Are We At War With Ourselves?

Though this article reports numerous ugly statements and inappropriate actions by mass media, political parties, and social media posters, please note that the author of this article is a middle-road Independent with no affiliation or party preference. Negative remarks about President Trump, his opponents, and his critics, are results of public statements, for which this article has no partisan bias.

FullFinal-TVTW071016America has entered a new era that may be more dangerous than anything this country has experienced since the Civil War.

Following the election in 2016, we have had millions of people in bitter conflict with each other. Though most of the conflict thus far has been in social media, mass media, and political venues, we have seen a few ugly street clashes and destruction on college campuses. Unlike political fights of the past, however, the fight seems to intensify and is becoming more violent and hateful.

Of course, our country has had social conflicts before. The anti-war battles of the 1960s and 1970s are good examples, as are the African-American Civil Rights struggles of the mid-1950s and 1960s. Though there were millions of people on both sides of these movements, these fights were different from today’s conflict in one extremely significant way: insurgents in both of these battles were fighting for specific, concrete goals.

The anti-war movement fought to end the Vietnam War. When the war ended in 1973, the angry energy died down. Similarly, the Civil Rights activists fought for specific things: the end of segregation in schools and restaurants, voting rights for people of all races, the end of racial violence, and admission to all-white universities. Once they had achieved these objectives or at least had made significant progress, the violence subsided, and the movement moved to the courts and politics.

Many other protest movements had no clear goals and therefore only mustered luke warm energy. For example, the Occupy Wall Street movement involved millions nationwide but had no leadership and no tangible objectives that middle-Americans could embrace. The movement, therefore, collapsed of its own weight.

The conflict we see today is a new kind of beast. Though political conflict typically has the Far-Left on one side opposing the Far-Right, the bitterness today is not only a political skirmish between Democrats and Republicans. There are splits in both parties. Conservatives fight with mainstream Republicans, and Progressive Democrats on the left remain furious with their party’s leadership and behind-the-scene operatives.

Nasty rhetoric began in the months before the November election, but when Donald Trump became President-Elect, opposition voices became more strident than at any time in recent history. Traditionally, new presidents have a so-called “honeymoon period,” in which mass media and opposition leaders permit the new Chief Executive to begin an administration free of bare-knuckle politics. Most new presidents have three to six months of this respectful courtesy. The honeymoon for President Obama was even longer. President Trump received no such courtesy period. In fact, the bombast against him began during the transition between administrations, long before his inauguration.

Many statements by leaders of the opposition party continuously use name-calling and false narratives with language and depth far worse than we have ever seen. Recently, a long-time Congressional Representative referred to the entire Trump cabinet as “a bunch of scumbags.” Other leaders have loudly called for the impeachment of the President. Despite the fact that there is no evidence of any offenses, other than Mr. Trump’s often annoying statements and tweets, his opponents continue to make nonsensical claims.

How did this fighting develop and continue to grow?

Though this unprecedented bitterness has several different causes, the growth of social media may be its strongest driver. Since President Obama’s victory in 2008, the number of social media users has nearly tripled. Moreover, President Trump’s highly publicized Tweets may have attracted more people to express themselves through this medium. Social media messaging has gained credibility with some people, especially people in the age range designated as ‘millennials.’ Though there is no way to measure this effect, social media users now seem to post or repost statements without any reliable source. In many cases, they admittedly “make stuff up” to fit a narrative, without concern for fact-checking of any kind.

More troubling is the new practice of media reporters—the internet, print, and cable news—to use social media, especially tweets, as support for a so-called news story. With so many different voices adding themselves to the fray, misinformation often takes on an aura of truth and becomes used as proof statements.

Whether antagonistic remarks are from political leaders, media opinions or whimsical social media posts, Americans read them, or hear them from others and repeat them, often augmenting them or using them out of context. Since they typically come from one side attacking the other, the aggrieved side fires back with equally irrational statements.

Why this war from within threatens America

Leaders of every country in the world follow internet reports and form opinions and strategies based on their analyses of America’s strength. Watching our current turmoil, our friends and allies may view the US as being out of control, and view American leadership with great skepticism. Our enemies may see our exaggerated conflicts as an opportunity to ignore America and continue policies that hurt our economy and safety.

For example, opponents of the President have nurtured a storyline that the Trump campaign plotted with Russia to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Trump win the presidency. The so-called ‘proof’ of this story, is that candidate Trump stated in his election campaign that America might benefit from an improved relationship with Russia. Opponents add that Trump hired a campaign advisor for two or three months who once had consulted with the government of Ukraine.  Ukraine, of course, considers Russia to be an enemy of their country. A consultancy relationship with Ukraine has no bearing on a US relationship with Russia. Further, the former US  Director of National Intelligence has stated that there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collaboration of any kind. Nevertheless, Congressional leaders have kept this allegation alive and begun investigations in multiple committees. Stories like this one shake the confidence that our allies have in American leadership.

Domestically, we will soon have an environment of lawmakers who are unable to vote for or against any issue unless it is supported by a majority of the combatants in their states and districts. This will result in leaders who are unable to lead, in a gridlock that leaves individual Americans suffering in anger.

