Greg Harris: RIGGED: Takeaways from the “Wikileaks” Scandal – The Good & Bad

Greg HarrisOne of the major reasons I consider myself a “recovering politician” and write for a web-zine of the same name has been laid bare by the recent wikileaks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. There is a corruption to modern politics that too often allows a campaign system disproportionately funded by elites to therefore disproportionately do the bidding of elites—powerful industries, individuals and special interests.   We see this when ketchup is declared a vegetable; when anyone can have access to any damn gun they want; when insurers can cherry pick who they insure; when banks can wreck an economy and then come out wealthier on the other side.

There is a small segment of society capable of funding expensive campaigns. And politicians (as I experienced as a City Council candidate) spend disproportionate amounts of time talking to the elites to in order to fund their campaigns, which can skew perspective and priorities. The consequences emerge from the local to the national. While there are no pure sinners or saints, here is my snapshot of the “good and bad” on how the wikileaks reflect on the major players in the 2016 presidential race:

Barack Obama – GOOD

President Obama built a campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). His “Organize for America” (OFA) amounted to the most potent grassroots fundraising and organizing apparatus in political history. His instinct to go outside the Party establishment will look better and better over time. (Note: Howard Dean deserves major props for being first out the gate for “net-roots” fundraising that helped drive his 2004 presidential run.)

Hillary Clinton – BAD

The email scandal that has haunted Secretary Clinton is now given new credence. Indeed, it shows how vulnerable (hack-able) emails can be to outside interests. Clinton violated State Department (and Obama Administration policy) policy, plain and simple. And now we are reminded why such policies exist. When classified information is made vulnerable, America is made vulnerable.

Bernie Sanders – GOOD

Sen. Sanders was right to call out DNC bias. His concerns are now vindicated. Furthermore, his grassroots donor base (the famous $27 average contribution from everyday people) represented a good antidote to a two-party establishment system where big money too often correlates to big spoils for the very powerful, often at the expense of everyday people who struggle under today’s economic conditions.

Gary Johnson – GOOD

The Libertarian Party has its most exciting and proven presidential tickets in decades, led by former New Governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld. In some ways, their candidacy is a preview of what next generation Republicanism might look like – fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and pro-science.

Donald Trump – GOOD & BAD

Donald Trump’s message, like it or not, will resonate all the more now. His message on trade deals that quash the little guy, his distance from Wall Street, among other themes, sets himself up to be the messenger for a system that is in need of an enema. Sadly, too many Trump supporters – spurred by Trump himself – have turned their scorn towards the little people who suffer under global arrangements and/or lawlessness. This especially holds true for third world populations that are today’s indentured servants, and immigrants or illegal immigrants fleeing deplorable economic conditions and or extreme drug violence that has overtaken many Central American communities. A message about a system stacked against the proverbial “little guy” is powerful; a message that in turn casts vulnerable people of color as the problem is contradictory and, well, simply cruel.

The Two Party System – BAD

The Republican establishment was utterly rejected by its base voters during the primaries. Trump was not “their” choice. The Democratic establishment was narrowly undermined by Sanders, and it now appears the DNC did what they could to keep him down. I know from personal experience from local politics that the two-party system perpetuates itself through a system of spoils and picking winners and losers. And this is spoiling democracy.

This is in many ways a scary election. The “people” are fed up, but the vehicles to express that anger are compromised. We know in the abstract of a “system” that is rigged at many levels. But legitimate anger is being harkened by dog whistles from one campaign, and a compromised candidate from the other. Let’s pray that both major candidates – Hillary and Donald – recognize this historic moment and respond to it in ways that provide a somewhat shell shocked electorate with real options and a new direction.

Jonathan Miller at the 2016 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast

Last Night’s UK/Notre Dame Game — in Tweets

Lauren Mayer: Who Says Jewish Mothers Aren’t Hip?

One of a mom’s primary roles in life is to embarrass her children, and my sons would be the first to tell you I’ve done a great job in that capacity.  And while I don’t think I fit the cliche of the overbearing Jewish mother, I have been known to nag them about eating, and of course like any good Jewish mother, I secretly yearn for a gay son (because he’d never leave me for another woman . . . cue rim shot), although both my boys have had to tell me, “Sorry to disappoint you mom, but I’m straight!”

When I started doing these weekly videos, my younger son was 16 and pretty plugged into social media (for example, he saw the “Gangnam Style” video before it passed 100,000 views!)  He cautioned me against expecting too much, because as he put it, “Mom, anything over 100 views is viral for old people.”  And of course he threatened to disown me if I ever attempted to do anything as daring as a rap.

