Well, I’m still mad about Comey—the pig-snout! Fire that hack, President Obama—or whoever is in charge of FBI Directors. It looks like Trump isn’t the only unfit person involved in government these days. These unspeakable people harass after HRC, trying to bring her down with technicalities, while they trample all over the spirit of the election. And I’m not even sure what Comey did was legal—if it is, it shouldn’t be. Actual lawyers have rules preventing them from this behavior—but blowhards can do as they please.
You see, to some people, a position of responsibility is an opportunity, not a burden. Their only purpose in seeking such positions is to further themselves, not serve the public. And they assume that everyone is as empty inside as they are. So, of course, to them, HRC is plotting to take over the world—that’s what they’d do, given the opening. They scoff at the idealism inherent in a lifelong public servant like Secretary Clinton—and they invite us to join them in their bitter conviction that the world is as ugly as they perceive it to be.
Listen to the people that rail against her—they all have a delirious rage to them. It is as if HRC has become for them the symbol of helplessness—she represents women’s equality; her career is an attack on fundamentalism; her marriage is both imperfect but unbroken—which is more than many of her detractors can say; and she is just as pugnacious as her tormentors, but a lot smarter about it—which drives them mad with rage. She is the embodiment of the irresistible force of change—of our ongoing history of social progress and human rights.
I would even go so far as to say that Hillary Rodham Clinton is America, in a woman—flawed but dreaming of greater things, successful but concerned for those who have less, strong and ready to fight—but only for justice and human dignity. And, certainly, cursed by many—for various reasons. But come to think of it—remember that the USA, and we its citizens, are none too well loved in many parts of the world—we’ve made mistakes, and we invite envy with our success—and we’ve been bad-mouthed by people that want to see us fail. Well, in this domestic affair, our presidential election, Hillary is the USA—and Trump and his GOP cronies are the Third-World dictators-of-finance that are bad-mouthing her and want to see her fail. Bullies are everywhere, both at home and abroad—and they can be easily identified by their actions. See these two candidates for who and what they really are, please—it’s kinda important. And please Vote.
The peace and quiet of the suburbs is a myth. In the spring you have chain-saws and wood-chippers, in the summer it’s weed-whackers and mowers all day long, in winter it’s either snow-blowers, snowmobiles, or the collective grumble of an entire neighborhood full of individual emergency generators keeping their furnaces working during a power outage. That’s all discounting the delivery trucks, garbage trucks, septic trucks, oil trucks, moving vans, road-crew vehicles that clank in a variety of rhythms, and the occasional hot-headed hot-rodder with a muffler problem. The ‘summer special’ is the ice-cream truck that plays a Stephen-King-rendition of a nursery rhyme for hours on end—but never passes in front of your own house.
However, in the fall we get the king of noise-makers—the mighty leaf-blower. The guys that operate these things wear muffler-headphones like they use at an airport—but they fail to hand them out to the rest of the neighborhood. I miss the good old days—when the only loud noises were people playing their stereo too loud—or some drunk beating up his wife with the actual Hollywood soundtrack effects. There really should be laws regulating the manufacture of these unmusical noise-makers. I know that it makes people feel like they’re really working when it’s loud—but a car makes less noise, driving by, than these hand-held lawn-tools do—there’s something wrong with that, and very oppressive.
You may hear the whining of this thing during my videos—if I waited for them to stop, I’d never get anywhere. I played a few song-covers from my Looney-Tunes Songbook today—Warner Bros. published an oldies-songbook comprised exclusively of pieces used in the classic cartoons—it’s great fun. Some of the lyrics are very un-PC, but I just play the piano on those tunes, usually. I also attempted new improvs—it was a struggle, but there might be something there.
I’ve got the latest snaps of princess poopypants—they’re included in the videos. She’s such a charmer. I’m just crazy to finally meet her! If I wasn’t such a wreck I would walk to California, just to see that little baby. But at least I get the movies and the pictures—and they’re coming for the holidays (I hope—young peoples’ lives are so hectic).
Anyhow, here it is one o’clock in the morning and I’m still finishing up these videos—I just want to talk. And this imaginary piece of typing paper is my friend. I type and words come out on the screen—it’s just as if I were communicating with someone. Well, at least it’s quiet now. All the leaf-blowing men are snug in their beds, or drinking at a bar. I wonder how the Cubs did tonight?
O, no! Now, their only chance is a big upset. Go Cubs. (I’m a Mets fan, but a century is long enough to wait.)
If Secretary Clinton did something truly wrong, I want to know what it is—and I want to know right now. I have had enough of this pussy-footing B.S. about hearings and investigations and witch-hunts. I will consider any lack of straight answers or compelling proof, by election day, to be an admission that the vast right-wing conspiracy has been finding welcoming friends among the Republican party for thirty years—and that all their outrage is hypocritical hogwash that they have sold to us on the basis of pure repetition and pig-headed refusal to drop any rumor they ever started.
Face facts. If anyone belongs in jail here, it’s Trump. If anyone is lying their head off here, it’s Trump. If any FBI director has ever pulled this stunt eleven days before Election Day, I’d like to know which presidential race that was.
Sorry, Trump supporters—I’ll try to say this as kindly as I can. If you support that mountain of bull-crap, then you should take a long look inside yourself and ask if maybe it’s resonating with some bull-crap of your own. Hey, life is unfair—but blaming potentially your best advocate for that, on the word of a bunch of trolls, is worse than unfair—it’s self-destructive. Go towards the light. Don’t listen to the scary man’s voice.
The news and the press are faced with a tough decision here—if a man is proven to be lying about 70% of everything he says, are they still obligated to give him equal time? I understand Vice President Biden’s urge to beat this jack-off to a pulp—the way he thinks and talks about America outrages my patriotism as much as if he were insulting my mother. And, considering the man, I’m sure he would do that, as well, given half a chance.
This TV personality only looks like a respectable person—he’s got wardrobe and make-up people. But when he opens his mouth he reveals a complete ignorance of the Constitution, the law, the powers of the presidency, international relations, education, or social engineering. Both his actions and his associations strongly suggest bigotry, sexism, and nationalism as part of his character. He’s a pig—how can I explain to you something you should be seeing for yourself?
I call for the immediate dismissal of Director Comey for interference in an election. (I would suggest waiting until the day after the election, so as not to seem partisan, but if the Director can’t wait, I don’t see why we should.) And I call for his replacement to immediately release whatever new information the FBI has pertaining to the Clinton email investigation. This crap has got to stop. Innocent until proven guilty, godammit—especially during an ongoing election.
Ten days left in the election and the FBI announces it’s re-opening its investigation into Hillary’s emails. That doesn’t seem the least bit partisan, does it? It seems Hillary Clinton did not break the law by using a private server—so they have to go after her for misusing her private server. And even that didn’t turn up any great catastrophe—so they had to let it go. Now, they’re just messing around, trying to throw cold water on her campaign at the last minute. But, sure—the Democrats are rigging things.
Bernie said it best: “Can we just forget about the damn emails?” Hillary hasn’t been Secretary of State for four years now—if her private server was putting America at risk, it was then, not now. And no evidence has yet been produced showing she did anything seriously damaging, four years ago. Yes, we can keep looking into it—but it is old news, unless you have an undying desire to destroy Hillary Clinton. After all this time, and all this investigating, with no results—to re-open the case ten days before the election is pure politics.
But that’s par for the course of this election season. A disgusting egotist gets more respect than he deserves—and a fine leader gets mud thrown at her. Show me one decent thing that Trump has ever done—you can’t, because he’s lived a life of self-absorption. Now he wants to save America from itself—yeah, right. Did you hear him talking about ‘ghettos’ today? Yes, he’s seventy—hell, I’m sixty—I’ve heard the word—we used it (improperly) in the sixties. But nobody uses it now. See, Donald doesn’t get it—yes, anyone can become president—but only if you’re qualified to be president—otherwise, no sensible person would vote for you.
Lucky for Donald there are so few sensible people in this country. He’s still got a shot at this thing. Can you believe that? He should have never won the primary—Republicans, I’m talking to you. How did a TV entertainer out-campaign your best and brightest? How did you nominate possibly the only person who could lose to Hillary, after all the years of trash-talk you’ve all laid on her? With the media so eager to follow every red-herring you dream up about the ‘horrors of Hillary’, you’ve got most of the country seeing her as an evil witch, instead of the competent leader she actually is. Only one problem.
By turning your base into deluded crazies, you set the stage for this idiot. But he’s such an enormous douche that Hillary has a chance to climb out of the hole you’ve dug for her. I hope you’re happy. I know I will be, when Hillary takes the oath of office. Thanks, GOP.
P.S. Hey, people are talking about a post-election revolution. Yeah, good luck with that. Plenty of Second Amendment folks are voting for Hillary—so if you start shooting, they’ll be shooting back, believe you me. And they are not cowards, afraid to let Muslims or Mexicans find a place in this great land—or afraid of you idiots, either. So come ahead—just remember, if you think ISIS is scary, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Okay—Now—today’s video includes a life-study that Claire drew last night. She’s really going to town on this art stuff. In the middle I put baby pictures from our new granddaughter. I also played a Rodgers & Hart cover: “Where or When” in the middle of improvising. So this is a kind of patchwork performance. Hope you like:
Today’s video isn’t really a present for our future president—it’s more about my daughter and granddaughter—but their lives will be so much better for having Hillary Clinton in the White House for the next eight years—that’s right—eight. So the video is for them—but consider it a thank-you-in-advance to Hillary, as well.