How can we end this foolish quagmire?

All Americans have the right of free speech, guaranteed by the Constitution. Nevertheless, our leaders and mass media writers have the tools to tamp down rhetoric that makes America look foolish to the rest of the world.

Though social media enhances the viciousness, the White House, Congress, and the mass media are the original sources of it. Following are some recommendations on steps these leaders must take lower the public temperature and create a positive national direction.

Recommendation One: President Trump should limit his Twitter tweets to issues of policy, or significant announcements. Criticism of celebrities and argumentative dialog with critics add fuel to the ongoing fires.

Recommendation Two: The White House should create private dialog sessions with all leadership groups, especially opponents and media leaders. All discussions should be kept confidential. Leaders need to work together to create ground rules for public statements. Ground rules must have mutual agreement and benefit to all parties. This approach will not muzzle anyone from speaking out on their opinions on policy. But it can depressurize the nastiness that has overtaken the country.

Recommendation Three: Unless new bills are likely to become future election issues, leaders of both parties should meet together privately to identify common ground. If possible, they should agree to limit public disagreement to policy issues. Regardless of the gulf between the parties, they should ‘sell’ their viewpoints without personal attacks or implying wrongdoing by the opposition.

Recommendation Four: The White House needs to reach out to the press, to create ground rules to benefit all parties. The President needs to speak with media executives privately and negotiate. Both sides in this kind of dialog have items with which to negotiate. For example, The President can eliminate statements about “fake news” and charges of lying. The White House can offer greater access in exchange for confidentiality. Media leaders can offer advance notification of stories to advise the Whitehouse of major negative stories.

Memo to the White House and Congressional staffers: The foregoing recommendations are seen through the eyes of an outsider. You may have better approaches. If so, we look forward to your success in changing the status quo. You have a responsibility to fix the chaos that is tearing the country apart. It’s not important to select the perfect plan. What’s important is making the plan work.

Memo to Mass Media:  Words matter. Careless words often matter more. Please tell the truth.

“To borrow from the words of Winston Churchill: ‘Never have so many been manipulated so much by so few.’” — Aldous Huxley

 

 

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Hillary’s Surrogates and Endorsements

nine-thumbs4Since the stunning election surprise of Trump’s victory, we have heard countless experts, pundits, historians, and politicians explaining how Trump won. They point to strategic mistakes, failure to understand the anger of the electorate, polling errors and many other aspects of electoral politics. Nevertheless, they seem to overlook one of the most important differences in the two campaigns: the surrogates and endorsers.

Hillary Clinton had the highest quality and deepest bench of surrogates that we have ever seen. Her campaign could call on the President of the United States, the First Lady, the Vice President, Former President Clinton, Senators Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. She had active “A List” celebrities like JZ, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Barbra Streisand and others who performed on her behalf, and countless others who publically endorsed her.

To better understand what happened, ask yourself: “If I wanted to win the heart of someone, would I send a close friend to romance him or her?” “If I thought that someone didn’t like me, would I bring someone who overshadows me on a date?” “If I was trying to win a new job, would I send someone famous to the interview instead of going myself?” “Would I bring entertainers to a date or interview, hoping that their celebrity would become mine?”

FullFinal-TVTW071016Obviously, the point is that celebrity surrogates or endorsements are ineffective in improving a candidate’s popularity. They may seem attractive, but they just do not work.

Hillary’s “enthusiasm numbers” remained steady and low during the entire campaign. Speeches by the President repeated thousands of times the throughout the country had no effect. While Democrats touted the Clinton “ground game,” voter enthusiasm—much higher for Trump—brought more people to the polls. The rest is history.

Insights from Inside the Bunker August 6, 2016

Why Do Voters Remain Loyal to Political Parties?

Though political parties have fallen somewhat out of favor, the majority of voters in every election identify themselves as either Democrat or Republican. Neither party has close to 50 percent of registered voters, but the two parties together account for 59 percent who say, “I’m a Democrat” or “I’m a Republican.”

A much smaller number of these voters have the time or inclination to understand and evaluate election issues. There are no reliable statistics to measure this group, but it’s fair wood-desk-top-Finalto estimate it at about 10 percent. Another estimated 20 percent have limited understanding. They hear the general themes from advertising or occasional news clips but don’t evaluate issues before choosing a candidate. Members of this group often believe that promises and claims of politicians are composed only of partial truths and seldom translate into actions.The remaining group, estimated at nearly half of party loyalists, have virtually no knowledge of political issues. Nevertheless, these voters automatically cast ballots for their parties.

Regardless of their knowledge or political engagement, many party members defend their party as though the party is a religion. Most can recite at least one positive headline about their party, such as these examples:

“My party favors working families.”
“My party defends the Constitution.”
“My party is for women’s rights.”
“My party is for law and order.”
“My party fights for social justice.”
“My party provides jobs by growing the economy.”

Most can recite a negative headline about the other party, such as:

“The other party raises taxes so they can spend more.”
“The other party ships jobs overseas.”
“The other party strangles small business with regulation.”
“The other party is composed of angry old white men.”
“The other party gives away middle-class tax dollars to buy votes from minorities.”
“The other party wants to control women.”

