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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SYMPATHY FOR (SOME) DEVILS



While I am still reeling from the victory of Donald Trump, and enraged at the over sixty million American voters who supported him, I must admit that I do have some sympathy for one strain of Trump voters, and a recent  New York Times headline explains why: TRUMP'S PROMISES WILL BE HARD TO KEEP, BUT COAL COUNTRY HAS FAITH.  While job growth and the overall economy are strong right now, there are many mostly white, working class counties in this country that are in trouble, through no fault of their own.  And they overwhelmingly voted Trump, even after many of them supported Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012.
Why?  Because Trump promised to bring back coal jobs and Hillary Clinton (in a moment she later apologized for) openly remarked "We're going to put a lot of coal miners and companies out of business."  To people like myself who live on cities in the coastal part of the country, this comment was no big deal; of course America needs to move away from the burning of coal, which contributes greatly to climate change.  But to people who live in coal mining communities, it's a way of life,  with entire towns built around people working in the local mine for generations.  When those mines close those towns are devastated, with depressed people often turning to drug and alcohol abuse, or even suicide.  A recent  Princeton study found that between the years 1999 and 2013 the average life expectancy of middle aged white Americans actually decreased, especially for ones without a college degree, (that is, for coal miners and other factory workers) due mostly to this increase in drug and alcohol use.  These are the people who went to Trump rallies and cheered, seeing him as their voice; to them "making America great again" meant going back to a time of good paying blue collar jobs that you could get right out of high school.
But there's a reason why that Times headline says that Trump's promises will be hard to keep; the reality is that coal jobs have been deteriorating in this country since the 1980's.  Even if Trump does roll back all the regulations that Obama has put in place in regards to phasing out coal energy, there are two factors that even a President can't change: the first is the free market; with the onset of fracking, natural gas is cheaper to use than coal, so many communities are turning away from coal energy to save money.  The other is mechanization.  Simply put, drilling machines can do the job of people for less money, just as machines in factories can do the same.
This trend towards mechanization is something that the US and the world will have to continue to deal with, and there are few easy answers.  While retraining displaced workers and making college more affordable are laudable goals, they are often easier said than done, especially for workers who have made a good living for years in one job.  But we have to try, because physical labor is quickly becoming a thing of the past; consider the rise of self driving cars, which are definitely coming ready or not.  While these cars will prevent  thousands of  auto accidents, not to mention the billions of dollars trucking and delivery companies will save, think about the millions of drivers that will be put of work by those companies.    This is enough of a problem that Andy Stern, a senior fellow at the Columbia school of business, proposed in a recent interview in VOX magazine that the US adapt a policy of a Universal Basic Income, literally in the form of the government paying each citizen enough money to survive on.  While this might seem like anathema to the basic American work ethic, it really might help those struggling communities survive, and in the long run, cost the tax payers less than all the money we lose from dealing with depressed people using drugs and alcohol.  I think it's worth a try.  It certainly stands a better chance of working than the empty promises that Trump made in the campaign.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

WHY WE CAN'T JUST GIVE HIM A CHANCE



After giving Donald Trump literally billions of dollars worth of free air time by breathlessly reporting on every speech he gave, allowing his lies and insults to marinate in the public consciousness, the media is now in the process of normalizing Donald Trump as inauguration day looms like a black cloud ahead.  60 MINUTES did an interview with him in which he mostly sounded like a real politician  and not the demagogic hatemonger he ran as.  We can't live in a bubble and say "he's not my President", we have  to own up as a country at the potentially world shattering decision we have made.
It is essential in the next four years that we never forget just how Trump violated every standard of a normal Presidential campaign, along with every standard of normal human decency.  Here's a list of just how radical a choice America made on November 8th:

1. He is the first President ever to have never held any previous  political office or serve in the military.  (He once claimed that his running the Ms Universe beauty pageant qualified as foreign policy experience!)

