Friday, September 30, 2016

Trump's twisted view of feminism

Give me a break. Hillary Clinton is not a feminist because she attacked the women with which her husband had an affair? How many women would refrain from taking some revenge on the other woman? So feminists are supposed to turn the other cheek or stand up for all women and care for them regardless..even when they jeopardize their marriage and futures?

What is now also at issue, what was her public attack on the "other women"?  Whatever her privately uttered views, there franklly is not much evidence other than calling one a failed cabaret singer and she was totally mum on Monica Lewinsky.   
That must be some male fantasy and a twisted view of feminism which actually focuses on the view of equal treatment in public policy and treatment under the law. It is not about blind loyalty to their sex and forgiveness of women's bad behavior. Nor is it about emotional battle of the sexes.

 He is opening scrutiny of his own behavior. Some, men of course, have the means to buy off their victim spouses to keep their mouths closed and revenge unsatisfied. Trump did that even as toabloids show him publicly dating Marla Maples while still married to his first wife.  When it comes to protecting his rear end after two failed marriages, Trump had the ex-wives sign an agreement not to talk about what happened to their marriages...and if they broke their agreement, they would lose Trump's alimony. 

 Ironically, his chief defenders on this matter are Rudy Giuliani (whose infidelities were front page news as his wronged wife threw him out of Gracie Mansion while he was mayor) and Newt Gingrich, whose third marriage came about publicly and resulted in his loss of political power.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thinking about voting Libertarian? Look before you leap. revised 9/28

Still not sure what you will do in the voting booth? Maybe you are  considering voting for the Libertarian Party as a way to avoid “choosing between two evils” or just throw all the old system out?  What if the Libertarian Party has demonstrated positions on issues in the past which violate some of your basic values or your action or inaction could result in the election of a president who would set back any progress on your treasured issues for years?

 No third party has ever  won the  electoral college majority since Teddy Roosevelt days in 1912, though in 1948 George Wallace’s anti civil rights party carried five states. It is the electoral college vote that elects the president, not the popular vote. Polling show that while the Libertarian Party could influence the outcome of this election in a state's electoral college vote, their candidates have no chance to be elected to the White House, nowhere reaching the 15% popular vote mark.

 The Libertarian Party has some sweet sounding siren songs that appeal to those on  the left and the right.  They promote very limited government, want to reduce our tax burden,  believe government should  stay out of our  bedrooms on social issues, and support civil rights. They  oppose foreign interventions.  However, when they carry their principles to extreme conclusions and apply them to issues, beware.  They have taken some very controversial positions over the recent years that are poison pills to many.      

There is a web site that  summarizes in bullet points with source citations issue positions taken recently  by all political parties and candidates. It is non partisan and non profit. Visit    What jumped out  as particularly controversial  were the following: eliminate minimum wage: privatize missile defense and  social security; allow public funding for private education; allow drugs, alcohol, prostitution, gambling; eliminate all restrictions on immigration; eliminate the EPA. Note: their candidates broke from prior  positions and platforms that eliminated government regulation of the the environment. On Chris Matthews Hardball, MSNBC, on Wednesday, their presidential candidate may be willing to keep the EPA. Libertarians would  eliminate federal regulation of energy production from coal to gas  (the free market will take care of that);  have  no government health systems but restore "free market" in health care; shutdown all foreign military  bases; eliminate all military and foreign aid;have  no trade restrictions (the ultimate free trade) ; and  repeal all gun control legislation. Candidate Gary Johnson is such an isolationist, he has appeared to have little knowledge of foreign affairs (Aleppo moments).

