Trump is all-in. We must be too.

11 May

Make no mistake, Trump is balancing on the edge of disaster. Clearly he and his close clique of campaigners; Bannon, Sessions, Manafort, Kushner, Stone and others are linked and compromised by Vladimir Putin and his agents.

Trump had to sacrifice Reps Nunes and Chaffetz in successful efforts to shutdown and derail the House Intelligence Committee investigation. But Comey apparently did not get the memo. He kept going with the investigation and when he asked Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department for more resources to conduct the investigation Comey had to go.

With the surprising firing of Comey, Trump is essentially challenging the non-Teaparty Republicans in the Senate, like McCain, Graham, Collins and others to ally with the Dems and Independents in support of an independent or special prosecutor.

This is a bold, and potentially dangerous play for Trump.

It presents a dangerous challenge to the progressive community, and to democracy.

If you are a gambler, and I am, you recognize this play immediately. Trump is a smart player, but he is facing a big loss if the investigation succeeds. Maybe losing everything. So far, however, he has a pretty good hand ( with Pence, he controls Congress with the help of the Teaparty and the evangelicals), the Executive Branch with the ability to fire and appoint, with nearly half of public opinion, and a big stack of chips (favors, jobs, and threats) on the table.

Trump knows that the hole cards in front of him (unseen by us) are weak. Folding is not an option. A win by us would be big, and could eventually put Trump out of the game.

So the bold move, the move of a seasoned gambler is to go “all-in.” That’s right. All-in. The firing of FBI Director Comey was an all-in play.

That play poses a big challenge to the other side. To us.

Do we go all-in as well, or do we sit back and let him win this one?

In a game of poker like Texas Hold ‘Em, a loss for us might be the start of a bigger loss of all that we have. Trump would gain the immediate prize (escape from the exposure of his Russian compromise), confidence, and more chips (power) to throw at us.

So Trump’s move is classic, it fits him. He is a grifter, a person who tries to bluff, fool and bluster other people out of their money. That’s his style. Of course he would go all-in.

We have only one move. We must go all-in as well and challenge Trump. As in poker, there may be other hands after this. But the winner of this one hand gains a lot. Winning this insures a stronger upper hand. Beating Trump on this serious issue, however, undermines the foundation of his power.

The Trump -Russia investigation strikes at the core of his shaky and immoral administration. Until it is resolved Trump can never achieve a stable, “normal”  government. Quite possibly it could end with Trump’s resignation or impeachment.  It could certainly make a victory over the Teaparty in Congress more possible in 2018.

Already, 21 Indivisible resistance groups in Michigan have united on a statewide letter to the Republicans demanding an independent investigation. This is a powerful move that brings together a huge number of grass roots, neighborhood and Congressionally based  progressive groups. It is the first statewide action since the historic surge of resistance that powered the Women’s’ March in January, just four months ago. Its significance cannot be underestimated. This type of locally powered resistance that grows and reaches out to call for action is how national resistance is built and sustained, and revolutions get started.

Trump is all-in.

We must be too.

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I have no common interests with Vladimir Putin. Or Willy Wimmer.

31 Mar

The 2016 presidential election is over. The progressive side narrowly lost.

In my search for understanding of how the defeat occurred, I have been looking at facts, trying to distance myself from opinions displaying a lack of analysis, simplistic blame, or rigid thinking or using catch phrases, big words, or old concepts that no longer apply.

We are in a new, worsening situation with millions of people, family and friends, innocent people being threatened. In the course of my efforts, with hearty thanks to Rachel Maddow and Malcolm Nance, I encountered something very interesting.

Querfront 

In the now infamous photo of ex Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump NSC director for three weeks, at the 2015 Russian Today (RT) News dinner, Flynn is seated at the head table with VladimirPutin.

We now know that Flynn was paid over $40,000 in speaking fees and a first class, all expenses paid trip to the RT dinner in December 2015, the eve of the 2016 US presidential elections. In 2017, Flynn would have to “walk back” everything that he said about not having meaningful “contacts” with Russians and then having to register as a “foreign agent”  of a Turkish businessman to prevent being charged with violation of Foreign Agent Registration Act. (See Associated Press, March 11, 2017).

