Friday, September 22, 2017

Impeaching Trump and America Under a President Pence

While I have posted on this subject before the 2016 election, in this time where it appears that Washington (including both the Democrats and at least some Republicans) along with the mainstream media are doing everything in their power to get rid of Donald Trump, I thought it would be prudent to revisit the belief system of the man that will replace him, Vice President Mike Pence, a man who garners almost no press coverage.

Thanks to the internet which never forgets anything, we can see what Mr. Pence had to say about key issues during his tenure in Congress and as Governor of Indiana.  The website, On The Issues, provides us with a complete listing of every vote that Mike Pence took part in while in Congress as well as what he had to say about key issues during his tenure in government prior to entering the White House.

As a bit of background and to help you put the dates into context, between January 3, 2001 and January 3, 2011, Mike Pence served as a Republican Representative in the House of Representatives from Indiana's second and sixth districts.  From January 14, 2013 to January 9, 2017, he served as Governor of Indiana.

Here is a summary of his voting record on seven key issues that provide us with a snapshot of Mike Pence's political leanings:

1.) Budget and the Economy:

  
In 2011, he was one of the co-sponsors of House Joint Resolution 2 which proposed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States as shown here.

As governor of Indiana, he also was in favour of adding an amendment to the Indiana state Constitution that would require a balanced budget as shown in this excerpt from a "state of the state" speech he gave on January 13, 2015:

"Remarkably, Indiana is one of the few states in the country that does not have a balanced budget requirement in its constitution. It is a tribute to the public servants in this room that Indiana has adhered to that practice in recent years even though it is not required.

A balanced budget requirement in the Constitution will assure Hoosiers that today and tomorrow Indiana will spend wisely, protect our state from an economic downturn, and unlike Washington, D.C., we won’t bury our children and grandchildren under mountains of debt.

I commend Senator David Long for his leadership on a federal balanced budget amendment. I call on this General Assembly to begin the process of adding a balanced budget amendment to the Indiana Constitution in this session and send this historic reform to the people of Indiana."

2.) Civil Rights:


Note that he was in favour of making the highly invasive PATRIOT Act permanent.  We will learn more about his stance on state-related privacy issues later in this posting.

3.) Energy and Oil:


Three words - "Drill Baby Drill.

Here are some quotes that clearly show his thoughts on climate change back in 2008:

"I would not agree that there is broad consensus on man-made or human activity being the proximate cause of global warming. I think there is more diversity of opinion among many scientists in this area of discipline than most people realize. I don't  think global warming as caused by human activity is a settled question in the scientific community."

"Claims of catastrophic consequences in global warming are not reflective of the majority of the opinions even among IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scientists … "

4.) Free Trade:


Given that Mr. Pence hails from a state in the industrial heartland (now the Rust Belt), it's not terribly surprising that his views on trade lean heavily to the freer trade side of the spectrum, a stance that is in very sharp contrast to his current boss.  In fact, his stance is so contrary to that of the President's, it's a wonder that he was selected as Vice President!

5.) Health Care:


In 2010, he was in favour of deauthorizing funding for Obamacare and wanted the law repealed.

6.) Immigration:


He was ahead of his time when it came to promoting the Mexican border fence!

Mr. Pence also stated that he wished to declare English as the official language of the United States in 2007 and that "anchor babies" would not automatically be granted Birthright Citizenship, co-sponsoring H.R. 1868 (the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009) which considered a person a citizen only if they were born to a parent who was a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident and an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

7.) Homeland Security:


Obviously, under a Pence presidency, those of us that are concerned about personal privacy should expect the highly invasive state-based intelligence snooping status quo to continue.

As history has shown us, United States presidents don't always get to impose their personal beliefs on the nation as a whole, particularly when those beliefs contrast with the agenda of the "Deep State" (for lack of a better term), however, as the Trump presidency has shown us, the president's belief system can, at the very least, throw the nation into turmoil, angering at least half of the voting public. From the information in this posting, it would look like a President Pence would do little to undo the political polarization that America has experienced over the past two decades since his voting record suggests that he leans rather heavily to the right side of the political spectrum.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Anti-Russia Movement and the Gullibility of Congress

As I have posted previously, it is starting to look like the McCarthy era in Washington with the anti-Russia finger pointing occurring on a very regular basis, particularly from the left in reference to electoral interference in the 2016 presidential election.  A recent letter from three members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology provides us with ample evidence on the lengths that Congress will go to in its efforts to vilify the Russians.




Here's what Representative Eshoo proudly states on her website:


It is rather alarming to think that the FCC granted a licence to Sputnik Radio when the station's purpose during the 2016 presidential election was to function as a proxy for the Kremlin by influencing the election.  As you will note in the letter, the origins of this assertion about Sputnik Radio was outlined in the New York Times Magazine from September 13, 2017 in an article entitled "RT, Sputnik and Russia's New Theory of War" which you can find here.   Here's a quote from the NYT article:

"But all of this paled in comparison with the role that Russian information networks are suspected to have played in the American presidential election of 2016. In early January, two weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, American intelligence officials released a declassified version of a report — prepared jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency — titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.” It detailed what an Obama-era Pentagon intelligence official, Michael Vickers, described in an interview in June with NBC News as “the political equivalent of 9/11.” “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the authors wrote. “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.” According to the report, “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”  The intelligence assessment detailed some cloak-and-dagger activities, like the murky web of Russian (if not directly government-affiliated or -financed) hackers who infiltrated voting systems and stole gigabytes’ worth of email and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But most of the assessment concerned machinations that were plainly visible to anyone with a cable subscription or an internet connection: the coordinated activities of the TV and online-media properties and social-media accounts that made up, in the report’s words, “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine.”


The intelligence assessment detailed some cloak-and-dagger activities, like the murky web of Russian (if not directly government-affiliated or -financed) hackers who infiltrated voting systems and stole gigabytes’ worth of email and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But most of the assessment concerned machinations that were plainly visible to anyone with a cable subscription or an internet connection: the coordinated activities of the TV and online-media properties and social-media accounts that made up, in the report’s words, “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine.”
The assessment devoted nearly half its pages to a single cable network: RT. The Kremlin started RT — shortened from the original Russia Today — a dozen years ago to improve Russia’s image abroad. It operates in several world capitals and is carried on cable and satellite networks across the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. RT and the rest of the Russian information machine were working with “covert intelligence operations” to do no less than “undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order,” the assessment stated. And, it warned ominously, “Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes.” On Sept. 11, RT announced that the Justice Department had asked a company providing all production and operations services for RT America in the United States to register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a World War II-era law that was originally devised for Nazi propaganda. Also on Sept. 11, Yahoo News reported that a former correspondent at Sputnik was speaking with the F.B.I. as part of an investigation into whether it was violating FARA.
Russia has dismissed the intelligence-community claims as so much Cold War-era Yankee hysteria. Margarita Simonyan, RT’s chief editor, told me the allegations against the network smacked of “McCarthyism.” Still, Russian officials are remarkably open about the aims of RT and Sputnik: to “break the monopoly of the Anglo-Saxon global information streams,” as Putin himself put it during a visit to RT’s Moscow headquarters in 2013." (my bold)
Now that we see how the story about Sputnik Radio and its 105.5 FM Washington, D.C. radio station and how it influenced the 2016 Presidential Election was generated, let's go back to focusing on Sputnik Radio itself.  Sputnik Radio is an arm of Sputnik International, a news agency established by the Russian government-controlled news agency, Rossiya Segodnya.  It was originally founded as RIA Novosti in June 1941 with the task of informing Soviet citizens about developments in the Second World War.  In December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin merged RIA Novosti with the nation's international radio service, Voice of Russia, to create Rossiya Segodnya.  On November 10, 2014, Rossiya Segodnya launched the Sputnik multimedia platform, including a radio service and website, headquartered in Moscow.
As noted in the aforementioned letter, Sputnik Radio reallydoes have a radio station in Washington, D.C. at 105.5 FM, however, as you can see here, the station did not launch until July  of 2017:

Here's more information on the launch of Sputnik Radio 105.5 FM from early July 2017 and how it will challenge America's mainstream media from the dreaded RT:

This clearly shows us that, despite what the three Representatives stated in their letter to the FCC, Sputnik Radio's station in Washington, D.C. could not have had any impact on the 2016 presidential election since they didn't exist until nearly 7 months after the election took place...unless, of course, those nasty Russians have developed some means of time travel.
It's pretty obvious that the triad who wrote this letter didn't take the five minutes necessary to actually research Sputnik Radio, rather, they "shot from the hip" based on a story that was printed in the non-fake, mainstream media.  Now who looks gullible?  On the other hand, it is reassuring to know that Washington has never, ever, ever used propaganda to influence an electorate anywhere in the world, isn't it?