Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bring It On! 3rd Debate and Already #SheWon

With the last 2016 presidential debate happening tonight, a recap on how the 2nd one went might give a clue to how this one is going to pan out.

First of all, Muslims took to Twitter in droves to mock the GOP Candidate's request in response to a question about how he'd address Islamophobia in the US. He said "We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it." So they did.
Amen to that. Then there was the outrage against the GOP candidate's gloating over his sexual abuse and denying it in ways that only confirmed it. Robert de Niro blasted him.

Ismat Sarah Mangla led me to a friend of hers with this tweet:  
Below is an extract from Derek Steele's Facebook post
"Men at times talk like that." - Rudy Giuliani
Caleb and Ethan:
…Men do not, at times, talk like that. Sure some individuals with an X and Y chromosome like you may say something like that, but we do not call them Men. We call them perverts, abusers, or rapists - not Men. Real Men don't do that and wouldn't even think to say that.
You will hear a lot of people tell you what Men do or what it takes to 'be a Man'. The vast majority of it will be total garbage. If you want to be a Man, forget about machoism or sexual conquest. Being a Man is not about that. It's about protecting those around you who are weak or innocent - maybe a child being bullied or your own children. It's being awake at all hours of the night to warm a bottle, change a diaper, change the sheets on a wet bed or even worse. Men get puked on, pooped on, bled on and cried on. It's about being open with someone, vulnerable and accountable. It's admitting your mistakes and failures - in all its ugliness - and seeking forgiveness, over and over and over again. Real Men cry, even weep, when the situation calls for it. They respect, honor and cherish women…
It's tough being a Man. Hardest work you'll ever do. So when someone tries to justify abhorrent words and behavior by sullying your good reputation as a Man - be angry and speak up. Don't let them define you down by their conduct. In short - be a Man.
Your Dad"
The outrage against Trump was embodied in First Lady Michelle Obama's horrified, impassioned condemnation at a rally for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

"... I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts... "
Women who were abused by Trump long ago started speaking out and evidence against him piled up, reported throughout the US and internationally. From there the already out of control fire in the Trump campaign turned into a humungous conflagration around sexual abuse of women that neither his campaign, his mouthpieces, nor the conflicted, ravaged GOP can control. Politicians scrabbling about frantically to save Congress—forget about the presidency—caught inexorably between a rock and a hard place all of their own making. Now they pull away from the monster that arose out of the environment they nurtured so recklessly? Because they care about women?

I'm with Barack Obama when he called them on the bullshit, speaking at Columbus, Ohio, also for the Hillary Clinton campaign. GOP politicians didn't care about Trump's racism or sexism until enough women rose up en masse, provoked beyond endurance. Women count for a lot of votes. Click here for an edited version (courtesy Egberto Willies).

“You claim the mantle of the party of family values, and this is the guy you nominate?” Mr. Obama asked. “And stand by and endorse and campaign with? Until finally at the 11th hour, you withdraw your nomination? You don’t get credit for that.”
The bigot, who could kind of, sort of, be controlled—and it's hard not believe that amphetamines or downers or cocaine or all three played a significant role—became the Unshackled. The truth is that once the pus starts oozing, you can't stop it. He's gone berserk with dark conspiracy theories, turning on the GOP, ranting about rigged elections, a corrupt media, corrupt everybody except himself. Appealing to his base, who don't care that he lies, cons, abuses, who have no mental capacity for discernment and no inner desire to seek it. It's all very satisfying to the candidate, but repulsive to undecided voters, so he's eliminated any possibility of ever winning the election. The more this disgusting creature indulges himself, the greater the possibility, not just of a loss, but of a landslide and Congress actually changing hands.

As Fareed Zakaria said, on GPS, "This week we watched the beginning of the end of one of America's great, illustrious parties. The Republican Party as we know it is dying. Last Sunday's debate may have been the watershed moment."  
So bring on the 3rd debate. Things can only get better for Hillary Clinton and Democrats. I look forward to the day that bigoted GOP politicians spouting trickledown economics to protect vested interests have been relegated to dusty rooms and Evangelicals and bigots in power have faded into obscurity, having gotten drunk on their power and lust to persecute and oppress; overstepped and provoked the majority of women, all the decent men, the LGBT community, minorities and even the international community beyond endurance.

