HELLO

Whether you're a fan of my OSCARBLOGGER site, or if you're just casting your way 'round the web, I hope you enjoy my new blog: WHISPERING IN A WIND TUNNEL. Here I will discuss issues of politics, religion, race, gay rights, gender, you know, the big stuff.

Monday, October 31, 2016

OCTOBER SURPRISE


Huma Abedin


Just when it looked like Hillary Clinton was winning in a landslide, just when it looked like America was rejecting the worst Presidential candidate of modern times (and maybe ever), last Friday FBI director James Comey had to bring up the scandal that she had hoped was behind her.  In a vaguely written letter to congress, Comey said that his agency was reopening the investigation into Clinton's emails, because some of them may have been found during the investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner.  Weiner's ex-wife,  Huma Abedin is an advisor for the Clinton campaign and may have received classified emails from her, which are now coming to light due to the investigation into Weiner's alleged sexting with a minor.  Got that?

The bottom line is that we have no idea yet just how these emails relate to Clinton and the investigation, and Clinton herself wants the emails released as soon as possible to clear up the matter.  Naturally that didn't stop Donald Trump from immediately crowing that this was a scandal "worse than Watergate".  Comey's behavior clearly seems to be a partisan attack on the Clinton campaign and Democrats in general; in a later letter to the his own agency, Comey wrote “of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations.”   Oh, you think?  And that goes double when such an investigation is announced with less than two weeks to go before an election. While it doesn't appear that this news will change the outcome of the election for Clinton, it may hurt down ballot Democrats, and it threw yet another crazy twist into a Presidential election full of them.

When one looks at the history of Clinton in politics, you can't help but wonder just how much male politicians engaging in sex scandals have affected her life: first, they were the rumors (many true) that her husband Bill was often unfaithful to her when he was Governor of Arkansas, which led to her forgiving him (more or less) in a 60 MINUTES interview.  Then, of course, he was later almost impeached for the Monica Lewinsky scandal; leading the charge on that call for impeachment was Newt Gingrich, who was never shy about his contempt for both Clintons, and who was himself cheating on his wife at the time.   And now she's running against Trump, who's negative comments about women are well documented, and who is currently accused of groping eleven different women(and counting?).  And finally there's Anthony Weiner, a man who seems incapable of controlling his addiction to sexting, who humiliated his ex-wife Abedin twice before (once as congressman, once as a mayoral candidate), and who now faces criminal charges.  It's hard to imagine the rage Clinton must feel; after all the humiliation her husband has brought her over the years, and with the White House now apparently in her grasp, she has to contend with another scandal involving a man who just can't seem to control his sexual appetites.   And if this overblown scandal results in the election of the supremely unqualified Trump, I will also be enraged myself!

Friday, October 28, 2016

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS



When Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for President about a year ago, like a lot of Americans, I was both amused and appalled.  And as he dominated the primaries, picking off one opponent after another, I couldn't help but feel happy, sure that he would fall apart once he had to start appealing to the whole country and not just Republican voters.
Well, it appears that that scenario, for the most part, has played out; every reliable poll shows Clinton with a lead nationally and in most swing states.  She may even have a chance at winning traditionally red states like Texas and Utah.  And it couldn't have happened to a more deserving person; Trump is such a terrible candidate that newspapers like the Cincinnati Herald and the Arizona Republic, which haven't endorsed a Democrat for President in over fifty years, have endorsed Hillary Clinton.  Even USA Today, which normally doesn't make endorsements, has said that he doesn't deserve to be President.
And the Republican Party itself saw this coming; after Mitt Romney's loss to Barack Obama in 2012,  party officials and analysts  took a long hard look in the mirror and realized that they would never  win the Presidency again if they didn't find a way to appeal more to Hispanic and Women voters.  And then the Republican primary voters turned around and voted for a man who was the direct opposite of what the party knew that they needed.  The  party may be facing a split that may never completely heal; there's no way of knowing for sure, but it's entirely possible that a normal Republican candidate, like say Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, might be beating Clinton in the polls right now if the party had gone with them.  But, to the anger of the party elites, the primary voters picked Trump as their standard bearer, which will in all likely hood  end with his humiliating defeat.
While there is some worry that Trump won't accept the election outcome, seeing as he already is calling it "rigged", Clinton's margin of victory appears  that it will be large enough that even his most rabid supporters will have to accept his loss, even if he rants and raves about it.
Now, that's the good news.  Here's the bad part: while there is a fair chance of the Democratic party taking control of the Senate, it appears that the Republicans will hang on to the House of Representatives.  Which means that we can look forward to at least four more years of Congressional gridlock, not to mention tax payer dollars wasted on pointless investigations of every possible aspect of Clinton's political machine.  Senator John McCain, normally seen as a voice of reason in the Republican party, has floated the idea of rejecting all of Clinton's Supreme Court nominees for the next four years, regardless of their qualifications, (although he has seemed to walk that statement back a bit).  So, sadly, progressives like myself will probably spend the next few years gritting our teeth at nothing getting done while ruefully admitting that Clinton doing practically nothing is still better than Trump doing anything.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"HORRIFYING"




Well, it's official; there will be no more times this year that we will have to hear Donald Trump lie,  yell and insult his way through a debate. And, given recent polling numbers, we probably never will hear him debate again.    However the election turns out, for that we can all be grateful. (Although, sadly, I doubt he will disappear after losing).
Yes, the third debate was held last night, and, as with the first debate,  Trump manged to appear Presidential and give reasonably normal responses for the first part of it. But then, somewhere around the half hour mark, when his ADD started to kick in, and the fact that he was losing to a girl hit him full in the face, he reverted to the campaign Trump, the same man that his supporters all love and the rest of America can't stand. 
He had all his usual tricks:  the garbled, almost incoherent sentence syntax, the rambling, flailing attacks, all  sprinkled with rude  comments and crazy conspiracies.  At one point he huffed that Hillary Clinton shouldn't have even been allowed to run for the Presidency (uh, she's over 35 and was born in the US, so criteria met), and, in a brand new conspiracy, claimed that Clinton and President Obama paid people to start fights and cause trouble at his rallies.  (At least I think that's what he was saying, his phrasing of it  was quite muddy. ) So far the mainstream media hasn't even mentioned this odd line of attack that, if true, would be a major, perhaps even criminal, scandal.  From any other candidate, this charge would be big news, but when you're dealing with a man who has set records for the amount of lies he tells in each speech, it was just another addition to the long list of conspiracy theories that he has mentioned and possibly endorsed, from Birtherism to the death of Vince Foster.

The most chilling moment came when moderator Chris Wallace asked whether or not he would accept the results of the election; this was no idle question.  Recently at campaign rallies Trump has stated repeatedly that the election was rigged against him.  Like a schoolyard bully that cries and yells "you're cheating!" when he starts to lose a game, the narcissistic Trump can't believe that not everybody thinks he's as wonderful as he does.  And so, Trump categorically refused to say whether or not he would accept that the election results were legitimate, jokingly remarking that "I will keep you in suspense" about that, a comment that Clinton rightfully described as "horrifying".  His statement oddly flies  in the face of recent statements made by his own Vice Presidential running mate and his daughter, not to mention common sense and reason.
This is uncharted water; although Al Gore called for a recount of the state of Florida in the 2000 Presidential election, that was after the election, when reports of voter repression and irregularities were widespread.  Trump is the first Presidential candidate ever to question an election's outcome weeks before election day, setting another sad precedent in his candidacy. This is why Hillary Clinton needs to win big (or bigly, as Trump would say).  If her victory includes not only the usual blue states and swing states, but a few red states as well, it would show Trump's assertions to be the childish tantrums that they are; while voter fraud, if it existed, might be able to swing some very close states, it couldn't possibly change an election won by millions (or even tens of millions) of votes.  To steal an election by that many votes would require a massive expenditure of time and money, and even Trump's most staunch defenders couldn't say that she stole an election at that level.  And then hopefully he will retreat to his tower and pout alone while the world moves on without him.

Monday, October 10, 2016

THE UGLY DEBATE



Last night Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton engaged in a Presidential debate that was as ugly and mean spirited as one would expect from this campaign.  I suppose Trump was the winner, in that unlike in the first debate, he seemed reasonably prepared  and was not ever caught short sighted.  More importantly, he was able to say in front of Clinton what his rabid supporters  have been wanting to hear him say ever since he announced his candidacy: that Clinton was a liar, that she was wrong about Benghazi and her emails, that she "had enormous amounts of hate in her heart", and that he was going to call for a  special investigation of her if he's elected.  Finally, he topped it all  off with this sharp rejoinder: Clinton: (it's)“awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the laws in this country.”  Trump:  "Because you'd be in jail”.  So, we've gone from Republicans chanting "Lock her up!" at their convention, to Trump threatening her with jail to her face. 
And as if that weren't low enough, Trump responded to criticism of him making horribly sexist comments in a recording released last Friday by attacking Bill Clinton's record on women when he was President, saying "There has never been anyone in the history of politics in this country  that has been so abusive to women."   This seems like a desperate ploy by Trump, in that he wants to somehow re litigate charges made against Bill Clinton decades ago, and then extend those charges to include Hillary.  I can't see this winning over moderates or undecideds.
So while Trump may have won the debate, the election will be a far different thing, and with several prominent Republicans with holding or with drawing their support of him (especially House Speaker Paul Ryan) , his chances of winning are sinking lower and lower.  The question now is: how much of the Republican party will he pull down with him?  Will Clinton get a Democratic majority in the Senate, and perhaps even the House of Representatives?  Perhaps.  More importantly, we may be seeing a split in the Republican party, between people who understand that compromise is part of politics, and those who see it as a weakness, between those who realize that a party made up of mostly old white angry men does not have a great future, and those very same old white angry men who wish that the days of white male dominance in this country never ended.  Putting it bluntly, is Trump win the nomination  in spite of his saying things that are racist, and sexist, or because he says things that are racist and sexist?  Will his crazy candidacy  be seen as a one time aberration?  A brief fling with a celebrity with no political experience?  Or will his popularity with the party's voters cause them to turn from the party leaders?  Could the party literally split in two?  In any event,  these next few years are going to be very interesting ones for the Republican party and for the country in general.  As  those crabby old white men become fewer and fewer, hopefully a more moderate and modern Republican party will emerge, while Rush Limbaugh and his ilk fade away.  In any event, I'm glad Trump appears to be going down hard, and that no candidate like him will reappear soon. No more demagogues America, please!