Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Warning From Time Magazine 2016 Person of the Year

Scrolling through Hillary Clinton's Twitter feed, looking for respite from the relentlessly depressing news, I found the above.

Pretty appropriate, given Trump's latest ranting and raving about China. I don't know what's more irritating; the stupidity of the man or how many people endlessly debate what he's done or said as if he were a sentient being when in fact most of the time there's nobody home. Evidenced by his tweet that he won by a landslide because the elections were rigged and millions voted illegally but he tried to stop the recount instigated by Jill Stein.

Time Magazine named him 2016 Person of the Year, opting for a portrait of Trump in a remarkably similar pose to that of Hitler when he won the dubious honor. The magazine had this to say about their choice: 
"It’s hard to measure the scale of his disruption. This real estate baron and casino owner turned reality-TV star and provocateur—never a day spent in public office, never a debt owed to any interest besides his own—now surveys the smoking ruin of a vast political edifice that once housed parties, pundits, donors, pollsters, all those who did not see him coming or take him seriously. Out of this reckoning, Trump is poised to preside, for better or worse."
William Saletan, writing for Slate, said of Donald Trump that he's "virtually lobotomized".
I agree. I believe that Trump is literally too stupid to understand what an average toddler can. It could explain his avoidance of intelligence briefings.

Trump ran his campaign on emotive issues which needed the intelligence of a pea-brain to see through. He's massively entitled, has a kind of lizard-brain ability to con people, and doesn't care about consequences because he's always been able to slither away from them himself and make other people pay.

Astonishingly, TV anchors, panels, some journalists, are still talking about him as if he's a normal human being, 'giving him a chance'.

You give peace a chance. You don't give a serial predator one. And it's dangerous to interpret Trump's stupidity as meaning he's ultimately harmless. He's not. His need for wealth, power and attention is the craving of an addict. He'll sacrifice the country and feed his supporters what they want to hear so they take the poison he's feeding them. He and his lovely family of mindless, soul-less daddy-clones will make a killing and when the economy tanks and the middle class disappears they'll blame Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Trump won't care. He has already broken all his campaign promises and his fans don't seem to realize it, perhaps because the reporting of it comes from the snobby elitist liberal media.

For the next four years Trump will play Republican politicians off against each other, and capitalize on their desire to have positions of power. He's already doing that. Look how he yanked Mitt Romney's chain, meeting him for dinner and getting together for talks then adding to his list of potentials for the position. As if he understood the first thing about what's needed in a Secretary of State.

Or how to govern, come to think of it. Or how to finish a sentence articulately. How to start it. How to hold a decent conversation. Or how to run a business without breaking laws, screwing decent people's lives up and going spectacularly bankrupt, there's that.

His whole life this nasty piece of work has abused people and manipulated their greed. He's also created chaos around himself so nobody gets power over him. He mindlessly hurls accusations at whomever he feels like whenever he feels like it. He'll try to do the latter with foreign leaders, as he has with China, his latest stunt, of which there are so many it's hard to keep up. He'll destroy international trade agreements that benefit everybody, put his weight behind leaders guilty of horrendous crimes against humanity, incentivize and legitimize white supremacy, sexism, inequality, injustice, bigotry and lies.

America's governing business will be conducted by denizens of the swamp. 2017 will march in a new pre-Civil Rights era. The Administration and the way that the president operates will promote stupidity as an admirable trait and fake news as a mainstream source of information. Progress on climate change will be incinerated. Scorched earth policy will come to have new meaning. 

And truth? The real meaning of it and its importance to how we live our lives is already so frayed at the edges that it wouldn't be a surprise to find in four years time that it's a forgotten concept. In conclusion to their piece about the 2016 person of the year choice, Time had this to say:
"For reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow’s political culture by demolishing yesterday’s, Donald Trump is TIME’s 2016 Person of the Year."  
Hardly an accolade. A warning, more like. But we're not so good, as a race, at heeding warnings are we?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Missing Hillary Clinton and Mourning the Lost Opportunity

I think I'm never going to get over it, that Hillary Clinton lost to a bigot, a fraud, a man of whom the worst description you can think of wouldn't be strong or comprehensive enough. I miss everything about her and her campaign with Tim Kaine. I miss how I felt, believing that my values would be protected, that the world would be moving forward, with the US taking a stand against bigotry, racism, injustice, inequality and sexism at a time when the far right is gaining momentum everywhere.

