What’s the Difference Between Russian Bots on Social Media and Fox News?

Almost no average Americans like the idea of Russian bots infiltrating our social media. There is overwhelming bilateral agreement on that – and for good reasons. 

First and foremost there is the idea that foreigners might not be loyal to the United States and their messages might be tainted and favor another nation-state. That’s why you have to be born here to be president. Granted that many foreigners respect the people and institutions of the US and I am sure there are many US citizens that don’t. Still there is something to be said for investigating the motives and influences of foreign contributors to the media stream. We can’t let ISIS run ads on our media. We all get that. So there should be standards for disseminating information. The new congress has work to do. 

There will be those who say freedom of speech is something that cannot be challenged in any way, under any circumstances. I remind them you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater if there is no fire. Why is that? Because it can hurt people! When freedom of speech can hurt the people or institutions of the US, it can and should be restricted, censored or edited – so it does no harm to the actual people that live here.

This may seem strange – but caring about outcomes for ordinary Americans was built into the constitution from its very first sentence! There is an enabling clause in the Declaration of Independence. ( bolded below) Let’s look it over. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I guess they could have left out all those bolded words and it would just say “we the people … do establish this Constitution”. – But the founding fathers told us why they were doing this. And the whys are the largest part of their enabling clause. Let’s not lose sight of the six reasons they set forth to substantiate the creation of the USA. 

  1. in Order to form a more perfect Union – There was a loose union in 18th century America – and the founding fathers wanted to define that union more precisely. 
  2. Establish Justice – They knew justice needed to be defined and established. This was true then and it is true now. This also speaks to no man is above the law
  3. Insure Domestic Tranquility – And here we get to those media bots and Trump’s divisive messages. There is no way Trump cares about domestic tranquility. He had even said he would not surrender if he lost to Hillary. We’ve heard from him there would be a revolt from his base if he was impeached. Trump’s attitude is inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution and many see that attitude as a disqualify-er for the job of president. But I also see this as a reason to question the right of Fox News – which is not owned by an American – to hinder domestic tranquility with dis-information – just the way most think of the Russian bots. 
  4. Provide for the common defense – I don’t see how what Trump is doing with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea as being helpful to our defense. I say leave this to the generals and the experts. Winning a popularity contest – which is what the 2016 election was – does not  qualify anyone as a military expert. 
  5. Promote the General Welfare – If there is one thing Trump has convinced people he has done right it is promoting welfare. My position is that he has allowed big companies to grab as much as they can through lower taxes and less regulation, and there will be a clean-up cost down the road. I see the phrase “general welfare” as more inclusive than favoring the rich or connected. General welfare was the 18th century way of saying “the 99%”. – Trump’s policies overly favor “the 1%”. People are beginning to catch on to that now – two years into his presidency, 
  6. Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity – I’d like shine a light on that Posterity word. Caring about the next generation is built into the constitution. How thoughtful of the founders. And how thoughtless and unconstitutional it is to ignore the dangers we are leaving to our children. That word “posterity” in our constitution should inform our climate science policy. The founders had that vision – why have we lost it? Not smart. Not caring. Selfish. But very Trumpian. 

Fox News was created by Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch in October of 1996. Fox News quickly grew to become a dominant subscription news network in the US. As of February 2015, approximately 95,000,000 US households (80% of them)  received Fox News. Murdoch is the current executive chairman of Fox News.

We are currently looking into ways make sure Russian bots don’t spread dis-information over the public airways and on social media. Why then do we allow a foreign-born person – Rupert Murdoch – to spread non-factual information over our airways to our American citizens? That is not consistent thinking. 

I remember when news used to be just news. But now there is something called spin. On the night before Charlottesville I recall Janine Pierrot rallying her listeners to go to Virginia and stand up to defend democracy. She had fire in her voice. The haters that went to Charlottesville felt they were called on a mission. Some said it was their duty to be there.  And Trump said ” I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and my supporters would not leave me.” These are examples of dog whistling for haters to act out. This is shouting fire in a crowded theater. There must be standards. 

Reporters just go to the places where news happens – and with video and audio media they re-port ( literally re-carry) what they see and hear. However, if the news presented is not truthful or it’s spun to distort the truth, then how is that in keeping with what our founders wanted when they created the 6 reasons to form this beautiful country? 

Media is a big deal these days. It’s certainly bigger than it was in 1776 or even 1976. If we are trying to make sure our media are free of Russian bots, it’s because of the divisiveness they cause – not just because they are Russian or bots. And so, if Fox News is not reporting truth and their agenda is dividing or polarizing the country – which seems to be the case – why do they get the blessings of the FCC? There has to be standards for media. We’ve got  plenty of examples of how media can affect our every day lives. Plenty. 

fox-nowThere could be standards set for media before they can call a produced show “news”. There is precedent for that. Many supplements can’t be called vitamins and are sold with this disclaimer. This product is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. That’s there to protect the public from false expectations. It’s also consistent with the spirit of the Constitution.

So I can imagine a TV show – which is also a product or something that is produced – might also need a disclaimer. We don’t want people to have false expectations about the information they are about to receive. That’s also not how the founders wanted it. Media regulation should be part of the Green New Deal. Get on it. Thank You. 

