Media Stumbling Towards the Truth

In a discussion on the Trump train wreck today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Alex Wagner called Trump a “plant” by the Democratic Party. She was merely joking, and all the co-hosts chuckled. But two days ago, I put forth the very argument that Trump is purposefully damaging the GOP on behalf of himself (all evidence is that he’s a Democrat) and Hillary Clinton (a friend and frequent beneficiary of his political donations).

Before you dismiss it as wild conspiracy theory, read the full post here.

Meanwhile, MSNBS reports that Trump now leads the Republican field in North Carolina and somebody, somewhere is doing their best Hannibal Smith impression: “I love it when a plan comes together.” Daa-da-da-daa, duh-duh-duuuuh!


Media Stumbling Towards the Truth

Trump is a Tool. No, really.

Donald Trump is a tool. And I mean it in the best way. Although I assume the pejorative sense may apply too.

What I mean by tool:  His entire campaign is a “utilitarian” exercise in service of Hillary Clinton.

Maybe I’m stricken with a conspiratorial mood because I just finished reading “Nixonland“, a 750-page tome which included a highly entertaining and detailed chapter on how President Nixon, in 1972, interfered with the Democratic primaries:  sabotaging with ingenious dirty tricks the candidates he feared (Muskie and Humphrey), creating and keeping rumors of a Ted Kennedy candidacy alive just to disrupt any emerging consensus among Democrats, while leaving McGovern (his preferred and eventual opponent) untouched.

So actually, this is not UFO, Elvis-is-alive conspiracy theory. Dirty politics happen. It’s real. And if anyone is capable of Nixon-level political knife fighting today, it has to be the Clintons.

So let’s look at the facts:

1. Mr. Trump has been a major, consistent contributor to past campaigns of Hillary Clinton.

2. Mr. Trump contributed $100K to the Clinton Foundation.

3. Historically, Trump has contributed far more to Democratic candidates than to Republican candidates, helping key Democratic figures like Reid, Schumer and Pelosi win re-election.

4. The Clintons were invited, and Hillary Clinton attended Mr. Trump’s last wedding in 2005.

5. In June, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mr. Trump was asked which of the last four presidents is his favorite. His answer?  Bill Clinton.

6. Wall street loves Hillary.  Mr. Trump knows that his business interests will have no greater ally than another President Clinton.  In the current political climate, where even Republican candidates feel pressured to address wealth inequity and economic injustice, where Huckabee, Santorum and others are even sounding downright populist, Mr. Trump (and the rest of the Wall Street elite) knows that only Mrs. Clinton can protect their interests while placating the would-be progressive, pitchfork reformers with symbolic victories such as being the first female President.

7. Look at the actual results of Mr. Trump’s utterly ridiculous campaign and whose interests are served. He’s very purposefully making outlandish, far-right extremist statements, that:

  • put him in the top-of-fold headlines everyday, increasing the value of his brand and celebrity status,
  • give him zero chance of winning the nomination — ensuring he can return to business soon,
  • tarnish the entire Republican brand by association, and
  • exert pressure on the entire field of other Republicans to move rightward for fear of being outflanked, making them ultimately less electable in presidential matchup with Hillary where they will compete for the moderate swing voters.

8. Mr. Trump is effectively dividing the GOP between far right and establishment. He’s primarily leveling attacks on the “establishment” candidates (aka the opponents Mrs. Clinton most likely fears, like Bush, Rubio, Perry), while leaving the more fringe candidates (Santorum, Carson, Huckabee) untouched and undamaged. A likely result is that one of the more fringe candidates will rise to the top (similar to McGovern in 1972).  Even if an establishment candidate survives the attacks to clinch the nomination, Mr. Trump will have inserted the wedge between this nominee and the more conservative wing of the party, depressing enthusiasm and turnout for the Republican in the general.

I rest my case. Hillary Clinton has a tool.  And with Mr. Trump’s comment on Morning Joe, he’s even telegraphing it, having the last laugh.

Trump is a tool

Most conservative members of the media have already denounced him as a distraction and embarrassment to the GOP. Will they next connect these dots?

I can only assume the more liberal members of the media are ignoring the possibility of dirty tricks and treating it as a genuine candidacy because they actually relish the chaos it’s causing the GOP too much to blow the whistle.

Trump is a Tool. No, really.

Film Review: Clinton’s Video Announcement

Mrs. Clinton announced her campaign for the presidency on April 12, 2015 with a 138 second youtube video, entitled “Getting Started.”