That's where it's going. Slowly, torturously, sure. But inexorably. When Barack Obama was elected, I wrote that it was the start of the Second American Revolution. I wasn't wrong. Revolutions don't all happen overnight. Obama's presidency exposed the racism. Hillary Clinton's campaign has exposed the sexism.

That worst and darkest element of humanity lies under the surface everywhere, but the US's particular brand of democracy has routed it out and has the infrastructure to defeat it. God Bless America. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Extract from Transcript of Michelle Obama's Denouncement of Trump & Culture of Sexual Abuse

...I think we can all agree that this has been a rough week in an already rough election. This week has been particularly interesting for me personally because it has been a week of profound contrast.

See, on Tuesday, at the White House, we celebrated the International Day of the Girl and Let Girls Learn, and it was a wonderful celebration. It was the last event that I’m going to be doing as first lady for Let Girls Learn. And I had the pleasure of spending hours talking to some of the most amazing young women you will ever meet, young girls here in the US and all around the world. And we talked about their hopes and their dreams. We talked about their aspirations. See, because many of these girls have faced unthinkable obstacles just to attend school, jeopardizing their personal safety, their freedom, risking the rejection of their families and communities.

So I thought it would be important to remind these young women how valuable and precious they are. I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls. And I told them that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I told them that they should disregard anyone who demeans or devalues them, and that they should make their voices heard in the world. And I walked away feeling so inspired, just like I’m inspired by all the young people here – and I was so uplifted by these girls. That was Tuesday.

And now, here I am, out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women – language that has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think that our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.

The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything here today. And last week, we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous of me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.

This is not something that we can ignore. It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a “lewd conversation”. This wasn’t just locker-room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.

And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life. And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman.

It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts. It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen – something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day. It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office, and even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough.

We thought all of that was ancient history, didn’t we? And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are in 2016 and we’re hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail. We are drowning in it. And all of us are doing what women have always done: we’re trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak.

Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his. Or maybe we don’t want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women. Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual.

But, New Hampshire, be clear: this is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to – Democrat, Republican, independent – no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.

And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about right and wrong. And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any – not for another minute, and let alone for four years. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.

Because consider this: if all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children? What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations? And how is this affecting men and boys in this country? Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this. And I know that my family is not unusual. And to dismiss this as everyday locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.

The men that you and I know don’t treat women this way. They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women. They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being treated and demeaned and disrespected. And like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models of what it means to be a man.

In fact, someone recently told me a story about their six-year-old son who one day was watching the news – they were watching the news together. And the little boy, out of the blue, said, “I think Hillary Clinton will be president.” And his mom said, “Well, why do you say that?” And this little six-year-old said, “Because the other guy called someone a piggy and,” he said, “You cannot be president if you call someone a piggy.”

So even a six-year-old knows better. A six-year-old knows that this is not how adults behave. This is not how decent human beings behave. And this is certainly not how someone who wants to be president of the United States behaves.

Because let’s be very clear: strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. And that is what we need in our next president. We need someone who is a uniting force in this country. We need someone who will heal the wounds that divide us, someone who truly cares about us and our children, someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward.

And let me tell you, I’m here today because I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that president.

See, we know that Hillary is the right person for the job because we’ve seen her character and commitment not just in this campaign, but over the course of her entire life. The fact is that Hillary embodies so many of the values that we try so hard to teach our young people. We tell our young people “work hard in school, get a good education”. We encourage them to use that education to help others – which is exactly what Hillary did with her college and law degrees, advocating for kids with disabilities, fighting for children’s healthcare as first lady, affordable childcare in the Senate.

We teach our kids the value of being a team player, which is what Hillary exemplified when she lost the 2008 election and actually agreed to work for her opponent as our secretary of state – earning sky-high approval ratings serving her country once again.

We also teach our kids that you don’t take shortcuts in life, and you strive for meaningful success in whatever job you do. Well, Hillary has been a lawyer, a law professor, first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, a US senator, secretary of state. And she has been successful in every role, gaining more experience and exposure to the presidency than any candidate in our lifetime – more than Barack, more than Bill. And, yes, she happens to be a woman.

