Friday, June 24, 2016

Fading confidence

I am usually politically optimistic, at least since the late '80s, early '90s, when my politics moderated as I educated myself and I learned more and more about American history. I learned when Reagan was president, that no matter how much we fear a president (and this young then liberal feared him terribly), it is usually not so bad as we thought it would be and we get through it. I have carried this attitude ever since, through two presidents I liked, George H. W. Bush and Clinton (though some bad mistakes were made by him, since admitted) and through two I thought were and think are awful, Bush 2.0 and Obama.

But, I'm getting more than a little discouraged and disappointed. First it was the choice of Trump by a plurality of Republicans, though he was despised or at least unwanted by a majority of them. Then it was the choice of Clinton by the Democrats, though only Jim Webb, as unwanted by them as he was appreciated by me, could have been satisfactory to me. As well, it was, in my view, foolish of many Republicans to think that they should try and get their far right candidate, Cruz, who was disliked terribly by his peers and the establishment, and who was far too right wing to get elected in a general campaign, nominated. And their indifference or even polite dislike of my choice, John Kasich, who actually was a conservative (normally much too conservative for me, but not in this environment) disappointed me. But he was not enough of a "conservative" in the modern vogue - he didn't make unrealistic statements about immigration, overly appeal to religion or call enough names. Unlike McCain and Romney, his moderation or RINO nature if you must, wasn't going to outlast the right wing this time.

And then there is the "rise" of Black Lives Matter, a nouveau Black Pantherish group, who by shrill self-victimization, screaming, intimidation and simple guilt, took over the microphones from the candidates who liked them, and shamed them from even saying something as obvious as "all lives matter." This on the heels of the clamor over Ta-Nehisi Coates' book which basically sounded a death knell for racial harmony. And, out of fear of losing their base, the Democratic candidates kowtowed and surrendered, just as Republicans traditionally do with its far right. And then I saw a relatively new show that was one of the few I liked - Blackish, do an episode about cops killing blacks. Sure, they had one character take a moderate position, but the episode was overwhelmingly meant to say cops kill blacks and there is no justice - at the end, all of the adults go to the protest when an indictment fails (which the show admitted was based on the facts of that case) except the grandmother who paints "black owned" on their garage and then defiantly sits there with frozen fruit waiting for her oppressors, who I doubt in real life would be coming. The gentleman I sometimes refer to in this blog as Eddie, a strong progressive, discussing it with me, said he thought it was very even handed. It was if by even handed you mean that all whites are bigots and all cops murderers.

And then was the rise of nouveau socialism, which, being an avid New York Times' reader, it seems almost all of their readership has adopted. This is championed by Bernie Sanders, who, though a nice old fellow with the courage of his convictions, would destroy our country as surely as if we were invaded by more advanced aliens, and holds true to his convictions while to the south of us, Venezuela starves under the same type of thinking as his own.

And then was more more bigotry from Trump against Muslims and Hispanics (his followers claim he doesn't express it well enough - and maybe he doesn't - but hasn't he had enough time to do so?) and more proof of Clinton's ineptness as Secretary of State, now that it is known that so many diplomats and perhaps even Kerry secretly deplored her and Obama's policies, and the State Department's Inspector General's criticism in its report concerning her email practices, which is, of course, ignored by the media.

And part of that is the rioting by the left outside of Trump rallies, as if that is okay. Yes, Trump said stupid things. Most things he says are fairly stupid. And he did inspire a couple of idiots in his audience to hit with a fist, protesters who were disrupting the rally. I blame him for that. But, it is not Trump supporters who are trying to disrupt Clinton rallies. It is mostly Sanders supporters who are attacking Trump's supporters and trying to hurt or kill him.

But, nothing has hit me so hard as the so-called publicity stunt of the congressional Democrats, who shut down the house. I don't know what to call what they did. Certainly disorderly, obnoxious, childish and possibly criminal. Even at the height of the hysteria surrounding Obamacare, no Republican did this. And it is not the same as when the Republicans took the floor in 2008 AFTER Pelosi called a recess. It is not the same as when a senator lawfully filibusters.

It was, at best, unlawful and a destruction of our civil society. In the NY Times and on television, it was celebrated. Yeah. As if this was the sixties.

John Lewis, a true civil rights icon, lost any sympathy or respect from me as he led his juvenile followers in protest. I can only think of one word for it - disgusting. And it doesn't matter to me what the bill is. If that is okay, then it is okay for Republicans when in the minority to halt the process until a bill they want comes to the floor.

Revolting. Disgusting. Disappointing. Discouraging. These are the words that come to mind for me. By the way - did Hillary Clinton condemn it? Did Pres. Obama? No and No. Apparently, disorder is just fine if it is their side protesting.

Maybe my right wings friends, long waiting for violence, will be happy if there is a lot of it at the conventions. Maybe the self-professed victims of the world, pretty much everyone these days, will get what they want - a civil war. Ycch. What a tragedy for our country if it comes even close to it in the days of summer.

All I know is that what the Democrats accomplished this week was to make me think, at least momentarily, if we have to have one of these knuckleheads for president, it had better be Trump - making me choose between a McGovern and Goldwater is not what I wanted or expected. But, after the last two presidents, what should we expect? Good candidates.

And don't even start me on Gary Johnson, who started his campaigning with a most underwhelming performance on CNN. If his plan is to bore Clinton and Trump to death, he has made a good start.  I may end up sitting home after all this year on election day.

Post script from 6/26/16: My quote of the week: "Churchill must be dying in his grave over this." -Doris Kearns Goodwin. You think they would have checked on that before they interred him.

I was going to write a little on Brexit, but I'll quote myself from my NY Times comment a few days ago:

So, it's not good that a country that makes a union with other countries can leave it freely and voluntarily and still trade, participate in each other's security, while having its own sovereignty and no war? Why? I'd say we've come a long way.

Other countries like Switzerland and Norway aren't in the union but are successful. They have accommodations with the EU. Britain isn't closing its end of the Chunnel. Its still an ally and trading partner.

A majority of Brits, and there was a huge turnout, did not want to go down the path of endless regulations and they were concerned about immigration and open borders.

The hand wringing about Trump, Nazis, etc., is just astonishing. Markets go down, but they recover if they are financially sound. We all want what we are comfortable with to continue, but this is not momentous. The EU is still so new, I don't even see this as historic. And if other countries leave, then like an unhappy couple, it was not meant to be. They'll be okay if they have a good attitude and cooperate.

When everyone calms down, they will realize that not that much has to change during the separation process (2 years?) and many accommodations and satisfactory deals will be made. And the EU should really look at itself and ask - why did Brits want to leave? Sometimes it's not them - it's you. 

and then earlier today:

You would think from the way anti-democrats, the media and even markets are acting, that Britain declared war on the EU rather than make a lawful choice under EU procedures. There is less outrage over Putin and Assad than there is over the lawful choice of an ally and trading partner.

There is an anti-democratic, incipient fascistic movement going on in Europe and America that seeks by force and intimidation to tear down the foundations of a political and economic system that has provided not only the western world, but the third world with life saving and enhancing technology, and successful educational, economic and political models.

In America we have had a group take over political rallies by intimidation, a minority party in congress take over the floor because they didn't get their way, protesters throwing rocks and disrupting events. Sadly, most of the media either ignores these things, or cheers them on - as if it is just politics or even free speech, in many cases because it is their own party or they think they have the same interests. This is mindful of Germany in the '20s and '30s.

Union can be a source of strength and security. But only when it is voluntary. I didn't care whether Britain exited or not. But I support its right to do so and despise the threats, hand-wringing and retribution in reaction to it. I am sadly reminded of a spouse being divorced, deciding to burn down the house and sacrificing the kids, rather than cooperate and move on.


  1. Agree on the continuing decline in competence of our politicians. They have always been flawed, biased in their own ways, and occasionally criminal, but for a long time they were competent, some even excellent. Not so much now. I don't agree with the degree of your reaction to what the Democrats did. I see it as just one more stunt from a mediocre, talentless group. Completely agree with your take on Brexit, so hey, two out of three isn't bad.

  2. A stunt would be if they did it after the recess as the Republicans did once. This was in concert with too many anti-democratic and criminal acts that are becoming a fashion with the left succored by a supportive media. If we don't have a safe process, we have nothing.

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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 . . . .