Trump Mini Me: A Political Novice Wreaks Havoc in Middle America

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Macomb Daily

Here’s a cautionary Tale for the normally sane who might be tempted to drink the Trump kool-aid again.

Karen Spranger, the now former Macomb County (Michigan) Clerk/Register of Deeds, was the center of a political storm that started the day she was elected as a Tea Party Republican last November. She had never run for, or held any previous political office, and some attributed her unlikely election to the prevailing mood of Macomb County voters who bought into the Trump movement – she was new to politics, so that had to be good.

The drama finally ended last Tuesday when a judge ordered Spranger removed from office for lying about her residency.

Like Trump, this political novice thought that she had complete authority over her office, and could do whatever she wanted. That included interfering with the normal functioning of her office in numerous ways, like firing anybody she wanted without going through human resources. The result was an office in disarray with a backlog of work that required a judge to intervene and order a swift resolution. (Which didn’t happen – the backlog remains for others to fix)

During Spranger’s fifteen months in office, there were 43 occurrences that contributed to an atmosphere of chaos within the office, and convinced many in county government that she lacked the requisite competence for the job. (Sound familiar?)

A sample of her brief but dramatic tenure:

  • Had her computer access cut off for a time after she allowed non-county workers to use it, resulting in a fine for ethics violations.
  • Fired the two top deputies who had helped her get elected, and who are now suing her.
  • Asked the county to fund an independent council so she could displace, reassign or demote unionized workers. The request was rejected.
  • Totaled her county car when she rear-ended another vehicle.
  • Sued by the county for obstructing a plan to move 2 of her offices to a new building.
  • She sued the county to lift a ban on weapons in her office.
  • She sued the county to have the court to declare her as “The Boss” in her office.
  • Caused the aforementioned work backlog which dismayed residents and confounded local businesses.

Running parallel to all of this was the charge that Spranger lied about her county residency. When an investigation was finally undertaken, it found that the house in which she claimed to be living had five feet of garbadge piled up throughout, making it impossible enter. A bulldozed had to punch an opening in the exterior to gain entry.

Spranger is now facing three criminal cases, including battery for kicking an employee and taking a non-employee to a conference in Washington, D.C. at the expense of the county – in addition to perjury for signing an affidavit with knowledge that what she reported was not true.

But as might be expected, Ms. Spranger is not going quietly. In a rambling document filed in federal court, she is seeking to have her position returned, and is demanding an immediate investigation and audit into possible crimes against the clerk’s office.

The document appears to be seeking intervention by Gov. Rick Snyder and makes mention of the use of the Michigan National Guard to “execute, suppress insurrection and repel invasion.”

The 11-page document is titled “administrative claim notice of administrative overthrow of a constitutional office clerk of court of Macomb County by rogue county agents.” Spranger wants the return of “all illegally removed files by those public officials who are in insurrection and rebellion and who have gone on strike against the constitution. Who have withheld and removed books, records, files from my County Clerk office.”

The topic listed on the document is “overthrow of a Constitutional Public Office violation” and the investigation and injunction would be to “stop the overthrow of a Constitutional Public Office.” The letterhead on the document is listed “class, Rodney-Dale, Private Attorney General, 14th Amendment section 4, Constitutional Bounty Hunter” out of Cleveland, N.C. Rodney Dale Class is listed as a “private attorney general” from North Carolina on the AntiCorruption Society website.

The document is filed to the attention of Gov. Snyder; U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart (whose district covers West Virginia); David Gelios, the former head of the Detroit FBI; the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, and President Donald Trump. It also lists a number of county officials who it claims violated the constitution and are guilty of insurrection and rebellion and “are committing mutiny”.

County Executive Mark Hackel appropriately labeled the filing as “gibberish.”

The best possible outcome would be for Karen Spranger to get the help she obviously needs. It’s also a cautionary tale of warning about making uninformed assumptions concerning what’s best for a community, state – or country.

Source: Detroit Free Press & michiganradio.org

 

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The Deep State: Digging Down with Trepidation

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“The Deep State” is a term that has been growing incrementally in America’s Political awareness. My own introduction came by way of Bill Moyer’s interview with Mike Lofgren, author of The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government. Since then, as more information has entered my awareness, I’ve felt a painful need to understand more about this mysterious entity. I say painful because if even some of what’s being reported is true, it means having to radically adjust the way I see the world.

After reading an article on OpEdNews by Gareth Porter, I decided to test my understanding of the problem by posting a comment on the article in which the main points of the problem, as I understood them, were listed – along with several questions that came to mind as a result. It got several replies, one of which is included verbatim.

The Comment:
I have some questions to ask, and I do so without facetious intent. I’d just like to know if I have a correct understanding of what this and other writers who have dealt with the same issue are saying:

  1. The Deep state is the entity actually in control of U.S. foreign policy.
  2. All the news coming from mass media outlets really is “fake” in that it’s manipulated by the Deep State for its own purposes.
  3. No one in government can be trusted, because they’re either part of the Deep State or are being duped by it.
  4. The so-called “elected” Presidents of both parties are simply trading places as the titular head of a sham government.
  5. Self-interest for the purpose of self-preservation is the primary driving force within government agencies.
  6. As long as the FBI, CIA and NSA (not to mention whatever other agency we might know about) maintain their ability to covertly direct policy and disseminate propaganda, there is no hope for government “chosen” by an electoral process to have any effect, or serve any purpose.
  7. If this is in fact the case, it puts citizens totally at the mercy of unseen forces.

