Tag Archives: presidential election

Lives Ended, Nearly Everyone Offended, and a Wedding Unattended

This post was written over several days, so might seem a little choppy.  I am still really sick.

On Sunday, June 12, a gunman stormed a gay nightclub and shot 102 people, killing 49 of them. He called 911 and a tv station – and even posted a Facebook message – pledging his allegiance to “ISIS” and said he was killing people because of American foreign policy in Iraq, amongst other things.  I don’t want to get into specifics because I don’t think his “message” is anything more than the hateful ravings of an extremist.

He chose “Latin Night”, and there was some suggestion that he had some problem with Latinos. One of the survivors – Patience Carter, an intern at a Philadelphia Fox TV affiliate – was told by the shooter that she was safe because he wasn’t targeting African-American people (“Patience Carter: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”, Heavy website, Daniel S. Levine, 6/15/2016).

Other than that, no one is sure why the popular gay nightclub was selected by this creep.  His wife, who is cooperating with the FBI, has stated that she helped her husband “case” the nightclub and also Disney World, and apparently she knew what he was planning to do.

Her excuse for not telling anyone?  She was trying to talk him out of it, she says.

I think – and this is my opinion only – that she knew, she approved of what he was doing, and only after the feds traced the cell phones she and her husband used during the attack (because some self-absorbed young people, no matter how insane, have to jabber on the phone and post things online no matter what they’re doing) did she “cooperate” because she knew they had her dead-to-rights and she didn’t want to get the death penalty.

There is no excuse for not telling anyone when you know for sure that someone is going to kill another person (or 49!).  None!  Some have suggested that maybe she was afraid of him, a battered woman.  But there is no evidence of that, and let me tell you, that as a survivor of some horrific physical abuse…

…one thing – sometimes the ONLY thing – that we survivors have in common is that we are much more likely to run off and tell on the abuser if he is going to target someone else.  I don’t mean “maybe some future victim at some point”, I mean “this person is going to be hurt or killed if I don’t do something”.

Like our kids.  Like our pets.  Like someone the abuser has named to us as his target.  So I don’t buy that she knew but was too afraid to tell the police or the FBI.  I would bet others in his family knew, too.

And this guy was American.  He was born here to immigrants from Afghanistan.  What a way to pay back a country that took your parents in.

His father supports the Taliban and has run for president of Afghanistan, all from the safety of his American home.  He has bank accounts in Germany, and has solicited funds online, according to investigators.  No one seems to know how he supported his family (“Omar Mateen’s Father ‘s Bank Records Eyed, Says Source”, Newsday website, Newsday Staff, 6/16/2016).

But we don’t arrest people for how they think, or for soliciting funds online.  That’s not how our country works.  We don’t hassle people for expressing political views, usually (many on the left might disagree, and I would be one of those I guess).  Some political views.

So there wasn’t really any way to prevent this event, law enforcement says currently.  A few people have stated they told the FBI that this killer was making “radical” statements, or expressing violent ideas and plans, but so far…we hear no response from the FBI.

Of course, this all just fuels xenophobia and anti-Islamic sentiment, both of which I do not feel/think/support.  And, of course, Trump uses this to crow about how he keeps warning the American people about “Islamic terrorists”.  He would just lock everyone up, according to what they believe.

And…the House and Senate argued over 2 gun control bills – and didn’t pass either one. Conservatives made the “slippery slope” argument, and also insisted that semi-automatic assault weapons are “recreational”.

I don’t think we ought to allow anyone – besides our military – to have weapons that are designed to be used in military conflicts.  The idea that the American people have to arm themselves because their own government is going to one day declare martial law and then somehow confiscate over 3 million guns is beyond ridiculous – it’s paranoid and scary that so many people (like the NRA) actually believe this.

Aside #1: Of course, I would prefer not to have any war, ever.  I don’t like the thought of war and I pretty much oppose all of it.  WWII was the only legitimate reason for us to go to war, and I wish we had gone sooner because we might have prevented the Holocaust.  I don’t think, though, we ought to have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Every war since WWII has been for the sake of money, and I oppose that vehemently.  Life – all life – is too precious.

These “patriots” actually think that their government is going to attack them, militarily.  And take their guns.  And put them in some kind of camps.  Because the government is their enemy.

They have survivalist organizations.  They have training camps.  They are ignorant, scary people.

