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Obama departs, ending the most disastrous Presidency of the post-Cold War era

Obama’s legacy to his successor is division at home and failure abroad, bequeathing a troubled nation and a state of world conflict instead of world peace.

Alexander Mercouris

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As Obama finally departs from the scene, this seems as good a moment as any to assess his Presidency.

In my opinion it has been a disastrous Presidency, which has hugely deepened divisions in America – a fact which more than any other explains the exaggerated reaction to his successor – and which has brought international relations to its most dangerous point of crisis since the end of the Second World War.

If that seems unduly harsh, then I would say that that is because whilst Obama has failed in every other respect, he has proved a genius in one respect, which is in his successful manipulation of opinion and of his own image, which seems to have been his main priority.  The result is that much of what went catastrophically wrong during his Presidency has been successfully concealed, so that unlike his immediate predecessor George W. Bush, Obama’s reputation has – so far – emerged from his Presidency comparatively though undeservedly intact.

In assessing any US President the temptation of a foreign writer like myself is to focus unduly on his foreign policy and to underestimate his domestic policy, which for Americans is however what principally matters.

Obama’s supporters tend to give him high marks for his domestic policy.  They claim that he successfully turned the US economy round after the 2008 financial crisis, and they also give him credit for Obamacare, which they consider a major step in addressing the ongoing catastrophe which is US health policy.

In my opinion the extent of both of these achievements is overstated.

By the time Obama became President the peak point of the financial crisis had already passed as a result of decisive if controversial Central Bank action – first and foremost by the US Federal Reserve Board – whilst Gordon Brown’s government in Britain had already led the way with its equally controversial policy of bailing out the banks.

Obama as President simply continued these policies, or to be more exact, he stood by as an interested and generally supportive bystander as they were put into effect.

The reason a global depression was avoided ultimately had little to do with him.  His much vaunted $800 billion reflation programme had little effect on the economy, its importance being overshadowed by the far more important aggressive quantitative easing policies of the US Federal Reserve Board and of the other Western Central Banks.  Importantly, despite Obama’s reflation policy, the condition of US infrastructure during his Presidency continued to deteriorate.

This is not a discussion about economics, and I will here merely state my belief that the action to avoid depression by bailing out banks and printing money will over time prove nothing short of disastrous, hugely inflating levels of debt in all the Western economies and leaving them in a much worst position than the one they were in before the crisis began.

What I would say is that one practical effect of this approach which has had important political consequences is that it has greatly increased social and economic inequality in all the major Western economies (Germany up to now has been the one important exception) as the dubious benefits of money printing and debt creation have disproportionately benefitted the already inordinately wealthy few at the expense of the increasingly indebted many.

As for Obamacare, its supporters need to ask themselves why unlike other policies to socialise health care costs – the NHS in Britain and Medicare and Medicaid in the US being obvious examples – it has so completely failed to win a critical mass of popular support, so that Donald Trump is now set to repeal it.

The short answer is that Obamacare has created a system which is so costly and inefficient, and which places so much of the economic burden on those it is supposed to help whilst rewarding the already grossly over-rewarded US health insurance industry even further, that it has never proved popular.

Given the political obstacles to genuine health reform in the US it is of course a moot point whether any other President could have done better.  Whilst it is fair to make this point, I cannot see how a health care reform which unlike Medicare and Medicaid is so fragile that it looks like being swept away so soon after Obama leaves office can be called a success.

Obama has also lent his support to issues like climate change, LGBT rights, and other social issues.

In my opinion these are important issues.  However on climate change no breakthrough has been achieved, and the breakdown in international relations over which Obama has presided during his Presidency (see below) has ensured that there can be none, since without international cooperation effective action on climate change is impossible.

On LGBT rights and other social questions Obama’s role has been minimal, with the heavy lifting done by others within US society over previous decades, whilst the economic conditions of black Americans – for perfectly understandable reasons Obama’s most loyal supporters – have actually deteriorated during his Presidency.

Indeed to the extent that Obama and other leading politicians in the Democratic Party have involved themselves in these issues, by seeking to use them to construct a political coalition based on them they have actually exacerbated what were already existing divisions within US society.

It is sometimes said that one of the reasons Obama as President achieved so little in domestic policy was because of the relentless hostility to him of his Republican opponents.

To a certain extent this is true, though the extent of this hostility has always seemed to me overstated.  What this point anyway however ignores is the degree to which Obama by his own behaviour has contributed to it.  Instead of personally reaching out to his opponents as Lincoln and Reagan once did, Obama preferred to withdraw into the solitude of the White House and the golf course, cutting an impossibly remote figure, leaving Republicans he might have charmed and won over feeling unwanted and left out in the cold.  Unsurprisingly they turned on him.

However it is Obama’s mismanagement of international relations which will ultimately condemn the reputation of his Presidency.

In my opinion the fundamental cause of this failure is that Obama has never understood or tried to understand the international system, or that the most important task of a modern statesman is to preserve peace, and that the key to doing this is through the successful management of relations between the three countries that are the world’s Great Powers: the US, China and Russia.

This is especially tragic since the conditions for doing this were never better than at the start of Obama’s Presidency.

The US’s key areas of interest are in north west Europe, the northern Pacific, and the Middle East.  Russia’s primary areas of interest are the territories of the former USSR.  China’s main focus is Taiwan and the South China Sea.

None of these areas of interest overlap with each other in the way that say the Balkans overlapped as a competing area of interest between the Great Powers before the First World War.  Moreover both China and Russia are for the moment principally focused on their economic development and have no wish at present to challenge the global role of the US and its leading position in the world economy.

That should have provided a strong basis for an effective system of cooperation between the three Great Powers, which would have made it possible to manage international relations successfully and to preserve peace.

In the event, instead of managing successfully relations with the other two Great Powers – China and Russia – the US under Obama has disastrously mismanaged them and drifted into confrontation with both of them.

This is in part because of Obama’s disdain for their leaders – which he is incapable of keeping hidden but instead foolishly broadcasts to the world – but it is mainly due to his utter disregard for their interests, which he doesn’t seem able to understand or even acknowledge.

Thus he has allowed the US to drift into a confrontation with China in the South China Sea and with Russia in Ukraine, even though as his interviews last year with The Atlantic show, he understands that China and Russia care about these regions in a way the US does not and will never do, and therefore will always have “escalatory dominance” over the US in both of them.

Beyond this there is the issue of Obama’s manipulative approach to relations with both Great Powers.

In the case of Russia he secured a major nuclear arms treaty by giving the Russians the clearest impression that he was going to give up the preceding Bush administration’s policies of installing ballistic missile interceptors in eastern Europe and its drive to draw Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.  Instead, once the nuclear arms agreement had been secured, Obama doubled down on both of the Bush administration’s policies, pushing ahead with the anti ballistic missile deployments in eastern Europe, and sponsoring an anti-Russian, pro-US coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine, whose ultimate objective – as repeatedly announced by its leaders – was to bring Ukraine into NATO.

In the case of China Obama’s mishandling of relations was equally bad, though in the West it has attracted less attention.  At one and the same time he has appeared to encourage China to enlarge its role in the world economy, whilst simultaneously declaring a US “pivot to Asia” transparently intended to “contain” China and to mobilise the south east Asian states against it.  He has also – incredibly – allowed the US navy to discuss in public its plans for an economic blockade of China’s coast.

Understandably enough, Obama ended his Presidency with neither the Chinese nor the Russians trusting him.  The result is that the Russian-Chinese alliance – still embryonic when Obama became President – has now become full-fledged and irreversible and increasingly openly directed at the US, as the Chinese and the Russians – under pressure from Obama and previously Bush – have drawn together to oppose it.

Obama’s disastrous habit of making promises which he didn’t keep was unfortunately a hallmark of his whole conduct of foreign relations, and not just of his relations with the leaders of China and Russia.

In 2011 Obama assured not just the Russians and the Chinese but several other world leaders – including notably President Zuma of South Africa in a personal call – that the US had no plan for regime change in Libya.  As soon as these leaders agreed to a UN Security Council Resolution that allowed limited military action in Libya to protect civilians but which stopped well short of authorising regime change, he used it justify a far greater military intervention in Libya than he had promised, which ended first with regime change and then with chaos.

In 2011 Obama persuaded Turkish President Erdogan to support his regime change policy in Syria, leading Erdogan to think the US would see it through, if necessary by military action.  In the event the US failed to carry out military action to see its policy of regime change in Syria through, leaving Erdogan and Turkey high and dry, and with relations between Obama and Erdogan, and between the US and Turkey, in crisis.

Obama led the Iranians to believe that in the event they agreed to the nuclear deal he wanted from them, all the financial sanctions imposed on Iran would be lifted.  In the event once Obama got his nuclear agreement many of the sanctions remained in place, with the US Treasury Department continuing to enforce them.

This serial habit of making and breaking promises has had a corrosive effect on international relations.  By shattering trust between leaders it has made effective conflict management all but impossible, most disastrously during the Syrian crisis where painstaking negotiations with the Russians in the end led nowhere.

The result is that instead of cooperation between the three Great Powers there is mistrust and conflict between them, and instead of peace and successful conflict prevention there are now conflicts in almost every potential flashpoint in the world, with the US involved in all of them – in Ukraine, in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and in the South China Sea – and losing every one of them.

The most dangerous moment of all came in October, with the US military facing off against the Russian military in Syria, in what was the first outright confrontation between the militaries of the two military superpowers since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, and being forced to back down.  The only reason Obama’s reputation has survived this humiliation – arguably the greatest humiliation the US has suffered since the fall of Saigon – is because the Western media intentionally suppressed news of it.

In this climate of conflict – with Obama’s the first Presidency in US history over the course of which the US has been engaged in fighting somewhere every single day – monsters like ISIS have been able to breed and grow to appalling power.  It should be said clearly that ISIS’s success and continued existence would be impossible in any well functioning system of international relations, and is the direct product of the breakdown of the current system of international relations, for which Obama must take most of the blame.

Unfortunately it does not end there.

Obama’s habitual way of concealing his failures has been to use the media – with which he has strong connections and which is predisposed to be very supportive of him – to vilify his opponents, something clearly evident in Obama’s handling of US domestic politics, but which has reached unheard of levels in his increasingly personal campaign against the man he has clearly come to think of as his personal nemesis: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Needless to say this has poisoned the international atmosphere even further, whilst fostering a dangerously hysterical and paranoid atmosphere across the West.

Where the proper function of a US President should be to calm fears and passions, Obama has instead increased them to levels not seen the 1940s and 1950s, triggering ugly witch hunts of the like the US and the West have not seen since the McCarthy era.

The result is that anyone today who calls for an improvement in relations with Russia – something essential in order to ensure world peace – risks being called a “useful idiot” or a Russian stooge, even if he is the US’s formerly most revered expert on Russia – Professor Stephen Cohen – or if he is no less a person than Obama’s successor – Donald Trump – who is now President of the United States.

It is a disastrous legacy of a man who has genuine intellectual gifts combined with the charisma to be a genuinely transformative President, but who was however never quite as intelligent or as well-informed as he always believed himself to be.

The result is that Obama departs the Presidency bequeathing to his successor a deeply divided country, and an unsettled and fraught international situation, which it will require massive work to put right.

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‘Meme-killing’ EU regulation could end YouTube as we know it, CEO warns

The proposed amendments to the EU Copyright Directive would require the automatic removal of any user-created content suspected of violating intellectual property law.

The Duran

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YouTube’s CEO has urged creators on the popular video site to organize against a proposed EU internet regulation, reinforcing fears that the infamous Article 13 could lead to content-killing, meme-maiming restrictions on the web.

The proposed amendments to the EU Copyright Directive would require the automatic removal of any user-created content suspected of violating intellectual property law – with platforms being liable for any alleged copyright infringement. If enacted, the legislation would threaten “both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki warned the site’s content creators in a blog post on Monday.

The regulation would endanger “hundreds of thousands of job,” Wojcicki said, predicting that it would likely force platforms such as YouTube to allow only content from a hand-picked group of companies.

“It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content,” Wojcicki wrote.

While acknowledging that it was important to properly compensate all rights holders, the YouTube chief lamented that the “unintended consequences of Article 13 will put this ecosystem at risk.”

She encouraged YouTubers to use the #SaveYourInternet hashtag to tell the world how the proposed legislation would impact them personally.

“RIP YOUTUBE..IT WAS FUN,” read one rather fatalistic reply to the post. Another comment worried that Article 13 would do “immense damage … particularly to smaller creators.”

The proposal has stirred considerable controversy in Europe and abroad, with critics claiming that the legislation would essentially ban any kind of creative content, ranging from memes to parody videos, that would normally fall under fair use.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube, has opposed Article 13 for months. The measure was advanced in June by the European Parliament. A final vote on the proposed regulation is expected to take place sometime next year.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have also spoken out against Article 13.

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WSJ Op-Ed Cracks The Code: Why Liberal Intellectuals Hate Trump

WSJ: The Real Reason They Hate Trump

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Via Zerohedge


As pundits continue to scratch their heads over the disruptive phenomenon known as Donald Trump, Yale computer science professor and chief scientist at Dittach, David Gelernter, has penned a refreshingly straightforward and blunt Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining why Trump has been so successful at winning hearts and minds, and why the left – especially those snarky ivory-tower intellectuals, hate him.

Gelernter argues that Trump – despite being a filthy rich “parody of the average American,” is is a regular guy who has successfully resonated with America’s underpinnings.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American,” writes Gelernter. “We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.”

He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton. –WSJ

Gelernter then suggests: “This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?“.

***

The Real Reason They Hate Trump via the Wall Street Journal.

He’s the average American in exaggerated form—blunt, simple, willing to fight, mistrustful of intellectuals.

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americans were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it—not such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”

Appeared in the October 22, 2018, print edition.

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The Trump Miracle and the Logical End of US Democracy: What Happened?

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I don’t wish to dine with a Clinton Snowflake.

And a Clinton Snowflake would rather see me off to San Quentin, the Deplorable that I am.

Something happened under Obama-Clinton rule that has never happened before, not even in the heat of passions culminating in the Civil War. The country polarized, splitting into two groupings. Forever.

Obama’s, Grand Canyon divide was cemented, subsequently, by Clinton’s “Deplorables” gaff interpreted as disdain and disrespect for the working, one-half of the country. Millions of Americans will never accept her and her Snowflakes and vice versa. “Never say never,” it’s said, often enough. But, this time, “never,” is an unequivocal: “Never!”

Quite simply, the Obama-Clinton regime politicized that which should never be politicized, namely, core beliefs and values, starting with God.

Debate is one thing, but the regime followed up with direct and indirect actions, which some writers call rainbow fascism. “You won’t bake a wedding cake for two gays out of some fossilized belief in scripture? We’ll shut you down.”

The regime’s aggression against the Church, the family, and the infant in the womb is dynamite inserted into the foundation on which the country stands.

Along with compassion and sensitivity to opposing views, compromise used to help mend political wounds. It allowed the nation to move on after an election. However, when religious tenets are challenged by a political Party with executive order power, the door on possible compromise slams shut. Obama-Clinton politicized the sacred and the Holy, a big no-no considering that politics divide. It wasn’t done out of ignorance, disrespect, or plain arrogance. It was a conscience, systematic attack by the Godless against God-fearing Christians.

God either exists or He doesn’t – no compromise, here. That is, “He might exist,” placates neither the believer nor the atheist. The Bible is either the Word of God as delivered through His prophets or it isn’t. No compromise possible.

Abortion-on-demand is another issue without compromise considering the commandment: Thou shalt not kill (murder). There is also common sense compassion, which makes us human and says that abortion is wrong. You’re either for murder of the defenseless or against it.

A partial birth abortion, despite the insinuation of compromise in the term, is actually a viler variant of infanticide because it’s performed in the last trimester, at 5-7 months. The well-developed, living infant is pulled out of the womb, legs first. The medical executioner then plunges a probe with a catheter into the living brain in order to suction out a bloody slurry and collapse the skull. Is it murder of the defenseless or a “woman’s right” as Snowflakes call it?

Clinton claims: “Fetuses feel no pain and have no rights.” Curiously, Himmler leaned on a nearly identical contention to justify ghoulish, medical experiments on pregnant women in Konzentrationslager. Is there a difference? Indeed, there is. Clinton is a woman, making her serial murders more of a monstrosity.

The Holy Bible is either the Word of God or it isn’t. It’s not a book to be adapted to one’s whims or sexual lusts. Scripture strictly condemns male homosexuality in at least three passages and, implicitly, in some one-half dozen others. Nonetheless, Obama-Clinton attached the promotion of LBGTq-ism to the Democratic plank, overriding scripture. Clinton informed one audience that Christians would have to change their beliefs on some issues.

Hold on! “I’m getting my musket,” as more than one American has said.

I used to enjoy dialogue. But a sour aftertaste remains from the last time that I waded, innocently enough, into an after-dinner, back-and-forth. The topic was the upcoming primaries.

Dodging a flurry of leftism hooks from a New York Cityite at a Hamptons hideaway, I smiled through early-round attacks recalling how Mohammed Ali used to taunt opponents and cockroaches until they lost their cool. It worked. My opponent promptly tangled himself up in the ropes of his emotions.

It became apparent, in the ensuing minutes, that the Achilles heel of the Left was the absence of a viable candidate. That is, one who could be liked – a leader with charisma with a realistic chance winning.

Hillary was the only figure looming big on the horizon. After flying about on her crooked broom, peddling influence and laundering bloody cash from terrorism-sponsoring sheiks, wads of cash stuffed her Pampers. The Wicked Witch of the West, as victims of her foreign policy still address her, apparently, had it all. Except likeability. Or, something new to offer millions of working Americans beyond the scandals, a world in flames, and the same old corrupt things, starting with her foundation, which kept the cash but forgot Hattian children.

Deep-down inside, my opponent knew that getting excited about Hillary would be a daunting task. It’s precisely Hillary’s inability to generate enthusiasm that eventually metamorphosed into, “What Happened?” It wasn’t Russia; it wasn’t the dog that ate her homework.

As Secretary of State, Clinton’s role in creating and sponsoring head-choppers, baby burners, and heart-eating fanatics in ISIS’s jumpsuits was already well-established for anyone who was interested in looking beyond the hyaluronic acid smile and the praise of her attendant, media handlers.

Propagandists led by CNN and MSNBC did their best to sequester her “Arab Spring” fiascos. Her ties and support of the Muslim Brotherhood, apparently, inspired by live-in aide and right-hand woman, Huma Abedin were off limits for the press. Lesbian lover or not, the real issue is the between-the sheets confidences of one woman, holding one of the highest positions in the US Government and another with connections to jihadist circles inspired by Sayyid Qutb, the godfather of al Qaeda. What would have been made of it by the press if Trump had a mistress whose grandfather was Osama bin Laden?

Clinton’s connivance, her intrigue, and her use of the sword to overthrow foreign governments constituted the essence of her foreign policy. Now, the rich, sweet thing is crying over supposed, Russian interference that she claims cost her the election! No proof of Russian involvement has been found, despite massive efforts and the wasteful expenditure of millions of dollars. Even so, in her warped sense of reality, it’s inconceivable that American voters chose a vulgar, thrice-married, casino operator who trash talks instead of her. Curiously, it was Christians, in particular – Catholics, Protestants and the Orthodox – fearing a de facto Obama third term, who voted in droves for Trump.

Jonathon Van Maren writes: “…Christians are having conversations around the dinner table about what do if the government forces curricula on them that they cannot accept, because their own government is increasingly indicating that Christian parents are too homophobic and too hateful to teach their own children.”

Fear is setting in at both ends of the political spectrum. Meltdown, weep-in snowflakes fear Trump yet he and Christians are not forcing the LGBTq groupings etc., to make lifestyle changes. In contrast, Obama-Clinton’s Rainbow Fascism demands core value changes, or else! It’s already ruining the lives of those who cannot compromise religious tenets. What’s next? Obviously, children must be taken away from homophobic and irresponsible parents. It’s already happening in Norway and Sweden.

Curiously, WaPo’s entire editorial board endorsed her. Isn’t endorsement of Clinton’s terrorism by proxy tantamount to being a terrorist? Can WaPo be trusted, again? Another liberally slanted paper, the NY Times largely swept Clinton’s sordid past under the carpet, with about 90 percent of its articles casting her in a positive light. In contrast, it was open season on Republicans and, soon enough, on Trump.

“Considering her international war crimes record, if you vote for her, as I’m sure you’ll end up doing, you’re going to be an accomplice. Of terrorism,” I sighed. “So unfriend me now, please.”

Swinging, aimlessly – now, a bug in my web – my opponent’s accusations turned Archie-Bunker-personal – “You’re a SOB, M#*/!er. All you do is criticize but you haven’t done squat! Do something in the community instead of blaming everything on Obama and Clinton.

“Some time ago, I saw little, practical sense in it,” I replied. “That is, in wasting time to change the system.”

If it was ever possible to improve matters on a local level, those days are gone. Plato, Socrates and Aristotle did not consider the rule of money to be compatible with democracy. After three, consecutive, two-term geniuses steering the US Titanic – Clinton, Bush, Obama – the scraping sounds of hitting the iceberg are all-too-audible. The mass media orchestra plays on yet the waterline has reached the nation’s gunwales.

“Sorry, trends are apparent enough. Liberty, freedom of expression – all on the wane. Government as well as media controls are tightening! Prisons are full. Stalin has been outdone. His maximum Gulag stay was 15 years regardless of the charge. What’s ours? A life sentence for being in a romantic relationship with a drug smuggler? Common sense is being pushed aside by nonsense. Sorry, I find little sense building sandcastles at ebbtide.”

My opponent had had enough. Spilling whisky to get away from me, he spewed more venom and parted the room. Forever.

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