Friday, October 28, 2016

The most Depressing Election Since 1860

I've been hesitating posting on my blog lately because I didn't want to write about politics. Yet, here we are less than two weeks before the election and it's so depressing. So, grin and bear it.

So, 1860 had to be worse, right? If Lincoln won, it meant the country would likely split in two. If any of the others ones won, probably not, but slavery would have continued much longer than it did (although often thought to have been between Lincoln and Douglas, who had defeated Lincoln for the Illinois' senate seat in 1858 during which campaign the famous debates were held, John C. Breckinridge, later an important confederate figure, received far more electoral votes than Douglas). In any event, overall, that election had to be more depressing. Right? Right?

Okay, no quibbling, it was.  But this is the worst in my lifetime. It is so bad, that I absolutely find it impossible to vote for the third party candidate I have been waiting four years to vote for (so, funny story - I moved back to NY from Virginia in July, 2012. When I went to register to vote shortly before the election a few months later, I learned that since I didn't register 30 days before the election, I would need to see a judge on election day; I didn't like Johnson that much and since NY would have gone for Obama if I voted 1000 times, I just passed on it) because he seems either so clueless about foreign affairs that Trump - and I know this sounds impossible - has more on the ball than he does. And, maybe I'm biased because I know Johnson smokes pot and that always kind of turned me off (note to most everyone I know - try not to take it personally). I'd ignore it except he talks like he has smoked too much.  I'll mention Jill Stein once to say that I would rather have a random person chosen in America by lot, because there is a good chance that man or woman would be better than her. Actually, you know what? I feel that way about all four.

Trump or Clinton? What a choice. I don't like to curse on my pristine evalovin' blog, but really, this has to be an exception. Good FuckING God, what have we wrought?

I'm not alone in thinking that Trump is disturbed. Mika Brzezinski, a morning tv hostess, went too far in asking her panel why they all didn't admit it, he was psychotic. He's not psychotic. He just acts like someone who might be psychotic.  Even if I believe nothing the media writes but only my only impressions from what I have observed of him myself, I would have to say that he's almost frighteningly egotistical in yet an incredibly insecure way, he doesn't seem particularly bright, I'm not even convinced he's a great businessman (not that I think that would make you a good president), absurdly temperamental, childish, lacking in will power, ignorant of even the basics of policy and possibly pathologically dishonest. I've felt this way for years and I don't feel like I should have to give examples. They are all too well known, and if you don't believe at least some of this stuff is true it is probably because you think he is more likely to be on your side than the "other" side. And perhaps it is just a coincidence that you are more likely than not pro-life, think a wall is a good idea and that a more liberal Supreme Court will end the America you've known.

Having said all that, the really sad part is that every time I think Good FuckING God, how can he possibly be president, I remember what the alternative is, and I don't feel any better. I do think Hillary Clinton is smart and tough, and if I consider only what the media says, most of which is hopelessly addicted to promoting her for president, and leave aside that she also seems terribly unlikable and phony to me and others (even some who will vote for her), I still have a great deal of trouble with an embarrassment of riches of corrupt, flagrantly disingenuous, dangerous and yes, stupid behavior. I feel like I shouldn't have to review everything that has come out despite her having a huge team dedicated to keeping us from knowing all this stuff and a media that has rolled on its back and purred or worse, actually sought to suppress knowledge of her perfidy. And if you do not believe most of these things are true, it is probably because you think she is more likely to be on your side than the "other" side. And perhaps it is just a coincidence that you are more likely than not pro-choice, think a wall is a terrible idea and that a more liberal Supreme Court will greatly benefit America.

I'll say it - I'm glad that someone hacked those emails. Look how much we've learned about the person who is probably going to be president that we have never known. I was pretty mensa mensa about Wikileaks. But lately, I'm grateful. And if it is Russia that is doing it because they think all they need to do with Trump is say what a great man he is once in a while to get their way about anything, I don't care. It doesn't mean they will. I'd rather know what she and her team of deplorables have been doing, even if Russia shouldn't be doing what they are probably doing (or the 400 pound kid on his bed). I can appreciate the revelations and hate the act. If someone broke the law in hacking and releasing this info, and there are not sufficient defenses, they should be prosecuted (and sometimes they do find them). I find it laughable that the Democrats are crying about the Russians. After all, it is this administration that tried to "reset" its relationship with Putin and Russia, this administration that did virtually nothing when they invaded Crimea, and let Putin totally dupe them over Syria and Iran. Plus, don't we still work with them on the Space Station? And if you believe for a second we do not do hack Russian emails (and those of our allies - still), well the Brooklyn Bridge is still for sale. And BTW, anyone, no matter how smart they are, who puts the things they did in writing, thinking they would not become public, should not be president or work for the president.