FullFinal-TVTW071016To strengthen that belief, voters of either party often “make stuff up,” fabricating wild statistics, suppositions, negative snippets, and vague fears. At times, members of each party sound desperate, in supporting their party’s supposed high-ground. Under scrutiny, however, most of these support statements or attacks offer questionable statements with little value for choosing a candidate. Nevertheless, individuals on social media repeat them, quote them out of context, create graphics and fictional information to support and enhance them.

Why are so many voters wedded so strongly to a political party? As compared to religions which usually offer spirituality and community, the parties themselves offer virtually nothing to their members. Religious organizations accept donations to help the sick, poor and downtrodden. In contrast, political parties solicit donations and use the funds to strengthen the power of their leaders.

Every four years at the national conventions, a group within each party writes a so-called “platform,” a series of principles which candidates claim to support. Most of these principles—often called platform “planks”– are vague and not actionable. Many require Congress to consider laws that would never pass through the legislative process. Candidates, however, usually follow pragmatic strategic paths and therefore ignore much of the platform. In the end, the platform is only a “feel-good” document, soon forgotten.

Logically, most people would vote for a candidate that would be best in running the government and making their lives better. But a huge number of voters automatically vote for a candidate only because he or she is a Democrat or a Republican.

Apparent experts—sociologists, behaviorists, and journalists—offer a variety of explanations for this extreme party loyalty. One theory is that young people register and select a party affiliation around age 18 and then hear only their party’s views forever after. Others choose the same party as their friends and family members. In fact, many political choices are passed down through multiple generations. Though young people may no longer know why a great grandparent chose to become a Republican or Democrat, the original choice can remain as a family tradition. Democrat ward heelers in New York City helped settle immigrants entering from Ellis Island. Their support caused tens of thousands of people to register as Democrats, and initiated Democrat majorities that remain strong five generations later.

Why should we care about politicians who win due to people who vote only by party?

Blind loyalty to either of the two parties permits a few very powerful people to make decisions that affect the lives of every American. When poor or middle-class voters vote by party, instead of by candidate qualifications, they surrender their rights to a handful of established politicians who may not care about anything other than personal power and wealth. People who want their country to prosper and improve life for themselves and their families should vote carefully from knowledge. Blindly supporting parties that do nothing for them keeps potentially more effective candidates out of power and lowers opportunities for all Americans.

 

Clinton Campaigns Against Sexism

With less than 100 days remaining before Election Day, both candidates—Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—have been struggling to find more effective strategies. Both candidates worry about polling that indicates a majority of voters reject both of them. Looking at demographics, Hillary Clinton has decided to court young women voters, many of whom were previously Bernie Sanders enthusiasts.

To begin targeting this group, the Clinton campaign scheduled a rally at Columbia University, for women only. And to create a different feel for the event, she invited Rachel RachelMaddow of MSNBC to act as emcee. The theme of the evening event was “The Fight Against Sexism.” Discussing the subject from armchairs, instead of the usual speaker’s podium, the program included three Columbia women who related their personal stories.

Following opening remarks by Clinton and Maddow, the three young women entered the stage and prepared for discussions led by Maddow.

Maddow: “We’re pleased to take this opportunity to expose the ugly underbelly of blatant sexism, as practiced on a typical American campus. Though we’ll hear from each of these young women, we will omit their names to maintain their privacy.”

“Beginning with Woman Number One: Please tell us how sexism has affected your life on campus.”

Woman Number One: “When I arrived here as a freshman, I heard sexist language from the very first male I encountered. He said, ‘Hey girl! You’re looking good. What’s yourPlacard-Two name?’ I couldn’t believe my ears! Did he call me GIRL? And did he comment on my appearance?”

Maddow: “OMG! I’m so sorry you had to experience that sexist behavior. I’m sure Secretary Clinton will be fighting for you! How about you, Woman Number Two?

Woman Number Two: “I’ve experienced terrible sexist remarks while dating. One guy asked me whether I took responsibility for birth control, within five minutes of meeting me. After one or two hours, he got what he wanted from me, but his language and his aggressive sexist assumptions were still repulsive.”

Maddow: “Incredible! So sad that you had to hear those words. I know you’d be happier in a women’s safe place on campus. Let’s hear from Woman Number Three.”

Woman Number Three: “I was enjoying dinner with a man who couldn’t contain himself. PlacardOneHe continually talked about unspeakably perverse acts he wanted us to perform. I was beside myself with disgust. I reported him to the University Provost, but she said that they could do nothing to stop him. Because he’s my husband. Some excuse!”

Maddow: “Wow! I’m personally so offended I can hardly speak. Thank heavens we have THE FUTURE FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT fighting for us. Secretary Clinton, please tell us how you plan to address blatant sexism.

CLINTON: “Thank you ladies, and especially you, Rachel. We have lots of work to do, and I can’t wait to take the oath on January 20. Until then, let me be clear. Sexism is wrong! We cannot and will not tolerate it! EVER AGAIN!

