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US Politics: Alternative Realities

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (June 23,2018) 

The most striking feature of American politics today may well be the completely different perceptions held by various groups of what “facts” each considers to be truth. It’s like they are living in different worlds. While there are some cynical “realists” who knowingly fashion “fake news”,  many partisans sincerely believe their views to be correct. So much so that they feel moral indignation and outrage at the other side.

At the root of these reactions is fear. All are afraid, in varying degrees, that their way of life is threatened by the other actors on the political stage. It is fear which drives people to irrational conclusions and closes their ears and minds to dialog with those who disagree with them. When logic is thrown out the window, all that remains is instinct. Imagination can be formed  by logic, but fear obscures all but the  most dangerous fantasies.                                  Keep Reading

Timetable of Highlights in the 2016 election cycle

 

Here is a timeline of the highlights: The chronology is useful valuable because it shows the flow of events, including some possible cause and effect sequences. (Note bold entries)

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2001-2013 Appointed by President George W. Bush and retained by President Obama, Robert Mueller served 2nd longest period in US history as FBI Director

September 4, 2013 James Comey appointed Director, FBI by President Barack Obama

March 2015  A series of events, including Congressional subpoena for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails as Secretary of State regarding the Benghazi murders, lead to public discovery of irregularities in Clinton’s use of emails as Secretary of State. DOS begins inquiry of her emails on an unauthorized server. Clinton holds press conference stating her conduct was proper.

April 12, 2015  Hillary Rodham Clinton announces her candidacy for President of the United States of America.

July 10, 2015  FBI opens an investigation of Clinton emails

July 16, 2015  Donald J. Trump announces his candidacy for President of the United States of America

September 2015  FBI Director James Comey testifies before Congress on Clinton email investigation, revealing that there is an investigation but no conclusions

March 2016  WikiLeaks publishes first Podesta emails

June 30, 2016  Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s private meeting with Bill Clinton – soon discovered by press

July 5, 2016  FBI Director Comey announces that Clinton will not be prosecuted

July 19, 2016  Trump wins Republican nomination

July 26, 2016  Clinton wins Democrat nomination

July 2016  FBI begins investigation of possible collusion between Trump campaign and Russia

October 28, 2016  Comey sends letter to Congress stating that FBI investigation resumed on discovery of Clinton emails on former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s computer

November 6, 2016 Comey sends 2nd letter to Congress announcing that the Weiner evidence irrelevant and Clinton investigation closed.

November 8, 2016  Donald J. Trump elected 45th President of the United States of America

January 20, 2017 Inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th President

May 9, 2016 President trump dismisses James Comey as Director , FBI

May 2017  Associate Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate Russian collusion with Trump campaign, using same FBI investigators who had been on the case since July. 2016.

 

© Richfield Press, 2018 (All rights reserved)

 

 

DOJ Mess: Connecting the Dots

With the publication of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General’s long-awaited report on Thursday, June 14, 2018 the complicated tale of FBI involvement in the 2016-17 presidential election got even more confusing.  Considering all the public information available, the following is a likely scenario of the events.

The Beginnings

Apparently,  the FBI involvement in this entire episode was originally triggered by the obvious questions about Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails. Obama’s FBI Director James Comey realized that the situation posed a potentially fatal threat to her eligibility to run for president. He believed it was his responsibility to neutralize that threat, possibly on orders from President Obama, perhaps through Attorney General Loretta Lunch. Accordingly, he initiated an FBI investigation, but kept control in his own office, using a hand-picked group of investigators, who were known to Comey as sympathetic to Clinton/Obama. Keep Reading

Big Weekend: Quebec, Singapore, Qingdao

 

Quebec: the G7

The G7 and the Singapore meetings both have their roots in the 20th century. The G-7 is an organization designed to promote dialog among the largest economies of the “free world” – as defined by the Cold War — namely, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain from Europe, Japan from Asia, and The US and Canada from North America. Russia was also included in this group until it was expelled as an expression of protest against its forced annexation of Crimea in 2014.

As everyone knows, the American President, Donald J. Trump, is following his demand that NATO partners pay their fair share of the cost of their defense, with a demand that these trading partners lower their tariffs on American imports to the same level as American tariffs on their exports to the USA. In fact, on Sunday. Mr. Trump suggested that all G7 countries should eliminate ALL tariffs.

These folks object strongly to losing their gravy train, but their dependence on the USA as the largest market in the world for trade as well as defense suggests that they will reluctantly negotiate this equalization of tariffs as they have defense costs – which is moving in the right direction, if slowly. Keep Reading

A Bloodless Coup d’ Etat?

 

 

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (June 1, 2018)

Numerous conspiracy theories are being expounded by recent books, starting perhaps with the works of David Horowitz, and currently with Jerome Corsi’s Killing the Deep State (Humanix, 2018) among many others. At first, I was very skeptical that these portraits of the “never-Trumpers” could possibly be true. The individual actions were not hard to believe, even at the beginning. We had only to listen to Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell or Chris Matthews or The View for a few minutes to understand that there are Trump haters making outrageous accusations and creating fake news against the President.

