All posts by Kevin Kelton

Only Republicans “Forced” The Nuclear Option

by Kevin Kelton

In the days since Senate Republicans voted to overturn the Democrat’s filibuster and confirm SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch on a mostly party-line 54-44 vote, I’ve seen many respected journalists and not-so-respected bloggers describe the event as the Democrats “forcing” the GOP to invoke the nuclear option.

The Democrats did nothing of the kind.

What did happen is, the GOP voluntarily and willfully broke the long-standing rules of the senate by arbitrarily rewriting them. Continue reading Only Republicans “Forced” The Nuclear Option

A Stolen Seat; A System Betrayed

By Rebekah Chodoff Kuschmider

So, I’ve been stewing since Sunday night. For those of you who tuned in to The More Perfect Union “After Dark” episode that was released this week, you were treated to a heated and emotional discussion between myself, Kevin, and Helena about the state of the Supreme Court nominating process. It was in the middle of that discussion when I realized how deep my feelings of anger and betrayal actually are regarding the nomination and subsequent treatment of Merrick Garland last year.

Continue reading A Stolen Seat; A System Betrayed

Let’s Not ‘Hillary’ Elizabeth

by Kevin Kelton

It’s already starting. The Hillarization of Elizabeth Warren.

As if it’s not bad enough that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has started the GOP’s methodical vilification of the 2020 Democratic frontrunner with his senate floor theatrics and that President Trump has chimed to lead the “Pocahontas” chorus. Now the left is falling into the same old, destructive pattern as well.

In my Facebook political group, Open Fire, I’ve already seen Democrats starting the tear-down process by calling the Massachusetts senator shrill, whiny, grating, and in one case saying Warren’s “tone” is so annoying that when he hears her he “just wants her to shut up.” There are Warren-bashing Facebook groups sprouting up, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are predictably going to town on her, and you can bet that the clickbait factories in Macedonia will soon begin churning out sensational fake news stories about her like this and this and this.

That is exactly what led to the Donald Trump presidency in the first place. While there are many theories as to why Clinton lost, it certainly didn’t help that members of her own party were fragging her with Clinton-hate from day one. Starting with Bernie Sanders’ entry into the race, liberals began relentlessly kneecapping Clinton about her emails, her Iraq vote, the Wall Street speeches, The Clinton Foundation, her husband’s infidelities, her own sexuality (with talk of a Huma affair), the cost of her outfits, misogynistic hostility about her ambition and so-called imperial sense of entitlement, and pretty much every other crazy slander you can imagine.

And, yes, they also mocked her speaking cadence and “Shrillary” tone.

In doing so, the Bernie-or-Busters gave life to the evil, “corrupt Hillary”cartoon  caricature that the Trump camp happily adopted.

There is no doubt that the 16-month-long Chinese water-torture of Democrats badmouthing their own nominee led to the party’s abysmal turnout in the swing states that she lost, and to the historically oversized vote tallies that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson ran up. Had progressives and millennials rallied to their side’s nominee the way rural conservatives eventually did, Clinton would be president today. Instead, they gleefully did the other side’s dirty work for them.

Now many of those same Democrats are repeating history by kneecapping their next female frontrunner. A lot of it is due to misogyny (masked in insults about her “tone” or the sound of her voice). Some due to gullibility (buying into GOP-manufactured narratives like “Pocahontas” or that she’s somehow corrupt). And as the inevitable fake news stories and nasty memes fan out on Facebook and Twitter, a lot of gullible Democrats will do the GOP’s bidding by playing telephone with it all in the social media gossip mill.

Folks, don’t do it. Resist the temptation to play into Trump’s hand, and don’t let your well-intentioned friends on the left do it, either. When you see a Democrat peddling Liz-hate, remind them how that played out for our side in 2016. Let’s nip this in the bud now, before it takes on a life of its own.

Because if we help the GOP torpedo our party’s leading voices again, we are doomed to repeat history. And there may not be much history ahead of us after that.

 

Kevin Kelton is co-host of the More Perfect Union podcast and founder of the Facebook political debate group, Open Fire.

With Respect to ‘Respect’

A lot of people are saying we all need to respect the office of the presidency, even if we don’t like the man. I respect the office. I also respect police officers and teachers. But when any of them act like a bully, a jerk, or against the best interest of the public they serve, they lose the privilege of my respect.

Yes, Americans should all respect the office of the presidency. It’s unfortunate that 63 million voters did not when they cast their vote for a man who is clearly undeserving of that respect in every sentence he utters and decision he makes.  Continue reading With Respect to ‘Respect’

Trump’s Healthcare Shell Game

It won’t take long for the Republican congress to use every trick in the book to defund, defang, and repeal The Affordable Care Act. The only question is, what comes next. President-elect Donald Trump and his GOP cohorts promise something wonderful. But the devil is in the details. And so far, all they are offering is a spit-polished version of the old, broken system we had pre-Obamacare. In other words, they’re promising nothing.

And the biggest “nothing” in their fantasy plan is Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

Continue reading Trump’s Healthcare Shell Game

Hillary’s Unforced Errors: Confessions of a Clintonista

As a diehard Hillary Clinton supporter, I was sure she was going to win. I was wrong. But along the way, even I — a Kool-Aid drinking Clintonista — saw some things that I thought she should have done differently to increase her chances of victory. And while I don’t claim to be smarter than her legions of campaign experts, even an arm-chair quarterback can sometimes out-think an NFL coach.

So with all due respect to her campaign strategists and Clinton herself, here are some of her unforced errors that I believe may have cost her the presidency… Continue reading Hillary’s Unforced Errors: Confessions of a Clintonista

New Evidence Proves Widow Did Not ‘Sock It To’ Harper Valley PTA*

by Kevin Kelton

* With ‘fake news’ being the new rage on social media, The More Perfect Union website has decided to cash in on the clickbait jackpot. While we vehemently defend our reporting on this story, we acknowledge that some ‘facts’ in our reporting may be less than fully accurate.

Shocking official transcripts released today dispute the public accounts of a controversial 1969 meeting of the Harper Valley PTA. In a stunning development that has rocked the town of Harper Valley, Ohio, documents released today under a Freedom of Information Act court order show that contrary to reports at the time, town resident Stella Johnson did not sock it to the Harper Valley PTA.

Indeed, the new FOIA document dump appears to show that all the claims made in the eponymous song and historical TV movie reenactment starring Barbara Eden seem to be at odds with the newly released evidence.

While the story told in the song describes a highly contentious meeting in which Johnson pointed out the various scandalous hypocrisies of the seemingly upstanding townspeople, the documents released today show a rather benign, uneventful PTA meeting where donuts and coffee were served between mundane discussions of upcoming school events and fundraisers.

harper-valley-pta

Original eyewitness reports from the event contended that Johnson, the single mother of a teen daughter, appeared at a meeting of the H.V. Parents-Teachers’ Association to respond to a letter that had purportedly been written by the PTA’s secretary. But in a startling revelation, the so-called “letter” was actually a mimeographed PTA flyer for a junior high hootenanny dance, with a hand written addendum to all PTA chaperons about the dress code. There was no reference to Johnson in particular nor to her drinking habits or rumored “running ‘round with men and going wild.”

According to PTA member Shirley Thompson, accounts of Johnson confronting the assembly and attempting to “sock it to” the hypocritical parents attending the meeting were false. “Bobby Taylor was not even there that night,” explained Thompson, who had allegedly been confronted about her drinking habits. “And as for me having a nip of gin on my breath, I have ulcerative colitis, so it would’ve been impossible for me to consume alcohol and still be alive.”

Contemporaneous claims thatTaylor’s wife uses a lot of ice whenever he’s away were explained by her anemia deficiency, which typically causes the patient to crave chewing ice chips. Similarly, nothing in the FOIA document dump shows that PTA member Kirby Baker’s secretary, Gladys Wilmont, had to leave the town for a rumored abortion (illegal at the time). Ohio court records made available to the Washington Post show that Wilmont left Baker’s employ after being called up by the Ohio National Guard. And contrary to Johnson’s allegations about town resident Willa Mae “(“widow”) Jones alleged exhibitionist behavior, the New York Times has spoken to two sources who say the young widow’s single family residence was being remodeled at the time, with no window shades available for her to pull completely down.

Since Johnson ran for town mayor on a platform of “draining the Harper Valley swamp,” a posthumous recall effort has been launched to rescind her mayoral pension and her mini-skirted statue has been removed from the town square. Her then-teenage daughter, who attended Harper Valley Junior High when she made the false claims, was convicted years later as an accessory in the Manson Family murders and was unavailable for comment.

One-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who had defended Johnson’s role in the controversy, expressed shock at the new revelations. Kellyann Conway, a spokesperson for President-elect Donald Trump, said the document leak exposing Johnson’s lies “is just one more example of liberal social values being rejected by rural voters who want to sock it to the corrupt D.C. power establishment.”

Rev. Al Sharpton said he still believes many of the charges about the town’s caucasian residents were “essentially true in spirit if not in fact.”

Why We Believe Election Results

There’s been a slew of news articles in the last few weeks about the possibility that the presidential election vote was somehow rigged, yet most Americans still accept the election night results as fact. There’s a reason for that. The problem with proving that votes were tampered with is that our entire news information system is built to implicitly trust an election outcome, not question it. And it starts the night of the election while the returns are still coming in.

First, the results are reported by our most trusted news institutions. AP, Reuters, major newspapers and the TV networks all report the results as fact as they come in. This imbues those results with legitimacy before they can be questioned or challenged. We know that these institutions report objective facts elsewhere — baseball scores, yesterday’s stock closings — so we instinctively give their election reporting the same faith we have in those objective numerical realities. Authoritative white men with gray hair tell us something, and we believe it.

Second, because the results come gradually — a Chinese water torture drip of counties and then individual states that are turning out contrary to what we believed would happen — we slowly absorb the shock and allow each one to become our new reality before questioning the overall senselessness of it. “Hillary lost North Carolina.” That outcome was plausible and therefore not questioned. “Trump is over-performing in Florida.” Again, an individual outcome that was considered possible so we don’t challenge it. Then slowly other slightly more unlikely outcomes begin to spill in, and with each new one we adjust our belief systems accordingly, letting our earlier doubts be gradually revised to accept the new reality. “It’s tighter than expected in Pennsylvanian… Clinton’s losing in Wisconsin… AP calls Ohio for Trump… Michigan is slipping away… She’s trailing in Pennsylvania… CNN calls Wisconsin for Trump… NBC calls Pennsylvania.” At each step, we adjust our belief system so that the cognitive dissonance of the totality of the outcome — that an election Clinton was destined to win somehow turned out differently — is made believable and acceptable. 

Third, as all this is happening, a slew of alleged “experts” come on TV and explain WHY the unexpected outcome happened, further infusing the reported results with legitimacy. Instead of CNN’s John King or NBC’s Steve Schmidt saying, “Hey, these results make no sense. Something is seriously wrong here,” they immediately come on screen to explain a result that is counter-intuitive to everything we knew before. These credible authority figures give us a wide variety of plausible reasons to believe what we doubt:

  • rural voters turned out in bigger numbers than anticipated
  • young and minority voters did not turn out in the expected numbers
  • polling methodology was off
  • third party votes shifted the expected results
  • the Comey letters created a last-minute wave
  • Hillary didn’t campaign in the lost states
  • turnout was down significantly
  • turnout was up significantly
  • turnout by white working-class men was up significantly
  • turnout by white married women was down significantly
  • women suddenly returned to Trump
  • men suddenly abandoned Clinton
  • Hillary didn’t have an economic message
  • strong GOP Senate race coattails carried Trump
  • weak Democratic Senate race coattails let Clinton down
  • Millennials voted for Stein
  • Millennials voted for Trump (in greater numbers than anticipated)
  • Millennials didn’t vote
  • Millennials voted, but not for president
  • Latinos voted for Trump (in greater numbers than anticipated)
  • Latinos didn’t show up in the numbers anticipated
  • Latinos only showed up in the numbers anticipated in the states Hillary won
  • the Latino vote was suppressed
  • the black vote was suppressed
  • Cubans voted differently than Mexicans
  • voters hate Mexicans
  • voters hate Muslims
  • voters hate blacks
  • voters hate NAFTA
  • voters hate Hillary
  • voters hate the establishment
  • voters hate third terms by one party
  • voters hate gridlock
  • voters hate ticket-splitting
  • voters hate themselves

And that’s only a partial list!

So Americans have a dozen theories competing with the one that is not even being said: that the true election returns have been adversely manipulated by humans.

It goes to the heart of how we all process information. Take for example, the JFK assassination. If you begin with the assumption that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, you can work backward to cobble together a slew of unlikely theories and explanations that lead to that conclusion. But if you begin with no assumption about who shot Kennedy, virtually none of the evidence points to Oswald acting alone. (Some doesn’t even point to him firing a single shot.) Yet when our national authorities back a specific conclusion and “prove” it with twisted logic and partial evidence that defy the laws of time and physics, we still accept it because we trust the source. Especially when it’s repeatedly reported on television – the ultimate validator of information (true or false).

This type of counter-intuitive thinking is not exclusive to elections or government reports. Boxing matches and Olympic gymnastic competitions routinely end in judges’ decisions that do not conform to the match that every other spectator witnessed. Millions of Americans believe that professional wrestling is real. And talking heads on TV regularly convince people that cars will change their sex lives, processed cereal will make their kids healthier, a dollar a day will save a third world child’s life (or, even crazier, that the money donated will actually get to a third-world nation), and that if they don’t like their new magic frypan or miracle treadmill they’ll get a “money-back guaranteed” refund with no questions or hassle. Yet none of that is true.

Hell, TV even convinced people that Donald Trump can teach Dennis Rodman to be a businessman.

I can’t prove that the election was rigged, though I believe it. Maybe that’s because my bias and thought process are pre-disposed not to believe Americans would elect Donald Trump. So I start from a place of questioning the results, not blindly accepting them. That’s how I approach it.

But if 62 million Americans can be tricked into believing that a nasty, unethical, misogynistic, philandering, duplicitous, deceitful, self-aggrandizing, uninformed, tax evading, proven con man is worthy of the presidency, they can be convinced that the numbers coming out of a few dozen low populated, predominantly white counties in three states changed the outcome of a national election toward the guy who received two-and-a-half million less votes.

 

Kevin Kelton is co-host of the More Perfect Union podcast and founder of the Facebook political debate group, Open Fire.

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