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The Democratic National Convention is finally over and the election really begins.  There are about 101 days until the election on November 8.  Quite frankly, there is a huge difference between the two candidates.  Both in the views they have of our country today, and how they plan to move it forward.

If anyone thinks this is going to be an easy election, you better think again.  I am very willing to “discuss” differences with our opponents, but I don’t always release comments or bother with a reply if they are filled with vulgar threats and name calling.  And, I get quite a few of them. Which tells me that this is going to be a very nasty election.

As I have said, I am a registered Independent.  I have cast votes for moderate or left leaning candidates from both parties.  I would even like to say there are a few Republicans that I could support this election, but they have all seemed to have left the building.  In the case of the Republic National Convention, that was quite literal since many major players didn’t even show up.

I say all of this because today’s Republican Party has been hijacked by bigots, haters, and liars.  They have nothing to offer our country.  They offer no plans.  They offer no vision.  They offer only fear, hate, and divisiveness.  Those are not the ideals that this country was founded on.

More than once I have asked “where have all the Republicans gone?”  Last week, we discovered they all needed haircuts or went fly-fishing.  We have always had opposing views.  We have always had deep discussions about policies.  But, we have never seen such hate in my lifetime since the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement.

And, if you remember those days as vividly as I do, you will also remember that it was mostly Democrats, namely the “Dixiecrats” on the side of hate.  It was Republicans who were fighting for desegregation.  Those roles have done a complete 180.  And, with the advent of Donald Trump, the white supremacists feel safe enough again to crawl out from their sewers and become “mainstream” again.

Today, we constantly hear about Benghazi and “missing emails” from Republicans.  If the Democrats had such hate in their hearts for their opponent in the 1980s, we would have heard about the “murderous” Ronald Reagan and chants of “lock him up” about him too.

Ronald Reagan was president when 250 Marines were killed with a truck bomb that exploded at their barracks in Beirut.  The Democrats did not call for his head because he “allowed” those 250 Marines to die.  Instead, there were discussions surrounding the incident and what happened and how to fix the problem.

It was also Ronald Reagan and his administration that violated the law and sold weapons to the one country that Republicans hate so much today.  The Reagan administration violated the law against selling weapons to Iran.  But they did anyway so they could fund their “war” in Nicaragua.  Some members of his administration were convicted of this scandal and today the crazies in the Republican Party call them “heroes”.  They aren’t “heroes” they are “criminals”!

Furthermore, when Ronald Reagan was President and a recession hit, we were told by his “economists” that a steady growth rate of about 2% was what we needed to sustain a continued growth.  Over the last seven years that is about what we have seen as an average of growth in our economy since the Great Recession of 2008.

Only today, those same Republican “economists” say that is not enough.  They say that we should be growing faster.  They use those figures as “proof” that our economy is in a shambles.  They use those numbers to “prove” we need more tax cuts for the wealthy.  Reagan slashed taxes, then realized the arithmetic didn’t add up and he raised them to stop the bleeding he let loose.

I have not brought this up to defend anyone or to blame anyone.  I am stating facts to illustrate the different ways Democrats and Republicans handle issues when the “other” side was in power when they occurred.  The differences are stark.

At the RNC last week we heard a very dark and grim view of America today.  This week at the DNC we heard a different version of America today.   I believe that the reality is somewhere in between.  Depending on where you sit today, you are either gaining benefits from the economy, or you are still suffering.

If you are one of those still suffering, you are angry because you believe you have been left behind.  If you are benefitting, you may still be angry because you haven’t seen a decent pay raise for years.  I share your anger.  I understand your suffering.

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the manufacturing hub of the city.  Our little neighborhood was surrounded by steel mills, Pittsburgh Paint, Inland Coke company, and many more plants.  As I grew up, I also witnessed the closing of these plants.  I witnessed the devastation that their closings wreaked on the neighborhood and my neighbors.

And, we were not alone.  These closings swept across the Midwest like a plague.  Millions of hard-working people lost their good paying jobs.  Local economies were shattered.  Instead of spending capital to upgrade the existing plants, owners spent that capital to build new factories overseas where labor was cheaper.  And, got tax breaks for it.   Then they blamed the workers for their closings.  Imagine that.  Shows how much things have changed so little over the years.

So I do understand the anger.  I do understand the feelings of frustration.  I do understand the painful cries of “what about me?”  I have seen it and witnessed it.  My family was fortunate because my father did not work at a steel mill.  He owned his own small auto repair shop.

But, that was no easy thing either.  His business boomed between April and the first snow fall.  After that first snow fall, business fell off.  People only cared about their car starting on cold winter days and not anything else about them.  My dad worked about 12 hour days during the busy times.  As a result, we were not as affected as our neighbors.

This year we have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  We have a choice between two platforms of both parties that are so different they can be called polar opposites.  We must decide on which of these we want to run our country.

The Democrats this week laid out their plans for our future.  They told the American people how they planned to put Americans back to work.  They showed us what we can expect from them.  Throughout the four days, we were given ideas and policies.

Last week the Republicans failed to tell us anything.  They failed to let us know how they planned to put Americans back to work.  They failed to show us what we can expect from them.  They failed to tell us what they believed in.

Last week we heard a lot of talk about whom to blame.  We heard a lot of talk about whom to fear.  We heard a lot of talk about our lives being miserable from top to bottom.  We heard a lot of talk about separatism.  We heard a lot of talk about nativism.  And, we heard a lot of “believe me”.

We have been told, especially by Republicans who are trying their best to distance themselves from Trump, this is a binary election and must choose between two evils in the candidates.  I do not subscribe to that theory.  This election is between two people and two parties who have very diametric views of who we are and where we should go in the future.  The real binary choice is between the platforms and their ideas, or lack thereof.

The Republican platform wants to take us backwards in time to those “good ole days”.  I am just not so sure how far back we need to go to reach their definition of the “good ole days”.  I suspect they are talking about the turn of the century.  And I am referring to the turn of the 20th century from the 19th century.

In those days, the rich kept getting richer and the poor kept getting poorer.  Mining and other companies didn’t just own the mines and factories, they owned the town you lived in and the store you had to buy everything from.  In essence the “owned your soul”.

Is that where the Republicans want to go?  Their policies have just about made that happen already.  The rich are still getting richer while everyone else is getting poorer.  It was a time when wages were about 25 cents per hour.  There was no middle-class.

Women were supposed to “stay home” and take care of the man’s house and have as many babies as they could.  More babies meant more workers for the factories for the future and therefore pay wouldn’t have to go up.

Today’s Republican party’s platform of “social issues” handsomely disguised from the “conservative religious beliefs” they really are tell us that is how it should be now.  Women should just shut up, stay home, have babies, and be subservient to their husbands.

This week the Democrats painted a different picture.  They want to improve our infrastructure.  They want to create non-outsourcable jobs in clean energy.  They want to teach new skills and trades to those being hurt by the inevitable change from fossil fuel to clean renewable energy.

They want to reform our immigration policies so they are enforceable and inclusive.  While the Republicans want to shut down our borders and build walls.  They want to improve education so our children are better equipped to compete in a global market.

They want to reestablish trade schools so anyone who does not want to go to college can get training in a skill they can support their family on.  They want to raise the minimum wage so people working full-time don’t still live in poverty or have to work two or three jobs to get ahead.

This is not a binary election between two candidates.  It is a binary election between the two parties platforms and they are stark.  It is really a choice of moving forward or moving backwards.  It is a choice between being “one nation indivisible” or a nation of divisiveness and bigotry.

We have seen the Republican’s platform unchanged for at least the last 40 years.  They are stuck in the mud.  They have no vision of what the future of our country should be.  They long for the days when there was social order.  A time when we all “knew our place” and just went along with what they told us.

That lack of vision is stifling our economy.  It is resulting in our infrastructure crumbling around our heads.  It has resulted in the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that our country desperately needs so our people can work and live in comfort.  It has resulted in divisiveness in our social structure.

Rather than seeing the glorious nature of diversity, the wonderfulness of innovation and new technologies, and the energy and desire of our people to work hard and move forward, they prefer to take us back to a time that was even worse than anything today.

They then nominated a person in Donald Trump that exemplifies those very old and failed principles.   A man who claims to be a “businessman” that made his wealth on the despair of those who “believed him” and then he betrayed by not paying his bills forcing them out of business and out of work.  Even worse, he brags about doing just that!

As Michael Bloomberg said during his speech this week: “Donald Trump wants to run America like he runs his businesses?  God help us!”  He says he wants to “make America strong”.  Yet he is willing to abandon our allies because he doesn’t believe they “pay enough” for our protection.  That sounds more like a gang-related “protection racket” to neighborhood businesses than a foreign policy to me.

In the 1960s I was considered a Hippie Liberal.  Today, my son tells me I am more of a left-leaning moderate.  He may be right since times change.  However, I am a left-leaning Independent.  You may argue that my writings here indicate that I am a definite Democrat.  But, that is only because today’s Republican Party has abandoned all of its policies.  It has abandoned it principled ideals of being the “Party of Lincoln”.  It has even abandoned its “conservative credentials” in favor of “strong-man” tactics.

You only need look at their nominee for the proof.  I don’t just listen to words that are spoken, I look at body language as well.  Body language tells you more about the person than the words coming out of the mouth.

Donald Trump exhibits the body language of all of the dictators he seems to love.  He poses like Mussolini.  He claps to himself like Stalin and the rest of the old Supreme Leaders of the old Soviet Union.  He has praised people like Saddam Husain and Kim Jung Un.  Then he tells us “only I can fix our problems” just like Hitler did in the 1920s in Germany.

In this election you will need to make up your own mind on who to support.  I am a left-leaning old Hippie.  I am a twenty-year veteran who served my country in the U.S. Coast Guard.  I am a retired white “old fart” that spent my entire working life in careers dedicated to helping others.

When I sat in a small radio room in the middle of the night and the call came in for help, I never asked what race you were, I never asked what religion you were, I never asked what nationality you were.  I simply responded and got the mechanism moving to rescue you.

As such, I cannot in any way, shape or form support a candidate like Donald Trump or a party that has the gall to put him up to be our President.  I cannot remember ever voting a straight ticket.  This year that will change.

Donald Trump and the platform of the Republican Party is so disgusting to me, I will vote and I will support Hillary Clinton and the Democrats up and down the ticket.  I am actually hoping that this crop of Republicans get beat so badly this year, that the real Republicans will take back their party.

I believe in discussions.  I believe in political differences.  That is the only way to bring about change and necessary improvements.  I believe in compromise where each side gets something out of the deal as long as Americans are the benefactor.  Today’s crazies who control the Republican Party will never allow that to happen, and they must go.

Now, I don’t expect Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party to be jumping up and down over my endorsement.  I know I write for a small somewhat obscure little blog.  But, I do believe that more of us “small” people must speak up, take a stand, and say enough is enough.  And, more importantly, to vote the crazies out!

One last word to Donald Trump.  If I were still in active uniform and you gave me an order to burn down the house of suspected terrorist, or to kill the family of a suspected terrorist, or torture a suspected terrorist, or any of the other idiotic things you claim will happen, I would refuse to obey.  I would also order my people not to obey.

Our oath says we will “obey all lawful directives given to us by those appointed above us”.  What you are saying is illegal, inhuman, and downright fascist.  To put it in terms you may understand, I would simply look you in the eye and say “Fuck you!”

Enough said.

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Yesterday the Democrats pulled out all of the big guns, so to speak.  Even Michael Bloomberg gave a rousing speech.  Unexpectedly, he didn’t mention his position on guns, he talked about his willingness to ask Independents to vote for Hillary Clinton.  As he said, “I’m a New Yorker, I know a con when I see one.”

The one thing that most pundits seem to think is “risky” is the Democrats willingness to talk about gun violence.  Pundits consider this “risky” because there are a lot of gun owners in this country, and “taking away our guns” is a very sensitive matter.

So, I listened very carefully to every speech I could about guns.  I listened very carefully to see exactly what each speaker was going to say about guns.  Here is one simple fact about these speeches.  Not once did anyone say that we need to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.”

Instead, they talked about closing the loopholes, actually they are huge holes, in the background check system.  They talked about expanding to a Universal Background Check system in order to help keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t get them like criminals.

They talked about banning assault rifles.  That should not be controversial.  Assault rifles have no purpose other than to kill.   I have spoken to a lot of my friends who own guns and hunt a lot.  I asked them if they ever used an assault rifle to hunt.  In almost every case, it took about 10 minutes for the laughter to stop before they all said “no, of course not.  I want to be able to eat what I shoot.”

The other thing to remember is that according to polls, 90 percent of the American People favor universal background checks when purchasing a weapon.  In order to get 90 percent of the American People to favor this measure, the vast majority of gun owners have to be part of that 90 percent.  It is what the American people want.

When the “heavy hitters” came out, the focus was on Hillary Clinton and her qualifications to be President.  Yes, a couple of them mentioned Trump’s invitation to the Russians to attack our cyber systems, but not that many.

RADM John Hutson (ret) had this to say about Trump:  “He even mocked POWs like John McCain. I served in the same Navy as John McCain. I used to vote in the same party as John McCain. Donald, you are not fit to polish John McCain’s boots.”  There is an Admiral I would be proud to salute.

One of the best lines came from Bloomberg.  He said “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God help us.”  That was nicely followed up by President Obama when he said:  “I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.”

I said yesterday that I was very interested in Tim Kaine’s speech.  I wanted to see what he would say and how well he could speak.  I was impressed.  I especially like his Trump impersonation about “believe me”.  I don’t think I need mention the President’s speech.  As usual, he was tremendous.   I do believe he is one of if not the best public speaker I have ever seen.

We heard about climate change.  You know that hoax the Republicans refuse to even mention.  Hell, in Florida it is illegal for any government employee to say those two words.  Even though about 1/3 of Florida is going to disappear as sea levels keep rising.  Scott must think only the Democratic side of Florida will flood out.

Overall, Day Three of the convention went very well.  It is still a long way to the election and only the gods know what will happen.  A lot will depend on what Hillary Clinton says tonight and how well it will be taken, not by the audience in the arena, but the audience watching on TV.  She needs to nail it.  She really needs to explain how she is going to help the declining middle-class blue-collar workers.  That can be a defining group in the upcoming elections.

Of course there were other things going on yesterday.  Donald Trump made his infamous comments that Russia should hack our cyber systems to help get him elected.  He also held a rally in Scranton, PA yesterday.

When he walked on stage, he did his usual “Stalin-like” clapping for himself.  Then expressed “surprise” at the welcome he received.  Then again, it is easy to get a very warm welcome when your campaign “hand selects” the audience with private invitations.

About the Stalin-like clapping, have you noticed that everytime he is introduced and he walks on stage, he is clapping over himself?  If you look at old films, you will notice that Stalin did the exact same thing.  They even clap identically.

Trump also hosted an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit yesterday.  This is usually a free-wheeling arena that allows public figures to directly interact with readers.  Only, this wasn’t a “free-wheeling” session.  Turns out that every questions was screened by Brad Pascale, Donald Trump’s digital director.

In the hour-long session, Trump answered a whopping 13 questions.  Reddit spokesman said:  “For this AMA we have temporarily taken extra security measures to keep our community free from troublemakers.  We built the wall 10 ft taller, you might say.”  The also automatically deleted questions from new or “inexperienced” users.  So much for “Ask Me Anything”.

Mike Pence held a rally in Wisconsin last night.  A reporter for the Washington Post tried to get press credentials for the event, but was denied.  The Washington Post is one of about a dozen news organizations who are “blacklisted” from Trump rallies.

The Reporter then tried to gain entrance through the general admission entrance.  He was stopped by a “security” officer and told he could not bring his laptop and cell phone into the event.  He asked if everyone was banned from laptops and cell phones and was told only Washington Post Reporters.

He then put his laptop and cell phone in his car and returned to the entrance.  He was stopped again and was “patted down” to make sure he didn’t have his cell phone.  Even after all of this, he was still denied entrance to the rally.

This is the kind of campaign Trump has been running. If you dare to print something not praising the Wonderful Donald Trump, you are barred from his events.  Can you say censorship?  This whole mess shows exactly how much Trump honors the Constitution.  Free Speech is reserved only for him.

But, we should all feel sorry for The Donald.  He complained on Fox that the attacks he is receiving are really terrible and some are even false.  I guess we need to feel pity for him because sometimes he even takes them “personally”.  Poor baby!

Then we had New Gingrich put his foot in his mouth again.  He said that anyone on the terrorist watch list should be forced to wear a monitoring bracelet.  Of course he didn’t call it the “terrorist” watch list, he called it the “Muslim” terrorist watch list.

He said if you are on the watch list we need to know where you are.  Yet he and his party still think that if you are on that watch list you can still buy a gun.  Is it just me or is there something very wrong with that thought process?

Finally, in order to show that Tim Kaine was not really a patriot, the North Carolina Republican Committee tweeted that Kaine was wearing the “flag of Honduras” but not the American Flag.  Problem is that Kaine was wearing a “Blue Ribbon” pin in honor of his son serving in Eastern Europe in the Marine Corps.  Literal proof that hate does make you a moron!

Tonight, Clinton will make her acceptance speech and the election will really begin.  I really believe this is going to be a real nasty election.  We cannot hope that America will wake up from this nightmare in time.  We need to make sure of only thing.  As the President said: “Don’t boo, Vote!”

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In 1972 there was a break-in at the Watergate.  The break-in occurred at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters.  The end result of that break-in was the downfall of Richard Nixon and his Presidency.  He was the only President to resign in shame!

Last week, WikiLeaks released hacked emails from the DNC right before the opening of the Democratic National Convention.  Since the actual hack was discovered in April, the DNC hired a cybersecurity company to figure out where the hack originated.

That company says the hack came from Russia.  An additional cybersecurity company has investigated the incident as well and came to the same conclusion.  The FBI is also investigating the incident.

Someone who calls himself Guccifer 2.0 said he was the one who hacked the DNC emails.  He claims to be Romanian.  However, ThreatConnect, a cybersecurity company, said they traced Guccifer 2.0 to an internet server in Russia.  They further said that this was probably not a single person but a collection of people from the Russian propaganda arm.

“These are bureaucrats, not sophisticated hackers,” Rich Barger, ThreatConnect’s chief intelligence officer, said.  He further said that Guccifer 2.0 made inconsistent remarks and given a version of how he penetrated the DNC networks.  Barger said that they technically don’t make sense.  For instance, the hacker claims to have used a software flaw that didn’t exist until December 2015 in order to break into the DNC networks last summer.

That is what is known so far about the hack.  The evidence, so far, shows Russian involvement in the hack.  Russia has also attempted to hack government agencies in our country and our European allies.  Those are simple facts.

Trump held a news conference today.  He claims that “no one knows if Russia was involved.”  I guess his “wonderful brain” he claims to have hasn’t read any papers recently.  But, it gets worse, and quite frankly I can’t believe I heard what he said.

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.  I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press.

When he was pressed to answer if he was actively encouraging Russia, or any other government, to interfere with our elections or to hack into private emails of Mrs. Clinton or any other citizen he said:  “That’s up to the president” meaning Putin.  When Katy Tur tried to follow-up, he simply told her to be quiet.

When he was asked why he refused to unequivocally call on Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s president, to not meddle in the United States’ presidential election, he said:  “I’m not going to tell Putin what to do.  Why should I tell Putin what to do?”

As a veteran who gave 20 years of service to my country, I find these remarks bordering on treason.  We now have a candidate from a major political party encouraging our enemies to hack into our country’s cyber systems.

Donald Trump is a despicable human being.  He has a history of making money from the misery of other people.  He is feeding hate and division in our own country.  He wants to put an end to immigration of “special groups”.

But, now we know exactly where his loyalties are.  He has crossed the line and should be held accountable for this very egregious behavior.  It is time for the groundswell to grow for him to “resign” the nomination and crawl back into the sewers where he belongs.

As far as I am concerned, Donald Trump is a traitor!  He sees no problem with an enemy hacking into our emails as long as it benefits himself.  He has even “encouraged” such actions by our enemies as long as he gets to read everything they get.

That is the very definition of treason!

 

 

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Day one of the Democratic National Convention was very interesting.  There was the usual backdrop of issues inside the party.  There always is a bunch of backdrop issues inside the party.  When you put about 5000 people from competing sides of the party together, you get backdrop issues.

The first issue was the DNC email scandal.  That was bad.  I said so yesterday and said that Debbie Wasserman Shultz had to go and stay away from the convention.  A couple of hours before the start, she finally decided not to attend.  I don’t know if she was forced to stay away or not, and I really don’t care.  She needed to go and she finally did.

Then there is the talk about where the emails came from that were leaked.  I was almost certain that Alex Jones and his InfoWars conspiracy theory idiots would come screaming out of the woodwork.  But, then I forgot, this is the Democrats and not the Republicans problem.

There is still some investigating to do on the hack, but here is a brief timeline about what happened.  Sometime in April, an independent contractor for the DNC was beginning an investigation and research into Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager.  She was looking into the connection between Manafort and the Ukraine President backed by Vladimir Putin who was tossed out of office by a citizens protest.  Manafort was “advising” the Ukraine President at the time.  To what extent that “advising” went, I do not know.

She was gathering information from the Ukraine when Yahoo, the place she had her personal email, contacted her to inform her that a foreign government was trying to hack into her personal email account.  She immediately contacted the DNC who then checked their system and discovered a hack.

The DNC hired a private cybersecurity company to investigate and try to figure where the hack was initiated.  In June, this private company determined that the hack had all the “fingerprints” of two Russian Intelligence Agencies.  They determined that the Russians were responsible for the hacks.

In the meantime, Donald Trump began questioning our membership in NATO.  He started questioning whether or not NATO should be disbanded.  Something Putin would absolutely love.  On the day the Republican National Convention started, Donald Trump gave an interview with the New York Times where he said he might not “automatically defend a new NATO ally” if they were attacked by Russia.  He would first have to check to see they “fulfilled their obligations to us”.

One week later, a day before the DNC was to start its convention, WikiLeaks leaked the DNC emails showing some of the party’s upper people were not in favor of Bernie Sanders gaining the nomination.  What a crazy coincidence.  This is the cue for Alex Jones to start his conspiracy theory about the Russians meddling in U.S. politics.  But, Alex Jones hates Hillary Clinton more than he hates Vladimir Putin.

I do not know what involvement the Russians had, if any.  I also know that none of this would have mattered if Debbie Wasserman Shultz didn’t run the DNC like her own little “power world”.  In the end, Debbie Wasserman Shultz is the one to blame for this mess.  And, she has paid dearly.  She may even lose her primary for reelection over this.  If she does, she has no one to blame but herself.

I’ll wait for the final investigations into the matter to settle just who did the hacks and where WikiLeaks got the emails.  I am no conspiracy theory nut.  But, if it does prove to be true that Russia is trying to influence our election to favor Trump, that would be disastrous even for him.

The first day of the convention was marked by the “Berniacs” not wanting to give up their fight for their candidate.  I can understand their disappointment.  However, they should also be reveling in the fact that they got about 90 percent of their issues into the official Democratic Platform.  As Bernie Sanders said himself, this is the most progressive platform in the party’s history.

For once, the Democrats actually have a platform that I can actually get behind.  Yes, it will be something that will be difficult to get passed into law.  Yes, it is very progressive.  Yes, there are no guaranties about how much the party will actually fight for it.  But, it is in writing.  It is saying this is what the Democratic Party now stands for and it is about time.

Let face facts.  You may or may not agree with the platform or the Democrats policies.  But, at least they told you what they were unlike their Republican cousins.  We have yet to hear what Trump’s policies are.  Except “believe me”.

This platform is one that really supports all of the people and their rights.  It is something that says being American isn’t just shouting U.S.A.  It is about the people and making their lives better.  The Bernie Sanders movement made this platform possible and they should revel in that fact.  No, their candidate didn’t win.  But the causes their candidate fought for did!

We also saw the Democratic Party give Bernie Sanders supporters their time on stage.  Instead of “quashing” any dissent like the RNC did at their convention, the Democrats let the dissatisfied have their say.  And, unlike the RNC, Bernie Sanders’ name will be placed in nomination tonight so his supporters can cast their ballots for him.

The evening speakers were very good.  Corey Booker gave a very uplifting speech that rallied the crowd.  Elizabeth Warren gave a pointed speech poking Donald Trump and his fantasy world.  Bernie Sanders gave a great speech.  But, the crowning jewel was Michelle Obama.  About the only person with a better ability to speak in public I have seen is her husband.  But the difference is razor-thin.

Her speech was so good, that one Republican Strategist jokingly said it was so good “we might hear it again at the next Republican Convention.”  There can be no better praise than that.

The first day began with turmoil.  I might even say it was chaotic.  But, the evening ended extremely well.  The best part for me was the Democrats actually laid out their plans much better than the Republicans did.  The Democrats painted a much different picture than the Republicans.

Instead of telling us that our country is in deep trouble and in dire straights, they gave us a positive view of what we have achieved since the debacle that was George W. Bush’s time in office.  They reminded us of the recovery we made from the great recession of 2008.  But, they did not back down from the idea that we have much more work to do.

For the first time we heard about climate change.  We heard about health care.  We heard about immigration reform.  We heard about energy.  We heard about the environment.  We heard about education.  These are all things we never heard even uttered by the RNC.  Except “build the wall”.

Next up is the roll call to nominate their candidate.  What happens after the vote will help determine just how good this convention can become.  I do not believe that all of the Berniacs will ever support Hillary Clinton.  But, the platform speaks for itself.

On the Democratic side we have a platform filled with things that will help all Americans.  On the Republican side we have a platform filled with hate and divisiveness.  It is also filled with positions that clearly state that their “government” will tell the rest of us how to live our lives.

Yesterday there were some fireworks.  There was some chaos.  There was some good.  I would say yesterday was far better than the circus the RNC gave us last week on their first day.  The other thing to remember, is none of the major players in the party have “boycotted” the convention for “haircuts” or “fly-fishing”.  Nor, has anyone refused to be a speaker at this convention.

I thought day one was much better than the RNCs day one.  You have to decide for yourself.  Let’s see what happens on day two.

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Today the Democrats will open their convention.  The biggest news in the party is that Debbie Wasserman Shultz has resigned her post as Chair of the DNC.  That was something that a lot of people have wanted for some time.

According to the statement, she is resigning effective immediately at the end of the Nation Convention this week.  Too bad, she should have made it immediate and stayed away from the convention completely.

It seems weird that leaked emails from her and her staff was her downfall.  Yet, she really hasn’t done all that much to help the DNC since she became the chair.  She has been a lightning rod now for a couple of years and her departure is long overdue.

Some “hard-core Berniacs” will be there and some may even protest.  Some might try to upend the VP nomination of Tim Kaine.  That is probably unlikely, but we shall see.  Bernie Sanders got a lot of compromise from the DNC over the platform.  No, he didn’t get everything he wanted, but he was able to change it some to lean a bit more left.

I don’t foresee too much turmoil at this convention.  See, Democrats have a long history of controversy at their conventions.  Unlike the Republican Party which usually rules with an iron fist, the Democrats are mostly open at their conventions.  Which results in more squabbles than at Republican parties.

To me, the biggest thing to watch for is the tone.  At the Republican Convention last week, the tone was very dark and problematic.  Nothing in this country is going well, according to them.  There are plenty of groups to blame for the mess, excluding the Republican Party.  And, we are all going to wake up one day and find we have been murdered in our beds by these nefarious groups unless we elect the next dictator, Donald Trump.

Some simple facts of reality.  In 2008 the country elected Barak Obama as the first Black President in our history.  That same year, during the election, the economy collapsed.  When Obama took office in January 2009, we were losing about 850,000 jobs per month.

After a year of trying to stop the carnage, we began to see things turn around.  We have had over 75 straight months of private sector job growth.  That despite the lack of participation of the Republican Party in governing.  The Republican Controlled House of Representative has been the least effective House in our history.

Each year of their control, they break new lows for how ineffective they are.  Two years ago, the Senate came under Republican Control.  Mitch McConnell said we would “now see just how to govern under Republicans”.  We are still waiting because they haven’t done anything more than the House, which is nothing.  Hell, even Donald Trump said we need to rebuild our infrastructure.

What he didn’t say is that there has been a Transportation and Infrastructure Bill intended to do just that languishing in the Republican Congress for SEVEN YEARS!  Republicans are not interested in passing that bill nor in creating the millions of good paying jobs it would ensure.

So, the tone of the Democrat Convention is very important to me.  I am very interested in just how they conduct themselves.  Will they fall into the trap and start bashing Donald Trump or will they tell us what policies they plan on to build on the progress we have made since 2008.

Are the speakers going to produce innuendos about the other side, or are they going to compare what their plans are to their opponents?  That should be easy since their opponents don’t have a plan.

Democrats need to spell out exactly what they see as problems and challenges facing our nation, and tell us exactly what they intend to do to address those problems and challenges.  People want to know that someone is interested in their future.  They need to know that if they vote for Democrats, the people’s wishes will be considered and not the special interest groups.  That is going to be huge challenge for Democrats.

The middle-class is disappearing.  We need to know what is going to be done to bring it back.  We need to know how public education will improve for everyone.  We need to know that our children’s future will be bright and promising.

What is going to be done about climate change and the environment?  What is going to be done about income inequality?  What is going to be done about our crumbling infrastructure?  What are we going to do about health care and its costs?  How do we combat terrorism and not strip our citizens of their right to privacy?  So many problems and we need solutions not 20 second sound bites about who to blame.

Too many people are talking like this is a binary election.  Meaning we have a choice between two bad candidates.  That does not have to be the choice.  Since the Republicans failed to provide any details about their policies, except “believe me”, the Democrats have an opportunity to separate themselves from the Republicans and show that they deserve our votes.

The Democrats have an opportunity to give us real policies and real choices.  Or, they can give us a mud wrestling match.  I would rather choose between policies rather than a mud wrestling match.  Trump wants a mud wrestling match.  That is the only way he figures he can win.

All we can do now is wait and watch.  I know that there will be some fights during this week.  I know that everyone will not be totally happy with everything going on this week.  That is usual for Democrats.

It is the tone that matters.  It is policies that matters.  It is ideas that matters.  Last week we got a very dark tone.  We got no policies.  We got no ideas.  All we got was “I am the only one who can fix the problems, believe me”.

That ranks right up there with the “check’s in the mail” and “I promise I’ll respect you in the morning”.  It is all up to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.  This week will let us know if this is really a binary election or one based on ideas, policies, and hope.

Let’s hope it is about ideas, policies and hope.  We have had too many mud wrestling matches in the past, and they provided us with nothing but division and hate.

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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!

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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!

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