And finally, we teach our kids that when you hit challenges in life, you don’t give up, you stick with it. Well, during her four years as secretary of state alone, Hillary has faced her share of challenges. She’s traveled to 112 countries, negotiated a ceasefire, a peace agreement, a release of dissidents. She spent 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee. We know that when things get tough, Hillary doesn’t complain. She doesn’t blame others. She doesn’t abandon ship for something easier. No, Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.

So in Hillary, we have a candidate who has dedicated her life to public service, someone who has waited her turn and helped out while waiting. She is an outstanding mother. She has raised a phenomenal young woman. She is a loving, loyal wife. She’s a devoted daughter who cared for her mother until her final days. And if any of us had raised a daughter like Hillary Clinton, we would be so proud. We would be proud.

And regardless of who her opponent might be, no one could be more qualified for this job than Hillary – no one. And in this election, if we turn away from her, if we just stand by and allow her opponent to be elected, then what are we teaching our children about the values they should hold, about the kind of life they should lead? What are we saying?

In our hearts, we all know that if we let Hillary’s opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they’re seeing and hearing is perfectly OK. We are validating it. We are endorsing it. We’re telling our sons that it’s OK to humiliate women. We’re telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated. We’re telling all our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country. Is that what we want for our children?

And remember, we won’t just be setting a bad example for our kids, but for our entire world. Because for so long, America has been a model for countries across the globe, pushing them to educate their girls, insisting that they give more rights to their women. But if we have a president who routinely degrades women, who brags about sexually assaulting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world? How can we continue to be a beacon of freedom and justice and human dignity?

Well, fortunately, New Hampshire, here’s the beauty: we have everything we need to stop this madness. You see, while our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless to change their circumstances, today, we as women have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election.

We have knowledge. We have a voice. We have a vote. And on November the 8th, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in this country.

Remember this: in 2012, women’s votes were the difference between Barack winning and losing in key swing states, including right here in New Hampshire. So for anyone who might be thinking that your one vote doesn’t really matter, or that one person can’t really make a difference, consider this: back in 2012, Barack won New Hampshire by about 40,000 votes, which sounds like a lot. But when you break that number down, the difference between winning and losing this state was only 66 votes per precinct. Just take that in. If 66 people in each precinct had gone the other way, Barack would have lost.

So each of you right here today could help swing an entire precinct and win this election for Hillary just by getting yourselves, your families, and your friends and neighbors out to vote. You can do it right here. But you could also help swing an entire precinct for Hillary’s opponent with a protest vote or by staying home out of frustration.

Because here’s the truth: either Hillary Clinton or her opponent will be elected president this year. And if you vote for someone other than Hillary, or if you don’t vote at all, then you are helping to elect her opponent. And just think about how you will feel if that happens. Imagine waking up on November the 9th and looking into the eyes of your daughter or son, or looking into your own eyes as you stare into the mirror. Imagine how you’ll feel if you stayed home, or if you didn’t do everything possible to elect Hillary.

We simply cannot let that happen. We cannot allow ourselves to be so disgusted that we just shut off the TV and walk away. And we can’t just sit around wringing our hands. Now, we need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country. We need you to roll up your sleeves. We need to get to work. Because remember this: When they go low, we go …

Audience: High!

Yes, we do.

And voting ourselves is a great start, but we also have to step up and start organizing. So we need you to make calls and knock on doors and get folks to the polls on election day and sign up to volunteer with one of the Hillary campaign folks who are here today just waiting for you to step up.

And, young people and not-so-young people, get on social media. Share your own story of why this election matters, why it should matter for all people of conscience in this country. There is so much at stake in this election.

See, the choice you make November 8 could determine whether we have a president who treats people with respect – or not. A president who will fight for kids, for good schools, for good jobs for our families – or not. A president who thinks that women deserve the right to make our own choices about our bodies and our health – or not. That’s just a little bit of what’s at stake.

So we cannot afford to be tired or turned off. And we cannot afford to stay home on election day. Because on November the 8th, we have the power to show our children that America’s greatness comes from recognizing the innate dignity and worth of all our people. On November the 8th, we can show our children that this country is big enough to have a place for us all – men and women, folks of every background and walk of life – and that each of us is a precious part of this great American story, and we are always stronger together.

On November 8, we can show our children that here in America, we reject hatred and fear and in difficult times, we don’t discard our highest ideals. No, we rise up to meet them. We rise up to perfect our union. We rise up to defend our blessings of liberty. We rise up to embody the values of equality and opportunity and sacrifice that have always made this country the greatest nation on Earth.

