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Yesterday was quite a day.  First, Roger Ailes was forced out at Fox News because of the sexual harassment cases against him.  It became too much even for Rupert Murdoch.  Secondly, the NBA announced it was pulling the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte, NC because of the anti-gay HB2 bill.  And the courts have been striking down the Republican photo-ID bills.

But, the most headlines are all about Donald Trump accepting the Nomination of the Republican Party to be President of the United States and his acceptance speech.  In his speech, he painted the gloomiest, darkest, most dreadful picture of our country I have ever heard in a political speech.  It is hard to know where to begin critiquing it.

I think the best way to start is to quote Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, who said “I didn’t know I was living in Gotham City and needed a billionaire caped crusader to rescue me.”  Until last night, I don’t think anyone knew that either.

Of course, in his Trumpian fashion the truth was “stretched” during the speech.  For example, crime is lower today than it has been for 40 years, not higher.  That according to the FBI statistics.  Secondly, during this administration, fewer police officers have been killed in the line of duty per year than under any other administration going back before Ronald Reagan according to FBI statistics.

But, its okay.  After Donald Trump takes office “crime will come to an end”.  He didn’t say it would “decline” he said t would “end”.  Nice phrase.  But, how is he going to eliminate crime?  Didn’t say.  Is he planning to back up police vans and empty out our inner cities?  How is he going to know who is a criminal and who is not?  Or, is he just going to assume that they are all criminals and “lock them up”.

He is “going to wipe Radical Islamist Terrorists” out “real fast”.  Again how?  Didn’t say.  How do you know which Muslims are “radical Islamist terrorists” and which ones are not?  Which means according to my logical mind to ensure that “all radical Islamist terrorists” are wiped out is to wipe out all Muslims.  Is he planning to conduct a war of genocide against all Muslims in the world?  Should be easy peasey there are only about 2 billion of them.

He says he is going to bring about the “biggest tax cuts” in history.  Yet he pledges to build roads, bridges, railroads, airports, and a bunch of other infrastructure projects.  How is he going to pay for all of these projects if he is going to reduce revenue?  He is also going to “rebuild” our third-rate military.  Again, how is he going to pay for that?  Didn’t say.

In all fairness, Donald Trump gave the best example of how to string together 20 second bites over one hour and fourteen minutes.  All we heard last night was the same 20 second bites he has uttered ever since he decided to run for President.  There was no substance.  There was no policy.  There was nothing but 20 second sound bites.

He is definitely going to build his wall, but this time he left out the part on how Mexico will pay for it.  That was an interesting omission.  To me, he seemed to veer all around the place.  His speech was incoherent at times and the pace was terrible.  On top of that, he yelled through most of it.

It does not appear that any of the pundits noticed what I did.  During each of his “breaks” to listen to the applause from his followers, he stepped back and posed almost exactly like Benito Mussolini.  The only thing missing was the crossed arms.  He jutted out his chin and gloomily and angrily stared out at the crowd.  He even gestured like Mussolini while he was talking.

The part that was meant to tell us how he plans to “fix our country” sounded like another dictator in Germany at the same time Adolph Hitler.  All we need to do is “trust me” he said over and over.  He never talked about working with Congress to get his “agenda” done.  He claimed he was going to do it all by himself “trust me”.

As a white man I definitely heard Donald Trump tell us white people that we are in danger from all these non-white, non-Christian people and he is going to save us from them.  As a white man and veteran of this country, I totally reject that premise.

Many of the pundits are claiming that Trump echoed Richard Nixon last night.  In some aspects that is true.  But, Richard Nixon never espoused an authoritarian government for the U.S.  Last night, Donald Trump used his acceptance speech to lay out why we need an authoritarian government and why he should be named dictator.

For the very first time in my 56 years of watching and following politics, I heard the nominee of one of our major political party’s come out and clearly state that democracy should be abandoned in our country.  For the first time, I heard a nominee of a major political party lay out the reasons we need authoritarian rule in this country.  That wasn’t the real scary part.  The real scary part was all of those people in the convention center applauding his speech and agreeing with him.

If there was ever a time when white supremacy was on full display in our political conversation it was last night.  It is time for Trump to put on his signs what he really means.  “Make America White Again”!

Last night we were assured that Donald Trump is the second coming.  Last night we were assured that if we blindly allow him total control of our country, we will love the end results.  I am not “buying it”.  I reject everything Donald Trump wants to make our country.  Not only that, I reject the Republican Party for supporting this maniac to be our next President.

There is an old saying that “the company you keep speaks loudly about you.”  Supporting Donald Trump says the Republican Party believes in his outlook and his plan for an authoritarian government.  Keeping company with Donald Trump “speaks loudly about them.”  Remember that come November 8.

And, the “shirts” keep marching along!

To quote Vince Lombardi:  “What the hell is going on out there?”  My parents took elections pretty seriously.  Every four years, they watched the conventions.  I remember my first convention on television in 1960.

