Clearly, the US Dept of Justice has become a political apparatus

FBI Director James Comey held a press conference on Tuesday morning, July 5, 2016, to reveal publicly what had become of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and computer server during her term in the office of Secretary of State.  Criminal charges are not forthcoming from the investigation, but Clinton was characterized as being “extremely careless” in her handling of classified communications in ways that violated federal statutes.  It is also clear that Clinton’s accounts of her own conduct on the matter are untruthful.  MSNBC’s Morning Joe has a clip highlighting excerpts from Comey’s speech juxtaposed with excerpts of Clinton’s false narrative of her handling of classified information via email and computer devices.  This clip is less than 2 minutes in length:

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_mj_intro_160706

James Comey has a “straight shooter” reputation.  He has heretofore been considered highly ethical by politicians of both major political parties.  Some are now second-guessing his ethics, for liberal politicians are complaining that he overstepped by sharing investigation results when he shouldn’t have, for no criminal charges are forthcoming, while conservative politicians are complaining that Comey has overstepped by precluding the bringing of criminal charges by “reasonable” prosecutors.

I appreciate that Comey was forthcoming.

This CNN article points out that Comey’s press conference was not what the US Department of Justice had planned for Clinton’s “exoneration.”

As an aside, I have been severely disappointed by CNN coverage of Clinton this year.  They have played too much softball with her, which amounts to carrying water for her.  The fact that I can find more probing questions and scathing criticisms of Clinton on MSNBC signals how far off the track CNN has become from providing fair and balanced coverage.  Yes, CNN prepared a video clip similar to the one above from MSNBC; what is lacking is the harder hitting conversations such as shown in the 15-minute Morning Joe segment below:

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_mj_toptalk1_160706

Also, headlines favorable to Clinton are not only as easy to find as on MSNBC, the headlines unfavorable to Clinton are buried deeper on CNN than MSNBC.  Part of this is a function of MSNBC’s focus on politics over other types of news stories, but though CNN covers a broader range of news, I still call into question the newsworthiness of many of said headlines compared to the newsworthiness of the stories critical of Clinton.

But back to the center of the story:  The press conference the Obama administration envisioned for the wrapup of the FBI investigation of Clinton was to be a joint one, with a spokesperson (perhaps Attorney General Loretta Lynch, herself) or spokespersons from the US Department of Justice accompanying whoever the FBI provided as a spokesperson.  Comey decided to spring this press conference as a surprise, both as to the timing and as to the content, in order to avoid the appearance of the complicity of the US Department of Justice in letting Clinton off the hook.  In my view, this ironically underscores that the US Department of Justice is complicit.  I have no doubt that the US Department of Justice would have stage managed this press conference very differently and would have not shed nearly as much light into the investigation as Comey did in his solo appearance.  Though I, like other conservatives, wonder at Comey’s seemingly premature or misguided ruling out of prosecution, I find it easy to forgive him for it when I consider that the public would not be in possession of the truth were it not for Comey’s initiative in stepping to a microphone on short notice . . . such short notice that he effectively circumvented any other government entity from interfering with his message.

Loretta Lynch was coming up short in appearing to be above-board.  However, even before she had a private meeting last week with Bill Clinton, in fact, even during the term of her predecessor, the politicization of the Department of Justice was already becoming visible.  As I mentioned in my prior post, at some depositions, the Justice Department had dispatched its own lawyers to make sure that the scope of questions asked during investigations were narrow.  The Justice Department appears to have much to hide.  They have skin in the game.  As I wrote in the prior post, not only is Clinton susceptible to blackmail by our geopolitical foes, like Russia, so is the Obama administration.  This brings me to my next point: Clinton had to dodge prosecution in order to keep Obama’s flank protected.  It’s why Obama has been certain from the get-go that there would not be a prosecution of Clinton.  He couldn’t allow a prosecution because it would have exposed his own vulnerabilities and culpabilities.  The envisioned stage-managed joint press conference had apparently been discussed well in advance of the conclusion of the investigation, showing that a determination to not prosecute had already been made.  Comey’s preemption of that joint press conference by his own solo appearance is, I’m sure, more than a little bit worrisome to both Obama and Clinton.

We can expect to see Obama on the Clinton campaign trail a lot for the remainder of the election season.  His best protection is getting her elected.  Her best shot at election in light of these damaging revelations is to energize Obama voters.  Expect her campaign to be contacting all voters that were identified as supporters of the previous Obama campaigns.  Black voters are especially important to Obama and Clinton.  Black voters have held Obama in very high esteem and they absolutely would not want Obama’s legacy tarnished.  Any further erosion of confidence in Clinton leaves Obama that much closer to the possibility of being tarnished.  The two, Obama and Clinton, will likely meet the same fate:  They are triumphant together, or they are doomed together.  Do not marvel that former intraparty foes are now cooperating closely, for they both have much to lose if Clinton does not succeed.

Obama, Clinton, Kerry inaction in Syria caused by Russian blackmail

Syria is a place where the Islamic State thrives but where the USA has been unwilling to go. There are even rumblings, purportedly from Foreign Service officers, that the USA ought to change strategies in Syria, including ousting Assad as ruler of Syria along with taking the fight to the Islamic State. VP Biden has said that we don’t dare do that because no one has a crystal ball to show how such a story would end. It could end quite badly, with a failed state (chaos) in a strategic location.  Nonetheless, with the Islamic State taking credit for violence in Bangladesh overnight, and an airport bombing in Istanbul just a couple of days ago, and a mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub, on top of still-seared-in-our-memory attacks in Brussels, San Bernadino, and Paris, the USA’s actions against the Islamic State confined to just Iraqi territory, do not appear to be bringing an end to the terror.  Russia has taken some actions against terrorists on Syrian soil, but Russia is also interested in protecting Assad, a useful pawn, just as Iran has, for many decades, been a useful proxy for Russia.