That is who we are. And don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. Hope is important. Hope is important for our young people. And we deserve a president who can see those truths in us – a president who can bring us together and bring out the very best in us. Hillary Clinton will be that president.

So for the next 26 days, we need to do everything we can to help her and Tim Kaine win this election. I know I’m going to be doing it. Are you with me? Are you all with me? You ready to roll up your sleeves? Get to work knocking on doors?

All right, let’s get to work. Thank you all. God bless.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Obamas Fought White Identity Crisis. Now It's Hillary Clinton's Turn To Do It.

Everything awful that can possibly have been said about Hillary Clinton has been said. Every sinister interpretation about her actions has been made. Every conspiracy theory has been elaborated on and substantiated by exactly nothing factual. Millions of dollars from tax-payers and wealthy Republicans have been spent trying to dig up facts that don't exist, trying to turn lies into truth. Her whole life in public office has been characterized by this battle. Notably absent has been a public willingness to penetrate the myths and their origins. Hillary met with conservative resistance in 1979, when Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas. She was interviewed on In Focus and asked if she felt comfortable in her new position, if it could be called a position, to which her response was,

"Well I do think it's a position and I do feel comfortable, but there's still a lot to learn and a lot to be done that we're just becoming acquainted with" so she couldn't really comment too much yet. When the host asked if it worried her that she didn't exactly fit the profile expected of First Ladies, she said, "No. I assess everybody by who they are, not by how they look." She might as well have added "And not by the things that are said of them," but she had no way of knowing what was in store for her.

No way of knowing that a huge sector of America was still unprepared for a woman who had the audacity to be intelligent, courageous, and outspoken.

It's been a long journey for Hillary Clinton from then to now. She was very openhearted in those days, not afraid to speak her mind. She didn't change because she became somehow untrustworthy and corrupt, or gain a reputation for being unlikeable because it was the truth about her, but because she encountered a savagery she hadn't known existed. Because it didn't exist in her family or in her. She did change her appearance, she did give people what they wanted as far as that went. But she stood her ground on her principles, and a certain misogynist element of America has never been able to forgive her. Women are not supposed to be powerful.

Or likeable. Everybody who knows Hillary Clinton likes her and not in a milk-toast way. They're enthusiastic about her. She's warm, she's funny, she has a great laugh, her smile lights up the room, she's a brilliant listener, she cares. Her 'unlikeability' has nothing to do with who she is.

It's not just an American thing. Julia Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, learned it the hard way too. When she was first elected, she said she expected the supportive and the negative rhetoric but believed it would dissipate after a while and that she would be treated as any normal prime minister. It didn't happen. The misogyny she encountered, such as the Leader of the Opposition's comment "If it's true that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?" and "what if men are by physiology or temperament, more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?" The misogyny ramped up over time until Julia Gillard had had enough and said so.

Her 'misogyny speech' went viral. Recently on GPS she said it probably resonated with every woman who has ever met with misogyny and longed to speak out but missed the opportunity as it arose. Fareed Zakaria also asked her if she thought Hillary Clinton was being held to a different standard. Her answer was a categorical yes.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been exposed to the same bullying, spite, murderous persecution driven by white male identity crisis—although the role played by conservative women in supporting it shouldn't be underestimated. For the last eight years it's been like the Civil War take 2, except that the first was never really won. The Obamas have triumphed with tremendous dignity and in doing so have renewed, strengthened and invigorated all that's good about America.

Now it's Hillary Clinton's turn. She too has survived everything that's come at her and never let it thwart her and now that she's running for president she's looking the monster right in the eye. By standing her ground against the worst she's exposing it in all its glory for sane Americans and the world to revile.

The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and the GOP candidate had the most viewers in US history. More than 80 million watched Clinton behave like an outstanding president. Close to 70% saw her as a winner.

They saw that she was ultra-prepared, which telegraphed that she respected them enough to do her homework well. They saw her confronted with bluster, lies, misogyny, rank stupidity, horrific racism, disrespect—bullying of every kind. She didn't once lose her composure but more than that, she knew how to deal very effectively with it without returning kind for kind. Hillary Clinton conducted herself with humor at times but never stooped to being snide. She was graceful throughout but there was never any doubting her steel, which Trump, for all his puerile and disgusting but considerable arsenal, couldn't get past. It showed what she'll do when she encounters that same behavior as president, which she will, in Congress and internationally. It also showed that she learns through challenges—referring to decades of facing the same kind of obstacles—without a hint of bitterness.

