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Essays and opinion pieces from our hosts and listeners involving American politics touching on current events, politics, history, and the like.

On Donald Trump’s Alarming Weakness on Communist China

By D.J. McGuire

For those of us who look with a wary eye across the Pacific Ocean to the Chinese Communist regime, Donald Trump was something of a wild card in the presidential campaign of last year. His rank protectionism included harsh words against the Beijing cadres, but he also ripped the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal involving nearly all the democracies in Eastern Asia that would have been a geopolitical bulwark against Zhongnanhai (Beijing’s equivalent of the Kremlin). Add in his mixed bag on military and geopolitical policies (stronger defense countering his threats to withdraw from Japanese bases), and no one was really sure what we’d get.

Four months in, we have a better idea of Trump’s deviations from the standard “engagement” policy of that is a favorite of the establishment wings of both major parties. If anything, Trump is more willing to appease the “ChiComs” than any of his post-Tiananmen-massacre predecessors. Zhongnanhai is taking advantage, to the peril of the democratic world.

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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. Read More

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.

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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.  Read More

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).

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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… Read More

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.”

Pandora’s Inbox: The Death of Privacy

Do you know what the biggest issue of this presidential campaign has been, even though it has gone totally unmentioned?

Privacy.

We live in a time where nothing is private anymore. Whatever you write in an email is subject to out-of-context microscopic scrutiny, even if it was illegally stolen.

Whatever you say on a hot mic is public fare, even if you didn’t know the mic was recording.

Whatever weird sexual proclivities you are guilty of in private are now the baseline for your public reputation.

Whatever the estranged husband of your work associate has done to humiliate himself, it’s now your humiliation by extension.

You are not just guilty of your sins. You are guilty of everyone’s who emails you, talks to you, or knows someone who has.

If it’s in your spam box, you will be judged on it.

Welcome to 2016. Read More

Six Ways the Comey Letter May HELP Hillary

Of course, given her choice, it’s pretty likely that Hillary Clinton would have preferred that the new James Comey letter never happened. Dealing with sideways slander from the director of the FBI 11 days before an election is never fun. But there are six ways the Comey letter may actually end up helping the Democrats next week:

1) It changed the narrative off the Obamacare price increases. That sticker shock was the more damaging revelation of last week, especially down ballot. Voters are more likely to dismiss the email thing as nothing new – especially as more info comes out this week showing the initial media hysteria was vastly overblown. So this may actually be a better issue for Clinton to close on. There was no good way to rebut the ACA price increases. It’s much easier to play the victim of a runaway media. Just ask Donald Trump. Read More

An Election Intervention

National elections used to be a celebration of all that is good in America. When I was young, election day was a civic state holiday – something to be revered and looked forward to. This year, it’s a morbid finish line of doomed relief, like doctor-assisted suicide. Just get it over with and put us out of our misery.

Even in the bitter disappointment of watching Al Gore concede after the SCOTUS decision ending the 2000 recount, I remember being proud of how he handled it and of our electoral process. This year, there seems to be very little to celebrate.

Sure, there will be some pockets of pride when either the first female president or the ultimate change agent make their victory speech. But that will do little to heal the giant rift of resentment left from the most senselessly brutal battle since Gettysburg. Read More

“We Need a Businessman” (and we have 2 to pick from)

I laugh whenever someone justifies supporting Donald Trump by saying “we need a businessman in the White House.” That’s like saying, “we need an army general as commander-in-chief.” (In fact, our best wartime presidents – Madison, Polk, Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR – had no military service.)

But let’s grant for a moment that business experience and acumen might be a valuable asset in a president at this moment in history. Trump has a bunch of it, and we can argue all day whether he is a great businessman, a lousy one, or just a lucky one (or, more likely, some combination of all three).

Believe it or not, Hillary Clinton has her own business background that should not be overlooked. In the 1980s and ’90s, she served on corporate boards (most famously at Wal-Mart) and by all accounts was an outspoken advocate for better pay, greater opportunities for women, protecting American workers (she was a staunch supporter of an early “Made in America” campaign at Wal-Mart), and environmentally sound business practices. And since that company grew substantially during her Board years (1986-1992), adding 230,000 jobs during her tenure, you cannot argue that she has never created a job. Read More