Sixty Six Years of Political Action 1953 - 2019
NEXT KCDW MEETING APR 25TH (WEDNESDAY): Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Speaker: Joy Stanford, Candidate for 26th LD Representative against Michelle Caldier; NO RSVP required.
WHAT MAKES THE #METOO MOVEMENT NECESSARY – by Jo Fox Burr
An article entitled ‘Us Too’ by Tyrone Beason in the Pacific NW magazine (A Seattle Times Sunday insert; 4/8/20) focuses on local women empowered by the #MeToo movement. The woman that most caught my attention was Bree Black Horse, a Seminole Native American attorney. She advocates for indigenous women who face a true crisis of domestic violence and sexual assault. In a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2010 and 2012, 45.6% of indigenous women experienced some form of physical sexual violence. While over two-thirds of this violence was committed by nonnative men, indigenous men were responsible for a significant portion of it. In the past, Seminole women were held in high esteem within their society, but European influence has eroded this power. Black Horse believes that returning Seminole and other indigenous women to a position of high esteem will do much to quell the sexual violence at least among the indigenous men. The photograph of her in this article in a traditional cloth dress made by her mother exuded dignity and power. It did much to make me believe she is right.
While ethnic minorities have far more to complain about, they have one advantage over women. They know the full extent to which they are discriminated against. White people, even those meaning well, may not understand all the ways minorities are discriminated against, but minorities know. Women are aware of overt sexual harassment and employment discrimination, but many are not tuned into the subtler denigration we live with every day. It is so much a part of how our society is structured we accept it as normal. When women speak up too much, at least according to society norms, they are often labelled as uppity, frequently by other women. I have been in meetings where my opinion was ignored, while the same opinion voiced by a man was lauded. To win arguments, men often utilize a tone of voice to assert power and we women often either submit or respond hysterically, which wins nothing. Women politicians are frequently appraised by how they appear as much if not more than by what they say. This rarely happens to men, except maybe Trump.
All of this and more is why I believe we are more susceptible to sexual harassment. Society views us as the weaker sex and those men who need to prove their manhood see us as easy prey and have felt their chances of being outed were slim to non-existent. In fact, some of them (like Trump) see nothing wrong with what they have done – which speaks volumes about what such men are taught by society. It is also why it has taken so long for women to come forward to make accusations about such acts and be believed. Well, I do believe the times are changing and perhaps we have Trump to thank.
Isn’t it interesting we elected a black man president but have yet to elect a woman president? I understand there were other circumstances affecting the last election. Certainly, Trump’s win is partially the result of a racist backlash to an effective black president and Russian election interference. Clinton won the overall vote count by a large majority, but she lost the electoral college vote because many Americans knowingly supported an admitted misogynist. Further, a believably accused pedophile came close to winning a Senate seat in Alabama. While this is a disturbing comment on our society, I think both these things have served as a wakeup call for women. More than twice as many women are running for Congress in 2018 than ran in 2016, and most are running as Democrats. And in doing so, they are wearing their gender as a badge of honor.
Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s 2016 Communications director, wrote a book, “Dear Madam President,” as a letter to the first woman president. In it she advises that it is time we women stop running for office the way men would run. She admonishes us to embrace the power of being women. In an interview she praised Emma Gonzalez, the outspoken student survivor of the Parkland shooting, for speaking so effectively at the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. while crying as she recited the names of the people killed in Parkland. Her tears empowered her and what she had to say.
I believe our true salvation from sexual harassment is to embrace our strength as women. As Bree Black Horse says “Men have gotten to run the show for the last 10,000 years. It’s our turn.” #MeToo is not a movement of victimization. It is a movement of empowerment.
OTHER UPCOMING DEMOCRATIC MEETINGS AND EVENTS: (*GM designates a general membership meeting)
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* Apr 16th (Monday); 6:30 pm Social; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Leg. District Democrats: GM* Apr 26th (Thursday); 6:30pm Social; 7 pm mtg; Olympic Coll – Poulsbo, Rm 120
Rise and Organize Lunch Apr 28th (Saturday); 11:45 am – 1 pm; Puerto Vallarta Kingston
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* May 3rd (Thursday); 6:30pm Social; 7pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr. Pt Orchard
35th Leg. District Democrats: Pig Roast-Pot Luck June 30th (Saturday); 3-6 pm; The Salmon Center in Belfair
KITSAP COUNTY DEMOCRATIC WOMEN OFFICERS:
President – Jo Fox Burr: 360-613-4042, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President – Linda Lovgren Houlton: 360-373-4188, email@example.com
Secretary – Donna Raymond: 360-377-3055, firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer – Voni Falkner: 360-613-9596, email@example.com
Deputy Treasurer – Bert Johnson: 360-204-5257, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kitsap County Democratic Women
PO Box 3411
Silverdale, WA 98383 - 9998
“Men spent centuries building the professional world, devising rules to make sure it was a comfortable place for them and that it was geared toward their particular qualities and skills. Like any good guest, women have looked for clues on how to behave in this foreign land. We have tried to understand and follow the local customs. We have intuited that in this world we are to be obligating, calm under pressure, and diligent, and to always keep our emotions in check. Our adaptive skills have served many of us well. But we aren’t in a man’s world anymore. Now it’s our world. And shame on us women if we don’t do something to change the way this game is played so that everybody is able to bring their best to the effort. Let’s embrace a new way of working that is equally geared toward our own qualities and skills.” – Jennifer Palmieri, “Dear Madam President
NEXT KCDW MEETING MAR 28TH (WEDNESDAY): Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Speaker: Connie FitzPatrick, Candidate for 26th LD Representative against Jesse Young; NO RSVP required.
PARKLAND – by Jo Fox Burr
“The Florida Senate on Saturday voted down a proposal to ban assault weapons, then immediately pivoted to a moment of silence for victims of the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school last month” (The Seattle Times; Sunday, March 4, 2018). In this moment of silence, were they praying? If so, what for? Perhaps they were praying no one would notice their callous hypocrisy. I’m not religious, but I don’t think that would be an appropriate use of prayer. Well, the press noticed their hypocrisy and so did the students at that Parkland High School.
When 20 young children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama spoke for most of the nation when he said “We can’t tolerate this any more. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” Of the several executive actions he signed to begin to make changes, one was to order the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to resume studying the causes of gun violence – a study shut down in 1996 due to NRA pressure. Congress blocked this order by refusing to fund this research. Obama also sent 12 proposals to Congress. None were enacted. Because of Congress, nothing did change.