Taking a stand for coherence, the importance of truth and unity. I saw #StrongerTogether in continual action through a wide spectrum of communities, across race, gender and economic status. I saw people caring, outraged at the same things that assault me.

I saw tremendous triumph through adversity in Hillary Clinton herself, and I saw how many people liked, admired, and loved her. And I had faith that Barack Obama's incredible legacy would live on, that he and Michelle Obama would be honored for the dignity, grace, wisdom and sheer exuberance they've brought to the White House. 

There was everything to look forward to. The US going from strength to strength, a bastion against the far-right that's gaining ground everywhere.

I looked forward to opening up the New York Times every day for breakfast, and also reading the New Yorker, Politico, Mother Jones, Salon, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Huffpost as the transition took place, and then as the next four years unfolded. I even hoped that inroads would be made into GOP power in Congress and that Obama's pick for the Supreme Court would go through. I knew Hillary Clinton would be in for a tough fight against Republicans but I had faith that she'd prevail, as Obama has.

I craved an end to the mindless, relentless exposure of a stupid man. I never found him entertaining, I couldn't stand him from the minute I first saw him years ago on his horrible reality show. He's a nasty piece of work through and through. Revolting to look at, revolting inside and out. How I looked forward to the day he was out of the limelight. Gone!

I saw Oprah interview Maya Angelou once, and ask if the pain of her child's death had gotten any easier with time. Maya said why would I want it to? I could relate to that. I gave my beautiful son up for adoption when I was in my twenties and it was the hardest and most awful thing I've ever done. The most painful, definitely. I don't want to let go of the pain. Why would I? So I can feel better? I wouldn't be feeling better, I'd be numb.

This isn't like that, of course. Nothing will ever be like that. But there are some things that are similar. I don't want to move on. I don't want to try and find some good in what's happened. Because there is nothing good. I revile the man who won, and the means by which he did. My intelligence and my soul are assaulted every day by him, as he turns America into a banana republic.

I mourn Hillary Clinton's loss and what it means for the Obamas, for the President's legacy. For the world, for my world. As I said, I don't see myself feeling any better any time soon.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dark Days As US Democracy Sinks Into The Swamp

Photo and Art by Jennifer Stewart

It’s nearly a month since the world feel apart for me and millions like me in a presidential election of allegedly the greatest democracy on earth.

Where the odds stacked against Hillary Clinton went from massive double standards, Russian interference and Julian Assange  gimmicks— is there any difference? — to an FBI director, to fake news, to a populace that sucks up any misinformation so long as it creates a justification for their bigotry, sexism, racism, you name it, to GOP policies skewed towards disenfranchising minorities.

In hindsight, it seems clear that Clinton never stood a chance of winning playing by the rules. Although those recounts are happening...

Every day I read of new travesties, and watch how the liberal media also sinks deeper and deeper into the swamp, either selectively reporting or flat out misconstruing what’s been said by the president-elect and his crew. Normalizing him and them in ways that make a mockery of the word liberal.

Every day I scour that media, desperately searching for the clarion call, for the voice of pure outrage. I seldom find it.

I think we’ve been here before. How long did it take the liberal media to get off the fence and take a stand to unequivocally endorse Hillary Clinton? I and I presume all NYT subscribers received an email asking what we wanted to read. My response was that I wanted to see unequivocal condemnation of Trump and for the NYT to be the leader in it. I presume I was one of many, because the NYT gave us what we wanted. Too late to be the leader of the liberal media, though. And it was too little too late to save the election.

Then as soon as the election results were called, Hillary Clinton disappeared off everybody’s radar and every single damn headline was about the president-elect. But was it, is it, real investigative reporting? Not all of it, no. Some of it was bland comment often, or writing about him as if he was a normal human being, or taking what he or one of his right wing minions said out of context.

It’s all very civilized. The excuse I hear everywhere is that the liberal media is facing extinction and can’t afford real investigative journalism.

