Is this how we win?

disruptionThe Trump Administration’s foreign policy:

  • North Korea’s Kim is a good guy, smart.
  • Disparage allies, praise enemies.
  • Taliban and ISIS resurgent in Afghanistan.
  • Trump and Putin enabling Assad to continue his murderous rule in Syria.
  • American military resources killing people in Yemen.
  • Former intelligence officials considered untrustworthy.
  • An administration enemies list.
  • A private military campaign.
  • A President who lies more often than not.

Is this how we win?

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Foreign wars

“Erik Prince, founder of the controversial firm Blackwater, is trying to convince President Donald Trump to privatize America’s war in Afghanistan.”

Richard Nixon campaigned in 1968 on a promise to end the draft. The draft of middle class Americans was a source of resistance to the Vietnam war. Ending the draft, was seen by some as a means to deflect anti-war sentiment. Some feared that ending the draft would lead to more wars.

With the end of the Vietnam war, the the draft ended. In 1973 Secretary of Defense  Melvin Laird announced that no further draft orders would be issued.

The second Iraq war was fought in part by mercenaries. I met a veteran at work who explained that his job was to drive a bus on a military base. Another driver, who drove the same route, was a private employee. The second driver was paid much more than the first to the disgust of the enlisted man. Mercenaries, specifically employed by Blackwater, were involved in scandalous incidents in Iraq. Some believe that Blackwater attracted unsavory personnel who were not well supervised.

So now Blackwater wants to assume responsibility for the war in Afghanistan. Erik Prince claims he can fight the war with mercenaries more effectively than the American military and at less cost. If it is a good idea to keep fighting our longest war yet, is it a good idea to turn it over to a private company? The Pentagon doesn’t think so, and I too think not.

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Could this be the beginning of the end?

mccarthy.jpgUntil this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. …. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? — Army Counsel Joseph Welch addressing Senator McCarthy, 1954

I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.–William McRaven

McCarthyism, making unfair allegations to stifle dissent, is associated with the “red scare” of the 1950s and political “witch hunts.” McCarthy’s attempt to root suspected communists out of their jobs in and out of government injured many, Constitutional rights to think and speak freely were trampled. Congressional hearings gave a bad name to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, promoting the idea that refusing to testify against one’s self indicated guilt, an idea more recently echoed by President Trump.

The televised hearings in 1954 gave many Americans a view of McCarthy in action, a view that left an unfavorable impression of him and his activities. Joseph Welch’s famous criticism marked the beginning of the end of McCarthy but not McCarthyism, which isn’t dead.

McCarthy’s attack on the Army, popular with Americans, made him look unpatriotic. Could Trump’s attack on American Intelligence Agencies and officers also be fatal? Is Wm. McRaven’s statement, echoed by other prominent persons, the beginning of his end?

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loyalty.jpgOur very damaged president views the world in terms of personal loyalty. Loyalty to the country, or anything greater, is beyond his understanding. The real criminals are the Republicans who go along with him, knowing that he is fundamentally weakening our civil institutions, the Constitution, and the separation of powers.–constituent’s facebook comment 8-14-2018 (lightly edited)

Sometimes our elections hinge on issues–principles, conflicting views, courses of action. On other occasions personalities and party loyalty dominate the campaign.

Substantially Issues:

  • Lincoln–a three way contest over the future of “the union.”
  • Wilson–good government
  • FDR–ending the depression

Johnson wasn’t particularly popular nor was Goldwater. Goldwater’s perceived extremism helped sink his prospects for election.

Substantially Personality:

  • Eisenhower–“I like Ike” (and the Korean War)
  • Reagan
  • Clinton-Trump

Wilson won in a three way race on a platform of good government. He claimed he owed no person or interest for his nomination and election. Initially successful, he was stymied by dogged partisan opposition in his second term. As with Obama, many of his good government reforms were overturned during the next administration.

Issues ought to be important; candidates who run on issues and make progress are more likely to be remembered favorably than those who run and win on personality.

Political Teams:

The concept of political teams (Team Reed, Team Tracy, Team Trump) is disturbing. Who represents us is more important than an athletic event. When so many votes in Congress reflect party lines, which party controls Congress can keep NY-23 in economic doldrums or lead to renewed prosperity.

Republican Platform

Reportedly, the 2016 Republican platform was influenced by Russians. Was there any debate; did anyone notice or care? If platforms are meaningless, so too are political parties.

Non Disclosure

Writing about his war time experience at Los Alamos, Richard Feynman explained the limits of censorship. He wrote that while the censors would not allow disclosure of the details of the work, one was free to write to one’s representative in Congress to express a political opinion or to complain that the place was mismanaged. Government employees at every level should not be required to sign agreements which limit their ability to express their views; it is the opposite of transparency.

Party Loyalty

I understand party loyalty when one party or the other stands for principles and policies that one supports, but not when partisans accept whatever their leader last said. Loyalty is harmful when issues of importance are neglected–corruption, lies, excessive secrecy, and incompetence are antithetical  to good government. For good government, our votes must be more than rubber stamps for one party or another.


Posted in 2018, Campaigning, Congress, Constituents, Constitution, Political, Trump | 7 Comments

Can John Kelly survive much longer?


Dropping the pilot.

Après moi, le déluge.— attributed to King Louis XV of France.

James Comey had better hope there are no tapes of our conversation.–President Trump

Lordy, I hope there are tapes.–James Comey

President Trump can’t be happy to learn that Omarosa was able to carry a recording device, possibly a cell phone, around the oval office and made recordings secretly. Nor can he be happy with Omarosa’s story that Kelly, the puppet master, is the real power in the White House while Trump is clueless. What will happen next? Can General Kelly survive this. I hope he can; the likely consequence otherwise is chaos.

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The September 13 Primary & why voter turnout is important


New York’s State Primary will be held on Thursday, September 13.

Please note:

  • New York has a law that prohibits an election on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks–which happened on a Primary Election day.
  • New York is the only state that holds it’s State Primary and Federal Primary on different days. (Some states have a second primary for run offs it no candidate receives more 50% of the vote)
  • Unlike in June, the Democratic AND the Reform Parties will both be holding a primay.
  • Like in June, the Republican Party will not have a statewide primary or a legislature primary in the NY-23rd.

For Democrats there will be three Statewide races:

  • There are two  State Legislature races in the NY23:
    • in the 58th NYS Senatorial District (Counties of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, the city and Town of Ithaca, Towns of Enfield, Newfield, and Ulysses) have two democrats (Amanda Kirchgessner and Michael Lausell) on the ballot.
    • The 124th Assembly District (Towns of: Ashland, Baldwin, Barton, Berkshire, Big Flats, Candor, Chemung, Elmira, Horseheads, Maine, Newark Valley, Nichols, Owego, Richford, Southport, Spencer, and Tioga) has two democrats (Bill Batrowny and Randy Reid) who will be on the ballot.
    • Those who live in the towns of Ashland, Baldwin, Big Flats, Chemung, Elmira, Horseheads,  and South Park are in both 58th Senatorial District and the 124th Assembly District. Therefore they can vote for both of the Legislature races.

The Reform Party will have one Statewide Race:

The election is four weeks from Thursday. We have time to learn about the candidates and where they stand on the issues. We have time to talk to others about the candidates and the issues and getting more voters engaged in the political process. Voters who vote in primaries will probably vote in the general election in November.

Getting democrats to vote on September 13 will help Tracy Mitrano in November

Posted in 2018 | 4 Comments

Today’s news

nThe president lies to the American people. Sarah Huckabee stands in front of the country and lies every single day. I protected myself, because this is a White House where everybody lies.–Omarosa

I think now our argument is that when he exercises his power as president … then it becomes really really questionable if it becomes obstruction of justice.— Rudy Giuliani

I disagree; I believe everyone, even the President, is subject to our laws.

Giuliani later denied that Trump ever discussed easing up on an investigation of his former White House national security adviser, Michael Flynn, with former FBI director James Comey. But, he said, if Trump did, a statement telling Comey to “go easy on him [Flynn] is hardly obstruction.”

How would Giuliani possibly know what was said in a private meeting? Why did DJT ask others to leave the room? More lies, I expect. And why would DJT asking for Flynn to be given a pass not be obstruction?

I don’t know if what Omarosa wrote is accurate, but it is consistent with what we know about DJT–that he is a vile, rude person, and that he is a liar. It would be more of a surprise if he didn’t use than N word than if he did.

Posted in Congress, Political, Trump | Tagged , | 2 Comments