About 66 million watched the second debate and saw the same woman. When asked questions her answers were, as always deeply thoughtful and insightful. Her opponent's were incoherent, as always. 57% saw Hillary Clinton as the winner.

At least 50 million people for the 1st debate and 37 million for the 2nd got and believed the message that Hillary Clinton respects them, takes her task seriously, has the capacity to overcome barriers, and can be trusted with the job as president. I think the tide finally turned with this debate, not because her opponent had a meltdown—which he did—but because she rose to a very challenging occasion in a big way, which she has done her whole life.

It's no surprise that the NYT puts Hillary Clinton's chances of winning at 90%. Talk about triumph through adversity. Which is what America is really about.

The photo is from the video of Hillary Clinton's interview on In Focus in 1979.
Connect with me on Twitter 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton Goes High. The Other Person On Stage Starts Low And Sinks

Hillary Clinton aced it last night at the first debate, if you can call it that. My idea of a debate is the exchange of serious ideas by intelligent people. This of course wasn't that.

One debater was a super-informed, well-prepared candidate who has spent her life in public office working to improve lives of others. A woman with an enormous investment in the well-being of all Americans, equipped with formidable intelligence, articulacy and experience in debating in general and especially in the topics up for debate. A woman who has faced down an inordinate amount of bullying for decades, a lot of it driven by misogyny in a chauvenist political world where men and women were threatened by her for having the audacity to be in her power. She's never given up, never lost focus, resolve, dignity or compassion. And her smile still lights up the room. All in all, she's a pretty intimidating debate opponent.

The other person on the stage was a super-privileged, un-prepared, uninformed bully who has destroyed the lives of many in his lust to accumulate wealth and power and who, unable to achieve his goals, has simply lied; a coward of sub-intellect who struggles to finish even a simple sentence, who doesn't understand the laws of grammar, and whose only talent is for bluster, bullying, bullshit and bloviation. No wonder he looked nervous. It's one thing having your ego stroked by a crowd of deplorables.

It's another facing, on your own, an opponent who is the real deal, who isn't afraid of you, who knows how to cut you down to size, who is better than you in every conceivable way. Who has an inner strength you can only dream of, and the respect and endorsement of all the good people, all the smart people.

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention about her girls, how hard it was to watch them at the age of seven and ten pile into those black SUVs with men with guns, how she thought "What have we done?" How she and Barack had to teach them that the vile rhetoric they saw on TV and in the media did not represent "the true spirit of America". And that the way to deal with bullies is "when they go low we go high". It was a speech for the ages.

Hillary Clinton quoted the First Lady last night at the debate "when they go low we go high", and it was how she conducted herself. As Trump disintegrated, she kept her composure; as he tried to trade insults, going lower and lower, she went higher and higher.

Of all the edited video footage that's come out of the debate so far, this is my favorite, from the Huffpost's article Lester Holt Proved That Moderators Can Fack-Check.

"Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S." - Huffpost Editor’s Note.

Monday, September 26, 2016

NYT Unequivocally Supports Hillary Clinton & Condemns Trump

David Leonhardt of the New York Times recently sent out an email to subscribers introducing himself and asking what we wanted to read, even providing an email address. I replied.

"I've been reading the NYT every morning with my breakfast for years. Up until a couple of weeks ago I was ready to ditch my subscription; disillusioned with all the irresponsible attention given to Trump, sick to death of headlines that exploited the fascination with Trump. A lot of damage has been done, although not, of course, by the NYT alone. The Op-ed section was the only part that interested me, namely Gail Collins and Paul Krugman.

But recently something's changed in the whole of the NYT. I would like to see it and the Op-ed section build on that and take an unabashedly and unitedly unequivocal stand against Donald Trump. If Christian Amanpour has done it, so can you. Any sentence that doesn't take a stand legitimizes Trump.

I want to read about those who protest against his travesties—not just the protesters at rallies, but minorities—with most of the emphasis being on the good work that they are doing to preserve the real American ideals and not on what Trump says or does. I'm sick to death of reading about him. I can't stomach it any more. 