I don’t buy it. Real investigation into what was wrong with this election, passionate reporting and continued unequivocal condemnation of Trump would draw readers, including Trump supporters.
Because it’s dramatic and that’s what people lust for. Charles M. Blow, NYT columnist, dashed off a piece in response to Trump’s meeting with the NYT, entitled “No Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along”. It’s outright condemnatory of Trump and received 2310 comments, which collectively got about 80,000 likes.

Every waking moment I have to fight against a wave of helplessness and hopelessness that washes over me as the US moves inexorably towards a government characterized by the worst in humanity, led back to pre Civil Rights Movement days by a con-man who has the animal instincts of a serial predator but no real intelligence, no intellectual capacity.

A fool utterly devoid of ethic. So pathetically needy that anybody can suck up to him and he’ll give them a position of power.

These are dark days.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Defining Classy; A Short, Sloppy but not Wholly Inaccurate History Of its Evolution

In the West, there was a time when Classy was synonymous with class distinction, the basic premise of which was lineage, sophisticated social skills, the kind of wealth that stayed in the family and some kind of blood connection to a gene pool that proved not infrequently to be, over the long run, weak in the head.

Royalty. Landed gentry. Upper crust society. Beautiful manners, gorgeous clothes, glorious homes, power, mobility. The stuff of fairy tales. Now that was class. Outsiders—the poor, the struggling, the serfs and slaves, the farm workers, soldiers, sailors, tinkers and tailors—all either accepted their place or felt, and were, powerless to change it. Oh, and let's not forget independent-minded women and anybody who wasn't white, with the exception of those few notables who heroically managed to penetrate a ceiling made from the building materials fortresses were constructed with.

But something happened in the collective psyche of the outsiders. A lust for a bigger experience, a bigger slice of the pie.

Might have had something to do with the fact that it had a sturdier gene pool, a broader mix. Something about that seems to open neurological pathways to creative thinking. Boom. The Industrial Revolution. Suddenly yobs with no manners, no refinement, and neither land nor lineage could amass fortunes and buy the trappings of class. Not independent spirited women, people of color or different lifestyle choices or foreign alien religions, though. Let's never forget that.

Nouveau Riche. Spurned, of course by the Original Class of Classies, and using outsiders in exactly the same way they'd been used by their masters. But gradually these upstarts developed manners and accoutrements of Class and in many cases married into lineage, because its weak gene pool had left it with land and snobbery but no bucks.

And a populace of poor people living or barely living off the land, giving everything of value of themselves to the Classies, became a populace of poor people barely living in the cities, still giving everything of themselves but now to the New Classies as slaves, as servants, as wives, as factory workers. Also, for a while, collectively accepting that they had no option. It wasn't a pretty picture and the environment began to take a real beating too. Again, though, something happened in the collective psyche of those damn outsiders, the slaves to and enablers of others' pleasure and good fortune. Maybe it's really about the spirit of the human never being satisfied with being stuck in the dark ages. Perhaps it's about the human capacity for good needing to prevail over its capacity for evil.

The outsiders became more aware that moving up was a possibility even for them. Boom. Unions. Higher wages, access to more ideas, demanding education, finding it, getting it.

Well, what a damn mess. From then on it was one boom after another, the cataclysmic collapse of the old order happening from decade to decade. The original Classies' gene pool completely buggered up.

The concept of "What About Me, What About Them!" spreading like wildfire. Youth, women, people of color, diverse religions and lifestyle choices making their voices heard, fighting for their rights and those of others, not waiting for permission but insisting that they were equal, caring about accountability and the environment. Never giving up in the face of dreadful persecution in every imaginable application, covert and overt. Desire for decency to prevail became a conflagration impossible to control. And as the lust for a better experience seared at hearts, souls and minds; as compassion for the exploited and protest at the exploiters grew; as wealth and access to information became more accessible to so many more; something else happened.

Class began to be synonymous with decency, inner strength, dignity, compassion and respect for others and self, good sense, concern for the environment. Nowhere else for it to go, really. Boom. The Phoenix of the human spirit emerging from the ashes.

That's where we are today. Class is not about what you wear, what you earn, what you own, your status, the color of your skin, your gender, your religion or your lifestyle choice. It's about who you are.

Just as the outsiders always thought they were as classy as those they were desperate to be accepted by when the barriers to entry were superficial, today the ethically challenged who have amassed vast fortunes and or power swagger around with great braggadocio, loudly trumpeting how classy they are. Utterly oblivious to how obvious it is to the rest of us.

