How Putin Out Dealt Trump

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In a world where the life being lived is always the “best” or the “worse,” it’s an easy choice: facts, evidence, and actions; ideas, explanations, and decisions direct our deliberations to . . . → Read More: How Putin Out Dealt Trump

Understanding The Russian Threat

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Many conservatives are pushing back on the idea of a legitmate Russian threat, suggesting it is an example of Democrats and liberals creating an issue that lacks substance and is really about . . . → Read More: Understanding The Russian Threat

Trump To Comey:

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James Comey’s firing is the greatest sleight of hand in America’s politics; it is the substance of things unseen; it puts the pea where it is not–it is a master sham of . . . → Read More: Trump To Comey: “Your Fired!”

The Putin Factor

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First, a few facts: Russia’s economy is the size of Spain’s, for the last 3 years, it has showed negative growth, a 3.7% decline in 2015. Its largest source of state revenue is Gazprom, . . . → Read More: The Putin Factor

Where's The Intelligence Report On Russia's Active Measures During The Election?

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Where is the release of the intelligence report that ties Russia to the interference in the US national election through active measures?  Some of those . . . → Read More: Where’s The Intelligence Report On Russia’s Active Measures During The US Election?

The President Must Be Made Aware Of The Danger He Is Trying To Hide

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Of the twin issues before the House Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday, the foreign incursion into the election process, foreshadowed by implicit references . . . → Read More: The President Must Be Made Aware Of The Danger He Is Trying To Hide

Trump's Presidency Is A Death Watch

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In the glare of sensationalism, important narratives are missed. Rachel Maddow loves these narratives, long stories tying rich decision-makers and governments together; her latest about the Bank of Cyprus, Trump lender . . . → Read More: Trump’s Presidency Is A Death Watch

Going Rogue: The Boehner-Netanyahu Subterfuge

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Behind the objections to the Iran framework is a new alliance of power politics.

. . . → Read More: Going Rogue: The Boehner-Netanyahu Subterfuge

When Reason Stops Short

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DDUnlike bullets and political rhetoric, reason often stops short. Like bullets and rhetoric, reason often puts forth a single-sided, unchallenged view. Thinking is no longer a safe zone: it is used for deadly purposes. Political leaders and armies have conscripted reason into their arsenals. Insurgents and students deploy it in the service of their cause. As we review the cases, we see reason how reason stops short and trends farther and farther from the truth. It does its most damage when it stops short. Here’s proof.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin says he still recognizes Viktor F. Yanukovych as Ukraine’s president. Nobody has heard from Yanukovych since February, when he gave a press conference after he had disappeared and turned up in Russia near Ukraine’s border. It is a globally accepted practice that when a head of state flees a country voluntarily, has no popular or party support, no longer controls the military, can no longer appoint ministers or cabinet members, and no longer has signatory authority, that person is considered to have been stripped of the power of office. But in Russia, in the logic and reason of Putin, such a person still holds high authority. Reason stopped short.

The recent Ukrainian national election won by a billionaire chocolate maker, Petro Poroshenko, a former Ukrainian foreign minster and trade minister who knows Putin well, was not enough to convince Putin otherwise. Putin’s reasoning not only falls short but steps into a big hole—it ignores the overwhelming presence of a connected series of irrefutable facts. Putin is the communist president who would be the Russian empress Catherine. His subjects silent, fearful of laughing, afraid he or his agents will hear snickering, he declares he is sartorially arrayed in the regalia of power, when his closet (and coffers!) are empty and his tenuous rewriting of history is in free fall.

Putin positions his army on the edge of his reason. Looking down the barrels of very large guns spread across their borders, local populations and even nations rarely object to his fallacies and delusions. Armed threats are persuasive; his words make no case.

Nigeria is a first-class exhibit for reason gone awry and stopped short. The Nigerian government and army and the Northern insurgency of Islamists, Boko Haram, the group who recently kidnapped 296 school-aged girls (followed by another kidnapping of eight more girls), both attack reason in the depth of the heart: the safety and security of children. Continue reading When Reason Stops Short

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Democrats: Speak Up!

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DDSmall-time Republicans and big-time media money have been able to change the political messaging in this country by openly calling for an agenda of false rebellion in the name of freedom that actually exerts greater control and is more expensive. Many people hear the previous sentence as: “Republicans have changed the political agenda in the name of freedom.” One of the ways Republicans are successful is they offer a complicated subterfuge and dissemble pieces a few at a time. Democrats respond by talking among themselves (as this piece does!) instead of to the country.

Messages that dissemble or only speak to insiders create a disconnect, but only one of these disconnects has leverage with voters, and it is the Republican choice. Republicans confine truth to the background and focus on the places where logic has become disconnected—the places where things terribly wrong can be easily examined, using lies and blame.

In the global pop news of the moment, the Russia seizure of Crimea, a preposterous event in the modern world where respect for the sanctity of borders is the first principle of international relations, Republicans avoid this first principle and the details of Russia’s energy exports being controlled by a state-owned corporation (which means its revenues are paid to the state not the private sector). Republicans avoid the analysis of how important the massive spider-work of Ukraine’s pipelines is to Russia’s efficient transmission of gas and oil to Europe. They avoid the fears Russia has internally of becoming a country influenced by its Muslim population in its southern regions (14 percent of its population).

Instead, Republicans have created a public narrative which comes close to defending Putin’s actions by blaming Obama for not defending America’s imperialism. It is circulating as if Russia is ideologically free of imperialist tendencies. In essence, it seeks to elevate the false illusion of Russian “strength”—which is its criminality—over the policy of President Obama to allow each country to find its internal stability with a minimum of big power influence.

Imperialism is a big idea with a long history, and blame is short and sweet. Blame is the lemonade made from the political lemons handed your opponents—if you are Republican.

But no evidence supports the GOP recipe (except magical thinking!) that Putin or any Russian leaders have based moves or calculated Obama’s response into their positions and military actions.

Beginning with the Russian revolution itself, the partitioning of Germany after World War II, the 1950s invasions of several eastern European countries, the placement of missiles in Cuba, the support of insurgencies in Africa, the invasion of Afghanistan, and most recently Chechnya, Georgia and Ossetia, there is no predictive proof that a country with a long history of using military force within its region, through a variety of governments, under a variety of leaders, is tempered by American or European reaction!

Blame doesn’t need proof, just popular sentiment; blame Obama.

History and facts show the contrary. Russia plays no zero sum, either/or game; it views its interests singularly. Weighing the importance of the pipelines through Ukraine to the West and the sudden toppling of its puppet, Viktor Yushchenko (who cut bait), had far more to do with Putin’s moves than any imagined review of Obama’s policies.

Putin would be insulted at the idea he contemplated or was influenced by Obama’s policies, rather than acting on his own. He would vehemently argue his view is what is best for Russia and Russians faced with a neighbor whose family income had dropped 25% in 20 years and was leaning heavily westward in search of opportunities missing in the 1930s state-owned Russian political economy.

Putin ignored Barack and did what Russians have always done. Republicans did what they have always done: ignore truth and blame Obama.

Even at home, in the face of one of the most magnificent political successes since the passage of social security, by a President whose failure was an avowed goal of the Republican Party and the House of the national legislature, even with seven million people enrolled in health care through the new marketplace, without demonstrations or riots in the streets, with no more upheaval than paid commercials and very long, calm lines of last minute enrollees, Republicans still plan to run against “Obamacare” in November. It will be an ultimate test of blame against truth, dissembling facts against critical thinking, of bias versus logic. Continue reading Democrats: Speak Up!

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