Thursday, March 31, 2016

Donald Trump was logical? What?

So, I have to say, Chris Matthews, who I once enjoyed for his passion, who I later reviled as a dishonest partisan hiding his biases, and then later considered just an out of the closest partisan when his network gave the go-ahead to be so, impressed me with his last interview with Trump. Maybe he’s grown (or I have) and I will give him another chance.

Though I doubt very much he would apply such zeal to a Democrat interviewee, he was joyfully relentless in his last interview/town hall meeting with Trump, whose lack of logic and thoughtfulness makes him incapable of continuous reasoned argument. So Trump, instead, relies on his aggressiveness, speaking over his questioner, moving to other issues in a single sentence in an effort to divert attention from what he doesn’t want to answer.

But, Matthews got him twice. Once, in the face of Trump's insistence that nuclear weapons aren’t off the table he had to back-up quickly upon being asked “You might use [a nuke] in Europe?” and completely contrarily added that he would be the last one to use nuclear weapons (though he is the only one who doesn’t take it off the table) and - of course not- or words to that effect.

But, his response on abortion was even more controversial. Asked by Matthews if abortion was murder, will he punish the women who have them, Trump did his usual stonewalling, and tried, successively for a while, to get Matthews to talk about the Catholic position on it, I guess to show either that Matthews is hypocritical or that this was a murky topic. But, then, pressed to the point that he couldn’t convincingly stonewall anymore he said yes, women would have to be punished for it.

And the world went a little crazy. Trump backed off big time on twitter, saying that women were victims and only the providers would be punished.

Now, this means a lot of things. It shows once again that Trump knows so little about any issue that he may be the least informed major candidate ever to run for president. It shows that he is not a conservative, that he probably doesn’t even know what established conservative views on abortion are (and not that alone) and that he just talks off the top of his head.

The scary part for me is that someday, if he is elected, Trump will not have to worry about getting elected and will not care about public opinion at all. He’ll make an ill-informed guess on important matters and we will be stuck with them.

But . . . but . . . but Trump was logically right and politically wrong. That, and not a long opinion on abortion itself is my goal here. Let me digress a little.

I wrote on abortion in the past and I find it really painful to do so, not least because I am not prone to certainty about abortion and I might change my mind as I have in the past.  In summary, I can respect putting a high value on life, on the right for women to control their own bodies and also, not being a nihilist, that the state has some interest in the life of a fetus. Probably most everyone with an opinion on it agrees on these things. The reason people who agree on these things in general do not agree on what the law should be is because they balance these interests differently, particularly because as to the issue of when those cells become a baby and/or when a fetus is entitled to protection. I have often said and still believe that the main factor in when someone believes abortion is wrong is almost always when that person sees a fetus as being a baby, though I suppose the few who favor later term abortion might not care.  

In my own juggling of these factors, I have come to hate with a passion late term abortion – would be fine with it if they called it and treated it as murder – but, I am also fine with abortion being permissible for the first 5 weeks or so (and not to the first trimester as it is in Roe v. Wade), when it is, relatively speaking to its existence, not a person having a brain and a heart.  I realize there are a lot of practical problems with this (does the woman even know she’s pregnant?) but I also believe that people’s stands on this issue, including my own, should be in the large, in accord with their moral beliefs respecting life and liberty, not the practicalities or inconveniences of it.

Now back to Trump. So, let’s take him on his initial words with respect to punishing women who have illegal abortions, before he retracted it. Is that logical or illogical? If something is illegal, then there are usually consequences for it. I feel fairly confident that most if not all of our criminal laws respecting the taking of life have penalties for the responsible person.

I also feel fairly confident that if any person makes a choice to do something without being intentionally compelled to do so, may not be described as a victim, as Trump later said when back pedaling. If a man or woman takes up prostitution because they believe it is a good way to earn money, I do not consider them a victim, regardless of how nasty they think selling their body for sex may be. If they are forced to do so, of course they are victims.

So, if a woman is drugged and the next thing she knows someone is performing an abortion, then yes, that is a victim. If she decides that she doesn’t want a baby right now after she is pregnant for any of the usual reasons, even economic, and she has one, then yes no she is not a victim. If it is illegal, and it is a criminal law, then of course she should be charged. And if it is murder, then definitively so. What other murderer (if that is what the law is) gets to say, no I’m not.