I want to read articles about Hillary Clinton that address her strengths, show the love, compassion and courage, analyze conspiracy theories against her, cover her campaign stops. I want to read about the people who are working and volunteering passionately for her campaign. I want to read about the work Bernie Sanders is doing to support Hillary Clinton. 

I want to see depth in the reporting, understanding of psychology. Because how can you report on people successfully if you don't understand them?

Finally, every time I see Donald Trump legitimized actively or passively I feel depressed and worried. Every time I hear outrage such as that of the CBC PAC members', or I hear Hillary Clinton or those who endorse her speak, my world brightens up immediately. If we only see the dark side, we forget that it's only half the picture, and in doing so we make it the whole picture. 

The liberal media's responsibility is enormous right now. I'd like to see the NYT step up in a way that makes the whole world take notice."

On September 24, the Editorial Board published Hillary Clinton For President, unequivocally supporting her and explaining why. The introductory paragraph was:
"In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)"
On September 25 the Board published Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President, unequivocally condemning him as a candidate.

Either I have extraordinary powers of persuasion or I was one of a crowd in my response to David Leonhardt. The first probably belongs with conspiracy theories insisting that Elvis Presley is still alive and the moon landing was all shot in a film studio. I like the second option better, anyway.

Join me on Twitter @JenniferJS_

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton Promoting Love, Kindness, Truth. The Media? Not So Much

Remember the GOP ads against the ACA? They couldn't find real disaster stories so they used actors and fiction. The lie was quickly unveiled. Then they used a real woman, but she lied, which was easily proven. It's par for the course for GOP ads. But not for the Hillary Clinton campaign. They don't have to use actors and screenwriters to make up fiction. They can draw from the truth, as they have in the above ad. You can't make that stuff up.

There's nothing of the compassion Hillary Clinton has shown for that cancer patient in a recent New York Times article Where Has Hillary Clinton Been? Ask The Ultrarich. It alleges that she's more comfortable among wealthy people than the ordinary Joe, and opens herself up to them more. Where Trump spends his time giving rallies and talking to the press, Clinton is keeping her distance but making herself omni-available to "some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves [who] are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her. In the last two weeks of August, Mrs. Clinton raked in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour, according to a New York Times tally."

The article drips with innuendo so explicit it verges on the overt; Clinton doesn't care about "ordinary" people. In this political climate, when populists are more driven by viciousness than a genuine desire for a better life, the title and matching piece are to people who oppose Hillary Clinton as a red rag is to an angry bull that's been harpooned one too many times by a picador with a huge arsenal and a taste for torturing animals. It's Trump's modus operandi.
The piece mentions in passing that Hillary Clinton is also focused on raising money from small donors but it's like a shard of dull glass among a bowl of glittering diamonds.

Populism has become a dangerous tool this election. On the ultra left, Bernie Sanders. On the other side, Donald Trump. Four things these two branches of populists share is that they've tried to raise themselves up by destroying Hillary Clinton; they've failed; they've hurt themselves in the process; and they've eroded America's chance to preserve democracy, protect and build on Obama's legacy of improving life for all. Putting the imminent and long term future of America at huge risk.

The common idea is that this brand of populism is driven by honest frustration with the system, and with the politicians who have allowed it to develop and that the purpose is to forge a better life.
If that were the truth, Bernie Sanders and supporters wouldn't have tried to succeed by destroying Hillary Clinton using unsubstantiated, highly provocative accusations as weapons of truth. Donald Trump's supporters wouldn't be turning a blind eye to his unethical business practices, his failures, overt racism, misogyny and megalomania and the fact that he is supported by white nationalist groups, the KKK and by Vladimir Putin and Kim Yong-un of North Korea. Not to mention his sexual attraction to his daughter.

Frustration plays a part, but I think the core driving factor of populists on both sides is a vengeful, mean-spirited desire to hurt somebody. Any weapon will do, any lie that can be spread around like a toxic virus. It's reminiscent of Roman days when people would watch Christians being torn apart lions and enjoy the sport.