I have paid attention to politics ever since.  I have found it to be interesting, and believe it or not, educational as well.  Although I consider myself a progressive, I am registered as unaffiliated.  That is something I have been since the first time I registered to vote in 1971.  At that time, the partisan divide in this country was not so huge.  Plus, until Richard Nixon went after the so-called “Dixiecrats” in 1968, the GOP was really the party of civil rights.  It was mostly Republicans that got the Civil Rights Bill and the Voting Rights Bill passed.  It was also Eisenhower who sent in troops to protect black high school students in Arkansas after segregated schools were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

But, I haven’t seen such weirdness at a convention as this one.  I thought that things could never get to this stage.  That we were getting over our race and gender issues.  The weirdest one I witnessed was the Democrat Convention in Chicago in 1968.  I am not even talking about the demonstrations and riots outside the convention.  I am talking about the chaos inside.  I didn’t think we would see that again.

But, I was wrong.  This year’s Republican Convention tops the 1968 Democrat Convention of 1968.  This is so weird, I don’t know where to begin.  In day one there was a mild protest over the nomination rules.  In day two there was a mild protest from Alaska about how the votes were counted by the chair.

The speeches were pretty much what I have expected.  There has been nothing to spell out the policies the Republicans are going to run on, unless you count hating Hillary Clinton as a policy.  This has been a “hate Hillary” love fest.

Last night was no different.  There were the usual speeches claiming inheritance of the Party of Lincoln even though it is now the party that wants to go back to Jim Crow days.  There were more “hate Hillary Clinton” speeches.  But there was nothing about policies.

But, once again there was chaos.  More than one person did not endorse Trump during their speeches.  Everyone claims to be “shocked, shocked I tell you” that Ted Cruz did not endorse Trump.  And, that is what everyone wants to talk about.  I wasn’t shocked.  These two men absolutely hate each other.  But more on that later.

Marco Rubio sent in a video that was more of a “vote for me for Senator” than anything else.  You know the same Senator who misses about 60 percent of votes wants Florida to reelect him after he said he was not running anymore.  He mentioned Trumps name twice and NEVER endorsed him.

The one that is kind of a shocker is a speech given by retired astronaut Eileen Collins.  She gave a speech mostly prepared by the Trump campaign.  According to the transcripts, the prepared speech was supposed to end”

We need leadership that will challenge every American to ask, “What’s next?” We need leadership that will make America’s space program first again. We need leadership that will make America first again. That leader is Donald Trump.

Thank you and God bless the United States of America!

But that is not how the speech ended.  Instead, she ended the speech saying:

We need leadership that will ask Americans, Americans will ask again, “What’s next?” We need leadership that will make America’s space program first again. We need leadership that will make America great again.

I want to thank all of you. Thank you for what you’re doing. God bless America.

The line “That leader is Donald Trump” was left out by Collins.  I guess that is another OOPS on behalf of the Trump Campaign.

Newt Gingrich did his best to let America know that we have a third-rate military, we have record high unemployment, that we are coming apart at the seams.  His view of the country is downright gloomy.  It is also false.  As a veteran, I take great umbrage at the notion that our military is third-rate.  It is the best equipped, best trained, and made up of the best people in the world.

Mike Pence gave his acceptance speech.  In his speech he talked about national security as well.  He said that America will stand by its allies under all circumstances.  He said that our allies will “respect” us again.

Seems someone forgot to tell him that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have the same feelings about our allies.  In an interview with the New York Times Trump before said before coming to the aid of the Balkan States if they were attacked by Russia, he would have to ensure they have fulfilled their obligations to the U.S.

In the interview he also said that he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies about conducting purges of their political adversaries or cracking down on civil liberties.  Mr. Trump claims that we “have a right to lecture”.

Those are two wonderful ideas to “gain back respect of our allies” as the GOP claims we need to do.  He wants to put conditions on when we will support our allies and if one of them are to wipe out say 500,000 people in a purge, well who are we to say not to do that.  Is that because he wants his own purge if he is elected?  Why else wouldn’t you condemn purges somewhere else unless you believe in them yourself.

There is also Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative and delegate and an advisor for the Republican presidential nominee.  In a radio interview he said:

I’m a veteran who went to Desert Shield, Desert Storm. I’m also a father who sent a son to war, to Iraq, as a Marine Corps helicopter avionics technician. Hillary Clinton, to me, is the Jane Fonda of the Vietnam War,” referring to Fonda’s 1972 trip to Hanoi that some Americans consider to be an act of betrayal.

[Clinton] is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi. She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there.

This whole thing disgusts me. Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason. (emphasis mine)

This whole violent theme is very disturbing to me.  This is the kind of thing you might hear in a Banana Republic.  Not in U.S. politics.  But, it is all to common in Trump’s camp.  Yes, the Secret Service is investigating this Bozo for his comments.

Before Mike Pence even took the stage, Ted Cruz took the stage.  He gave his usual “freedoms” speech.  The one where everyone has freedoms except those he doesn’t like.  You know people like immigrants, LGBT, women, and “liberals”.  Everyone was waiting with bated breath, except apparently me, for his “endorsement” of Donald Trump at the end.

OOPS here we go again.  Instead of endorsing Trump, he said everyone should “vote your conscience” for the candidate you like best.  In political terms that is saying you do not like the nominee and expect him to lose big time.  You are also telling your followers not to vote for the nominee.

Most of the delegates went nuts.  But then what is a Republican gathering if no one goes nuts.  It was reported that one lead delegate, it wasn’t reported which one, had to be restrained he was so angry at Cruz.  The New York delegation went totally berserk.  It was also reported that Heidi Cruz, Ted’s wife, needed to be “escorted from the floor” for her own safety.