There are gray areas and I will get to them. But, right now, given the question – if abortion is murder, should the woman be punished, yes, of course, the only logical answer is the only answer. Trump answered correctly. He changed on it because initially he possibly wasn’t aware that many pro-life advocates recognize that holding women responsible makes many, perhaps most Americans, very unsympathetic to their position and often do not take it. In fact, it is likely shooting him in the foot with many pro-lifers and huge amounts of independents and Trump-Democrats.  And, of course Trump has no idea whatsoever what the usual positions on abortion are, because it has nothing to do with his personal success or self-aggrandizement.  He just shot from the hip, recognized he was hurting his brand, and reversed himself so completely, he has now called women who have abortions victims (of who – the doctors they asked to perform the abortion?), which is about as illogical as you can get.

But that is logic and what do voters care? As one of the most famous judges in history wrote in his book The Common Law – “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” The same is true of campaigns. In the end, few care a whit for logic if it doesn’t support their favored position.
Since I’ve dipped into this difficult topic, I’ll add a few more words on the exceptions, because logically, they do not make much sense to me. The three exceptions that many pro-lifers even accept are cases of pregnancy through rape, incest and the mother’s health. The first is simply illogical, the second mostly illogical and the third not illogical, whether right or wrong.

Rape - If you are pro-life, because you believe it is wrong to kill a living being, then why should it matter that it is the product of a rape? Why is that different than being a product of a loveless relationship? A paid for relationship? Or wildly inconvenient? It’s not. The mindset of the parents has no bearing on whether a child should survive – for the logically consistent pro-lifer. If you are very pro-choice (that is, abortion on demand or something approaching that), of course, it is not relevant either.

Incest – You could apply the same analysis here as with rape – the parents’ morality doesn’t matter if you are pro-life. But, it is not that simple because there is a physiological issue – congenital conditions are more likely for close relatives, the closer – the more likely, often called a result of inbreeding. So, understandably, people do not want children to suffer as a result of their choices. But, what if it happens – is this different than a fetus which is not the product of closely related parents which happens to have a congenital condition. Again, if you are pro-life and you would not abort a child with Down syndrome, what rationale do you have to abort one who might have a congenital condition or even one you are not aware of? It is not a big jump from that to euthanasia of those deemed “defective.” It is hard not to say that for a pro-lifer, this exception is also illogical.

The last issue is the life or health of a mother. Again, I’m not arguing right and wrong, just talking about logic. There is a logical difference here. You have another person at stake, and arguably one with more rights. Whether you couch this as self-defense or simply a balancing of rights, you can make a consistent logical argument to be pro-life and accept this exception.

I recognize that other people may have different definitions of pro-life than I have used here. I’m just saying, if you believe that abortion is murder because that fetus is human, I believe you are illogical if you except rape and incest. Maybe you are right, but it’s illogical.  

And, Donald Trump was right, initially, and should have stuck to his guns and not been “politically correct.” Not that he’s not a potential disaster, but he was right the first time.

Uncomfortable topic today - sorry.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Worst President 6

I started writing the 10 reasons that President Obama is the worst president in my lifetime (and I include Nixon, who others reasonably argue might be). I gave an overview in the first post (7/2/14) and started counting down thusly:

10. The campaign (7/2/14)
9. Obamacare (7/27/14)
8. The economic crisis (7/27/14)
7. Foreign policy (8/13/14)
6. Political expediency (11/2/14)
5. Attacks on first amendment (The closed society) (1/10/15)

And then I kind of forgot about the mission as 2016 election campaign talk slowly started. But, I don’t want to leave it hanging. The “10” part of 10 reasons was admittedly arbitrary. It just feels good to use round numbers. You could divide them up many ways. But, I’ll stick with the plan. I think the next few installments might be after today’s - leadership, lawlessness and debt.

So, here’s number 4 –

The new racism

I have to preface my Obama comments with my own view on race and racism in America. I was born in 1959 and grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. People my age or older, even Obama himself, are also well aware of how much better race relations are, how much fairer to minorities the country is and but that racism still exists. 