Whatever they've got, it ain't class. These days, no matter what else you have, without class, you've got nothing. And it shows.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fifty Years After the Civil Rights Era, Evil Prevails Again

Civil rights demonstrator attacked by a police dog on May 3, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama

Stephanie McCurry, Professor of History at Columbia University, taught History of the Slave South on Coursera a few years ago. In her conclusion she said: 
"The Confederate States of America was transformed by war, and the Confederate political project was undone … when the 4 million African Americans born enslaved in the United States seized the opening history offered.

When they rose on the plantations. When they grabbed up their children and poured into Union lines. When they insisted that the Union reformulate policy to account for their historic mission of emancipation. When men, women, and children alike, risked all to turn the war in the right direction. When they made slaveholders ask for the first time, what do the slaves want? …
And given the pro slavery, white supremacist and anti democratic aspirations of that nation, there was a certain justice, I think, in that."   
A certain justice, but not enough to exorcise the racism ingrained in so many that less than 50 years after the Civil Rights era, white supremacists are on the ascendancy again and the alt-right has dictated the next American president, who is now choosing racists, bigots and warmongers for his crew. has an excellent piece on Senator Sessions, Trump's choice for AG. And as Rep. Luis V. GutiĆ©rrez (D-IL) said of him:
"If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man. No Senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions... He ran for the Senate because he was deemed by the Senate Judiciary Committee as too racist to serve as a federal judge. He is the kind of person who will set back law enforcement, civil rights, the courts, and increase America’s mass incarceration industry and erase 50 years of progress."
Divisions in American society run terribly deep, and hard as people have tried to believe that America, with all its diversity is at heart homogeneous in spirit, it's wishful thinking, and usually on the part of liberals.

Abusers, in politics and even in relationships, get away with a lot as their generous-spirited victims give them chance after chance after chance, desperately holding onto the belief that everybody is intrinsically good if you just give them understanding. Finally there comes a point when the victims face reality. Understanding sometimes does nothing more than enable more abuse.

And so abusive spouses face divorce, abusive friends find themselves friendless, revolutions get rid of dictators. But still, even as history teaches us at a personal and societal level that early warning signals, if ignored, always lead to dangerous eruptions, liberals try to make peace with bigots and racists in the name of democracy and inclusiveness. But liberalism is intrinsically about ensuring that everybody has equal rights. When those who oppose that idea act out their beliefs and in doing so strip others of their rights, they give up some of their own. Basic human rights come with moral accountability. 

It's how society operates and stays moderately functional. So when millions of people vote in a deeply racist demagogue who has whipped up hatred and fomented intolerance until manifestations of it start returning America to pre-Civil Rights days, the last thing liberals need is to try and make peace with those voters.

The alt-right rationale is that their anger has its roots in being excluded. Have they been excluded? No they haven't. They got a superlative president who, more than any Republican president before him, truly believed in his heart of hearts that his presidential responsibility was to everybody, not just those who voted for him. But he wasn't white and those conservatives voted in a GOP Congress who made it impossible for the president to help them in the way that he wanted to.

So no, I don't buy the idea that middle America has been excluded. Middle America has excluded itself. If you want to be part of the human race dialogue and you want to benefit from others' desire for equality, you have to want it yourself and fight against that which thwarts it, not vote it into office.

When good people do nothing, evil prevails. Trying to make friends with supporters of Donald Trump is the equivalent of doing nothing. And we need to face it; evil is prevailing right now. It's not something that might happen next month or next week. It's happening now. And anybody who does anything other than help to strengthen Democrats in this time of crisis is adding to the problem.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Worst of Times: America's Dark Days, From a Superlative President to an Abhorrence

As a whole lot of TV news anchors and hosts with their panels crawl like flies over a pile of horseshit, backtracking from positions they almost took about Trump or even actually did, I stare in horror. What happened? Was there suddenly a discount on lobotomies? Have one and get one free for a colleague?  

As David Remnick said on Fareed Zakaria's GPS, "I think I'm hallucinating".