Cruz was actually booed off of the stage as he left.  Which made Donald Trump very happy.  If I were a very cynical man, I would say the whole thing was staged by Trump and Cruz to rile up the delegates.  Let’s face facts, this has been anything but a wild show of love for Trump.

But, I am not going to believe that for a minute.  Remember, Cruz and Trump hate each other.  Sometimes I think they hate each other more than they hate Hillary Clinton.  Which would really be something.

During the campaign, Trump called Cruz every name he could come up with.  He attacked Cruz’ wife for her looks.  He even accused Cruz’ father of being with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out “communist” pamphlets in New Orleans and claiming he “may have had a hand in killing Kennedy.”

With all of that in mind, how could anyone actually believe that Cruz would endorse Trump to become President.  Instead of endorsing Trump, he gave a speech that tells everyone why he should get the nomination in 2020 after Trump is trashed by Clinton.

The odd thing is that the Trump campaign knew what he was going to say before he went on stage.  Trump even tweeted that he had the speech 2 hours before it was given.  So, the real question is why would they allow Cruz to take the stage right before Mike Pence?

Everyone agrees that Trump blew it when he rolled out Pence and announced he would be his running mate.  After introducing Pence at the press conference, Trump walked off the stage and wouldn’t even stand there while Pence was speaking.  I don’t know about Pence, but I would consider such actions as dismissive.

Then Trump allows the Cruz fiasco to be the last spot before Pence speaks.  After the speech, Trump did not shake Pence’s hand and pose for pictures together, he merely “blew him a kiss” from offstage.  I believe that is the first time I saw one candidate “air kiss” his running mate.

The other question is what the hell was Cruz thinking?  He knew he wasn’t going to endorse Trump.  He knew it would be taken as “burying the hatchet” – right in Trump’s back.  Did he think that he was going to be held up as some kind of hero?  Even the Texas delegation is angry at him right now.  One delegate said they wanted “answers” from Ted when they meet with him this morning.

I have been following politics for 56 years.  I have never seen a convention like this one.  I have never seen a campaign like this one.  The GOP wants us to vote for Donald Trump.  They claim he will support our allies.  But he says only if the have fulfilled “their obligations to us.”

They tell us he will “bring jobs back to America”.  Except of course his own families products.  They will still be made in Mexico, China, India, and Bangladesh.  They tell Latinos that Trump is good for them even though he calls them rapists and murderers.

They tell the LGBT that the party is “all-inclusive’ but keep passing laws that “exclude” them from society even making them “second-class” citizens.  They tell Blacks the same “all-inclusive” line but calls them “terrorists” if they dare take to the streets in protest against things like police brutality.

They talk about “religious freedom” but then say we should ban Muslims from entering the country and “watch” the Mosques here for “radicalization” practices.

They tell women how much they love them.  Then pass laws to defund Planned Parenthood which is the number one provider of cancer screening, birth control, and other women’s health issues.  They pass laws banning abortion and birth control  all in the name of “women’s safety”.

They tell Americans that it is a shame that jobs have been outsourced overseas.  Yet, it is their “free trade” policies that make it possible.  They claim to be all for education but pass budgets that slash education funds.  they claim to “love” our veterans but introduce bills to slash funds to benefit packages like the GI Bill.

While all of this “all-inclusive” speaking was going on, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Texas Voter ID law.  There is a lot of claiming going on at this convention.  And, all of the claims are totally opposite of what their actions are.  Yes, this has been a weird convention.  It has been a weird election cycle.

My dad had a favorite saying when someone blew their horn on the road for no reason.  And, as I listen to each of these Republican speakers this week that phrase keeps popping up in my head.  That is when today’s Republicans speak, I keep wanting to yell “blow it out your ass!”

But I don’t have to, because that is exactly where they are talking from in the first place.

This convention has been marked with chaos and violence against opponents of Trump.  That should tell you all you need to know about the Republicans who want your vote.

 

Day Two Was Very Telling

Day two of the Republican National Convention has ended.  In all fairness it was better than day one.  But that is like saying that a foot of snow is better than a blizzard.  The Donald was officially nominated as the party’s nominee for President.  There were several speakers, and aside of his own children, only two even mentioned the nominee’s name.

Ryan talked about policies but never said what they were.  Christie went after Hillary Clinton, what new?  Dr. Carson claimed that Hillary and the Democrat Party were in league with the devil.  The night’s “theme” was “Make America Work Again”.  However, no one spoke about what that meant or how they could complete that theme.

Donald Trump, Jr. gave probably the best speech of the night.  But, it was also the perfect example of the simple-mindedness of the whole Trump campaign.  In order to make my point, I am going to focus on one small fragment of his speech.

In his speech, he said that “education used to be the elevator to the middle class but the elevator is stuck on the first floor.”  In total fairness, he is correct.  Many people around the country have complaints about public education.  It needs to be fixed.

However, what has caused education to decline?  What has caused our public schools and the elevator to be stuck on the first floor.  Well, the answer is Republican education bashing and politics.

Just look at the realities of the world.  Republican controlled states have slashed public school funding.  In some states, like in New Jersey, over a billion dollars have been slashed from education budget.  Teachers pay have been frozen in many states.  In North Carolina for example, teachers went four years without getting a pay raise.

