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A tale of two very different conventions

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So much fear and hate roiled from the Republican National Convention on TV that our young nephews fled the cottage's living room, their tablets and devices unable to drown out the speakers' bellowing. The most creativity the Republicans showed was in the variety of excuses people gave for not attending, from fly-fishing to hair cuts, to a tour of burning town dumps, "all of which have more popularity than the front-running candidates." 

We adults sat before the TV in total bemusement, while a Black speaker referred to his skin colour as "a good tan," while announcers gushed over Donald Trump's children -- five children by three mothers -- as a "charming family," while Trump promised to "make America great again," thus defining his voting block as those people hurt most by the policies and practices he's promoted for decades. Mostly though, the RNC put on one long blast of fearmongering, fingerpointing fiery rage.   

"America is still the greatest country on earth," insisted President Barack Obama at the Democratic convention. (Many American-Canadians might dispute that statement, but still...)  A stellar line-up of speakers brought the crowd to roaring approval, time and again, on themes like fairness and sharing and taking care of all of America's children. 

Michelle Obama said she and Barack "always take the high road," tacitly admonishing Bernie Sanders supporters to do the same.  "I wake up every day in a house built by slaves," she said, and yet she and the President welcome all kinds of people to their home. Bernie Sanders said that the DNC platform committee adopted almost all the planks in his platform, thus producing "the most progressive platform the Democrats have ever put forward." 

Bill Clinton said he had proposed to Hillary time and again and finally bought a little house she'd admired on the way to the airport and told her, "Now you have to marry me." He recounted how in an early job, she had checked birth records against school enrollment, discovered missing kids, and knocked on doors all over the state until she figured out that the missing kids were children with disabilities, for whom schools had no facilities or accommodation. So she lobbied for accommodation. He described 40 years of her taking the initiative to root out social issues and find solutions, from locating Spanish-speaking social workers in her area, to winning Medicare for 8 million low-income children during Bill's term.

Vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine introduced himself with a half-hour speech about his background in his legal and political career. Motivated by his deep Catholic faith, Kaine said he welcomes equal marriage and respects a woman's right to choose. Then he swung into the vice president's role as attack dog, and went after Donald Trump.  "He ends every speech with, 'Believe me!'" said Kaine, going into all the reasons people should not believe Trump, from Trump's bankruptcies to his divorces to his volatile temper.

Democrats also looked hard at whether Donald Trump had any involvement in the hack that released private Democratic National Committee emails, with the apparent intent to divide Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters even more. They noted an apparent Russian connection to the hacking. That connection looms larger and larger the closer anyone looks at Trump. The Washington Post asserts the hacking connection and details how the Trumps have been trying to break into the Russian real estate market for decades. The Post has also detailed Trump's Russian financial connections and close personal relationship with Vladimir Putin, whom he has said publicly he admires.

Nobel -winning economist Paul Krugman called Trump "The Siberian Candidate," in The New York Times. Three of Trump's top aids have extensive Russian connections, (Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Carter Page) and Trump's policies -- such as they are -- are strongly pro-Russian. It's only fair to wonder what his Russophillia means for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and for former Soviet Union countries that Vladimir Putin may still want to annex, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.   

Meanwhile, the Republicans continue vicious attacks on Hillary Clinton. If even a fraction of the millions spent investigating Hillary had been directed to investigating Donald Trump, we might have seen some actual charges laid.  But what the U.S. has now is the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, calling for an adversary foreign government to investigate his political opponent.

 Can you spell TREASON?   

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Image: Flickr/Beverly Yuen Thompson

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