The video leads off with desaturated, documentary-style, verité images of several Americans, uniformly middle-class but diverse in every other way (race, gender, age, sexual orientation), presenting a glimpse of their story and their dreams.

Clinton does not appear or speak until the 90 second mark. Her statement is so succinct, there is no need to boil it down. She does it for us. Here is the reason she is running for president:

“Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion….So you can do more than just get by…you can get ahead…and stay ahead.”

Is this the sum of our hopes and dreams: to get ahead, and stay ahead?  Ahead of who? Ahead of what?

This is her central platform? To help us pay our bills on time, and maybe helps us ‘get ahead’ of the Jones’ instead of just keeping up with them?

Don’t we have larger hopes and dreams? For peace and an end to wars?  For cleaner air and water?  For healthy food and better schools? For justice and racial reconciliation?  For safer neighborhoods and stronger communities?  For an end to hunger and poverty, here and around the world?

When a 2016 presidential campaign announcement make no mention of these larger issues and aspirations, it reduces all of us to the role of consumers instead of citizens.  It is worse than uninspiring. It is cynical and deflating, and maybe even offensive.

Do we see ourselves as more than consumers? Will we be citizens, with all the responsibilities it entails, and vote as such?

Extra Credit reading:
Politico offered a great analysis of her use of the term “everyday Americans.”  (Are you an everyday American? Is anyone inspired by being labeled ordinary, average, everyday?)

Film Review: Clinton’s Video Announcement

If You Are What You Eat, then Hillary Clinton = Inequity

My dad hated McDonald’s and Burger King and it wasn’t because the food tasted bad, or was bad for you. He believed in supporting your “local independent businessman.” He understood that when McDonald’s came to town, Bob’s Big Burger would probably die. And it eventually did.

When huge franchises land in your city, be it WalMart or Chipotle, please understand that they have come to extract wealth, as fast and as much as possible. They often kill off the local businesses — the mom-and-pop operations that are the backbone of communities — because too many customers are seduced by their marketing and don’t understand the true costs of the seeming bargains they offer.

Not my dad, and not me. To this day, at home or when I road trip, I seek out the local places, and avoid the franchise fast food like the plague that it is.  I want my dollars to support local economies, local entrepreneurs, and I have enough of a sense of adventure to try something new.

One of the biggest issues facing America today, is staggering inequity. It promises to be a major issue in the 2016 Presidential election, as evidenced by the fact that Republican candidates (yes, Republicans!) are even talking about the growing gap between rich and poor.

Hillary had lunch at Chipotle, the restaurant with the worst inequity of any major retailer or restaurant chain.  From USA Today:  “Montgomery Moran and Steven Ells, co-CEOs of Chipotle Mexican Grill, pulled down more then $13,000 a hour apiece. Compare that with the average $9.15 an hour paid to Chipotle crew members…”

I don’t know how much Bob from Bob’s Big Burger made, but I bet it was not over 1,000 times as much as his workers.  And, he supported a lot of youth sports teams and local charities. All this, and his burgers were way better than a Whopper or Big Mac.

So why is Mrs. Clinton and her campaign team patronizing Chipotle, the worst offender of any national chain?  It’s not bad optics. It’s just bad, period. It’s bad for Maumee, Ohio’s local economy.   It’s a bad example for America. It’s bad leadership.

And if Mrs. Clinton doesn’t understand this, what are the chances that she will fight against the public policies that give national chains an unfair advantage over local entrepreneurs?

Full story here on CEO pay versus worker pay:

Read more about the impact of chain stores on community:

And next time you’re in Maumee, whether it be for business, pleasure or politics, check out some local food and drink:

If You Are What You Eat, then Hillary Clinton = Inequity

Are You Listening, Mrs. Clinton?

Mrs. Clinton kicked off her campaign for the presidency by driving to Iowa to conduct another “listening tour.”  But after the first two stops, it’s become obvious how carefully staged and transparently silly this tour is. The participants are hand-picked.  Mrs. Clinton is jotting notes. (Write fast, there’s a lot to learn before being President!)  No questions from journalists.  But the media cameras are allowed in to beam the images around the world, and the background has been meticulously arranged by a set designer.

This is all about optics: presenting carefully constructed images to make us feel that Mrs. Clinton will develop her policies based on the input of everyday Iowans.  Are we to believe she is going to actually craft her policy platform based on what she is learning in a week-long road trip through Iowa?  Her stance on issues has always been and will always be more affected by the Wall Street money lining up to fund her $2.5 billion campaign. These poor Iowans are unwitting props in a Clinton campaign infomercial, with free airtime provided by 24-hour cable news.




Are You Listening, Mrs. Clinton?