And if they are very different, they are both the same in being unsuitable for the presidency. Character matters when it will affect the job they have to do. Every time Trump opens his mouth and I think it is impossible this boorish clown could be president, every time something comes out showing that she and her closest confidants and team (who are likely to be sleeping closer to her than Bill in the White House) are hopelessly mired in the swamp, I look to the other side of the room and see the Bizarro world mirror image of the other - the vulgar and clueless businessman who sometimes acts like he should be institutionalized as opposed to the cynical career politician who is institutionally corrupt. No two more unsuitable candidates from the two major parties have ever opposed one another.

So, what to do, what to do? Nothing. There is nothing to do about it. I can point fingers, of course. It is the fault of the liberals and conservatives. The liberals put forth far left candidates, that being the mainstay of the Democratic Party. Whoever their party nominated was going to be far left. We saw what happened to Jim Webb just when he said "All Lives Matter." And we know (thanks, possibly, to Russia) that the DNC was pushing for her as were some in the media.  So, they are primarily responsible for Clinton being nominated. But, so are conservatives. In fact, conservatives are partly responsible for Barack Obama's two terms. They treated McCain shabbily, many being slow to support him and doing so tepidly when he needed it. I still remember the way he was treated by Republicans - not just the media - when he perhaps grandiosely suspended his campaign as the economy collapsed. With laughter and contempt (although I will admit, I found his economic knowledge - as he would candidly admit - lacking). But, it's no way to get YOUR candidate elected. And I remember the way that conservatives trashed Romney, demanding anyone but Romney, tarring him (remember "Vulture Capitalist") and giving him tepid support (okay, except for Ann Colter, who it seems learned after McCain that you have to support your party's candidate if you want them to win.

And, now the conservatives have won, if only in their party, and they nominated a completely unsuitable candidate, rather than the one candidate they had who the polls show us would have likely beat Clinton by a large margin (that would be Kasich, who conservatives still speak of with contempt as if he were not the closest candidate to Reagan, but a plant from the Democrats - personally, I think had he made the requisite noises about immediately dragging all illegal aliens out of the country he'd be the nominee; he says it wasn't possible, and it wasn't, for economic, humane and logistic reasons. When conservatives hear that, they hear you say "amnesty," a word that worked all to well for them during the Bush administration in defeating legislation they did not like, and now is helping keep them from the White House. When Clinton likely wins, it will be conservatives who helped, because they nominated Trump (although, I think it would have been closer with Cruz, he would have also lost).

But, the reverse is true too. The Democrats are partially responsible for Trump. And I'll go further and say, as much as it seems to disturb him, Obama himself is largely responsible for Trump. People who are disgusted by his policies and the seeming inability of Republicans they elect either to derail it or to even stand tough (except for Cruz), have wanted, perhaps in desperation, to blow the system up. Republicans think Trump is the most likely to do this. That may be true. But, it also may be true that he will not be a controlled blast. I believe that if he is elected, no group will be more upset with him than conservatives. He will nominate conservative justices. But, he really isn't a conservative in some aspects. There has been only one thing he really knows how to do well politically - he knows what to say to conservatives to get them wound up. He lies to you like he lies to the rest of us.

And lets face it, moderate/independents are at fault too, because we are too unmotivated and disgusted by politics to make noise like the liberals and the conservatives. So, to a lesser extent, we get what we deserve too.

On the other hand, despite Clinton's being in bed with Wall Street, she will not disappoint the liberals with the specter of Sanders and far worse, the fear of Elizabeth Warren before her. Admittedly, I am more fearful of what he might do as a loose cannon in the short run, but more afraid of what she will do in the long run, because she will likely further advance Obama's policies that I do not think good for us - the spirit of victimization in minorities and the scapegoating of police, unsustainable federalized healthcare for all, no limits to debt, a Supreme Court that may be completely unhinged from the constitution, government by regulation, the further erosion of congress's war power and others. With Trump I do not know what to expect or fear - but it may be worse. One thing I know after approximately 30 something years of watching politics and reading as deeply as I could, you cannot predict what will happen in the future.

So, in the end, I do not get a happy November 9th. I expect she will be president and I find that depressing. It means that you can lie as much as you want (and if she lies a little less than him, so what?), that it can be proven that you and your staff are corrupt, that you can flout the laws and even obstruct justice, that you can pander as much as you want, mislead even your base as to what you are planning to do, that the media can be almost obsessively unfair to cover up how far below any reasonable standard you may fall -- and you can still win. And, if by some chance Trump wins, I will be sad too, but the only thing that is going to make me happy about that is that the media got slapped in the face.

So, rather than being upset, I am going to tune out the glee of the winners and the bitterness of the losers to the extent possible, and concentrate on the things I love, marvel at the increasing pace of seemingly magical technology, put off ill-health to the extent possible and as I have to (reluctantly) focus on my work, enjoy my daughter's wedding this April and her evolving life, perhaps even grandchildren during the next two terms, go to the movies occasionally, watch Belichick and Brady win a few more Super Bowls, and read as much as possible. And occasionally write a blog post.

We survived Bush. We survived Obama. I think and hope we can survive either the Knucklehead or the Borg Queen too. But, it isn't going to be as easy.

Postscript 10 29 16 

After I posted the above I became aware of the latest brouhaha. It seems that the email scandal is back. Apparently, while investigating former congressman, Anthony Wiener, who is also the estranged husband of one of Clinton's most important advisors, Huma Abedin, for his inappropriate virtual contact with a minor (if you don't know his story - google), the FBI found that he had emails which were pertinent to their investigation. He wrote to congress to supplement previous testimony. The letter is not much and he agreed with his investigative team that the FBI should take investigative steps to review the emails. He did not know if they were significant or how long it would take. That's all his letter said. Also, a reporter for The New Yorker was advised by an administrative source that Lynch ordered Comey not to write to congress and he ignored her. Interesting, if true.

I'm not a news organization, so obviously I want to give my impression. Yesterday, after the news broke, or at least after I saw it, I asked a friend who is a Trump supporter if there was anything negative the left or media says about him, which he determined was true, that would change his mind about voting for him. He said no, it didn't matter. What was important was that Clinton did not win so that we did not get conservative Supreme Court justices, Obamacare is repealed and other social or cultural matters important to him were decided the right way. Another Trump supporter I know, much less enamored of him, had said similar words to me the day before. He even said that if Trump was a serial molester, he wouldn't care, because the Democrats want to put Bill Clinton, who he thought was a rapist, back in the White House (and we know H. Clinton will give him a big role from her own mouth) and neither she nor the media would denounce him the way they denounce Trump.

So, I called one of the most reasonable Clinton supporters I know and asked him the same question. He echoed the Trump supporters. He was voting for Clinton, not against Trump, and if it turned out that we learn in the next week that Clinton had intentionally broken the law, it would only mean that his vote would now be more about being motivated to vote against Trump than to vote for her.

So, there we are. Situation normal. Of course, it doesn't really matter if in the new emails (if they are new) there is nothing more than Clinton asking Abedin to remind her to pick up some more hot sauce, what counts is the impression it makes on the very small part of the population that might still change their mind and possibly matter in a swing state.

As for Lynch and Comey, it may be that Lynch, who I have very little respect for, was right, and Comey was wrong. It is also possible that he is just taking care that his own previously sterling reputation does not take a further hit.

Of course tomorrow, we may get a new Trump story or another Clinton one. Like my friends, I've heard enough, and I'm not voting for any of them.

Postscript 10 31 16

I watched football yesterday because in my view, Tom Brady, aka God Brady (so what I am the only one who calls him that) throwing 4 touchdown passes and having after 4 games a passer rating of 133.9 (the closest quarterback to him in passer rating who has played even two games is his own back up and he is far back with 117.1; the two other QBs having the best seasons so far, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, have 115.8 and 104.7 ratings, respectively - great numbers, but not Brady numbers), averaging 3 TDs a game with no interceptions . . .) is WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT. But, my tv set is blowing up with more on the email scandal and I'm loving it. Not because I want Trump to win; far from it. I've said a gazillion times he is completely unqualified to be president (or even a city councilman) and I lose - I think the country loses - no matter who wins on 11/8.

But, this is just starting folks. Ever since Bill Clinton paid a visit to Loretta Lynch's plane and had a talk with her followed by the FBI director explaining to us that Clinton had (repeatedly) violated the law concerning handling classified material and then incongruously said no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute her, it has been apparent that there would be a division of opinion at the FBI and Justice, and we are just possibly starting to learn about it. I don't know that any of the rumors are true at all. But, they all have the ring of truth - that the Justice Department pressed the FBI not to pursue Clinton, that FBI agents at lower levels were told "Stand down" concerning the investigation. Could it all be made up by right wing Trump proponents? Sure.

I don't know if Comey broke the law by writing to congress (according to Sen. Reid, one of the most partisan and disreputable politicians, who I am grateful will soon be out of office) but I find it hard to believe providing information about an investigation he promised to keep congress updated about would violate any law.

I hate, hate, hate what I perceive as injustice and the destruction of our system for the personal benefit of a politician and that is what it looks like to me so far - at the very least, the appearance of impropriety is so great, that it is as bad as if it were true, because it has undermined people's belief that the system works fairly. But, in saying so, no one has any idea whether the emails on Weiner's devices mean anything at all - it is hard to see how they could, based on the decision Comey already made that there was no intent. There would have to be a smoking gun of the this variety - "So, Huma, you and Anthony know that I intentionally violated the law and I'm getting away with it, right? Yours truly, Hil"). That's not likely.

I suspect that months from now, after actually looking at the emails, the FBI will issue a short report (possibly under the Clinton administration) that says, nothing to see here, move along.  But, at the same time, I believe the revelations of corruption at Justice will be forthcoming to my disgust, and those of half the country. The last two presidents were faced with opposition from others who thought their election was illegitimate. Personally, I found both claims factually ridiculous. Not this time. Not because of what happened this week, but what happened months ago starting when BC first stepped on LL's plane.

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 . . . .