……..

Joseph Aronesty is an e-commerce pioneer, author, songwriter, etymologist and father to five sons. He went to Penn on scholarship and was in a class with Donald Trump in 1967.  He has been writing about Trump since he entered the race.

Keep reading. Stay vocal.

Relevant prior posts:

Trump is One of Many Corrupt Rulers Who Launder Money Internationally

2020 Presidential Hopefuls Should Unite Into a Team: Team America

What If Trump and the Entire Executive Branch Has Been Suborned?

And if all else fails, we can use technology to replace politicians. 

The Way Back to Political Sanity Could Also Involve Facebook, Google, CNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Restricting Two of Trump’s Presidential Powers Save Our Democracy?

The walls that protected Donald Trump from scrutiny are beginning to tumble down. Talk of impeachment is gathering some momentum. Still there is the caveat that 2/3 of the Senate would not likely vote to impeach a sitting president.

Well that’s not good enough in these dire circumstances. We have our democracy and way of life to save. We cannot allow loopholes in our own laws, many of which violate the spirit of our democracy, to destroy the American way of life. And yet that is exactly what Trump (and Putin) are counting on. 

Nearly everyone who ran the Trump campaign for presidency has now been indicted and/or has pleaded guilty – which means they are criminals! Are we supposed to believe that Trump surrounded himself with criminals but is himself an innocent angel who just has poor judgment in choosing associates? There are even known and documented entanglements with the Kremlin. But the two parties have split over Trump and until he is either found guilty or innocent this fissure will not heal. We are at a genuine crossroads in American history. 

The USA is now effectively in a state of civil war – left vs. right. The fight is over what kind of country we want to be. We thought that was decided long ago. We thought we were a representative democracy with a government by the people and for the people. Right?  “The people” means the majority of people – not the billionaires.  Our sitting president speaks about Democrats and reporters as if they were the enemy.  Something is not right with this and we all know it. 

It now appears that Roger Stone is going to stonewall the FBI and hope for a pardon.  Are we really okay with Trump pardoning his political operatives even if they are found guilty of collusion with the Russian state to fix an American election? Do you realize that if we are okay with allowing foreign states influence over our elections we are already a conquered state?

Our presidents are given absolute pardon power on paper, but it seems ridiculous in a situation where a president can effectively pardon himself.  It seems dangerous as well.  How would pardoning one’s political allies and targeting one’s political enemies not be abusing power? That is what Putin and Stalin did. How would that keep America safe? How would that be good for you?

So we are proposing that we not allow our country’s laws to destroy the America we grew up in. We’ll need to restrict just two of our sitting president’s powers while we make 100% sure his is not compromised. Bring this up on the house floor. 

#1. Trump cannot declare war until we are certain he is not compromised.

Until then, the Generals and Congress must inherit and share the responsibility of commanding our military. There is no loss therein. Most presidents listen to their generals anyway. We are not comfortable with Donald Trump having war powers in his current state of mind. We know we are not alone. He’s under a lot of pressure now too. If starting a war and letting people die can relieve some of that pressure, Trump is okay with that. He can tune out the suffering of others because he has very little empathy. 

We want to hear more about restricting Trump’s war powers on social media in the coming days. So get the buzz going. We can not sit idly by and let our own laws spell our demise. 

#2. Trump cannot be allowed to pardon anyone indicted and found guilty by Robert Mueller. 

This is just common sense. If witnesses believe they can lie for the president and get a pardon, they will lie for the president. Witnesses should know ahead of time that Trump is not allowed to pardon Mueller’s indictees. Allowing a pardon to undo the penalties for lying to the FBI, renders the FBI powerless. Clearly this was not the intent of the pardon power. This is why pardoning people found guilty in cases in which one is involved cannot be allowed for this or any president. It is abuse of power.  It is a clear case of the letter of the law violating its spirit. 

These two simple and  logical restrictions on Trump’s powers would go a long way to insuring that the whole truth about Trump and the Russians gets out. And that truth will go a long way towards healing the divide in this country.

This bill is also strategically very clever. This is not impeachment. The president stays in office and retains all his powers except the two that could be used to derail the truth from getting out. Burying the truth will destroy the fabric of our country in very short order. So I suspect most Dems and our majority constituency will like the idea of checking Trump’s powers while he is being investigated – potentially as a traitor. This is not a bill the president needs to sign either. 

If Dems can get 90% of their own in the house to agree on this idea, they can publish the names of the Republicans who do not agree to restrict Trump’s war and pardon powers while the jury is out on Russian collusion.  How is that going to play for career politicians? It’s damning as all heck and it should be. Those who would say no to this can only be suborned themselves, because no part of allowing Donald Trump to declare war or pardon his friends sounds right to any of us.

Who among us – on the left or right – thinks it okay for a POTUS to selectively pardon his friends for crimes they are found guilty of doing? What kind of justice would that be? 

So can we please get this post to: Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Swalwell, Amy Klobuchar and AOC? And yes, maybe Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell. Pass this forward please – for the sake of us all. I have started in my own way. But I need help to get this to the top. 

#1. Trump cannot declare war until we are 100% certain he is not compromised.