When I am President, my highest priority will be to protect young women from enduring the incredible sexism that still exists in 2016. I will ask Congress to pass laws that will govern this behavior on every college campus in America. Campuses must build and maintain safe spaces for women every 500 feet. If a male attempts entry, he will be subject to expulsion and a 90-day prison sentence.

Every college campus will provide free birth control products of requested brand and type to every enrolled woman. Women may also request partners to provide birth control. And any man refusing that request will be subject to a $500 fine.

College administrators must investigate complaints of sexist language and punish male perpetrators within 24 hours, or they will automatically lose all federal grant money!”

Former President Clinton and Campaign Chairman John Podesta listened to the program from backstage and whispered their comments:
Podesta: “Can she legally do those things, Mr. President?”
Clinton: “Of course not. But these cute little bimbos are too dumb to get it!”

Secretary Clinton had prepared additional remarks but stopped speaking when a group of fifty or more young women entered the room, carrying signs and chanting: “Women’s Honor Matters!” Signs included that wording, along with ‘Rich Chicks Matter,’ and ‘All Men Must Beg Forgiveness.’”

 

New Trump Businesses Aim to Excite Millennials

Apparently concerned with negative poll numbers, Republican Presidential candidate FullFinalDonald Trump has been working on a bold new strategy. To address deficits with millennials he has been preparing a campaign to capture Bernie Sanders voters. This new campaign has been in preparation mode for weeks, but the Trump camp has maintained a tight embargo on details. A handful of friendly advisors and reporters have had partial briefings, but until now few have seen the entire picture.

Trump recently explained that his new strategy involves extensive behind-the-scenes planning among his top business managers and attorneys. It involves the creation of new companies and new businesses.

“We know that Mr. Trump will win if he captures 45 percent of the Bernie vote,” reported campaign chief Paul Manafort. “We’ve analyzed voter attraction to Senator Sanders and identified three driving factors. Initially, the most compelling factor was a rejection of Hillary Clinton. The second was ‘Social Justice,’ the idea of the government providing free things like healthcare and college tuition. The third was a rejection of the current political system. Mr. Trump already represents an alternative to Clinton and rejection of the current system. So his newly created strategy will concentrate on free services, especially attractive to Millennials.”

This week, in the most detailed briefing yet, Trump explained that the traditional political speeches and advertising don’t work well because both candidates are working on what he termed the “negative side of the ledger.” His new strategy will not include further attacks. It will instead be an offer of the things Millennials want most.

Though Trump did not confirm actual details of what he will offer, the most prominent pieces are based on three initiatives.
The first initiative is to reopen and expand Trump University, offering free tuition to all students. The new version of Trump U. will begin with three
campuses. One will be in Colorado, one will be in Maryland, and one will Trump-Universitybe in California. The university will purchase campuses of unsuccessful colleges in other states, refurbish them to Trump standards, and offer free tuition.

The second initiative will be a new company called Trump Adult Entertainment. This business will provide free admission to campus theaters, exclusive to students with a Trump University ID card. The company will present new performances Trump-Poster-1every week, with some designated for males, some for females, and some for each part of the LGBT community.

The third initiative will be free campus clinics, with licensed doctors specializing in conditions requiring medical marijuana. The clinics will also provide pharmacies to provide cannabis-based prescriptions.

“With these three businesses, we will offer students the things that they most value, according to polling,” Trump proclaimed.

WeedFollowing Trump’s statement, Manafort spoke confidentially to a few reporters to answer questions about the credibility of the new offerings. “Will he really do this?” “Who will provide the funding?” “Will the voters believe him?”

Manafort answered, “Everything depends on the outcome of the election. If Trump doesn’t win, voters will still remember his ideas, which will become a national crusade. If he wins, no one knows what he’ll do on this and a hundred other things. Of course, voters will believe him. They believe he’ll build a 2,000-mile wall and get Mexico to pay for it. If they buy that, they’ll buy anything!”

Insights from Inside the Bunker July 30, 2016

Handicapping the Polls

Polls, polls, polls! In our hearts, we know they’re probably bogus, but we still pay attention to them. News media and pundits transform polls into news stories. Then campaign spokespeople cherry-pick numbers that are supposed to portend positive futures for their candidates. But what do the polls tell us?

Polls typically focus on numbers indicating the widest margins. For example, polls show both Clinton and Trump distrusted by more than fifty percent of voter respondents. That data appears to offer hope to both sides since one candidate will win despite the negative numbers. For those of us with emotional investment for or against a candidate, we hope that they forecast the future, but only if they lean our way.

The best way for any of us to truly understand polls is to clear our minds of everything we hear, and forecast results based on history and common sense.

Start with history.

  • Bill Clinton, seen by many as the most popular President since Ronald Reagan, never won 50 percent of the vote. In 1996, his most successful Presidential election, Clinton won 49.23 percent of the vote, indicating that 50.77 percent of the voters voted for someone else.
  • Barrack Obama an incumbent President in 2012, won only 51.06 percent of the vote.
  • Because 2008 was an historic election, with enthusiasm for the first African American president, voting patterns were slightly different but began returning to their historical patterns in 2012. In 2008, Obama won 95 percent of black voters, with black voter participation rate at it’s highest ever. That resounding victory, however, gave the President a plurality of only 53 percent of the vote. Though black participation was a bit lower in 2012, 95 percent of black voters still voted for Obama. Without them, Obama would have lost.

The lesson from history, therefore, is that candidates win elections on very small margins, despite polls predicting “landslide” pluralities.

What else do we know with reliable accuracy?

Despite both campaigns claiming that they are winning, most states that vote strongly for either party will vote for the same party again and again. That fact gives us the well-known model of red (Republican) states and blue (Democrat) states. Though campaigns must maintain a presence in all states, each party cedes states other than their traditional “color” and works on those states in their traditional base. That fact can take 45—48 states out of consideration, leaving three to five so-called swing or battleground states that elect the winner.

ElectoralMap

Note: As in every election cycle, experts disagree on whether some states are the Swing States. This map, therefore, shows more purple states than the probable number.

Pollsters and news media typically report results based on the entire US-wide voting public. Pundits can then select statistical nuggets that supposedly favor their candidates. For example, Democrats will say, “Trump has a problem with young female voters.” Maybe he does, but the poll proves very little. Presumably, young women in California strongly reject Trump. But the California population is so large that it statistically overshadows the other states. Do young women compose a nationwide bloc so homogeneous that voters in swing states like Michigan and Ohio are in lockstep with their California counterparts?

FullFinal-TVTW071016Of the 50 states, there are usually four or five that become swing states, AKA battleground states, because people who are most likely to vote seem to be equally split between the two major parties. Though some states will no longer be swing states in the current cycle, other states will be “up for grabs.” Swing states usually include Ohio and Florida, though some pundits claim that Florida may no longer be evenly split. Other swing states for this cycle seem to be Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Colorado. The candidate who wins three or four of these will probably win the election.

Polling in the swing states may be meaningful, but most people in these states have already chosen their candidates. Nationwide, 28 percent of likely voters are registered Republicans, 31 percent are Democrats, and 39 percent are Independents. Though Independents are the largest group, many aren’t truly Independent. They are people who don’t like either party but repeatedly vote for one party’s candidates. Others pay little attention to politics and vote according to advice from friends or family. A few vote whimsically, according to irrelevant issues such as gender, ethnicity, race, good-looks, or “the kind of guy or women I’d like to have a beer with.” Few of these voters care about any election issues.

Filtering through these factors, it becomes obvious that each race will depend on a very small group of voters in swing states, many of whom know little about issues or candidates. Broad polls can’t measure this group.

How important are the conventions to winning swing voters? About 25-million people DiceOnFeltwatched the first night of the Democratic National Convention, a very high audience size. Most, however, were committed Democrats. Many others watched hoping for extensive clashes between the Sanders and Clinton camps. Relatively few watched to learn about Hillary Clinton. Like the Republican convention, the DNC offered very little new information about the issues, strengths, and weaknesses of the candidates. For TV watchers in the battleground states, please accept our condolences. You are about to suffer through a blizzard of political commercials: as many as campaigns can purchase for $2-Billion.

Bottom line: The polls we see are as dependable as a roll of the dice.

 

Hillary Trains Tim Kaine
Fresh from his nomination for vice president, Senator Tim Kaine met with his new boss, Hillary Clinton. Hillary wanted to ensure that Kaine understood his new role. And the VP Kaine2nominee learned that the campaign trail could be rockier than he had anticipated. Here’s a peek at their post-convention conversation.

Hillary: “Tim, do you now why I chose you as my running mate?”

Kaine: “Of course. We’re compatible on the issues, and I’m capable of being President if you were unable to serve.”

Hillary: “That’s not exactly accurate. I chose you because you were the only viable candidate who is too dull to overshadow me. Lizzie is much more lively and articulate. And her only bad mark is imagining that she was born in a teepee. Compared to someone with my baggage she’s as clean as Mother Theresa. So she was out.”

“My other possible choices included two cool minority guys—one Latino, the other African American. Both make me look as white and old as yesterday’s cottage cheese. Then there was Tom Vilsack. Somehow his name sounds like a Slovakian porn star. So you were the last man standing. And you bring with you the greatest gift of all. You’re as bland and forgettable as Al Gore was to Bill. Congratulations, on being my best choice!”

Kaine: “Thank you, Hillary. As always, I live to grovel.”

Hillary: “Now let’s talk about ensuring that we always agree on the issues.”

Kaine: “Great. Does the campaign staff have documents listing your positions on all issues?”

SunHillary: “Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous! I sometimes have as many as five positions, depending on which audience I address. You’ll have to adapt your remarks to mine.”

Kaine: “How do I do that?”

Hillary: “Follow my rules. First, use a lot of extra words to confuse listeners on what you said. Second, never be too specific. Third, begin every position with a bland statement that everyone can accept: something like ‘Secretary Clinton has always fought for middle-class Americans.’”

Kaine: “What if I disagree with something you say?”

Hillary: “Here’s a gift for you, Tim. Put this gold chain on.”

Kaine: “Thanks, Hillary. How thoughtful! I love it!”

FullFinalHillary: “OK. Now try to take it off.”

Kaine: “YEOWWW!!!  ARGHH!” (moan) “What just happened?!! Was I tasered?”

Hillary: “That’s what will happen if you try to remove it before November 8. And I can activate it from my smartphone if you ever disagree with me. Shall I demonstrate it again?”

Kaine: “No! No! Please! I’ll never disagree!”

Hillary: “Great! By the way, Bill has worn a similar taser-chain since 1998, but not around his neck. Hah! I LOVE technology.”

 

Pense Gets Trumped

While Tim Kaine met with Hillary Clinton, Mike Pense, Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, was in Trump Towers to meet with Donald Trump.

PenceTrump: “Congratulations, Number 10!”

Pence: “Number 10? As in Number 10 Downing Street in London?”

Trump: “No. Number 10 as in your being the first to accept my offer of VP running-mate after nine others said ‘No Thanks.’ No worries, though. They were all losers. Of course, you might be in a tough spot if we lose. You could be persona non grata at any future GOP events. Your political career could be in ashes. But I’ll take care of you. Maybe you could run one of my golf courses in Dubai.”

Pence: “I’d rather not think about that. Right now, let’s concentrate on winning the election. Does the campaign have a complete list of the important things you’ve been saying?”

Trump: “There might be a list, but you won’t need it. Besides, some of the things I’ve said were months ago, and don’t count anymore.”

Pense: “How do we decide what to say?”

Trump: That’s easy! Just say anything that comes to mind. Even if it seems crazy. No
matter what it is, a lot of people on social media will repeat it, enhance it, and believe it. SaySomethingWhen the press challenges it, you explain it as though they’re five-year-olds, and they won’t know how to handle it. Then you restate it ambiguously, and it will become a major news story that attracts new voters. Go ahead, Mike. You try it.”

Pense: “OK. Uh, Hillary is a liar!”

Trump: “That’s not good enough, Mike. It’s too simple. Besides, a lot of people already believe it, so there’s no news story. Try again, more outrageous this time.”

Pense: “OK. How’s this? Bill Clinton had an affair with Gorbachev’s wife Raisa  in 1995 and nearly restarted the Cold War. Then, when the press questions me, I can say this: I read about it in a story translated from Pravda.  It was left on the Congressional trolley by Harry Reid. And I can call for a Senate hearing on Harry Reid’s ties to Russia.”

Trump: “Not bad, Mike. I might even use that.

“But for your next lesson, work with the phrase, ‘No, no, no! What Mr. Trump meant was—, and fill in a confusing version of the latest negative story. Practice that with my ban on Muslims.”

“One more thing: How do you spell Pravda?”

Insights from Inside the Bunker July 9, 2016

In-Memoriam

Clinton’s Meeting with Lynch: The Inside Story

Following up on the questions whirling around the role of Bill Clinton in his wife’s campaign, we dug more deeply into the former President’s now infamous tarmac meeting, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Bypassing the conventional sources reporting through the media, we contacted a reliable friend on contract with the NSA and struck gold. Without warrants or any other authorization, we learned that voyeuristic tech people in the agency listen to conversations between celebrities and other newsmakers. The material they record seldom goes to anyone outside of the agency, but they sometimes give a tip to gossip sheets, pointing them toward a story. But in this case, on a promise of strict anonymity, our contact provided us with a transcript of a key conversation, held the evening following the alleged chance tarmac encounter between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Clinton. Here’s the transcript:

Loretta: “Hi, Sweetheart, how’s my Billy Boy?

Heart2Bill: “Lovin,’ locked, and loaded for you, Sweet Loretta! Missing you already. But at least we had those 37 minutes of heaven on your airplane. Once your husband lost consciousness from that Rohypnol, and you locked him in that rear cabin, we had an experience I’ll never forget.”

Loretta: (sighs) “It was wonderful! And we fooled everyone, didn’t we? You’re the Master of Misdirection! Politicians, pundits, and the media are killing themselves. They’re yakking about “bad optics,” harm to Hillary’s campaign, secret deals, and other nonsense, not realizing that we set the whole thing up as cover for our love affair!”

Bill: “Yup! The media people are so dumb; they think I want Hillary to win. Why would I want that? Full-strength Secret Service instead of my two running buddies watching my back? Press, paparazzi, and Hillary’s friends dogging every step when you and I want some lovin’ time? No thanks!”

Loretta: “Ooooh, Sweet Lips! I can’t wait for the next time!

Bill: “Stop! Baby, you’re killin’ me! Hey, what are you wearing right now? Send me a selfie!

Loretta: OK. Here it is!

Bill: “OH MY GOD! You’re so beautiful! WHOOPS! Gotta go. The wicked witch is calling, to bitch about the tarmac meeting. Again. And Again! I’ll call you Baby!”

Loretta: “Bye-bye, Sweetcakes.”

 

Do Gay Muslim Women Support Hillary?
With America still mourning the tragic shooting in Orlando, followed by the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Bangladesh, and Bagdad, the world saw a new kind of attack in Los Angeles, a few nights ago.

At a rally for Hillary Clinton, more than one thousand members of the Beverly Hills “Democratic Women Fighting Poverty,” had paid $500 a seat at the Microsoft Theater. Music to create an exciting atmosphere was supposed to be “I am Woman,” by Helen Reddy. Instead, the shocked audience heard a Billy Joel classic, as the smiling candidate strode onto the stage:

Honesty

The crowd of women booed loudly. They hadn’t come to the rally for honesty. They had come for Hillary. Meanwhile, the Republican undercover operator who had pre-set the musical recordings quietly exited the building.

As the crowd quieted, a new diversion appeared. A large group of black-clad women filed quickly into the auditorium, carrying super-soaker guns, loaded with red-dyed water. 3SoakersWith military precision, they ran up pre-assigned aisles, constantly shooting the red water from their super-soaker guns, shouting “get down on the floor.” Frightened audience members screamed and obeyed the order, hoping to survive.

The assailants, all dressed identically, wore burqas with niqab face covering that only exposed their eyes. A few carried signs reading “Gay Muslim Women for Equality.”

Others chanted, “BERNIE AKBAR!”

Seeing what appeared to be a bloodbath, CNN reporters, and camera crews ran from the auditorium to report on what they saw as a bloody slaughter. They later learned that the dyed water was harmless, but their story had already spread throughout the media. Twitter was on fire with clashing opinions about the “slaughter.”

signHow had such a large group of invaders gotten through the layers of building security? Security people explained that they were afraid to challenge the women, for fear of being called anti-Muslim, gay-bashers or misogynists. Therefore they allowed them to move forward.

Eventually, police captured all of the attackers and transported them to a nearby precinct to be booked. However, all arrested women refused to remove their face masks, citing religious grounds. Police, therefore, recorded 53 identical photos of black hoods with only eyes exposed. They noted each woman’s unpronounceable Arabic name and released all of them on their own recognizance.

Learning about the event, President Obama was furious. How could he call these invaders “terrorists?” He couldn’t insult their Muslim faith, nor could he speak ill of LGBT people or women. After a few hours of debate with his communications people, he made a Presidential decision. Speaking before the entire nation, he called for laws against Super-Soakers, blaming Republicans in advance, for holding up this important legislation.

 

What’s Behind the Burqa and Niqab?

New-NiqabA few days after the Super Soaker attack, Ellen Degeneres interviewed a representative from the group of Gay Muslim Women on her show.

Ellen: “Aliyah, thank you for coming. We feel that American women want to know more about you and your group. And there’s more than a little interest in the Burqa and Niqab you all wear.”

Aliyah: “Thank you, Ellen. What would you like to know about?”

Ellen: “How did your group of Gay Muslim Women get together?”

Aliyah: “You must understand customs of our home country. Women are almost non-persons. The men in our families can make deals for us and force us to marry anyone they choose. That’s what happened to all of the women in our group. But the men lose interest after a few weeks and spend their time plotting in the souk, or blowing themselves up as suicide bombers. Eventually, none of our members had husbands. And we were damaged goods. No one wanted us, so we secretly married each other.”

Ellen: “Why did you disrupt Hillary Clinton’s rally event?”

Aliyah: “We don’t like her. We like Bernie. He’s a cute little guy, and too old to hurt anyone.”

Ellen: Do you like Donald Trump?

Aliyah: He’s dangerous. Like our dead husbands were. But there’s one thing we all like. He builds things. For girls who have always lived in dirty old tents, that’s a big deal.”

Ellen: Let’s talk about the way you dress. Why do you all wear burqas and naqibs?

FullFinalAliyah: Oh that is the best part of our lifestyle. When we still had husbands, we could go to a festival, and the men would get stupid smoking hashish. Even though it’s not allowed in our religion, the men love to party. After a while, they can’t tell one girl from another because we look alike, wearing our burqas and naqibs. They never talk to us, so they don’t know our voices. That means we can go home with someone else’s husband and trade back in the morning.”

Ellen: “Are there other advantages?”

Aliyah: “Of course! We use the burqa and naqib as recruiting tools to attract American women. Once you dress in this way, you can save so much money! No more need for beauty products, hair products, and different outfits. But best of all, you don’t worry about your looks. Even if you’re a three on the 1-10 scale, a real bow-wow, you begin wearing our clothing, and ZAP! You’re a ten!”

Ellen: “Would you recommend your clothing style to women leaders like Hillary? Could she become a ten?”

Aliyah: “She talks too much. Maybe a hard seven.”

Insights from the Bunker This Week

June 11, 2016

History Question:
Other than being President, what does President Obama have in common with every POTUS since Lyndon Johnson?

