhower, much less in the days of Theodore Roosevelt, this kind of conduct would have been unthinkable. Even Warren Harding, corrupt as a Chinese eunuch, was a far more genial type of criminal. Nixon’s era was vicious.

That ferocity came directly from the fascist element that absorbed into America and Europe after World War Two. It values nothing, except the will to power. It values power as both the ends and the means. Ideology is unimportant to it, but is often employed as its tool.

G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars who went to prison for it, wrote an autobiography and named it WILL. It sings the praises of Hitler and the Nazis on every page. He presents an anecdote inside as to how he silenced an entire D.C. county jail pod, by standing around naked and singing the Horst Wessel song.

This is why they’re getting together with Russia. It’s the same group of guys. The Russia of the modern era is fascist in every regard. Like other fascists, they are intent on controlling the resources of the world. They have picked up and adapted these ratf*cking strategies, included them in their disinformation programs, and used them to destabilize us last year in the very same way the CIA once used to destabilize Third World countries like Haiti and Nicaragua. We have been systematically prepared for this, like Hansel and Gretel, by the dirty work done by Richard Nixon and others.

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Richard Nixon, enjoying his uncrookedness.

The Nixon era is also when the Republicans most directly involved in the 2016 Russian election hacking fiasco started crafting their modern mask in earnest. Guys like Roger Stone, the soon-to-be-indicted Paul Manafort, and Karl Rove all got their start during this time. Their mentors were the men who ran the Nixon administration, a place overflowing with competing monsters. All of these were deeply complicit in last year’s ongoings with the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin.

Donald Segretti, the Nixon operative who coined the term “ratf*cking”, as in, “F*cking a DemocRAT”, played his role, did his prison time, and lived an unimportant life thereafter. However, Karl Rove, the GOP strategist whom George W. Bush referred to as “The Architect”, was a personal protege of his. Rove was already a deeply corrupt and ruthless person, even at nineteen. 

In 1969, posing as a volunteer at the Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for state treasurer, Rove stole official campaign letterheads, and sent out 1,000 invitations to people in the city’s red-light district and soup kitchens, offering “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing” at Dixon headquarters. A bunch of crazed alcoholics showed up at this important fundraiser for Dixon.

 Although Dixon still won the election, Rove succeeded in significantly disrupting it. Later, Rove said, “I got involved in a political prank.” Pranks of that nature made him useful to the Republicans all the way through the decades between Nixon and George W. Bush. The crimes and techniques of their generation were transmitted seamlessly to ours.

Policies such as the War on Drugs were developed and refined during these decades. Although this war on the American people is more commonly associated with Reagan, Nixon was the first to use the phrase. It was designed as a strategy to hamstring the lives of voters who Nixon saw as reliably Democratic, according to White House tapes.

Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman said, “We had two enemies- the antiwar left, and the blacks.  We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs themselves? Of course we did.”

Reagan’s continuation of this so-called ‘war’ was meant to heighten racial tensions for the benefit of the Republican Party. This was a linchpin of the “Southern Strategy” conceived by Lee Atwater, whom most political observers of both parties rate as the dirtiest political strategist of the twentieth century. Voting rights, food stamps, and even madhouses were all taken away from the people. This was effective because the aforementioned white malcontents like to see other people get the shaft- at any cost. They’ve been taught to accept this as a substitute for a decent lot in life since before the Civil War.

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Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy
The Republicans were able to use the McGovern-Fraser Commission ruling to their advantage, time and again. They became quite adept at handpicking their opponents. Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis were all considered weak candidates by Republican National Committee officials. Although Carter did manage to unseat the incumbent, former vice president to Nixon Gerald Ford, Carter would not likely have been elected, had the GOP post-Nixon not been so hated that Christ himself could not have been elected on a Republican platform.
By 1980 they had significantly regrouped, behind Ronald Reagan, who handily won the presidential election. Many independents and a significant number of Democrats joined Republican voters in electing Ronald Reagan to be the fortieth president of the United States. He won the 1984 election in what was the biggest landslide victory since Cox-Harding, and his vice-president George H.W. Bush had little trouble succeeding him on the strength of that momentum. The very word “liberal” had become an epithet. The Republicans reigned supreme, and that showed every sign of continuing.
That all changed with the arrival on the scene of Bill Clinton. Lee Atwater said at a meeting of Republican leaders in Little Rock in 1989, “What scares me is a southern moderate or conservative Democrat, and the scariest of all, because he’s the most talented of the bunch, is Bill Clinton.”
In that sentence, lies the motive of the “vast, right wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton has spoken of, out there for one purpose- to destroy her and her husband.
The campaign to destroy the Clintons was launched in 1989 by none other than the good old Lee Atwater, who was named head of the Republican National Committee. He was a natural choice, having recently put together President Bush’s winning campaign in 1988, personified accurately by the “Willie Horton” TV ad, which attempted to portray the Democratic candidate as a defender of black rapists and black murderers.
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Willie Horton
His job this time was to re-elect George H.W. Bush, and he was worried. Bill Clinton was young, charismatic, and eloquent. Most of all, he was likeable. The reptilian Bush hardly made for a winsome figure to begin with. Next to Clinton, he seemed like a cyborg.
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In 1992, Republicans tried to make experience, character and trust the central issues. Voters indicated that the theme of change sounded by the Democrats was more important, but more important still was the personal power of Bill Clinton, and the amazingly effective duo that he and Hillary had made, ever since their college days.
Clearly, the opposition would have to come up with some new strategies. The techniques developed by Reagan had been skillfully snatched away from them. It became clear immediately that there was no one on the Republican end of the playing field capable of competing with the Clintons on level ground.
This fear and insecurity on the part of the Republicans was the reason behind the launching of what became known as the “Arkansas Project”. Funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, this project was designed to damage and end the presidency of Bill Clinton. After wasting more than $25 million of taxpayer money to trump up charges against the Clintons on Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate and Filegate, the right had nothing better than to settle with the Monica Lewinsky affair, and the unjust vilification of Hillary Clinton.
Today it is not possible to determine how many millions have been spent by privately held companies like The Washington Free Beacon, America Rising, Burning Glass Consulting and Citizens United to discredit Hillary Clinton.
Back then, the Arkansas Project ended up a failure. In spite of innumerable attempts to force Bill Clinton out of office, he finished his term, and left office in a country that was in far better shape than it had been before his tenure.
Its legacy proved enduring, though. Last year, every one of those old slanders was unearthed and spread around with the greatest of zeal by the rabid supporters of Bernie Sanders, paving the way conveniently for Donald Trump’s Crooked Hillary attacks. The Arkansas Project cast its shadow over that entire chapter of last year’s debacle of an election. It has also provided a permanent and ever-growing repository of ammunition, used to effect by the revived partnership of mass media and fundamentalism, in the form of Rush Limbaugh and other celebrities of conservative talk radio in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Those radio shows, which provide daily lessons in the art of propaganda, have done as much to eat away at the fabric of democracy as any other single factor within the last forty years. They gathered in strength and reach across the nation all through the Clinton presidency. Combined with the entering of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch into the game, the conservative media provided the Republicans with a potent weapon, one they would use to clear effect in 2000.

The US 2000 presidential election was the triumph of media over mind and matter.

To an objective observer, two facts are clear: Clinton’s Vice-President Al Gore won the nationwide popular vote, and according to a recent Miami Herald analysis, he was also in all likelihood the favorite of Florida voters as well.

In a fair count, without cheating or election irregularities, and leaving aside Ralph Nader, the Miami Herald estimated Gore would have won Florida by 23,000 votes. The Bush strategy all along was to prevent a recount and run out the clock.

Jeb Bush, the brother of the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush, was also the governor of Florida. He was a key component in the plot to steal the Florida election on behalf of his brother. If not for Jeb, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would never have had the chance to cast that fateful vote on behalf of Bush.

The impropriety of that decision was obvious even to the members of the court.  That is why they passed a second ruling, that the decision used in the process used to block Gore’s final recount could never be used again, as a legal precedent for any future cases.

The Bush era is when most of us millennials entered the story. Many of us remember the new heights of indecency and state-sanctioned lying reached on nearly a daily basis. The disinformation campaign that’s been used on us by the GOP since the Nixon era was taking a terrible toll by this point. The people didn’t know who to believe, and they didn’t know who to trust. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that this did a great deal to soften us up for the Russian disinformation machine.

The Republicans know that the only strength the people have is in their numbers. If they can make sure the left doesn’t work together, they can pick us off one by one. Karl Rove and the Republican Party know this very well. It has been a tactic of rulers since the days of Rome and before.

And so, both in 2000 and in 2004, the Republicans used a man named Ralph Nader, then the Green Party of the U.S.’s (G-PUS) candidate for president, to divide the left and hamstring the Democratic candidates.

We were to see those techniques again, as they were used to cheat Hillary Clinton from her rightful place in the White House. Jill Stein, the milkwater replacement of Nader in the G-PUS, and Paul Manafort were both attendees at that infamous meeting with Putin in Russia.

Al Gore was a highly principled and competent man, but he lacked the drive for victory that Bill Clinton had, and he lacked the necessary vigor to withstand the ferocity of Republican greed. Bush got into office, and spent his time there dragging his country so deeply through the mud that it still has yet to be seen whether or not we can recover.

The next four years changed everything for America.

When Bill Clinton left office, the country had a balanced budget and even a surplus. That was gone within ten months, nine of which had been very quiet. Bush hunted armadilloes, hung out at Camp David, and agreed to read My Pet Goat to some kindergartners.

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George W. Bush reads My Pet Goat

Then 9/11 hit.

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September 11, 2001.

The strange circumstances surrounding that cataclysmic and unlikely disaster will be debated for as long as people walk this earth, and it is not our purpose to look deeply into the mysteries surrounding. We will stick to what we know for sure. Regardless of its causes, George Bush used the biggest foreign assault our nation has ever been victimized by to pass some of the most invasive and insidious legislature ever conceived.

The War on Terror has mostly come and gone, but the domestic effects of the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts will be with us until the end. A war in Afghanistan was started, which we are still fighting. And then Bush used all the nation’s rage to finish a job that his father had started, the rousting of Saddam Hussein from the apex of the power structure of Iraq. By 2003, we were at war in Iraq. By 2004 it was clear we were in big trouble. Nothing else mattered in 2004, except getting George W. Bush out of office.

However, when the election finally came around, an election so crucial that a movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 was made about the slovenly evils committed by the Republican candidate Bush, an unbelievable amount of different things went wrong. Half of the six million people living abroad, for example, got their ballots too late to vote. Malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.

All in all, nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment – roughly one for every 100 cast. But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent. Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote at the time, “After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004.”

In 2008, the anti- Clinton machines to the right and the left geared back up for another battle. A lot of the same old smears were employed by the Obama campaign, as well as the new tactic of associating her with big business and Wall St. Hillary Clinton called at the time for higher regulations on Wall St. Their decision to side against her cost her the presidency.

As 2009 began, the same juggernaut of lies was employed consistently during her tenure as Secretary of State, most notably in the drumming up of unimportant nonsense like Benghazi and email servers. None of it did them much good with Obama in office. Romney was a joke in 2012. Obama’s reign, hateful as it was to the racist fascist network, was secure.

During the eight years of his tenure, the GOP was to reach heights of total desperation. Outlets like Breitbart and Fox News were a help, but on their own they would never have been enough. It’s only once you factor in RT and Sputnik and the Russians that you can see they had a chance, and this is what led to the devil’s bargain in 2016 that Robert Mueller is now closing in on.

The continuing radicalization of the GOP has now been amply documented for 120 years. Scholars, party insiders, and any human being who has ever set foot in Virginia can all bear witness to that.

The decent and moderate conservatives of the old school, who meant the word in the sense of conservation, who once played such a key role in the enactment of civil rights and environmental legislation, have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Rich and poor alike, the Republican Party of today, as in the 1920’s, is overwhelmingly reactionary. They are strongly opposed to doing business with their Democratic counterparts, and will hamstring them any way they can.

Republicans know perfectly well that when people vote for them, they are voting against their own interests. The day people realize that is the day the GOP stops winning elections. So they have developed an entire playbook of dirty tricks, with which to demoralize the Democratic base and suppress the vote as much as possible. Every time you hear someone say that they don’t vote, because their vote doesn’t matter, you have heard an example of their strategy working.

Republicans have fewer adherents every year, but they have two major factors on their side; a fanatical base willing to carry out the dirty tricks, and the greediest billionaires to finance them. They deceive good people by appealing to their worst instincts. raising the red flag of abortion and gay marriage to divert attention away from their arrogant and greedy policies which cause the poverty, war and pollution we are facing today.

2016 proved once and for all that there is no trick too dirty and nothing too low for the Republicans, who went so far as to collude with Russia, our biggest global rival, rather than see another Democrat in the White House.

In 2016, extremists on both ends of the political spectrum did a great deal to spread around the notion of a moral equivalency between the two parties. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because the President doesn’t really run the country anyway. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because all politicians are corrupt, They say the system is broken, that it can’t be fixed, and that the right thing to do is just stand back aloof from the whole mess until it collapses under its own weight.

Those ideas are paid for by the Republicans, who are only too happy to keep right along tightly controlling the “broken” system. Votes matter tremendously. They’re the only power we have. That’s why the Koch network and others spend so much money every year to keep us from being able to use them.

The new development is for the GOP to link hands with its ideological allies in Russia, who have developed the same sorts of ideas to their most logical conclusions. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is now an exile in London for the crime of having run against Putin in a supposedly democratic election, summed it up best by saying that comparing America’s approach to the management of its global affairs against modern-day Russia’s is like comparing the work a surgeon does to Jack the Ripper. Both of them cut people open, but that is where the similarity ends. Certainly that was true during Obama’s reign, but the future of everything has been thrown into uncertainty by the hacking of our election and the coming to power of Donald Trump.

Democrats have found ourselves beset on many sides, with no control in any branch of government and facing the most terrible international and domestic threats through the disastrous medium of Trump. Knowing the extent of our domestic paralysis, and encouraged by the failure of the West to respond when they annexed the Crimea from Ukraine, it is all too likely the Russians may attempt another seizure of formerly Soviet-dominated areas, daring the West to respond once again.

Last month, they moved tens of thousands of troops, plus accompanying artillery and air support, unsettlingly close to Baltic borders, in what they have labeled “strategic war exercises”, and given the name of the Zapad War Games. In the same week, it came out that over one hundred United States power stations are infected with the very same Stuxnet virus used to turn the power off in Ukraine in 2014, just before Crimea was taken.

In the meantime, the Syrian Civil War is winding down. Assad and the Russians won, while the rebels we were supporting were left to their fate. North Korea is firing rockets over Japan, and instead of entering talks with them Trump is exchanging schoolyard insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on the floor of the United Nations. The rest of the world is watching. It’s become painfully clear that things with the Party of Trump have gone terribly awry.

Going forward, we have got to find a way to reveal and highlight the fundamental fact of this whole series. A tremendous amount of social illness in this country is directly attributable to an imported and organized fascist network that has infiltrated and radicalized the Republican Party.

The long road to tyranny is a slippery slope, and one without organized mile markers. None of this has happened overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either. It’s hard to dig your way back out of a hole, especially when that hole is 120 years deep. But it is incumbent upon us to undertake this task, nonetheless. This is our country, for better or worse, and stranger things have happened. Victories have been won against worse odds.

Recognizing the problem is the first step. The one positive of 2016 is that many people have awoken to the general plot. The Republican Party has become an impediment of colossal and vicious proportion. Ohio Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich said on Sunday that unless the Republican Party reforms, he can no longer continue to support it.

Hard as it may be for Mr. Kasich to accept, it’s too late to reform the GOP. But it’s not too late to learn from its example. We still have time to reform the country.

Over this series, we took a look at the hole the GOP has been digging for itself. We have learned why it is time to remove the Republican stumbling block from our path. Moving forward, we’ll be taking a closer look at the fascist network we’ve been making reference to, who they are, and where they came from.

By shining light on cockroaches, you make them skitter for cover. It’s the same with Nazis. We’re going to turn over the rocks they’ve been hiding under. By exposing their plots, networks, and strategies, we will truly #MakeNazisAfraidAgain. Fascism and democracy are incompatible, like mold and fungus. Democracy cannot live, where fascism is thriving. To save the  America that our ancestors lived and died in, we have got to see this through to the very end.

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