The vote for president is by state. All but a few have rules that the winner of the state popular vote takes all electoral  college votes allotted to that state. Your vote for a third party may withhold enough votes from your second choice in a very close election to cause the one you hate the most to win all of your state’s electoral votes, possibly  resulting in determining the  national vote in the electoral college. There are those who believe it happened in 2000 in the close Florida vote, causing Ralph Nader/Green Party to take away votes from Democrat Al Gore, resulting in his defeat.  It may have also contributed to a Republican loss of the White House in 1996 with Ross Perot’s independent candidacy. The Obama coalition would have lost the 2012 election if  the under 35 age groups' votes had not been heavily supportive of him.  As both President Obama and Michelle Obama said Wednesday, no vote, or a vote for a third party by this important group is a vote for Donald Trump. Given what is stake in both administration of laws and in appointments to the supreme court, the  impact of a Trump election could set back for a generation  reproductive rights and environmental protections.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Hillary Clinton could turn the terrorist attacks to her advantage

Spooking the herd...New Jersey, New York, and Minnesota terrorist attacks...could be bad news for Clinton.  It plays into Trump's rhetoric and the fear factor upon which his candidacy has been based. The irony is that Clinton's reputation is that of an interventionist hawk and Trump talks a good game about being the hammer and fist, but has attempted to paint himself as an isolationist and a go it alone reliance on American military strength.  There are very few who do not recognize that the US cannot fight ISIS alone and that it takes a concerted effort world wide of allies, both European and Arab and other Muslims, to get the job done.  A strong case can be made is that Trump will not be able to lead the winning coalition.

Strength is what Trump radiates, but it is brute strength appealing to those who want a solution that is simple to grasp, but it the kind of strength that is blind, a counterproductive lash out.  Recent comments by Robert Gates and revealed in emails from Colin Powell that the world views Trump as a pariah and he insults to all of the Muslim world, dramatized by his stand on the Muslim ban. This makes him unfit to gather the kind of coalition we need and the cooperation we need from US Muslims.

Clinton must make it clear in the debates that she has the strategy to unite the world to defeat ISIS and that brute military strength conducted solo by the US will not work...and what Trump's strategy is doomed to failure because of his campaign of fear and hatred.  Clinton has at least the knowledge and understanding to be effective, while Trump is a bull in a china closet, doing more damage than good and inspite of his heated rhetoric is doomed to failure.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The greatest con: 72% of identified Republicans bought Trump's birther scam

The ultimate con: the birther issue. Donald Trump yesterday agreed President Obama was born in the US after five years of leading the the issue as his stepping stone to the GOP nomination. The following poll shows 72% of Republicans swallowed the con...either doubting Obama's citizenhsip or swallowing it hook line and sinker. While the response yesterday from Trump supporters was not race that was the motivation, it was his Muslim religion. Huh? The other line: Hillary started it in 2008, which, while one of her staffers suggested she use the birther concept, the media was quick to tag that as false. She never used that line.  That it was false belief that Obama was a Muslim was a stand alone attack. However, That was not how most everyone else saw it: As Gen. Colin Powell's leaked email revealed his thoughts: it was about racism. His views were similar as the response from most African American leaders: that was clear to them it birtherism was sheer race motivated...and was a dog whistle to racists.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Trump the Con Man

Trump the con man

Hand it to Donald Trump. He is a consummate con man.   He has been very effective from the beginning to paint Hillary Clinton as a crook and a liar and throwing out so much flak that he has been able to divert attention from his own crooked and truth twisted behavior. Trump is like the salesman depicted in the Broadway classic, “the Music Man”. Unlike the salesman trying to sell 76 trombones to River City, what he has proposed are kazoos powered by the hot air of implausible plans or nothing at all. These are just some of his vulnerabilities that Hillary Clinton should exploit and go on the offense in the upcoming presidential debates.

As the “Commander in Chief” forum revealed, Donald Trump had no plan to stamp out ISIS but would give his generals a month to come up with a plan which he may or may not accept, depending if he “liked” it.  What he had earlier indicated was 30,000 ground troops, which is a repeat of a past failure

In the same forum was Trump’s eyebrow raising plan to “take the oil” from a sovereign nation, as the way of stopping the rise of ISIS like organizations, because” to the victors belong the spoils.”  Aside from his ignorance of  international law, he ignored the tribal and religious civil war elements causing the rise if ISIS, that even fifteen years of US occupation could never resolve.

