Trump Team Russian Connections

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UPDATE Mar 3 2017.  Washington Post lists the Trump people in the Russia web.

So many of Trump’s close inner circle of advisers and appointees have close ties with Russia, have met with Russian operatives and/or ambassador, or have lucrative business deals with Russian oligarchs, real estate or Rosnift (the Russian state owned oil company) that it’s becoming complex to keep score.  Below is an informal list, with very brief descriptions of each player.  (Strike-throughs indicate that this person has already resigned or been removed from their position.)  This list is expected to get longer as more information is revealed about the Trump camp.

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I AM Part of the Resistance (by Thomas J. Gray)

UPDATE: I’ve received notification by Thomas J. Gray that he is the author of this piece.  By the time I had seen it on facebook, it had been added to – so I am updating this post to more accurately reflect the original wording.  I liked much of what had been added, and I understand that in the passion of those first horrible days, many felt similar feelings and simply added their own parts.   This phrase was added:

The survival of our democracy and our way of life demands that we stand and resist. So I will Resist. I AM part of the Resistance, and I AM proud of it.

Here is the original, by Thomas J. Gray:

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How GW Bush Stole the 2000 Election

Democratic elections have always been messy; democracy itself is inherently messy.  And there have probably always been shenanigans to be found in the process.  But the “election” of George W. Bush was probably one of the most egregious election scams we’d seen up until that time.  Bush lost the popular vote by 540,000 votes.  But things got really strange in Florida, where George’s brother, Jeb was Governor.

GOP Voter Suppression in Florida

Governor Jeb Bush instructed his Secretary of State Katherine Harris to purge the voting rolls of thousands of voters.

12,000 eligible voters – a number twenty-two times larger than George W. Bush’s 537 vote triumph over Al Gore – were wrongly identified as convicted felons and purged from the voting rolls in Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. African Americans, who favored Gore over Bush by 86 points, accounted for 11 percent of the state’s electorate but 41 percent of those purged.. Rolling Stone

But that didn’t stop the voter suppression efforts.  The fact that voter suppression had been used to successfully “elect” a United States president was not lost on the Republican party.

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Trump Now Needs An Attack On US Soil

Donald Trump, a man who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 MILLION voters and yet has been installed in the White House, is a very unpopular person, both in the United States and world-wide.  There are huge protests at his radical executive orders,  massive resistance to his fringe far-right ideology, and challenges to his lies and policies in the public and in the courts.  This man is desperate to “win” rather than govern.  And he needs something to help him “win”.

Donald Trump needs a distraction, a way to unite people behind him, and a way to consolidate his power.  Donald Trump and the GOP NEED a terrorist attack on the United States.

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Increasingly, more people are echoing the fear that this administration will orchestrate ( or allow) some type of “terrorist attack”.  We all certainly hope one does not happen; innocent people should not pay the ultimate price in an authoritarian regime’s grab for power.   There are known steps usually taken by authoritarian and fascist regimes to maximize their control in  any “event.”  So before such an event happens, we need to communicate these to as many people as we can:

  • Be ready for the administration to call for arrest or internment of  certain people.
  • Be aware of manipulation. Don’t fall for their political theater and hyper-patriotic rhetoric.
  • Do your best to think critically and rationally. They’ll be counting on people to be frightened and angry.
  • We’re going to need to stand together in unity.  The administration will try to divide us and turn us against one another.  Don’t let them.  We’ll need to be skeptical, caring, and level headed… and #Resist the power grab that would follow such an attack.

What benefit would this administration get from an attack?

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The History Behind the 2016 Coup

Sometimes it’s challenging to decide where to start with a Backstory.  History’s threads weave through a lot of current events.  But the coup of November 2016 has a somewhat clear place to start.  Let’s look at a bit of history for the backstory.

In 1933, wealthy right-wing  corporatists conspired to execute a coup and oust FDR, disliking his New Deal policies of helping the poor, ending child labor – and his decision to stop using the US Military to support oppressive corporations like United Fruit in the third world.

Their goal was to emulate the corporate fascism of Hitler and Mussolini that was happening in Europe at that time, instead of what was shaping up to become a liberal democracy.

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General Smedley Butler

They approached Marine General Smedley Butler, the most highly respected Military officer in the US at the time,  for assistance — but they guessed wrong.  He remained loyal and gathered details, then, reported the treasonous conspirators.  The attempted coup, now often called The Wall Street Putsch,  failed.  There were some hearings, but, the House was reluctant to investigate such wealthy pillars of society.  In fact, being wealthy, the plotters were not held to account. (If you do a search for “FDR coup Gen Smedly Butler”online, you’ll find a large amount of information.) For the most factual read,  Here are transcripts of General Butler’s testimony and later interviews giving tons of detail.

Next time, a more subtle plot had to be devised.

Wealthy corporatists  came up with a devious plan, slowly building their control over government over several decades through electing conservative Republicans and “Blue Dog” Democrats. More

Fact-Checking BS Emails

It’s that time again!  The presidential election brings the crazies out of their basements and think-tanks to compete in the “BS Email & Social Media Follies”.

Lots of people have asked me how to go about fact-checking, so let’s discuss it here.

First, let’s take a look at fact-checking, and a few tips on how to spot a BS email or post.

How To Spot a BS Email or Post

  • A BS Email claims to be factual, rather than opinion.  And it is full of fake “facts”, quotes, and lots of hyperbole.  A false message often contains a tiny grain of truth.  This is done to give “cover” or deniability to the liar, and it also gives lazy readers a false sense that the entire message must be true.  Let’s not be lazy readers, my friends!  If something is just too “on the nose”, or fits a political narrative a bit too exactly, don’t forward or re-post it until you’ve checked it out.
  • If a quote seems out of character for the person to whom it was attributed, check it.
  • Always suspect emails with giant font, a lot of exclamation points and ALL CAPS!!!!!!!!!  (If you can imagine someone hysterically yelling the message, definitely check it.)
  • If the post or email quotes a known propagandist or propaganda organization, be suspicious.  (There are some individuals who have made a very good living twisting words, telling outright lies, and especially, selling hate and fear of “the other”.  They often refer to themselves as “real Americans” and other people as outsiders.  Always fact-check anything these people say.)

There are several types of people who contribute to a “successful” BS email or social media meme:

  1. The despicable people who knowingly create these emails and posts, and who don’t care that remembernews82_nthey’re terrifying our elderly and uneducated, since their goal is to gain votes through deceitful manipulation.
  2. The above mentioned elderly, who came from a time when creating a fake TV “news” station or building a website based on false “information” would be considered shameful. Yes, there was a time when a reporter strove for honesty and tried to be impartial. After all, the airwaves belong to the U.S. citizens, and a person using these airwaves had an ethical obligation to help educate and enlighten citizens, not outright manipulate them.   Sorry, that time is long gone. (You cannot blindly believe what you see on television or read in an email or see on a website.)
  3. The uneducated, who do believe what they read or see without fact-checking.
  4. All of the above people, who forward BS emails to vast numbers of people, continuing the cycle of dumbing-down the country.

A great example: Today an email came forwarded to me printed in GIANT BOLD COLORED FONT and of course, lots of exclamation points!!!!!!: the better to scare you with, my dear. More

Democratic Socialism and Un-Democratic US Oligarchs

Let’s talk a little bit about Democratic Socialism, such as found in Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Who doesn’t want a society that is based upon equality?

Who doesn’t want a society where each member is well educated and healthy?

Why do you think Democratic Socialist societies are alway — always– listed in the top Happiest Countries on Earth?  Every Year.

It is because the taxes they collectively pay are used to provide each member of their society with high quality health care, high quality education, and social services. More

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