Additionally, Republicans have taken education out of the hands of professional educators and placed in the hands of “local” boards.  This has resulted in curriculum being changed.  Creationism instead of evolution in science classes for example.

They have started to privatize schools which has NOT resulted in better education.  Rather, it has simply reinstated segregation.  This privatization comes in two ways.  Paying a for-profit company, usually with very stringent “Christian” curriculum and “vouchers”.

The idea of vouchers has been around for years.  If you want your child to attend a private school, it was always your responsibility to pay the tuition.  Now, with these “voucher” programs, the state will give you money to pay that tuition.

The reason I call this reinstating segregation is because this all came to fruition over the desegregation laws.  The best way to segregate schools is to let the racists attend private schools with taxpayer dollars.  Especially when the “approved” private schools set standards that poor people of color cannot meet.

Then, there is the Charter School sham.  Again, these schools segregate against minorities and disabled children.  Charter schools have limited enrollment and almost none of them offer the type of classes needed by children with disabilities.

As a result of these Republican policies, there is less money for Public Schools.  Public Schools are not getting the upgrades to their facilities they need.  They don’t even get enough money for school supplies.  Teachers, who are way underpaid by Republican controlled states, are forced to spend money out of their pocket to provide proper school supplies.  That is criminal.

Paul Ryan in his speech said that “our policies work”.  My question is “work for whom?”  Your policies have all but stripped this country of a good public education system.  You claim that education is the elevator to the middle class and then gut the very education system that is supposed to provide it for everyone.

Whole segments of our citizens are being denied proper and good public education.  Those segments are always poor.  They are always people of color.  And, they are people with special needs.  Republican education policies have cut them off from getting the education they need to “ride the elevator” to the middle class.

Now that their policies have gutted funding for public education, vilified teachers as what is wrong with public education and effectively denied a proper education to millions of our children, they want you to believe that it is because these children are “lazy” or are “looking for a handout”.

Republican policies have been disastrous for our country.  It has been Republicans who have been screaming for “free trade” agreements like NAFTA and TPP that gut American Jobs.  It is Republican policies that has gutted education funding.  It is Republican policies that give tax cuts to companies who move their factories overseas.  It is Republican policies that caused the 2008 economic collapse.

Maybe that is why we have not heard a single idea from the Republicans at this convention.  Maybe that is why we only hear negativity from the speakers at this convention.  The Republicans are stuck in 1899.  They don’t want any taxes.  They don’t want Social Security for our senior citizens.  They don’t want to ensure citizens have a right to health care.

All they want is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.  They simply want to bring back the days of the Robber Barons.  When Paul Ryan says “our policies work” he is not talking about working for you.  He is talking about working for the top 1% of the economic plateau.

That is your choice.  Do we continue down the road of disastrous policies offered by Republicans or do we move forward and fix our problems.  Remember, conservatism by definition is against moving forward.  Conservatism wants to maintain the status quo or go backwards in time.

I for one want our country to move forward.  Which is why I cannot support Republican candidates.  They created the current status quo and quite frankly it sucks for everyone except the rich.  I am more fearful of their policies than anything else.  So their fearmongering does not help get my vote.

 

Yesterday was so full of “stuff” I don’t hardly know where to begin.  Even before the Republican National Convention kicked-off Paul Manafort assailed the very popular Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, by saying he is an embarrassment to Ohio.

This personal attack came because John Kasich does not like Trump, does not like the idea of Trump running the party, and refuses to attend the convention being held in his own state.  So naturally, The Donald sent out his campaign manager to attack the sitting Governor.

The other thing I noticed during the dog-and-pony show is how the delegations were placed.  In my many years of watching conventions, I seem to remember that the host state had a position front and center on the floor.  But, this year, Ohio has been relegated to the “back of the bus” as has every other state that did not vote for Donald Trump during the primaries.

When the convention started later in the afternoon, there was the expected rebellion.  It occurred when the “chair” held a vote on the rules for the convention and the next convention.  The Never Trump group tried to stop the voice vote and have a “roll-call vote”.

The chair held his voice vote and then declared that in his opinion the rules passed.  The Never Trump group then sent up a petition to have a roll-call vote.  According to reports, the petition was from seven different delegations and contained enough votes to force the roll-call vote.  The chair denied the petition and hell broke out.

Almost the entire Colorado and Utah delegation walked out of the convention at that point.  They accused the party of ignoring “their own rules”.  Apparently the petition is part of the rules but the chair ignored it.

Later that night, one woman who is a delegate from Utah said that she had been threatened by two women who “were apparently Trump Supporters”.  According to this delegate, they told her that she and the rest of the Utah delegation “deserve to die” for not supporting Trump.  This lady was very shaken by her experience.  I can’t say I can blame her either.

In between the afternoon and evening sessions, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) made a white supremacy statement on national television.  During a panel discussion on MSNBC, Esquire editor-at-large Charlie Pierce, made a comment about how he felt that this convention was more than likely to be “wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people” who wouldn’t tolerate any sign of party rebellion.

That was all King needed to go into his rant.  He said he was tired of “white people” always being blamed for bad things and that they should be praised for all of the good things they have done for the world.

Here is the actual exchange:

King: “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

Host Chris Hayes: “Than white people?”

