Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hillary, Trump, Election 2016. What did we do to deserve this?

This is the worst of times. Fear and despair hang like Damocles swords above our heads, Trumpageddon, Hillarygate, Russians snooping around to unlock our weakest link, the rising tides of climate change, the newfound freedom by Deplorables to bash anyone's head in who they deem, from their point of view, deplorable. What else? There's more but you can fill in the blanks. The brutal toll this election has taken on our fragile psyches, not to mention our physical health, well, it'll be a long time coming til we get over it. Heal, no. There is no healing when we face the prospect of what's ahead. To put it quite simply, we're fucked.

But wait! Close your eyes and meditate in your time machine back to 2008, three days before the election. Damn! Life was electric! We were in a state of euphoria! Higher than kites with Hope and Change just around the corner! Our adored and esteemed candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, on the cusp of becoming the next President of the United States! OMG, life was good, life was happy. There was no question who we were going to vote for. Working side-by-side for two solid years with love and respect for our fellow volunteers - all over the country I may add - giddily, we went to the polls, thrilled to be able to vote for a candidate we believed in. What a difference eight years make.

Everyone has a Story of Self about those amazing years of passionate activism. There will never be another time like that. Yet, here we are. Battle weary from an insanely long campaign, do we have the energy to fight on? We must. We must push back from the status quo, from the DNC stranglehold on the electoral process, from the malodorous corruption within and we must push hard for the 'progressive' platform adopted to appease Bernie supporters because who can believe they really meant it. Massive props for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, our progressive shadow Presidents.

Say, can we pass a bill about the length of campaigns? Other countries manage to elect leaders with way shorter election seasons. This is just ridiculous. Campaigns costing ONE BILLION DOLLARS. The absurdity of it all.

From now until Tuesday, I will busy myself with books and cocktails. Yes, the choices are beyond regrettable but that is what is before us. Take nothing for granted. Just GET OUT AND VOTE and gear up for the fights ahead.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dear Hillary - An Open Letter Regarding Your Presidency

Dear Hillary -
You are one tough cookie! I'm saying that admiringly after watching you walk on the hot coals of this campaign, not once flinching, your tight smile and death stare resolute. Grrrl, you've been tested by fire whose burning embers have scorched your opponent leaving him in a pile of ashes. Good, let's sweep him away. (Did you get lucky or what to have him-who-shall-not-be named as the candidate!) You are about to finally summit the highest office in the land, a Sisyphean feat if there ever was one and for that you are to be congratulated! Let's hope all the October surprises have been spent and the next two weeks are a snooze. Somehow, I doubt it but I know you are well-prepared to deflect any onslaught.

I have to admit, I haven't always seen you in this light. Yes, you've been a tenacious combatant skillfully dodging the slings and arrows that came with scandals (self-inflicted or not) and the intense scrutiny of public life. But you have also been very adept at holding your finger up to read the zeitgeist - being 'flexible' with your positions, adept at mis-remembering, being tone deaf to the actual day-to-day misery of the majority of the citizenry and of having a miscreant love affair with Wall Street bankers. I'm still not sure where you stand on climate change. Fracking and the TPP still seem to be in play despite your come to Jesus pivot. The need for middle class jobs and taxing the wealthy are, hopefully, a revelation. I don't doubt your genuine benevolence for children and families, as you often mention, but all that caring cannot divert attention from your record on these other things. And it is your record that keeps me from lining up behind you, not, as some have implied, your hair or your voice or your pantsuits. It's a matter of beliefs and policy that are at issue for me.

As you probably can tell, I am a #stillBernie supporter and I will forever grieve for our country that Bernie wasn't allowed to become our candidate. Forces behind the scenes made sure of that but since you are the least objectionable candidate for President, I will vote for you because...Trump.

Here is what I would like you to do once you have been elected President. Since the DNC has ostensibly adopted the 'most progressive platform ever' and you have promised to follow through with everything you said on the campaign trail...no flipping...it would be great if you followed through by starting with your appointments. Your new BFF, Elizabeth Warren, is the perfect person to consult with about that. You know, no Wall Street snakes in any positions whatsoever period. And consult with Bernie because we know he has his finger on the pulse of the disaffected masses. Absolutely do not disregard the discontent of Trump supporters. They offer valuable lessons on what is not working in this country. Both Bernie and Trump have tapped into the seething rage over a 'rigged' economy, lost jobs, no jobs and terrible trade deals to name a few.

So, this is the way I hope it plays out: At the first meeting of your Clinton Cabinet, all - and I mean ALL - the uncomfortable issues that came up during the campaign are put on the table, analyzed and really 'go deep'. Look at every issue in a new light, from a new angle with creative out-of-the-box thinking. Challenge each other. Upend the status quo. Whether you like it or not, 2016 is a whole new world both culturally and economically. To understand the importance of our disparate American cultures, our distinct tribes - and they are plainly obvious - study them just as I assume you studied the distinct tribes in Iraq: Shia from Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Yazidis, Iraqi Turkmens. The United States is a hot bed of multiculturalism and must be examined accordingly. The Democratic 'most progressive platform ever' is a perfect road map.

Progressives will be watching you very closely and will keep pressure on you and your administration like a tourniquet. We have seen what establishment politics has gotten us - Donald Trump - so don't be doing the same crazy stuff over again hoping for a different outcome. I'm sure after the schooling of this campaign you recognize that.

As the campaign winds down and it pretty much looks like you're going to win - Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, has already paid out on your win! - you are looking great, relaxed and full of stamina! I wish you the best of luck in your Presidency, Hillary. Your fortitude will serve you well because this is going to be one hell of a ride.

I wrote a long time ago that if people think the Republicans gave Obama a hard time, just wait until Hillary is President. They hate her to their core (sorry), they hate women and the thought of Bill Clinton roaming the halls of the White House...well, they will all suffer everlasting apoplexy. Not much will get done I'm afraid.

We know you have a penchant for secrecy, playing things close to the vest, but it would be advisable to be as transparent as possible. We, the people, deserve to know what's going on. You're going to be our President and our lives depend on you. That's no small responsibility. I'm rootin' for ya!

Hey, if you ever want some advice or ever need to vent, I'm here for you. Just email me. I'm on a secure server.

Monday, September 26, 2016

My sister was a friend of Roy Cohn. Guess who's she's voting for?

Oh, it's a long story about my sister which I shall write about in my memoir - whenever I get around to writing it after I catch up on old newspapers, New Yorkers and learning Esperanto - but to put it succinctly, she's a 'piece of work'. My first wasband nailed her as a cross between Dracula and Auntie Mame. She's a woman so full of judgement, she knows, with certainty, her shit don't stink.

Anyway, she's a rabid right-winger - surprise surprise - and I'm left of progressive so perhaps we will close the circle one day. The day Trump announced he was running for President, she sent him a hundred bucks. At that point, he bragged that he was going to self-fund so I asked my sister why she sent him money when he announced he wasn't soliciting money and didn't want any (ha). "Oh, she said, "I just want him to know I'm supporting him!" in a tone that suggested The Donald would be touched to know that she, ML, wished him well.

Without going into a psychological profile of my sister (remember, I'm saving it for my memoir), she has always been attracted to slimy greaseballs. She married one - the smarmiest greasiest Greek fisherman, eleven years her junior she found on the island of Mykonos. Another story for later. In fact, just today, she reminded me how much she loved smarmy men when she told me she had fallen in love with Paul Manafort, late of the Trump campaign, pal of the "world's nastiest tyrants". Even though he was dumped by Trump, you *know* he's still 'consulting' for the campaign because who wouldn't want this slimmy sonofabitch on their team. 

Knowing a bit about where my sister finds her jollies, it should come as no surprise that she was a friend of Roy Cohn. He was made of sleaze. I remember when she was palling around with him and their crew of lowlifes (she would dispute that), how much she admired him and how much she loved the down and dirty. That was just all so exciting. So, it follows that Cohn being Trump's mentor as extolled in every Trump bio, my sister held Trump up as a shining example - of what? I don't know. She did know Trump and Ivana when she lived in New York so I suppose you could say she's supporting 'a friend'. She just sent him a second hundred bucks a few weeks ago, you know, to solidify the bond. 

BUT, shock of shocks, just today, my sister informed me that she has abandoned Trump! I asked her if she wanted her money back? What despicable thing could possibly have turned this devotee away? Was it that she couldn't take one more lie? She didn't want to be lumped in with all the deplorables? I was dismayed but tried to remain cool, "What was the final straw?" She was completely turned off when she concluded that Trump didn't really want the job, "He's not acting like he wants it." That was it. His lack of ambition did him in. Not his racism, not his misogyny, not his pathological lying, not his sheer ignorance of foreign affairs, not his hair! Nope, he was lazy. 

Me: "So, who're you going to vote for?" Sister: "I don't know. I just can't vote for Hillary." She'll probably just not vote for President and certainly not for Johnson or Stein. End of story.

One less vote for Trump, one vote (by omission) for humankind.


Friday, August 12, 2016

So, you're running from Hillary and Trump to Jill Stein. Why?

I'm sure Dr. Jill Stein is a lovely lady. Smart. Harvard Med School, practiced internal medicine for 25 years. A nice trim lady who, in olden times, would have made a compassionate country doctor who made housecalls to treat little Timmy's tummy ache. Okay, that's not really fair. She's done important medical research and she is an activist's activist. Done terrific activist work over the years. Wonderful résumé...and Jewish, too! But, the question is, is she really qualified to be President of the United States?

Let's get right to the point. Dr. Jill Stein has never held elective or appointive office or held any position in government. She has never run a business. If the latest Green Party convention is any indication of her leadership and organizational skills, by all accounts, the Green Party convention was a shit-show and certainly doesn't put her in the best light.

"But the disorganization, borderline paranoia and participation-ribbon mentality (literally, if the press badges were to be believed) on display left little hope that the Green Party will be anything more than an unproductive nuisance through November. Even when one calibrates one’s expectations ― it’s a given that the Green Party convention will more closely resemble a gathering of nursery school music teachers than hardened political operators ― what transpired was dismaying.

There was the convention’s agenda. It allotted ample time for privilege-checking and inventorying of everyone’s contributions to the dominant paradigm, but very little attention for nuts-and-bolts organizing, get-out-the-vote plotting and press strategizing. During one of the first gatherings of party officials Saturday morning, delegates spent nearly an hour on breathing exercises and aimless discussion about their “anti-oppression skills.” Participants came away knowing how to locate the “deep blue indigo tunnel” at the “throat center,” but not how to write an effective fundraising email."
 Read more...  ~ Eliot Nelson, HuffPost Hill Editor 

There have been people from all walks of life who have run for President who haven't held elective office but they're gone and mostly forgotten. Actual Presidents have held elective office whether as a State governor, U.S. senator, Cabinet position or other legislative offices. Only about three never held elective office before becoming President and they came out of the military: Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Source  This is not to say it's not possible. Just not probable.

We like to see our Presidential candidates' tax returns. You know, just to see which tax loopholes they're jumping through and to see how generous of heart they really are, philanthropically speaking. What a coincidence, Jill Stein *just* released part of her 2015 Federal tax return today. There's been tremendous pressure on her to do it nigh these past five years and, finally, I'm sure, reluctantly, she did. She still has not released returns from 2011to 2014 so where's the hue and cry from voters who demand other candidates do so?

Jill Stein does have something in common with D. Trump. They are both Putinistas! At a conference in Russia this past winter, she criticized the U.S. human rights record as 'shaky' (agree) without so much as a mention of Russia's rather understatedly revolting human rights record. Dare you call their picking off investigative journalists, assassinating political opponents, their vile anti-LGBT vendetta, a 'human rights policy'? Did Jill Stein forget about that when she was in Russia or did she not want to tempt the assassination snipers by even subtly pointing out those abuses?

So, I'm just curious why legions are running to vote for Stein who has zero experience in government. At least Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, are both two-term Governors and they make an interesting team to say the least. UPDATE!!!!! Scratch doofus Gary Johnson. Bill Weld must be withering inside every time Goofy Gary (this time it does apply!) opens his mouth and nothing comes out.

So, if you have an idea why Jill Stein is the default candidate, please tell me. I really want to know.

I am sure, whatever happens, Jill Stein will continue to be an excellent activist for progressive issues and, for that, I am grateful.

Fun fact: Jill Stein has cut several albums with collaborator Ken Selcer in the folk-rock band Somebody's Sister and is able to play the conga and djembe drums and guitar so there's always that. Nobody said she wasn't talented.

Note: I am a Bernie super supporter. This is the way I spin it so I feel better: "I am not voting for Hillary. I'm voting against Trump." ie: I'm holding my nose and voting for Hillary.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Careers for Little Barron Trump

Little Barron Trump has been blessed with THE BEST parents EVER! You couldn't ask for better parents! They have set such a high bar! In fact, they are going to start THE BEST, WINNINGEST parenting school in THE WORLD! And because Little Barron has had such exemplary models of what it means to be an adult, career opportunities galore await this "Little Donald", as his mum likes to call him*.

Peering into the crystal ball of Trumpland, after Little Barron graduates from high school, his father, the NEVER PRESIDENT, will threaten Wharton to accept his prodigy progeny or he'll set the school on fire. Unlikely to succeed at either getting Little Barron into the school (Wharton students and staff hate Trump) or at setting the school on fire as Trump's squinty eye, teensy hand coordination isn't too good and a potential scenario would that his whole sugary mop catches a spark and sets his well-tended coif on fire leaving Little Barron to attend the only school that he could get into - Trump U.

After graduating with a highly regarded degree in cronyism, the world will be his oyster! Here are the top ten careers that Little Barron's Life With Father (and Mother) have him supremely suited for along with his degree. I'm sure there are many more careers at which he would excel and be THE BEST but these shall suffice for now.
  1. Hairdresser
  2. Speechwriter
  3. Wall builder
  4. LGBTQ social worker
  5. Fixer
  6. Admissions admin at Trump U.
  7. Gynecologist
  8. Border patrol officer
  9. Dealer at casino
  10. Shrink
If none of these work out, he can always go into politics.


    * Inquisitr March 15, 2016 Be sure and read this...it's quite instructive

    Saturday, May 28, 2016

    The Trump Hillary Faceoff: What Did We Do To Deserve This?

    C'mon. This really isn't a surprise, is it? Oh, it is? Really? So, how do you think we got here, stuck with the incomprehensible choice of two of the most unpopular people in the country? It sucks, right? Do we deserve this? Maybe.

    How on earth did we get a Trump? Here's how. Forget his orange face and teeny, pudgy fingers, his ill-fitting suits (What's up with that? He can certainly afford better), his cotton candy hair. That's window dressing. Have you ever heard of 'perfect timing'? Somehow Trump emerged and tapped in to the somnolent, apathetic, undercard of the American populace. They've been simmering - seething in fact - with discontent as their world was crumbling. They're pissed, just like we are(!), at government bloat and dysfunction, corruption and laziness, the inability of Congress to get anything done aside from keeping their cushy jobs. And maybe because there was a black man in the White House who was really the one responsible for every conceivable shitty thing that was going on in their lives. Trump came along and woke them with his gutter mentality and spoke their language. Suddenly, they had a voice and became political activists, going to rallies, trolling on the internet, listening with a deaf ear to Trump's hate speech. Alarmingly, we watch them, dissidents of the establishment, morph from passive to aggressive with their ugly newfound voice.

    And people have fallen asleep at the wheel. Well-meaning people think that cleverly complaining about politics and reposting opinion articles (I do that) on Facebook is being an activist. No it's not.Yeah, everyone's busy. So busy, in fact, they forgot to vote. Tell the truth, you know you don't vote in down-ticket or mid-term elections. It makes you want to cry. By being too busy to vote for your school board candidates, your council people, your Supervisor, your State Senator, your judges, you relinquish your voice and your power to effect who is elected to represent you. Every one of those people make up the foundation of our governing system. We build from the bottom up and whoever wends their way through that system to emerge at the top becomes our top tier candidates. They started somewhere and someone had to vote for them to get to the next level. Except for Donald J. Trump who busted into our lives through reality tv and the tabloids. An aberration because he's not a politician who went through the electoral process. He is just a total aberration.

    But, it's Presidential season and because, for years, we didn't exercise our vote up and down the ticket, this is what we got. Often the weakest candidates win in mid-term elections simply because of low voter turnout and those are the people who become incumbents who then are hard to get rid of and who often rise to the top (The Peter Principle) to become weak Presidential candidates. So, we do get what we deserve. That is unless, miracle of miracles, one honest, authentic, progressive (no flip flopper here!) politician manages to rise like a phoenix and upset this entire election miasma to save us all. No, the rest of this is not a paean to Bernie. You can safely read on.

    The Trumpians are really pissed at the government because they feel they haven't been heard. You know who they should be mad as hell at? They should be mad as hell at their ineffective Tea Party! They have been led them down a fantastical path where the promise to live in a deranged Utopia of hate and guns and hegemony was dangled before their myopic eyes and what have they got to show for it? Somehow all the anti-abortion legislation and the NRA making sure no one got their hands on their precious guns - well, aside from little Johnnie who shot his father - all that hasn't done shit for their bottom line. Incomes are down 6.5% since the start of the recession. The fear that drove them to embrace the Tea Party and their fundamentalist, neo-libertarian promises hasn't worked out too well. Right-wingers have not seen much accomplished even in their Fascistic universe. Yes, we (the good guys!) are beyond frustrated by those obstructionist right-wing politicians because they have been at the forefront of an astonishing do-nothing Congress. But they haven't done anything for their supporters either. Tea Partiers probably don't realize why they're pissed but the people they've elected have done zippo for them and they are sick of it - sick of government and sick of their pathetic representatives...although they would never say that. And now the asylum inmates think they have finally found their Messiah. Donald J. Trump. Well, at least now, they're involved in the political process.

    The Democratic Party should use their millions to support a PR campaign to educate people about what voting means leading them through the process from the bottom to the top, how it affects electoral outcomes and how precious each vote is. And let's throw in a national day off to vote. Please vote every election...






    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    If Hillary Clinton Were A Man


    Some questions to ponder: 
     
    Would the Democratic Party be pushing a candidate with a 52% unfavorable rating...if that candidate were a man over a male candidate with a favorable rating of 51%? 
     
    Does the Democratic Party assume that Independents - who were blocked from voting in the closed NY primary - will automatically vote for Hillary if she's the nominee? Some will, some will vote for Trump and some will just stay home. 

        
    A lesson I learned early in life: Never Assume