I know that Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s birthday was yesterday, but you don’t turn 69 every day, so I think an extension is in order. And she does kinda look like a little girl up on the platform next to Michelle Obama—she’s really adorable. I know that Wiki-Leaks dumped some more emails about the Clintons profiting from their positions or their charity—but the State Department has nothing to say about it, and the alignments of government decisions concerning foreign actors that paid the Clintons is hard to prove (though easy to suggest) and proving that those government decisions were against the country’s best interests is an even harder case to make.
However, if I wanted to prove that her opponent was actually a threat to this country, rather than a fitting leader of it, I could easily do that to the satisfaction of most Americans—or so the polls would suggest. Or rather, the polls suggest that such proof has already been made—a bell that cannot be unrung, try though Fox News might.
He isn’t really the issue though. The general anti-Hillary tone of America is the subject that has aroused my ire this afternoon. When I hear those whiny people, squirming with delight at being on TV, yet saying things they should be ashamed of—repeating things they heard Trump say, or some other Republican, to the effect that Hillary is an untrustworthy, dangerous criminal—I could just spit.
For starters, we have this fine old tradition here that says no one is guilty until proven so in a court of law. Further, Hillary has been to court; she’s been to the Hill (for eleven hours); she’s been interrogated by the FBI. Usually, fugitives don’t make speeches on TV, so I’m going to assume that Hillary is not a criminal. Only during a campaign can someone call their opponent a crook, and not suffer for it—it’s slander. Criminal accusations are usually accompanied by evidence rather than innuendo—only during a campaign is innuendo sufficient.
Over thirty years of public service deserves more respect from us—it certainly gets respect from the people that pay her a fortune to come and talk to them. They must be interested in her ideas and her experience. You know, the talk-circuit is an industry in itself—many great and famous people make a good living off it—and there’s nothing illegal about it. I’m sure that Hillary’s fees make many people jealous—but that is their problem—not ours. We need only recognize that the most powerful people on Earth want to hear what Hillary has to say.
People tend to call the birthday girl ‘the lesser of two evils’—well, people, try this: you get yourself a law degree, spend some thirty-odd years in public service, be attacked by conservatives the whole time, raise a daughter, keep your marriage together, and start a world-class, global charity before you run for President, twice, while people say the ugliest things they can think of about you—then you, too, can be ‘the lesser of two evils’. Y’all’s got some fuckin nerve, is all I can say.
Have you seen the Republicans? Bunch of slimy toads—not a one of them I’d trust with grocery money. And lie—these bastards lie like they’re Michelangelo painting the Sistine ceiling—they lie like Mozart composed music—if an honest word came out of one of their mouths, I think the whole of Washington, D.C. would sink back into the swamp it came from. But the nice lady who wants to help children—she’s the dangerous criminal?—yeah, right. How stupid are we supposed to be?
You people get your heads on straight. Look at what’s in front of you and ask yourself, ‘Who am I gonna believe?’ Happy birthday, Ms. Clinton.
On the one hand, I could hate myself for becoming too old to have any ambition in music any longer; but on the other hand, I’m not so sure the intensity of my grasping for music was entirely helpful. There are certain aspects of my piano playing today that I believe are enhanced by my lack of fixation on exactly what I’m doing. I’ve always known that certain activities are done best when least thought of—and music is certainly a great example of that, but I’ve only recently seen certain aspects of that which have ‘held me back’ to a degree.
I always knew my physical limitations would hold me back in piano-playing. So it wasn’t until I accepted that, at sixty, I had probably reached wherever my physical abilities would take me, that I became aware of some mental limitations I had placed on myself—at least in the way I thought of my playing as it related to making sounds. Music is such a wonderful gift—it changes with maturity, always morphing into something more richly-layered, like one’s self, but never degenerating, like one’s body does.
So I accept that the music I play today is as good as it will get. It’s not as much as I hoped for, but it’s far more than I ever dreamed of, back when I started. It has been both a challenging and comforting companion—the best kind of friend.
Today I played a nice long improv. I’m not sure what it sounded like, so, we’ll see.
Then I played a bunch of classical arrangements for piano. Three of them were decent enough to post.
Then I played a little ‘trailer’ at the end.
So much for the musical portion of my day.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 6:29 PM
The Enemy of My Enemy (2016Oct26)
It’s funny—here we are with two weeks left—everyone’s pretty sure of the outcome of the election—more than that, everyone’s pretty clear that Trump was an evil anomaly—a thing that we narrowly avoided mistaking for a fit candidate. Yet one can still hear conservative pundits talking about his policies—as if he ever had any firm, practical, thought-out policies in the first place—and as if it still matters now, with early voting heavily in Hillary’s favor. Trump is fortunate to find the Republicans so in denial, and so blindly partisan, that nothing he says or does prevents most of them from pushing for the defeat of their arch-enemy, Hillary Clinton.
And this seems indicative to me. The Republicans have adopted an unhealthy habit of using any old rationale, provided it is anti-Democrat, and calling it a policy. The fact that these policies are impractical (like building a wall and deporting millions) or unconstitutional (like banning a religious group) or just plain crazy (like “bomb the hell out of them”) doesn’t seem to matter as much as whether a policy can be used to beat Democrats over the head. The blind partisanship, and nearly overt bigotry and sexism that lies at the heart of conservatism, have shed the restrictions of logic, science, and sense.
The influence of money hangs over both parties, but the Republicans seem to favor the plutocrats philosophically, as well—as if they approve of a classist view of the citizenry. This hit-or-miss business of the American Dream was like winning the lottery, even back when it had more frequent examples. To think that we can go along as we have been, with people being helpless in the face of big businesses, just so we retain the illusion of economic mobility—is to ignore the oncoming waves of change that will make employment a very different, and much less common thing than we are used to.
Republicans and Capitalists see the system as set in stone. Their focus is entirely on the status quo and the quarterly forecasts. They fear the true future—the reality behind their pushy forecasts—because time is no respecter of wealth or property or law. The Democrats (the good ones, at least) are more willing to face the future, and to say that people have rights that transcend profit.
When Democrats attempt to enact social safety nets, business regulation, or consumer protection, the Republicans always claim that the government does these things badly—and that the free market would do all this naturally, given free rein. This is false. It reminds me of a time when I was a young man working for my father’s company. I went to him and asked for a raise—I told him I couldn’t afford to live on my current salary. He replied that the company doesn’t pay people what they need—it pays people what they’re worth. (He could be a real hard-ass sometimes.)
Now, in a business paradigm, that makes perfect sense. But as a person on disability now—a person, in other words, who is worth nothing to a company—I can tell you that the free market doesn’t care if you are happy or sad, alive or dead—all it knows is mathematics. The Republicans get partial credit for their claim, however, because it is indeed rare that a government program runs any better than a square-wheeled bicycle.
Still, politics makes everything into a win/lose proposition. If a program isn’t perfect, it’s worthless. If a program is working, you shouldn’t criticize it. This is all very ineffectual and immature nonsense. Outside of political speeches, it is obvious to all of us that if something important doesn’t work, you don’t throw it out—you fix it. And one thing the Republicans don’t make a lot of noise about is this: government programs are complicated as much by wealthy influences and corporate lobbyists as they are by their inherent complexities.
And the whole ‘small government’ argument—please. You don’t hear Russia or China talking about ‘small government’. Our beloved Constitution is the rule-book for our government, such as it is, so we have to have government. And if we have a government, shouldn’t we have a good one, rather than a small one? What is the virtue of small, in the context of the 21st century? It would be nice to pretend we all live on our own farms, and don’t need no G-men snooping around—but that was two centuries ago. These fifty modern states, plus assorted territories, need an up-to-date, fully-functioning government—and anyone who wants it otherwise is a fool or a traitor.
When you don’t know if you’re being hacked by the Chinese, the Russians, or the North Koreans—do you want small government? When hurricane surges flood New York City—do you want small government? When the Republicans extol the virtues of small government, they are cheering for the idea that businesses can make a profit from abusing people’s trust—but only if the government turns a blind eye. That’s what ‘small government’ means to big business—and that’s why Republicans campaign on it. I’ll believe them when they start to advocate for ‘small military’. You don’t hear that one much, do you? ‘Small government’, my ass—the freedom to rip us off, more like.
What I really can’t understand is why people are so willing to believe the worst of Hillary Clinton. Have you seen The West Wing, or Madame Secretary, or Scandal? To be a politician, even a well-meaning one, you have to play the game—and it’s a rough game. When the Alt-Righters try to blow up her every machination into a demonic conspiracy, it works much better on Hillary than it ever did on anyone else. Why is that? I can never see the point.
Is it the old female catch-22—that if they’re tough, they’re crazy bitches, and if they’re not tough, they can’t handle a man’s world—is it that bullshit? Maybe partly—but I’ll tell you my theory: you remember how we went for good ol’ boys for our last four presidents? Bush Sr., Bill, and Bush, Jr. were none of’em geniuses—and Obama got away with being smart by being so darned charismatic no one noticed. But in all those elections, there were smart, capable, but non-charismatic eggheads that would have made decent presidents—and we practically thumped our chests in defiance, as if to say, “We don’t need any pencil-necked geeks running this place.”