King: “Than Western civilization itself. It’s rooted in western Europe, eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

When asked “what about Africa, what about Asia”? an argument was about to break out so Hayes ended the discussion.  He said:

We’re not going to argue the history of Western civilization.  Let me note for the record that if you’re looking at the ledger for Western civilization, [in] every flourishing democracy you’ve got Hitler and Stalin as well, so there’s a lot on both sides.

The rest of the night was pretty much what we expected.  There was a lot of hate speech.  Especially directed towards Hillary Clinton, the Black Lives Matter movement and immigrants.  There were slogans like “Hillary for Prison” and one very grieving woman who said she ‘blames Hilary Clinton for the death of her son in Benghazi.”

Her speech was moving and very raw.  You could see the agony and her pain while she spoke.  I am sure that she blames Hillary Clinton for her son’s death.  When a loved one is take from us, it is natural to look for someone to blame.  It is natural, and I feel pity for this woman.  But, to me that is all it is.  A very sad woman with real grief who wants to blame someone and the Republican Party gave her a platform to hurl her accusation at their opponent.  I do hope she finally finds the peace she deserves.

There was one odd item this poor woman’s speech.  While she was talking, it was reported that Donald Trump called Fox News and they cut away to do an interview with him instead of airing the woman’s speech.  So, the Fox News audience never saw the speech.  How bizarre!

There were other speakers not of much interest.  They all were telling us that we should “shelter in place” because we are all about to die at the hands of terrorists.  Rudy Giuliani did not give a speech.  He screamed at the audience instead.

Near the end of his yelling, he asked “what happened to no black America?  What happened to no White America?  What happened to One United States of America”?  Apparently, he didn’t listen to Rep. King go off on his white supremacy rant. He didn’t know about the “death threats” made to a delegate because she did not support Trump.  He didn’t know about Manafort’s dismissal of the sitting governor of Ohio.

He apparently forgot how his “candidate” called Mexican immigrants “rapists and murderers”.  He forgot about all of the anti-LGBT laws that his party has passed in several states in the country.   He forgot about all of the voter suppression laws these same states passed.

The simple answer to his question is that his party, the Republican Party, has done everything in its power to assure that we remain a divided nation.  If we had a “unified nation” racists and bigots would find themselves on the outside of both parties.

Sens. Tom Cotton and Jodi Ernst also gave speeches.  They spoke about their service in the military.  They talked about their perceived “lack of leadership” from the administration.  They talked about honoring our veterans.

What neither of them talked about was the bill that is making its way through the Senate at this minute.  The Republican bill that will cut $3 Billion from the GI Bill.  Hillary Clinton has already said she opposes the bill.  Donald Trump hasn’t said a word.  Neither did Cotton or Ernst.  Which to me means they support the bill.  So much for “supporting our veterans”!

Donald Trump decided that he would “introduce his wife” before she gave her speech.  The entrance reminded everyone of a WWE wrestling TV show.  Even though he was introducing his wife he made sure everyone knew it was all about him.

After her speech, which we will get to in a minute, he waved to the audience and walked off with Melania.  That seemed to be a signal that the event was done for the evening.  Except there were more speeches to come.  Including Gen. Flynn and Sen. Jodi Ernst.

Jodi Ernst found herself speaking to a half-empty arena.  Plus, she started after 11PM EDT so her speech was not carried on the networks.  She was supposed to be speaking during the 10 o’clock hour when the networks were televising the event.  OOPS!

Finally, there was Melania’s speech.  It was a nice speech.  Those in attendance seemed to love it.  All was happy in Trumpland!  Well for a little while.  It seems that someone on Twitter who has a very large following, started tweeting about similarities between Melania’s speech and Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 when she spoke about Barak.

The news were quick to look into the matter since it exploded on Trump’s favorite social media, Twitter.  Turns out that she did use words taken directly from Michelle’s speech.  In plain speaking, she or some speech writer plagiarized the First Lady’s speech from 2008!

Everyone was waiting for Trump’s reaction to this news.  Surely someone was going to be fired over this incident.  But, there is a problem.  Melania, earlier in the evening during an interview that aired this morning on NBC’s Today Show said that she wrote the speech, “with very little help from someone else”.

So, this morning “damage control” took place from the Trump campaign.  They dismissed the incident as “insignificant” and “crazy”.  On CNN this morning, Manafort said:

There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These are common words and values that she cares about her family, things like that.  I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that. To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy. This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work.

There you have it.  The fact that Melania used words from Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 is nothing more than Hillary Clinton’s fault.  He went on  say”

Melania Trump’s speech relied on “words that are common words” and that “certainly there’s no feeling on her part that she did it.  To expect her, to think that she would do something like that, knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night, is just really absurd.

He also said there was “no reason” to fire anyone over the speech.  I don’t know if he knows it or not but he just threw Melania Trump under the bus for this incident.  Since I haven’t heard Donald say anything yet, I don’t think he noticed, or cares, that his wife was just thrown under the bus by his campaign manager.

But the stupidity doesn’t end with Manafort.  Chris Christie, who is expected to lay out his reasons why he would prosecute Hillary Clinton over the email scandal, was asked by Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today if he thought he could make a case for plagiarism.  Christie said “no”.  HMMM!

He went on to say:

Listen, Matt, the worst day of a convention is the first day because everyone’s building up to it and everybody gets breathless, both the delegates and the media, about something to cover and a controversy to talk about. I think after tonight we won’t be talking about this, we’ll move on to whatever comes up tonight.