You'd never know from any of it that Trump is a conspiracy theory nut, the man who in 2011, when he was mulling over running for president, launched his birther conspiracy theory persecution against Obama and didn't drop it even when Obama produced his certificate. Who then did, glibly drop the story and accuse Hillary Clinton of starting it all. [She didn't.]

A clod who can't finish sentences, who talks about penises in the presidential primaries, whose own campaign people had to take his Twitter account away from him to stop him being an abusive idiot at 3 in the morning.

A businessman who vastly overestimates his wealth, avoids taxes, who has gone bankrupt with properties countless times and with some casinos made a profit through the bankruptcy whilst the small businesses who built the buildings went broke. An employer who cheats and stiffs his workers. A fraud who is facing a big lawsuit over his fraudulent 'university, a demagogue who has shady dealings with and something of a crush on Putin. Whose own business life started with a small million dollar loan from his father—and that would be the guy who made a fortune in Stalin's Russia—which he squandered and went on to several bankruptcies. A fool who wants to dismantle NATO and bomb the hell out of the Middle East. Yeah!

A man who mocked the disabled at a rally, insulted the parents of a Gold Star Muslim soldier who died in action, who lies anything from a score to 70 times a day, calls women pigs, calls Mexicans rapists and murderers and promotes hate against Muslims and Jews.

Who is celebrated by the KKK and white supremacists. Who talked in sexual terms about his baby daughter and later, when she was all grown up, said that she was so hot he would date her if she wasn't his daughter. Who was caught on tape acknowledging that he gropes women and loves the entitlement he has to do it. Who has threatened to destroy the women he abused and who had the courage to finally tell the truth. A serial abuser who is facing a lawsuit for child rape and who wants to close Planned Parenthood and punish women for having abortions.

A greedy, corrupt wanna-be mogul who paid off Scottish local politicians and the police so he could destroy a community and vast tracts of pristine and ecologically precious land in Scotland for his golf course. Who said of the poorer people who lived in houses that his guests would be able to see from his golf course hotel that they were disgusting. "Who lives like that?" Trump said, his face twisted grotesquely. He wanted to get rid of them.

That's the guy who will be sworn in as America's next president. I keep trying to hit replay and edit; it's beyond belief. I experience shock and grief a thousand times a day.

Hillary Clinton, introduced in a moving attribute to her and her campaign by her running mate Tim Kaine, gave a graceful and dignified concession speech, in which she said, "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power." Yes indeed, and the rest of her speech was a rousing call to action, to not let bigotry prevail. Understandably, her Twitter account has gone silent for a while, as has her daughter's and husband's.

But I miss them and Tim Kaine. I miss their optimism, their grace and intelligence, their decency, their message of preserving everything that's good, of unity and the importance of equality and tolerance.

I miss the hope I had, the faith that good prevails and it's all going to be okay. I miss knowing that Obama's legacy will be honored. I miss the ads!

Barack Obama met with Trump in the White House. It was an assault to see the man of such tremendous stature sitting with the stinking bigot, although I got a savage satisfaction from seeing how Mr. White guy the racist had to sit between an African American president and the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Obama said they had an excellent meeting, and that "My number one priority in the next two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful." He did it because he's a responsible guy and it comes with the job.

It doesn't mean that he suddenly thinks Trump has changed or that he wants everybody to forgive and forget although he's been quoted by the slavering media as if he did. Representative John Lewis tweeted what the President can't, yet. Not until he's out of the Oval Office, anyway.

What a terrible blow. It's bad enough to see the end of an era that was too short, to say goodbye to a President and First Lady who have led America out of the gates of hell, who have not a single tiny teeny blemish on them, who truly madly deeply care, who have worked diligently to improve equality and lay the foundation for a healthy society. Who have gained the respect of everybody around the world, and even that impossible to please American public, who have moved us, inspired us, led us, even entertained us. Certainly touched our hearts and souls in ways that we'll never forget.

Yes, it's hard enough to see them go; my world feels empty at the thought of it. But to have them followed by this. It's a travesty. Of epic proportions.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Van Jones Speaks for Millions on the Aftermath of America's 2016 Elections

"People have talked about a miracle. I'm hearing about a nightmare. It's hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids 'don't be a bully.' You tell your kids 'don't be a bigot.' You tell your kids 'do your homework and be prepared.'
And then you have this outcome. And you have people putting children to bed tonight and they're afraid of breakfast. They're afraid of 'how do I explain this to my children?' I have families of immigrants who are terrified tonight. This was many things... We've talked everything but race tonight. This was a white lash against a changing country. A white lash against a black president, in part. And that's where the pain comes."
Yesterday I was afraid that the election would be close, but mostly optimistic that America consisted mostly of people like Van Jones. Decent, sane, intelligent people who don't buy into conspiracy theories, who can distinguish between truth and lies, who don't blame politicians for their own personal challenges, who can recognize the dangers of media-driven hyperbole and innuendo, who care deeply about inequality, racism, sexual abuse, bigotry in all its disgusting manifestations and not just when it hits the headlines.

That would be because most Americans I know are like that. I was so sure that the land of the free and the home of the brave still described the main part of the country.

Today I have to live with the truth. And worse, the reality that some of the people I called friends voted directly for bigotry. Or took great pride in their independence of mind and voted Gary Johnson. Who siphoned off Hillary Clinton's winning edge in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and handed the Presidency to Trump. Recklessly visiting disaster on millions, in America and round the world, adding terrifying weight to a growing body of white supremacists, enabling men who think it's okay to abuse those with disabilities, anybody who isn't white, women; empowering businessmen who think it's okay to cheat and steal and stiff your workers; disabling the middle class, giving renewed vigor to the NRA, the military industrial complex and a GOP committed to trickle-up economics, where the poor feed the wealthy.

My heart breaks for Hillary Clinton and her family. And for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama - great Gods, what a terrible thing for them. And for Joe Biden, and Tim Kaine, and all the Democrat groups and politicians who have worked so hard to uphold values, not just during the Hillary Clinton campaign, but for their whole careers and especially during Barack Obama's presidency, fighting against an intractable Republican Party. For the great minds and great journalists who had the courage to call Trump for what he is.

My heart breaks for every wonderful, courageous Democrat who poured their life into the campaign and who took the trouble to vote and who just got bludgeoned; whose uphill battle against slavish ignorance, prejudice, discrimination, injustice, racism, sexism, inequality, a tilted Supreme Court just became a cliff-face.

I had to ask the question that millions are asking: is America still the land of the free and the home of the brave? 

The answer is an unqualified yes, of course it still is and it always will be. The free and the brave are still in the majority - Hillary Clinton won the popular vote - but they are a threatened group now, so much so that they're almost a minority. One thing we all know about American minorities: they fight through unimaginable obstacles and they never give up. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Letter to Susan Sarandon: Thank God Hillary Clinton Is Hours Away From Becoming Madam President

Dear Susan Sarandon, you don't know me. But as America stands on the brink of voting for tolerance, inclusion, sanity, wise governance and love, or endorsing bigotry, and thus either saving or condemning the world, I thought I would take this opportunity, to say a few words to you and introduce you to a few people.

Like many others, I read what you said ages ago about the chaos of a Trump presidency being better than a Hillary Clinton presidency, because then out of the chaos something really democratic could evolve. You proudly announced that you didn't vote with your vagina. It was cheeky of me, but all I could think was, perhaps your vagina hasn't learned yet that it's allowed to vote. 

Now listen here, Susan. If you want to blow your own life up, that's up to you. If you want to muzzle your vagina's voice, that's up to you too. Hard for me to believe it's a progressive thing but hey, that's just me. Here's the thing that does really bother me, though: you won't be the one who particularly suffers if Trump wins the election while you sulk over Bernie Sanders and egg others on to do the same. You've got immense wealth, fame, a fantastic job, a future, influence. You've got it all, and good for you. You deserve it, you've worked hard. 

Not everybody has such a safe place in life, though. I certainly don't. The people who will really suffer are the ones who don't have anything or who have very little. Those who can't vote with their vaginas because if they do they might get beaten up or abused in some way. Then there's that enormous group of human beings; African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBT, and, hello, women in general. They'll suffer too. Think of all the Muslim children who will be bullied and beaten up. There'll be a corrupted Supreme Court for the next how many years? And world diplomacy and peace - kiss it goodbye! What about all the victims of the wars that Trump will engage in, the victims of his alliance with Putin, the increased power of the military industrial complex? The complete and utter fucking mess that will explode on the world? 

What about all the girls and women who will experience an upsurge in male entitlement? What about the women Trump abused? They'll have zero chance of retribution. What about the homeless all over the country, those people that Trump doesn't even see as human beings? I'm sure you get my drift.

And your idea that there will be some grand cathartic experience is fantasy, hon. There won't be. The chaos that everybody refers to isn't about the wealthy suddenly ending up with nothing. No, it's about them accumulating more. The wealthy will get wealthier, the middle class will disappear, the economy will plummet and take down other economies around the world, and the earth will get closer to destruction. A lot of irreversible things can happen in four years. Values will be over-ridden and banana republic tactics will run the show. White supremacy and racism will gain power. That's what the chaos will be.

But the wealthy? They'll be fine. You, darling, will be fine. None of the disasters that you are so willing to visit on the whole damn world will touch you.  

This isn't about allegiance to Bernie Sanders, because he has asked his followers to vote for Hillary Clinton. It's not about truth, because you and Sanders supporters in general have propagated as many lies about Hillary as the GOP and Trump. It's not about caring about democracy because you're willing to toss it. What's it about, then? Here's a thought: people who want to force a very punishing cathartic experience on others are often frustrated and too afraid to confront whatever will create a catharsis for themselves. I can relate; who can't? But that you don't care who gets sacrificed is, frankly, a slap in the face to people around the world. To all the minorities who have ever been and still are persecuted. To all the women who have been and still are being abused. 

I'm not American so I'm powerless to vote, I'm powerless to fight for tolerance and inclusion, for sanity. All I can do is watch and be grateful to all the Democrats whose vaginas have a vote, all the Democrats who don't have vaginas but still vote with good sense and accountability. Whether they know it or not they're saving the world right now. They're even saving you, Susan. They're voting for this woman who has withstood persecution the likes of which I hope you never have to experience.

As I said, you deserve the place you've forged for yourself. You've been committed, you've worked hard. You've also been loved and appreciated. I wonder if you ever imagine what it might have been like for you to be trashed every waking moment, to have everything you've ever done that was good be twisted and distorted and fed into a giant media machine until everybody hated, despised and persecuted you. How it would feel if you knew you'd been scapegoated but nobody cared. If even intelligent people bought into the narrative and turned your beautiful life and achievements into something dirty.

Susan, while you exercised your right to visit chaos and suffering on the world, women of dignity like 99 year-old Minerva Turpin exercised their right to vote for the preservation of order and all that's good about being human. Being stronger together. Making history.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton Campaign Stays Steady In The Comey-Induced Firestorm

When I saw the news about Comey's letter the other night and the glee with which anchors descended on it like starving vultures, I switched off the TV and turned to Twitter where I found expression of outrage that Comey would say so much and yet so little so soon before a presidential election in a climate where millions have been whipped up into a frenzy of paranoia by innuendo and misinformation.

It's where I learned from the New Yorker that Comey was advised doing anything that could influence the election.
'Traditionally, the Justice Department has advised prosecutors and law enforcement to avoid any appearance of meddling in the outcome of elections, even if it means holding off on pressing cases. One former senior official recalled that Janet Reno, the Attorney General under Bill Clinton, “completely shut down” the prosecution of a politically sensitive criminal target prior to an election. “She was adamant—anything that could influence the election had to go dark,” the former official said. 
Four years ago, then Attorney General Eric Holder formalized this practice in a memo to all Justice Department employees. The memo warned that, when handling political cases, officials “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.” To guard against unfair conduct, Holder wrote, employees facing questions about “the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election” should consult with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division.'
A tweet from Paul Krugman (always an excellent source of sanity) said it all:

The Washington Post printed "Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent withdepartment policy":
'Justice officials reminded the FBI of the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations. “Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership,” the official said. “It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it.”' 
A lot has been said about Comey trying to get ahead of a potential disaster. None of it amounts to a hill of beans. Whatever his motives were, he's not a stupid man and he knew what impact his actions would have. If, by some miracle, he'd somehow been oblivious, he was warned and advised not to act. He should be formally charged with interfering with a presidential election. And he should resign.

The hosts and anchors will hold onto this for as long as they can, twisting it all into another giant condemnation of Hillary Clinton, under the guise of "informing". Influencing the weak-minded, pandering to their lust for drama, assaulting the strong-minded.

But as she always has, Hillary Clinton will remain an example to us all; steady and strong, undeterred, a brilliant role model—as Barack and Michelle Obama have been for the past eight years—for anybody who struggles under the weight of persecution and the kind of double standards she's dealt with. The more this kind of hysteria happens the more I admire her, what she stands for, the way she's conducted this campaign, the people of towering integrity she's drawn towards her from all walks of life.

She brings people together, she stands up to bullies, she has never become bitter. She can still light up a room with her smile and her campaign is still about love.

It's been getting clearer and clearer since Barack Obama was elected, that there is a monumental fight in America between the sane and the sociopathic, between intelligence and tabloid mentality, between wisdom and recklessness, between everything that's decent, good, inclusive and generous and everything that's mean-spirited and bigoted. That fight has come to a head.

The noise made by the tabloid-mentality press and anchors' and hosts' frenzied attempts to whip up hysteria, and create dark drama and catastrophe where there is none is alarming. It's an assault on the senses and on the mind and spirit. But the challenge is to remember that although it casts a dark shadow over reality, it doesn't change it and the reality is that Hillary Clinton is a tremendous woman, she isn't and has never been a criminal or anything closely resembling one, she's never been reckless in public office, millions and millions like, love and admire her.

She's winning, because of who she is and what she represents, not because she's bent people's minds into paranoia. And the more she's needlessly and senselessly targeted, the more impassioned, committed and determined Democrats become. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dustin Moskovitz, Compelled to Support Hillary Clinton, Makes Huge Donations

Bravo to Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook, for sticking his head above the parapet, donating $35 million to help Democrats in the 2016 general election, and showing the way for others in Silicon Valley. Those who follow his lead will prove how much they really care about American democracy. Moskovitz published Compelled To Act, on Medium, explaining his reasons. 

I understand why he had to think twice before doing this. Organizations like the NRA and people like the Koch brothers have used and still do use their power and wealth to lobby for the creation and cementing of policies that benefit the donor and hurt everybody else by keeping the inequality status quo in place and also damaging the environment. The Republican Party has enabled them. The result is that the core of the GOP has eroded away over time, leaving an empty space where true conviction once lay.

Inexorably that has left an environment where somebody like Donald Trump can flourish. So it's easy to say that money in politics is evil.  

But it's a false equivalence. The money isn't the problem; what people do with it, is. And not everybody who donates does so out of self-interest. And in any case, that's only half of the equation. The other half is what's done with the money.

Not every politician who accepts donations feels themselves obliged to accept a chain around their neck that can be yanked by the donor. The accusations that have been thrown at Hillary Clinton for belonging to Wall Street, primarily because she accepted sums of money she deserved for her bank speeches, are utterly unsubstantiated. Notably absent have been specific examples of how she has done their bidding—talking dates, people, policies. The same goes for the accusations against the Clinton Foundation for accepting money from regimes that are sustained on inequality and citizen abuse. Again, money is not the problem.

Republican donors' motives for plowing money into the political system have been about self interest and the corresponding behavior of GOP politicians has been to let themselves be yanked on a chain.
But there is a world of difference between that and Moskovitz's donation—and what will be done with the money. It will be used to further equality and protect the environment. 

And nobody can rationally accuse Moskovitz of self interest, because he is assisting, amongst others, the presidential candidate who wants to raise taxes for the wealthy. 

In his article, Moskovitz's assessment of Donald Trump as a con artist whose only interest in the presidency is to promote his brand is correct. Trump has always been a con-artist above all else, and that brand of humanity is very good at what they do. He's a self-congratulatory, over-enabled, out-of-control, narcissistic ego/megalo-maniac. The comparisons between him and Hitler aren't shallow. The consequences of him winning the election won't be either, not just for America but for the whole world. I think that in this time, sitting on the fence is an abdication of social responsibility. Not getting involved is a definitive choice tantamount to supporting Donald Trump.

Moskovitz has refused to give press interviews to date or reveal his future plans, but he's committed to Hillary Clinton winning. Have a look at his Twitter page.  

Connect with Hillary Clinton on Twitter @HillaryClinton  
Connect with me on Twitter @JenniferJS_