There are two other interesting and relevant elements of that photo, one of which emerged through the work of Rachel Maddow. Sitting across from Putin and later seen giving him standing applause was Jill Stein, soon to become presidential candidate of the Green Party. She gave a talk at an RT panel there, made a video, and was probably compensated through her speaking agency as well. (In case you missed the video, here’s the link:

Who is Jill Stein thanking for “making this possible?”

Sitting next to Jill Stein at the dinner was — Willy Wimmer. “Nice to meet you Mr. Wimmer. How are things going for you in Europe?”

Who is Willy Wimmer? 

From the “Neofacism” topic head in wikipedia:

Querfront (“cross-front”) “was the cooperation between conservative revolutionaries in Germany with the far left during the Weimar Republic of the 1920s. The term is also used today for mutual entryism or cooperation between left and right-wing groups. On the left, “the Communist social fascism strategy focused against the Social Democrats, resulting in … incidents of temporary cooperation with genuine fascist and ultranationalist forces.”

Today, that political trend is held by Willy Wimmer and his followers in Querfront. It’s not easy to find out much about them, although they appear well known to the Russians, hence the seat at the head table.

http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2015/08/who-is-willy-wimmer.html

What does all this have to do with us?

As Malcom Nance points out, and as I can confirm from first hand knowledge, there are people being paid in the US and in Europe, to expouse anti-Democratic Party, anti-“liberal order,” “let’s be correct, US policy is just as bad,” views about current challenges, and about the past election.  And there are folks who are doing it for free under the guise of being right about how “HRC and the Dems” lost the election, and about the US is “just as murderous as the Putin, maybe even more”

I’m not saying that we should not criticize US foreign policy and our own oligarchy. We should also identify the many reasons for our loss in 2016, including mistakes made by the Dems and HRC. We should also be self critical.

At the same time, as we are just now beginning to realize, there is an organized and well funded international, right wing effort to subvert democracy. It appears that some of this pro fascist movement is in cooperation with the government of the oligarchs headed by Vladimir Putin. This movement has links in the White House through Steve Bannon and others.

Part of the goal of the Querfront movement is to create links with the “ left” who are in opposition to the current “liberal order.” That is an established part of their strategy. Folks that you might know on the left are calling for “balance.” They are now saying that the focus on the Trump – Russia ties are a “distraction” from the “real issues.”

Just as focus intensifies on examining how the Russian state and right wing European movement made gains in undermining democracy, however flawed it is in Western Europe and the US, some in the US left are now saying, in essence, look away folks, nothing here, just a distraction from the “real issues.”

Dr. Stein and the Green Party are currently presenting themselves to the pivotal “resistance” movement as “game-changers.”  Greens are urging people to sign up for their videos, web seminars and lists.

Are they the left half of Querfront? I don’t know. I am not saying that the Green Party and all their activists, and their program founded on the “Four Pillars,” is compromised. They indeed have a progressive program on paper. And many locally based activists have run as Greens and have been elected to local offices.

However, it would be a serious mistake to ignore geo-political reality.  The Russian government has serious world wide interests. They aim to dominate politically and economically in Europe. Their government does not tolerate dissent. Journalists, dissidents, opposition figures are killed or imprisoned. A small group of billionaires runs the country. Russian efforts to compromise (one way or another) the Trump family, and now the Trump government, are real and  are being uncovered everyday. Don’t look away.

The Russian government also appears to recognize and work with Willy Wimmer.  Why?

In this instance, Dr. Stein cannot say, “Willy Wimmer. Who? Never met the man.”  You can become compromised willingly, or, perhaps by thinking that you have “common interests.”

I have no common interests with Vladimir Putin. Or Willy Wimmer.

With the growing discovery of how Russia operatives of the Putin government of oligarchs “hacked” and greatly influenced the US elections, there is a need to understand and comprehend all elements of our new areas of struggle, and their potential to impact our efforts as we head into the crucial elections of 2018.

The right wing movement in the US, and the US oligarchy fully understands the importance of the 2018 mid term elections. This may be our best and most important chance to put the brakes on the current, powerful, right wing attack against everything that we have been struggling for in the past decades, and perhaps, democracy as we know it.