However, Reince Priebus said that if the speech writer that was involved in this incident worked for him, he would certainly fire him.  So, the Trump campaign says that using the words of the wife of the man they and the conservative right-wing consider “public enemy number one” is no big deal.

Look, I am not going to get into whether this is or is not plagiarism.  That is for experts with far more knowledge about such things as I have.  However, think about this for a minute.  What if the roles had been reversed?  What if Melania Trump gave her speech first and Michelle Obama used these same words in her speech second.

You know what would have happened.  The right-wing would have exploded.  They would accuse Michelle Obama of “stealing” Melania’s words to make herself look good.  They would have gone off the deep end accusing her of plagiarism and how it reflected badly on her husband and that alone would disqualify” him to run for President.

During an interview on “60 Minutes” Sunday with Mike Pence at his side Donald Trump said something revealing.  When asked about how he could pick Pence who co-sponsored and voted for the Iraq War authorization act, he said “well everyone is entitled to make a mistake.”  When asked if that means Hillary Clinton too, he said “no, she is not”.

This incident shows that he doesn’t just mean Hillary Clinton isn’t allowed to make a mistake, no Democrat is allowed to make a mistake.  And, apparently, his wife, or whoever wrote her speech, can do as they please and call it a “mistake”.

There you have it.  Day one of the Republican National Convention.  I told you it was going to be a circus.

And, the “shirts” keep marching along!

It is finally here.  What should be known as the Republican National Convention, but is currently known as Trump’s Circus, begins today in Cleveland, Ohio.  The last time I witnessed a convention opening under such nervous conditions was back in 1968 when the Democrats held their convention in Chicago.  There were lots of problems both on the floor and off the floor with demonstrations outside.

This year has even more intrigue than that one did.  First, delegates are not all that happy with their nominee.  There is still a “dump Trump” movement going on even though the Republican Party seems to have slammed the door on their options.  Second, many, and I mean many, party officials are simply not attending.  Some are going fly-fishing or getting a much-needed haircut instead of attending the coronation of Trump in Cleveland.  Third, the protests are going to be numerous.  And, don’t think that all are going to be from minorities or from the hated “left”.  It is rumored that the infamous Westboro Baptist Church has requested a permit to march and protest at the convention.

Trump announced his pick for Vice President over the weekend, and he immediately put him in the back of the bus.  The “introduction” speech by Trump was all about Trump, not Mike Pence.  Additionally, the two don’t agree on everything.  Well, that is a bit of a stretch, they don’t agree on much at all.

Then to top things off, they did an interview with “60 Minutes” last night and disagreed on a bunch of things.  Except one item that is.  Trump was asked how he could pick Pence when it was Pence who co-sponsored and voted for the Iraq War Authorization bill, especially when that is his biggest “difference” between him and Hillary Clinton.  He said “everyone is entitled to make a mistake.”  When he was asked does that include Clinton, he flatly said “no, she is not”.

I am not sure how raucous the convention is going to be.  There are not many “headline speakers” who are going to be talking.  Too many top Republicans refused to accept a speaking slot.  That is very odd, because that usually a prime speaking position that politicians would normally die for.  But, not this year.  The one real notable exception is Ted Cruz.  Cruz, still stinging from his loss to Trump has yet to “endorse” the Republican Candidate.  Yet he agreed to speak at the convention.

Problem is that Cruz is planning on giving a speech on “his vision” of what the party should look like moving forward.  Which means that the conservatives will have their glorious moment in the sun, even if it contradicts what Trump has said.  That is even more telling when you look at the platform that conservatives pushed through.  There are more contradictions between the party and Trump than you can shake a stick at.  But, I think that was the whole purpose, to distance themselves from their own nominee.

However, I am pretty sure that the Republican Party, which does not want any turmoil at their convention, will use an “iron fist” to keep the “dump Trump” people at bay.  But, you never know just how deeply these anti-Trump people hold their “values”.  But don’t think for a moment that they want to “dump Trump” because they don’t like him.  They don’t think he goes far enough in mandating “religious beliefs” as the law of the land.  Christian theocracy is the only thing these people want, and they will fight until they get it.

To fill the void, you will get plenty of Benghazi.  You will get plenty of Bill Clinton and his “many alleged affairs” in his past.  What that has to do with Hillary running for President is not very clear.  But, they are things Republicans love to harp on and they will bring out the full orchestra this week to “remind” everyone about them.  When you cannot offer policies, you got to do something to distract the voters.

Then, there is the protests outside the convention.  There is a real danger in what will take place there.  We will see protesters from both sides of the spectrum.  We will see ultra-conservatives protesting against Trump.  We will see Black Lives Matter people protesting.  We will see White Supremacists protesting.  One group said they were going to “protect Trump supporters”.

The New Black Panther Party will be there.  As I said earlier, the Westboro Baptist Church wackos will be there.  It will be a mixture of high voltage and gallons of water.  Then you have to consider the two shooting deaths of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the cop shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and you have a very volatile mixture for sure.  Plus, you have to consider that Ohio is an “open carry” state.

The irony is that in the “protest zone” you are not allowed to carry aerosol cans or tennis balls, but you will be allowed to openly carry a gun.  After the Baton Rouge shooting yesterday, the Police Union President asked the Governor, John Kasich, to “suspend the open carry law during the convention”.  He refused.  Well, what he said was “I cannot suspend the law.”