Fifty-eight people were killed in Las Vegas last October by a shooter using bump stocks to modify his rifles to shoot like automatic weapons. Trump said his administration and Congress would ‘be talking about gun laws as time goes by.’ Time has gone by with no real results. Talk about banning bump stocks has been stalled by Paul Ryan who wants this to be handled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; not by Congress. Somehow, I don’t see even this happening.
In November, 26 people were killed inside a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas by a shooter using an assault rifle. He had been court-martialed from the Air Force for domestic violence. Because the Pentagon did not report him to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, Congress felt they could put the blame on the military for this incident. They seemed to think it freed them from doing anything else.
And then Parkland happened. I will never forget the videos of students huddled together, screaming with utter fear every time they heard gun fire. In the past, I would have thought this inhuman to both film and televise. But now I think it is what is needed to show the horror of what these kids went through. The public needs to feel viscerally what it was like. These videos do this for me.
This time really does feel different. These Parkland High School students are angry. They lived through this nightmare, many having lost friends and teachers. They may never feel safe at school or anywhere ever again. However, they are determined. When politicians try to brush them off, they come back fighting. The Republican controlled Florida legislature may not have the courage to defy the NRA by banning assault weapons, but they did manage to pass some baby steps toward gun control and school safety. These are not courageous steps, though. These legislators are hearing what these wonderfully articulate students are saying and realizing that failure to act could cost them their jobs. Even Governor Scott, with his NRA A+ rating, seems to sense a change in the winds. Perhaps he knows that any hope he has of taking Bill Nelson’s Senate seat requires him to change his tune – or at least appear to do so. For just being able to do this much, these students are magnificent. They give me hope and I want to do what I can to support them and all high school students locally and nationally who are taking up this cause. On March 24th, there will be marches and demonstrations in Seattle and here in Kitsap. I encourage everyone to go to one and join the fight. #NeverAgain.
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* Mar 19th (Monday); 6:30 pm Social; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Leg. District Democrats: GM* Mar 22nd (Thursday); 6:30pm Social; 7 pm mtg; Olympic Coll – Poulsbo, Rm 120
Leg. District Caucus – Mar 24th (Saturday) 10 am – 5 pm; North Kitsap High School
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* Apr 5th (Thursday); 6:30pm Social; 7pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr. Pt Orchard
Leg. District Caucus – Mar 24th (Saturday) 10 am – 5 pm; Location TBA
35th Leg. District Democrats: Pig Roast-Pot Luck is being rescheduled
“This movement, created by students, led by students, is based on emotion. It is based on passion and it is based on pain. Our biggest flaws—our tendency to be a bit too aggressive, our tendency to lash out, things that you expect from a normal teenager—these are our strengths. The only reason that we’ve gotten so far is that we are not afraid of losing money, we’re not afraid of getting reelected or not getting reelected, we have nothing to lose. The only thing we have to gain at this point is our safety.” Delaney Tarr, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—highlighting the power of adolescent emotion in a speech on February 21st
NEXT KCDW MEETING FEB 28TH (WEDNESDAY): Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Speaker: Chad Enright, Democratic Candidate for Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney; NO RSVP required.
BluuRF? – by Jo Fox Burr
One of my favorite signs in the 2018 Women’s March said, “Too much to put on one sign.” And it was a big sign! I recently bought a book for my Grandniece entitled “The Book with No Pictures” by B. J. Novak. The book admonishes the reader to read every word, no matter what it says – such as “BLuuRF” or “I am a monkey who taught myself to read.” And it goes on like this until you finally get to a page which says “GLuURR GA-WOCKO ma GRUMPH a-doo AiiEE AiiEE! BRROOOOoOG BRROOoOOOG BRROOOOoOG” This is followed by a page with similar gobbledygook. Looking at these two pages, I found myself thinking, yeah, this is exactly what I think about Trump. Could not have expressed it better.
Before starting this article, I thought maybe I should watch the news to see if anything was breaking (such as another government shutdown) which I should address. Then I thought, if I did, before I finished something else would happen (such as an end to the shutdown plus another White House aide being dismissed for beating his wife) which, if I addressed, would send me on a different tangent. Trump is the chaos president – or rather pretend president – Jeb Bush warned us about. As has been commented upon too often, any one of the outrageous acts committed by him or one of his lackeys would bring down any other president – or at the very least be talked about for more than one day. While far from the ‘stable genius’ he claims to be, he is a master at diverting our attention from his despicable acts, which he does by pulling even more despicable acts out of his hat or perhaps his hair.
And still his base stays with him. Trump is an embarrassment, but his base is an even greater embarrassment. Though they are a minority at only 30-37%, they effectively control the Republican Party. Trump’s playing to them emboldens them to openly express racist and other abhorrent views. While powerful at the moment, they cannot succeed in the long run. They are too disorganized and have no clear objectives except hate and repression.
Still their current power has served to kneecap the Republican leadership in Congress. Whether or not you agree with how the government shutdowns were ended, one positive outcome was that it finally forced this Republican leadership to basically ignore Trump – as even they realized he was speaking the language of gobbledygook in Novak’s book. To get the votes they needed they were compelled to work out bipartisan agreements with the Democrats. This, in itself, was a good thing. However, these were true anomalies, as they far too often fold to Trump’s childish whims because they fear the power of his base. They put their jobs and party before the health of the country; something for which history will shame them. It did please me to see that in a recent encounter with the press, Ryan seemed to have red eyes. Could his conscience be causing him to lose sleep?
Sometimes it is really very hard to keep the faith that our country will ever recover from this horrible nightmare. But then I see the massive number of people, not just women, showing up for the Women’s Marches two years in a row. I see the record number of declared Democratic candidates, many of them women, running for offices across the country, for both national and local positions. And I see the amazing Democratic wins in Trump territory we have already witnessed since he moved into the White House. It all gives me hope that while Trump has taken us backwards into darkness, the next major election cycle will do much to stop his destructive momentum and reverse the course. Hopefully this is the ‘Last Hurrah’ of this male dominated, bigoted, chauvinistic, corrupt regime; playing itself out in such a horrific manner that we, as a country, will never turn that way again. And I do believe that we women will be the force to lead the way to a saner more enlightened future. I am woman, watch me vote!
Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee:
GM* Feb 26th (Monday)
6:30 pm Social
7 pm meeting
KCDCC Annual Dinner & Auction:
Mar 10th (Saturday)
Speaker: Maria Cantwell
Buy tickets on line at http://kitsapdemocrats.org/
23rd Leg. District Democrats:
GM* Feb 22nd (Thursday)
26th Leg. District Democrats:
GM* Mar 1st (Thursday)
Givens Ctr. Pt Orchard
35th Leg. District Democrats: Pig Roast-Pot Luck
Mar 24th (Sat) 3 – 6 pm
Pacific NW Salmon Ctr. Belfair
$25, $45 couples, Kids free
Buy tickets on-line www.Facebook/35th LD Dems
“There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.” -from ‘Perspectives on the Constitution: A Republic, if you can keep it.’ By Richard R. Beeman, Ph.D
POSTSCRIPT FROM JO FOX BURR, PRESIDENT AND NEWSLETTER EDITOR
In my enclosed article I wondered if I should check the breaking news before I started it and concluded that if I did, before I finished something else would happen which could send me off in a totally different direction. As it turns out, something happened between the time I finished the article and managed to get the Newsletter sent out. And that something is yet another horrific shooting at a High School in Florida with 17 confirmed dead and unknown numbers injured. Of those survivors, I cannot help but think of how traumatized they and their families are and will be for the rest of their lives. Trump sent his condolences. Rubio has sent his prayers. My stomach turns and my blood boils at these pitiful responses.
NEXT KCDW MEETING SEPT 28TH: Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Speakers still to be determined. NO RSVP required.
GENDER BIAS IN THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN– by Jo Fox Burr
Years ago I watched a documentary on gender bias. In a seminar for teachers which focused on this topic, a film was shown of an elementary school class conducted by a female teacher. After the film, the teachers in the seminar were asked if they thought the class had been taught fairly to both sexes. Every teacher, except one male, felt it had been. Turns out something like 70% of the teacher’s time was spent with the boys. For the same quality homework, boys received comments like ‘you can do better,’ while girls received comments like ‘nice penmanship.’ The point being that even when looking for it, gender bias is very difficult for us to see because it is so much the norm in our society. These kind of norms are very hard to change.
Hillary Clinton’s nomination demonstrates that we have made some progress on this. The video of her appearing from behind a shattering glass once officially nominated was very moving. But we are not there yet. Why else would such an unqualified deplorable candidate like Trump still be so close in the polls to Clinton, one of the most qualified candidates we have ever had?
Politifact has fact checked both Clinton and Trump through July of this year and has determined that over 70% of Trump’s statements fell into one of three categories – Pants on Fire False, False, or Mostly False. Fewer than 27% of Clinton’s statement fell into these categories, fewer than any other candidate running in the primaries. Still, Trump has managed to somewhat successfully brand her a ‘Liar.’ While canvassing I talked with a Republican woman who while not voting for Trump could not support Clinton because she said Clinton lied about always being a Democrat. Clinton was at one time a Goldwater girl, a fact she is quite open about. These Politifact statistics did not faze this woman. Clinton lied at least once as far as she was concerned which is all that mattered. I guess women are just not supposed to ever lie. Seems OK for men though.
Daniel Bush of PBS wrote an article entitled ‘Election 2016: The hidden Sexism that could sway the election.’ According to him, a 1937 Gallup poll showed only 33% of Americans said they would vote for a woman for president. That number theoretically climbed to 92% by 2015. However, 2016 primary exit polls have indicated this may not actually be accurate – particularly where white males are concerned. Bernie Sanders, for instance, did better with males by huge margins in states where the Democratic electorate was predominately white. This was not the case in states where minorities dominated the Democratic electorate. At least people know what they are supposed to think, even if it is not how they vote.
In this article, Bush referenced a paper by two social psychologists which defined two kinds of sexism. One was ‘hostile’ sexism which is overtly negative toward women. The other, which is harder to change, is ‘benevolent’ sexism, defined as positive feelings men have of women based on feelings of dominance. This type of sexism approves women who accept traditional female roles and disapproves those who don’t. Perhaps Hillary Clinton served as the prototype target of this kind of sexism when she dared to work on political issues such as health care as First Lady, something that is unforgivable.
Bush also quoted Terri Vescio, a Penn State psychology professor who studies gender bias issues, as saying of women, “If you are perceived as competent, you’re not perceived as warm. But if you’re liked and trusted, you’re not seen as competent.” This leaves Clinton with a very delicate balancing act to perform. No wonder she sometimes seems a little stiff.
I think most people like to think of themselves as not having a gender bias with candidates. It may be less of an issue with candidates for any other office besides President, though women are still a minority in Congress. The real problem is that people are unaware of their subconscious biases. They come up with all sorts of reasons not to support Clinton which for a male candidate would just not matter. Though he understands little else, Trump does understand this and is very good at wakening this hidden internal unease. I still believe we will win this one, but it might be more of a squeaker than we expect. And the more I think about this gender issue, the more I find myself admiring Hillary Clinton’s forbearance over all these years.
Special Election Notes: Ballots will be mailed October 19th. Get them in early. There will be 3 Presidential Debates - Sept 26, Oct.9, and Oct 19 and one Vice Presidential Debate on Oct. 4. Debate parties are being planned. Stay tuned.
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* Sept 19th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Leg. District Democrats: GM* Sept 20th (Tuesday); 6:30 pm social time; 7 pm meeting; Poulsbo Library
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* Oct 6th (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr 1026 Sidney Rd, Pt Orchard
35th Leg. District Democrats: GM* TBA
“As the first woman to be nominated for the highest office in the land, [Hillary Clinton] has had to climb more mountains than Sir Edmund Hillary before the country considered her worthy. Harvard Law. First Lady. U.S. Senator. Secretary of State.” – Nicole Brodeur, The Seattle Times, September 13, 2016
DON’T FORGET, THAT IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BAKELESS BAKE SALE!!!
NEXT KCDW MEETING OCT 26TH: Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Speaker still to be determined. NO RSVP required.
WHERE ARE WE NOW? – by Jo Fox Burr
Eight years ago, we Democrats had a truly unprecedented situation. As the dust finally began to settle on the 2008 presidential primary, no white man was left standing. We had only a black man and a woman. Possibly the black man won because of his greater charisma. But could it also be because we were more ready to accept that an educated black MAN was more capable of being President than a WOMAN? Perhaps. As Democrats, the wind was at our back. The incumbent white male President was a Republican, and given that usually one party is unable to hold the Presidency for more than eight years, it was our turn. Further because of the disastrous Iraq War and tumbling economy, the incumbent was very unpopular. Most of the country was ready for a real change and Barack Obama certainly offered that.
The problem was that as ready as we Democrats were for a black President, it was a very bitter pill to swallow for the Republicans, many of whom came from former slave owning states. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Senate GOP Minority leader, declared that his primary goal was to ensure Obama would be a one term president. Then he and his fellow Republicans set out to obstruct anything Obama tried to do, even if it was something they had initially favored. They were determined to destroy his presidency, not caring how it affected the country. The disrespect they showed Obama was beneath contempt, but I guess his being black made it OK to them. In fact, it probably made it imperative for them to do. Yet Obama was criticized for not wanting to socialize with them. Really?
The Republican Party is currently in the process of totally imploding today and I think it all started with the election of our first black president. You see despite their best efforts, Obama not only won a second term resoundingly, he has also been an amazingly transformative president. He has been the change many of us were waiting for. This has been far too much for many Republicans to handle. As a result, there has been a growing cancer within the GOP which is feeding open bigotry, hate, and misogyny and it has taken control of the party. Hence, the emergence of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named (aka Slime Ball) as their totally disgusting presidential candidate. It all goes to show, if you take the low road, you will ultimately end up in the gutter. And despite the fact that it should be their turn to win the Presidency, as Slime Ball proves more deplorable every day, they are now likely to lose it to a WOMAN! Oh the HORROR!
Where does that leave us, though? Assuming Clinton wins and Slime Ball loses, is it possible for the Republican Party to cleanse itself of this cancer and become respectable again? Is it possible to accept the change both Obama has brought and Hillary Clinton will bring with grace? Is it possible for them to become mature enough to accept that minority people and women are as worthy of being President as white men? I truly hope it is, as we really do function better as a nation when we have a strong and healthy two party system. And the GOP will never be strong or healthy again if it remains shackled by this cancer. Hopefully Slime Ball will serve as a wake-up call. How could the party go any lower? It would be nice to think something positive could come from this despicable candidacy. However, I think this will only happen if the GOP loses ‘bigly.’ I think it will only happen if Slime Ball proves to not only be a big loser himself, but also manages to negatively impact the outcome of down ballot GOP candidates. It’s the only way I think Slime Ball’s manic followers, who are the core of this cancer, can fully realize their hatred and prejudices should be something to be embarrassed about, and that their idol is like the emperor who has no clothes. Slime Ball has given them unrealistic and unhealthy hope which must be vanquished once and for all. It is imperative we make sure this happens. Please come help get out the vote and swing at least this state clearly into the Democratic column.
Special Election Notes: The Kitsap County Democrats Office is at 9435 Provost Rd NW, Silverdale. Ballots will be mailed October 19th. Get them in early. There will be two Election night celebrations of the first woman President. One at Everybodies in Port Orchard and one at the Honor Bar in Bremerton. Both will start at 5:00 pm.
Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee: GM* Oct 17th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Legislative District Democrats: Re-org Meeting - Dec. 14th (Wednesday); 6 -7 pm meeting; Poulsbo Library
26th Legislative District Democrats: GM* Nov 3rd (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr. 1026 Sidney Rd, Pt Orchard
35th Legislative District Democrats: GM* Dec 3rd (Saturday) Place & Time TBA
WINE & DIAL IS BACK! Every Wed Eve until election; 5 pm; Kitsap Co. Dem. Office;
“And you know, the term ‘thug politics,’ I thought about that a lot throughout this debate. Not to get too dramatic, but my father came to this country from the Democratic Republic of Congo.…We need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for President threatened to jail his political opponent. This is something that Human Rights Watch, that Amnesty International is investigating in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now. Right now. Because as of this summer, a political opponent of the current leader was put in jail on charges. This happens in Malaysia, in Uganda. This does not happen in the United States of America.” - Joy Reid on MSNBC commenting on the last presidential debate
NEXT KCDW MEETING NOV 16TH (WEDNESDAY): Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. This will be our re-organization meeting. NO RSVP required.
I’M NOT MOVING TO CANADA – by Jo Fox Burr
Why? Because long ago, during the Vietnam War when many of us felt deep embarrassment about that war, I found no matter where I went I was still an American. So, I returned home to do what I could to make my country a better place. Why? Because I refuse to leave my country totally in the hands of these deplorables. They may have won the election, but we won the popular vote. There are more of us then there are of them and there are still things we can do to obstruct their most despicable objectives. I don’t know what all yet, but I feel the storm gathering to mount a major resistance. Why? Because while I, myself, may not be as directly affected by ‘he-who-shall-not-be-named’ (aka T) as many other vulnerable people will be, I want to be there for them. Why? Because what happens in this country, particularly in foreign affairs and climate change, will affect the whole world. Canada will not be far enough away. Better to be here to, with the help of others, directly mitigate as much as I can. Why? Because my country is in crisis and I will not run away.
One of my nieces said she was going to take a day to mourn, but would then start getting active. I don’t believe she has ever been active before. One brother declared he would join the ACLU. The other encouraged the rest of his siblings to support a Southern Poverty Law Center petition. Signing it, I wondered if I had just put my name on an enemies list, but my brother said it was a list of honor. This is just within my family, but I’m hearing from friends all over that they are ready to act when they have been mostly bystanders before. I have taken more than a day to mourn, postponing even writing this Newsletter. But I’m ready now. I will not take this lying down. Aaron Sorkin wrote the following to his daughter and ex-wife “America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans and here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always – always – been followed by our finest hours.” I believe this, but only if we take this as a call to action.
I truly hesitate to follow in his footsteps, but to paraphrase Mitch McConnell, ‘my number one priority is making T a one term president’ at the most. Professor Allan Lichtman, an American political historian, was one of the very few professional prognosticators who declared the correct outcome of this election. Using his own system, he has a 30-year record of getting it right (except he did predict a Gore win, which had the Supreme Court not intervened would have happened). Well, relying on his gut only this time, he is now predicting T will be impeached by the Republicans. The reason being that they will not be able to control him and he is very likely to commit an impeachable act. Let’s hope it is not one that blows up the planet. That leaves us with Pence. Not sure whether to take comfort from this, as Pence’s political views are far too fundamentalist. However, he is not so thin skinned that he cannot be trusted with the nuclear football and I seriously doubt he could be re-elected. He just doesn’t have the following or the charisma.
However, I also think that T would have a hard time getting re-elected. While in the process of creating havoc, I think he will also seriously disappoint many of his most avid followers. There is no way a wall will be built. With T’s tax breaks for the wealthy, the economy will tank as it did under Bush, leaving those angry white men even angrier as they lose what jobs they have. Mass deportation of illegal immigrants will prove more difficult and costly than Congress will support. And I think with T’s hostile attitude toward Muslims we will see an increase in homegrown terrorism.
So, it is time to start looking for a good candidate for 2020. It would be great if it were a woman. Of course, I have always loved Elizabeth Warren. Even if she is not interested in running, I think she will be a serious rallying point for us. In looking for inspiration, my sister directed me to Jason Kander who ran for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. As a Democrat, running against an incumbent, in a state T won by 19%, Kander came within 3% of winning. And he stayed true to liberal values. He’s not a woman, and he is not a minority, but he is an Afghanistan veteran and he is very refreshing. See the concession email he sent out to his supporters: concesshttp://themissouritimes.com/35621/message-jason-kander-thank/. Maybe he and Tammy Duckworth would be a good ticket? Just saying, keep your eyes open for someone to lead us out of this morass.
KCDW Holiday Party will be Sunday December 11th, starting at 1 pm at Ambrosia’s. More details will be sent shortly. There will be a silent auction for which we would appreciate donations. If you have any, please bring them to the Nov. meeting.
Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee: GM* Nov 21st (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
Holiday Party Dec. 3rd (Saturday); 5-8 pm; Kitsap Conference. Center. Bremerton
23rd Legislative District Democrats: Re-org Meeting Dec. 14th (Wednesday); 6 pm Social; 7 pm meeting; Poulsbo Library
26th Legislative District Democrats: GM* Dec 1st (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr. 1026 Sidney Rd, Pt Orchard
35th Legislative District Democrats: Re-org Meeting Dec 3rd (Saturday) Noon – 2 pm; North Mason School District
President – Jackie Williams: 360-908-1799, email@example.com
Treasurer – Ginger Sommerhauser: 360-337-7334, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Treasurer – Carl Olson: 360-329-7170, email@example.com
Silverdale, WA 98383 - 9998
“Since Wednesday, over 30 Democrats I haven't had the pleasure of meeting have emailed me, asking how they can join our local party and get involved. I have been invited to numerous, local social media groups, finding community members looking for a way to get involved. We may have been knocked down, but more are ready to join us for the fight. For the first time since Tuesday night, I feel hopeful. I hope you take your time to process what has happened. There is no timetable for when you'll start to feel hopeful again. But when you're ready, I hope you will join me in continuing our work. Racism, misogyny, and bigotry will not be tolerated in our community, state, or country. And if we stand together, we can make sure we keep Washington blue, elect progressive local officials, take back the Senate in 2018, and make Donald Trump a single term president.” – Katherine Woods, Chair of the Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee.
NEXT KCDW MEETING JAN 25TH (WEDNESDAY): Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Speaker TBA; NO RSVP required.
The following article is written by Carol J. Williams, a new KCDW member, who, in her life before retirement, worked for 30 years as a foreign correspondent for both the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times. She lived abroad for nearly 20 years, including eight years in Russia, and reported from more than 80 countries. She has won several awards, and was a finalist for a 1993 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. We are very fortunate that she agreed to ponder the foreign policy implications of the new administration for us here.
TRUMP’S HELTER-SKELTER FOREIGN POLICY
By Carol J. Williams
President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t yet occupied the Oval Office but he has already shaken fundamental pillars of U.S. foreign policy.
His congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen broke with Washington’s 37-year observation of diplomatic recognition of “One China,” that being the communist-ruled People’s Republic. The U.S. breach of protocol so angered mainland China that its state-run media talked of taking back Taiwan by force, the Beijing government formally protested to the White House and its navy seized a U.S. underwater drone in the South China Sea.
Three days before Christmas, Trump called for abandoning another decades-old tenet of international security policy in declaring – via Twitter – that the United States should “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear arsenal. That departure from a nonproliferation posture alarmed arms control experts across the political spectrum. When asked about the risk of reigniting a nuclear weapons buildup, Trump shrugged it off. “Let it be an arms race,” he told an MSNBC interviewer.
Trump’s next foray into foreign affairs was a brazen attempt to wield presidential powers before his inauguration. He called on President Obama to reject a U.N. vote to censure Israel for building settlements in territory destined for a Palestinian state. Trump’s tweeted directive failed to compel Obama to veto the world body’s criticism of Israel. But the intrusion signaled his intent to invoke a more pro-Israel policy in the Middle East that will further complicate relations with the Muslim and Arab worlds. And his choice of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N., a moderate Republican but one with no foreign policy experience, has done little to inspire confidence in the next administration’s grasp of the complexities besetting U.S. relations with much of the world.
The incoming president has said little about how he plans to implement his most incendiary campaign promises: to build a wall along the Mexican border, to deport 11 million undocumented residents already in the country and to bar entry to the United States for Muslims from countries afflicted by terrorism. But his national security, diplomatic and military appointments reflect his isolationist “America First” ideology that is likely to frustrate trade, divide U.S.-born children from deported immigrant parents and complicate U.S. bilateral relations with countries that have been on good terms with ours for many years.
During the campaign, Trump often departed from longstanding and bipartisan policy on Russia, suggesting that Moscow’s seizure of the Crimea region from Ukraine and the fomenting of rebellion in the former Soviet state were not issues affecting U.S. interests. Likewise, he had no objection to Russian airstrikes that helped Syrian President Bashar Assad drive out rebels and civilians from his country’s largest city, Aleppo, as the Kremlin’s deadly intervention was also aimed at ousting Islamic State militants from their Syrian strongholds.
Trump has threatened to destroy the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in his first months as president. But it remains to be seen how he will square that massive undertaking with his criticism of U.S. intervention in faraway conflicts like those in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Potentially the most destabilizing of Trump’s campaign trail vows is his rejection of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by six major powers that restricts Tehran’s atomic development in exchange for international sanctions relief. Revoking the U.S. commitment to the nuclear agreement would anger Iran and lead to its resuming pursuit of a nuclear bomb. A unilateral U.S. scuttling of the hard-won agreement would also deprive the five other signatories to the deal -- Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – of its security and trade dividends, damaging U.S. relations with the world’s most powerful states.
Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas), tweeted shortly after his announced appointment: “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, Trump’s choice for Defense Secretary, is also a harsh critic of Iran. In an April speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mattis described Iran as “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.” But he has also conceded that scrapping the accord isn’t a viable option without the other signatories on board.
Trump spoke belligerently during the campaign about North Korea and the erratic regime of leader Kim Jong-un. Amid the tense exchanges with Beijing after the Taiwan diplomatic blunder, Trump called on China to rein in Pyongyang’s progress in developing nuclear weapons. After Kim boasted in a New Year’s speech that his country was nearing completion of a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States, Trump turned to Twitter to proclaim “It won’t happen!” Then he sent a second tweet blasting Beijing: “China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea. Nice!”
His bursts of criticism at China exude frustration and have kindled fears that Trump might take his own action to neutralize North Korea once he is president. Trump has refused to pledge a commitment to a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons, saying he wants to keep all options on the table. Some of his senior military advisors could be counted on to dissuade him from a dangerous and destabilizing pre-emptive strike. North Korea is a diplomatic and security headache for all its neighbors but China and Russia would be antagonized by any U.S. intervention in their Asian Pacific neighborhood, raising the prospect of escalating conflict across the nuclear-armed region.
Another major concern among foreign policy experts is the internal policy contradictions among his incoming government team. Competing voices within Cabinet departments create uncertainty over which of the rival ideologies will be persuasive with a new president with no foreign policy experience of his own and an aversion to reading, briefings or taking advice.
Trump’s campaign trail musings on how nice it would be to have better relations with Moscow have been enhanced by his nomination of Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson as the next Secretary of State. For more than a decade, Tillerson has had dealings with Russian oil operations worth billions and counts President Vladimir Putin as a reliable friend and partner. The Texas oil man may face confirmation hurdles because of his potential conflicts of interest with Russia and other states with flawed human rights records. But if he is confirmed as America’s top diplomat, he would confront a State Department hierarchy vastly more critical of Putin’s Russia and a Congress committed to keeping sanctions in place to curb Kremlin aggression.
Nevertheless, Trump has hinted at major changes in U.S. defense and security policy that Putin might interpret as a U.S. green light for further incursions into sovereign neighbors’ territory. The Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia have large Russian minorities that the Kremlin leader has vowed to defend against what he sees as discrimination by their nationalist leaders. Russian seizure of territory in other former Soviet states -- Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014 -- has rattled nerves throughout the Baltic region, and those fears have intensified with Trump’s observation during the campaign that U.S. defense of the Baltic NATO members might depend on whether they have been paying their fair share for the collective defense pact.
U.S. failure to defend a NATO member state under attack would fracture the alliance that has kept the peace in Europe since its founding in 1949. Some senior U.S. foreign policy officials have been scrambling to reassure the Baltic states that Washington is a reliable ally and will respond to an attack on any one of NATO’s 28 member nations with all necessary firepower and resolve. Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham visited the Baltic states in the last days of December to reiterate the U.S. government’s commitment to NATO, despite Trump’s unsettling words. But the senators were not dispatched by Trump nor briefed on his current attitude toward the alliance. Trump couldn’t break with the alliance without the backing of Congress but as commander-in-chief he could choose not to send U.S. forces to repel a Russian intrusion if one were to occur.
Trump’s nomination of Tillerson for Secretary of State could undermine Western unity on how best to contain Russia. Tillerson has criticized the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union to punish Russia for its seizure of Ukrainian territory. The punishment cost Exxon billions as it blocked a joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft to exploit Arctic region resources. Tillerson will likely be required to divest himself of Exxon shares worth about $240 million but concerns remain about his track record of ignoring human rights abuses by foreign partners.
Putin has said little about the incoming U.S. administration beyond congratulating Trump on his surprising victory. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has praised Tillerson as a “pragmatic” choice for Secretary of State. Russian political analysts have also expressed pleasure at the impending change of the guard in Washington.
Sergei Karaganov, dean of the World Economy and Politics Department of Moscow’s School of Economics, said in a recent interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines, an independent and respected online magazine, that "Tillerson and all of Trump's foreign policy and security appointees are a) different from the previous politicians and b) not ideologized like the previous ones."
Russian expectations of improved relations and sanctions relief from a President Trump are likely to lead to tremendous disappointment, some veteran foreign policy experts warn.
“There’s a lot of wishful thinking going on in Moscow,” Alexander Vershbow, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and top NATO official, told journalists at a post-election discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Noting that Kremlin officials take no responsibility for the East-West tensions that followed their Crimea land grab, he warned that the leadership is “setting the public up for real disappointment.”
What Trump expects of Russia in return for improved ties is unclear. And his persistence in misinterpreting what Putin said about him early in the presidential race is troubling as it suggests he tunes out facts in preference of flattery.
“He called me brilliant, and that was nice,” Trump has repeatedly told interviewers, even after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov publicly corrected the Trump campaign’s translation of Putin’s remark. The Russian leader observed in late 2015 that Trump was the frontrunner in the then-crowded race for the Republican nomination. Putin described Trump as a “yarky chelovek,” which the TASS news agency translated as “a flamboyant fellow.” The Russian adjective “yarky” can also be interpreted as “bright,” but in the visual sense, like a bright light or bright color. It has no application to intellect -- except in Trump’s mind.
Much remains a mystery as to Trump’s priorities in dealing with the rest of the world, not least because his few policy pronouncements have come via Twitter. With its 140-character limit, the writer is compelled to oversimplify complex matters or to zero in on one aspect of an issue at the expense of a comprehensive analysis. Trump’s frequent use of exclamation marks in his tweets also detracts from the authority of his message.
Both backers and critics of Trump appear to hope he will adopt a more traditional and collaborative approach to crafting U.S. foreign policy once in office and that he will weigh the advice of his more knowledgeable government and military leaders. But given Trump’s claim to know more about ISIS than the U.S. generals and to reject the nation’s top intelligence officials’ conclusion that Russia hacked the U.S. election suggests he will continue to give preference to his own counsel.
Carol J. Williams will be giving a speech on Why the US and Russia Find Themselves in a New Cold War for the Enl!ghten Kitsap Community Forum - January 20th, 6:00 to 8:30 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; 700 Callahan Dr., Bremerton. For more information about this event and this forum go to http://www.enlightenkitsap.org/.
Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee: Re-Org Mtg Jan 14th (Saturday); 10 am; Eagles Nest; Only current Resident PCO’s can vote.
GM* Jan 30th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Legislative District Democrats: GM* Jan 19th (Thursday); 6:30 pm Social; 7 pm meeting; Poulsbo City Hall
26th Legislative District Democrats: GM* Feb 5th (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr. 1026 Sidney Rd, Pt Orchard
35th Legislative District Democrats: GM* TBA - Go to http://35thdemocrats.org/ for more information
Treasurer – Voni Falkner: 360-613-9596, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Treasurer – Bert Johnson: 360-204-5257, email@example.com
“…Trump is not a national leader; he is a national show. …it could be that governing Trump will be a White House holograph. When it comes to the substance of actual governance, it could be that President Trump is the man who isn’t there. The crucial question of the Trump administration could be: Who will fill the void left by a leader who is all façade?” – David Brooks, Syndicated columnist, Seattle Times January 4, 2017.
NEXT KCDW MEETING MAY 25TH Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Our speakers will be non-incumbent candidates. NO RSVP required. Please bring canned goods for the food bank.
COULD BIG MONEY BE LOSING ITS POWER? - by Jo Fox Burr
Of all the many things that make this 2016 Presidential Primary season so unique, one of them is how little influence big money has played so far compared to previous years.
Let’s start with talking about the two most famous GOP big donors – the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. In January of 2015, the Koch brothers announced their intention to insert $900 million into the GOP Presidential Primary. They even identified five potential candidates – Walker, Bush, Cruz, Paul, and Rubio. However, as of November 2015, none of these candidates seemed sufficiently focused on their issues, so they pulled back from supporting anyone, evidently surprised by their lack of influence. As of April 2016, Charles Koch even indicated it was possible Clinton could be a better president than the remaining GOP candidates. She, of course, rejected his support. Sheldon Adelson was ready to buy the presidency. Several auditioned for him, but having been burnt by Gingrich in 2012, he was looking for a winner this time and just did not find one – that is until last week when he suddenly decided to help the last man standing by endorsing Trump. So both of these giants in big money giving were essentially missing in action for the primary. Let’s see what happens for the general.
As for the candidates –
On the Republican side, about $155 million was raised for Jeb Bush. Of this, 78% came from super PACs and other independent groups. Of his campaign committee money, 93% of the individual contributions came from large donors. This bought Bush 4 delegates. Then we have Trump. He has raised about $51 million, of which only 5% comes from super PACs or other independent sources. Of his campaign committee money, only 6% of the individual contributions come from large donors; 75% comes from his own pockets. As you know, he claims to be self-funding so that he will be beholden to no one. The question I have is, as he has put so many business deals together to finance his endeavors, doesn’t his own money have strings to big money entities? Then there is all the free news coverage he has received for all his outrageous behavior. Nevertheless, fiction or not, his supporters believe he is a self-funder. Now he is the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee. Neither of these models represent the norm of previous Presidential Primary cycles regarding the role of big money.
The Democratic Primary has its own anomalies, as well. Bernie Sanders raised $182 million. While there is some supporting money from outside groups, it only counts for about 3% of the combined funds. More significantly, of the individual contributions to his campaign committee, only 35% of those are from large donors. According to FEC data, since 1980 successful primary candidates in both parties have raised an average 74% of their campaign money from large donors; and no primary candidate has won their party nomination with less than half their money coming from large donors. Yet Sanders has come close, managing to win nearly 40% of the already allocated delegates. Hillary Clinton is the one candidate of these four who is more or less on track in relation to big money donations with statistics from past elections. Of the $180 million in her campaign committee, 74% of her individual contributors are large money donors. She does also have super PACs and other outside independent groups raising money which is equivalent to 30% of the combined funds supporting her.
Previously, stemming the influence of big money in presidential elections, particularly with Citizens United, has seemed like an impossible uphill battle. Given what has happened in this election cycle, though, I am more hopeful. It is true a candidate who is following the winning formula from previous elections is most likely to be our next president. Still Bush proved that formula is not as reliable as it has been. As for Trump and Sanders, much of their successful appeal is their lack of support from big money. I think that, if nothing else, citizens are waking up to the evils of big money in politics and are beginning to offer real resistance with their votes. And it is gratifying to know, that should Clinton become president, her litmus tests for any Supreme Court appointees would be a commitment to overturn Citizens United and to support the Voting Rights Act.
Special Note: Breaking with previous traditions, because this is an election year we will be holding a general meeting in June to vote on both candidate endorsements and approvals. Our annual picnic will be in July. More information will follow.
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* May 16th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Leg. District Democrats: GM* June 21st (Tuesday); 6:30 pm social time; 7 pm meeting; Poulsbo Library
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* June 2nd (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr 1026 Sidney Rd, Pt Orchard
35th Leg. District Democrats: GM* May 14th (Saturday); Noon – 2 pm; Olympic College Shelton, 937 Alpine Way
“Politics is a damn expensive business. I had one hell of a time trying to raise money as a candidate. I had to put a second mortgage on our house to get that campaign started, and I ended up spending over $300,000 to get elected. I believe that public financing of federal election campaigns is the only thing that will insure good candidates and save the two-party system. It is the most degrading thing in the world to go out with your hat in your hand and beg for money, but that’s what you have to do if you haven’t got your own resources.”—Joe Biden (1974)
NEXT KCDW MEETING JUNE 22ND Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Our speakers will be incumbent candidates. We will also vote on endorsements and approvals NO RSVP required.
MY RANT! – by Jo Fox Burr
I keep trying to sort out something else to write about besides Donald J. Trump. But he permeates my mind so much that the other day I tried to use his name as a password to get into my computer. It didn’t work. So I might as well give in and write about what bothers me most about how he has risen to such significance that he actually poses a serious threat to not just our country, but to the world. You see, should Trump actually win the Presidency, there will be no point in moving to Canada (even if they would take such a mass migration) as there would be no way of escaping the horrific worldwide consequences of his presidency. Mars might be far enough away, but getting there could be a problem.
So here is my rant. I do blame the media for much of Trump’s success. For being such a total doofus, Trump has really played them. Perhaps, he is an idiot savant in this regard. Oh, I guess he is also supposed to be a good real estate developer, though without access to his tax returns, one does have to wonder about that. It is very hard to find any news cast that does not devote too much time televising him on a podium rambling on with ridiculous histrionics about what he would do as President and/or about some form of hate mongering towards Mexicans, Muslims, his opponents, the Trump U lawsuit judge, the media, or whatever or whoever has rankled his very thin skin. Indeed, several of these News programs are devoted almost entirely to these spectacles. No other candidate has gotten this much coverage. According to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times (‘My Shared Shame: The Media Helped make Trump’ – 3/26/2016), an analysis done by the Times found that as of the writing of Kristof’s article, the news media had given Trump $1.9 billion in free publicity. One Trump interview on NBC got replayed on MSNBC 51 times. Who needs to spend money on ads when you can get all this free media coverage?
Why is the media doing this? Evidently, it has been really good for ratings. I suppose even some non-supporters find him entertaining, the way a clown entertains. To me he is a very scary clown. Clearly his machoism, supposed wealth, and hate mongering plays to a certain population which has felt an increasing anger with Washington, D.C. Many of these people either have not personally experienced the rebound of the economy or are disturbed by changes in social mores. He frees them to air their grievances – however bigoted or hateful – sometimes with violence. This is not healthy for our society. It is not healthy for this particular subset of our society. With Trump they will gain nothing, as he is not competent enough to accomplish anything good for them. Ultimately, they will feel even more frustrated. Despite the damage this is doing to our country, though, much of the media continues to fall prey to Trump.
When googling for articles about the media’s role in facilitating Trump’s rise, I did find some journalists, such as Kristof who indicated an awareness of their own culpability. Too many others, though, offered what I consider to be lame excuses and justifications. Still I was encouraged to see the Washington Post go after Trump on what happened to the money he raised for veterans. They caught him red handed, and when he held a press conference, much of the media really grilled him on this and other issues. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights, dissembling in front of our eyes, throwing out insults like a classic schoolyard bully. Whereas some recent polls last month showed him even with Clinton, a poll taken since this incident had him down double digits. Maybe some in the press have finally developed a conscience and perhaps some courage to take Trump on. If so, this is long past due.
I cannot help but wonder, if the media would just stop reporting on Trump for a while, would it take away some of his mesmerizing power over his followers. It might force him to actually spend his own money on his campaign. As Matthew Moffitt (‘The Media must be Held Responsible for the Rise of Trump’ – Huffpost Politics – 4/7/2016) says, “And the next time [Trump] throws a temper tantrum, we should do what all children with egos hate – to be ignored.” I, for one, will not write about him again for a while, but I must admit that will be easy as I will not write another article until September.
Special Note: The KCDW summer picnic will be July 23rd at Corinne Thompson’s home. We are currently collecting quality items for auction (both silent and live) at the picnic. Please contact Corinne at 360-373-0059 if you have something to donate. More information about the picnic will follow.
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* June 20th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
Picnic June 25th (Sat); 12pm – 3pm; Raab Park P-Patch, 18349 Caldart Ave NE, Poulsbo
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* July 7th (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr 1026 Sidney Rd, Pt Orchard
35th Leg. District Democrats: GM* June 25th (Saturday); Noon – 2 pm; Olympic College Shelton, in the Library
“Despite some outstanding coverage of Trump, on the whole we in the media empowered a demagogue and failed the country. We were lap dogs, not watchdogs.” – Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, March 26,2016
NEXT KCDW MEETING APR. 27TH Yacht Club Broiler – No host lunch – 11:30 am; Meeting – 12:30 pm. Our discussion this month will be about Charter Schools. NO RSVP required. Please bring canned goods for the food bank.
I’M GOING TO MISS THIS MAN – by Jo Fox Burr
Before Lawrence O’Donnell’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg about his article, ‘The Obama Doctrine,’ published in The Atlantic (4/8/2016), O’Donnell said, “If you read only one foreign policy article in your life, let it be this one.” So I read it. O’Donnell was right.
This lengthy 72-page article is based on a series of interviews Goldberg has done with Obama spanning several years, starting in 2006 when he was still a US Senator. It spells out what could only be called a doctrine, as it delineates a foreign policy reorientation which definitely deviates from the path followed by past administrations. The basic long-term thrust being to move away from such a dominating focus on the Middle East toward a refocus on Asia, in particular China, Africa, and Latin America. There is also a greater focus on climate change and the resulting effects it will increasingly have on world economics and politics. What Goldberg details from his discussions with Obama, and a few others, are the ever more tremendous complexities involved in foreign policy these days. There is no way to summarize it all, but here are a few main points.
You remember Einstein’s definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. While this is not explicit, reading this article makes me think this is how Obama views what we have been doing in the Middle East prior to his presidency, and he thinks it is time to do something different. When Syria’s Assad used sarin gas to kill over 1000 of his own people, he crossed a red line set by Obama. The world waited to see if Obama would fire missiles in retaliation, but at the last moment he pulled back. This, of course, resulted in a fair amount of criticism, both domestically and from abroad. However what Obama saw was that such an action would lead us into a trap set by both allies and adversaries, and more significantly by conventional expectations of what an American President should do. At the same time, it would not succeed in destroying the chemical weapons. So what did Obama do instead? He took Putin aside at the next G20 summit and told him if he got Assad to get rid of the chemical weapons, it would eliminate the need for the US to take military action. Ultimately, Assad agreed, so the weapons were destroyed and a war was avoided. Still, critics decry Obama’s credibility because he failed to use the military when he initially warned he would. Instead he used diplomacy. He knew it would cost him politically, but still he had the courage to take the personal sacrifice to follow what he considered a more rational course.
Because of America’s energy revolution, Obama thinks the Middle East will soon be of little economic relevance to us. To him the Middle East seems like a problem we cannot solve, at least partially because of our past history in the region. Instead he would like to see the Middle East begin to try to solve its own problems. In particular, he thinks the Saudis should come to terms with sharing the neighborhood with Iran and settle on a kind of ‘cold peace.’ This is definitely a different approach. The problem is that ISIS and the like do pose a threat to us, so he cannot walk away just yet. The frustrating part of this to him is that it is getting in the way of the pursuits he considers to be more important objectives in the long term.
Obama is very concerned about being careful to act only when our national security is threatened. He does not feel we can or should try to solve all problems. Libya is a case in point for him. He felt like they did everything right and it still did not work out. It is a lesson which he bears in mind when faced with similar situations.
There is so much more to this article, but here’s the main takeaway. We have been very fortunate to have such an intelligent, thoughtful, selfless President managing our foreign policy for the last seven years. George W. Bush left a terrible mess. Obama is doing what he can to not leave a similar mess for the next president. Even if he succeeds in doing this, it is clear from this article that given the current complex world situation, there is no way that either Trump or Cruz could possibly keep us safe. For this reason alone, it is imperative to ensure we elect a Democrat to replace him. The world cannot afford to let the dysfunctional GOP take control of the US Presidency.
Special Note: Normally after our May General Meeting, we have a picnic and take a break for the rest of the Summer. This year, because it is an election year, we will be holding a General Meeting in both May and June – followed by our picnic in July.
Kitsap Co. Dem. Central Com: GM* Apr 18th (Monday); 6:30 pm Desserts; 7 pm meeting; Eagles Nest
23rd Leg. District Democrats: GM* Jun 21st (Tuesday); 6:30 pm social time; 7 pm meeting; Poulsbo Library
26th Leg. District Democrats: GM* May 5th (Thursday); 7-9 pm; Kitsap Rm, Givens Ctr 1026 Sidney Rd, Port Orchard
“[For America to be successful in leading the world] I believe that we have to avoid being simplistic. I think we have to build resilience and make sure that our political debates are grounded in reality. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the value of theater in political communications; it’s that the habits we – the media, politicians – have gotten into, and how we talk about these issues, are so detached so often from what we need to be doing that for me to satisfy the cable news hype-fest would lead to us making worse and worse decisions over time.” - President Barack Obama, taken from The Atlantic, 4/8/2016, The Obama Doctrine by Jeffrey Goldberg