My own perspective on racism growing up was probably typical of a little boy raised in a white, liberal, New York family – I was puzzled and horrified by it but also very insulated from blacks and the problems they might have. Slavery was (I think every American except the pathological now agrees) an abomination, but the legal and social barriers, even outside the south, and given the preference of “races” to marry and associate among their own, there still was a great burden that minorities and more blacks than anyone else other than American Indians labored under. Many groups have a story of discrimination, but I do not think the burdens of most groups, like Asians, Jews, Europeans is comparable in severity. Though the alleviation of racist policies spanned 100 years plus, the 1950s and then even more so, the 1960s, provided a waterfall of relief. Some are still unhappy with the civil rights legislation in the ‘60s - ironically, I think on one hand strong libertarians and on the other, racists, at least to some degree. And though I agree aspects of the laws were unconstitutional, in my view (forbidding discrimination even to private businesses) I also think it was an almost necessary law, given the faults of our constitution at its outset, and that they are among the best laws ever passed.

And civil rights leaders were among my heroes, from pre-Revolution Quakers and British reformers (Britain was well ahead of us in this) and up through Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in that era. Though racism still exists, perhaps will always exist in some form, and race relations were far from perfect when Obama came into office, it has now deteriorated greatly, and though he is hardly completely at fault, he bears some fault and could have alleviated it, perhaps even led to further gains, had he taken an even-handed, color-blind, approach.

For the future generation that discovers my unsung work here (and like Bill and Ted, I am lionized in the future – they for their "excellent" music and me for my "excellent" social commentary), it may need to be said that Obama was what we now call bi-racial. White-European mother and black-African father. However, he says that he identifies as black and he plainly does in many ways. This was his first error, in my view. He could have used his own DNA to say that differences between whites and blacks should evaporate, that we are all children of two parents with their DNA in us, and that skin color and other superficial characteristics are actually of billions in variety, rather than divided into a few socially constructed "races."  But, he wanted for political and perhaps personal reasons to say that he was black. It was fashionable to say at that time if you were dark enough to get stopped for “driving while black,” then you were black, and many were proud to say he qualified. It helped him get elected more than it hurt and his world view includes a need to reorganize society so that those previously discriminated against can express their feelings of victimhood and separation, and that it give them some legal advantage to balance the scales. I say that from what I believe is his point of view, not mine.

He was careful in his campaign to make the right noises. His early statements on race were not bad. He gave one fairly well received speech on it while running, necessary at the time to differentiate himself from his bombastic and seemingly idiotic pastor of many years, Jeremiah Wright. It seemed a relatively balanced speech to me. It acknowledged the past, but including the improvement and called for us to get passed it. 

Unfortunately, though he has made similar statements since, he does not act as if he believes his own rhetoric. His campaign spokespersons were quick to call opponents racist, and he did not rein them in. They even accused other Democrats like Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro, who you would have thought immune from such criticism, of racism – but for them, if you opposed him or preferred another, you were a racist. This feeling still pervades. A friend this past weekend told me that he believes Republicans hate Obama because he is black, even if he himself does not approve of his policies.

When he became president, many people were happy, even some Republicans, that a black man could be elected president in America. I would appreciate the often castigated statement of Rush Limbaugh, that he got over it real quick.  But, if nothing else, his election showed how far we had come on race relations. Or so we thought. 

One of the first signs that he would not be even-handed was his reaction to the police in Boston approaching and questioning a black Harvard professor, who had to break into his own home when locked out and was reported by a neighbor, who called 911. The professor, Henry Gates, was hardly a Cornel West type. He a literary critic specializing in black literature, has actually been attacked by other blacks for his views that did not square with their ideas of separating and glorifying only black literature. Nevertheless, he allegedly became outraged at being questioned by the police, believing he was being profiled, and the officer claimed that when Gates came outside after he had left Gates' premises, he was obstreperous, and was arrested. The officer, James Crowley, was also not the Bull Connor type. He had actually lectured on racial profiling before. Not surprisingly, their versions of the events dramatically differed. Charges against Gates were soon dropped. I leave you to study the incident if you like. I’m not picking sides here. Likely there was fault on both sides, first an overreaction by Gates and then by Crowley in arresting him, but I wasn't there. But, neither was Obama. But, although this was as local an issue as can be imagined, the president leaped into the fray, stating (from Wikipedia): "I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." Whether he is wrong or right on any or all of his comments, without knowing the facts he plainly took sides, and that angered a lot of people, though clearly not those like Al Sharpton, who was making even more incendiary comments.