#2. Trump cannot be allowed to pardon anyone indicted and found guilty by Robert Mueller. 

I welcome feedback: josepharonesty@gmail.com

Job One for New Congress: Restrict Individual One’s Powers

Proposition 2019: A bill that protects Mueller while it checks Trump’s military powers until he is found innocent.

compromisedOn December 19th,  Trump took two steps that clearly benefited the state of Russia and Russians connected to Putin. Trump removed financial sanctions placed by our elected Congress against a nefarious Russian oligarch who was involved in the influence campaign of the 2016 election. Trump ordered our troops to leave Syria, leaving Russia and Iran more in control in the Middle East. Let’s analyze what this really means. 

I have been writing about my Penn classmate and AC associate for over two years now. It’s hard to miss his motives, as they are always about him. These actions Trump took today were his way of testing to see what power he actually has. 

Trump is not a student of history and really did not know a thing about being a US president when he took office. Ask yourself why he pardoned of Sheriff Joe. Trump did something borderline and when it stuck he learned that this was something he could get away with. That’s how Trump is learning the presidency. It’s really stupid that we allow this. Whatever rules keep him in office in spite of the chaos, lies, deceit and incompetence, they are not currently working towards our common welfare. And that common welfare is what the Constitution is all about!

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The “in order to” clause establishes the reason for all that follows! When actions are taken by a public official that does not sync with or works against that clause, they are at the very least, spiritually unconstitutional. Domestic tranquility and promoting the general welfare of our citizens is every public servant’s duty – even the president. And Trump just does not do that at all, does he? 

Trump also tested his ability to make and end war today. Trump gave an order to pull our troops out of Syria and the military brass did not disobey it. So Trump just learned that, at least, he still has commander-in-chief status with the military. The military brass hold immense power in this country regardless of who is president. He knows that much. If they had said no to him, he would have learned the brass deemed Trump to be potentially dangerous or to reckless to command troops. It would mean perhaps the generals knew the dirt that General Flynn shared with Mueller. It would also mean Trump could not trust the military brass to sell out to him the way his GOP has been doing.  So Trump learned he still was in control of the military today. That alone makes our world much more dangerous.  There was some outrage from career generals – but no one in power said “no sir, we will not do this.” And Mattis resigned over this. 

And since Putin still has his military in Syria there is a real question as to who put this idea into Trump’s impulsive head. If Trump has been compromised by the Russians, the Syria pull out order likely originated with Putin – whom it benefits greatly. If that is the case, since it involves war and not an election, removing troops from Syria to benefit an enemy state is the actual legal definition of treason. Look this up. Espionage and Sedition Act of 1929.

Trump also tested his ability to favor his Russian business friends charged with crimes with his removal of sanctions against Derepaska. And no person or group had the backbone to say, “no, you can’t do that sir. Derepaska is an enemy to the USA. His was sanctioned for good cause. Since Derepaska is a Russian living in Russia, there was no real way for the USA to punish him for his crimes except financially. Today, Derepaska, a Russian oligarch aligned with Putin,  was effectively pardoned by Trump for his crimes against the USA today. He will pay no price for his crimes. That is a pardon. 

OUR PRESIDENT IS ALSO “INDIVIDUAL ONE”

Trump is now individual one in the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign. That means Trump is now suspected in crimes against our country. It now seems critical to our survival as a sovereign country that Trump’s powers be temporarily restricted for the safety of our American homeland.

We all know he never says one bad thing about Vladimir Putin. Imagine how stupid we will feel if we discover that Trump actually has been suborned and is taking military and financial orders from Putin. Actually, that is how criminal money launders operate. They do for each other and cover for each other. 

We must soon decide. Is it really worth it to leave our 240 heritage here up to a spoiled, incompetent liar and thief like Donald Trump? To think we are allowing Trump to have the nuclear codes while he is under investigation for what could be treason – is way beyond crazy and stupid. Who really knows what Putin will ask for next? How sold out are our government officials? That all has to change in the new Congress.

But first things first. 

I am proposing that job one of the new Congress when they resume on January 3rd is to create a bill that secures two things to keep our democracy safe:

  1. It must protect Mueller and his investigation until the truth about Individual One is a known quantity and he is found innocent of any crimes against our state.  
  2. It must restrict the war powers of Donald Trump until Mueller’s investigation reaches a conclusion. In the meantime, it relegates those powers to Congress, where there is more balance – at least until the investigation ends with Trump not found guilty of any crimes against the state. This will also give Congress a chance to repair its terrible reputation with the American people. They should like that on both sides of the proverbial aisle. 

For the remainder of the investigation, Congress should take over some of the other absolute powers bestowed on a president in good standing. Trump does not have to be impeached for the Congress to do this.  Trump just needs to be checked until we are sure he is working for us and not the enemy.  A bill can do that. This bill could also serve as incentive for Trump to be more helpful to Mueller investigation if indeed he is innocent.

However, it certainly does not look like Trump is innocent. I am sure Mueller, if left to discover the truth, will prove that Trump and his family were both aware of and complicit in the foreign attempt to influence the election of 2016. And that is both traitorous and treasonous. 

P.S. As I edited this post there was Breaking News that Sec. of Defense, General James Mattis was stepping down end of February. That only makes the two above requests even more crucial to our survival. For God’s sake children, don’t let this madness go on one more day beyond the end of February. Imagine the wacka-doodle Secretary of Defense Trump will want in his cabinet. Someone with no real experience. A loyalist. That spells death. It’s going to feel like that apocalyptic movie from the 1960’s – Dr. Strangelove – ’round here. 

Joseph Aronesty is an e-commerce pioneer, author, linguist, songwriter and political activist living in Los Angeles. He was in a class with Trump in 1967 at Penn and worked close to him in AC in the 1980’s. 

Relevant prior posts: 

How to Entice Trump to Step Down in 60 Days or Less

Trump is One of Many Corrupt Rulers Who Launder Money Internationally

What If Trump and the Entire Executive Branch Has Been Suborned?

 

And if all else fails, we can use technology to replace politicians’ functions.

The Way Back to Political Sanity Could Also Involve Facebook, Google, CNN

How to Entice Trump to Step Down in 60 Days or Less

whitacreWith DEMS taking the house in January, we believe there is a quick strategy to get Donald Trump to step down as POTUS.  Trump’s corruption is now a national emergency. We should think of it that way. 
Background: Trump hates governmental scrutiny. He always has – even in business. Trump should be approached like a criminal trying to escape indictment. He will understand that. That is mainly what he has always been – and down deep he knows he is a criminal on the run. 
Plan of action: 
Mueller has plenty on Trump and his family. Potus Trump can be cornered by that evidence and be made to realize choosing to step down may be his best option.
If Trump sees there is no hope of not being exposed for his many crimes – and his family’s crimes – and it becomes clear his taxes will be releasedhe will look seriously at a quiet, private, back-room deal – as long as we go a little easy on him and his family. It does not have to be a “no” cost deal. – Just less cost. He’s going to want to stay free. He’s going to want to feel smart. We’ll have to be the bigger man – so to speak. What is said to the public may have to be tamped down. Maybe we let him cite a medical excuse. It does not matter. We all know the truth.
We think Trump can’t wait for all this to be over. Its not fun for him any more. No rallies for 500 days. Just endless investigations. He sees the handwriting on the wall. For now, he will continue to fight back. Until he sees another way, what else can he really do but fight? 
But what if we offered Trump another path? He’s looking tired. If he senses that the GOP is done in 2020 (which is true ) and they won’t have the power or will to protect him, and it becomes clear the majority of the country is against him – or even that 70% of the USA wants to protect Mueller – Trump goes back into draft dodger mode again. “Serve no one but yourself.” It is part of his family ethos to keep a distance from government scrutiny – precisely because they are cheats. 
So why even bother with “impeachment” and long processes? This is a war and we need it to end ASAP. Right now we just need to make it crystal clear to Trump that he is not going to get away with this – and that the show is over in two months anyway.
That’s why we favor keeping public pressure up with Indivisible and the #ProtectMueller meme. We need that meme to go viral and stay that way.  Then when the Dems take the house in January we offer him “the art of the deal”. 
We know some want vengeance and Trump deserves it. Our parents generation just executed traitors. But, if we want this over fast for our own good and the good of the planet we can just give Trump a get out of jail free card and ask him to step down immediately in exchange for it.  It’s a peace deal with an internal enemy. Terms of surrender, etc. We take the house and give Trump one week to surrender and step down, or all bets for immunity are off. 
We hate letting him off and are sure many other will hate that too. And the immunity deal does not have to be Scott-free. But this crisis is going to go on and on if we dont short circuit it. The founders did not imagine Donald Trump as POTUS. How could  they? We can hardly do so today! Their impeachment process did not consider what to do if an election was coordinated with a foreign enemy. Afterall, its a fair election that endows the president his powers. If a fair election did not even occur, is Trump really entitled to presidential protection? If he coordinated with Russia to win, why is he not a traitor? What does at traitorous president deserve? 
Plus we have REAL PROBLEMS to deal with here in the USA – problems that are NOT about TrumpClimate change seems number one.  Addressing climate change can’t wait two years! Science says if we delay now the planet will shortly be in a death spiral. How ridiculous we will be to our kids when they realize we let this happen over internal bickering over one sick maniac.  There is Healthcare, Border Security, College Tuition, Gun Laws. etc. So we really can’t afford to wait two years. Trump has that much on his side. We think he knows this and is acting wildly so that we actually do ask him to step down and he can ask for immunity. 
Yes, if he takes a deal, we get Pence. But Pence only Pence is not also implicated.  If Pence is “in the know” or “involved”  – we can make him the same offer. 
And then we would get the Speaker of the House and this nightmare is  all over – in January or 2020. ( Pence has no real shot to win in 2020. Actually no GOP POTUS candidate should win in 2020.) 
The price is cheap enough. Trump will take it if it can be done. We think he is signaling that he wants out and a deal. We think that is why he is stepping up the attacks on the judiciary. He wants out. He is trolling us with extra bad behavior so we are disgusted by it all and ask him to step down for some degree of immunity.
ONE-TWO PUNCH STRATEGY
#1 We make sure Trump sees and believes the handwriting on the wall. 
The public can help with this with social media. Newscasters can help too. They have been great. Keep it up. There is real power in WORDS. Putin knew that much. We just use these new cyber methods to our benefit now. STAY VOCAL THROUGH THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS. Do not be lulled into a feel-good haze. 
#2 We offer him a private back-room deal to step down in one week. He cant wait. He will even think he is smart for it. Fine. 
Then in January of ’19 or ’21 we can make sure this never happens again!
This is an old school practical solution to our Trump problem.
He is waiting for the offer.  Let’s get him in a room and offer it. 
Trump wants to see what Mueller has in him to negotiate that deal.  That is why Whitacre is there now. So maybe he should find out how hopeless it is for him.
Americans are not the only citizens that must RID THEMSELVES their CORRUPT RULERS for their own welfare. BUT IF WE FAIL TO DO SO HERE, THE DICTATORS WIN … EVERYWHERE! Giving Thanks for our collective resolve to save Democracy … and the planet.
As to why we have such a dictator problem on planet earth, this post explains a bit of it.

