Trump and Russia: my best guess

There are conflicting narratives in the political world. This has likely always been true, but the separation of the narratives feels more palpable than any other time in my life. Sure, we’ve had conflicting narratives before: Reagan painted a picture of a world where the poor were living large on the handouts of the rich, and the counter-narrative was that nobody is “living large” and that people need help. There has been the belief that deregulation is good for us because regulations provide a costly burden, and this is countered by the cost is worth the protection that regulations provide. But these were issues of perspective, not issues of mutually exclusive views of the world. That feels quite different from what we have now, especially when it comes to Trump and Russia.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 4: Who is Felix Sater?)

This is the fourth of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread click here. This one is all cut and pasted, with the links included. None of the text is my own, not even paraphrased.

This is all about a man named Felix Sater, who I think we should get to know a bit. Follow past the jump for this one.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 1: Trump Jr emails and meetings)

Steven Harper has assembled a very useful and impressive timeline of all the connections between Trump and Russia. It’s posted here, and updated regularly. As impressive as I find it, the problem with it is that it’s a series of overlapping timelines, rather than one single timeline. A way to sort it by a specific topic would be helpful, and certainly possible electronically. I hope they will do this in the future. For now, there are a couple of subthreads that I found particularly interesting to follow, and worth putting together here. I’m sure more will be added to these in the future. If I’m moved to update, I’ll do it in a separate post to preserve the sense of what we know now. I’m also going to keep the subthreads in separate posts so they don’t get buried under each other. Some text is copied and pasted directly from the timeline, other text is paraphrased.

The Trump Jr email/meeting timeline is below, and others will follow:

Subthread 2: Trump campaign and the GOP platform position on Russia and Ukraine.

Subthread 3: all about Manafort

Subthread 4: who is Felix Sater?

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Are we spoiled?

election malfunction.png

I spend a fair amount of time on FaceBook, and I keep a pretty diverse group of friends, so I get to hear lots of different perspectives. I have quite a few friends who are just not happy with the election. They don’t like the choices, and they think the whole thing is messed up. When people say they have to vote for the lesser of two evils, I have a tendency to feel like this says more about the nomination from the party that person is more likely to vote for, than it says about both candidates (read more here), but there are nevertheless plenty of people who just despise both choices, especially this year. When I think about the people who aren’t happy, some of them dislike the candidates as people (Hillary is a crook, Trump is a pig, etc), but I’ve been friends, at least on FaceBook, with others for long enough that I get the sense they will never be happy, with any candidate, unless that candidate fits their hopes/dreams/values/desires perfectly. It makes me wonder if we’re expecting a bit too much…maybe spoiled by modern society.

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Think there are no good choices in the election? Does that say more about ‘your’ candidate than it does about the election in general? Probably.

My Facebook feed is full of people who are dissatisfied with the election options. Meme after meme pokes fun at the candidates and the options the voters have this presidential election cycle. “I don’t think America should elect any president in 2016. We need to be single for a few years and find ourselves,” is one that I find amusing.

I find this one is a bit more offensive, but I get the point.

Here’s my problem with all of this: It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of BOTH candidates. What matters the most is what each person thinks of one of them. That is ALL that matters.

Continue reading “Think there are no good choices in the election? Does that say more about ‘your’ candidate than it does about the election in general? Probably.”

Will we have our fourth “illegitimate” president in a row?

I’m not a historian, and I don’t know one well enough to ask, but it seems like the illegitimate president is a modern trend. Even if we’ve had one or two before, my guess is that we haven’t had three, could be four, in a row. What do I mean by an illegitimate president? A president who a large swath of Americans reject as the legitimate president because of one thing or another. Clinton, failed to get a majority of the vote. Bush, had a presidency that was decided by a Supreme Court case (which, in my non-legal expert opinion, was decided against the ideology of  every single Justice on the bench). Obama’s citizenship, or fraudulent citizenship, made him illegitimate, and now, the election is rigged, so if Clinton wins, her presidency will have the illegitimate label also. Let’s look at each of these in a rational manner.

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Demonizing Hillary

My wife has enormous influence on me. I listen to whatever she says, and am often convinced to change my view, at least slightly, because of something she said. On the twentieth anniversary of our marriage (today, August 3rd, 2016), it is, therefore, appropriate to write a brief note about a recent change in my thinking about the 2016 elections.

This change is a good one; good in the sense that it lets me live my life feeling less disgust for other people. That makes me happy, because feeling disgust for anything is not pleasant in any way. So what changed? My view of Trump voters.

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The GOP Platform

A lot is said about republicans and what they do and do not believe. We can consider how many republicans do and do not agree with certain things, but in the end, the party has a platform, and the platform is on record now. I think it’s worth taking a look…and doing a little fisking (actually pseudofisking, there’s no way I’m covering every single phrase in the damn thing, it’s just too long and a lot of it doesn’t warrant comment anyway). Here goes!

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What de Blasio did wrong

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, and Hillary Clinton, made a mistake. They had a skit that involved Hillary asking why it took so long for de Blasio to endorse her, and he invoked a racially charged term, that she defused. The comedic timing could have worked with different “actors” and in a different setting, but it fell flat there, and raised lots of eyebrows. I am bothered by what he did, but not because I think he’s a racist, or that the joke was racist, but because I think he betrayed a trust. The video is here, and Clinton joins the act around 7:45. The attempt at the joke starts at 8:30.

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