In 2010 a controversy arose that led to testimony by two federal employees in the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice that the department was frowning upon use of the Civil Rights Acts to help white victims. The debate actually also existed during the Bush administration too but not to the same degree. But, J. Christian Adams, an attorney for the division, resigned over it and gave troubling testimony at a Civil Rights Commission hearing as did another employee, Christopher Coates, an award winning civil rights lawyer. The controversy swirled around the prosecution of The New Black Panthers for voter intimidation (which one poll watcher who was there, a former civil rights lawyer himself, called the worst case of voter intimidation he had ever seen). Adams and Coates both testified to being told by superiors and others that they were not there to help whites or prosecute blacks. The DOJ fought the commission and Coates had to get whistleblower status to testify. The commission, completely frustrated by the department’s lack of cooperation, concluded in December, 2010 that the DOJ’s assurances that it did not consider race in enforcing the law did not explain away the allegations made against them and that because they would not cooperate, the commission could not properly review it. In other words, stonewalling won out again. One might say that any blame would rest would Eric Holder, then the Attorney General, and not Obama, but Obama could have dealt with the issue in a sentence to Holder, ordering cooperation and that race not be considered in the future, whether it had been in the past or not. He’s the president. He doesn’t mind the credit, he has to take the blame, not for most crimes or acts of employees outside of their guidelines, but for the policies themselves. 

Foremost in my criticism of him has been his comments made whenever a story of a white man, usually a police officer, killing a black man or woman, made the news.  The first example I recall is the Martin-Zimmerman matter. Zimmerman, not a cop but a neighborhood watcher, followed a black teenager. There was an altercation and Zimmerman eventually shot Martin, who was pounding his head in on concrete.  I watched substantially the whole trial and have little respect for anyone’s opinion who did not. Zimmerman was found innocent, and was overwhelmingly so. Even some prosecution witnesses testified favorably for him, enraging the would-be Zimmerman lynchers who threatened Zimmerman’s life and made him go into hiding. I’ve covered this in more detail before and you can put Zimmerman or Martin in the search box to read about it, but the issue here is the president. Rather than stay neutral before the trial, Obama made comments plainly judging Zimmerman a criminal and Martin a victim - "When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids . . .You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon" . . .  "All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves" . . ."All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how something like this has happened." The governor appointed a special prosecutor, although nothing but accusations of racism, which was non-existent, justified it. She brought the complaint herself, which she could do under Florida law, without bringing it to a grand jury.  She caused Zimmerman immeasurable grief, which I believe deranged him to a degree and left him vulnerable to every accusation in the future, despite the lack of any credible evidence against him. The federal government looked into prosecuting him for a hate crime after the acquittal, but there was no indication of racial prejudice to begin with – the prosecutors in the state case didn’t even go there.

When Officer Darren Wilson shot a thug attacking him – Michael Brown, also a teenager, but a huge man who had just manhandled a store clerk he had robbed (the video of which the federal government tried to suppress), Ferguson, Missouri exploded. It was the beginning of the Black Live Matters movement coming into the news (I believe it already existed after the Zimmerman-Martin case). Many myths were created by false witnesses and the media to demonize Wilson, who lost his career over it and to make a saint of Brown or at least sneer at his own culpability. Again, I’m not discussing the issues in detail, but speaking of Obama’s reaction. Without knowing the facts, he took a side, calling the shooting “heartbreaking” and commiserating with the family and the community. Well, any wayward teenager dying violently is sad – but where were the words of solace for the officer who was attacked? A Grand Jury found for Wilson. The federal government, hot on the track of white racism, investigated. I have to say, they did a good job and did not white-wash it. They found the witnesses who claimed Brown had his hands up incredible and found Wilson’s story valid. Too late for him, of course. Did Obama apologize to him – castigate the protesters for falsehoods? Of course not. While he and other "black" leaders pleaded for peaceful protest, their words incited, in my and many people's views.