That means you will surely see people from both sides of the political scale walking around openly carrying guns in a “protest” zone.  That makes real sense doesn’t it?  I cannot imagine just how much worse the riots in Chicago would have been in 1968 if Illinois had an open carry law back then.  There probably would have been open warfare on the streets with hundreds being killed.

I hope that doesn’t happen in Cleveland.  But, I know that when you put passionate people from two sides together, and allow them to carry guns, anything can happen and it usually does.  I guess all we can do is hold our breath and hope for the best.

I am certain that when Cleveland lobbied to host the Republican National Convention they did not expect this three-ring circus coming to town.  If they did, they probably wouldn’t touch it.  But, that is the problem with politics.  Things don’t always go according to plan.  Sometimes someone throws a monkey wrench into the works.  Trump is that monkey wrench this year.

I am sure we will see many of his family giving moving speeches about how wonderful The Donald is.  I am sure we will see many political light-weights giving mediocre speeches about the wonderfulness of the conservative theocracy drive.  I am sure we will see many cringes on the faces of the “establishment” of the Republican Party.

We will not hear anything about climate change except that they consider it a hoax.  We will hot hear anything about how to make public education better, except to privatize it.  We won’t hear anything about income inequality except that the rich pay too much in taxes.  We will not hear anything about civil rights except how the LGBT community is evil and should be banned.  We won’t hear anything about immigration reform except to build a wall with Mexico.

We will hear a lot about “law and order” without any real plans to enforce it.  We will hear a lot about those nasty Muslims who should be “tested and deported” as Newt Gingrich proposes.  We will hear all about how our economy is the worst on record, despite the fact that we have had 75 months of job growth  since the economic collapse their party caused in 2008.  We will hear about how our President is really a “secret Muslim” out to destroy our nation, even though more “terrorists” have been killed by him than all of his predecessors.

But, just like everything else in this current Republican Nomination process, we will see no substance.  We will see no definitions of any policies planned.  We will see the usual finger-pointing, fear-mongering and hate-mongering we have seen for the past year.

I really don’t know if I will be able to stomach watching very much of this circus.  When I was a kid my parents took us to the circus that came to Chicago every year.  It was fun.  It was entertaining.  We were thrilled watching the high-wire act and the trapeze acts.  We were awed by the lion taming act.  This circus will have plenty of clowns, but I am not so sure it will have anything else worth watching.

It is going to be a very long week!

There was another senseless attack in France last night.  A truck driver deliberately drove his rig into a mass of people trying to kill as many as he could.  This is obviously an act of terrorism.  At last count at least 80 people died in this attack.

It was a senseless attack during a fireworks display for Bastille Day celebrations.  We don’t know yet if it was a planned attack from some group like ISIS or a “lone wolf” attack by someone who wanted his 15 minutes of fame.  In either case, terrorism is always at the heart of such attacks.

The truck driver was Tunisian.  That automatically makes conservatives rail against Muslims, again, as being the only terrorists in the world.  But, Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who lost his position due to ethics violations, has the answer for America.  Gingrich said:

“Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in Sharia they should be deported.  Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization.

When he was called out for his comments about “having a test” for Muslims, he blamed the “hysterical” media for his blunder.  A typical conservative answer for anytime they screw up.  However, the real problem is over this so-called “sharia law” that conservatives hate so much.

According to conservative fear mongering, sharia law is something that is forced on a population and if you disagree with anything to do with Islam, you are killed.  That is the type of practice is only followed by “radical Muslims” and not the entire Muslim population.

But, if you really want a comparison as to what it really is, all you need do is look at some of the laws being passed by Republican controlled state legislatures right here in America.  The whole anti-same-sex marriage issue is nothing more than forcing “religious beliefs” on the rest of society.

The anti-abortion issue is nothing more than forcing “religious beliefs” on the rest of society.  The mess over transgender’s use of bathrooms is nothing but forcing “religious beliefs” on the rest of society. In a word, the Conservative Christian Right’s agenda is nothing more than a Christian form of sharia law.

I would like to ask Mr. Gingrich what makes these laws “compatible” with western civilization?  From where I sit, they are not “compatible” with western society and if you want to have “tests” for Muslims and deport any of them who believe in sharia law, you must also have similar tests for Christians and if any of them are in favor of these laws, they also should be deported.

And, the Conservative Christian Right knows I am right.  They even argue “if you think our laws are stringent, look at what ISIS is doing to gays”.  Meaning, they know that their laws are not “compatible” with western civilization but don’t care they wish to force them on us anyway.

So, why should we allow any of them to stay in this country?  Why should they be allowed to force “their” religious beliefs on us?  Why isn’t Mr. Gingrich, the several times married Mr. Gingrich, not calling Conservative Christians “incompatible” with western civilization?

The answer is very simple.  We received it today on Twitter from non other than that great lover of all people Donald Trump.  He announced via twitter that his choice for Vice President of the United States of America is a woman hating, gay hating bigot from Indiana named Mike Pence.

You know Mike Pence.  He was the one who signed one of the very first anti-gay law in Indiana as Governor.  Yes, he backed away slightly when “western civilization” raised up against him.  But,  he has not backed off of discriminating against gays anyway he can.  He is still in favor of forcing his Christian form of Sharia Law on the rest of society.