I ran across a video clip from MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, July 1, 2016 wherein the pundits just acted bewildered over the Obama administration’s ineptitude in countering the Islamic State.  The plan appears to be to leave all Syrian-territory campaigns against the Islamic State in the hands of the Assad government (which is allied with and militarily aided by Russia and Iran).  The pundits on Morning Joe, in their bewilderment, surmise that the Obama administration is too risk-averse to do what needs to be done in Syria: Extinguish the Islamic Stand and depose Assad.

Click the following to open up the Morning Joe segment referenced above:

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_mj_burns_160701

I’m not at all bewildered.  Russia has all the leverage.  They are blackmailing the Obama administration.  How do I deduce that?  I think if I just connect a couple of dots for you, I think you’ll be able to connect them with other dots so that you can see a bigger picture emerging.

When Syria crossed the red line of using chemical weapons, instead of punishing Assad, Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated with the Assad regime so that chemical weapons would be dismantled.  This is a clear signal that the USA did not envision anyone leading an independent Syria other than Assad.  So, despite the various factions jockeying for power in Syria, and despite the fact that we may feel sympathetic to one or more of the factions fighting to topple Assad, Kerry’s agreement reached with Assad underlines that the Obama administration will not seek regime change in Syria.  I am not surprised by this.  As for the reason why I am not surprised at this stance, it flows from a postmodern ideology (which I don’t agree with).  I don’t plan on delving into the ideology in this blog post.  It is sufficient to merely connect the dots to show Obama had no intention of toppling Assad or mobilizing our military in Syria.

But I will go further to say that not only does Obama have no intention of intervening in Syria, the Russians will make sure that Obama does not change his mind.

Remember that Clinton email server controversy?  Oh, yeah!  It’s all over the news!  The FBI has been investigating it!  Right?  But oftentimes, when key witnesses have been deposed, not only do the witnesses lawyer up as they head into these depositions, but the State Department and Justice Department have also, from time to time, sent their own lawyers.  Why?  To limit the scope of what questions the FBI asks.  So, connect this dot.  What does it mean when the State Department and the Justice Department (of which the FBI is a part!!!) see to it that the FBI inquiries are very narrow?  It’s one thing when questions go unanswered (and some witnesses have pled the 5th Amendment).  We, the public, are only permitted transcripts, so even our window into whatever little answers there are is a very narrow window.  It’s entirely another thing when question after question that the FBI would like to ask is considered out-of-bounds.  I say that the dots connected here are that the integrity of both the State Department and the Justice Department could be compromised if all questions could be asked and were answered.  If all facts came to light, it would devastate more than just Hillary Clinton.  State and Justice have skin in the game.

Hillary Clinton, for her part, wanted to be sure that any personal communications were to be safeguarded on the private server.  Never mind the classified top secret government information, for concern over leakage of that would be secondary to leakage over Clinton’s personal communications.

The mainstream media, for the most part, have been downplaying the Clinton’s private email server as a mistake.  The server could have been successfully hacked, but we don’t know that, so says the MSM.  So as long as we don’t know if the server was hacked, this mistake is forgivable and no harm has been done?

What if, on the other hand, the server was successfully hacked and Russia possesses ALL of the information that was on it, not just the top secret classified stuff, which might include troubling info about State and Justice, but Hillary’s personal stuff, too.  Since the Reagan administration, the Bush family, the Clinton family, and the Obama family have safeguarded each other’s White House secrets.  Though Republican voters had very little interest in a Jeb Bush POTUS candidacy, I think the Obamas and the Clintons were very much depending on a Bush nomination.  If Bush had been the presumptive nominee, his interest would have probably been confined to winning, not exposing Clinton or Obama, for they could expose two former Bush presidents.  If Russia possessed ALL of that information, Bush would probably suppress as much of the information as he could.  The mood of the electorate, though, has been for outsiders to oust the insiders.  If we, the voters, could trade places with an “outsider” candidate, like Trump, and we, as the outsider candidate, became dimly aware that the Russians possessed ALL of that information, would we want it?  Somewhere in that information that Russia would have is something that is “Kryptonite” to not only Hillary, but to the Justice Department, and to the State Department, for that’s what we can infer by all the lawyering up and the narrow limits placed upon the FBI inquiries.  So, if we as the outsider candidate, were aware that records exist of scandal and corruption, would we, unlike a Jeb Bush, have an appetite to expose it?  Such a scenario, then, would strengthen the hand of the Russians, for Clinton and Obama are in a more precarious situation than if they were running against Jeb.

The only way to wipe out the Islamic State is to get Russia and Iran to do it, for the Assad regime is not powerful enough to repel the Islamic State, nor will Russia allow anyone to interfere with Assad or Iran.  They have blackmailed the Obama administration with all that they know about our government’s corruption and scandals at the highest levels.  Obama cannot change course on Syria even if he wanted to (but he doesn’t).

How bad could the corruption, the scandals, possibly be?  For now, I leave those dots for you, the readers, to connect.  You’ve been hearing bits and pieces of things, haven’t you?

By the way, Saudi Arabia:  For all the influence that you think you bought by donating to the Clinton Global Initiative, you are not as protected from Iran as you think you are.  Russia poses an existential threat to Clintonian power, so that means Iran has more leverage than you.