This has happened over and over and Obama is far from the only one responsible. Sometimes it has been in reaction to gross police misbehavior or at least negligence, such as the Eric Garner matter. Al Sharpton, Obama’s leading adviser on race relations, who has visited with him many times, I believe more than anyone else not in his administration and who I find to be a leading instigator or racial tension, and others, including Obama's former Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the mayor of NYC, all have made statements inflaming racial tension and vilifying police. Some of them took a step back when two NYC officers, ironically neither a white male (at least in the modern way of designating race), were assassinated by a deranged black man.

Obama, does not directly incite violence - I believe he genuinely deplores it. But, I do believe that these statements by Obama and others, too one sided, and always involving some rush to judgment, do incite racial unrest and violence. It has also has led to a sad loss of policing, for fear of being branded a racist, and more black victims of other blacks, particularly in urban environments like Chicago and Baltimore. 

Sadly, Obama could have been a leader on this issue, to be the person who tried to lessen the hold that victimization and separationism, championed by Sharpton and others, has on many in the black community. There are other black leaders or just plain leaders in general who could have provided better advice to him. But, he chose Sharpton and his own brand of racism. I can’t imagine this is going to improve with Clinton or Trump in office, if one of them succeeds.

To be clear, those in the "black community" may have many legitimate grievances, which I believe are more local than national, but in my view many follow the wrong leaders, whether it is Sharpton or those involved in Black Lives Matter. It makes all of our lives worse, not better. But, I'm not trying to balance them here or come up with solutions. This is about Obama and the growing racial tension in our country is one of his most unfortunate legacies.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Political update for March, 2015


I went into my archives (yes, thanks to Google, I have archives) and looked at what I had previously written about Trump with respect to the 2012 election. I found my post-mortem right after the election where I wrote why I thought Romney lost, which I won't quote extensively, but one of my five main reasons was the impact of people like Trump, who I referred to as a "political disaster," especially his crazy birtherism. But, I see that almost a year and a half before that election I had written about Trump in some detail and thought it be interesting to look back on it (after, of course, fixing my grammatical errors):

"Trump schmump

"After wasting everyone’s time for a month or so on the birther issue, he loses and claims victory. If you know Donald Trump, no big surprise.

I don’t know when I first became aware of The Donald (not a bad nickname), but it was probably in the 1980s. He was a business man mostly in real estate development. He liked to put his name on buildings, which were ostentatious but beautiful, and I've gone in “Trump” buildings just to see them. When I became a lawyer I learned from some others who had represented him that he was ridiculously demanding and quick to fire them. Obviously, I don't know his reasons and they may be valid.

I have also read that he or his companies have gone bankrupt more than once, and been close to it other times, but I don’t care about the details. He had a rather public divorce, which mostly served to make his wife’s attorney well known, although he didn’t accomplish anything for her that I could see (they had a pre-nup, which was abided by).

In the past few years, he has also became a reality tv show star (which is one notch below serial killer). And, occasionally, he says he is thinking about running for president. No one took him too seriously until this year when he jumped on a fairly discredited idea that President Obama was born out of the country and was therefore not qualified under the constitution to be president.

Trump kept saying that he thought the president actually was born in America but that he needed to show his birth certificate to end the dispute. But, he’d also throw in his remarks that if he wasn’t born in the country it was one of the all time great scams (and, of course, it would have been, were it true). He also said he had investigators looking into it who were amazed at what they were finding (were they going to break into the two safes in the Hawaiian government’s office which housed the certificates?) He says he can call them back now that it is over (please, laugh along with me). Do you think they hadn’t heard the news themselves? Honestly, I don’t believe these people even exist. If they did exist, they were either completely incompetent or were taking him for his money. Neither scenario is too flattering to him.

He had no serious answer to the fact that a short form birth certificate had been produced, showing that a Hawaii State official had seen the birth certificate and verified its existence, and, even more persuasive, two local Hawaiian newspapers at the time of the president's birth printed notices about it. Even Sean Hannity said he thought the president was born in America. Now, if you have ever listened to Sean Hannity, you know that if he acknowledges that President Obama is right about anything, it must be true beyond any possible doubt.