And now we are stuck with Hillary—smarter than us, more reliable than us, harder-working than us—of course everyone hates Hillary. We’re all looking around for a president we can ‘have a beer with’—the most important credential America knows of, in a president. The candidate we want is missing—and boy are we ticked off that we have to vote for the candidate we need. We’ve never made a practical choice for president before—and wouldn’t you know it—it’s a woman this time. Ooh, my aching back.
That’s my theory. The presidency gives one person too much power—we can live with that, but we’re sure not going to vote for someone who’s smarter than us—that’s a step too far. Fortunately, most voters will (as they say on the news constantly) ‘hold their noses’ and vote for her. As if…—Hey, we’re lucky to have Hillary—take a look at the guts of your I-phone and tell me it’s okay for America to have a moron for president.
I have to laugh when the Republicans bow to the inevitable, and tell people to vote for Hillary for president, but to make sure they vote Republican on the down-ballots—to keep a ‘check’ on her power. Yes, sure—the woman whose life has been all about helping children and families—be afraid of what she might do—be very afraid. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to re-elect the bunch that thought stymying every initiative of President Obama’s, just because he’s black, was a great idea—oh, yes—let’s put them back in Congress, by all means. Although, personally, I think they should all be lined up and shot. Effing traitors.
The Republicans are just Trump-Lite—they both advocate the same things—testing us to see how self-destructively stupid a lie can be, and still work on the electorate. The Republicans never win an election because they are right, they win because we are stupid enough to believe their lies.
What no one talks about is the Russian interference in our election. Why are they doing this? Well, let’s see—they’re only attacking Clinton—not one email from the Trump camp. Can we deduce anything from this? It seems to me that they want Hillary to lose. Why would the Russians want Hillary to lose? Maybe they’re afraid of her. If they were afraid of Trump, they’d be trying to sabotage Trump’s campaign. But they don’t care about any other candidate—just Hillary. Am I the only one who sees some significance in that?
I think they’re afraid of her. If I were Russia, I would be afraid of Hillary. She’s gonna shut down their little expansion party—she’s gonna stare them down and, if need be, shove a cruise missile up their asses. You don’t mess with Hillary. Trump hasn’t gotten any endorsements to speak of in this campaign—it’s a shame that Putin is the only one who wants him to win. Thus, the Wikileaks are something of an endorsement for Hillary, if you think about it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I’ve been trying to plan what to write about in future—after the election. If there’s an upset, I’ll be too upset to write for quite some time. But if Hillary Clinton wins as expected, I’ll be needing a new topic—I’ve spent over a year raging against the threat of Trump. When I felt that I was seeing something dangerous in him, that seemed to be invisible to others, I was desperate to express my misgivings. I saw our great nation tottering on a precipice.
Now, though, the truth has come to light—Trump is unqualified and unfit for most everything, but most especially unlimited power. The charges made against Secretary Clinton are the sorts of things we’d cheer if they were done on behalf of our own ‘side’—mostly it amounts to her being a juggernaut who gets things done. This is only a problem for people who don’t want the things she’s going to do—I’m more than ready, myself, to see some changes being made to the near-plutocracy the one percent have managed to make of our system.
So, case closed (But don’t forget to vote!) and new topic wanted. The trouble is, these last two years I’ve been consumed with resistance to an approaching disaster. How am I going to find a topic that is equally pressing? In a sense, Hillary’s election will be a ‘happy ever after’. I’m confident she will proceed from victory to victory in making our government better, and hopefully our lives better.
Not that doing so will be quick or easy. Nothing good ever is. But I will have little to say about it. I need to begin a new crusade—I’ve gotten used to trying to convince people of something important that I believe. I’d like to keep doing it—but nothing has ever been so obvious and so dangerous as the threat posed by Trump. And the focus on a single individual made the whole issue a very simple one. If I tried to do the same with, say, the Environment, there are issues upon issues, piles of data, commercial pressures, international pressures, and the whole ‘do no harm’ problem that always arises when we press for change without being too sure of exactly what change we want.
The world is very interconnected. Trade, communication, and transportation have all gone global—making any kind of change a complicated piece of business. What works on the plains doesn’t work in the mountains—what works in the desert doesn’t work in the jungle. Whenever we try to plan for a sensible change, we have to figure out how to insert it into the organic goat-tracks of the existing culture—and no two cultures are the same. Plus, there is a clock on anything environmental—saving biomes and habitats is only feasible if we succeed before they are destroyed.
Many potential environmental fights have already been rendered moot by the disappearance of a species, or a forest, or by rising sea levels. The environmental fight is therefore a heartbreaking commitment—I don’t know if my heart could stand it. If I had the strength, I’d go get myself arrested at that pipeline protest—my god, haven’t we taken advantage of the natives long enough? Not to mention, they have a point—water is life, and no amount of money can change that.
No, life is rarely as simple a question as whether Trump could be trusted with the leadership of our country. Nothing else has ever appeared so blatantly, simply unwise. It will be hard to find something new that fires me up like that. But the problem is not in any dearth of issues—the problem is finding something I know enough about, that I could debate intelligently over.
I was paying a great deal of attention to politics, long before Trump showed up—and I’ve studied American history extensively—I know which people protested and fought and died for the national ideals that Trump is so willing to trash. And I know enough about it to know that Trump doesn’t know any of the important ideas behind the job he’s asked for. I don’t know of any other subject I’m so comfortable with. So I may have to retreat to poetry or some such writing.
Still, it’s better this way. If I can see the whole country about to jump with both feet into the worst mess imaginable—well’s, that’s a pretty sorry state of affairs, regardless of my writing ambitions. I wouldn’t want to become like the media—eager for trouble so that people will pay attention to me. That’s not who I want to be.
And perhaps I will even reach some new understanding through all of this stress and angst—maybe I’ll turn to something completely new, something hopeful—an idea of a new renaissance, even. Who knows? Perhaps all of this pent-up urge to write will come out in fiction, and I will finally write a story that entertains while I bore people with my opinions. It could happen—even if I am sixty already. I’m not too old to try something new—just limited in what I have to choose from.
The election will soon be over. The news channels will soon be seeing a nose-dive in viewership—which is a good thing, as I mentioned above. But they will take a hit, still. The news rarely involves something that touches everyone so closely as their vote—the one time we get involved in government, every couple of years. International news is pretty bloodthirsty stuff: drowning refugees, sex-trafficked girls, besieged cities under heavy bombardment—it’s a shitstorm out there in the big world. And domestic shootings hardly draw viewers as much as outrage. It’s bad news for the news, alright, the end of this election season.
But I will approach it as a positive—a new beginning for my writing efforts—something more about myself than ‘the worst person ever’ running for president. Hmmm… I’ll have to give it some thought.
The recordings pile up—so the graphics I create for the videos piles up too. So, the YouTube upload count ticks upward. Meanwhile, I’m writing this stuff—and posting it—so the WordPress blog-posts tick upward and these documents keep piling up essay-titles. And, with all the PC activity, my files and folders get longer, bigger, and more numerous.
The books get bought and, sometimes, read—and while I no longer create a pile of actual books, my Kindle is getting severely crowded. And if you though it was hard to remember what you had already read, when they were actual books—forget about the Kindle’s ‘Library’ listing. Plus, there’s the incessant stream of new TV shows and new movies to keep track of.
The point is—I’m retired, disabled—I do nothing all day—and yet my life is a steady stream of data, too much, and too fast, to keep track of. I can’t remember what it was like when I had a busy, complex job on top of all that—and a social life, once upon a time.
So don’t think I’m complaining—I’m just stating a fact—I would not be surprised if your life is far more complex, and your firehose of data is choking you even worse. There may be an internet-access gap that separates the human race into digital haves and have-nots, but the digital haves are not without their share of problems.
Businesses and governments will find ways to dump a lot of data processing in our laps—there’re insurance forms, tax returns, bill-paying, car registration, subscriber services, cable-package options, and wyfy-speeds to choose from (and pay for). There’re school applications and job applications and loan applications and grant applications and business plans and budgets. There’s chores and meals and shopping and laundry and the kitchen sink (I threw that in too).
When you get down to it (and if you leave out the suffering and deprivation) the poor really have much better lives than we do. A poor person would have to work awfully hard to hurt as many people as a corporate executive can with a simple paperwork mistake. The more power one has, the greater the damage one’s mistakes can do. And it is far simpler to live life without a nice house full of comfortable things, than to spend every waking hour worrying about losing a nice house full of comfortable things. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve had occasion to be poor, hungry, cold, and tired—and that’s no bargain either—but it is simpler.
Of course, I’m just being foolish—having had occasion to be short on funds, I’m well aware of the high cost of being poor—the piecemeal existence demands more man-hours and more cost per reward. And the complexities of stretching a dollar are, in truth, more, not less, than those of maintaining a high-income lifestyle. But the grass is always greener, isn’t it?
I’m starting to wonder what I’m going to do when the election is finally over and done with. I’ve been blogging about the presidential race for two years, pretty near, and it’s time for me to find a new subject. I’m thinking the guaranteed minimum revenue idea deserves at least as much thought and analysis as I’ve given to this lopsided popularity-contest-cum-constitutional-crisis.
It doesn’t fully address the far future, but it is a reasonable idea to begin the transition from a labor-based economy to a labor-free one. Trying to reform capitalism, in one fell swoop, into something completely different, would be like throwing the transmission of an ocean liner into reverse at full revs—you’d tear the engine apart. But a guaranteed minimum revenue for the unemployed, without conditions, would provide consumers in areas without jobs and, more importantly, give people some financial security outside of the job market.
It would also serve as a de facto minimum wage—the higher the guaranteed minimum revenue, the more employers would have to offer to get a person to come to work. Politically, you can call it socialism if you want—I can’t deny it.
But you tell me—if manufacturers and business owners produce more goods with less labor (an ongoing trend with a potential zero-sum result) then we must ask, “Do the people that own things become the only people with any revenue?” If the answer is ‘yes’ then we must further ask, “Who are they going to sell this stuff to?”
Henry Ford only paid his workers generous wages because he wanted them to be customers, too. He didn’t do it out of the goodness of his heart—he wanted to sell a lot of cars. No one ever got rich selling stuff no one can afford—and without jobs, people can’t afford anything. Okay, dead horse well-beaten—I think you get my point by now.
In a world without jobs, you have to give people money. They buy the stuff, the businesses make a profit, the businesses pay taxes, the taxes pay the guaranteed minimum revenue to the people, so they can buy more stuff—and round and round it goes. The only difference is that computers and robots do the actual work—the salaries once paid to workers now take the form of taxes paid to Big Brother. The taxes are disbursed more uniformly than the salaries ever were, so it’s actually a much fairer system in some ways. We just have to get past our conditioning—our belief that a man makes his bread by the sweat of his brow—we can still do work, but we will not have to have jobs.
We will have to accept that doing almost anything by hand is pure therapy—that it would be easier and quicker to have a machine do it. Human life once included defending ourselves against wild beasts—it was so much a part of how we defined ourselves that men still hunt and fish today—for things they could more easily get at the supermarket. Soon, labor will be equally vestigial—like running on a treadmill to stay in shape, instead of fleeing from a mountain lion or a pack of wolves.
Who knows? Perhaps, at some future date, we’ll even need some artificial form of stress, just to keep us mentally fit—in the same way we exercise to stay physically fit, in a world without walking, lifting, or carrying. You know, most people don’t work in busy offices resembling zoos because they have to—they do it on purpose because they get off on the energy of it. Without stressful jobs, we’ll be desperate for challenging activities to match that energy—especially the younger people.
But I digress.
I’m starting to feel sorry for Trump. I still need him to lose the election—nothing about that has changed, only intensified. But this guy really has issues—once he is without Secret Service protection, I hope his loved ones can stage some sort of intervention and get him the help he so clearly needs. Did you know he has numerous siblings? But forget the eerie absence of his kin—let’s talk about his mother. What political candidate has ever failed to dote on his or her mother, to harken back to her sure, steady raising—that made them the person they are today?
Where is the love? Is that the true purpose of his presidential run—to be loved? Is Trump crying out for attention, much like an abandoned child? It’s kinda startin to look that way. His fear and mistrust of women is readily apparent. His avoidance of babies and children is publicly documented. Trump has intimacy issues. The poor guy—no wonder he’s this close to pulling the whole country down around his ears—and doesn’t even realize he’s doing it. Melania, give that poor bastard a hug, wouldya?
Losing this election isn’t going to help him any—but self-destruction and self-loathing go hand-in-hand, so it’s inevitable that it should come to this. Still, I’m really starting to feel sorry for the guy.
Do you remember the ACA website roll-out? Gosh, what a mess—it took them weeks to make it work properly, right? And the furor, while it was still kludgey, was amazing, deafening—as if a buggy program could never be fixed. But now it works fine (better than the legislation, if we’re being honest about it) and nobody says ‘boo’ about it.
Opponents of Obamacare saw the bobbled roll-out as an opportunity to press their case—against the bill and the president, both. But the moment passed and now we are back to judging ACA on its merits, rather than the mechanics. Issues are always more vulnerable to criticism while they are still in flux—but success always changes the playing field.
The same could be said for the economy, wages, and the fight against ISIL. The meat of Donald Trump’s campaign is that ‘America is losing’. He talks of inner-city hell-scapes (even though crime rates are plummeting). He talks of job loss and high unemployment (even though employment has risen steadily for eight years). Stats on wage-increases show the biggest jump since the sixties. And with the siege of Mosul under weigh, and ahead of schedule, the idea that ISIL represents an existential threat to the USA becomes more and more of a fading boogeyman.
I’ll be interested to see in tonight’s debate whether Trump will get a pass, running on stats that were borderline when he declared two years ago—and are laughably out-of-date in October of 2016. While he’s been vaguely promising to somehow ‘make America great again’, Obama’s administration has been repairing the damage left by Bush, and exceeding the level of success our nation enjoyed before Dubya got his hands on the reins. Yes, Bush-43 did take a lot of the wind out of the sails of our ‘greatness’, but our incredible President Obama has undone all that, and moved beyond, to historically surpass our previous greatness.
People make a lot of noise about wanting the candidates to focus on issues—but they are. There is only one issue—Trump is unfit to be president. Hillary Clinton is as fit as a human being could possibly be. There’s your issue. You can dress it up, if you want—but we do not need a savior to repair all the ‘disasters’ of the Obama years—because they are small potatoes compared to all his enormous successes.
In fact, a case could be made that the whole idea of a ‘disruption’ candidate is an expression of pure frustration—and that slow, thoughtful change is the only reasonable way forward for the world’s greatest government. That is why the Educated demographic is fully backing Clinton, and the Uneducated are fully backing Trump—the uneducated, less mobile, more financially-insecure people are far more open to an emotional message, promising them the moon without any details about the journey.
So, in the end, not only is Trump wildly unfit for public office, but his mission to ‘bigly enGreaten’ America is an entirely unnecessary one. Competent public servants are already taking care of that, Drumpf—you can scurry back to your TV shows. Hillary will handle it.
Beautiful day. Leaves is fallin. Sun is shinin. Can’t beat that. Sarah McLachlan may be an acquired taste, but her music is fantastic—what a voice. I’m making a video—I just played Bach’s keyboard arrangement of a Vivaldi Concerto in D, an early transposition from an early influence of old J. S.’s.
Then I played an improv—I don’t know what I’m doing, but it felt good. Now if it only sounds good. I called it “High-End Stroller” because that’s what baby Seneca rolls in these days. There’s a break about a minute in—the camera does that every twenty minutes, making a new file, but it loses a second or two of recording. I took too long with the Bach, I guess—it’s not usually a problem because I rarely play piano for more than twenty minutes—and I often restart the camera recording when playing for longer. What I really need is a film crew, I guess.
Shall we discuss politics? No! It’s far too nice a day for that—and tomorrow’s the final Shootout at the OK Corral, so let’s wait, shall we?
Autumn preys on my weakness—if anyone ever wrapped themselves up in melancholy, it’s me—and that time of year (thou may’st in me behold, when yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang…) sorry, Shakespeare got me—this time of year makes me dive deep into memory, loss, and the unending cycle of change that is living.
I fairly delight in depression while the summer fades, the leaves fall, and the winter looms. We must remember that ‘clinical depression’ is an imbalance, that modest, occasional depression itself is natural—a way of crawling into bed and putting the covers over our heads, while working or relaxing. Chronic Depression, the problem, is much in the news nowadays—but if you get depressed, sometimes, there’s no need to panic—it is only when it takes over your life that it becomes a problem with a capital ‘P’.
I used to prefer the grey, rainy days—but now I settle for leaves falling—the wet weather chills me to the bone, making me stiff and achy. I still enjoy breezes—you’d have to be dead not to enjoy a breezy day. But enough about the weather.
I just read a sci-fi book called “Machinations” by Hayley Stone. I was disappointed that the plot was a straight rip-off of Terminator, but it was well-written, with good characters, so I finished the book. Dear Ms. Stone: It isn’t science fiction if you don’t have a new idea—it’s just writing, however good. I took one star off of my Amazon rating—because it was a good book, but it wasn’t good science fiction. (If I finish a book, I usually give it full stars.)
I saw the “Ghostbusters” re-make—loved it—loved everyone in it. I don’t see how they could have pandered to fans of the old original any more than they did—and it was nice. Anyone who wasn’t satisfied is just too hard to please.
I enjoyed a few episodes of “Lucifer” on TV, but as with all outlandish premises, they try to ‘mealy-mouth’ it down to a drama, instead of juicing it up into a comic-book fantasy. I watched nine episodes of “Luke Cage” on Netflix, but I’m getting too old for the kid stuff. I’m having trouble with stories that contain corruption, violence, and amorality—they just upset me. My options are narrowing tightly—I’m down to mostly biopics.
I’m trying to read the new Bruce Sterling book, “Pirate Utopia”, but it’s hard—I’m sorry, I just can’t stand ‘alternate history’ sci-fi—it’s a bridge too far for me. Woulda, shoulda, coulda—that’s all it means to me. But Bruce Sterling is heavy-sledding—I’ll keep on for now, and see if I get drawn in. It might be one of those books you don’t get until you re-read it. Sometimes, they’re the best.
Tomorrow night is the third and final debate. For most people, it will be a spectacle, rather than an education. This campaign is on its second year—if you haven’t heard it all, already, you’re just not paying attention—and you haven’t seen a TV since 2014.
I have learned a lot about this country and the people who live in it. I learned more than I wanted to know about Trump. I have learned a lot about the media, especially media journalism. And, of course, I’ve learned about our next president, Hillary Clinton.
I find Hillary Clinton so impressive that, to my ear, all those who can’t abide her sound like a lot of sour grapes. She’s tough—in a very tough game—world power. You know those people who always win at Risk? Well, she does that—in real life. Do you know how rare it is for capable people to throw their lives away on this inexcusably wretched, yet crucially important, circus called national politics?
Only a martyr to public service like Hillary would put the intelligence and drive that most successful people put into forging empires of their own—into a lifetime of helping our ungrateful, apathetic asses. Look at the crap she has to take from us, before we will deign to allow her to work herself gray-haired, in the toughest job on earth, for four years. Oh, no, no—wait! We might prefer the racist pig idiot clown with the stupid face. Hmmm—let us think. Hmm—think, think, think. Well….
Are you joking? Are you seriously joking right now?
Watch the last debate—watch him tell every lie three times—he thinks that makes people believe it. Even children see through him. What is wrong with the grown-ups?
The idea that repetition suggests authority is no doubt rooted in the days when anyone who would gainsay the head man rarely got to repeat themselves. In fact, the value of free speech is more than mere human rights—it is the assertion that truth exists outside of, and in spite of, authority.
This can be used and, just as easily, misused—the Scientific Method is an example of the use of truth-seeking through disruption of the established consensus—science-denial is an example of the same principle, turned on its head, by conflating Science with Established Authority. The latter use amounts to saying, ‘I’m not gonna be bullied by all this provable, reproducible experimentation.’
This is irrefutable logic within the bounds of free speech, but it still falls outside of common sense, and is suggestive of a motive or agenda, rather than pure objectivity. Pure Objectivity doesn’t help matters any, by being an imaginary ideal that we aspire to, rather than obtain—so the arguments persist, simple by virtue of the complexity of the ‘knot’.
Propagandists, thus, still live by the rule—say anything three times, and people start to believe it. Trump states this in his Art of the Deal—as if he discovered a big secret. Whenever Trump lies (or rather, whenever he speaks) I always listen for that third time. It would make a deadly drinking game—a shot for every third repetition of a lie—the whole party would be passed out in the first fifteen minutes.
But Trump has become too used to this concept of the pliability of reality—his flights of fancy become ever more outlandish, more self-evidently false. Or, as he put it, ‘the shackles are off’. What gets me is, every time he lies, he’s saying that we are stupid enough to believe him, just because he says it three times in a loud authoritative voice. I find that incredibly offensive—not much different from the time he asked a crowd of Ohioans, “How stupid are the people of Ohio?”
He insults our intelligence with all these lies—I find it hard to grasp why people would take so much disrespect from him. But then, I’ve always had a great big chip on my shoulder, so I react pretty strongly to that sort of thing. He doesn’t ‘get’ that, yes, many politicians lie during campaigns—but they limit themselves to lies that can’t be technically disproven, at least not easily—like, with a quick Google search. Yes, ‘the Donald’, politicians lie, but within the bounds of reason—they don’t force cognitive dissonance upon their constituents, making their continued support require a blind rejection of the obvious.
I think, after this election is finally put to sleep, the media should start to take stock of the Outlandish factor: ‘Obama is a secret Muslim, alien Kenyan’, ‘Death Panels’, ‘Obama founded ISIS’, ‘Hillary is a she-demon’, ‘Trickle-down economics’, ‘Muslims are dangerous’, ‘Weed is dangerous’, ‘Poverty is a choice’—you name it, the Republicans are allowed to go on TV and say whatever crazy bullshit comes into their heads.
The media needs better ground rules—Trump supporters have been spreading their unblinking, shrill crazy-talk across America for a year—everyone, including the anchors, knows they’re lying, twisting the facts, and supporting a dangerous psychopath, yet they are rarely cut-off, or even interrupted, while saying things that make me physically ill. WTF, media? Mental disease can be just as contagious as germs, you know—you’re creating a health crisis by your lack of quality-control on the disingenuousness of your guests—in the name of fairness. It’s not fair, it’s a false equivalence and everyone knows it.
Journalism has a responsibility to give both sides of an argument—not one side of a very lopsided issue versus plain old crazy. That’s not ‘both sides’, that’s an invitation to inanity in nice clothes. And the media has had a parade of that from the day Trump declared. Once we are saved from ourselves, assuming Election Day isn’t a death knell for America, the media needs to rethink their ‘equal time’ policies—crazy doesn’t need any help—and it sure don’t need any free air-time.
Which reminds me—Trump says the media is rigging the election. Is this the same media that gave him billions-of-dollars-worth of free campaign advertising by reporting on his every word, obsessively, daily? Like I said—plain old crazy.
[Fit the Eighth : The Vanishing]
In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away —
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
Sunday, October 16, 2016 5:25 PM
Made a video today—not too bad—but then the darn camera’s charged died before the very last note—Arrgh! But the pictures of the grandiloquent granddaughter more than make up for the music’s shortcomings.
As you can see, when Seneca goes out in her stroller, she looks a little like a tiny granny-lady—very fussy and querulous—it’s so adorable.
What the hell? We’ve been treated to a disturbing-revelation-a-day for like two years now—and the last twenty-five days is going to outdo all the guff that went before? What is going on? Oprah says, “You get an October surprise! And you get an October surprise! And you get an October surprise!…”
I’m tired. Let me tell you, I’m tired. I’m gonna vote for Hillary on Election Day and I’m gonna hope for the best. That’s all I can handle at this point. I don’t know about you, but I have enough stress just doing me—I don’t need Donald Trump trampling over every tradition, every decency, every law—making a mockery out of this great country. Fuck that ass-hole.
He may be the first candidate in history who actually needs a secret service escort. He makes my skin crawl. And let me state clearly—he does not represent the male gender. He rather represents the sub-group of rude, crude troglodytes that feel entitled to harken back to the days when any man had virtual control over any woman’s fate. Most men see that dark past as an example of how not to behave towards women. Real men find a way to respect women without condescending to women, as if it’s some big favor they’re doing. But troglodytes do exist—and, sadly, they are not rare.
The only real surprise about Trump’s behavior is that he thought he could revel in it so long, and then run for President, as if no one would pop up and say, ‘hey, wait a minute.’ Even his denials of his past behavior reveal his objectification of women—‘just look at her…I wouldn’t pick her [to assault]’. He is so clueless that he denies his groping allegations by suggesting that he gropes prettier women!
Whatever mental imbalance this guy suffers from, it is, as I said, not rare. The hard 30% of voters forming the Trump Cult share his ‘hate is natural—don’t fight the feeling’ neurosis to some degree. No amount of testimony, evidence, or reasoning will reach them. I would feel sorry for these folks if they weren’t so terrifying—they are the human equivalent of Skynet in the Terminator movies—smart enough to destroy humanity, but crazy enough to think it’s a good idea.
With all the problems in this world, we nevertheless have one clown ready and eager to burn it all down to satisfy his ego—Donald Trump, and three people who won’t let their inevitable failure keep them from their ‘right to run for president’: Evan McMullin, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. If Trump wins (God forbid) he will have done it with their help. And people say Hillary is ambitious.
Friday, October 14, 2016 12:04 PM
It is a season of extremes. If Trump wins, I will feel a greater despair than when Bush-43 was re-elected. If Hillary wins, I will feel an even greater elation than when Barack was elected. And that’s not hyperbole—those moments of deep disappointment and sky-high celebration are both burned in my memory.
Though I resented Bush and felt happy for Obama, my deep disappointment was in my fellow American voters—my celebration was, too. Democracy means self-government—we rarely contemplate that such a system depends entirely on the knife-edge of people’s judgement. It’s terrifying. An uninformed, or misinformed, electorate will have the judgement of a drunkard—which is to say, no judgement at all. And as we become more and more a culture with various ‘genres’ of truth, judgement becomes something of a commodity.
The complexity of modern life requires not only that we reveal the truth, but that we also beat back the misinformation. Children are educated in schools, where there is some quality-control on the information being taught—but the rest of us get our information from the media. Some media-combines have a political agenda. They promote this agenda by cherry-picking their info—but they also have to cast doubt on the rest of the media, which contradicts many of their premises—and even their ‘facts’.
It is a very fancy, very cyber-age form of lying. It’s lying. The whole point of Journalism (with a capital ‘J’) is to be impartial, to report the facts, without any filter. But we live in a complex world—reporting all the facts is virtually impossible—no one can read that fast. So today’s reporting is, by necessity, an abstract of the research—rather than printing 2,000 pages of a report, reporters try to convey the sense of the report. Objectivity is an ideal—and such reporting almost begs to be interpreted subjectively—so a journalist has no easy task trying to give us nothing-but-the-facts. If media outlets go into that process with an agenda, their results can’t be truly labeled ‘journalism’.
The differences in our politics used to be philosophical differences—this ‘genre-fication’ of our news-media twists our politics into a battle of air-time, spin, and financial backing. This is, no doubt, what convinced the SCOTUS to find that ‘money is speech’ in the Citizens United ruling. Personally, I think they can only truly find so if, and only if, speech is also money—which it ain’t.