You want these people defending you in bars and other public places?  You want more people to die in the crossfire because these “Muricans” feel they have to kill everyone in sight?

Their supporters are Trump, the NRA, Mitch McConnell, and others who spout their support of such lunacy – though usually they couch it in different words.  They imply, they hint, but their crazy gun-nut fans know what they mean.

Why?

When did “patriotism” come to mean “hatred of our own government”, “twisting the constitution so that only certain people have rights”, and “stockpiling assault weapons to shoot anyone I deem suspicious”?

Who lives that way?  And why do people with money and power, i.e., gun manufacturers and politicians, care what these stupid yahoos think?  Certainly they aren’t a majority; most Americans do not want people to own assault weapons (57%, according to a recent poll by CBS news; “Poll: Majority Backs Assault Weapons Ban”, The Hill website, Jessie Hellmann, 6/15/20160).

This gunman got his assault gun (AR 15) and handgun legally, even after passing background checks and some kind of psychological exam (though I can tell you, those are useless) – so “stricter” laws won’t help with this.  The weapon needs to be completely unavailable.  There’s no legitimate use for it besides killing people.

But, despite some elderly Democrats staging a sit-in at the House of Representatives until they get some bills debated and passed, nothing’s being accomplished.  It’s painful to see this group of people – older than I am – sitting on a floor that you know is causing them a lot of physical pain (“A Sit-In on the House Floor Over Gun Control”, The Atlantic website, Nora Kelly, 6/22/2016).

The House has no filibuster rules as the Senate does, so this is what the politicians came up with.  I guess, for some, it’s a throwback to the old days of protesting.

Oh well, if it works…ok.  I will support anything that gets any kind of gun control laws passed.  I am sick of the NRA and their cult of death.

In the background of all this important stuff, we have Trump reading a speech off a teleprompter – part of his “improved, more presidential” so-called change – attacking Mrs. Clinton with no proof of anything he’s said. The only difference now is he yells less.  He is still trying to blame her for everything he thinks her husband did 20 years ago, calling her “lyin’ corrupt Hillary”, blaming her for every conflict the US has gotten into, bringing up things the Republicans have tried to indict her with but can’t (after many investigations and so on), and just making things up.

MSNBC, normally a somewhat liberal channel, is gushing all over this “new Trump”, stating he now has a chance to win and so on.  Claiming that Mrs. Clinton is personally attacking him, rather than pointing out that she is merely exposing his history of failed businesses and quoting him verbatim all the evil that spews forth from his mouth.

Aside #2: It seems to me that MSNBC doesn’t really care who wins, as long as they can get entertainment value out of the candidacy (except maybe for Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, who really do seem to care). CNN is not much better, as it seems they have nearly doubled-down on the amount of Trump surrogates they have on their shows.  Really sickening.

Let this idiot pay for his air time, like every other candidate.  Oh wait, he can’t – he only has $1 million left, because he spent much of his campaign money paying himself and his family (“Donald Trump’s Self-Funding Includes Payments to Family and His Companies”, NY Times website, Alan Rappeport, 6/21/2016).  I guess he must still be manipulating the TV press for his own purposes.

And don’t expect him to debate Mrs. Clinton, ever.  I can’t see how he can do that, because she has knowledge about the world and how the US works, and he doesn’t.  He doesn’t even seem to understand the concept of the branches of government and what each one does.  He doesn’t seem familiar with the Constitution.  He doesn’t understand foreign policy or how to treat other world leaders with respect.

She will wipe the floor with him.  Unless he somehow can negotiate to have some aide standing right next to him, passing him notes or whispering in his ear.  Or maybe he can feign having a cold…for months.  Or laryngitis, so his surrogate has to literally speak for him.  I don’t know how he’s going to get out of debating her, but he will try, because he’s stupid.

Yep, he is. He’s not intelligent, he’s not savvy, he’s not educated.

He’s just a guy who inherited a shitload of money from his daddy, who only continues to be rich because he stiffs people, defaults on loans, and pulls his money out before the businesses he mismanages fails.  He also was an obnoxious TV “star” – one of those outrageous and disgusting individuals that a certain percentage of Americans find so amusing (I have never watched any “reality” TV like that, because I find people like that aggravating).

He is free market capitalism personified.  Why anyone, especially working people, would think this guy won’t exploit anyone and anything if he became president, is beyond me.  That’s what he does.  He is in it for HIM, no one else.  He has no love for the people.

Mrs. Clinton needs to keep pointing these things out, things Trump has done to hurt people.  If she and Elizabeth Warren continue to poke his sore spots this way, they will cause him to blow up again and again, until no one can stand to listen to him whenever he opens his mouth.

Already, 70% of Americans hate him.  And still he continues to take every criticism of him – his greed, his arrogance, his hatred of the poor – and says “Oh no, that’s HER, not me!”  As if just saying that makes it true.

I am so proud of Hillary Clinton.  She keeps her cool, her humor, and she hits back and hits back hard.  I cannot wait to see what our president does to Trump!  He will eviscerate him!

And finally…the wedding.  My lovely, wonderful daughter is getting married on Friday the 24th. In Seattle.  And I can’t go, because I am sick.  I am so sad about this, I can’t even express it.  But I can’t even go 5 minutes in a car without vomiting, let alone travel for hours on a plane.

She understands, of course, because she’s that kind of person.  I am, of course, beating myself up about it and crying as I read about her wedding preparations on Facebook.  I hate living so far away and would do anything to move to Seattle to be closer to her and my grandson (who is a teenager now).

This living far from your family really sucks…and to think one of the reasons I moved here from Memphis was because I couldn’t get healthcare to get a kidney stone removed (because Tennessee chooses to not participate in either the ACA or Medicaid).  Now I am stuck here…yes, the healthcare is decent, so is the mass transit, so is the low crime rate…but I miss my kids.  I miss working, I miss having a car, and now I am missing the most important thing of all – my daughter’s wedding.

Be good.  Be kind.  Don’t move far from your family, if possible.

 

 

 

 

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“It’s Not Cool To Not Know What You’re Talking About.”

The title is a quote from our president, when he spoke at commencement at Rutger’s (“Full Text of President Obama’s Speech at Rutger’s Commencement”, Mark Mueller, NK Advance Media for NJ.com, 5/15/2016).  You might want to read the whole transcript, as it’s positive and uplifting (and not boring – heck, I don’t even remember who spoke at my commencement, let alone what he said).

This quote just about sums up what a lot of people think, when they watch anything having to do with the presidential election these days.  I happen to think that a majority of Americans think this way, despite the heavy press that seems to suggest that most Americans are…well…stupid.

Turn on the TV these days, and you will see an astoundingly large amount of discussion about Donald Trump and his latest “news”.  But, most of the time, it’s not really news, it’s free publicity. Trump uses the strategy of “say or do at least one outrageous thing each week, so that your name continues to be bandied about in the press.”

There’s a reason he has spent less on ads than any other candidate – it’s because he uses the press and gets publicity for free.  According to the Huffington Post, Trump has received $1.9 billion in free media coverage, but has spent only $10 million on ads (“Donald Trump Has Received Nearly $2 Billion in Free Media Attention”, Michael Calderone, Huffington Post, 3/15/2016). 

The reason he can spend so little is because he is constantly calling attention to himself.  If he doesn’t make some kind of outrageous statement in a speech, he Tweets attention-seeking tidbits or even calls news shows.  He makes himself completely accessible to news media, seemingly at all times.

“But isn’t that clever?” you might be wondering.  Well, I suppose it is, in terms of how to “get stuff free”, but I am banking that this will hurt him in the long run.  For one thing, every time he has to answer for some dumb thing he’s said, he either denies he said it, changes the subject, or in some cases just ends the conversation.

The main reason it bothers me, however, is that I am seeing more and more bias in the media regarding Trump.  As other Republicans fall in line to back Trump – despite the fact that he really doesn’t have a lot of support amongst the general population and despite the fact that he has skewered and bullied every Republican who ran against him or questioned his ideas – I see news outlets doing the same, falling all over Trump (or at least not pushing the hard questions).

They give Trump hour-long interviews, they report on every tiny thing he says, while ignoring the issue-oriented statements and Tweets the two Democratic Party candidates make (Clinton and Sanders).  Then, sometimes, the pundits discuss amongst themselves how uninformed the public is, how “low information” they are (which some even equate to being lower in native intelligence), and so on, without admitting how much they themselves contribute to the problem.

Even if you see a reporter, say, on MSNBC disagreeing with a spokesperson for Trump (because I rarely if ever see them do this to the candidate himself) on a show, it takes the form of that reporter shouting over the other person.  I can’t count how many times I have yelled at my TV, “Let him answer the question!” as Chris Matthews or Joe Scarborough asks a question and then continues to talk when the person tries to answer.

No one learns anything like that.  It’s as if these reporters use Trump supporters to shore up their own egos, nothing more.  They are no more interested in educating the public than Fox News is.  Not that a Trump supporter answering a question would be particularly enlightening, but it might actually tell a voter something about the candidate.  If nothing else, it would provide fodder for the reporter to refute him or her with a fact-check of some sort.

Some might say this indicates a negative bias against Trump.  But I see it as a “wink wink” kind of attitude, the kind of fascination people can have towards celebrities behaving badly, almost as if being a total jerk is endearing somehow.  They’re still not taking him seriously.

He’s not just a celebrity anymore, he’s running for president.  If elected, he can do some real damage to this country, not only domestically but on the international stage.  And sometimes it seems as if the only people who are really worried about this are the Republicans.

Why the Republicans?  Well, they’re afraid Trump is making them, and their candidates for Congress, look bad.  They don’t want to lose control of the Senate and the House, and those with long memories or a knowledge of history do not want a repeat of what Goldwater did in 1964.

I was 8.  I remember this ad:

I remember the “duck and cover” stuff we had to do in school, and I remember adults talking about being scared.  I couldn’t sleep election night, because I was so terrified Goldwater would be elected and my young life would be over.   Even though the ad itself was only shown once (as an ad), the news picked it up and we saw it over and over again.

Goldwater wasn’t elected, obviously.  Also, the GOP lost 36 seats in the House, and dropped 2 seats in the Senate, giving the Democrats a majority in both the House and Senate (“The Goldwater Mirage”, Dennis Sanders, The Moderate Voice website, 2009).  

It was a disaster for the Republican Party.  Due to the extremist positions Goldwater held, particularly his opposition to the Civil Rights Act as “unconstitutional” and his suggestion that “low-yield atomic weapons” could be used in Vietnam (“Barry Goldwater, GOP Hero, Dies”, Bart Barnes, Washington Post, page A01, 5/30/1998), many people described him as a lunatic who had no business being near the “red button”.

In context, this was 3 years after the 1961 Bay of Pigs incident (which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis), which was another extremely scary experience (because people were afraid the Soviets were going to launch nuclear weapons at us from Cuba), and only 19 years after we dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – which showed the horror those weapons could unleash.

People were very, very afraid of nuclear weapons.

The positive side of that is it spurred people to vote against Goldwater, and it also forced a political dichotomy on the American public (remember the Pete Seeger tune, “Which Side Are You On?” – a pro-miners workers’ union song, it was also sung at anti-war, May Day, and other demonstrations in the 60s and early 70s).

People were very much on “one side” or the other.  Riots were sparked over political stances.

Every Day, A New Jaw-Dropping Event

I wish I hadn’t taken so much time off from writing this blog, because so much has been happening lately in the world of the presidential election.

Donald Trump is ahead in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.

He seems to be losing some ground to Ted Cruz, who is basically “Trump Light”, and that doesn’t make the GOP look much better.

There seems to be a split in the GOP over Trump – one part is organizing an effort to make sure he doesn’t win the nomination, and the other part is folding like a house of cards and rushing to back him.

It’s creepy, seeing people who just a few weeks ago characterized Trump (correctly, in my opinion) as a dangerous blowhard, now basically saying, “Yes, Mr. Trump.  Whatever you say, Mr. Trump.”

Don’t they realize how duplicitous that looks?  Don’t the Republican voters see it?

And still Trump continues his outrageous behavior, inciting his base to assault protesters, refusing to show up at Republican debates (to debate Ted Cruz and John Kasich), and spouting ridiculous rhetoric that still explains nothing about how he is going to implement his crazy ideas.

His latest bout of crazy was today, when Trump released a statement – after losing the Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz – referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted” and stating that the Wisconsin results were due to a conspiracy between Cruz, “the Republican party bosses”, and conservative talk radio to “steal” delegates from Trump (“Republican Cruz Crushes Trump in Wisconsin, Says Party Will Unite”, Steve Holland, Reuters website, 4/6/2016).

Because, of course, Trump’s loss would have nothing to do with him insulting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (who is very popular with the tea party/reactionary crowd), coming off like an unprepared schoolyard bully on a conservative talk show (he was so unprepared he didn’t even know the host was a proponent of the “Never Trump” group), and taking several different positions on abortion in about a 72-hour period of time.

Wisconsin conservatives/right-wing reactionaries, who should be part of Trump’s base, turned on him because of these errors.  But, of course, Trump can never take responsibility for anything, not even his own campaign mistakes.

The abortion flip-flops started when Trump stated there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions (“Trump Call to Punish Women for Illegal Abortions Sparks Firestorm”, Harper Neidig, The Hill website, 3/30/2016).

When pressed, of course Trump couldn’t say what form that would take, nor how he would ban all abortions.

What punishment is he wanting?  Prison terms, hefty fines, public stoning??

Then he tried to fix this when he stated that “it’s a states rights issue”, after he met with the Republican National chairman Reince Priebus on March 31.  He also stated that “it’s the law”, presumably referring to abortion being (barely) legal in most places.

In PA, abortion is technically legal – but not permitted under Medicare/Medicaid except in cases of life endangerment, incest, or rape, unless the woman pays extra.  That basically makes it illegal for poor women.

Anyway, Trump then released another statement saying that he meant that it’s the law now, but when he is president, he will change that.

Because, presumably, Trump believes that presidential powers supersede the Supreme Court, and that he can just overturn Roe v Wade because he wants to.

He never explains what his actual plans are to implement his right-wing ideas, ever – and he excuses his silence by stating he doesn’t want everyone to know what he’s going to do.

He just wants people to trust him.  Trust him, and he’ll fix everything.

75% of women do not like him, and will not vote for him.  That’s the bright spot in all this.

But…when confronted with this fact, Trump stated it wasn’t true.

“No one respects women more than I do,” he crowed.  He says this a lot.  He Tweets this a lot. He thinks, I guess, if he keeps saying it, people will believe it.  Another tactic that bullies use quite often.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past 2 months my mouth has dropped open in astonishment at the things Trump has said.

When asked about who he would consult regarding foreign policy matters, he replied

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” (“Five Worst Right-Wing Moments This Week: Trump and His Proxies Take Leave of Reality”, Janet Allon, Alternet website, 3/19/2016)

He rambled a bit more and then added

“So I know what I’m doing. I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time, I’ll tell you who they are.  My primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct about this stuff.” (Ibid)

Yeah, who needs information and education, when you have yourself and your “instinct”?

I would encourage you to read the whole Alternet article, because it details other interesting tidbits such as David Duke stating Trump makes Hitler look good, and Republicans trying desperately to spin the physical attacks on protesters by stating they are paid (um no, most of us will pay people for rides just to go and protest) and that the protesters are just like Vietnam War protesters (actually, I think a lot of them are better organized and somewhat braver than we were, and good for them!).

How that translates to the justification for punching and otherwise roughing up protesters is beyond me.  I guess the Republicans were speaking to the now elderly people who used to shout “America, love it or leave it!” and called us “dirty hippies” in the 1960s and 70s.

In fact, one of the last people to assault a protester was a 78-year-old man named John McGraw. He sucker-punched a protester as that protester was being escorted out by the cops (“Trump Supporter Charged After Sucker-Punching Protester at North Carolina Rally”, Justin Wm. Moyer, Jenny Starrs, and Sarah Larimer, Washington Post online, 3/11/2016).

Ol’ reactionary John talked with the press after punching the guy, stating, “Next time we might have to kill him” (Ibid).  He could say that because, you see, the cops jumped on the protester, and not on reactionary John.

The cops have now been suspended – for 3 to 5 days, big deal – for doing what they did (“5 Sheriff’s Deputies Disciplined After Assault at Trump Rally”, Jeremy Diamond, CNN website, 3/16/2016).

To put things in context, Trump has been saying in his speeches that he wants to punch people in the face, makes references to how protesters used to be carried out on stretchers, and offers to pay the legal fees of people who violently attack protesters (“Media Highlight Trump’s Role in Inspiring Violence at his Events”, Julie Alderman, Media Matters website, 3/11/2016).

It’s not clear whether or not Trump has paid reactionary John’s legal fees.  I can’t find any information on that but I would guess not, as Trump would be bragging about it if he had.