In such a climate, when so much is at stake, the NYT article is irresponsible journalism. Particularly since Hillary Clinton is the candidate who has a history throughout her life so far like no other previous presidential candidate, of working for minorities, women, children and  equality. And who is reaching out to small donors. As it happens, according to Politico, in July 2016 the Clinton campaign raised $58.5 million, 58% of which was from donations under $200. So half the article should have been about those donations, right? Wrong. And it has nothing to do with the truth about Hillary Clinton. Does it have anything to do with what attracts readers—or what the NYT editors believe readers want? If it is, it proves rather unequivocally that the bias rests with them. Caught by thine own springe.

The Clinton ad is a lot more moving than the NYT's piece. And a whole lot more truthful. If you don't trust it because it's an ad, here's the story of another cancer patient who reached out to her, James Grissom, whose Facebook post has had 158k likes and over 66k shares.

I think about what it would be like if Hillary Clinton didn't win. The day after the election is called and reality hits home. All the so-called liberal journalists, editors, media outlets, TV anchors and hosts; what will be they be thinking, and doing? Staring at the TV in shock. How did it happen? Those of us who rely on the media for information will be the same, if we've bought their crap and haven't used our own discrimination. 

And it will be too late for regret. We'll all be plunged into chaos. 

Seasoned journalist Steve Majerus-Collins wrote a prescient account of what it would be like; a small gem of a book worth reading, a satire that chills you to the bone. Trump: An American Presidency. It's only 99c and it's worth its weight in gold. Trump for President? I hope not. For the sake of America. For the sake of the world.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bravo to Dustin Moskovitz, Compelled to Donate to Democrats

Bravo to Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook, for sticking his head above the parapet, donating $20 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 Malkovitz of self interest, because he is assisting, amongst others, the presidential candidate who wants to raise taxes for the wealthy. 

In his article, Malkovitz'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 that is tantamount to supporting Donald Trump.

I'm sure Malkovitz will have a lot of stones thrown at him for his substantial contribution. All it means is that he's made an impact, one he can be proud of. I know that I'm grateful. 

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

Saturday, September 3, 2016

US Crossroads: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? Or land of the Paranoid Bigot?

Paranoia about and cruelty towards immigrants among a certain sector of the US is nothing new. Fred Packer drew the above cartoon in 1939.

On May 13 of that year, the SS St. Louis had sailed from Hamburg for Havana. There were over 900 passengers, most of whom were fleeing the Third Reich. Many were women and children. They had applied for US visas and were planning to stay in Cuba until the visas were granted. They left Hamburg believing they were on a vacation cruise to freedom. Can you imagine the relief, the celebration? What must it have felt like for parents with young children?

They were planning to stay in Cuba until their US visas came through. They were denied entry at Havana and the US visas were never granted. Allegedly a letter they sent to US President Roosevelt begging for refuge was ignored.

The ship hovered off the coast of Florida but eventually had to make its way back. There were protests and many attempts made to save the passengers from the worst fate imaginable. A few passengers got into Cuba and some into safe European countries and the UK. But many were sent back, and of course ended up in concentration camps. Imagine being a parent trying to explain that to your child.

The land of the free, the home of the brave? There's nothing free about rationalizing your fear and cruelty. And there's nothing brave about promoting the kind of hatred and bigotry that supports your rationalization.

America is the land where some people are free and many are tremendously brave. It's not the whole picture, though. It never was. The outcome of this Presidential race will show whether it's the bigger picture or not. It's a time where the free and the brave do as much as they can to preserve decency and humanity, and cling like hell to hope that they're in the majority. #ImWithHer.

Join me on Twitter @JenniferJS_ 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Inspired By Hillary Clinton For Good Reason

"The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" Bernie Sanders said to Hillary Clinton back in the day when he also admitted, in reference to her now [in]famous speech-earning, that "everybody has the right to earn a living".

The New York Times reported Reince Priebus saying "Hillary Clinton seems incapable of telling the truth." Referring of course to the latest on her emails. It's rich, coming from him. The GOP is falling apart, as is Trump's campaign, and it's been recorded by Republican politicians struggling to survive, by Mitch McConnell even, and by Trump staff, but Priebus said on August 13 at a Pennsylvania rally that the "GOP is unified behind Donald Trump."

As for Trump, his modus operandi is to lie. And then lie again, saying he didn't say what he first said. Putting everything that America stands for, its democracy, its economy, the middle class, and world peace at tremendous risk. Because he lies.