 

The passing of George Voinovich

A common theme appearing in coming-of-age tales is one of a youth who becomes disenchanted with a hero.  The youth discovers the hero has flaws.  The youth becomes a bit cynical.   The youth feels disillusioned.  The youth doesn’t look at the hero the same way again.  It’s just a part of growing up.

But then one is not all the way grown up at that point.  One has to grow up a little bit more and not only be forgiving of flaws, but giving permission to others to be flawed.  Why?  Because no one is perfect and because no one ought to coerce another to give up their flaws.  We have to respect agency–people making choices about their own lives . . . and if someone doesn’t make any wrong choices, then that somebody isn’t making choices, period.  Furthermore, one only has to look in the mirror to find a person who needs forgiveness for being flawed, for making wrong choices.

So as I reflect on the passing of George Voinovich and what George Voinovich meant to me, I have to own up to making a hero out of him.  By September 2009, I was disenchanted.  Now, I find my criticisms a bit harsh and now I find myself wondering why I didn’t try to muster some forgiveness sooner.  I need to look in my mirror and take a good long look at a flawed person again to cement in my mind the need for forgiveness.

I first remember Voinovich from my boyhood, when he was mayor of Cleveland.  He performed two miracles.  One was getting elected as mayor of Cleveland as a Republican.  That he had been a Cuyahoga County commissioner some time prior to that was amazing enough, but Cleveland mayor?  Republicans just don’t get elected as Cleveland mayors.  It just doesn’t happen.  At least, not anymore.  There have been mayoral elections in Cleveland where Democrat primaries settled the mayoral races.  The other was that he led a Cleveland economic renaissance immediately after his predecessor, Dennis Kucinich, had led the city to financial default.  If only Detroit could have been so lucky as to have a person like Voinovich take over as mayor after Kwame Kilpatrick was ousted.

He went on to be Ohio’s governor, and then U.S. Senator.  He was the rare Republican who could sweep the vote across 88 counties.

One of the issues that I really felt close to Voinovich on was his opposition to casino gambling.  His steadfast stance on the issue was perhaps the main reason I lionized him.  The casino lobbyists had infested Ohio by the swarms, targeting weak and corrupt legislators of both parties.  The lobbyists kept saying that casino legalization would be an easy revenue raiser.  Voinovich had brought Cleveland back from financial default without resorting to gimmicks like gambling.  The lobbyists were doling out campaign contributions left and right, but Voinovich wasn’t having any of it.  It’s refreshing to see politicians who will not be bought by the agents of sleaze.

I really feel like Voinovich’s star shone brightest when he held executive office.  Not so much legislative office.  He was better at on-the-spot and uncompromising executive decisions than the highly deliberative and compromising legislative decisions.

My first taste of government service came as a volunteer intern in the office of Governor George Voinovich.  Though my tasks were menial clerical ones, I felt like I had an excellent aerial view of Ohio’s political landscape from atop the Vern Riffe State Office Tower.  I assisted with the filing of the “Governor’s Clips.”  Each day, staffers combed through the print media to assemble a digest of the day’s political stories.  This digest kept the governor informed about the issues without occupying too much of his time.  This was back in the day before internet killed print media, and back when filing cabinets held paper files rather than computers holding data files.  After the governor read each day’s clips, that wasn’t the end of them.  They had to be filed for possible future retrieval.  They had to be filed according to date, according to source, according to location, according to the names of people in the news clips, according to issues, etc.  I do that on this blog with tags.  With paper files, tags don’t quite cut it.  The date, location, and source filing was easy.  That was done by others before I even arrived at the office.  My task was to skim through the stories, themselves, to pull out the keywords, then make as many photocopies of the clipping as I needed in order to file away each story according to each keyword.

Working with the “Governor’s Clips” gave me a brief glimpse into my political future when I encountered an article outlining a state legislator’s gambling expansion proposals: Some guy named Joe Koziura wanted a casino built on Lorain’s lakefront.  I was incensed.  Years later, in 2002 and 2004, I would run against that same Joe Koziura for the office of state representative, but lose both times.

Until 2009, I had voted for Voinovich every time his name appeared on my ballot.  I had handed out his campaign literature door-to-door.  I had attended some of his fundraisers (which meant that some of his campaign money came from me).  I had also worked phone banks getting out the vote on his behalf.  But the chinks in my hero’s armor had begun to show.  Congress bailed out Wall Street in 2008, something it should not have done.  I didn’t understand Voinovich’s voting patterns.  When I finally paid a visit to the offices of the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, I figured it out.  Those office buildings, especially the Hart Senate Building, resembled palaces.  Democracy gives way to aristocracy in the rarefied air of these Senate offices.  It was the Beltway Bubble.  Our Senators are too far removed from the real world, and even a man as principled as George Voinovich succumbed to the disengagement with the real world.

In the upcoming Senate race, I have no love for Ted Strickland, who reneged on his pledge against the expansion of gambling on his watch as Ohio governor.  Voinovich and Strickland had touched base on the topic of casinos, and Strickland had told Voinovich that he would hold the line against them.  He lied.  He lied to George Voinovich.  He lied to Ohio.  Strickland doesn’t deserve Ohio’s vote.  I here and now endorse Rob Portman for reelection.  However, I would note that Portman has been around DC for far too long.  Between a stint in the US House, and a stint in the US Senate, Portman served in the George W. Bush administration.  I would urge Portman to (get reelected and) use this upcoming Senate term to groom someone else to succeed him.  Make that two someone elses, for we need someone to oust and succeed Sherrod Brown, too.  And I would say that we need more diverse representation than what we’ve had.  Portman has had “listening” tours around Ohio so that he feels like he hears from folks outside the bubble, but I would say to Portman that, at some point, before he serves any additional terms in DC beyond the next one, that he needs to BE one of the folks from outside the bubble if he’s to remain useful as a representative of Ohioans.  This is what I learned about the bubble on my trip to DC.  Even a hero like Voinovich could not make sound decisions after spending too much time in the DC bubble.

