Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Could the Democrats Lose in 2018?   Leave a comment

I think they might.

Typically, midterm elections swing toward the party that is not in the White House, but that’s not a set-in-concrete rule and the Democratic Party of Maryland may well prove the exception to the rule.

Bradley Manning (who likes to call himself Chelsea because he thinks he’d prefer to be a woman) has announced he’s running for Senate.

Yeah … really. It’ s not a joke.

Image result for image of bradley manningFelons can actually run for political office and it is possible for them to win. Manning’s sentence was not set aside; it was merely shortened to time served. A commutation is not the same thing as a pardon. A pardon wipes out the conviction. A commutation reduces the punishment for the conviction. So Bradley can run for public office. Sane people probably won’t vote for him, but we passed into Alice’s Wonderland some time ago.

The Democratic Party is splitting. Since the 1960s, it’s been composed of a left wing and a moderate wing. The moderate wing was and remains committed to gradual change by working through existing structures.  That was the Democratic Party of FDR and Truman, even Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – focused on issues with a long-term goal. But now the left wing is asserting its energy – pushing for a more radical platform based on identity politics with a flavor-of-the-month zeitgeist. The radical progressives don’t care if what they want is a bad idea or if other people disagree with them. They want what they want and they want it now.

Bradley Manning is a perfect example of what they want – a man pretending to be a woman, suffering from known mental illness (suicidal depression) who gave unredacted government secrets to a pro-Russian journalist and spent a lot of time in the brig for it. They don’t care if he’s mentally stable or has any experience at governance (does that sound familiar?). They want a “transgender” in the Senate and, by gum and by golly, that’s what they’re going to get. The radical left are already going after incumbent Senator Ben Cardin for not backing illegal immigrants over programs assisting legal citizens. So, it is possible that the radical-left Democrats will push Manning to the nomination, where no sane person will vote for him, and then … well …

Among the 33 Class 1 Senate seats up for regular election in 2018, 23 are currently held by Democrats, two by independents who caucus with the Senate Democrats, and eight by Republicans. You can do the math. The odds are not in the Democrats favor that they can regain control of the Senate because they would have to hold onto all of those 23 sets and gain three more while Republicans only need to hold onto eight seats. Considering that more and more states are swinging Republican at the state level, it’s not a good time for the Democrats to irritate general election voters.

But it seems that Maryland might just do that.

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Posted February 15, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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A Lot of Smoke for “Nothing”   Leave a comment

So is the “memo” released on February 2 by the Republican majority a big deal or not?

Partisans tend to read, watch and listen only, or mostly, to information and opinions that reinforce their beliefs. If information surfaces that counters those beliefs, it is usually disparaged, excused or ignored. Human nature on display.

Image result for image of carter pageThe four-page memo on the House Intelligence Committee alleges the the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath.

Is that true? We don’t know. If it is, that is real collusion that goes above and beyond idle chitchat at a cocktail party, an exchange of emails that ultimately led nowhere or agreeing to take a meeting that you later decided again.

Republican partisans are rejoicing. You can hear their “I told you so” crows even in Alaska. Partisans on the left are reading coverage and editorials in The New York Times and the Washington Post, getting the warm glow that comes from thinking this memo means nothing. Before it’s release, they were insisting it would undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Russia to influence the election. They were deeply considered and tried to stop its release, saying it would harm national security interests. I’ve read it. It doesn’t. It suggests a few higher-ups in the FBI and Department of Justice used their power and influence to attempt to keep Donald Trump from becoming president and then attempted to undermine his presidency once he took office. That isn’t really evidence of wrongdoing, which puts the “memo” in the same group with the allegations of Trump collusion – there hasn’t been a shred of credible evidence produced on this point, but that doesn’t mean some might not be found or manufactured in the future.

Politicizing a powerful federal agency is nothing new. Richard Nixon and AG John Mitchell politicized the IRS and Justice Department in an attempt to punish political enemies. Lois Lerner politicized the IRS to thwart tax exemptions for conservative and religious organizations, as well as a few progressives. Given that history, arguments that such allegations will undermine national security or the morale of FBI agents is just silly.

The most damning part of the memo is the assertion that the FBI and Justice Department used a “dossier” authored by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to smear Donald Trump. It was this dossier that the government agencies used to convince a FISA judge to issue a warrant allowing Trump campaign official Carter Page and possibly others to be spied on. The memo asserts those seeking the warrant did not tell the judge about the involvement of the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign with the dossier.

Is that true? We don’t know, but if it is, it’s worse than oversight. It’s criminal behavior, though given how high government officials seem to be immune from prosecution, it might not come to anything.  Because some of the officials alleged to be involved are in key positions in the FBI and Justice Department, it is possible the Mueller investigation might be affected. There is a legal principle called “fruit of a poisonous tree” that could render all subsequently gathered evidence void.

In an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News Friday, Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes suggested there is more to come, including release of a memo from the Democratic minority and possibly the full transcript of testimony by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe before a closed meeting of the Intelligence Committee. McCabe signed one of the FISA applications and then-FBI Director James Comey signed three. Nunes contends the subsequent warrants issued by the FISA judge were based on flawed and incomplete information and thus would likely not have been issued had the judge been in possession of additional facts.

The Republican memo is just the beginning of an attempt to expose behind-the-scenes maneuvering by liberals to keep Donald Trump out of the White House and put Hillary Clinton in it.

I didn’t support either one of them, so I personally don’t care what the outcome is, but I do believe the public has a right to know all the facts in this case. Let’s see where they lead.

Posted February 12, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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I voted for Rand Paul in the Alaska Republic Primary in 2016. He’d already withdrawn from the race the week before, but still appeared on the ballot and I prefer his libertarian-conservative Republicanism over what any of the other GOP candidates were offering.

Image result for image of rand paulLast night, he tried to block the spending bill with a procedural rule to maintain spending caps. He considers the bill to be fiscally irresponsible. He’s not alone, but he stuck his head up out of the gopher hole and said what needed to be said. The rest of the GOP just kept marching toward the cliff.

What happened to the GOP that existed during the Obama administration? Paul Ryan used to be a deficit hawk. So what the heck are they doing?

Yeah, they claim it’s a fiscal experiment. The government doesn’t usually do this kind of spending during a time when the economy is growing. What if they did?”

Well, according to the economists I read and respect, with such a debt growing every day, it’s likely to slow the economy rather than stimulate it. That’s why Obama’s spending programs didn’t have a stimulative effect. The economy was being dragged by growing debt. So, they may just have negated the positive economic effects of tax relief and reduced regulation.

So, here’s my point here — We could have elected someone as President who understands the damage government spending can do to the economy. We could have elected someone other than Donald Trump. Why didn’t we?

Could it be that “conservatives” really don’t mind big government spending so long as it is being spent on what they like rather than on what they don’t.

Posted February 10, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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What If You Passed A Test … And Nobody Cared?   Leave a comment

I like tests. Puzzles fascinate me. I don’t even mind cognitive tests because I used to work for a mental health agency and so they don’t scare me.

Image result for image of trump's cognitive test resultsThe news that President Trump passed a mental acuity test was welcome news. I think the country is better off if the president doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. And a 30 out of 30 score indicates that he doesn’t.

By the way, most 71-year-olds could not score a 30 out of 30. In fact, many people in their middle-years would struggle with reverse serial sevens. I can’t pass that particular one without counting on my fingers. How do I know? Brad, Keirnan and I took the test last night.

Keirnan is 19 and suffers from bipolar, so he’s been through this test once before — and scored a 30 out of 30. The doctor was so amazed that he could do reverse serial sevens from 100 into the negatives that he just let him go until Keirnan said he needed water to continue. The kid has a diagnosed mental illness, but he doesn’t have dementia or any other sort of cognitive disorder. And bipolar, with appropriate medication, doesn’t really negatively affect his life. It’s just something he has to manage – like if you have diabetes or asthma. That attitude toward mental illness as a condition that can be managed comes from familiarity with mental illness.

Brad sucks at remembering sequences of numbers. So do I. I often can’t remember a phone number long enough to dial it — which is why I write them down — and have since I was about 15 years old. I passed the immediate recall on the assessment and the delayed recall because I knew it was important to remember them. Brad, however, flunked the delayed recall question. It doesn’t mean he has dementia. He didn’t flunk the assessment overall, just that one section.

I didn’t do so well on the tap for the letter A. It’s deliberately hard and none of us did well on it, though we all passed. Keirnan almost lost a point on it because Brad was saying the letters way too fast and he made two errors which is still allowable to get a perfect score.

So, the results of our tests mean very little. It was a fun exercise and we now understand what President Trump was tested on. We know that none of the four of us has dementia.

Well, our family knows that, but I think we knew it before we took the test. President Trump’s supporters are probably relieved that what they thought was true has been proven true, but his detractors don’t care.

“Well, this is a really easy test,” someone on the radio said while I was brushing my teeth this morning.

Yeah, if you’re mentally fit, it is an easy test. If you have dementia, it’s not.

“There are other tests that would show his mental fitness better.”

Yeah. there are. If I were President Trump, I’d request a full psychological assessment. They take about two hours and they include some of the same questions as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. They would detect mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression and they would also indicate whether screening for personality disorders is in order.

I don’t think anyone seriously believes a successful businessman in his 70s has been a schizophrenic for decades. But that doesn’t matter to his detractors. Even if he took a full psychological assessment, they’d insist the results were wrong. And of course, they’d insist he be assessed for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

Let’s talk about that for a moment. First, it’s not a disease. It’s a spectrum of personality traits. Most people fall somewhere on the scale. I took the assessment and I scored in the bottom 30. I took the test as if I were Donald Trump and he scores pretty high on the scale. According to the psychiatrists I worked with, so does Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Lincoln, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Angela Merkel, Elon Musk, every psychiatrist except the one you’re speaking to at the moment, and almost all of the actors in Hollywood.

Basically, anyone with any self-esteem at all will score at least at the lower end of the scale. That doesn’t mean they are crippled by NPD. It means they know their worth and there’s nothing wrong with that. If they don’t know their worth, there’s another personality disorder they might qualify for.

People who aspire to be President of the United States typically score in the top 70% of this scale. Why? Because it takes a lot of chutzpah to believe you can be one of the most powerful people in the world and do the job competently. Some of these narcissists were so certain they’re right that they declared independence from Britain and founded a whole new country. Others decide to challenge NASA in the space race or create a company that dominates the tech world. A narcissist found a way to stop the scourge of polio. Some day a series of narcissists will cure cancer. Narcissism, evidenced by the belief that God was on her side, allowed Mother Theresa to minister to the poor of Calcutta and eventually be named a saint.

Look behind almost every successful and well-known person and you will find a degree of narcissism. But that doesn’t matter to Trump’s detractors. They don’t see that their own idols were often as narcissistic or more than the object of their Derangement Syndrome. They don’t care what the truth is, they only want what they want …

Which is itself a sign of scoring pretty high on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder spectrum.

Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s mostly the young and liberal who hate Trump to the degree that they don’t care what the tests say about his mental fitness. Baby boomers, who themselves scored higher than their parents on the scale of narcissism, raised a generation of raging narcissists. Everywhere you turn, you find scores of people who believe they have a “right” to other people’s stuff because they’re “special.” That narcissistic trait is a liberal ideal and I find most liberals to be at least moderately narcissistic. They believe they know better than everyone else how we all should live our lives and they cannot be dissuaded from that belief. They will do anything to force others to comply with what they consider to be best practices.

So, maybe it’s not surprising that they are allergic to everything Donald Trump does. Narcissists usually can’t stand to be in the room with other narcissists. It steals the limelight from them. It explains, to a certain degree, the conservative opposition to Barack Obama, himself a raging narcissist. Conservatives also believe that they know better than everyone else how we should all live our lives. It pissed them off that Obama thought he knew better.

Which brings the question — in this day where nobody knows humility, can anyone actually lead us? And should they try?

My fear is that a society of narcissists would have a good deal of trouble staying out of each other’s business without a government to impose some boundaries and, yet, as long as they have a government, they will seek to use it to insinuate themselves into everyone’s business.

When Did the Tea Party Really Start?   Leave a comment

December 16, 2017 is the tenth anniversary of the modern Tea Party.

Naw, that can’t be true! According to the mainstream narrative the Tea Party began on February 19, 2009 when Rick Santelli, live on CNBC from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), declared a rebellion against “socialism”. It was one month into the Obama administration.

Image result for image of tea party december 16 2007Take a pause. Think about this. Rick Santelli on establishment NBC lit the spark of an anti-establishment rebellion. Yeah, I always found that hard to believe too. Obama was merely proposing bailouts for mortgage holders and it was just four months after most conservatives were either silent or defending George W. Bush’s $700 billion TARP bailout of Wall Street.

I always thought it didn’t really seem right and over the years I’ve run into people who will insist they were tea partiers before Obama was president. Are they just delusional or was there reality behind their tales? What really happened ten years ago and how was the Tea Party transformed from a libertarian grassroots movement to today’s controlled-almost-to-death establishment version? And are there lessons to be learned from this?

The ground-zero event in the formation of the Tea Party occurred when supporters of Ron Paul’s first presidential campaign registered the Web address TeaParty07.com on October 24, 2007/

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Twelve days later, on November 5, Guy Fawkes Night, Paul supporters held the first “money bomb” fundraiser, which (for Internet fundraising) raked in a record $4.3 million. Days after this came the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Paul supporters in Boston re-enacted the dumping of tea into Boston Harbor and a newcomer to politics, ophthalmologist Rand Paul, spoke at Faneuil Hall. A second money bomb held on this commemoration of the Tea Party raised over $6 million, shattering the previous record set eleven days before.

At root, this schism of the American right was a rebellion against the Bush Republican party’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drunken-sailor federal spending (e.g., a $500 billion unfunded expansion of Medicare for a new prescription drug program), and a burgeoning post-9/11 federal spy and police state (e.g., the Patriot Act of 2001).

By February 2009, the GOP lay in complete tatters. In addition to its endless wars and domestic spending spree, it had added a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street after the financial crisis of 2008. (Never mind a series of smaller outrages such as a ban on incandescent light bulbs and the TSA, which should have been a private effort, if at all, from the beginning).

On top of all that, instead of nominating Ron Paul in 2008, the GOP had nominated conservative “war hero” John McCain and Alaska governor Sarah Palin. A war-weary public completely rejected the ticket in favor of a younger, articulate Barack Obama who promised (falsely) peace and a revived economy.

The Santelli rant sparked the conservative and GOP establishments to transform a marketing vehicle that would serve to not only distract the public from their recent colossal policy failures, but also serve as a gold mine of self-enrichment: t-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, Taxed Enough Already (TEA) yard signs, fluff books from the conservative pundit class, Glenn Beck rallies promoted by the Fox News Channel, Rush Limbaugh iced tea, and children’s books.

As Sarah Palin replaced Ron Paul as the face of the movement, a surreal change in advocacy followed. The anti-interventionist Tea Party, once outraged about the endless occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, was now wanting the U.S. to attack and invade Iran. Rally chants of “End the Fed” eventually disappeared.

By 2014, the faux Tea Party’s fifth anniversary, it was clear that the mainstream media were firmly devoted to advancing the new establishment narrative, as 2014 headlines such as “Tea Party Marks Fifth Anniversary” make clear.

Still, glaring inconsistencies remained. The grassroots Paulist Tea Party began on December 16, 2007, the 234thanniversary of the original Sons of Liberty protest of 1773. The conservative and GOP forgery of February 19, 2009 was not connected to anything but the advancement of the corporatist interests of the mainstream GOP. Even its supposed founder, Rick Santelli, was quickly pushed offstage while the Fox News Channel, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and others took center stage.