The beautiful thing about the truth is that it has a ring to it. When propagandists go too far, we can tell. When the entertainment value of Trump’s rallies wears off and we revisit what he has said, we find nothing but the vacuous nonsense and bitter resentment of a spoiled child. When Fox News fails to air Obama’s speech this morning, we can still watch it on all the other news channels. There may be millions of bitter, frustrated Americans who eagerly latch on to Trump’s ‘hate train’, but the rest of us can easily see through his machinations.
I put it to you that Hillary Clinton has been investigated in courts, Congressional hearings, and by the friggin FBI—if she belonged in jail, don’t you think she’d be there? The Republicans have been stalking her for thirty years—if there was even a hint of real criminality, wouldn’t they have convicted her by now? And, since that hasn’t happened, can we now, finally, begin to question the motives of those who stalk her? Can a lady who has done so much good, also manage to do so much bad—and do it so secretly that no one can find any hard evidence of wrongdoing? Please.
If the Wiki-leaks hack of Podesta’s emails shows anything, it shows an engaged career politician hacking her way through the undergrowth of others’ mendacity. Granted, politics is nothing if not manipulative—but it is manipulation for a cause—private and public policies are a reality. Only a history-illiterate newbie like Trump would deny that Lincoln was a politician as much as a leader. Trump is not a candidate so much as an insult to our intelligence—to even begin to compare him to a real leader like Hillary, we would have to first find, in his seventy years of existence, one instance where he thought of someone else’s welfare, ever. ‘Nuf said.
My good friend Pete came by today and we talked briefly about the presidential race and the disgusting Donald. We had a wild session today—I’m still not sure exactly what happened, but I’ve edited the videos, so you can decide for yourselves.
Right now, however, I have a big back-log of musical offerings. Some were delayed by waiting for fresh baby pictures of the princess—there are several improvs and a Haydn piano sonata. Then there are five song-covers and one improv, from Pete and me collaborating this afternoon. All together, it’s quite a concert—but don’t feel like you have to watch it all at once. A lot of production work, after the actual recording, goes into these videos, so I’d prefer they be savored, wherever possible.
Between the inspiration of becoming a grandpa and the turmoil of the campaign season, I’ve had all my buttons pushed lately—and I flatter myself that it’s coming out in the music. I’ve been doing satisfying stuff lately—not all of it recorded and posted to YouTube—but I like to think that what I do post is representative of my recent work. Pete encourages me—so blame him, if you like.
We all have history. I have incidents in my past of which I am not proud, things that make me wince to remember. But I tell myself that I learned from those mistakes, that I’ve become a better person by feeling the shame of past sins—I’ve come to realize how thoughtless behavior can feel to the person on the wrong end of it, and now I am more careful in my words and deeds.
I’ve also learned that mistakes can’t be undone. If confronted with my past, I tell myself, “Don’t deny that you hurt someone—that would just make it worse—like hurting them all over again.” It’s easy for me—I don’t have any dark secret to confess—I’ve simply been rude or thoughtless in my youth at certain points—and felt bad enough about it afterward that the memories haunt me.
Donald Trump didn’t coalesce into existence behind a podium one year ago—he has a history, too. Now, he prefers to label it a ‘media conspiracy’, but it used to be a reputation he was proud of—the wealthy Manhattanite man-about-town, with an eye for the ladies. His boasting, aboard Billy Bush’s bus, is an example of him propagating that rep—and his bragging about being the owner of a pageant, thus being able to pop into dressing rooms, jibes neatly with the accusations of then-fourteen-year-old girls who describe the same experience from their point of view.
Of all the blatantly transparent lies that Trump has told throughout the campaign, his denial of his own personal history is the biggest whopper so far. It must be dizzying, even for him, to go from bragging about this aspect of himself, to denying it as a filthy lie. I’m starting to think that Trump’s emphatic untruths are a subconscious compulsion—when he says, ‘Lock her up’, he’s really shouting to the world, “I should be locked up!” Perhaps that explains why he mirrors everything Secretary Clinton says, in reverse—he’s actually agreeing with her in the only way his ego will allow him to say it?
Who knows? I’m no psychiatrist. Yet, as a layman, I still feel confident in saying he has a screw loose. Millions of Americans find it appealing—that’s the real problem. I can see that he’s crazy—but how in the world do I get someone else to see it? I can’t put my eyes in someone else’s head.
I saw a Facebook comment this morning where someone said everything I have said, that Trump still won’t show his taxes, he’s horrible and unfit, etc., but ended with the conclusion that our country needs to be ‘disrupted’ by someone like him, because it is too ingrown and self-defeating. I don’t dismiss those points but, as I’ve said before, you don’t fix a computer by taking a hammer to it. And governing fifty states at once, plus being the world police, makes the USA as complicated as any computer. In many ways, it is more complex—people always make everything more complicated. Setting off a bomb, as a president, seems more an expression of frustration than a thoughtful judgement call.
Plus, Trump and the Republicans habitually downplay all the good news coming out of the latest stats. (Isn’t it funny how we value stats based partly on how well they agree with our opinions?) If you look at the stats, the idea of ‘four more years of Obama’ is hardly the threat they wish it sounded like. If a Democrat President with the entire Congress standing in his way could have this much success, imagine what Hillary could accomplish with a willing Senate, maybe even a House of Representatives.
This women’s-equality thing and inclusion-of-gays thing is working out just fine—to the outrage of the far right. Their only chance was to bring us backwards before the new attitudes could settle in. Trump was their shot at that. But it looks as though we may have dodged the bullet.
Trump’s campaign boils down to: ‘Who ya gonna believe?’ He does this because, in business, the answer is always ‘the bloated billionaire’. Unfortunately, this is politics, where the answer to ‘Who ya gonna believe?’ is never ‘the bloated billionaire’, it’s ‘the lifelong public servant’. Vote for Hillary.
This is more like it. I don’t feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness anymore. Most people seem to have caught on—electing Donald Trump would be just like electing a hog because it had won the blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair. That’s a good pig—that’s a pig above its peers—but it’s still a pig.
Donald was (and is) a scheming skeeve, first as a real-estate conniver and Manhattan ‘playboy’, then as a reality-TV star who entertained by being pompously cruel. That he had fourteen seasons is a sad commentary on the American TV audience—but enjoying his perfidy, as semi-fictional guilty pleasure, is a far cry from finding him fit to lead the nation.
Cmdr. Spock could have told you right off that a human doesn’t indulge himself at the expense of others for seventy years—and become a model public servant the next day. He’s not a plotline, he’s a person—he doesn’t ‘pivot’, or suddenly transform in any other way—anymore than you or I do. Thus we conclude that his candidacy was nothing more than a quest for self-aggrandizement and power—in other words, an ego-trip.
And I can forgive Trump and Billy B. for their lewdness on the tape—I can even forgive Trump running for President, for the most venal of motivations, and pretending he’s been ‘called’ to public service, out of idealism. I can forgive all that. To forgive is divine. But I ain’t gonna vote for him—no, that’s a fer piece beyond forgiveness.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, began her life with a passion for helping children. As her life brought her to positions of influence, she used that influence to help children—and learned that helping families is a great way to do that—and found that a community (or ‘a village’) is a great model for raising every American to a place of opportunity, security, and freedom. Thus her passion for children and her love of country melded into a single driving motivation.
Comparison between the two candidates is laughably unequal. Those who hate Hillary Clinton have very vague and diffuse rage against the status quo—the hysterical intensity of it marks it as a prejudice, rather than a reasoned judgement. When they try to tell me that Hillary is ‘just as bad’ as Trump, I can’t think of how to answer them—except to call them ‘dumb people’ (which rarely helps).
I truly think that the world is getting too complicated for a certain segment of the populace—they view the election as an unfair test—a test they are afraid to fail, as if life had become one long math class—and Trump is waving at them, saying, ‘Easy answer!—Over here!’ They are voting their frustration, not their judgement. Emotions and Democracy don’t mix, any more than emotions and the judicial system, or emotions and the practice of medicine. Passion has its place in politics, but only as passion for good, for the truth, and justice.
Has thirty years of campaigning, media fire-storms, scandals, political infighting, and partisan attacks blunted Hillary’s idealism? I should hope so. Imagine, if you will, what such a ‘refining fire’ would do to your dewy-eyed, youthful dreams, or what it did to mine (and I’m just a regular guy). A battle-scarred pol may seem an uninspiring option to the young absolutists—but we should keep in mind what fights she fought while earning those scars.
They were not legal tussles with creditors and unpaid workmen and excluded minorities. She fought to end school segregation. She fought to get disabled kids the right to be included in our public education system. She fought for health care for people who weren’t rich enough, or healthy enough, to get their own. She has served the public her whole life.
Trump, at the 2nd debate, said she’s been in power for thirty years and ‘has nothing to show for it’. That’s right, Donald—by your lights, Hillary has nothing to show for a lifetime of public service—she hasn’t become a billionaire, or a celebrity TV bully, or cheated decent people out of payment for the work they gave in good faith—nothing to show for her life. Well, except maybe millions of grateful people whose lives have been improved, even saved, by her work—and the respect of decent people like myself.
I was very excited about seeing Hillary Clinton be elected the first woman president of the United States. I didn’t think the Republicans could field an opponent that had a chance against her. I was pretty shocked to realize that the campaign to impugn Hillary Clinton was not only alive and well, but had become rabid—and that the majority of Americans were starting to believe, through sheer persistence of repetition, everything her opponents were accusing her of—no matter how wild.
This was complicated by the fact that Hillary Clinton—the actual human being—is indeed less than perfect. She has made mistakes—and she has been a politician—and decades of attack have spurred her to a few unfortunate verbal rejoinders. I get the feeling she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Neither do I. But none of that—and certainly none of the hogwash peddled by her haters—changes the fact that she is a whip-smart, doggedly capable person—and we’d be hard-pressed to find a better leader for the next eight years.
But enough—28 days from now, we’ll vote, and then we’ll, finally, know whether we are safe. Vote as if your life depended on it. VOTE.
What a roller-coaster of emotions. Initially, of course, disgust and mind-boggle-ment. Then an unattractive glee over this ethical implosion (but we were so frightened he might become our president—you really can’t blame us). Then back to disgust—but this time, over the fact that our politics have come to this. Then an overwhelming sense of relief—as in ‘he can’t win now.’ Then a chill of worry—after all, his cult following isn’t going to care—their support has no relation to judgement. Then ‘self-reassurance’, because he can’t win with just his existing base of zealots.
I’m positively dizzy with disorientation. But, as Rachel Maddow says, “You are awake. You are not dreaming. This is really happening.” I’ve long since stopped thinking about Trump at all—it became painfully clear that the problem is in the vast numbers of voters who see him as presidential material. People like Trump (and Trump himself) have always been there—but they’ve never had a shot at the presidency before. People have never been accepting of such a filthy, perverted creep before. Sure, there was Nixon—but he had the presence of mind to hide his lack of character as well as he could, not to revel in it.
But let’s not overlook Julian Assange completely—he has waited for the perfect moment to drop his ‘bomb’ on the Clinton campaign. Well, the Billy Bush video kinda messed up that timing—but even without it, we are hard-pressed to understand how he could have thought Hillary’s speeches to businesses would destroy her. I’ve read what he leaked—it’s all pretty reasonable stuff, assuming your life is not dedicated to despising Hillary Clinton.
We are mature enough to watch Trump’s damning video—surely then, we’re mature enough to grapple with the paradox of democracy. An elected official needs to present themselves so as to be elected—if the right thing to do is unpopular, you only talk about it in private. That’s the crux of what is revealed about Hillary in this latest leak—small potatoes compared to the revelations about Trump’s character (or total absence thereof).
The truth is—I don’t really know enough about international trade agreements to gainsay the people whose job it is to formulate such things. I do know that Europe has seen borderless-ness as a goal for generations—a sign that civilized people can live side by side without armed guards and walls. In examining their history, we may find ourselves embarrassed to be fixated on so bad an idea as a Big Wall. It’s a really stupid idea—and in so many ways.
I’m so desperately hoping this election comes out right—democracy has shat the bed twice, recently—first with Brexit, then again with the Columbians voting ‘No’ to peace with the FARC. It would be nice if the cradle of democracy could score one for the good guys. My nerves have had it.
Catchphrases work well as political tools, but they are worthless as policy. If NAFTA is unfair, we should modify it until it is fair. Killing it is a simple idea—but rather simple-minded, if we remember that there were reasons why NAFTA was created. TPP is neither good or bad, either—it is an agreement, which can be changed if it is unfair. And, our experience with NAFTA will tell us what problems to look out for.
In the same way, the Affordable Care Act was a vital bill—that has been revealed to be flawed. Now, we can throw it in the trash—bumping 20,000,000 people off of health insurance—or we can modify the bill to be fair and economically feasible. Legislation and Trade Agreements are complex works which can be modified when faulty—but in using them as political footballs, we reduce the question to ‘live or die?’ We don’t want to trash these things—we want to tweak them until they work. You don’t fix a computer by taking a hammer to it.
The Republicans are slippery on this—sometimes their objections are that the bill doesn’t work, sometimes their objections are that ‘socialized medicine’ is bad. In the end, they conflate both arguments, and say that we have to repeal Obamacare. Not that we have to fix it. And honestly, everyone knows that the Insurance Lobby blocked the single-payer-option because it makes the industry more competitive—and everyone knew that blocking the single-payer-option would make the bill a nonsensical mish-mash. They don’t want to fix the bill, now, for the same reason they fought the bill’s passing.
Tomorrow night’s debate should be fascinating. I hope Hillary knows that she’s already won—she should take it easy, not for his sake, but just because she’s gracious in victory. Then again—let’em have it—he’s earned it. Making us all look bad—grumble, grumble…..
Well, that ought to do it. Not that I didn’t recognize Trump for what he was thirty years ago, or whenever I first saw his bullying-entitled-looking face on TV—sort of an Eddie Haskell/Biff Tanner nightmare, grown spoiled and rotten by lack-of-consequence and by age. Bless his billionaire heart. And here we are, with some states already in early voting, with concerns about the southeastern seaboard being able to pull itself back together in time to vote—something that seems to trouble Florida, even without a hurricane.
I’m seeing some frog-in-a-pot-of-cold-water-type behavior in the Trump surrogates now—they have slowly been expected to cover for greater and greater breaches of decorum and decency—and they reached a point, with this new avalanche, of flailing blindly for any rationale that can either distract from or excuse the inexcusable. I’ve said before that Trump is a person I wouldn’t have in my home, much less the White House—but now I have a chorus of TV pundits saying the same thing. My blog posts have been railing against the GOP nominee for almost two years straight. Now I feel I wasted all that time—Trump didn’t need me to lose this election—all he needed was some public scrutiny .
Which is what I’d suspected all along—my posts were mostly exasperated expressions of disbelief that such a horrible creature could get so near our highest office—that so many people could be taken in by his shtick. So, I guess I’ll be blogging again tomorrow—about all the people who are still with him, in spite of today’s disclosures. I actually find his insistence, against law and science, that the Central Park Five were wrongfully acquitted by DNA evidence—and shouldn’t have received compensation for unlawful imprisonment—even more damning, in some ways, than the video of his sleazy banter confessing to his predatory sexuality.
Not that both aren’t disqualifying—please don’t misunderstand me. But the naked bigotry of his obsession with those wrongly-accused children, twenty years ago, and today, is an uglier surprise than the Billy Bush video—it’s not as if we didn’t know he was a sleazebag already. We had less warning of his deeply racist motivations—though that, too, is no great surprise. The surprise is that he would raise the issue himself, weeks before Election Day.
My only concern now is that low poll numbers for Trump might suppress the Democratic voter turn-out, rather than pump it up. It would be the ultimate irony if he got himself elected by proving himself un-electable.
I have family in Hilton Head, SC—though they are not presently at home—they are safely inland at some hotel in Georgia. And a lucky thing, too—Hurricane Matthew seems to have a beef with Hilton Head. Forecasters say the brunt of the damage will slide past Florida and give coastal South Carolina a good pasting.
In spite of excellent efforts in evacuation for all four states, there will be inevitable loss of life and property—it will be a tragedy. The only question remaining is the extent of the destruction. If there is a silver lining, it is in the media’s focus on the storm. For the first time in weeks, we are thinking of others, worried for the well-being of strangers.
It is a healthy break from the incessant battle for our approval by two titans of publicity. Every four years we become heroes of the ballot-box, patriots of preference—and, while the talk is all about the two candidates, the true focus is on us, the voters. We are polled and polled again—it’s not just about the two nominees, it’s about how we all feel about them.
It does our American egos good—but this time around, we’ve gone a little over the top about it. ‘Undecided voters’ shiver with delight at the contortions being performed to entice their acceptance—everyone wants to know what they’re going to decide. But our preeminent attention has an expiration date—by mid-November, we’ll all just be regular schmoes again. It’s just as well we have this hurricane right now—to remind us that the upcoming election is but a single judgement-call out of the many we need to make with every new day and every unexpected turn in the weather.
As the storm front passes, residents are warned not to return too quickly—they should wait for the back-end of the storm to go by. Storm surges lag behind the initial wind-damage of this hurricane—and coastal flooding could end up causing greater damage than the storm that preceded it. People, naturally, focus on the event and overlook that which comes after.
In the same way, we conveniently forget about many extraneous issues when the hoopla of the presidential race is in full swing. A president can’t wave a magic wand and fix the whole planet on election day—but we overlook the tripartite balance of power in our frenzy to pick the one leg of the stool that is elected as a single man or woman—the head of the executive branch of our government, the president.
Some commentators are broadening their view, now that things are coming to a head. They’ve switched from ‘Hillary or Trump?’ to ‘What Senate will Hillary be working with?’ Trump’s unfitness may well be a favor to the Democrats—giving them both the presidency and a Senate majority. I would love to see what Hillary could do with some open-field running.
I think the Republicans no longer represent a different way forward—conservatism for its own sake seems to have usurped the party’s power. Their focus now seems less trying to prove themselves preferable, and more trying to keep Democrats from proving they were right all along.
There was a time when social justice could be demonized—fear-mongering about change was easy-pickings, back in the day. Now, though, we have evidence that social justice is good for the economy, good for law and order, and good for international relations. Sudden change has become such a constant in our lives that Conservatism itself may have become obsolete—and Trump’s candidacy its last hurrah. Complexity is forced on us. Subtlety becomes a requirement. Narrow-mindedness becomes dangerous, a handicap on our ability to compete.
Conservatism would be even more obsolete if it hadn’t become a sponsor of big industrial concerns—Climate Change threatens Big Oil’s profits; Gun Control threatens the NRA’s profits; Women’s Equality threatens the major religions—nearly every progressive cause has a profitable opponent—rarely are they challenged on idealistic grounds, as was normal in earlier times.
Renewable energy makes a big difference—it’s not the environment versus the economy anymore—now it’s the tech of the past versus the tech of the future—a much harder argument for oil barons to win. And it doesn’t hurt that the latest oil-drilling technology, fracking, has turned Oklahoma into one big sinkhole.
Not to mention Hurricane Matthew. But he’s just one storm—there have been major storm disasters across the globe recently. In the tension of dealing with preparations and outages and rescues, nobody’s talking about where this storm came from. Hurricanes happen every year, but historically dangerous ones over a short span of years—that’s a symptom of Climate Change—a phrase that Florida conservatives are loathe to speak. Talk about whistling past the graveyard.
“We’re supposed to vote for a guy who lost a billion dollars of his own money in a single year—because he’s good at business—and we’re not supposed to vote for the lady who gave her whole life to public service and helping kids—because we can’t trust her? Okay—that makes sense.”
“Trump says and does things that would be troubling in any man, far more in a man asking for the ultimate responsibility. I wouldn’t want him in my home, much less the White House.”
**–** ___ **–**
Julian Assange is enjoying his moment in the sun—holding a sword of Damocles over the Clinton campaign—threatening to destroy her image with revelations so awful that no one can defend them. This I have to see.
When dealing with people who like to get down in the mud, one sometimes is forced to make hard choices. If, in her thirty years of being hounded by a right-wing conspiracy, Hillary Clinton has made some hard choices, I won’t be surprised. I can be as headstrong as the Trump supporters—you better come at me with something that bites.
If the whole truth about Trump is as bad as his opacity suggests, Assange is going to be hard-pressed to find dirt on anyone that supersedes it, much less dirt on Hillary. Of course, Hillary does have some cyber-blindness—as most 68-year-olds would—and may well have had some memoir rough-drafts hacked, in which she is brutally honest in a way no politician can afford to be. I would enjoy debating that sort of thing—honesty is inconvenient in public discourse, but can be ultimately healthy.
Hillary Clinton is the gold standard in modern politicians—not hardly forthcoming, but seen to have the good of the people as her ultimate goal. If this were to be a mere façade behind which lurked our darkest fears, we would have little course but to surrender to despair—our illusions snuffed out entirely, at long last. If that is the case, then this little prick Julian had better produce something more than innuendo—he’s suggesting he’s in possession of something that will rock 600,000,000 people’s world.
But Assange talks about his ‘revenge’ dump as if it is proof of criminality. Fine, if he’s got legitimate documentation of wrong-doing, instead of a lot of smoke, let’s have it. He’s done a lot of talking. Time to pony up or shut up.
Unregistered charities, illegal envoys to Cuba, allegations of rape of under-aged girls, fraudulent ‘universities’, tax cheating, bribing DAs with campaign contributions—yes, Trump makes an excellent “Law and Order” candidate—the writers could get a season’s worth of episodes out of his life story. And if lying were one of the qualifications for politics (which many people maintain is the case) then certainly, Trump is the most qualified candidate ever to run.
He’s as fit to be president as any obese misogynist could be. He knows more about government than Sarah Palin—and she’s a career politician. His intelligence and literary credentials are proven by the book he had ghost-written about how to lie and cheat your way to success. It’s a fascinating book about all the ways in which one can cheat in business—it’s a shame that governing operates under different principles.
If only he had the presence of mind to continue pressing the conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton invented by the Alt-Right—just about 90% of the country believes in one or all of the accusations levelled at her—that stuff is working like gang-busters. If he would just stop making his candidacy about himself—it’s a losing strategy, displaying in real-time all the faults that he would have us believe reside in his opponent.
I see Trump constituents being interviewed on TV recently—they have this deer-in-the-headlights look, as if they like the ignorance Trump promotes, but they don’t want to be the ones seen publicly agreeing with the specifics of his campaign. They know in their hearts that they should be ashamed of supporting him—and being on camera suddenly brings that into sharp focus. They answer in curt, impatient growls, as if someone is trying to steal their ‘ignorance’ bone while they’re still chewing on it. It would be amusing, if it weren’t the fate of the world in their resentful, bitter hands.
But, Republicans, you’re on the hook for this, too. Have you noticed that all the serious people in your party have disowned it for the duration of this election, for the duration of this particular candidate? That’s because Trump is a bridge too far. In reaching for the ignorant and the resentful, in stoking their belief that progressivism is to blame for all that’s wrong in this country, in denying science and education, you have created this Frankenstein’s Monster. In cultivating a small-government, Tea Party, birtherist, vote-suppression, anti-gay, nationalist mentality, you opened the door to an ignorant demagogue. And instead of admitting your mistake and turning away from this shameless political agenda, you’re sticking with the whore that brung ya.
Trump has exploded your party. I don’t think much of the GOP ‘platform’—if it even deserves that term—but neither does Trump. On the conservative issues, he’s as much a Democrat as Hillary, but without the political know-how. He has disrupted your core ideals—yet you cling to your political strategies, as if they existed in a vacuum rather than a complex society. Thus, while he makes a joke of your tenets, you display a moral bankruptcy in sticking by him, just to win the election. Trump may turn the whole world upside-down, if elected, but he will do (and has done) much worse to the GOP. You guys have had it.
Try living in reality. Try reading a book. Try to see Trump for what he is—or spend the rest of your lives being ashamed of how you voted in 2016.
Where is the love, people? Where is the love? Are we so afraid of something bad happening that we can’t spare a moment to consider something good that might happen? We can argue about the size of government and try to make that the issue, but—communities used to do a much better job of taking care of their own—states used to subsidize their state colleges enough to keep tuition down to a reasonable fee, instead of a small home mortgage. Welfare was roundly condemned for having a few bad apples—but back in the welfare days, a company had to pay a de facto minimum-wage that was high enough above welfare to make it worth working full-time, instead of collecting checks.
And why are we starved for jobs when the infrastructure of all fifty states is either unsafe or outmoded? We could spend money on infrastructure and count it the same way a homeowner counts home improvements, as a good investment—with the added bonus of jobs aplenty. The enhanced infrastructure will spur business growth.
I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember—when Eisenhower started the interstate highway construction, commerce exploded. In the New York metro area alone, the bridges and highways that made all of Long Island to the South—and all of Westchester to the North—brief, pleasant drives to and from the city, turned lazy little backwaters into bedroom communities for city-workers. The construction boom alone lasted decades. The commerce both in city-to-suburbs, and in services industries for these exploding communities, was part of what made my early years a time of seemingly endless growth, here in New York, and all over the nation.
And, believe it or not, if the economy booms loud enough, you start to see a labor shortage. Labor shortages are good for labor—increased demand forces increased salaries. If you want to grow the middle class, get the economy growing at a rate fast enough to create a labor squeeze—we haven’t seen a labor competition in a long time. But, let me tell you—it is a beautiful thing. When employers simply can’t get enough workers, they start paying people more money. You should see it—beautiful, I tell you.
I sometimes suspect the rich actually suppress growth to keep the 99% on the back foot, demand-wise. And then there’s foreign labor—that’s us turning a blind eye to unfair conditions in other countries, just for cheap stuff at K-Mart. Big mistake, long-term—not to mention ethically blind. Don’t buy shit from China.
But this is the world we live in now. Who ya gonna believe, my facts, or the other guy’s facts? It doesn’t matter—I write for the pleasure of hearing myself talk (in my head). There’s a shit-ton of infrastructure in this well-developed country—but it’s all pretty old by now, a lot of it needs re-furbishing or outright replacing. Add in the clean-energy industry, and the need for a modernized power-grid from coast-to-coast, replacing half-a-nation’s worth of lead water-pipes (and disposing of them safely), and a resurgent manufacturing sector—you’re talking about a lot of jobs.
So I expect Hillary to do something immense with infrastructure projects. If the government invests in the country, I’m sure American businesses can take care of finding a use for a vibrant, modern business environment. And if she taxes them for the privilege, well, it’s about damn time, is all I can say. I’ve heard enough rich-folk mumbo-jumbo about ‘trickle-down in my face and call it rain’. Pay your fair share, you sleazy bastards. It’s all take, take, take with you scumbags… Well, break-time for you—reality check. Even rich folk don’t get something for nothing.
I blame a lot of this on the media—those people are always chasing after the butterflies, they never show us the onrushing train of current events, just a bunch of sensationalist trash. But it’s our fault too—they go by ratings, and we have no one to blame for high ratings but ourselves. But we don’t expect TV or the internet to be serious, like a book—we expect it to give us escapism, like opium. That’s what we want, so that’s what they air. We have to want information to get information. But we’re just a bunch of monkeys—we don’t care, as long as we get our banana on schedule.
Now, here’s a little something I played earlier today: