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Rust-Belt State Hokum

By The Reverend Published: July 30, 2016

We're still being told by for-profit media members that because of free trade agreements, like NAFTA and CAFTA, and the threat of the TPP agreement, Donald Trump has put "rust-belt" states into play for the GOP. The narrative is that white, high school educated, blue collar workers in those rust belt states.....Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania....are so goddamn angry over all those free trade agreements that they will rally to cast their votes for Donald.

Personally, I have never believed one word of that narrative...because it has never made one bit of sense. My first thought when I kept hearing early in the process that blue collar whites were flocking to Trump because, allegedly, free trade agreements had left the wages of those workers low and prospects for better paying jobs, slim....was....why would these blue collar white males skip over the obvious and resort to blaming trade legislation passed in the 90's for their economic butthurt in 2016?

I'll elaborate. The reset of wages and incomes and personal wealth that American workers and families are still struggling with today are not a result of NAFTA, passed in 1994. Instead, that reset of wages, a result of what happened in the Bankster Heist of 2008. The last part of the 90's saw millions of new jobs created and an overall increase in average wages for blue collar workers. It wasn't until the latter half of the Junior Bush administration that white, male, blue collar workers started getting beaten up economically....along with everyone else.

So, why didn't all those white, male, blue collar workers who we're told support Trump on account of all those free trade agreements passed in the 90' their goddamn madness at Wall Street Banksters by rallying behind Bernie Sanders' candidacy instead of Donald's? Why avoid blaming the most recent and most logical disaster capitalism culprits....deregulated Banksters, AIG and mortgage hucksters....and instead, point to free trade agreements passed in the 90's as the source of their economic angst and anger? That is...IF white, male, blue collar workers who support Trump are, indeed, doing so because of personal economic and jobs-related concerns.

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More Than A Dime's Worth Of Difference

By The Reverend Published: July 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech transcript found here.

My take on Hillary's speech is that she did what she had to do. Her message was crafted to appeal to all Americans. Her confidence in America's greatness and her optimism about our nation's ability to confront every problem or threat was in direct contrast with the doom-and-gloom fearmongering and divisiveness heard from her opponent last Thursday. There's a bit more than a dime's worth of difference between the two party's presidential candidates this go around....and Hillary successfully put those differences in stark contrast in last night's acceptance speech.

Here, Martin Longman gives an overview of the Democratic coalition. You should read it. A taste...

This was a Democratic Party that was fiercely positive about America and completely non-defensive and unapologetic about how their racial diversity, religious pluralism and cultural liberalism might alienate historically critical voting blocs.

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The Bigger Picture Thing

By The Reverend Published: July 28, 2016

Yesterday I mentioned something about the right-track, wrong-track numbers. Today, I direct your attention to this Byron York piece where York punctuates what I was trying to communicate. York entitled his piece...President paints rosier picture of U.S. than voters see...and points to the right-track, wrong-track numbers to "prove" his case.

I think the evidence that using right-track, wrong-track numbers as your guide to how U.S. voters actually regard where we stand at the close of Obama's tenure is found in Obama's approval numbers. President Obama has been holding a pretty steady 50% approval rating most of this year, whereas the right-track, wrong track numbers have been steady at 23-69%. Approval numbers for Congress sit at 14%, disapproval at 78%.

What all those numbers tell me is that the right-track, wrong-track numbers more closely align with Americans' view of Congress. A sizeable portion of that 69% disapproval number is also reflected in the 78% disapproval of Congress number. What that means is that a large number of Democrats and progressives believe that the country is on the wrong track BECAUSE of Do-Nothing, Know-Nothing Republicans who have, basically, controlled Congress since January 2010.

If voters are actually blaming Obama for what they perceive as a nation on the wrong track (whatever that really means)....that blame would show up in presidential approval numbers. It doesn't. So, when you read or hear that Americans do not want a third Obama term because 'ZOMG! look at those right-track, wrong track numbers'.....know that it is all a distraction, a diversion, meant to mislead.

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The Big Daddy Whitebucks Weigh In

By The Reverend Published: July 27, 2016

Trump Twittersponding yesterday...

For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.

As others have said, whether or not Trump has investments in Russia is not the question, or even the issue. The issue is....does Russia have investments in Trump Inc? And if so, how extensive are those investments and do those Russian investments in Trump Inc make it impossible for a potential President Trump to deal with Vlad Putin with ONLY the best interests of the American people in mind?

The Daily Beast has another article up on the DNC-hacker(s).

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The Russia-Trump Campaign Connections

By The Reverend Published: July 26, 2016

As you may remember, I have never bought into the "Russian aggression" meme spun out universally by media over the alleged Crimea "annex" after "regime change" in Ukraine. With the support of our EU partners, the U.S. conspired to lead a "regime change" in Ukraine, just as the U.S. has done in many other countries who are resistant to being dominated by the world's only superpower.

In short, the U.S. pro-actively ginned up the removal in 2014 of Ukraine President Yanukovych by a threat of "grassroots" violence.....replacing him with American tools who favored what America favored. Yanukovych was too close and too friendly with Putin...and prior to being ousted by western-led regime changers, Yanukovych had agreed to a new bailout package from Putin's Russia much more favorable to Ukraine than the one hammered out by EU and U.S. leaders. It was that acceptance of Russian assistance which became the trigger to western regime changers to oust the Russian-friendly Yanukovych.

What's important to know today is that Donald Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, worked for Yanukovych, or his political party, both in the 00's and again starting in 2010.

What did Manafort do to help Yanukovych?

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A Coup By Other Means?

By The Reverend Published: July 26, 2016

So, there were some people in the DNC in the bag for Hillary Clinton. And no one knew about it until Paul Mannafort and Donald Trump's allies in Russia hacked the DNC network and stole emails, a few of which seemed disparaging to Bernie Sanders? Horsepucky.

The DNC has been in the bag for Hillary Clinton for the last two years. That's why the Dem debates were scheduled the way they were, that's why most DNC superdelegates pledged support for Hillary before the primaries even began.

Because I'm pressed for time this morning, I would encourage readers to reread what I blogged yesterday about Trump's reliance on Russian investor monies. Then read this. 

Trump's Russian buddies not only helped Trump Inc. with investment cash, they also hacked the DNC, released what they hoped would be damaging-to-Hillary DNC emails on the eve of the Dem Convention, all in the hopes of placing Mr. Trump in the White House.

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Not "America First".....It's "Trump First"

By The Reverend Published: July 25, 2016

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Why is that significant?

The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the platform. So party activists were able to write one of the most conservative platforms in history. Not with Trump's backing but because he simply didn't care. With one big exception: Trump's team mobilized the nominee's traditional mix of cajoling and strong-arming on one point: changing the party platform on assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine.

The official GOP policy platform is found here. The 2016 RNC policy platform has 8 sections, including the "Preamble" and a section about the Platform Committee. Each one of the other 6 sections is quite lengthy, detailing myriads of conservative policy positions on...well...just about every damn thing.

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Let The Stones Be Your Guide

By The Reverend Published: July 24, 2016

As expected, Hillary Clinton chose Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. I watched Hillary's announcement/introduction at a Florida rally yesterday. Senator Kaine spoke for about 40 minutes....and I must say....he was quite the ball of fire in his acceptance speech. Kaine is truly a likeable guy....and has earned the respect of his Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Now, I am an unabashed liberal who would rather have seen a Sanders-Warren Democratic ticket. But as Mick has accurately pointed out decades ago...."You can't always get what you want". And in the political arena, one rarely gets what he wants.

So, Hillary's pick of Tim Kaine doesn't surprise or disappoint me in the least. Yes, I'm a liberal....but I'm also a realist. "What I want', in our current divided political situation, must be tempered by 'what we need' realism. And in case you have just woken up from a multi-year slumber, 'what we need' right now is to soundly defeat the fascist GOP nominee. Full stop.

Any yet, MANY liberals, I think, have lost sight of what is possible in such a divided political environment. Here's one example, out of many...

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Not Always About Us

By The Reverend Published: July 23, 2016

I happened to be watching MSNBC at the time the news broke from Munich, Germany about the gun-slaughter of 9 people near Munich's largest shopping mall complex. Brian Williams was anchoring....and Richard Engels was the foreign correspondent offering Expert analysis. I'll get to Engels in a moment....but here's what is known right now about the 18 year old who, singlehandedly, orchestrated the attack...and then killed himself...

"There is absolutely no link to the Islamic State," said Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae, referring to ISIL.

He describing the attack as a "classic act by a deranged person" and described an individual "obsessed" with mass shootings.

The 18-year-old gunman who opened fire at a crowded Munich shopping mall and fast-food restaurant, killing nine people and wounding 16 others before killing himself, was obsessed with mass shootings, police said Saturday.

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The Angry, Habitual Liar, Daddy-Figure

By The Reverend Published: July 22, 2016

From Trump's lengthy acceptance speech last night.....

", at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else."

You gotta hand it to the guy.....that's some very funny stuff. Unintended, of course, but still.

You see, there is this thing called the internet now. You may be familiar with it. Fact checking habitual liars happens in virtual real-time now. Here,, in an extensive examination of Trump's speech, lists the numerous lies and partial truths their examiners found in the "there will be no lies" candidate's acceptance speech. The Factcheck piece is shall I put it?....lengthy.

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