Personally, this leaves me with several uncomfortable questions:

  1. Is there any way out?
  2. If conspiring forces are so deeply entrenched, what power do ordinary citizens have to uproot them and take back the ability to self-govern (if in fact we ever had it).
  3. Would it even be possible to do so without taking apart the whole machine and starting over?
  4. Who can be trusted?

Please clarify any misunderstanding on my part – it would be greatly appreciated.

Reply by Jack Dresser:

You’ve described the picture very well. A revolutionary transformation uprooting and replacing our hopelessly corrupt and murderous system is clearly necessary for human survival. The recent impassioned rejection of the duopoly by voters suggests the first boil over of a revolutionary teapot Chris Hedges anticipated 3 years ago. But Hedges warned that a viable replacement system needs to be clearly conceptualized and ready for installation to avoid chaos and/or seizure of power by the embattled deep state which still has the guns.

A stepwise process will be necessary with multiple elements to preserve the economy while transforming its structures and outputs. As an established government figure bearing the vision of a not-too-radical democratic socialist model, Sanders demonstrated what could be done as a beginning. His platform, however, was very limited. He failed to face militarism, ecological destruction and climate crises on the near horizon. The Green Party platform was much better, as is the Movement for Black Lives platform, and it’s interesting how closely these platforms match.

But beyond clear-eyed and creative vision, politically savvy candidates with charisma are needed who can dissolve the artificial left-right distinctions and identify key common threads. A critical mass of the citizenry must reach the level of understanding you describe to demand and support integration of legitimate citizen needs united in radical change. Solution to any puzzle first requires clear recognition of the pieces and how they fit together.

There are numerous small-scale models around the world to draw upon – e.g., the autonomous communities of Gaviotas in Columbia and Marinaleda in Andalucia, the autonomous Mondragon economy of Basque Spain, the direct participatory socialist democracy we destroyed in Gaddafi’s Libya, the recent constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador protecting rights of indigenous communities and the earth, the localized eco-agricultural projects surpassing GMO agriculture in crop yields using organic methods, and many discrete, inventive, sensible social and political systems as seen in Michael Moore’s “Who do we invade next?”

There may yet be basis for hope, but we must first decapitate both heads of our Hydra and see citizenship as a daily, not biennial, duty.

Postscript

From this and other replies, it appears that my basic understanding of the Deep State is workable. But it’s evident that there’s much more to learn. I’ve seen writers shoot off in different directions when discussing the Deep State, some of which are a bit too far out for my taste. My plan then, is to identify a few sources who can be deemed credible and follow the thread of their reports.

In truth, I hoped my analysis was off the mark. But since I’ve been assured it is not, it means having to face a choice: either ignore what’s been revealed about the Deep State and carry on as usual – or reconstruct the entire political landscape, and learn to comprehend it from two points of view.

Perhaps the iceberg analogy would be appropriate here. The tip of the berg may be real enough, but the immensity of what controls its direction lies unseen, deep below the surface.

However, the question about a way out was answered – and in the way I’d anticipated. A thorough transformation of government, (whether top-down or bottom-up, I’m not sure) is needed. Furthermore, any transformation that includes eliminating the Deep State would have to be nothing short of revolutionary in nature. What form that revolution would take is the only question.

Conservatives Fiddle While America Burns

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IAmMuslimToo Protest in Times Square. Source: Reuters

A fiercely conservative editor at The Detroit News, had an interesting column in Sunday’s February 19 edition about the effect Trump’s travel ban is having on the local Muslim community. He pointed out that while the executive action has greatly increased the stress level of Muslim-Americans, it has also had the surprising effect of greatly increasing support for the community from outside. Besides Detroit, cities across the country are witnessing large numbers of non-muslims protesting the ban.

At first glance the column seemed to be about a silver lining amidst despair – you know, feel good stuff. Instead, it turned into nothing more than another excuse to lick old wounds from the beating conservatives took – at their own hands it should be noted – during the previous administration.

The writer deftly turned a reprehensible action taken by the current “so-called” President – which turned out to have at least one positive effect – and used it as a false equivalent to note the expansion of the terror watch list during the Obama years.

Here’s the problem:

Obama is no longer President!

All that matters now is what happens next. Columns like the one cited here are nothing more than attempts to divert attention away from larger issues – a tactic that favored by conservatives in Congress, along with their band of merry apologists.

I realize that many Republicans were deeply traumatized by having to endure a President who didn’t fit the WASP standard – just as many of us now are with one who doesn’t fit the mental/emotional/decency standard. It’s amusing when the right tells liberals to “get over it”, and accept the fact that Trump’s the man now, when they themselves can’t get over and let go of their own painful memories.

The Detroit News column seemed to be taking the high road toward a deeper discussion about the ban, perhaps using it as an opportunity to discuss the unforeseen effects of government policies, whether one agrees with them or not. But it didn’t. Instead it lapsed back into partisan politics. (Of course having such a discussion means ignoring the elephant in the room that is Donald Trump’s mental impairment and the resulting dysfunction of his administration.)

But aside from the larger issues, it would’ve be interesting to know the writer’s opinion about the way this ban has resulted in renewed support for immigrants. Does he see it as a sign of hope, or as a threat? What’s being overlooked by people on either side? How do we uphold the democratic principles of personal freedom, life and liberty, while also securing borders? What does national security even mean? How does it relate to personal security? What if the greatest threat to both national and personal security is from within? We can close all the borders, chain the doors and lock down all the windows, but does that really solve the problem?

This is just me tossing out some of the things I’d like to see discussed apart from political ideology. But I guess that begs the question if it’s even possible.

Anyway, we could use more people willing to take on the real issues confronting democracy at present, and less misdirected chasing after phantoms from the past.