Farewell, George Voinovich.  We didn’t end up with quite the Ohio that we wanted.  Four casinos are legal in Ohio now.  The lobbyists wouldn’t be denied.  But as long as you were in the real world with us, outside of that bubble, no lobbyist could cross your conscience.  We need a government with a conscience.  Badly. And so I should have forgiven you a long time ago. I do forgive you.

 

 

Trump University fraud . . . is this news? Trump’s a casino owner, which means he’s been in the fraud business a long time . . .

If you’ve been reading Buckeye RINO since its inception, then you probably know how I feel about the gambling industry.  I’m totally against it.  I’m even against state lotteries.  I don’t even play bingo or buy raffle tickets . . . even for charity.  If I feel like contributing money to a charity, I’ll do it as a straight up donation rather than as an entry into a game of chance.  I’ve written many times about how the gambling industry is a fraud industry.  All the marketing for gambling tells you that you have chances to win.  The truth is, the house always wins.  This means, in the aggregate, gamblers lose.  Right now the media is fixated on the fraud that was Trump University.  It would be helpful if the media would also fixate on the even bigger fraud that the gambling industry perpetrates.  Hey media! . . . want to go after Trump University?  Fine.  How about going after Trump casinos, too?  How about going after all the casinos no matter who they’re owned by?  After all, the more money consumers spend on gambling, the less money they have for anything worthwhile.  Gambling redistributes wealth in the wrong direction.  Gambling feeds economic contraction.  Gambling compromises law enforcement, especially casinos, for casinos are used for money laundering.  The sad tales of those few consumers who complained about the value of their education at Trump University pale in comparison to the sad tales of those who have lost so much more at casinos.  Leave it to the media to strain at gnats and swallow camels.

Why should we be surprised that Trump cannot admit that Trump University is a fraud?  Why should we be astonished that Trump lashed out at a judge, any judge, for releasing information about suits being pursued against Trump University?  Casino owners would never admit that they perpetrate fraud and that an important part of their business is laundering money.  Deflect, deflect, deflect.  Trump has called into question the bias of the judge because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.  Guess what?  If the judge had been a white Presbyterian New York Republican male, like Trump, the strategy would still have been to deflect, deflect, deflect.  The demographic background of the judge wouldn’t have saved any judge from Trump’s attacks so long as the judge did something that met with Trump’s disapproval.  Remember that casino owners are special people with special rights.  Casino owners are entitled to more than the average citizen.  When it comes to public servants such as judges and legislators, casino owners view them with contempt because either they are contemptible because they can be bought or they are contemptible because they can’t be bought.  Gambling buys politicians.  Remember why Trump has donated to Hillary Clinton in the past?  Because Trump buys all the politicians that he can.  He finds that contemptible.  Trump self-funded his primary campaign to show that he could not be bought like Hillary.  But then there are other public servants, like the judge in this Trump University case, who can’t be bought or persuaded, who, since they stand in Trump’s way, they are also to be treated with contempt.

What is novel about this election cycle is that casino owners in the past were donors to political campaigns.  They weren’t politicians, themselves.  Donald Trump is now a politician.  He’s on the ballot.  A casino owner’s business is a sleazy one, which makes running for office quite a dicey proposition, as it’s hard to dismiss the sleaze factor when the political opposition puts a target on one’s back.  I think the fact that Hillary Clinton was anointed as the inevitable Democrat nominee emboldened Trump to run.  I think if the undisputed Democrat frontrunner were trustworthy, ethical, and incorruptible, Trump would have stayed away from the presidential race.

My disparagement of Trump should not be mistaken for support for Clinton.  I believe Ambassador Stevens is dead because someone in the administration wanted him dead.  The terrorists who took him out in Benghazi acted on information.  Clinton didn’t safeguard information.  I find it telling that at a Cheryl Mills deposition (Mills being a chief operative of Hillary Clinton’s), not only did Mills have three attorneys there to help her navigate the interrogation, there were also two attorneys for the State department and two attorneys for the Justice department, meaning that a lot hinged upon what was permitted to be asked and how minimal the responses needed to be.  In other words, if Cheryl Mills had been inclined to freely answer truthfully about every last detail, the integrity of the State department and the integrity of the Justice department would have been impugned just as much as the integrity of Hillary Clinton.  Mills had to walk a tightrope.  She wanted to keep all of the information to herself, but she had to make at least a minimal effort to appear that she was cooperating.  We’ve only been given transcripts of the deposition, for the judge agreed that video would have been too politically damaging to the Clinton campaign.  The State department is putting on a charade that they are cooperating.  They allowed the inspector general report to come out (but if State were really on top of things, they would have had an inspector general in office throughout Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, but, instead, there was never an inspector general at State for the whole of Clinton’s tenure there).  The Justice department is putting on a charade by conducting an investigation (but if the FBI, a branch of Justice, is doing the questioning, why were two lawyers from Justice present to make certain that the FBI’s inquiries were limited and make certain that Mill’s responses were also limited?).  Just now, the media is starting to learn that archived footage and transcripts of official press conferences at the White House and at State have been doctored so that future historians would only able to cobble together a revised history.  I think Ambassador Stevens was the type of person who personally understood shady things were going on and also personally disliked that he had to put up with them.  I think someone in the Obama administration figured that they’d rather have a dead Ambassador Stevens than a whistleblower Ambassador Stevens.  I think Edward Snowden is convinced that the Obama administration would have preferred a dead Edward Snowden than a whistleblower Edward Snowden, because Snowden didn’t blow the whistle until he was safely away.  I think if Hillary Clinton is elected to office, the corruption of the federal government will only worsen.  We’ve seen the IRS politicized, the FBI politicized, the State department politicized; and the list will go on.