However, last week’s MSNBC interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a great reminder that not only is she incredibly smart and well-spoken, she’s also become a hip cultural phenomenon.  So if an 81-year-old Jewish mother can be re-invented as a meme, this middle-aged Jewish mother can become a rap star to salute her.

Election Day Thoughts from an Anonymous RP

vote-button-408x406Hey, I wanted to let you know what I am hearing. There is a lot of buzz in the air that it’s heavy in the suburbs. Or the cities. Or both.

But I think it’s going to come down to who is able to get their vote out, because the only poll that matters is on Election Day. Or what the people are telling me on the street.  Or both.

I think this weather is really going to help the Republicans with their GOTV. Or the Democrats. Or both.

And I don’t believe the polls anyway, because I’ve never been polled. And the polls are all slanted toward the Democrats anyway. Or the Republicans. Or both.

So I think the winner is likely to be the candidate who gets more votes with early, absentee, in person, and intergalactic votes counted. Or all of them.

So happy cliche day. Or Election Day. Or both.

UPDATE (4:22 PM):

I hear the exits are showing that the Republicans are winning in a number of places.  In other news, Democrats are also winning in certain places.  But the independents are trying to pull off some places other than those.


It’s going to be a long night.  We may be counting votes into tomorrow.

The RP on the #KYSen Debate: A Rimracking

A Twitter Review of Matt Bai’s “All the Truth is Out”

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The RP on NPR

The RP joined NPR’s “To the Point” today to talk about the upcoming national elections, with a focus on the Grimes/McConnell battle, and the unusual relationship between the Bluegrass State’s two Senators.


Josh Bowen: The Five Best Snacks

It is astounding to me how many nutrition blogs, books, websites and magazines there are.

In the United States alone, there are 2,500 diet/nutrition books on the market.

2,500? Holy cow! What for?

I digress though.  After training for 11 years, I have found that most people go wayward on their nutritional plan in between meals and at night. People get the munchies and they want things to snack on. Chips, candy, chocolate and a litany of other nutritionally lacking foods become the staple of one’s snacks. This leads us into a false sense of control and snowball’s us off our well planned out nutrition plan.

joshThis can be solved, very easily, by picking more nutritious, easy access foods. 5 of which I consider the best snacks at my training desk. Always ready for when my blood sugar crashes and I need a quick boost of energy but cannot eat because I am training a client (eating while training clients looks awful by the way).

So without further ado, here is my list of the 5 best snacks:

  1. Quest Bars You can define whether a food is good for you or not by the amount of ingredients it has in it (most of the time). Quest bars are the only protein bars I have seen that have fewer than 100 ingredients in them (joke). All joking aside, they come in a variety of flavors and are made up of all gluten free ingredients. For more information check them out here
  2. Almonds I love almonds! There are a staple for me when I need something to get me through a couple of hours of training before I eat a meal. A handful of almonds can supply a sufficient amount of calories but also nutrients to get you through to your next meal or get your through a hard workout. Loaded with healthy fats, almonds can help in decreasing bodyfat (Omega 3s), decrease the chance for heart disease (Omega 3s) and decrease inflammation (ta da Omega 3s). Also, very versatile with almond butter and almond milk being a great substitute for peanut butter and milk.
  3. PB2 and Protein Powder A great combination to snack on to get your through the day. PB2 is a powder peanut butter that has 85% less calories than regular peanut butter. Add in a good protein powder (UMP by Beverly International is my go-to) and you have a great snack that has a lot of protein and a little bit of fat to keep you full for a few hours. Have a sweet tooth? Add some cinnamon and it tastes great!
  4. Rice Cakes You laugh but I love rice cakes. Especially when I need something quick and need something that has a crunch. This usually keeps my cravings to a minimum (I love crunchy foods) and goes best post workout when I need some carbs. You can add almond butter or some PB2 to make it more a meal, if you chose.
  5. Suja Those unfamiliar with Suja it is a brand of juice that is cold pressured. Via their website here is how they describe the process: Cold Pressure, also known as High Pressure Processing retains food quality, maintains natural freshness, and extends microbiological shelf life without heating to high temperatures. After our juice is bottled, a high level of cold pressure is applied evenly to destroy pathogens and ensure the juice is safe to drink while preserving vitamins, enzymes and nutrients. These make great snacks that you can drink and pack all your nutritious fruits and vegetables into one drink.  In my line of work where I sometimes preform 6-8 sessions in a row, I need quick and easy snacks to keep me going. I also need food ready so that I do not go without food and/or make the wrong choice on what to eat. These work great for me and hopefully they work great for you.

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