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PutinA stopped clock is right two times a day. So, too, with the Manchurian Candidate Donald Trump.

Europe’s reliance of Russian gas was, is, and remains a serious threat to Europe, NATO and the United States. Substantially increasing that dependence is wrong and dangerous.

As long as Russia can freeze out winter heating in Europe, Russia has final say. She can call the shots whenever she wants – without a shot ever being fired.

The cash flowing into Russian coffers is subsidizing a massive resurgence of Russian military capacity. That doubles the danger. Perhaps Germany should be asked to spend on defense not only the required 2% of GDP, but also to pay NATO a ‘trading with the enemy’ supplement equal to gas purchases from Russia that could have been bought from the West.

Trump is right to insist that Germany buy gas from allies, not the Russian Bear.


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If Trump tanks the Iran nuclear deal, cui bono?

American exporters? No.

European exporters? Likely to pay heavy fines imposed by the Treasury Deptment, so no.

Peace and security? No.

Russia? Bingo. You’ve got it. Russia is the winner. China and others effectively immune from unilateral US sanctions too. Russia will be protected from American and European competition in trade with Iran. A nice little plum – or payoff.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Dorothy.

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In the wake of Trump’s dangerous electoral potency, win lose or draw, the unsolved question is, what can legitimate politicians do?

First, diagnose the problem.

Misdirection is at the heart of it. From the Koch brothers, to Rush and O’Reilly, to Trump, the false message is, blame the guy lower on the social ladder than you – Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese, etc. Pay no attention to the elites who captured all the wealth created in the past 20 years. It’s the guy crawling up the ladder from under you who is your enemy – the dirty immigrant who may be a lurking terrorist, the foreign laborer more desperate and more willing to work for low wages than you. That guy is the cause of your problems. Sure, Walmart’s got a shitty job for you, and that’s the best you can find, but pay no attention to why all you’ve got is a shitty job. Instead, watch out for that filthy Mexican, who will gladly take that shitty job in a heartbeat.

It’s classic misdirection.

Marxists have long understood that global worker solidarity was an essential ingredient if working people were to get a fair slice of the pie. The super rich understand this too – which is why they funded culture wars and welfare wars to distract working people, and when those staples of Republican strategy started to lose potency, they told you to blame Mexicans and Muslims for your trumped up troubles.

Our legitimate politicians have to have the courage to point the finger at the very rich hands that feed them – or else we will have another Trump, and he’ll win the election. That shitty job at Walmart has to be linked to that shitty job in a Chinese iPhone factory or lithium mine. They’re the same raw deal, caused by the same global power brokers. Our trade deals must link together the interests of workers, not erect barriers, so both Chinese and American workers see their wages and conditions brought up together, and producers can’t move from country to country in search of ways around sharing the profits.

The only true thing Trump has said is to point the finger at Wall Street. They are in on the deal. But the other targets – Muslims, Mexicans, women, Chinese, and others – they’re fellow victims of a rigged system, and our politicians need to say so.

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Brexit and Mob Rule

UK and EU politicians should ignore the Brexit referendum for what it is – a non-binding expression of opinion at a point in time.

Cooler, wiser, heads should prevail. Representative democracy has two words for a reason. We expect elected representatives and the institutions of government to provide stability in the face of the whims of the day and the emotions of the mob.

That is not to say politicians should ignore the results. There is discontent. However the hammer of Brexit is not the only tool in the chest. It is the only policy tool to reach the voters, many of whom cast votes of protest, knowing that Brexit is a singularly bone-headed, impractical and dangerous solution. Many will have voted Leave, anticipating it could never happen.

The UK should not trigger article 50. The EU should not force the issue. As one diplomat put it, “If they treat their referendum as a non-event, we will also treat their referendum as a non-event.”

That is the wiser course of action.

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With the Republican Party unraveling, now is the time for the Big Tent of the Democratic Party to get bigger – to welcome in all Americans, especially main street, home town, traditional Republicans.

We have much in common – A distaste for incivility and vulgarity, a tradition of working together towards the common good, a history of compromise, policy driven by a vision what’s best for America, not merely what’s best for partisan electoral strategy, a working knowledge of history, respect for institutions, the Constitution, our international partners and allies, our treaty obligations, the full faith and credit of the United States, and more.

Sure, there are differences, but on what matters most, perhaps there’s more that unites than divides. Many Republicans will find their party’s nominee is far more alien to them than are many moderate Democrats.

Hillary should reach out to Republicans, as cabinet members, as voters, and possibly even consider a Republican as a running mate.


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Trump on Women

Trump in his own words:

  • “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father …” — Donald Trump on daughter Ivanka, Rolling Stone, September 2015, and “… she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees.”, to Celebrity Apprentice contestant Brande Roderick
  • “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
  • “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes–blood coming out of her wherever.”
  • “Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.”, an “animal”, “an extremely unattractive person”, and a “slob.”
  • Arianna Huffington “is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man—he made a good decision.”
  • “Like you wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful.”
  • “It’s certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on The Apprentice were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal.”
  • “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
  • “[Angelina Jolie’s] been with so many guys she makes me look like a baby… And, I just don’t even find her attractive,”
  • “All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
  • “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
  • “While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct”
  • When lawyer Elizabeth Beck asked for a medical break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter, Mr. Trump said, “You’re disgusting,”.

Mr. Trump, Look in the mirror.

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The train-wreck of the Republican Party begins.

  • In the New York Daily News, Rick Wilson: On Donald Trump, never means never.
  • “I… cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe … he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as Commander in Chief” — Lindsey Graham
  • Trump “has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. … These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy.”– Jeb Bush
  • “Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.” — David Brooks
  • “You could be living on a diet of lead paint, cheap vodka and Real Housewives and still know more than Trump does about, well, everything.” — Rick Wilson
  • “I just don’t think he has the character to be president of the United States,” — Bill Kristol
  • “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers.” — Mitt Romney
  • and, finally, Lindsey Graham again, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.”

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