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton; I guarantee that.  I’m hoping that Bernie Sanders will succeed in his quest to wrest the Democrat nomination away from Hillary.  I also don’t plan to vote for Trump, though I see a silver lining if he were to be elected (a shake-up of the establishment).  Especially if there’s no Bernie in the equation (but maybe even if there is), I will probably vote for a minor party candidate, which is not unprecedented for me.  I vote my conscience.

James Williamson guest blog post: The disruptor of the disruptors

Editor’s note: James Williamson is a native and former resident of Ohio who currently lives in Nevada.  He is also one of the brothers of yours truly, Daniel Jack Williamson, the owner of this blog.  He has written many other guest blog articles for Buckeye RINO, and for that, I am grateful. –DJW

The Disruptor of the Disruptors

Following announcements by Ted Cruz and John Kasich that they have suspended their campaigns [and with the unofficial delegate count for Trump exceeding the 50% mark before reaching the end of May], it appears that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Much to the chagrin of the Republican old guard they are going to get a candidate that broke all the rules (never ran for office before, didn’t spend large sums of cash in the primary, ignored political correctness… … … … list goes on) as the de facto leader of their party. You might call it a coup. You might call it a collapse. Many are heralding the end of the Republican party. I don’t think it’s any of those.

I’ve read numerous op-eds by pundits that Trump became the presumptive nominee because no one took him seriously. What precisely do they mean by “taking him seriously?” Are they suggesting that they weren’t trying hard enough to get the public’s attention early on in the race? All the Republican candidates were trying to get media attention and Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the room. I think they all knew that even if they thought his ideas were a joke they could not ignore his persona. Trump has spent the last 40 years in front of a camera and he knows how to get attention. I don’t think they underestimated him there. I think the operative word here is frustration.

Maybe they are suggesting the other candidates should have spent more money? Some of the candidates spent much more money than Trump (most notably Jeb Bush before he bowed out) to no avail. Apparently money can’t buy what Trump has to offer. Or perhaps, Trump recognized that people really don’t want to see political ads for 18 months straight? Maybe Trump will start a new trend in politics: Save your money early in the campaign. Even though Trump spent very little money I don’t think that was a factor in the other candidates taking him seriously.

Perhaps what these pundits mean is that they should have attacked Trump more? If negative attacks would be effective on Trump he would probably get more of them. Unfortunately that is the name of Trump’s game. Even Hillary Clinton learned the hard way that Trump has an amazing ability to take a negative statement and turn it on you. (Remember what happened when she said he was sexist?) I’m not sure what taking Trump seriously would have done to change the other candidate’s campaigns. Can someone help me here?

I’m also not sure how Hillary and company taking him seriously is going to make a difference.I read that Reid (who is obviously supporting Clinton) is already starting the criticism and gearing up for a fight. So what does he bring on in the first round of the fight? Trump is a sue happy tax cheat and a hater… You’re going to have to come up with a better one than that Harry. Maybe you need to revisit what happened when Hillary called him sexist. If you did you’d be putting your armor on because if you get his attention you just might end up in the line of fire. Oh, and make sure you protect your whole body because Trump apparently doesn’t have any issues with hitting below the belt….

I have a news flash for the Democrats: Negative attacks won’t work, spending more money won’t work, ideological arguments won’t work, even charm won’t work (if Hillary had any…).

Unfortunately for politicians you can change your views and you can change your rhetoric but you can’t change who you are and that’s what they would have to do to defeat Trump. People are voting for Trump because of who he is, but more importantly because of who he is not. He is not a career politician. He is not an apologist. He is not a sell-out (well so far…). He’s not hiding who he is or what he believes (just changes his mind a lot). He’s not a pushover and probably most important he’s never been a resident of Washington DC.

I saw this coming late last year.The event that convinced me that he was going to be the nominee is when he suggested blocking all Muslim immigration and his numbers went up… his numbers went up!!!! Labeling him as a xenophobe has not worked at all. That’s because I don’t think he is a xenophobe. I think what is happening here is that Trump is the only one who is listening to the key swing voter constituents that are going to decide the elections. Yes, you heard that right: Trump is the only one listening. Cruz appealed to his base, not swing voters. Sanders is doing the same. Hillary is making an appeal but with the media in her back pocket she is still thinking she can shape public opinion rather than listen to it.

Let’s analyze this for a minute. What has the public liked about Trump? Well, they actually like the idea that he wants to slow down immigration and more thoroughly vet immigrants. I don’t think he ever intended to keep them all out and of course he won’t but the bluster and outrageous promises are his style. I think that for him it’s not important to be precise in what you say but to show passion when you say it. It really seems to be resonating with rust belt voters in particular. Contrast this with the open door policy of the Democrats and even some of the Republican field. The candidates think they are being reasonable but what the public hears is: “We don’t care what you think!”

The public also likes it when Trump talks economics. Why? Because he, and only he, is articulating many of their frustrations. Decrying rising cost of health care, part time work, stagnant wages, dwindling manufacturing resonates with voters in key states like Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Obama is crowing about how wonderful things are and Hillary has to follow in that wake because she is, after all, the heir apparent. Voters don’t like to be told that everything is rosy when they think it’s not. Message to voters: “We don’t have a clue what is really going on.”

The last area that Trump is strong on is his America first slogan. Even I’m on the bandwagon there. Bad trade agreements, half-committed involvement in foreign conflicts, offering protection to everyone without getting reimbursement, apologizing for our history, and squandering our hegemony on goals that don’t further America’s best interests have been the fruits of several administrations now and Americans don’t like it. In particular I think that Trump’s message on national security resonates with voters. It’s closely related to the issue of immigration. While I certainly don’t advocate starting wars going around publicly announcing you aren’t willing to get involved in one is precisely the sort of thing that invites it. I think the average American knows this and they get nervous when they hear the doves saying we need to show more love and compassion toward antagonistic nations. Message to voters: “We’ll still be spouting rhetoric while the country burns, just like France in WWII.”

While I certainly believe that war should be avoided, what good does a military do if it’s never an option? How is a nuclear weapon a deterrent if the enemy knows you will never use it? I think Reagan proved that being willing is often all that it takes. Jimmy Carter couldn’t get Iran to release hostages because they were certain he wouldn’t send troops in after them. They weren’t sure that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t. History is rife with similar situations. Unfortunately for us, while our “leaders” have forgotten history the Russians have been learning from it. They are running amok because they know the current administration won’t do anything serious. That may change if Donald Trump becomes president. He said in his America First speech that we need to be more “unpredictable.” Yes, I believe Trump is a poker player. He knows that showing all your cards up front doesn’t help you win. After all that’s what America really wants right now: a winner. Right or wrong I think that there are enough people in the country now that believe that Trump is the winner they are looking for. Can you say, “President Trump”?

Ohio Primary on March 15, 2016: Buckeye RINO endorses Kasich and Sanders in GOP and Democrat prez races

The heyday of this blog was a few years ago when I had my hands less full of things to do, thus more time to write.  I don’t post new blog articles as much as I used to.  Imagine my surprise to see that my blog traffic is actually on the rise despite my relative silence.  I guess people are really, really, really interested in the elections this cycle.  When I look to see what is driving traffic to Buckeye RINO, I see people are digging up my endorsements in past election cycles, particularly in races lower on the ballot than the race for POTUS.  I’m sorry all you readers who came to Buckeye RINO only to find news about years past and very little about this year.

For this primary election, the only local endorsement I’ll make is that I support Michele Silva Arredondo for Lorain County Common Pleas Court judge on the GOP ballot.  I’ll remain silent on all the other local and state races.

In the GOP race for POTUS, I endorse John Kasich, and in the Democrat race, I endorse Bernie Sanders.

I’ve been hesistant to endorse a GOP candidate for U.S. President.  In a blog article much earlier on in this election cycle, I chronicled how no candidate in either party excited me, and this is still the case.  It seemed to me, on the GOP side, that as soon as I pick a favorite, my favorite drops out and then I have to search out another favorite, so I hope my endorsement, at this date, is not the kiss of death for John Kasich.  For a while, I favored Bobby Jindal, then Rand Paul, then Carly Fiorina, then Ben Carson.  Each has exited the stage.

I’ve had some beefs with Kasich.  If you dig through Buckeye RINO, you’ll see some of my criticisms.  But when I reflect upon my biggest disagreements with Kasich as governor, a number of those disagreements are about education.  Education is a big issue when one is governor, but there are bigger fish to fry as President of the United States, one of which is the national debt that has our nation perched atop a crumbling economic precipice.  Kasich balances budgets.  Yes, it took government shutdowns during the Clinton administration to force the White House to accept the budgets, but it stuck.  Ted Cruz has caused government shutdowns in the name of good fiscal policy, too, but Cruz doesn’t know how to remain friends within his own caucus.  With Kasich’s government shutdowns, his colleagues were still his friends, which means that Kasich is better poised to identify a Congressional coalition that will help him govern as U.S. President.

Cruz actually made me angry when his staff pulled a stunt during the Iowa caucuses claiming that Ben Carson was dropping out.  Cruz operatives apparently pulled the same stunt this past Tuesday in Hawaii at the expense of Marco Rubio.  In these and other instances of dirty tricks, Cruz was very lawyerly in defending his campaign.  How Clintonesque.  What a turnoff.

See the little search window at the top of the left sidebar on Buckeye RINO?  If you type in the search term “gambling,” you’ll see that I despise gambling.  Trump, being the casino tycoon that he is, wasn’t likely to get my nod for nominee, anyway.  Also, I have decried religious intolerance before, so when both Cruz and Trump harp on and on against Muslims, they are not winning any points with me.  As for the flap about Trump somehow being in cahoots with the KKK, I think that’s all manufactured by the desperate.  I fail to see past Trump conduct that fits with this seemingly manufactured narrative.  If I see conduct from Trump in the future that smacks of racism, I’d be happy to call it out, but I fail to see such a pattern thus far.

Marco Rubio has revealed himself to be a candidate of the donor class, not a candidate of the grassroots.

Having said all of that, in November, I’ll vote for any of the Republicans over Hillary Clinton, should she be the Democrat nominee.

Democrat voters in 2008 made the right decision in nominating Barack Obama, notwithstanding I voted against him in November of 2008 and 2012.  Yes, I disagree with much (but not all) that our current POTUS has done and is trying to do.  Some have said he’s the worst president in history, but I’d have to disagree.  There’ve been worse.  Hillary Clinton, had she won it all in 2008, would have been worse.  Bernie Sanders would be a far more ethical, far less corrupt president than Hillary Clinton would.

DOJ politicized under Obama?  You bet.  IRS politicized under Obama?  You bet.  But while Obama claimed that the IRS was a phony scandal perpetrated by a bad actor or two with no connection to the White House, I could easily envision an emboldened President Hillary Clinton issuing a charge to the DOJ and the IRS to take down the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that menaces her and the country (or at least menaces her plans for the country).  With Obama, there’s denial.  With Clinton, she’d be justifying it.

One may wonder:  How can a right-of-center blogger favor Obama and Sanders over Clinton when they are further to the political left than Clinton?  My reply would be that I sense that Hillary is capable of far more heinous treachery.  U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is further to the left of Clinton, too, but if I had a choice between Warren and Clinton, I’d take Warren.  As for Sanders’ socialism, I would just note that the political pendulum swings back and forth.  Socialism won’t take firm root before it is out of vogue again.  In the meantime, Sanders is more honest than our current president, more honest than many of the GOP candidates, and far more honest than Clinton.  We could use some cleaning up of Beltway ethics, and I think Sanders could deliver on that front.  Depending on the GOP nominee, there is a possibility I could vote for Sanders in November if he were the Democrat nominee.  It depends on how dirty politics looks by then and how squeaky-clean Sanders looks by comparison when election time draws near.

A Sanders presidency may clean up corruption, whereas a Clinton presidency will maintain the status quo, letting the corruption continue.  You can see it in the New Hampshire Democrat primary exit poll data that showed that it is the privileged Democrats who will benefit from a Clinton presidency.  The only group of Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire were those who thought the country was headed in the right direction, who were not worried about the economy, who had not felt betrayed by their government or their political party, and whose annual income exceeded $200,000.  Voters in subsequent primaries and caucuses should take note:  If you are unhappy with the way things are right now, Hillary is not your candidate.  She is there to do the bidding of the privileged Democrats who donate to her: Maintain the status quo.  These privileged Clinton Democrats don’t have much in common, demographically, with the rest of the Democrat Party.  The Clinton Democrats are the ones who pull all the levers within the party machine (hence the “superdelegates”), they often have prestigious titles working in America’s universities, liberal think tanks, non-profit organizations, and crony-capitalist businesses such as those on Wall Street.  These people, if they get in trouble, they get bailed out.  That’s who Clinton represents.  If that description doesn’t fit you, then you have no business voting for her. Clinton and some media types have said what a wonderful thing the Democrat primary race where voters have two good choices and the candidates see eye-to-eye on most issues.  This is a lie.  The difference between who Sanders is and what he represents and who Clinton is and what she represents is huge.  To me, it is the difference between broad sunlight (Sanders) and a dark alley (Clinton).

When I was a young boy (3rd grade), my career ambition was to be a U.S. Ambassador to France.  With that thought in mind, I majored in international studies at Ohio State.  Nowadays, my field of specialty is teaching English to speakers of other languages.  When I contemplate the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with the deaths of three others at the hands of terrorists, it gives me chills.  The terrorists acted upon information.  For all I know, the information the terrorists acted upon came from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for she did not safeguard top-secret information, including information about U.S. assets and personnel abroad.  Looking at events leading up to those deaths–where it seems that security vulnerabilities were deliberately overlooked–and looking at events unfold after mischief was clearly afoot in Benghazi–where it seems that the opportunity to evacuate was doable but somehow deliberately nixed–I can only arrive at the conclusion that Stevens’ death was the desired outcome.  Was he a man who knew too much?  Even if his death were merely due to Clinton’s negligence, rather than malfeasance, it is still too much for me to stomach.  If I were a U.S. Ambassador to anywhere, I’d want the U.S. government to have my back.

Hillary Clinton tried to rig the elections in 2008, but Barack Obama outsmarted her.  She has outdone herself this time around, with nearly every superdelegate handpicked for their loyalty to her.  The election on the Democrat side is rigged.  Only rank-and-flle Democrat voters have the power to throw a monkey wrench into her machine, and I hope they’ll do just that.

As for a brokered GOP convention, I do not favor the pandemonium that Mitt Romney seems to invite.  If Trump has the delegates, then he’s the nominee.  If Trump goes on to lose the election, then the establishment can engage in party-building after that (and get in touch with the grassroots) and make a push for redemption.  If Trump goes on to win the election and the establishment still cannot make amends with him and thus will not allow him to be their standard-bearer going forward, then found a new political party and recruit elected Republican legislators across the country to switch to this new party starting in January.  If this new party succeeds well enough at this recruitment, it could conceivably enact laws in many states that would grant major-party status to their new creation.  If we’re to have a falling out, let’s have it then, after January, in the broad light of day.  Make new rules then.  Don’t bend and break rules midstream this July in some smoke-filled convention backroom to thwart a vast array of voters.

I hope that Ohio will do the right thing.  Kasich for the Republicans.  Sanders for the Democrats.  Make November a sweeter pill to swallow.

Is a “natural born” citizen the same thing as a citizen “naturalized at birth?” If not, Ted Cruz is in trouble.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was born in Canada to an American-born mother and a Cuban-born father.  That Senator Cruz is an American citizen from his birth is not a question posed here.  He was a citizen at birth . . . period.

Senator Cruz is now seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in this 2016 election cycle.  Another Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has called into question whether Senator Cruz, under the US Constitution, is eligible to be President.  Trump warned that if Cruz is not eligible, the Republican Party would find itself in an awkward situation if Cruz were the nominee.

The US Constitution, approximately midway through Section 1, of Article II, spells out the eligibility of presidential candidates:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

The US Constitution, just by itself, in isolation from acts of Congress, confers citizenship to those born on U.S. soil.  For those who may be citizens at birth not born on U.S. soil, one must look to the acts of Congress.  Citizenship by parentage was not an issue tackled until the Naturalization Act of 1790, three years after the ratification of the US Constitution.  See where this is headed?  At the time of the writing of the US Constitution, citizenship by location of birth was fairly well defined.  Birth citizenship through a parent or parents off of U.S. soil was an open question not yet taken up.  Congress, not the Constitution, bestowed Ted Cruz with citizenship at birth.  The 14th Amendment to the Constitution expanded upon who was to be enumerated as a citizen, but that amendment has little to no bearing upon the case of Ted Cruz.

The following passage is excerpted from the Naturalization Act of 1790:

“And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States [ . . . ]”

Clearly, Senator Cruz is a citizen of the United States based upon this statute.  His Cuban-born father did reside in the United States for a few years in advance of Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada.  The phrase within the statute that reads “shall be considered as natural born citizens” seems to settle the matter of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to become POTUS, does it not?

Or does it?

The use of the helping verb “shall” is binding upon the government, so that bodes well for Cruz, along with the phrase “natural born.”

But why say “shall be considered as” rather than “are?”  If the statute were to read, “And the children of citizens of the United States . . . are natural born citizens,” then no question would remain about Cruz’s eligibility.  But “shall be considered as” might signify that a person in such circumstances is naturalized at birth, not needing to follow the same processes of naturalization that others born off of U.S. soil must go through, but it still falls under the auspices of naturalization law.  Does this statute create a “naturalized at birth” citizen separate from a “natural born” citizen, with the one being “considered as” the other?  Is there a distinction there?  Or does “shall be considered as” equal to “are,” relegating the concept of “naturalized at birth,” in an instance such as this, to mythology?

Clearly, Ted Cruz is convinced that there is no “naturalized at birth” in play concerning his own citizenship.  Donald Trump isn’t convinced otherwise, it’s just that, as he pointed out, questions might be raised.  Any other time this question might have been put to the test in our presidential races, it never was.  Those who might have come under questioning were never the eventual nominees of the major parties, anyway.  Ted Cruz, however, stands a chance to be the Republican nominee.  Though no caucuses have been conducted and no primary election votes counted, the two frontrunners of the GOP appear to be Trump and Cruz. The other GOP candidates appear to be trailing badly.

Trump’s question, in a backhanded way, could be taken as a compliment, for Trump is implicitly acknowledging that Cruz could become the party’s nominee.  Aside from posing the question, Trump has always asserted that he, himself would be the nominee.  But if Cruz does become the nominee, I think Donald Trump is absolutely right that the question over natural born citizenship will loom much larger than the so-called “birther” issue that tried to nip at Obama’s heels.

You may have heard Democrats that have openly expressed a desire for either Trump or Cruz to be the GOP nominee.  Why?  Because they think the election of the Democrat nominee to the presidency is a slam dunk if one of those two happens to be the GOP nominee.  What if the Democrats get what they wished for in a GOP nominee, but the general election picture appears to be much less of a slam dunk?  What if the Democrat nominee is not faring well and the prospect of a President Trump or a President Cruz is becoming a very real one?  Will the Democrats pull out all the stops?  Will they seize at any straw they can?  Of course, they will.  If Ted Cruz is the nominee, and the matter of his eligibility has not been settled definitively, the GOP may have a real mess on its hands because if the Democrats are not faring well, they will seize at that straw.  That’s all Donald Trump is pointing out.

I believe that, if Cruz is nominated and stands a real chance of winning the general election, the Democrats will seize upon this, and it won’t be resolved until after Election Day.  If the Democrat nominee wins, then the question goes by the wayside.  If Cruz wins, I think his inauguration in January will be hijacked by the Democrats and hauled into the courts.  I think they will seek a court injunction barring Cruz from taking office until after the question is settled in court.  If the Democrats’ injunction is granted and, under that scenario, if Cruz wins in court, then how many months will it take to do so?  When would Cruz be allowed to take office?  Who would be acting as POTUS until that point in time?

What if Cruz loses such a suit months after winning an election?  Do we reconvene the electoral college with another GOP nominee?  Does the VP candidate, who won just as many electoral votes as Cruz, the winning presidential nominee, get to take office as POTUS?  Would the electoral votes have to be vacated, leaving no nominee with a majority of electoral votes, and then get decided in the U.S. House of Representatives?  Or, scarier still, does the electoral college reconvene without a GOP nominee?  I think it’s the scarier scenario that would prevail.  Alternate Republican hopefuls will be bombarding electors with sales pitches while Cruz’s case drags through court.  But unless GOP electors uniformly embrace the VP nominee, I think the electoral college vote would be a mishmash, perhaps landing the decision in the US House, or perhaps by flipping the majority of electors over to the Democrat nominee.

If you are a staunch Cruz supporter, steel yourself, because emerging victorious will likely be a rougher ride than you’d ever imagined.

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