Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hillary Pillories Donald

Hillary Clinton finally showed she can throw a punch.  Tonight she was throwing flurries, combinations and she rocked the Donald time and time again.

He raised the 30 years of experience, so let me just talk briefly about that. You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for the children's defense fund and I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings. In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women's rights are human rights. He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, and called her an eating machine.

Perhaps her finest combination was her answer to Donald's refrain about how she's had 30 years to do things right and she's failed and she said let's just look at the last 30 years, what I was doing and what you were doing--and then ticked off her work for children and families while he was borrowing money from his father, to her work as Secretary of State while he starred on Celebrity Apprentice.

She basically in three or four sentences illuminated the stark reality that while she was working in substantive jobs, he was playing and living the life of a lightweight.

She zinged him about building his buildings with Chinese steel, which undermined our economy by supporting the dumping of Chinese steel and she returned to his failure to pay income taxes.

If you were looking for something to cheer about, to see your candidate draw blood, to live the battle vicariously, she gave you plenty to cheer about.

She was as good as she was at the Benghazi hearings and better. She looked tough, ready to do the job.

Remarkably, she was able to slip punches about her own statements about her dream being a hemisphere with open borders, as she explained that statement was in the context of open borders not to migrants and trade but to sharing energy sources.

 Curiously, the one time Trump seemed to land a punch was about doing abortions on children a day before delivery and she never denied she was for that, but simply insisted on a woman's right to abortion, seemingly under any circumstances.

She might have said, "I'm willing to allow abortion, but not infanticide," but she likely simply didn't want to cut too fine a line and simply hammer away at his determination to reverse Roe v Wade.

Happily, both candidates finally admitted their appointments to the Supreme Court would be political appointees to carry out political agendas. That lie that Supreme Court nominees are about the Constitution and weighing cases according to the law, not according to politics is finally dispensed with. Hillary will expect her appointees to reverse Citizens United and to confirm Roe v Wade.  So be it. At least we know what we are getting.

Cannot imagine any minds were changed, but it sure will be with a new sense of enthusiasm I will go to the voting booth November 8.

When I arrive, I imagine I'll see men with Trump T shirts standing there with guns on their hips or slung over their shoulders (this is New Hampshire, where guns can be carried openly) and I intend to walk right up to them and say, "You have a gun. I got a vote. And I'm going to walk right in there and vote for Hillary."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wah Wah Donald: Oh, Life is SO Unfair

sO, here's the riff I'd love to see Hillary do, at tomorrow's debate: Just say, "Well, if I understand Donald's complaint, it goes something like this:
"Oh, this is just so UNFAIR!  I'm not losing, it's just a conspiracy of the media says I am. And they are so dishonest, believe me.

There are Mexican rapists poring across the borders and Muslims all over the world who hate us, who are beheading people and they are getting together with the New York Times and CNN and they are going to rig the election and dead people will be voting for Crooked Hillary.

It's gonna be zombie nation, I'm telling you. All those dead people showing up voting for Crooked Hillary.

Don't those zombies know about the emails? I mean, what are they thinking? It's just so incredible.
There's no way I could lose to her.

And all those polls, just so crooked. All a conspiracy, let me tell you.

I mean, I shouldn't be surprised, with the liberal media all poisoning the minds of the voters with their lies, and they've been lying so much. Just so much. It's just unbelievable, the lies.
But we're winning anyway, people have told me. I've heard I'm winning.
People really love me.

I was just in New Hampshire. Great people in New Hampshire. We had just so many people. Like 500,000 people in Portsmouth. They couldn't all get in the place. There was a big crowd outside, all trying to get in to see me, because I'm the biggest star to ever go to New Hampshire. Really, I mean, New Hampshire? I'll let you decide.

Some really good looking poontang up there in Portsmouth, actually, I don't mind telling you. Well, I would mind if there's a hot mike on around here. But,  really.  Some blondes in tight jeans and flannel shirts, make that plaid look good. And they were just trying to get at me. Crowds outside. Must have been a million.

I was lucky to get out in one piece, but I'm married now, mostly. You know, Melania, who is just so hot, you wouldn't believe.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, they are stealing the election from me. Totally rigged.
Nobody is voting against me, only the media, who contributed $1,464, 298.15 to Crooked Hillary and only $500 to me.
Not that I need the money, you understand, because I'm so smart I don't pay taxes, which, if I did, they would only squander.

She's bought them off, Hillary has.

Hey, you want a ride on my airplane? You can sit right next to me."

Wouldn't it be fun to see Hillary do that before a national audience? I bet she could pull it off.

The Supreme Court: It Doesn't Have to be This Way

There is nothing in the Constitution which says there have to be 9 Supreme Court Justices, nothing which says that every Justice has to have a vote in every case for the rest of his or her life.

Currently,  Presidential elections are corrupted by the looming presence of the Supreme Court. You may vote for a creepy anathema, like Donald Trump, simply to vote for a Supreme Court to your liking, and apparently this is what is driving significant numbers of Republicans to vote for a lunatic to hold the nuclear codes, to protect the next 30 years for a Supreme Court which hews to a Scalia version of backwardness.

But suppose Congress voted in a different system? 

No constitutional amendment would be require to enact a law which says each President gets 2 Supreme Court Justices per term, and only the 9 most recently appointed Justices get a vote on decisions. You can still serve, still ask questions during oral arguments, still write opinions, but you don't get to vote on the decision.

A two term President would have four Justices, not a majority but a significant influence on the Court. When the next President arrives, he can start to change the Court.

What would be lost in this arrangement?
Clearly, the idea of life time appointments has been sustained by the idea that judges should not be political players, and should provide a "stabilizing" effect to restrain the wild swings in political passions like the one which brought the Tea Party to power in 2010.

But it has become abundantly clear Supreme Court Justices are every bit as political as members of the Executive and Legislative branches. They pre judge cases based on their social and political values and they are much more predictable than either the President or than most Congressmen. You know exactly how four Justices on the right and how four Justices on the left will vote with a certainty which exceeds what you know about your own Congressman, unless your Congressman is Frank Guinta, in which case you can simply ask: What would the stupidest vote be?

We have, in fact, lived a lie, when it comes to the Supreme Court. We have tried to make believe the Justices are like baseball umpires, who call balls and strikes without regard to who is batting or who is pitching. But nothing can be further from the truth. Our current system insures you have umpires who call balls and strikes based on who is pitching.

That the Republican Senate has refused to vote on President Obama's nominee is only one in a long list of observations which speak to how completely political the Court is.  Now Senator John McCain is saying if Hillary Clinton is elected President, the Senate will simply refuse to confirm any of her nominations. Oh, there is a politically neutral Court for you.

It's not that the Court is more political now--it's simply we cannot continue pretending the Court is not political.

We should recognize this reality, accept it and agree the Court will swing, more slowly, but still swing, as the political reality of the country swings.  If we have eight years of Donald Trump, by the end of that time abortions will be illegal, campaign financing will be a free for all, prayer will return to classrooms, marriage will be one man one woman, sex between consenting adults will only be legal if it's heterosexual and it will be mandatory if Donald Trump wants to have sex with the woman in question.

But, with the next President, say, Michelle Obama, all that will swing back in the other direction.

We live in a dynamic society.  Let's not have a Supreme Court which prevents us from living in the present.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Irredeemable Deplorables: Hate the Sin, not the Sinner

Donald Trump does have the capacity to get to the nub of a problem occasionally: When Brexit got voted through, amid all the elaborate explicating by pundits, he simply shrugged and said, "People want borders."
When Hillary Clinton described (accurately, I think) his supporters as deplorables, he said he didn't know which was worse calling them deplorables or irredeemable. 
And that was the problem, as many saw it for Clinton.
We are taught to hate the sin, not the sinner.

But it is difficult.

Consider two stories from today's New York Times:
Animated by Mr. Trump

1. An Arizona rancher, Tony Fraze, talking about illegal immigrants filtering through his property near the Mexican border said, "We've had too much wishy-washy--people trying to control it, not end it. That's what we should have done years ago with the World Trade Center-flown over there, put it back to nature and have it done. Playin' around just don't get it done."

Topher Sanders

2. Topher Sanders writes about watching his 5 year old son being told by a white girl in a Maplewood, New Jersey playground that he could not hop on the spinning disc because, "Not you, only for white people." 

In the case of the white five year old girl, you might say you could tell her it was not acceptable to say to a Black boy he cannot use the playground because he is Black. And Donald Trump would say we are preaching political correctness, and he'd be right, but we all know, getting that said would not change that girl, her attitudes or her parents from which she got them. Saying she is deplorable might have more of an impact, if enough people who mattered to her and her family said that. 

As for the rancher--where do you begin with that level of ignorance and stupidity? 
Should we ask Mr. Fraze just what he meant by "put it back to nature?" Is that like making the sands glow, as Ted Cruz suggested?  Oh, why didn't we think of that before? Just bomb "them" over "there" in the desert and all our troubles will go away. 

You see, all you have to do is announce we need all the terrorists, any of you who are radical Islamic terrorists, or jihadists or anything like that to report to the designated stations outside Aleppo and Falujah and some other spots so we can bomb you back to nature. Got that? Now why couldn't President Obama have thought of that? Why, it's just like Vietnam: if only "they" had let our boys win, well, we would have cleaned up those Viet Cong in no time. Lands sake, those boys in Washington are just dumb as sticks. 

Really, what this country needs is a good ol' verbal whomping every time one of these moles pops up above ground. Just whack-a-mole them and if we are never done with dealing with them, at least we've had the pleasure of dope slapping them.

What I am really asking is, how do you separate the sin from the sinner in these cases?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Talking to New Hampshire Voters

Trump Heartland

Today I spent walking around Hampton, New Hampshire with a clipboard on which the local Democrats had pasted a list of voters who were either Democrats or Republicans who had voted Democratic in the past or Independents. My guide was a woman who has lived in Hampton for 16 years and she seemed to know not just everyone in every house, but who had built the house, who had lived in that house, what had happened to the children who were raised there and whether or not the house was on well water. 

Most of the people we talked to were Democrats and we were simply encouraging them to vote November 8, but we ran into one man who said he's been a Democrat all his life, was a Teamster, worked for the same company for 22 years and then they closed down, cut off the pension he thought he'd earned and he thought building a wall was a good idea because they're coming in and taking our jobs and he might just vote for Donald Trump.  He then added, "Of course he might start World War III."
My companion went to work on him, in her non confrontational way, and by the time we left he seemed to be nodding in agreement that World War III and thermonuclear holocaust might not be a good plan.

What struck me is this was a solid union man, a guy living in a one level, very modest house, blue collar, who felt alienated from the Democratic Party he had grown up with--he felt betrayed.

Another man said he was not inclined to vote for Maggie Hassan for U.S.Senate because she had made an issue of combating the heroin epidemic and he thought that was throwing good money after bad and we should just let those addicts die. There's no curing them.
No longer Republican

He lived in a McMansion, as did most of the Democrats we visited today. The Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working man, far as I could see today. It is the party of the professional, the college educated.

Trump may like her; feeling not mutual 

We met a slim lady in a fitted leather jacket and tight jeans and chic haircut in front of her stunning home, set in the woods, and she was horrified at the thought of a Trump presidency.  Twenty years ago she would have had Republican written all over her. 

It felt like that New Yorker cartoon of a crowd of well dressed middle aged people in pearls and suits and ties out in a field under the banner, "Woodstock Reunion."  

The resentment among the losers in the economic struggle is driving the Trump wagon.

The question is: How many of them are there?
click on image

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Frauke Petry, Donald Trump and the New World Order

Frauke Petry

What is the appeal of slasher movies, of horror movies, of dark dystopian movies? There is something pleasurable , some thrill in imaging a really dark place-in much the same way as the man who pounds his head against the wall and when asked why he says, "Because it feels so good when I stop."

So it is readingThomas Meany's article in the October 3 New Yorker about Frauke Petry, the new leader of the AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) Party, the German party which advocates closing its borders, banning the wearing of burkas, which proclaims "Islam does not belong in Germany." 

There is much that is familiar here: There is the not so subtle sexual presentation of it's leader.  She divorced her husband, stopped posing with her four children and made tabloid headlines, controlling news cycles with her affair with a fellow party leader.  There is the posture of becoming an authoritarian leader, full of energy, vigor, pulsating heat. 
Her new hot lover

The party has a "dark core" of true believers and another half of members who simply want to protest the alternative--Angela Merkel. 
Frumpy Frau Merkel 

Those events in German cities on New Year's Eve, when Middle Eastern men fondled and groped blonde German women who were out in city squares to celebrate New Years had long reverberations. As Petry remarked: These men do not belong here; "These people coming into Germany are used to being in completely different social circumstances...This is not going to work." 

It was Donald Trump's Mexican rapists argument. Of course, Mr. Trump is having a harder time lately with that argument. He would have been right there with the Turks, groping women in the squares on New Year's eve.

Of course, unlike the fantasy of Mexican rapists, which was simply a convenient invention of hobgoblins, the Turkish and Syrian men in the New Year's squares were not products of an over heated imagination. They seemed to confirm every fear smoldering below the surface of the Aryan brow.

A series of violent attacks by Muslim men in Germany echoed those we saw in America, but in most of these cases, the men were later proved to be simply deranged, or acting in the heat of broken affairs, not politically. 

What the whole story conveyed was that we are seeing in Petry's ascent to power a foreshadowing of what we may soon see here. 

The fear of the immigrant gave us Brexit and the AfD.  Nobody saw those things coming. 

We might see it coming here. 

Donald Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Trying to understand the appeal of Donald Trump, it struck me this is a story we've seen before--the appeal of the exuberant over the buttoned down mind, the appeal of the libidinal urge over restraint.  It's Prufrock vs Sweeney. Prufrock measured out his life in teaspoons and coffee cups. Sweeney was erect.

It's Robin Williams rebelling against the straight laced professors and administrators at the uptight prep school, urging his young students to "seize the day."

It's Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" getting into Princeton by dancing in his underpants and throwing wild parties while the grinds resent him.

So Donald plays Jack Nicholson's Randal McMurphy to Hillary's Nurse Ratched.

Randal,( or "Randy" for short,) is the guy who may be a little daffy, but he is so much fun to watch.  (And remember "randy" means "horny" or libidinous.) Guys can be into women, as long as they are funny, at least in show business, (unless they are Bill Cosby.) 
Italy had Carlos Berlosconi and Musolini, who bragged about their sexual exploits, with often unwilling women, but in more Puritanical America, we've always told ourselves we are different.  It depends, of course, on which America you are speaking of, however. In the down home, Here-Comes-Honey-Boo-Boo America, women say, "Oh, you just sock him in the mouth and move on." Boys will be boys.

Of course, as my musician son told me, even the most wild and free sounding musician, a Van Halen or Jimmy Hendrix "practiced with a metronome."  It was a striking image--what could be more disciplined, less uninhibited than a metronome, ticking insistently, side to side?

But music is about beat, rhythm and that means discipline.

We all understand there are areas in life which require people who have great discipline--you don't want a free swinger operating on your brain or sewing new arteries into your heart.

But we do tend to think the Hollywood story of Jack Black and his school of rock which only requires tightly wound little minds releasing all the energy and joy beneath.

Donald does radiate joy, in a perverse, dark sort of way.  That's why his salacious expostulations failed to shock his ardent fans--it was jut more of the joy, more of Donald being the free swinging Donald--"ain't no thing."

I heard a woman defending her support of the Donald by saying that Hillary attacked all those women who were victimized by Bill Clinton and so she was complicit, as guilty as Bill in the violation of those women. So now Jennifer Flowers is Hillary's fault!  She went on to say it was more important to have Donald Trump appointing Supreme Court justices who would reverse Roe v Wade than anything else. So, in the end, she rationalized what she did not like about the Donald by saying Hillary's worse when it comes to protecting women, and anyway, there are more important things.

We'll find out November 8th how many like her are out there.