Neither Trump nor Priebus has been subjected to the outrageous persecution and media distortion of every act, every word, for decades. Trump can't handle the media actually reporting the truth of what he says. These two cowards wouldn't last a day in Hillary Clinton's shoes. But they would never be there in the first place, because they don't have her work ethic, her commitment, her courage, her resilience.

The most important truth is that Hillary Clinton is winning despite the distortion of everything she does and says. Despite that many people believe the distortions. So one more won't make any difference. She's not a criminal. If she was, she'd have been found out by now, with all the scrutiny she's been subjected to. What Andra Day tweeted a week ago (below) still holds good. Perhaps even more so, as more and more accusations and recriminations are thrown at Hillary Clinton and she continues to plow straight ahead, working her ass off, as she always has. Never showing that this stuff gets to her, never letting it stop her or slow her down.

It's nothing short of remarkable. The more I see of her and learn about her the more I'm inspired by her.

Connect with me on Twitter: @JenniferJS_

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton Climbs In The Polls, But Where Is Bernie Sanders' Help?

As the election heats up and Hillary Clinton gains at the national polls, I want to breathe a sigh of relief and let go of anxiety, but I tell myself "not yet."  Standing in the shower today, I thought, this wouldn’t be happening, it wouldn't even be a close contest, if Bernie Sanders and his supporters hadn't chosen to try and win by trashing Hillary Clinton. They lost anyway but they've done so much damage.

Anybody who has taken a side in the US election season is likely to have been insulted by somebody feeling equally passionately but on the other side.

I've had insults hurled at me from the left and the right. To my surprise, I haven't felt personally hurt. A comment I left on a New York Times article was published and I had over 450 comments, many from angry Bernie Sanders supporters  who actually didn't read what I said. I was even accused of being a $hillary Wall Street whore. I wish.

But what hurts my brain and my heart is the misinformation that's spread around so liberally and high-mindedly. Scapegoating. It gets all the molecules of my being vibrating madly, wildly and very noisily. Which probably means it scares me shitless.

I hated it when Barack and Michelle Obama were the targets, and I hated it just as much when Bernie Sanders was. So it's understandable that I'd it when Hillary Clinton is the target. 

When you scapegoat, two things happen. One, you don't perceive your victim to be a human being dealing with issues you probably will never have to. Two, it's never about them, it's about your frustration with yourself or your own life and your belief that you're powerless to change any of it. We've probably all scapegoated at some point. It feels very satisfying in the moment and makes you feel tremendously powerful, but you can't sustain that feeling, so you have to do it again. And again. Yeah, there's a word for that. Addiction.

Your own rage builds on itself and you get nastier and nastier. The more you do it the more you have to lock out good sense and real information. It achieves nothing, but it does a lot of damage, to you and the target.

It's a bit like the photo, which is of my apartment. There chair is facing inward but it's empty. The reflection of the chair faces out to the view and the open horizon. When you scapegoat you long to access what the horizon promises but until you choose to sit in that chair and face yourself and be real, only requiring culpability from people who actually are culpable, it will never happen for you. You'll always be facing away from the good stuff. The best part of you will always be the ghost. 

And if, in politics, the person you're rooting for can only win because his supporters trash the opposition, it's because his good points aren't strong enough to win with. But if he gets into power his weak points will override the strong and then everybody suffers. 

Would Bernie Sanders have gotten so much support if his movement hadn't relied on trashing Hillary Clinton? And if he was such a great leader, why not just promote his strength? His campaign started out that way. It was all about love and truth and honor. Now it's all about rage, scapegoating, hatred, misinformation and conspiracy theories. Bernie Sanders said he would do everything he could to prevent the GOP candidate from winning. But in effect he's done nothing. His endorsement of Hillary Clinton was lukewarm in intent and what is he doing now? A lot of his supporters have said they'll endorse Jill Stein. They just don't care that it could give the presidency to the GOP nominee.

Sanders said he fully understood the problem with Ralph Nader and he had no intention of repeating that mistake. But in truth he started a Ralph Nader movement and he's powerless to stop it. If he's trying he's being tremendously discreet. 

So, though I'm relieved that Hillary Clinton is climbing in the polls and the GOP candidate is dropping like a stone, I'm holding my breath. 

Connect with me on Twitter: @JenniferJS_