The answer: They all claimed that the President controls the US economy. They all know it’s a lie, but they have all perpetuated it as part of politics. Liar-MeterIf we take a closer look, we know presidential wannabees who run for the job blame the incumbent for bad management. But when they win, and economic problems persist, they blame the economy on others. When Senator Obama ran in 2008, he blamed President Bush for running the debt up to $10.6-trillion. He accused Bush of being unpatriotic regarding the debt. After being elected and theoretically managing the economy for nearly eight years, the debt is approaching $20-Trilion. But…IT’s NOT ENTIRELY THE PRESIDENT’S FAULT. Most of the ballooning debt was inevitable due to actions of previous Congresses going back to the 1970s. Presidential power to give us more jobs and a better economy is a crazy myth.

 

We’re Looking For One Honest Person

Diogenes was an ancient Greek philosopher who traveled, carrying a torch day and night, in search of an honest man. Note: He specified “man,” DiogeneseApparently PC language had not yet reached Greece. Or perhaps honest women were common, while honest men were rare. There is no recorded history on whether Diogenes found one or more honest men.

Nevertheless, in his spirit, we are searching for someone even rarer. He or she is an active user of social media. We’re searching for someone who viewed a graphic on Facebook touting the opponent of their favorite candidate. But noting how good the graphic appeared he-she said, “I’m so impressed that I’m ditching (Clinton, Trump or Sanders) and embracing the other party. I’m so excited! I’ve supported my old candidate for a few months and knew that he-or-she represented my issues. But that wonderful graphic with the black background and white text just got to me. And despite the misspelling of ‘voter,’ I’m switching!”
If you know such a person, please let us know. Then handle him-her with great care!

 

And finally…We wonder how the Donald would react to breaking a gender barrier. Would he emulate Hillary?

Trump Wins the Presidency

Donald Trump has become the first man in history to become president of TrumpCryN.O.W., the National Organization for Women. An emotional President Trump sobbed that he was proud of finally breaking through the Glass Ceiling.

“I owe everything to the pioneers who almost got here. Courageous men like John Kerry, Dan Quayle, John Edwards and Al Gore. They all wanted this so much. But I am the first man to win this office, and it’s an historic moment.

FullFinal“I’ve dreamed of this victory since I was a little boy. Our family was very poor, but my parents kept the dream alive. The great Betty Friedan was President then, and everyone on our block worshiped her. We owe her so much! She helped the world answer a crying need by proclaiming rules for politically-correct language. She added words like misogyny and chauvinism to our new vocabulary. And she pioneered demands for college courses like ‘Elements of Feminism,’ and ‘Our Bodies, Our Choice!’ Those are big shoes to fill, but color me ready to serve!

“And tonight I have an announcement. I have invited Senator Ted Cruz to be my vice president. I love Senator Cruz! Of course, I called him ‘Lyin’ Ted, during the N.O.W. primaries. He did lie a lot, but hey, we all did. Who among us is perfect?

“This victory is for the millions of little boys out there, who dream of a better world. Someday you might be just like me!”

Is Trump Right? Has the GOP Rigged the System?

Madison+2GOP frontrunner Donald Trump continually proclaims that the GOP delegate-selection process is unfair. He has called it a “dirty system,” under which candidates can woo delegates to ignore millions of voters, and nominate any candidate they want. Trump was especially enraged that the Colorado delegation pledged all of its delegates to Ted Cruz, after cancelling the state’s primary.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus angrily disagrees, saying, “This is a very normal system that we’ve been using for many years. If anyone wants to reform the system, they can do so on the Rules Committee.”

Who’s right? Trump or Priebus? Priebus may be factually right, but Trump is right in principle.

TTWW-FB-041516Viewed more broadly, however, they are both wrong. The entire primary system is a mess and needs total restructuring before the 2020 election season.

Does the current system follow the US Constitution? No. James Madison wrote the Constitution, but he never mentioned a primary process. In 1785, with only thirteen states, no one envisioned today’s hodgepodge of primaries, invented by each state’s politicians. We currently have the following selection options by state:

(Author’s note. If you already agree that our primary process is a mess, please skip the next paragraph, and move on.)

Any state may choose to have a primary, a caucus, or a semi-secret delegate selection process with no voter input. Caucuses or primaries in any state may permit only registered party members to vote. Or they may accept independent voters. Or they may be open to any voter of any party. State rules can allocate all delegates to the primary winner. They may allocate delegates by district so that the losing candidate can still garner as many votes as the winner, depending on the voter turnout in each district. Or they can create a hybrid process in which individual districts allocate only a portion of the delegates.

The fundamental problem is that the entire process is upside-down. Currently, millions of voters go to the polls during primary season, to select candidates that they can only recommend to the selecting delegates. A more sensible process would be for the delegates to name a slate of candidates first, preferably limited to five or fewer names. And then permit voters to select the nominee, based on the total of votes received nationally from all of the states.

By this plan, we would never again see months of primaries with seventeen or more candidates. That situation fractured the GOP in 2016, effectively rewarding or punishing candidates, based on math, instead of candidate values. This plan could also provide the same number of delegates for every state, to ensure that delegates of all states could have a voice, regardless of size.

An additional process improvement might be to have all primary voting on the same day, to avoid the current chess game of selection dates. Most Americans would agree that less money spent on ads would drive some of the big money out of politics. However, media people would probably object if a one-day vote limited their revenues from political advertising.