Sure, even Chris Matthews, whose credibility when it comes to President Obama is as weak as anyone's on the right - just the mirror image - has asked publicly why President Obama didn’t just show the original long form birth certificate. The opposite rule applies with him as the one for Hannity - if he is critical in anyway of the president, you have to give it some credence. And, I had the same thought as him too. Why not just show it? Pride? Or, as occasional commenter Don suggested, because there was something embarrassing on it. But, wondering about the president's motivations didn't mean this still wasn't a ridiculous issue. I would say it was only less ridiculous than the popular belief on the right that he is a Muslim.

And, of course, by coming out with the original certificate, the president trumped Trump, which probably would have embarrassed someone without Trump's ego and sense of importance. Of course it didn’t stop The Donald from declaring victory in a most pompous way. “I’m very proud of myself,” he said. Why is he proud? – because he “forced” the president to do this. This is the single most embarrassing thing he has said since a week or so ago when he was going around saying how smart he was.

Which leads me to this. I don’t like to climb all over (living) politicians personally (not that The Donald is really a politician yet), call names or assassinate their characters, unless they are really heinous, and that is rare. So, I feel kind of guilty about this. But Donald Trump has always been a bit of a blowhard, someone who shoots his mouth off about how great he is, changes his mind frequently, and says whatever he feels like at the time regardless of consistency. That actually doesn’t make him a bad person, but not someone you want in your face for 4-8 years. That might seem rough, but I’m being gentle because a lot of people would say he was a major blowhard, with few equals. In fact, as arrogant as many on the hard right claim President Obama is (I'd say about average for a president), apparently a good deal of them want to elect someone who makes him look like a Jimmy Stewart character.

But, Mr. Trump not only made himself look foolish, he has made the tea parties and conservatives look foolish by bringing this all up again (to their initial great joy). I support the tea parties’ efforts to get the government to reduce spending, but I can't follow them in their questioning of the president's religion and place of birth. Even with the certificate's production, some of them are still questioning it on legal grounds. In truth, it is a decision the court has never made. Being a natural born citizen might or might not have been something that had a definitive meaning to a founder (like, as some argue, being born in America of two American citizens), but, now, it will be very difficult or probably impossible to determine what they meant over two hundred and twenty years ago. That doesn't mean the Supreme Court, or maybe a lower court won't try to define it anyway.

As for The Donald's presidential aspirations, if you consider his flip flops on issues, and that some of his previously uttered opinions were decidedly liberal - Mr. Trump is Governor Romney on steroids. If he runs, these will all be flung in his face by Romney supporters. But, I don't think the people supporting him realize what they are doing if they nominate him."

I can't say I've changed my mind at all.  I still think he is a political disaster, that he embarrasses his own party, that he is not as smart as he thinks, that he is Romney on steroids and that he is one of the reasons Romney lost. 

But, Trump is no idiot either. He saw something that either others didn't or had too much dignity or sense of shame to act upon. That the truth no longer matters. Neither Obama nor Romney worried about it too much. No one seemed to care much except their adversaries, who cancelled each other out, and some in the media. What matters is your "brand" or how you market yourself. Image, not reality, is the key. And branding is something Trump, a worldwide household name, does very well.

I'm not saying that truth shouldn't be important. But, unless and until there is a legitimate third party party with a shot at winning the White House, that will continue to be the case. Trump also knows that when you are getting shot at for your mistakes, toughing it out works better than admission of fault so long as you have a sufficient base that doesn't care.

Like almost everyone, there are a few aspects of Trump that I like. That's the usual anti-PC stuff, his supposed devotion to destroying ISIS and annoyance at the handcuffs put on our troops. But, this is dwarfed by my disgust at his arrogance, his pettiness and tendency to insult anyone who disagrees with him, his fecklessness as to policy, his just plain making up stuff, his cult of personality (and a bad personality at that), his obvious insecurities, his lack of knowledge of the economy and foreign policy, etc.

What is this nonsense anyway that good businessmen know about the economy? I know some people who have been very successful in business but couldn't even tell you what a trade deficit was or the difference between macro and micro economies. 

Trump's seeming mission to destroy the Republican Party by division has gotten so hysterical that I'm starting to engage in fantasies of him calling Hillary Clinton at 3 a.m. after his KKK gaffe and saying - "Did I do good, or what? Don't forget me when you are safely ensconced in the White House."

It has also gotten to the point where I'm starting to not sneer at comparisons to Hitler in the 1930s. It's not that I believe he is a racist, because I really don't. In fact, it makes me mad when people play that up because race baiting is one of the political tactics that infuriates me most. Nor do I think he is totalitarian. But he has built a cult of personality that is starting to seem like Fuhrerism - allegiance not to party but a particular leader. His statements at the last Republican debate that military leaders will do what he tells them even if illegal, was disturbing and reminiscent of Hitler. So is his addiction to the Big Lie. And so are his threats to get even when he is president.

A few weeks ago, I thought that Trump was going to sweep, because his opposition was so poor. But, obviously, the Republican Party, or some of them, has woken up to the impending disaster, win or lose. Ironically, Rubio, who realized, or more likely was advised, that someone had to get down in the gutter with Trump, has been diminished along with him and Cruz has been ascendant. But, the Republicans are missing their best bet.

The Case for Kasich

The Republicans only have had two candidates who were going to beat Clinton. One, is possibly Trump, if his party can get behind him. I think Trump might nuke her, inviting Monica Lewinsky to debates and asking her to admit that her husband abused women. Because, no other candidate is going to do things like that. But, it is possible that he might finally outrage enough people that it would overcome the excitement he engenders. But, the other option is staggering along in the Republican race. That's John Kasich.

I am hoping Kasich is Dave Wottle, the 1972 Olympic 800 meter track champion (still one of the greatest achievements in sport's history in my view -, following a plan and pacing himself like Wottle did with four perfectly paced quarters of his race. I doubt it, because no one predicted Trump's rise and the effect he would have on everyone.

I will never understand how any Republican or independent/moderate can think anyone but Kasich is suitable. He has more experience than anyone in the field. He may be the most professionally qualified candidate since G. H. W. Bush to run. Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Al Gore, nor John Kerry, nor John McCain, all very experienced, have the breadth of experience that Kasich does. He's been a governor, he's been a legislator. He has worked at the federal level, he's worked at the state level. He knows budgeting, he knows the military, he knows domestic problems. Unlike Rubio, Cruz and Trump who talk about being heirs to Reagan, he actually knew and worked with Reagan (not that I think that means much myself, but many people do). He is temperamentally suited to be president. He is devoted to his principles, but respects the rule of law and knows how to compromise.

On top of that, polls show he is far more likely to beat Clinton than anyone else. Why is this not critically important to Republicans?

After Ohio we will know if he has a shot. At this point, unless someone self-destructs, this almost has to go to a convention. Of course, most predictions I've made this maddening campaign season have been wrong. I'm not alone either, but if Kasich wins, I can brag that I predicted it way back in 2015, and at the end of the day, that's what is really most important.

I will also say that he is not the greatest campaigner, but it is obvious. Many of his jokes fall flat and his banter with people in the crowd seems to be more likely to aggravate than charm them. But, sometimes people need to grow into the roll. He's gotten better already.


Although Sanders made his run, it looks like she has it close to locked up, although a convention is possible with the Democrats too, if less likely. The big question is whether she gets indicted, or to a lesser extent, staff members close to her do. 

I don't see it happening so long as she is going to win the nomination. If there is a grand jury though, and it is not disbanded or delayed, and they come back with what is called a true bill on which she is named, then I'm wrong, of course. I just know that there are few things easier for government to manipulate than grand juries. 

I'm not even saying she should be indicted. We don't know all the facts and we don't even really know the applicable law yet. It's always more complicated than they say, and I won't make up my mind on it until I can look up the law myself (you can't count on pundits or the media) and know the established and likely facts. You can't legitimately say that just because Petraeus was charged and convicted that she should be. You can't say that because Rice and Powell had a few classified emails on their own email accounts (although a tiny fraction of her own), that she is or is not guilty of anything. 

Of course, Bryan Pagliano, the State Department staffer who set up the server, thought it important enough to ask for immunity.  Frankly, that may not mean anything except due caution. When you get involved with partisan politicians they will do whatever they think necessary to "get" the other side, even hurt innocent people - even prosecuting them. If nothing else, they try the perjury game. And when the FBI is involved, it doesn't even have to be a material lie. Any mistake they can spin as purposeful will do to prosecute you or twist your arm.

You never know, but I am giving odds of 5-1 against her being indicted and 4-1 against any  major staffer.

About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .