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John McCain and The Donald: The Warrior and the Swamp Builder

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” Donald Trump “John McCain is a hero, a man of grit and guts and character personified. He served and bled and endured unspeakable acts of torture. His captors broke his bones, but they couldn’t break his spirit, which is why he refused early release when he had the chance. That’s heroism, pure and simple, and it is unimpeachable.” John Kerry (www.washingtonpost.com)

John McCain is an American hero. To call him a hero is not to necessarily agree with all that he said and did. Even he has regrets about things he has done. What it does mean is that when the batting average of his life is calculated it will be sufficient to warrant inclusion in the American Hall of Fame.

McCain’s significance extends beyond who he is as an individual. His importance extends to the country he loves and the party which nominated him for the office of President. All things considered, when one looks at the Republican Party today, it is hard to imagine how it could have nominated any of the candidates it nominated in the 21st century prior to 2016 given where we are today. As a result, part of McCain’s story is not only who he is a person, but what he represents. The decade from his nomination in 2008 to the present is one that will be studied by historians seeking to determine what happened to America.

Let’s start by comparing and contrasting the 2008 candidate who lost and the current president.

John McCain dedicated his life to the service of his country.
Little Donny Waany is a narcissist who always puts his own interests first.

John McCain put his life on the line for the country he loves.
Little Donny Waany fights in scripted professional wrestling arena performances and would never put his life on the line for anyone.

John McCain reads books.
Little Donny Waany can’t.

John McCain has favorite authors.
Little Donny Waany has favorite cable TV announcers.

John McCain’s closest Republican friend is Lindsay Graham.
Little Donny Waany closest Republican acolytes are Nunes the Clown and former Christian Mike Pence. Nunes couldn’t detect the Russian violation of America in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Clinton even though Senate Republicans and the intelligence community could. He couldn’t detect a Russian operative if she was staring him in the face. Pence is chomping at the bit to replace his chaotic adulterer-with-a-Playmate-and-porn-performer boss.

John McCain has friends who aren’t Republican and whom he invited to speak at his funeral.
Little Donny Waany once donated to the Clintons when he thought it would help him and now demonizes them when he realized it wouldn’t.

John McCain can give a speech.
Little Donny Waany is functionally incoherent even within the limitations of a tweet.

John McCain is an outcast in the Republican Party and can be ridiculed with impunity by the White House without the Republican Party standing up to defend him.
Little Donny Waany sees no reason to apologize for his staff ridiculing John McCain. After all, he did it first.

John McCain is a person of honor.
Little Donny Waany thrives on demeaning and insulting people.

John McCain tells the truth.
Little Donny Waany can’t.

John Mc Cain believes in America’s role in human history.
Little Donny Waany doesn’t even understand the concept.

John McCain is an adult.
Little Donny Waany is an immature child.

It’s hard to believe the two people are members of the same party yet alone could be nominated to the same position a scarce eight years apart.

Already in 2008, change was in the air. McCain now regrets his decision to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate. In hindsight we can see she was the wave of the future for the Republican Party. All things considered, Palin rates more normal than previously given credit for. Better a candidate who can see Russia from her backyard than Putin’s poodle whose top
priority is to end the sanctions against Russia. If elected do you really think Palin would have refrained from condemning Putin by name for his attempted assassination of Russian dissidents in England and then congratulated the dictator on his election victory? Just as Little Donny Waany has helped boost the memory of the presidency of George Bush in hindsight, so too he will boost the memory of Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008. She may have been many things but a swamp-building-bigoted-liar wasn’t one of them.

What frequently is overlooked in the decade of degradation of the Republican Party since 2008, is the role of the Democratic Party in causing and supporting it. It is easier for Democrats to claim the high road than to look in the mirror. It is easier for condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists to blame Putin for the electoral loss just as Donny Waany blames the 5 million illegal voters for the popular vote lost then for them to face the shortcomings of their message. It is easier for condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists to look down on the deplorables then to recognize them as worthy of respect who should be treated as human beings. It is easier for condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists to salivate over the coming demographic deluge then it is to face the truth of the Party’s own contribution in expanding the voter pool who would find the immature child acceptable as a leader. There was a time when Democrats took pride in feeling your pain, now they relish in causing it and exult in the demographic tidal wave that will wash these people from power forever.

Donny Wanny didn’t create that voter pool, he exploited it for his own purposes. Who would have predicted that there would come a day when evangelicals would embrace a dishonest adulterer with no core values save his own gain? Something had to happen for evangelicals to willingly stoop so low and abandon their values. So far there is nothing to indicate that Democrats even realize their role in causing this to happen, that they care, or that they are going to do anything about it.

Perhaps the non-Peolosi supporting Congressional candidates with military backgrounds demonstrate that the real world is sinking in with Democrats. The cessation of declaring war on people who think of themselves as Americans and not hyphens shows that at least some Democrats have woke and smelled the coffee. Democrats would be better advised to reach out to Republicans who admire John McCain than to condemn all Republicans as Trumpies. Once there were Scoop Jackson Democrats whom the Democrats abandoned and then welcomed their leaving the party and voting Republican. Now there are John McCain Republicans who have been abandoned by the Republican Party, are disgusted with what it has become, and are looking for something better. There is nothing to be gained by insulting them and everything to gain by reaching out to them. The true tragedy would be if there is no place in either party for Americans who admire John McCain, American hero.

Can Mueller Redeem the Republican Party?

Image from mapledanish.com

Can Robert Mueller redeem the former party of Lincoln? That’s a tall order for any individual especially when it is not even part of your job description. Nonetheless, he may end up being the one who restores the Republican Party.  It is a party in flux struggling to define itself with an uncertain outcome.

RINO Steve Bannon has declared war on the Republican Party. He is focused like a laser on the evisceration of the former party of Lincoln. He is doing so in the name of his patron leader who last year used the Republican Party as his vehicle to become President by exploiting the fears and insecurities of the people politicians ignore.

Thanks in part to these efforts, for Republicans, the Commonwealth of Virginia has become the New Lost Cause. Which state will be next?

Despite the setbacks, the RINOs are proceeding full speed ahead regardless of the consequences. Who cares if Arizona votes Democratic as long as Flake is out? Who cares if Nevada votes Democratic as long as Heller is out? That will show those weak Republicans who is boss. So what if the Senate is Democratic?

Now we may observe a cause of the problem. We need to stop here and examine how the brain operates. If we want to understand the decision-making process that at first glance seems self-destructive, we need to study how the mind works. For example, why do young people pay higher automobile insurance rates? Why are young people in more accidents?  When something goes wrong why do young people so often respond, “I didn’t think of that”?

The answer quite simply is this is what immaturity is all about – the inability to consider consequences or even to be aware that there will be any for actions taken for the moment. The brain hasn’t developed to the point where it is capable of recognizing what adults naturally do (most of the time). To do so is part of the growing experience.  The immature mind simply isn’t capable of making adult decisions.

As it turns out, Time Magazine addressed that exact issue in the national political arena without intending to. In article in the November 6 issue “We Need to Talk about Kids and Smartphones,” the magazine honed in the problems adolescents face because of their use of smartphones. “(W)e understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habits.”

The specific area of concern relates to the adolescent brain still in a stage of development and not yet fully-formed.  The lower gray-matter volume in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) involving emotion processing and decision-making is critical according to the researchers. “We know for a fact that teens have very underdeveloped impulse control and empathy and judgment compared with adults.” The prefrontal cortex is another area of concern. That area of the brain is essential for focus and interpreting human emotion. Teenagers don’t have a fully-developed prefrontal cortex and hence have problems with self-control and judgment. So if you yank a 13 year-old smart-aleck/dumb-aleck from school and dump him in a military school your hopes that the changed environment will lead to maturity may be for naught. It is possible that the adolescent brain in question will remain locked into its present state without ever developing a fully-developed anterior cingulate cortex or prefrontal cortex. As a result person never develops into adult maturity capable of empathy or impulse control as a brain scan would reveal. Such an individual would always focus on the immediate, on the moment, without being aware of consequences. For example, “I have a great memory” becomes “I forgot” when faced with the consequences.

The Russians used this knowledge of how the brain works when it interfered in our presidential election. As reported in an article “The Drama of Reality TV, Brought to You by Russia (NYT 11/9/17), the Russians drew on the lessons of reality TV shows that are geared to our adolescent mind. A reality show producer observed that the key to manipulating contestants into acting a certain way was to “tap into their fears, passions and ego.” In this regard, Facebook was a godsend since people had revealed exactly those conditions. For the reality show producer, Facebook was like an instruction manual for the exploitation of people. The Russians realized this and used that knowledge in their campaigns to manipulate the fears of Americans based on race, religion, and politics. The article asks if these Russian trolls caused these insecurities or simply provided an easily-accessible vehicle for people to openly express them and act out.

In other words, a person doesn’t need to believe that Barack Obama is a foreign-born Moslem to manipulate people through that phrase and become the center of attention. Like a reality show producer or a Russian troll, a person only needs to know that the targeted audience will respond to a product that channels those insecurities and fears to his own benefit. Like a reality show producer or a Russian troll, a skilled 7th-grade smart-aleck/dumb-aleck can hone in on the emotional state of his marks and produce amazing results.

By coincidence, the same day as the article on reality TV, the NYT also published an article on “Are Mass Murderers Insane? Usually Not, Researchers Say.” Instead, one should focus on anger of the disgruntled and the aggrieved that eventually is unleashed in violence in response to some perceived humiliation. Using a database based on four killings as the minimum number for a mass murder, the researchers determined that the majority of the killers were disgruntled workers or jilted lovers acting on a deep sense of injustice. A contributing factor is long-term stress such as from failure in school, to keep a job, or from a disabling injury. Sooner or later something may trigger that rage to become violent. Certainly a skilled politician in a professional wrestling arena knows how to push that person’s buttons to produce the desired result.

In light of the above, it is important to recognize the role of the condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists in fostering deep-rooted fears and insecurities which could be exploited by the opposition. Indeed, these people helped create the very vote that boomeranged on them. Consider two of the most common expressions of fear and insecurity by people the coastal elites look down on as inferior subhumans:

Barack Obama is a foreign-born Moslem.

We’re talking back our country.

When Jesse Jackson ran for president was he accused on being a foreign-born Moslem? Is there anything in those words that identifies a person as black? If people had wanted to make racist comments against Obama couldn’t they have done it without resorting to the fantasy that he is a foreign-born Moslem? So why use this term which technically isn’t even an insult but a simple description? Is “foreign-born Christian” an insult? Why did this phrase resonate?

The second phrase clarifies the concern. People are scared. People are scared for themselves. People are scared for their families. People are scared for their community. People are scared for their country. And instead of addressing those fears and insecurities politicians either ignore them (the Republicans) or stoke the flames (the Democrats).  The condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists responded to these two expressions by saying “Yes, you subhuman degenerate 47%-ers, you should be afraid, you should be very afraid. The demographic deluge is coming. The demographic deluge is coming for you. The demographic deluge is the dawning of the Age of the Hyphens and you are the losers in the new world order. And then the Democrats wonder why these scared people voted for an immature child who played on precisely those fears. For highly educated people, either the condescending arrogant self-righteous elitist are still stupid even one year after the election or they have complete confidence in the demographic deluge.

The counter to the false claims about the demographic deluge remains Lincoln just as it was in the mid-19th century. It is easy for Republicans to refute the threat if only Republicans realized that they have nothing to fear but fear itself. With RINO Bannon and his minions stoking the fears it may be easier for Republicans to succumb than to overcome. It is easier to terrorize than to inspire.  Unless, of course, Mueller can provide Republicans with the opportunity they need to take back the party of Lincoln by cutting off its current head. Sometimes Moore is too much.

R.I.P. Party of Lincoln (1856-2016)

Lincoln Memorial

In the past few days, some Republicans have mentioned the name no Republican presidential candidate dares mention: Abraham Lincoln. No self-respecting candidate seeking to survive the primary gauntlet would be so foolish as to utter the name of America’s greatest president. There simply is no place in the Party of Malice for Lincoln.

Democrats deserve no kudos either. They opposed Lincoln when he was alive and with their relentless pursuit of victimhood and identity politics, there is no place for him there either today.

We face the prospect of a presidential election when the candidates of the two national parties are under indictment and instead of hope, hate will be watchword.

Despite the abandonment of Lincoln from national discourse, it is still worth considering what he had to say both for what he achieved then and what he could achieve today if only there was a place for him in national politics. In a debate with Stephen Douglas on July 10, 1858, in Chicago, the future President redefined how one was to define an American in a way those today who despise him have not yet learned.

“We are now a mighty nation…We run our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty-two years [to 1776] and we discover that we were then a very small people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less extent of country,-with vastly less of everything we deem desirable among men….We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; …they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration [on July 4] to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves-we feel more attached the one to the other and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit.”

Notice what Abraham Lincoln was doing here. He reminded Americans that it is the annual celebration of July 4 that links the people of the present to the heroic forefathers who had created and built this prosperous country four-score and two years ago. This connection he referred to seems biological in nature. But suppose one wasn’t a Son or a Daughter of the American Revolution? Could one still fully celebrate July 4? Now listen to Lincoln’s answer:

“We have besides these men-descended by blood from our ancestors-among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe-German, Irish, French and Scandinavian-men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us,”

How is it possible for immigrants to this country to celebrate a holiday to which they have no biological connection?

“but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and then they feel that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, (loud and long continued applause) and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.”

For Lincoln, one did not need to be a blood-descendant of the American Revolution to be one with the spirit of the event. Immigrants were entitled to have their shot at living the American Dream. Through adherence to the principles of the Declaration of Independence every American stood as one with those who had fought and died for America’s birth. The new Republican Party that Lincoln had joined was the immigrant party (except maybe not so clearly the party of the Irish) and later the Black Party, the party whose political interests were served by reaching out newly arrived and newly enfranchised. By disavowing immigrant restrictions it succeeded in holding on to a fair share of the foreign-born vote, especially among younger Protestant voters. These immigrants from Scandinavia, France and Cornwall, among other places, supported Lincoln, Union and America.

So now think again about these familiar words from the Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” When Lincoln said “our fathers” he knew that many people in the audience were not descendants of those who had founded the country. But Lincoln was not excluding them by this word choice, for by examining his words from five years earlier we see that he knew how much of America and the support of the Union depended on the immigrants to this country. In 1858 he had merely referred to the “moral sentiments” that connected the immigrants to the Founding Fathers; now, in the midst of the Civil War, he asserted they had been baptized by blood into the American covenant community. Those who fought to preserve the Union stood as one with those who had fought in the war to create the Union. They sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic with the same gusto that Americans once had sung Yankee Doodle Dandy. They were Americans by Choice.

As we just celebrated the Sesquicentennial of the Homestead Act, the Morrill-Land-Grant Colleges Act, and the Pacific Railway Act launching the Transcontinental Railroad, I am reminded that even without the Civil War Abraham Lincoln was a great President who understood America as a great work always in progress, that he acted to ensure people would have a home to call their own, the education to be able to live the American Dream, and the infrastructure to connect the country. To fulfill the American Dream in the 21st century, our immigrant country needs to be inspired not just by Lincoln’s monument and legacy, but by people who reach for his vision, his eloquence, and his leadership. Who will tell his story? Lincoln may belong to the ages, but does he still belong to the Republican Party?

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”