2.  He is the first President in modern history to refuse to release his Income Tax returns.  He has repeatedly boasted about all the money he has made in his lifetime, while shrugging off his multiple bankruptcies and numerous claims of unpaid bills that have been made against him over the years. According to a USA TODAY investigation, the number of lawsuits he is involved in stands at a whopping 3,500,  an unprecedented number for any President.  And  his Trump University seminar programs may well prove to have been an outright scam aimed  at making empty promises to customers while providing no real advice and bilking them of money.

3.  He is the first Presidential Candidate to openly embrace conspiracy theories, (like when he said that Ted Cruz's father was somehow involved in the assassination of President Kennedy!).

4. On the campaign trail he continually made over the top personal attacks on his political opponents, calling President Obama and Hillary Clinton "traitors" and "the founders of ISIS".   He also often encouraged people at his rallies to physically attack protestors.   And in a real low point for American politics, he once ridiculed a handicapped reporter by mimicking his handicap.

5.  He was rejected not just by progressive news outlets like the New York Times, but also by more conservative papers and magazines; The National Review, once the think tank of conservative thought, openly attacked him in a cover story.   And the newspaper USA TODAY, which normally never endorses candidates, said he did not deserve to be President.

6. His crude statements during debates, in which he made childish insults and interrupted constantly, lowered the general level of public discourse.  In a Republican primary debate he defended the size of his genitals; in a Presidential debate he threatened to have Clinton thrown in jail.  Add to the insults his constant immature boasting ("I have a very good brain!") and it's easy to see that this man  sets a poorer role model for children than any other President in recent times (and probably ever).

7.  He was once recorded joking about sexually assaulting women on an open microphone, and was later accused of making such assaults  by eleven different women.

8.  The nonpartisan website Politifact rated a mere 15% of his statements as true or half true.  While all politicians exaggerate or mislead, no Presidential candidate in modern times has every lied openly and repeatedly as much as he has. His biggest lies include that he opposed the 2003 Iraq war from the start, that Clinton started the birther movement against President Obama and he ended it, and that he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City after the attacks of 9/11.   Clinton's record of true or mostly true statements during the campaign stands on Politifact at 75%.

9.  He has engaged in childish personal vendettas during the campaign: he tweeted angry messages against former Ms Universe Alicia Machado, and threatened to sue every one of the eleven women who have accused him of sexual assault.   He also has said that he wants to "open up" federal libel laws to make it easier for people like him to sue news organizations like the New York Times.

10.  He gleefully encouraged Russian hackers to hack into Clinton's files to release her emails.  The Russian government has now formally admitted that it collaborated with Wikileaks to attempt to discredit Clinton and aid the Trump campaign.

11.  He has expressed admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, dismissing the distinct possibility that Putin has had dissenting reporters in his country killed.

12.  He criticized the war record of Republican Senator John McCain, saying "I like people who weren't captured."   He also attacked the gold star  Khan family after Kzir Khan spoke against him during the Democratic Convention.  It should also be pointed out that he avoided being drafted into the service during the Vietnam war because of a mysterious bone spur in his foot; in a later interview he couldn't remember which foot it was in!

13.  He has advocated killing the families of terrorists and torturing terrorist suspects ("waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse.").  The fact that these two things are international war crimes doesn't phase him.  He has blithely discussed the US not living up to NATO alliances, and encouraging South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons.  There are also reports that during military foreign policy briefings he wondered aloud why the US doesn't use nuclear weapons on other countries since we have them.

14.  He is either an outright bigot, or at the very least has inflamed racial hatred.  From his long stated  belief that President Obama was not born in this country to the day he announced his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists, Trump has played the race card repeatedly: he once asserted that an American born judge of Mexican descent could not rule fairly in a fraud case against Trump University  because of his race (something Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called "The textbook definition of racism.").  His signature issues were building a wall on the border with Mexico (while somehow getting Mexico to pay for it) and deporting the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the US.  He has also called for a ban on all Muslim immigrants entering the country. When  his candidacy was endorsed by former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan David Duke,  he only tepidly denounced him.  The KKK's official newspaper put a glowing article about him on the cover just before the election.

The scary thing about this list is that it kept getting larger the more I thought about it; it seems like there is no end to the unprecedented, horrible things Trump has done since he first began demanding the President's birth certificate in 2011.  He is not a normal Republican, a President Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio would upset me, but not horrify me. Trump is all new combination of inexperience, lies, bullying and boasts.
This is why we cannot "give him a chance", like so many conservatives are saying.  Not when there has been a spike in hate crimes against Muslims  in the past year, not when the KKK has announced that they will hold a rally in honor of him, not when he has decided that Steve Bannon of the extreme right wing website Breitbart will be his Chief of Staff, a choice the New York Times editorial board characterized as "turn on the hate", and which David Duke praised, saying that this might prove that Trump is "for real".  Yes ladies and gentlemen, it is 2016 and we have a former Klan leader openly praising a President.  This is not normal, this is not in any way good, and there is no way we should accept it; progressives must fight this man at every turn, and never let the country forget the hate filled people  that now support him.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

THE POWER OF POLITICAL SPEECH

A young Ronald Reagan on the air

Another takeaway  from this stunning  election is the importance of public speaking and playing to a TV camera can have on a Presidential election. The ability to connect with and move thousands, or even millions of people simultaneously is an intangible skill that, while it can be honed over years of practice, seems to be essentially inborn; you got it or you don’t.  Hillary Clinton is a smart woman who can talk intelligently and clearly about just about any political issue in interviews and debates.  But she can't give a great speech; the speech of her life that she gave at the Democratic National Convention was good, but not great.  The speech everyone remembers from that convention was Michelle Obama's, which was so good that many Democrats want her to start running for office. Big, stirring emotional rhetoric is just not Clinton's thing, and while the few Trump campaign speeches I have watched left me either appalled at his lies and offensive statements, or amused by his bizzarro word salad statements ("I know words, I use the best words."), it is clear that they  had an enormous appeal to a certain demographic.  His campaign speeches were straightforward and understandable (a grade level analysis of them showed him speaking at a fourth grade level), playing to his base of non college educated white people.  More importantly, they worked because he sensed the anger that his crowds felt and channeled it into easy targets (undocumented immigrants, Muslims, the media) for them to hate and for him to say that he would "take care of."  Clinton spoke from her mind and Trump from his gut, and in the end, raw gut anger and emotion defeated cerebral thought.
The ability to give a good campaign or electoral speech, while always a good thing (Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chats were legendary)  has become more and more important as TV has become such a big part of modern Presidential campaigning; in fact I would argue that the candidate with superior speech ability has had a  big advantage in  every election since 1980 (with wooden Al Gore and bumbling George W Bush's poor performances essentially cancelling each other out in 2000.).  Ronald Reagan, like Trump, had years of experience in front of cameras before entering politics, and he could effortlessly display lovable folksy charm even as he said things that were flat out untrue.  In 1992 Bill Clinton defeated  George Bush mainly on his empathetic appeals to people hurt by the poor economy ("I feel your pain.").  And then in 2008 Barack Obama, running against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, defeated a more experienced candidate by rousing crowds with uplifting speeches, and then took that same oratory ability to two successful  terms in the White House.
While I like a good moving speech as much as the next voter (and yes, I teared up too when Michelle Obama spoke at the Convention), I wish that things like facts and issues played more of a role in people's voting decisions than a candidate's ability to string together some nice words.  The effects of this are often amazing: Clinton has had years of experience dealing with Middle East  terrorism as Secretary of State; Trump has literally no foreign policy experience whatsoever, and yet in poll after poll he was rated by  the public as being "stronger" on the issue, simply because he yelled and talked tough about terrorism during his speeches ("I'm gonna bomb the shit out of  Isis!”).  Please, give me the smart woman with a history of dealing with  an issue over the blustery inexperienced loud mouth man any day!
This gets even worse when one looks at issues: 54% of white women are pro choice, a demographic that went 53% for Trump, who has pledged to put anti abortion judges on the Supreme Court.  A majority of Americans now support gay marriage, which is also in jeopardy once Trump starts making court appointments.  Majorities also support expanding background checks on gun purchases and doing something about global warming, putting them clearly on the other side of Trump.  It would appear that millions of Americans were talked into ignoring Trump's stance on important issues because they responded to the raw emotion of his pumped up speeches.  Which is part of why we’re in this mess.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

SOME MORE INTERESTING ELECTION RESULTS



Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the 2016 Presidential election is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, in fact, she won it by around two million votes! That's even more than Al Gore won by in the infamous election of 2000.  The silly outdated Electoral College that we use is a mess; actually, it's worse than that, it's undemocratic, partially stealing a political voice from more populous areas and giving it to smaller areas.  Sadly, like so many other parts of early American history, it's linked to slavery, specifically small slave states that wanted more clout.  And it brings unfair attention to the swing states, with candidates campaigning heavily in swing states like Florida and Ohio and ignoring deep blue and red states like California and Texas. We absolutely should get rid of it, but doing so would require a constitutional amendment, something that a Republican party that has benefited from it twice would never go for.  Thankfully, there is a movement, dubbed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, by which a state could pledge all of its electoral votes to whomever wins the popular vote, whatever the outcome in that individual state.  In effect, an end run around the Electoral College.  So far ten states and the district of Columbia have signed on, but it will take more to really change things.  So for now, all frustrated Democrats can do is grit their teeth.

Another interesting fact is that, although progressives like myself are blaming racism for much of Trump's victory (and with the KKK planning to hold a pro Trump rally, that's not too hard a connection to make!), there are a surprising number of voting counties in this country that turned to Trump this election after voting for Obama in 2008 and/or 2012.  It would appear that a lot of the angry white people who voted for Trump never thought that the change that Obama promised came to them.  Much of this has to do with the transition this country is going through; once upon a time, if you lived in a small town, you could graduate from high school and immediately get a local factory job that paid solid middle class wages.  In the past few years, many of those factories have closed and devastated the small towns that relied on them.  The perception is that the factories are leaving to hire cheaper labor in Mexico and China; Trump pounced on this perception, promising to put tariffs on products from those countries, going so far as accusing China of raping the US economically. He did this despite the fact the reliable economists have predicted that that  such an action would trigger a trade war, resulting in an economic downturn in our country that would cost more jobs than tariffs would save.  Part of Clinton's problem was that she had no easy message to give these frustrated workers; trying to make college more affordable doesn't help laid off factory workers in the short term.  The reason that both Trump's potentially disastrous proposal and Clinton's silence fall short is because the notion that US factory jobs are being lost to other countries is only partly true; the real problem is the rise of automation.  More and more, factories are using robotic workers instead of people; this is an inevitable consequence of the free market.  To keep competitive, companies have to keep labor costs down, and there's no easier way to do that than to build machinery that can do the job of several workers.  There is simply no easy solution to this problem, there's just  no way to force a company to hire workers to do a job a machine can do.  People who live in these small factory  towns are, through no fault of their own, are victims of progress, without  any easy answers of what to do about it.  And last Tuesday we heard the primal scream of their anger over it.

Friday, November 11, 2016

WHITE WOMEN AND TRUMP


The gender gap map, alas not the real one

When surveying the wreckage of the 2016 election one stunning voting statistic seems to stand out over all the others.  While Hillary Clinton won 54% of women voters overall, 53% of white female voters voted for Donald Trump; while that is 3% lower than the percentage of white women who voted for Mitt Romney back in 2012, it's still a clear majority.  It was expected by both Clinton and the media that a surge of female voters, disgusted by Trump's boasting of sexually assaulting women, would handily give her the victory.  Instead a majority of white women voted for a lying, boastful bigot.  Why?
While understanding the motives of millions of people isn't easy, I have some ideas.  First, there are some women who have just always voted Republican and always will, even if their candidate isn't normal.  Then, quite frankly, there is the fact that women can be bigots too, and that Trump's brand of xenophobia and race baiting caught on with some of them, overcoming whatever reservations they had about his attitudes towards women.
But I think there may be another reason: America is the most openly capitalist first world country, one in which the gulf between the rich and the poor is enormous.  Aggressive cut throat competition  is the name of the game here.  And Trump embodies that idea.  He is obsessed with promoting himself and always being a winner; he isn't just wealthy, he flaunts it, flying in planes and living in buildings  with his name on it.  He is the classic image of the well dressed, successful business man of the 1950's, an era that many of his white female supporters remember fondly.
And with an alpha male like that, the sexism and womanizing are seen as a natural outgrowth of his success.  While they may not admire his choice of words, his actions are no surprise to these women.  Women are often drawn to powerful men, so why shouldn't such a man enjoy that, they rationalize. And his ascension from corporate tycoon to celebrity only fuels his image of success.  Yes, even before he entered the political race he wielded a powerful mix of confidence, success, affluence, self promotion and celebrity that he brought into the race and used to win over not only angry white men, but their wives as well.  Sadly, they seemed to think that some of that  wealth and success could shake off him and sprinkle over the rest of us. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

AMERICAN FASCIST?

 FASCISM

-a political philosophy, movement, or regime  that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic  government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

Now that Donald Trump has somehow managed to win the Presidency, the inevitable question that arises is: just what kind of President will he be?  Because the man has never actually held any political office before, we have no record to go on.  Therefore we must take him at his word and use what he has said in his speeches to try and find out.  And the scary answer is, he very well may be  the first outright fascist American President.
I don't use that word lightly, but I do feel  that it is correct.  Firstly, consider how he has repeatedly stated that he wants to round up all the undocumented immigrants in the country and forcibly deport them. The image of Government troops rushing through work places and houses demanding proof of citizenship and carting off people without that proof is straight out of the fascist playbook.
He ran as a law and order candidate, which will lead to an increase in police force and arrests (this in a country that already has the world's highest prison population).  He also wants to bring back the openly racist "stop and frisk" laws.  Again, this is classic fascist strongman behavior.  (Really, given this and his immigration policies, it's going to be very hard to be a nonwhite person in this country once he's in office.  But then, seeing as how his Supreme Court may overturn the recent pro gay marriage ruling, being gay or lesbian may also be hard.  And given his popularity with the now energized Neo Nazi movement, I wouldn't want to be Jewish either!).
Trump has also expressed a desire to change the libel laws of the country to make it easier to sue publications that print negative things about him.  At his rallies he would make members of the press sit in a ringed off section and often encourage the crowd to boo and taunt them (even calling some out by name).  Clearly he wants a crackdown on any negative reporting of his regime. 
And then there is his rhetoric; his speeches are filled with classic dictator themes, such as:  "I am your Voice" , "I and I alone can fix it" and "to the victor goes the spoils".
 He has even called for the torturing of suspected terrorists ("waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse") and the killing of the families of terrorists.  The fact that these two things are both considered war crimes doesn't matter to him at all;  his word will be law. 
 No doubt he sees himself as a singular powerful leader who's desires will be met unquestioningly. Just look at  his admiration for Vladimir Putin, a fellow fascist in arms.
Thankfully, we still have a Constitution in this country, and no matter how much he thinks he will be a dictator, there still some limits placed on his power, a few  brick walls that he will run into.  Still, how much damage can he cause to the country and the world?  When he is Commander in Chief of the world's largest military force, the answer is a chilling "who knows?".

WHO DO WE BLAME?


The President Elect (Lord help us)


I have never felt more proud to be an American than in 2008 when the country elected Barack Obama to the Presidency.  And I have never felt more shame for my country than I feel right now, waking up to a President Donald Trump.  I love the city and state that I live in, but I can't imagine that I will ever feel love for this country as a whole ever again.  Not for one that could vote for a racist, narcissistic, misogynistic, person like Trump. No patriotism for me, in fact right now I only feel seething rage; I want to look at each one of the 58,842,291 people for voted for him in the eye and ask:  how could you do this?

After every Presidential election, the losing side picks over the ruins of the campaign to try and gain insight.  So now it's important to ask, who is to blame for this political catastrophe?

1.  The Media-right after Trump took that fateful ride down the escalator, the media has been Trump's biggest alley.  Given his gift for absurd bombast and offensive statements, Trump brought ratings to the media, who quickly broadcast one speech of his after another, giving him literally billions of dollars worth of free exposure.  And because he lied so fast and so frequently in those speeches, fact checking became almost impossible, letting his lies out into the ether without any contradiction.  Conservatives love to rail against the liberal mainstream media, but it was that media that gave Trump the attention he craved.

2. The pollsters-Although the numbers fluctuated, Hillary Clinton lead in every poll leading up to the election, even on Fox News.  The usually reliable Nathan Silver of the statistical analysis website 538.Com gave her a healthy 65% chance of winning on election day, with most other outlets ranking her chances even higher.  Did this high level of certainty lead to many potential Clinton voters staying home on election night, thinking that she had it in the bag?  Possibly, her support was wide but shallow; she never really excited voters the way that Obama did.

3. Millennials-When the numbers are calculated,  I am sure that the turnout for millennial voters will be very low in this election; these young people tuned in for Bernie Sanders and then tuned out for Clinton.  Sadly, they don't seem to realize the stakes that were involved; for example, someday soon Trump appointed Supreme Court Justices may overturn gay marriage in this country, something they overwhelmingly support but couldn't seen to connect to in this election.  They sadly didn't realize that voting for the lesser of two evils is still something worth doing, especially when the greater evil is Trump!

4. James Comey-Clinton was apparently coasting to a victory when FBI leader Comey announced on October 28th.  that there appeared to be more emails that needed to be investigated.  Although he cleared her the day before the election, the damage was done.  Although polls on the day of the election still showed her with an advantage,  her once commanding lead had evaporated after this unprecedented intrusion by his agency into the election.

5. Clinton herself-With the emails, the ethical questions about the Clinton Foundation, and the unreleased private speeches to Wall St., Clinton always seemed to have one scandal or another being discussed in the media.  Although none of them were criminal, and the attention given them was often overblown, they wound up having a cumulative effect, giving the impression that she was, to use Trump's term, "crooked".  And she was never quite a natural politician; her speeches were lacking in uplift, her emotions often seeming canned and phony. But in many ways she ran a strong campaign: she raised enormous amounts of campaign money, aired some very moving ads on TV, and built up a ground game to get out the vote.  And polls showed her beating Trump in at least two of the debates.  Alas, she wound up falling just short (as of this point, according to the New York Times, she actually got a few thousand more votes than Trump, even while losing the Electoral College). Given the closeness of the election, Progressives like myself will be grinding our teeth at the thought that if Bernie Sanders had gotten the Democratic nomination instead of Clinton, the support of the aforementioned millennial voters very well may have put him over the top.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SHELL SHOCKED


 "Is America a failed state and society?"

 -Paul Krugman, November 8th. 10:58 PM


I am stunned, horrified, shocked, speechless and terrified.  I can't possibly mince words; the worst Presidential campaign in American history has produced the worst possible outcome.  Here are words I can't almost bring myself to say: President Donald Trump.
How could this happen?  Every reliable poll saw Hillary Clinton with a small but consistent lead for months.  The early voting returns in Florida were skewing towards her.  The top fifty newspapers in the country refused to endorse Trump, and many prominent conservatives came to their senses and also refused to endorse him.  Did James Comey hand Trump the election when he announced that he was still investigating Clinton's emails, even when he later admitted he had found nothing?  Could Bernie Sanders have won against Trump? 
What kind of woman votes for a man who boasts about sexually molesting women?  How can they look their children in the eye afterwards?  Who can vote for a man who lies, blusters, insults and brags with every speech? What kind of person votes for a man who has been cheered for by the Klu Klux Klan and every other white supremacist organization in the country?  Who has expressed admiration for dictators like Vladimir Putin?  Who has spread hatred of Mexicans and  Muslims?  Who has encouraged violence at his rallies?
And what could possibly be worse than President Trump?  Try President Trump with a Republican majority congress which will inevitably rubber stamp his budget busting tax cuts for the rich, while he will sign Paul Ryan's move to privatize Social Security and Medicare.  And he will get at least one Supreme Court Justice pick, with perhaps more to come.  So, more than likely, we may say goodbye to gay marriage, along with Roe Vs. Wade.
America may be taking the hardest right turn it ever has, making the 50's and the 80's look progressive in comparison.  But now is not the time for progressives to surrender, we have to fight.  It once seemed impossible that a mixed race Senator with a funny middle name could ever be President, but damned if we didn't get 8 great years of one of the most progressive Presidents ever. We can do it again.
Consider this, once Trump is in office, he will have to try to live up to his promises, and he will find that trying to build a 1200 mile wall and deport 11 million people will not be as easy as he has said it would.  Once his followers discover that he is just another lying politician, they will hopefully turn on him.  And then we can reassert rational control over the country again.  And once the millennial voters who didn't show up for Clinton get a load of what a conservative president can do, they will start paying attention again.  I can't imagine that the four years we will have to suffer through a Trump Presidency will result in him winning a second term.  But just imagine all the damage he can do to both the country and the world by then.  Again, I'm stunned, horrified, shocked, speechless and terrified.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

LET IT END....



And so, on Tuesday, the ugliest Presidential Campaign in modern history will finally come to close.  Immediately  books will be written, TV specials and documentaries will be made, and the battle between two stunningly unpopular candidates will be analyzed.
To me, there is a central irony  to this whole process that must be noted: this Presidential Campaign, between two white candidates, was more about race than the two campaigns before it with Barack Obama on the ticket.  When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the Presidency by accusing Mexico of sending over rapists and drug users, he lifted a rock in America and found the ugly racist slugs lying underneath.  He energized the country's white supremacist movement into backing a national political figure, something that it almost never does.  Just the other day The Crusader, one of the most prominent Klu Klux Klan newsletters, put him on the cover and wrote a spirited defense of his campaign. 
Let's not kid ourselves, when he made that statement about Mexican immigrants and doubled down on it by saying that he would deport all undocumented immigrants in the country, and then build a border wall with Mexico and get that country to pay for it, for many Republicans(and non registered white supremacists), he didn't need to say anything else.  He was their man.  As popular right wing author Ann Coulter tweeted after  his immigration policy paper was released, "I don't care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper."  And at every rally that Trump holds, "build the wall" is the chant that's heard the most; in nearly every interview with his supporters it's their number one issue.  His overwhelmingly white constituency cling  to the sad belief that somehow, in a country of three hundred and twenty million people, the actions of eleven million "illegals" is what's holding us down, taking away jobs and spreading crime.
Understand, I am certainly not saying that all Republicans are white supremacists; many Republicans are voting for him because they can't stand Hillary Clinton, or just have always voted for Republicans, and can't see voting any other way.  And most Republican Party officials and Congress members have given little to no support of Trump. But  the way his supporters have responded  against any dissent in the Republican party shows how deeply racist many of them are; David French, a conservative writer for The National Review, led the charge against Trump at that magazine.  The result was a flood of  emails and twitter messages aimed at him and his wife that made violent threats towards both of them. The fact that he has an adopted black African daughter was immediately pounced upon, with the most vile kind of photo shopped images being sent to him and his wife; the fact that his daughter is only seven seemed to not even slow them down.
But there appears to be good news on the horizon: early voting numbers are in, and there are already high numbers of Latino voters (many of them first time voters) making sure their voices are heard in states like Florida and Nevada.  Yes, it would appear that the friends and relatives of the same group of people that Trump began his campaign demonizing are the same ones that are going to  send him slinking back to Trump Tower, whining the whole time about a rigged election.  That's called Karma.