What was difficult to believe was that the dissenters had actually been organized and deployed with a goal of overturning the 2016 election. After all, such acts are treason. But the accumulation of evidence is truly staggering. It seems that the FBI, the Obama Justice Department, and the CIA in cooperation with the Director of National Intelligence not only tried in vain to prevent the election of Donald Trump but conspired to overthrow his presidency at any cost.  This plot to place or replace the elected President with the candidate of their choice is becoming more and more visible as documents are unveiled. It seems increasingly likely that the bureaucrats joined the Obama zealots and eventually the entire Democrat Party in an attempt to overthrow the President of the United States. Not since Aaron Burr’s alleged conspiracy in 1806 have we heard of such an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government.

Without the bureaucrats, the plot had no chance of maturing, let alone succeeding. It is hard to believe that these hard-nosed professionals were motivated by the quixotic fantasies of the politicians. Sentimental they are not. For the most part, their jobs were safe under any administration. So, why did they care?

The best guess lies with the basis of all bureaucratic ambition – power. The opportunity to control the presidency must have been the deadly elixir – the Kool- Aid – that Lynch, Brennan, Mueller, Comey, Clapper and the rest were drinking. True, Trump campaigned on reducing regulations (the mother’s milk of bureaucratic power), but so have many other candidates. What was it that motivated them to sign on to treason?

We may never know. Initially, they may have been intrigued by the prospect of serving under a President Hillary Clinton, who had turned her position as Secretary of State into a money machine, and who was likely to share the next step up with the chosen few who had helped her along the way. But that fantasy vanished with the election. Why continue? Why set up a mechanism by which they could get the Trump Administration to actually pay for the agent of its own destruction?  Ingenious yes, but why? Only they know that answer.

The scenario which is slowly coming to light sounds strikingly similar to the conspiracy theories which surrounded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And, even earlier, the assassination of the populist Huey Long ended his challenge to President Roosevelt. Are today’s conspirators thinking along similar lines as their current plot unravels?

The terrible truth is that this cabal has not yet been defeated! It is possible that they may still succeed in their campaign to mount a bloodless coup d’ etat! The Democrat Party — one of the only two major political parties  in America — has joined their cause and threatens to conclude this treasonous exercise if they win sufficient seats in the next Congress. Even then, intentionally gullible as they seem to be, it is unlikely that they can actually produce a conviction. But, if the House succeeds in approving  articles of impeachment, you never know what might happen.

The most pernicious act in American history is still a possibility!

 

© Richfield Press, 2018 (All rights reserved)

 

Race in America: 2018

                                                                                       

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (May 26, 2018)

Just when white America reckoned that the election of a black President had finally signaled that racial equality in America had been achieved, it has become obvious that the distance between the races may be greater than ever, at least for large groups of both races.  There have always been two different channels of communication between the races, the “business” channel and the “personal” channel.

The business channel is used when there are people of all races present, e.g., in business settings, or in public, media, or written communications. This channel for whites traditionally ignored black sensibilities entirely. It seems justified to say that there has been improvement in this channel. As black concerns have become better known to whites, these conversations have become more “politically correct”. Certain terms, such as, “nigger”, and “whitey”, and many others are now rarely used in polite society.     Keep Reading

Donald J Trump’s Big Gamble

 

Will his actions speak louder than his words?

 

by Lawrence J Fedewa, April 15, 2018

In language, style and actions, Donald J. Trump is commonly described as “a different kind of President”.  His advocates tend to believe that he is “still learning how to be a politician”. He detractors believe that he is now and ever will be an incompetent President. As the great ethicist, H. Richard Niebuhr, used to say, “People are generally correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.” In the case of Mr. Trump, it is true that he is learning, but not how to be a politician. It is true that he is not going to change, but wrong that he is incompetent.

The basic truth about Mr. Trump is that he is deal-maker. What he is learning is not how to become a politician, but how to make deals with politicians. He has publicly scorned the deal-making capabilities of politicians, but he is now in their world, so he has to learn how to make deals with them. A more conventional description of this process is “building a coalition “around each major initiative.

He has learned that the sweet spot of most politicians is their electability at the time of an election. He has already indicated that he intends to have a very active campaign schedule for the 2018 mid-term elections. To the extent that his campaigning is successful, of course, he will build political capital. The opposite is also true. Unlike most of the politicians he interacts with, his core competence is making deals rather than attracting voters. The fact that he has done as well as he has with attracting votes is a tribute to his natural charisma and his experience as a media personality rather than his political know-how.

So, what is different about a deal-maker? The script for Mr. Trump’s approach to dialog is contained in his book, The Art of the Deal.

Keep Reading

What is Democratic Capitalism?

By Lawrence J. Fedewa

The first thing to understand is that “democracy’ is a system of governance, and “capitalism” is an economic system. The genius of America has been to unite these two elements into a synergistic whole with the goal of providing every American “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The foundation of capitalism is “profits.” A profit occurs when you sell something for more than you paid for it. All taxes depend on profits – no profits, no taxes; no taxes, no government. So, if governments (combining local, state and national) take too much of the profits generated by businesses, there will not be any profits, and the economy will fail – and people will go hungry.

Thus, there will always be a tension between government and business over the amount of profits government takes and the amount kept by businesses. Since there is no accepted “balance,” there is always a tug of war between advocates of “big government” and “limited government,” generally represented these days by the Democrats and the Republicans.
There are some basic issues at stake. First of all, governments generally have the guns, meaning the resources to enforce whatever they want to enforce, whether through confiscation (taxes), incarceration (prison), or militarization (martial law). Keep Reading

School Safety: Three key issues

Sympathize, but not simplify, safeguard the children, upgrade prevention

By Lawrence J. Fedewa 2/27/18

The current debates stemming from the Parkland massacre finally must deal with three key issues:

  1. The emotional climate following this tragedy
  2. The requirements to provide for physical safety of public gathering places
  3. The establishment of a crime prevention capability

 

  1. The emotional climate following this tragedy

The anguish and grief of the victims and their loved ones are not only understandable but are shared by empathetic observers everywhere. The natural reactions to this event are anger, demands for action, and fear for the lives of school children everywhere. The intensity of these emotions can easily lead to hysteria, which in turn can lead to acceptance of simplistic solutions. School safety is not a simple issue; it is a very complex issue. Because this murderer used a gun to execute his perverted mission does not mean that the solution to all the aspects of this type of assault is the further restriction of gun possession.

A determined bad guy can always find a weapon to execute his murders, whether a gun, a sharp knife, a sword, a bomb, another explosive or weapon– and they have. And no matter how good the background check, someone will always slip through the net – by chance or by changing since the check was done. So, other measures must be also employed.

  1. The requirements to provide for physical safety of public gathering places

President Trump has focused rightly on the need to “harden schools as targets” and his public discussions have highlighted many very effective measures which have been developed by numerous school districts. Some of the most effective that have surfaced are: single point of entry to each school with metal detectors managed by armed guards, concealed weapon carrying school personnel, specifically trained to protect students, bullet-proof, locked individual classrooms, and others. It appears that this search is well underway without more attention here. The most successful prevention program in recent years is the way we stopped airline hijacking. Everyone complains about airport security, but we all get scanned, and we don’t have any more hijacking (but it didn’t stop the 9/11 hijackers).

  1. The establishment of a crime prevention capability

The most complicated issue in this whole discussion is the fact that our entire law enforcement is based on catching and successfully prosecuting criminals. Their mission is NOT preventing crimes. The fact is that there is NO law-enforcement agency — or any other government agency — has the mission of preventing crimes. And there is a very solid reason for that. The reason is to protect the privacy and civil rights of individual citizens. The idea of giving the government the power to decide whether I am a threat to society on the basis of my exercise of free speech, or my counseling sessions with a mental health professional, or my history as a prisoner, or wife abuser, or member of an out-of-power political party or partisan organization is fraught with potential for abuse. Especially in view of the current doubts about the FBI and the FISA courts.

The provisions for temporary confiscation of weapons reported by several states, e.g. Indiana, have tackled this problem already and these experiments can set an example of attempts to reconcile crime prevention with catching criminals. The final decision as to the retention of a weapon permanently in these procedures lies with a judge – within 24 to 72 hours. The issue is, what are the criteria on which the judge will make his decision? What is the basis in law?

There is, of course, a common sense, common law rationale for such actions, namely, to protect the common good of society. But the principal thrust of American jurisprudence has always been to protect the individual citizen from an overzealous, even hostile government. Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing glaring examples of the value of such protections, Recent revelations of the federal government’s flagrant abuse of its powers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts represent the need for very serious caution in giving ANY government body more powers over our lives. Nor is the Judicial Branch of the government any better. How many times have we witnessed clearly partisan verdicts by federal judges, whether district, appellate or Supreme Court? Clearly, the supposedly impartial “wise men (and women)” of the American judiciary are fast disappearing.

Yet, such measures MUST be taken immediately. Today, we live in constant threat for terrorists, whether foreign of home-grown.  We have been attacked since 9/11/2001 by many persons, on many occasions, using weapons ranging from airplanes to butcher knives. Before that were the Oklahoma City bombing (1995), and Columbine school massacre (1999) and other tragic events. It is about time that we face the inadequacy of out current safety infrastructure.

But how? How do we balance individual rights with the prevention of such terrorist acts? My own view is that we must endow crime prevention efforts with aggressive transparency. No more secret arrests. No more unannounced confiscation of weapons or “temporary” incarceration. Our only protection as free American citizens is open courtrooms, public announcements, and provision of competent legal defense. One of the major defenses against unlawful search and seizure should be the press. Unfortunately, like the courts, the press has revealed itself as frequently biased and unreliable. However, the counterbalance to that dereliction of duty is the internet, social media, and an activist citizenry.

These observations and opinions are not answers to the choices which face us. They are reasons to act, cautions against poorly analyzed actions, and desperate calls for doing something to prevent atrocities like Parkland, Florida – but doing the right things.

Copyright 2018, Richfield Press, Ltd,

The controversies around school shootings

A UK interviewer asks for insight into American approaches to the tragic shooting in a Florida school.http://bit.ly/2HLBVs3    (22 minutes)