And, here in Alaska, where Paul had strong support, people like me were often confused by stands of the Tea Party when we knew so many “tea partiers” who didn’t agree.

While the Ron-Paul Revolution, from the spread of homeschools to Austrian economics, continues on in educating people around the world, the Tea Party is all but completely dead. In the age of Donald Trump, its lessons are more vivid than ever.

The two-party U.S. duopoly, which insulates itself from competition and outsiders through regulatory barriers such as ballot-access laws, front-loaded primaries, and super delegates, presents obstacles even to billionaires who wish to challenge it.

Trump was an outsider who promised a less interventionist foreign policy, full repeal of Obamacare, and a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The two-party cartel not only sunk these promises that Trump supporters wanted, but installed a special prosecutor to investigate wild allegations of Russian hacking to help elect Trump. Make America Great Again has yielded to bizarre rabbit holes such as bombing Syria and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On the opposite side of the aisle, the Democratic Party’s sinking of Bernie Sanders holds the same lessons. Had progressives pursued decentralization instead of Obama’s empty promises and the mirage of a Sanders presidency, California, Vermont, and Oregon could be much better prepared to separate from the rest of the U.S. and pursue their preferred policies from collectivist health care to sanctuary cities unhindered by the Trump administration.

Decentralization and autonomy is what the U.S., going back to the Articles of Confederation, was originally about. Those paths, instead of trying to wrest control of leviathan, would be far more effective in getting all sides much of what they want. As Brexit has shown, postponing the process only makes it more difficult to implement later on.

Posted January 9, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Ivanka Derangement Syndrome   Leave a comment

So did you hear the latest political kerfuffle? Ivanka Trump visited a highschool in Connecticut and spoke about … (gasp) getting an education!

OMG! That’s so controversial!

Parents of students at Norwalk Early College Academy were upset, so upset that one parent pulled their kid out of school. For security reasons, the announcement of Trump’s visit came at the last minute and that parent objected.

'This should have been brought to our attention, although I do understand security reasons,' said parent Karey Fitzgerald. 'I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home'“This should have been brought to our attention, although I do understand security reasons. I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home,” Karey Fitzgerald, a Norwalk Early College Academy parent, told News 12 Connecticut Monday following Ivanka Trump’s appearance.

This reaction reminded me of the national reaction to Sarah Palin. You cannot deny Sarah Palin did an excellent job as governor of Alaska. Until Bill Walker got the Chinese to agree to help finance it, no governor got as close to building the Alaska gas pipeline as Sarah did. She refused to inflate the budget during times of high oil prices, redlining increases by the legislators. Instead, she filled up the state savings accounts in anticipation of a rainy day. Had her successor Sean Parnell done the same thing, the State of Alaska would not be talking about an income tax today. When the price of oil collapsed during the Parnell administration, the State had savings to tide us over, but almost none of that savings was put there by Parnell, who allowed the legislature to balloon the budget by 30%, chasing the high oil prices.

But when Sarah hit the national stage, people either loved her way too much and thought she could do no wrong or they hated her on a visceral level. Those of us who had met her personally and knew her to be neither a saint nor Satan were told we didn’t know what we were talking about.

That dichotomy of sentiment spilled over onto Sarah’s kids, particularly Bristol Palin. She had her fans, but if you didn’t like Sarah, you probably hated Bristol. And, if you thought Sarah was a human being who makes mistakes, you probably saw Bristol as a human being who makes mistakes.

But those with Palin Derangement Syndrome will see every incident involving the Palins as something evil and not common to mankind. No, Track Palin couldn’t just be a young adult, probably genetically prone to alcoholism like many Alaskan Natives and American Indians, who came back from war with his head a little messed up and is self-medicating. No, he couldn’t possibly be like thousands of other young former soldiers. Instead, commenters on the Anchorage Daily News feel comfortable calling him and the entire Palin family “poor white trash”, even though Todd Palin is an Alaska Native (Aleut). The commenter was incensed when I told him he was a racist bigot (I don’t usually get that heated, but the comment deserved it). But if I were to take the inventory of Obama’s eldest daughter, probably even with acknowledging the stress of growing up in a political fishbowl, I’d get lots of folks calling me a racist. What is the difference?

The vast majority of the students at the Norwalk Early College Academy say they enjoyed the visit and were honored to meet the first daughter. She didn’t say anything controversial.

So, I don’t know Karen Fitzgerald, angry parent, but I’m going to assume she felt the need to shield her kid from a Trump. Why? Is she afraid her child will learn that Mom’s Trump Derangement Syndrome is over the top, that Ivanka Trump is a normal human being?

There are times when I look back on my child-raising years and wish I could have kept my kids in private school until they graduated. I hear them espousing opinions that I know are based on propaganda they picked up in the public high school. My daughter was a mild fan of Sarah when she was governor, but now thinks she’s an idiot who is somehow responsible for Alaska’s current financial problems. I try to correct that occasionally and have learned that SDS is a really hard obsession to break. Could I have sheltered her from those extremely liberal propaganda positions? Probably not. Maybe she wouldn’t have heard them in the classroom, but she would have encountered them on the Internet. And, I hold out hope that she will eventually remember what she was raised to believe. I see the same dynamic going on with her brother now, except he is naturally a more conservative person, so he will at least have a conversation with me on the topic.

I didn’t care for Barack Obama (pretty much from the point in Dreams from My Father when he wrote about admiring Robert Mugabe), but the admirer of genocidal Marxist dictators did a few things right as president and I generally acknowledged it when I discovered them. I wish the best for he and his family as they exit Stage Left (Please, the door is right there! Just go through it and close it on your way out!). I am glad he’s no longer in charge of the government, but I don’t hate him. I just think his policies unnecessarily strangled the economy and infringed on the liberty of the American people. I encouraged my kids to listen to his speeches and to note his drone bombing campaigns in Syria and Yemen.

I don’t love Donald Trump. I don’t hate him either. I think he’s had a pretty good first year with a phenomenal headwind of media negativity. His regulatory rollback is particularly applause-worthy. Consumer confidence may or may not be sane, but the economic indicators are looking good. Obama never had economic growth higher than 2%. This year’s economic growth was 3% and, with tax reform, it may well be 4% next year. I don’t like his tweets, but I do like the idea of keeping more of my money in my bank account and opening ANWR to limited development.

I kind of think of Ivanka Trump as a socialite businesswoman. She’s Ariana Huffington or Teresa Heinz. She dabbles in cosmetics, clothing and fragrances, but her real job is being rich. That would be true if her daddy hadn’t become president. I’m okay with that. Ariana Huffington and Teresa Heinz have spoken at schools too. I wonder if any parents have ever pulled their kids out of class so they couldn’t hear what they had to say.

Ultimately, I guess the question is – why are liberals so afraid their children might hear something they don’t want them to hear? If you’ve raised your kids in the right way (whatever you think that might be), then you shouldn’t be worried that they will be exposed to ideas that will challenge the way of thinking you raised them in. But that’s not really what has them scared I think. They’re worried their kid might learn that Ivanka Trump is not an evil person and then their kid might come back to challenge Mom on her Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Don’t Hang Your Political Hat on Deception   Leave a comment

So Doug Jones won the Senate seat in Alabama and  Democrats are over-the-moon because they see it as a referendum for 2018.

At best, they should have cautiously optimism that they might not lose seats in 2018. Why?

Image result for image of ted stevens and mark begichIn 2008, Senator Ted Stevens (Republican, Alaska) — at the time the longest serving Senator – was accused of taking bribes from VECO, a construction company here in Alaska.  Alaska’s DC delegation had been solidly Republican since Mike Gravel had been shown the door in the 1980 election. Mike had gotten into office by sneaky dealings in 1968. He’d lied about his record and his policies while running against 81-year-old, extremely popular, Ernest Gruening during the Democratic primary. He’d won reelection in 1974 only because the state was filled with southern “Democrats” from Texas who had no idea of Gravel’s record or the intense dislike the actual Alaskan voters had for him. Voters overwhelmingly voted against him in 1980, despite some misgivings about his replacement, Frank Murkowski. That should have been a cautionary flag for what happened in 2008, but people have short political memories.

So, Ted Stevens was accused of taking a bribe. VECO’s CEO had had his crew do a remodel of Ted’ Anchorage home. Ted insisted it had all been above-board and that he’d intended to pay for the remodel, but the bill never came and he’d gotten busy. He was a high-ranking Senator after all. He would have pursued it during one of his breaks.

There was a trial. Ted kept insisting there was a note he’d sent Bill Allen that would prove he’d contracted to pay for the remodel. Bill Allen, facing bribery charges for giving “gifts” to Alaska State legislators, played dumb on that point.

In retrospect, the Alaska Republican Party should have asked Ted to retire (he was in his 70s) and ran a strong candidate for the primary and general. Meade Treadwell or one of the handful untainted legislators could have won it, but Ted kept insisting he was innocent and he won the primary handily prior to the trial. He tried to postpone the trial until after the election, but the Bush administration DOJ scheduled it just weeks before the general. Ted was found guilty in federal court just days before the general election.

The Democrats had run the former (not-very successful) mayor of Anchorage, Mark Begich.  Mark didn’t have a stellar record, but he was son of an Alaskan icon – Nick Begich, who had secured the Trans-Alaska Pipeline for Alaska just prior to disappearing in a plane crash in the Alaska wilderness. Even Republicans and libertarians liked Nick and that gave Mark a better shot than average for a Democrat vying for the Senate seat, but he was still double digits behind Ted prior to the guilty verdict.

I was still a conservative with libertarian leanings in those days (this election actually marked my turn toward being a full-on libertarian). I knew Mark’s record (he’d taken a city with a surplus and turned it into a deficit) and already knew I wouldn’t be voting for him. I made a calculated decision to vote for Ted, assuming he’d have to step down, which would allow the Republican governor Sarah Palin (or her successor, had she won the VP seat) to appoint a strong GOP replacement. But everybody I talked to was freaked out that Ted would lose the Senate seat because of the conviction and so they felt they had no choice but to vote for Mark, even though almost none of them wanted to. I swayed a few with my reasoned explanation of how the system really works, but I didn’t have access to the whole of the Alaska electorate.

Mark Begich, a Democrat in a deep-red state, won by 2% against a convicted felon.

Does that sound familiar? It’s almost the margin between Jones and Moore. Two percent is an extremely narrow lead that in some states would trigger an automatic recount. It is not “massive” as CNN is trying to convince people. Ted conceded and Mark Begich went to DC where his vote on the ACA was the last counted, securing by a narrow margin an unconstitutionally-processed bill that would enslave the American people to the government going forward.

A few days after Mark was seated in the Senate, the DOJ found the note. It was part of the evidence all along. There were clear reasons to believe that this bit of exculpatory evidence had been deliberately withheld by the DOJ prosecutors who faced disciplinary action for their misconduct, though the Obama administration did not pursue criminal charges as many Alaskans would have preferred. Ted’s conviction was stayed, pending a new trial that he most certainly would have won … except a pilot flew Ted’s hunting plane into a not very impressive mountain just outside of Bethel a few weeks later. Do I find that suspicious? Yeah.

Image result for image of roy moore and doug jonesThere are people here in Alaska who still think the whole thing was a set up to give the Democrats a narrow margin in the Senate so that when (not if) Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton) took the presidency, they could make sweeping changes to the government, including installing universal health care (which failed, but really didn’t as it is still in process as designed into the ACA). The people I know who subscribe to this conspiracy theory make some valid points about coincidences that just seem not so coincidental. That change in Sarah Palin’s personality during that election makes us suspicious. McCain’s willingness to sign on to TARP 1 and allow Obama to abstain from the vote seems suspicious. The entire election just seems suspicious … especially the trial, conviction and near-exoneration of Ted Stevens.

Why would Bush’s DOJ set things up for the Democrats to take a majority in the Senate? Ah, well, that’s the beauty of the Deep State. It stays “in office” decade after decade without regard for who is in the Oval Office. Bush didn’t control them. They were acting on their own initiative. Sound familiar? Yes, we’re experiencing that now with how Trump’s own executive branch is going after him. They’re getting more overt about it because they’ve gotten away with it so blatantly in the past. In 2008 we still believed the government was on our side. Do we still foolishly believe that regardless of the overwhelming evidence that they are corrupt to the bone.

Mark served one term under a deluge of angry constituent emails and then Alaskans tossed him out in favor of Dan Sullivan who was part of the 2014 bore tide that swept the hated enslaving Democrats out of office while at the same time the states legislative and gubernatorial map mostly red (only 13 states are truly blue states anymore).

What?! In 2008 the Democrats ballyhoo’d that the Republicans were a regional rump party that would never hold power again. They were so certain that demographics and socialism would sweep the GOP from the national landscape. It didn’t work out that way. The country became more red rather than more blue, and not just in presidential elections, but in state offices where it truly counts. Here in Alaska, Democrats had to become relevant by helping Lisa Murkowski regain the Senate as a write-in candidate with heavily Democratic support, having a Democrat join the Independent (and former Republican) governor’s ticket, and doing all sorts of shenaningans in the legislature so that (actually minority) Democrats with a handful of progressive Republicans create a “majority” that the voters didn’t approve.

When President Trump won the election in 2016, I heard some GOP voters insisting this was proof the Democratic Party was over and would never hold party again. I warned them that 2008 sort of proved that wrong. But now the Democrats are making a similar mistake.

Doug Jones won a deep red state by an extremely narrow margin against the embattled Roy Moore and he did it with the help of the establishment Republicans that increasing number of Republican voters can’t stand. He also may well have won through fraud of the same sort that put Mark Begich into office. These women came out of the woodwork 30 days before a special election with unproven and UNPROVABLE allegations from 40 years ago. One of them has already been discredited and the others are sort of fishy.  There’s a Jeb Bush contact involved and — really — who waits for 40 years to dredge something like this up, not coming forward when Moore ran for office at other times, but then shows up just before a critical election?  That’s not how human nature works, but it is how gotcha politics functions. Those are the kind of questions real journalists would have asked and it’s suspicious that the press didn’t. They were so desirous to change the balance in the Senate that they didn’t do their jobs.

Irregardless, Jones will spend his 2 1/2 years in the Senate being heavily criticized by his deeply conservative constituents while the Alabama Republicans find a really good candidate to run against him and then we’ll never hear from Doug Jones again except in the same way we hear about Mike Gravel everytime the Pentagon Papers are mentioned or Mark Begich comes up when the ACA is discussed. Doug Jones can do a lot of damage in the US Senate right now. I don’t think he will be seated soon enough to affect tax reform, but there are other critical bills coming up that reducing the margin in the Senate will affect.

Which brings me to my ongoing point. Why are we so wedded to the two-party system that we keep getting ourselves into this mess? We need a vibrant spectrum of political opinions given full voice in the electoral process. I quit voting with the Republicans because they no longer even remotely represent me. They’re progressives — spending money they don’t have, ever-increasing the size of government, working to repress liberties of ordinary people — and the media keeps singing this song that they’re getting more conservative, which is demonstrably untrue.

I hope that in 2020, the Libertarian Party runs some good TRULY libertarian candidate with a vice presidential nominee who is also a REAL libertarian and that they spend enough money and time to do well in the election. In fact, LP – find the candidate now. Gary Johnson wasn’t bad, but his VP running mate was a very progressive Republican, so there was no way Johnson could gain traction with libertarian voters, who I suspect are a large slice of the population if a candidate could actually resonate a consistent message. Remember, Bill Clinton won with less than 40% of the vote in 1992. Run an amazing candidate and show the country why libertarian principles are preferable to the stupid tug-of-war of the Democrats and the Republicans.

Posted December 13, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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