To ignore, disparage, or minimize all of the forces that will be at play in this battle is to jeopardize our ability to win. Do not look away from this everyday lesson on the new battle tactics that we find ourselves facing.

Querfront exists, although few people in US politics are aware of it. Steven Bannon is aware of it. Jill Stein is aware of it. Be aware of it.

If you have not read Nance’s book, “The Plot To Hack America, 2016” you should order it and read it today. It is essential for understanding some of the challenges that we face moving forward.  It puts that RT head table into perspective.

Do not look away. Not now.

“These are not normal times.” Dan Rather

24 Jan

These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

When you have a spokesperson for the president of the United States wrap up a lie in the Orwellian phrase “alternative facts”… When you have a press secretary in his first appearance before the White House reporters threaten, bully, lie, and then walk out of the briefing room without the cajones to answer a single question…

When you have a President stand before the stars of the fallen CIA agents and boast about the size of his crowds (lies) and how great his authoritarian inaugural speech was….

These are not normal times.

The press has never seen anything like this before. The public has never seen anything like this before. And the political leaders of both parties have never seen anything like this before.

What can we do? We can all step up and say simply and without equivocation. “A lie, is a lie, is a lie!” And if someone won’t say it, those of us who know that there is such a thing as the truth must do whatever is in our power to diminish the liar’s malignant reach into our society.

There is one group of people who can do a lot – very quickly. And that is Republicans in Congress. Without their support, Donald Trump’s presidency will falter. So here is what I think everyone in the press must do. If you are interviewing a Paul Ryan, a Mitch McConnell, or any other GOP elected official, the first question must be “what will you do to combat the lying from the White House?” If they dodge and weave, keep with the follow ups. And if they refuse to give a satisfactory answer, end the interview.

Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.

Dan Rather

January 24, 2017

Bending Reality

18 Jan

As mentioned in “He’s Making A List,” we are entering a new and more difficult period with Trump taking over the presidency.

A new, more disciplined and ideologically committed right wing team has taken over national government at all levels. These folks are not “traditional” Republicans. In many cases they are enemies of the “traditionals.” These Teaparty/ultra right wingers want power and control to spread their destructive programs. They will attack and replace the “traditionals” if the old guard will not agree with their more extreme and aggressive policies.

Donald Trump is actually not part of this group. While he is the titular head and CEO of this multi faceted grouping he is not a Teaparty/ultra right ideologue. He is a narcissist, an unstable and psychologically dangerous person who is centered on making money, and gathering fame and recognition for himself and his family.

Mike Pence and Steve Bannon are the ones to watch. They are disciplined, organized and ideologically committed to the ultra right. While Trump is out making news they will be behind the curtain, setting up and facilitating the attack on democracy and progress in many areas,  and providing support for their appointees in the federal departments.

Up front is Kellyanne Conway. She is an expert in the dark arts of “spinning” the facts and trying to “bend reality.” She is dangerous because she is very good at this. If you did not watch her effort to belittle the joint intelligence report on Russian interference with the election, and the short British summary on possible Russian mob ties to DT, here it is:

https://youtu.be/aUNlr5GiHwI

Anderson Cooper does very well to parry her jabs and refuse to let her deny what they both know exists – the report on Trump that mentions possible Russian mob connections.

“Bending reality” will be very important to this new administration given that less half of the voting population, and by inference, half of the adults in the country, do not agree with DT or his policies. Recent polling suggests that even fewer people have confidence in Trump than two months ago when he won the Electoral College.

Gaming and scamming and misleading people are precisely the aims of the new administration. Twisting reality, by making it seem as if what is actually occurring is not real, is a constant necessity for Trump and his team.

Kellyanne Conway has a lot of work to do. By the way, has anyone seen or heard about Steve Bannon lately? Odd, isn’t it?

He’s making a list and checking it twice.

18 Jan

In case you didn’t notice, the Trump administration intends to use their power aggressively and immediately.

The request to make a list of staff in the Department of Energy who publicly recognize the reality of climate change, and the immediate recall of State Department ambassadors appointed by President Obama, suggests that the new administration intends to identify and target progressively minded people in government.

Trump’s early high level appointments underscore this approach. Betsy Devoss, Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerman,  Andrew Pudzer and others are clearly in power to reverse, reduce and forestall any progress that may have been made in the areas of their authority.

The appointment of Steve Bannon, with his open ties to the international right wing and racist movements, is another demonstration of the seriousness of the right wing to exploit their capture of the White House and the power that goes with it.

The progressive community cannot take these developments lightly. I’m not suggesting that they signal an impending fascist morph of federal government. That sort of change will take larger battles inside and outside of government, unfolding over a longer period. These developments, as well as ongoing right wing hacking and fake news, warrant serious attention by the progressive community. We need to reassess how we mobilize and communicate, and how protect our identities and our plans.

This new administration is different. They intend to press harder against progress, and against progressive individuals and organizations. Not paying attention to their seriousness, and not changing our tactics, is not wise.

The New Year awaits

5 Jan

When I conceived Alternative Realities several years ago I felt the presence of dangerously dissimilar points of view growing stronger. As a fan of science fiction my readings over the decades led me to believe that many physical, mental, spiritual and dimensional presences can exist in the same space. All of these presences, however, may not be perceived as real by everyone experiencing them.

It is no surprise that one recurring theme in the recent US national election is the seriously divergent points of view about what is real that exists between the people who voted for Donald Trump, and those who either voted for HRC, or those who did not vote for her but believe that HRC was not “radical” enough.

Personal interviews, polling and surveys provide ample evidence that a large number of people view and interpret what exists and occurs in the real world (for most people), as completely different and in many cases, false. These people reject science based reality, they believe that much of which has occurred in the previous century (the moon landing is a prime example) was fabricated. Their education or lack of accurate education, has led them to believe, for example, that US slavery was not harsh, brutal or barbarian. They reject the reality of climate change and they believe that white people in the US, in particular, are under a sustained assault from many “others.”

I am not at all convinced that in the short run (a handful of years) a large number of these people can be convinced that what they believe is false. With constant efforts to expose the hypocrisy of Trump and his followers; their lies, corruption and unwillingness to effectively address the real needs of this misled group, some may be pulled away to see reality somewhat clearer.

The clear majority of voters that consciously selected the HRC coalition are representative of a majority of people residing in the US. This group provides the only significant foundation for progressive change and resistance to conservatism, backwardness and political fascism.

There are special and specific efforts that must be made to better educate, organize and mobilize this majority. There are many issues and broad struggles, local and national, over progress in US society (and in other places worldwide) that this majority must play an active role in for those struggles to succeed, spread, and reverse the backward direction that has taken control in Washington, D.C. and many states across the US. The involvement of this majority will not come by accident. It will come only with their conscious action and by those who assist in organizing them.

It is to this effort, and to drawing the line between reality and distortion, that I commit Alternative Realities.

Adelante/Forward

Gun Control, Sharia Law, Republicans, Climate Change, Parallel Universes – Anything in Common?

19 Dec

USS_Enterprise_(NCC-1701),_ENT1231

In search of the parallel universe?

After reading FB posts by friends and family on the tragic killing spree in Sandy Hook, CT, which follows last month’s equally tragic events of Hurricane Sandy, I was stuck by a series of connections. It is hard to understand how and why these horrible events occur, unless you understand that in the overlap of the parallel universes that we live in, oftentimes the outcome is not very good. The recent U.S. presidential election campaign, and its provides a momentary glimpse into existence and intersection of these two very different and contending universes.

In one universe, a majority of rational, thinking people voted for a moderate, intelligent, educated and cultured man. He ran on a pledge to continue to grow the U.S. economy by investing in education, infrastructure, scientific research, transportation and cleaner energy development, among other things. A majority of young people, women, minorities, city dwellers, gays, middle class, unionized workers, intellectuals, white people, and other distinct groups voted for him in large numbers.

A sizable minority of Protestant fundamentalists, older white people, NRA supporters, large business owners, and residents of the former slave states, Mormons, Texans, and others voted for the other candidate. (This is a broad simplification.)

The connection rests in the fact ( either polling, statements, actions) that most of the second group hold profound doubts about the reality of science, on which understanding of climate change, sexuality, human behavior, the economy, and physical health rests. More importantly, more people in the second group harbor and evidence serious fear of many people in the first group. That fear is utilized by a very small group of very conservative religious “leaders”, corporate business owners (including gun manufacturers and dealers), and ultra conservative politicians, to foster a passionate campaign for the “right to bear arms.”

As a result, more than nearly any other country, the United States is awash in handguns and assault rifles. You can buy these weapons in nearly unrestricted manner and number in local mega-malls, strip malls, “mom and pop” gun stores, and at gun “fairs.” While I have not been to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and parts of Africa, I have read that it is just as easy to obtain all manner of weaponry in local markets there as well.

The U.S. certainly has its share of unstable people, who also exist in just about every other country. However, in the U.S. their unrestricted ability to easily obtain pistols, assault weapons and ammunition, clearly amplifies their destructiveness, as recent shootings give tragic evidence.

Most people in the first universe would accept and even welcome a reasonable national policy that tightens the regulation and use of handguns, automatic weapons and ammunition. Most people in the second universe fervently oppose any restriction on the use or sale of such weaponry.

Also, most people in the first universe accept the idea that the world’s climate is changing, with clearly damaging impacts on people, all manner of animal and insect species, and the physical makeup of the earth. These catastrophic changes are a direct result of human activity, principally by the nearly unrestricted increase in carbon pollution. Most people in the alternative universe deny this scientific reality and its conclusions since they generally deny the fundamental principles of science, and some even the idea of a non-Bible based reality. As a result, very little will probably be done to begin the long effort to arrest the harmful environmental changes that are occurring to the earth as a result of human action (or inaction).

And to the degree that an overall minority of the voting population (which probably represents the same percentage in the overall adult population) continues to control most of the state legislatures in the country, due to years of voter district re-drawing (“jerrymandering”), they appear to have no trouble imposing their concept of reality on the majority. In fact, they consider themselves quite clever in doing so and will continue to do so. To them this behavior is normal and sensible.

They also promote a thought process which reverses reality so that those impacted by their decisions are viewed as the “dominators,” while they are viewed as the victims. So while they impose their concepts of “gun freedom,” and “right to life,” and “right to work,” and “sanctity of marriage” on the majority, they are quick to label any effort by the actual and growing majority to enact different policies as “imposition” of some form of liberal “sharia law.”

Back to where this began. We are living in a very unstable time. This is largely a result of sweeping changes in world demographics, economic inequality and instability, political polarization, instantaneous communications, and the steady rise of religious based politics and philosophies, of all which gives rise to contrasting views of reality co-existing in the same place and time.

When I thought about the connections between the recent twin tragedies, I simply plugged in those seemingly unconnected thoughts to my Google browser (no product endorsement intended) and discovered several other bloggers who shared remarkably similar thoughts. The parallel universes concept has validity. Listed below are two very interesting thoughts on its existence. One is a quick video of an elected Congressman from the parallel universe. He is painfully real. The other has a great explanation of the ongoing rise of the parallel universe in the U.S. and its impact on all of us.

By the way, the term “parallel universe” was referred to by a spokesman for General Motors (quite a real and generally conservative company) during the recent presidential campaign as the location from which several manipulative and completely erroneous statements from Mitt Romney originated.

I have also included a link to a recent Paul Krugman op-ed in which his closing lines offer a somewhat chilling thought about what we all are facing in the next few years, given the dominance of the parallel universe on U.S. politics. While I don’t agree with Mr. Krugman on the withering away of the parallel universe, it’s evident that his conclusion is right (I purposely did not use “dead on” out of respect for the recent victims of the thoughts and policies of the parallel universe.)

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/10/07/this-is-why-republicans-are-scary-dangerous-and-separation-of-church-and-state-is-so-important/

http://www.policymic.com/articles/14556/taking-a-field-trip-through-the-bizarre-parallel-universe-the-gop-lives-in

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/opinion/krugman-the-gops-existential-crisis.html?src=me&ref=general