I am not surprised that a misogynist pig like Donald Trump would choose another misogynist pig like Mike Pence as his running mate.  It also speaks volumes about the lies he tells about how he supports gays.

Western civilization as Mr. Gingrich likes to call it is supposed to be a democratic way of life that guarantees freedoms and liberties to ALL citizens.  Not just the ones you like.  In a normal political party there would be no place for even the mention of such “tests”.  But, in our current Republican Party you must pass a “religious test” just to be a member.

If you don’t pass the test imposed by the Conservative Christian Right, you are not a Republican nor are you a Christian.  Sorry, but that sounds an awful lot like sharia law to me.  Not to mention it is unconstitutional.  But then, according to Republicans, the Constitution is just a piece of paper you can pick-and-choose from just like they do with the Bible.

 

The Grumpy Old Party (GOP) is at it once again.  The party that claims to be all for transparency and freedom of speech is trying to kill both in one fell swoop.  They have come up with another expensive meaningless way to spend tax dollars and deny something all at the same time.

It starts out this way.  A recent investigation by the Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law uncovered documents showing that the oil industry, including Humble Oil (now Exxon Mobil), was on notice about the potential role of fossil fuels in CO2 emissions no later than 1957 and already “shaping science to shape public opinion” in the 1940s.

In November of last year, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed Exxon seeking documents related to the allegations that it lied to the public and its investors. In March, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said her office would join the Exxon Mobile Probes in New York and California. In June, Exxon filed a lawsuit against Healy in an effort to bar a so-called civil investigative demand from her office.

Also this spring, a larger coalition called AGs United for Clean Power formed after reports by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times found that Exxon executives were aware of the climate risks associated with carbon dioxide emissions, but funded research to cover up those risks and block solutions.

In simple terms, these Attorneys General are investigating if Exxon committed fraud against the public and their investors.  If they did, that amounts to a crime.  Something the Attorneys General are supposed to investigate.

But, the GOP in it earnest quest to quell any discussion about climate change and whether or not oil companies knew what the effect of their product had on the climate has kicked in full tilt.  Yesterday, Lamar Smith (R-Tex) and chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced he subpoenaed the Attorneys General who are conducting this investigation.

In typical Republican lingo, Smith claims that these investigations “amount to a form of extortion, threaten legitimate scientific debate about climate change and are a blatant effort to silence free speech.”

Can you imagine that?  Attorneys General who investigate a company for possible fraud are now being accused by a U.S. Congressman of “extortion and limiting free speech.”  Maybe we should mention that Smith has received $685,597 in donations from the oil and gas industry since 1998, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.org.

Of course Smith isn’t alone in his stupidity.  Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) accused the attorneys general involved in the investigation of veering away from enforcing the law and participating in “environmental activism.”

“Since when did it become a crime to express an opinion or to even hold an opinion?” Weber asked. “This posse of attorneys general believe that those whose opinion or scientific research conflict with the alleged consensus view on climate change should be the subject of an investigation and possible prosecution by none other than our own government officials. You talk about a chilling effect on free speech.”

Well Congressman, how about when that company is deliberately issuing false information to the public and its investors in order to keep the money flowing in?  Isn’t that the definition of fraud? Doesn’t that go away from “holding an opinion” and move into the realm of criminal activity?  Do these Congressmen remember the tobacco industry fraud against the public over smoking hazards?

In one response to this nonsense, Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists said: “It’s beyond ironic for Chairman Smith to violate our actual free speech rights in the name of protecting ExxonMobil’s supposed right to misrepresent the work of its own scientists and deceive shareholders and the public.”

This type of action by the Republican Party is becoming all too common.  If you do not agree with their “world view” they simply open up an investigation to prove that you are violating someone’s “free speech” because you are trying to prove they lied to the public.

Attacking opponents is the basis of their entire agenda these days.  When Justice Ginsberg attacked Trump, he said “her mind is shot, resign!”  He is even suing a former staffer of his campaign for $10 million because after he was fired he backed another candidate.  And, don’t forget about the “blacklist” of journalists barred from Trump campaign events because they don’t write glowing praise for the candidate.

There are two basic ways to limit free speech, aside from killing your opponent.  The first is to throw them into jail where they can be controlled and silenced.  The other is to litigate the hell out of them.  Republicans, at least for now, have chosen the latter.

The “Constitutional Purists” who believe in “separation of powers” and of “states rights” apparently don’t agree with either of these issues if it means their favorite donors are being investigated for fraud.

When that happens, the Attorney General who has the gall to investigate one of these donor company’s is accused of “harassing” the donor company and limiting “free speech”.  Never mind that it is their “duty” to investigate possible fraud.  Go find it somewhere else.

Never mind that investigating the investigators is infringing on the powers afforded under the Constitution for the Justice Department to investigate possible fraud without interference from the Legislative body.

None of that matters.  Especially if you are investigating a donor company whose pollution is hurting the climate, clean air, clean water, and adversely affecting the health of the general public that these Congressmen are supposed to represent.  Smith and his bogus Committee are telling the Attorneys General to knock it off or we will come after you.

This is just another “open window” into what this country will look like if the Republicans gain total control of both Houses of Congress and the White House.  Wake up America!  The Grumpy Old Party is after your freedoms and they won’t stop until you have none left.

And, the “shirts” keep marching along!

 

 

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