How Citizens Can Help Protect Mueller in a Cyber Age

Joseph Aronesty, chairman – the Manhattan Beach Political Thinktank

E-commerce pioneer, songwriter, etymologist, author, Trump classmate 1967. 

The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Classic Tale of a King’sVanity Exposed by a Child

As we witness a vain president attempting to pull the wool over our eyes, seeming to want nothing but praise from his subjects, the tale seems strangley apropos today. 

It’s June 2, 2018, my 70th birthday. I’ve written this as if I were speaking with David Hogg, Emma Gonzales and all the kids at Stoneman-Douglas:

I am sure you are aware of the Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. But did you know that the tale had its roots in oligarchical medieval days and may trace back as far as to Aesop?

As we witness a vain president attempting to pull the wool over our eyes, seeming to want nothing but praise from his subjects, this tale seems strangely apropos today.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

kingA vain emperor, who cares about nothing except being seen as handsome and beautiful, hires weavers who promise they will make him a magical suit of clothes. The weavers are con-men,  and they convince the stupid emperor they are using a fine fabric that is invisible to anyone who is stupid. The weavers only pretend to manufacture the clothes; they mime the actions, but there is no cloth at all being weaved. Thus, no one, not even the emperor nor his ministers can actually see the alleged “clothes”. But when the emperors declares that his new clothes are invisible to anyone that is stupid they all pretend they see the clothes for fear of appearing stupid.  The emperor also does the same of course, and it’s quite comical.

Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished, they pretend to dress him in the suit, and the emperor marches in a royal before his subjects. The townsfolk go along with the pretense.  Not wanting to appear stupid, they marvel at how beautiful the king’s clothes are.  Suddenly, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the emperor naked! Only then is the cry is taken up by the adults. The emperor realizes the crowd’s assertion is true, but he continues with the procession in total embarrassment as the crowd mocks him and the weavers escape with their payment.

Andersen’s tale is based on a 1335 story from the Libro de los ejemplos, a medieval Spanish collection of fifty-one cautionary tales with various sources such as Aesop and other classical writers and Persian folktales, by Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (1282–1348).

This is a tale that had its origins when there were actual kings and subjects – oligarchical times for sure. And so in these neo-oligarchical times there is something to learn from this old tale. Notice that it’s a child that exposes the king. There is a reason for that.

As a child of the hippie generation, I can tell you we had big dreams and saw the hypocrisy in parts ( not all ) of our parent’s generation. That’s what 1968 was all about. Protests against Johnson and the Vietnam War was just part of our quasi-revolutionary mind set.  But after graduating college, and particularly after becoming parents, many of us got sucked up into the same system hooked our parents. There was so much opportunity back then compared to now, it was easy to get sucked into the same system that we were protesting against just a few years earlier. Weird, huh? But true.

This medieval tale informs us that this all has been going on for a very long time. And so children, whilst you are young and before you form the bonds marriages and have kids, you are in life’s special time-zone when you can see the hypocrisy in the systems in our society and are not yet afraid to expose it. And that reminds me that there is at least one big difference between 2018 and 1968.

In 1968, we protested against the hypocrisy of people, but ended up embracing the systems the systems they deployed. Today the young are protesting against the systems and laws as well as the people that hold on to what seems more and more to be a dysfunctional government and culture. I don’t differentiate much between culture and government. To me they are both just aggregates of people with the large power of a mob and a general credo.

Students of Stoneman-Douglas: This summer of 2018 compares to the summer of 1968. It’s super important that you not only continue attacking our broken systems ( which so many of us admire in you all ) but also call BS on the people who profit from and embrace these broken systems. That outcry must include the president, who is the standard-bearer for all these broken systems, including gun laws. We must insist that no man is above the law. We can’t devolve into a society that allows our rulers and their friends to buy their way out of criminal behavior. That’s not what America is all about. I am sure you now that.

Of course, our American vain emperor would love to experience nothing but praise from his subjects. From that protected authoritarian dais, he and his financial allies can continue to work behind the scenes, back-channel and profit from these broken systems at the expense of the general public.

And this is not only about smart gun laws any more. Stupid gun laws are a symptom the larger dysfunction. The refusal of the majority in congress, the GOP, to create laws that our citizens actually want and need will only wane when Trump and the GOP lose big time at the ballot box this November 2018. I want this to be a November to remember for the rest of your lives.

Stay vocal. The powers in control are going to try and fix the election again. This election is even more important to them that the last one. Why? Because if Trump had lost, they had Hillary who more or less embraced that same broken system the way Obama did. But if they lose this time, they could lose it all. Power could return to the people here in the USA. Unions will negotiate better wages and cut down the owner/worker pay ratio.  Real-healthcare, access to education and infrastructure improvement become doable options. What a mess for the industrialists in control of this broken machine, right?

I just purchased RussianTrollSites.com. Let’s crowd source a site that runs a script that finds political troll sites and ads, publishes them, and forwards the list to Facebook, Google and the media. Contact me.

The crowd in the Emperor’s New Clothes only changes its position when a child exposes the obvious truth. That is the teachable part of this old tale. Your parents want to believe in you. This is not new. They will even take this battle cry up with you if you stay loud and determined. And this summer of 2018 we must.

We have a president and a congress that is trying to put themselves above the law, keep their ill-gotten gains, and expand upon the broken system licenses cars but not guns. The system is not broken for them. It’s broken for us! And we all will continue to pay if they stay in power.

Trump, as the system’s figurehead,  will try and sell you that the economy is doing better. I say what?! Are the people doing better? Not really. We have fallen behind all the first world countries is vital stats like life-expectancy and education.  Select economical stats are not the be-all-end-all of a society. The German economy got better under Hitler too – for a while.

I still believe your sheriff’s VOTE THEM OUT is the best battle cry for this summer. It resounds on both sides of the aisle and seems to unconsciously say “vote the swamp out” without partisanship. It’s a message that we all can identify with these days, and that’s really all we need.

Stay vocal this summer!

sent with love,

Joseph Aronesty

@EnglishCodeWord

josepharonesty@gmail.com

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Midterm Elections: What Progressive Candidates Should Run On

These are my top ten issues for progressives to run on this cycle. 

candidate.jpgThere’s been a lot of talk about what progressive candidates should and should not run on for the midterm elections. This big question seems to be: regardless of the positive issues we may wish to run on “do we also run on impeachment?”. 

I frankly believe that Trump being in office can end up being the Democrats best friend in November, if they play their cards right! And let’s face it, in 2016 they could hardly have played their cards worse. There is gamesmanship to an election – and it has to be done right. 

One of my strongest suggestions is never to run Dem vs. Dem.  No infighting! The Hillary vs. Bernie division was really what sank the Dems in 2016. We can’t have that happening in the midterms this cycle. Instead, I would rather see run offs decided by two candidates joining at the hip, like a double entry in a horse race. First, it saves election costs. And if their is a complaint about salary, (and this is way more important than any politician’s salary) the saved election funds could be shared along with the allotted salary. That way two close competitors can share one position. Granted they get one vote in Congress. But imagine if Hillary had run with Bernie as a ticket rather than against him. It would have been a landslide. In 2020, if Biden runs, maybe he could run with Bernie as a ticket. Biden/Bernie will play well only if young blood does not take over the scene by then – and it might. We will see. But no infighting. Infighting means we don’t have a clear agenda. And that means, we don’t know what we are doing. And that means, people may decide to stay with what they know and have.  And we can’t have that.

These are my top ten issues for progressives to run on this cycle. 

#1 Medicare For All. There is nothing that unifies Americans more than our need for affordable healthcare. It will be easy to expose the hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue. It should be front and center of any progressive campaign.  But work out the math ahead of the campaign promises. Make it look achievable or you will be tagged as impractical dreamers. Show us where the money will come from. And yes, don’t be afraid to say we should tax billionaires the same or higher than workers are taxed. Remind us that this country worked best in the 50’s when the rich were taxed higher than the poor, which created a more level playing field for all Americans. 

#2 Reversing Trump’s GOP Tax Laws. This is tricky because Trump can say his new laws are the reason for the seeming economic boom. Is it really a boom? Maybe that has to be discussed. Because if we have set our expectations lower, a small increase in take home pay can seem like an improvement. But there are other ways to measure success rather than just pocket money. Trump and the GOP will rely on this argument that things are better. Dems will have to show Americans in black and white, how the increase in health-care costs, the lack of access to great education, and the failure to spend on infrastructure are other ways to measure the standard of living of a nation. Show us how everyday citizens are fare better and even live longer in countries like Germany, Sweden and Japan. And the states that tax heavily and invest in their own infrastructures, like Cali, Mass and NY, – they do not like the new limit on deducting state taxes and interest payments. So expose that strongly as well. 

#3 College and K-12 Investments. There is nothing that quashes the dreams of our children more than the ridiculous economic barriers to quality education. It starts at K. Our grade schools and high schools are short on books. How sad is that? I’m sorry but what differentiates a great country from a failed one is actually the education level of its citizens. It is way more important than levels of pocket money.  A society that is rich monetarily but stupid is ripe for takeover. Think Rome. Brains is what separates us from animals. And honestly, “stupid and spoiled” is sort of what Russians and even Islamic terrorists think of Americans. And frankly, they are not far off. No way we are the brightest minds on the planet any longer. We used to be – in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Somewhere around Regan, we began to slip. That’s also when big money took over the soul of our government. Today, teachers are clearly paid far less than other professionals with the same qualifications as teachers. And yet, teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible. So drive all of this home. It will resound in New York as well as Texas and West Virginia. 

#4 The EPA. Golly, I hope Scott Pruitt is still the head of the EPA in November. If he is, he won’t hold that post in December. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and our climates are valid ways to measure the success of a nation. So again, it’s not just pocket change. After all, its not what money you have, but what it can buy. And if your money can’t buy clean air and water, because companies are allowed to pollute, then you are poorer than you think. Expose as much of the EPA’s reversals to common sense legislation as you can this cycle. Remember, the GOP will paint Pruitt as a help to the economy. We need to answer back strongly. “We don’t want an economy that is driven by allowing corporations to pollute our greatest common asset, our environment. Lack of respect for mother earth by this administration should be fully exposed. Again, it will resound with Americans of all stripes, and in all 50 states. Americans want to be proud of America again. That’s really what Trump has done to us. So seize on that. Make America Proud Again? Well, not. We don’t want to sound like we ripped off anything from this charlatan. But the idea of restoring American pride is sound. 

#5 Re-establishing Diplomacy. One of the reasons I am certain that the Russians have Trump suborned is the way our diplomatic core has been stripped under Trump’s Secretaries of State. Bring math to this argument. Show what has happened in stark black and white. Frankly, it borders on treason. And this is exactly what Russia wants. They are increasing their position on the world stage – as we are decreasing ours! If it feels coordinated, it probably is. 

#6 Border Security Done Right. Why is this so hard for us? Border security has nothing to do with hatred of others. We can have secure borders and love our neighbors. There should be check-points and it should be hard to illegally penetrate. I’m not sure we need “Trump’s Wall”. But we should agree to have secure borders, and to police those borders. But also, most Americans agree that the DACA kids are citizens. So we can run on Dreamers and border security simultaneously. Please do that this cycle. And if GOP candidates drift into that general area, welcome them. We need more welcoming of the other here in the USA, and that starts with “across the aisle”, when it is justified. There is a place where can agree with GOP voters on border security. Just strip away the hate of others and be kind to our Dreamer’s. I would fund any border upgrades from infrastructure spending. That is what it actually is. 

#7 The VA. Our veterans deserve the best care possible. Trump had a guy who was trying to do a decent job and he was fired. Rub this in his face forever. Veterans exist in all states. And its damn well embarrassing that he is trying to make veterans care a for profit industry and take his cut. 

#8 Infrastructure. There is no doubt that America has fallen far behind other first rate countries in infrastructure. Our roads, bridges and trains are sorely in need of serious investment. Something like what FDR did seems appropriate. But, we are not as collectively rich as we used to be in the 1950’s. Why is that? It’s because we have allowed our money to collect at the greedy top where it stagnates and gets funneled out of the country into off-shore bank accounts. There is no way to fund the projects we need without recapturing those lost funds. It’s not a pretty statement. I think of things like a billionaire’s tax. So here too, math has to be done to sell infrastructure investment. This is not a cycle where we can make promises that we cannot keep. It will be too easy for the GOP can say we can’t afford this now – that our national debt is already ballooning. But infrastructure is an investment that pays back! So focus on that when you get GOP push-back. Do your math. Cite history. People in all states want better infrastructure.

#9 Voter’s rights and an end to Gerrymandering. The GOP realizes full well that they advance the agendas of the super-rich – not the average American. They know they have no way to win an honest election. That is why Trump and the GOP welcomed Russian help in the election of 2016. They can’t possible win a fair fight with their agenda that favors the billionaire class. Assume the GOP will do anything to win. They will try to block the minority vote. They will play with election software. They will use social media campaigns to rile up hatred again. And Gerrymandering, though slowly being outlawed, still exists. All of this must be exposed. In red states, make it clear the GOP does this because they don’t want your vote to count. 

#10. Vetting our candidates better. This is the hardest to promote because so many sitting Congresspeople are not clean – and won’t support anything which makes vetting candidates a more thorough process. But let’s be real here this cycle. We got a criminal president because we allowed him to be a candidate without even showing his taxes. We vet Uber drivers better than we vet our president, so what should we expect? If there is a path to insane profits in government service, we will continue to get criminals seeking to “serve” in Congress and in other high end government positions. They see dollar signs and are drawn in. Jared Kushner could not even get security clearance, but neither could Trump if he had to.

If there is a full vetting of all candidate’s past financial history, we can at least be sure they are not criminals or money launderers before they take office. No one should be ever be allowed again to hold high office with undeclared foreign bank accounts. In with this line of thinking is “getting money out of politics” , “term limits”, and ending “Citizen’s United”, which really is “Billionaires United” and “no man is above the law”, which must be true in a real democracy. This won’t be popular with sitting representatives. But it has to be addressed or even a new administration won’t have the support in Congress to make the sweeping changes to policies and laws that will be needed to keep the United States strong, free and democratic.  

You will notice I have not mentioned gun laws. I want to, of course. It is a huge national stigma that we do nothing to protect our children as they are mowed down month after month. But common sense gun law changes will not come from this GOP.  They are a sold-out party. The right idea is to vote out the sold-out GOP that have us under their thumbs. We can do so on the ten issues I have outlined above.  Banning semi-automatic weapons is probably fine to discuss, but it seems smarter to just not enroll Americans who will vote GOP for one single issue.

Finally, absolutely do not announce any presidential candidates until after November.  Any Democrat who does that should be shunned by the Democratic Party. Politicians and citizens can and should get out there and talk about what is good for the country. Biden should get off his horse immediately if he intends to run, or he runs the risk of seeming old, slow, out of touch. Same with Bernie. Trump will be running every week from here on in.  But no one should announce they are running in 2020. It exposes an “it’s all about me” philosophy, and in 2018 we need a fully coordinated team effort. Leave “it’s all about me” to Trump. He is so good at that anyway. 

If we succeed in this cycle, 2020 will take care of itself. If we don’t, I will be seriously eyeing getting out of here for my kids sake. I actually don’t want to be a citizen in Trump’s America. 

……. Joseph Aronesty

Joseph is an e-commerce pioneer, songwriter and etymologist. He was in a class with Donny Trump in 1967 at Wharton School and worked close to him in AC in the 1980’s. 

Joseph can be reached at josepharonesty@gmail.com

Joseph’s SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/raiseourvoices

Joseph’s intuitive etymology page: https://englishcode.wordpress.com/clc-etymology/

 

 

Trump Alone Can Break Us. But 2018 Is 1968 On Social Media #Vote Them Out

Like a joke that is repeated too often and is no longer funny, Trump’s greatest hits are starting to really annoy Americans … everywhere. As people flee his inner circle, there is a growing sense that he really does not know what he is doing in his new role.

I joined the protesters in Beverly Hills on the night Trump was in LA. Thousands of people, from all walks of life, some with kids, marched with home-made banners to have their voices be heard. There was a giant Trump balloon, and I put one  of my VOTE THEM ALL OUT stickers on his blue suit ass. It looked great. There was music, food and reporters. One group of Indivisibles dressed up as Russians and did satire. What was witnessed was something I am calling TrumpLash. #TrumpLash . Consider helping spread that hashtag/meme. It’s a winner. Pardon my Trumpism. 

Like a joke that is repeated too often and is no longer funny, Trump’s greatest hits are starting to really annoy Americans … everywhere. As people flee his inner circle, there is a growing sense that he really does not know what he is doing in his new role. He may have been OK as a reality TV star but he seems totally incompetent as POTUS. And all these job evacuees are costing us. It’s hard to get stuff done when your staff keeps changing. Projects are left unfinished. And the endless vetting processes for new staff are time consuming, draining and expensive.  Why would reasonable people be annoyed?

In 400 days, 43% of Trump’s top cabinet picks are gone . Many have stepped down, some have been fired, and some have even plead guilty to crimes. Trump said he would get the best people. But we now know that 43% of the time, his first choices were not solid choices. They’re gone. So they were not the best people after all, were they? And if that is the case, why would we trust him for anything if he gets it right only 4 times out of 7 ? We expect better in the USA. And for international diplomacy, 3 out of 7 wrong is a very dangerous stat. Imagine if Kennedy was wrong on the Cuban Missile Crisis or Roosevelt about Hitler. 

It is now also clear Trump’s hotheaded gut reactions are materially damaging the GOP party that he is aligned with. Why on earth would a thoughtful leader fire his Secretary of State on the same day of a tight election in Pennsylvania? That’s pure stupidity. It could have waited. That election was lost by less than 1%. I am sure that some percentage of GOP voters heard about that firing, and decided it was the straw that broke the camels’ back for them. They heard about the firing and switched their vote for the Dem. – or against the person in the WH. Same thing. There is clear evidence that Trump alone can break this (country).  People everywhere are beginning to catch on to that.  If we let him, he will break our democracy to save his neck. 

Welcome to the Spring of 2018. The weather is going to warm up. People will turn to the streets in numbers. Students were out today. They say it’s for better gun laws. But Trump is not going to do anything about gun control. He is too distracted trying to escape prosecution for his crimes. The underlying protest is against Donald J Trump. It’s TrumpLash. #TrumpLash

Even if he wanted to, Trump has effectively lost the public mandate to rule effectively. His approval ratings are at historic lows. And he never intended to work hard for Americans in the first place.  In his life, he has only ever schemed and cheated to benefit himself. Work? Working for others is not part of the Trump ethic. Serving his country? He was a draft dodger. Still has that mentality. His kids never served either. Not like Biden at all.

When he won, he said” OK, we’re going to have some fun with this“. That’s a quote. If it’s not fun for Trump, he does not get into it very much. Golf OK. Sex with strangers, very OK. Such a poor choice for president we have made. And we mostly all know it by now.

So what are we going to do about it America? The Spring and Summer of 2018 is going to be historic. The world really is watching us on this one. What’s it going to be?

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