When it came to deporting eleven million in the country, once again, other than putting criminals as a priority, he left empty whether or not or even how, he would handle the rest.

He is a skilled flim flam artist, using false facts to make his sales pitch. Fact checkers have rated Trump pants on fire, half- truths, exaggerations and half the story when it comes to using figures and statistics. Clinton fares much better.

While he claims he gave millions to charities, yet  refuses to release his tax returns to show to what,  there  has been no evidence uncovered he gave much to any charities.  However his charitable Foundation gave $25 thousand dollar illegal political contribution from his foundation to a group backing Florida attorney general while his Trump University was under investigation for fraud. The attorney general later filed no charges. Both Trump and the AG deny the connections. There are allegations, too, that he gave even more to the Texas attorney general under similar circumstances, resulting in his dropping the Trump University case. The result is that those who feel ripped off, baited and switched, have had to seek justice by filing class action suits, the trials scheduled post November election.

Like a carnival barker’s shell game, he attacks the Clinton foundation as play for pay, with no evidence her foreign policy was influenced, yet his entangling business dealings with Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey, and other enemies or friends, revealed in a recent Newsweek investigative report.. One can draw a straight line from his business aspirations in Russia to his promotion of Putin’s foreign policy. That simply turning over Trump inc. to his children in a blind trust does not  remove him from conflict of interests with subsequent impact on foreign policy.  Family members are not considered a legitimate blind trust and his real estate investments are blind to no one.

For those on the left and the right considering supporting the Libertarian Party as a way to avoid "choosing between two evils",  they should look before they leap and take a look at the publicly stated  Libertarian party positions. What leaped out  as particularly controversial when I did were the following: eliminate minimum wages, privatize missile defense and  social security; public funding for private education; allow drugs,alcohol, prostitution, gambling; eliminate all restrictions on immigration; eliminate government environmental protection of land, water, air and wildlife; no government health systems and restore "free market" in health care; shutdown all foreign bases; eliminate all military and foreign aid; no trade free trade; repeal all gun control legislation.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trump's foreign policy: Make Russia Great Again?

Donald Trump in the recent "Commander in Chief" forum called Vladimir Putin a better leader than President Obama.  That bromance between Trump and Putin is more than just a matter of flattery and egos.  It has real repercussions for future conduct of foreign policy if Trump is elected. 

 Trump supports foreign policies that dovetail neatly with Russia's,, excusing the Russian grab of the Crimea, going
along with the stealth invasion of Eastern Ukraine, calling NATO obsolete as a military defense alliance, and fuzzy about whether Russia's ally Assad in Syria must go, None of those policies are in America's or our allies' interests. Only when it comes to fighting ISIS do Russia and the US have much in common, but even then the devil will be when any peace agreements are negotiated, as Russia will be firm to protect Assad.

When Trump calls Putin a better leader than Obama, his definition of "better" in context seems to be a popularity contest,since he cites Putin's style of leadership that rates a high 85% approval . This compares with Pres. Obama's current 58% approval rating, better than the highest rating Ronald Reagan had also his last year in office, per Gallup.

If popularity is the measure of strong, certainly Obama would have been much stronger if he also controlled media the way Vladimir Putin did.  His media critics were mysteriously killed or silenced. Most of competing oligarchs are in jail or in exile.  Putin has been able to bring great popular approval from a country feeling the loss of power  and control of territory after the Cold War and glasnost,, and using oil revenues to make their consumer economy flourish.

While Putin's leadership style seems to work for Russians, it is a mockery of a liberal democracy as we know it in America, which respects freedom of the press and speech and an independent judiciary, among other attributes.

Putin governs like an autocrat. Trump would like to be one, too, often proclaiming that in the first week of office he would do such and such .He often appears absolutely ignorant of the US Constitution, separation of powers, and other restraints our founding fathers wrote into that document to make sure we would never have an emperor or king governing with tyrannical might or divine right.

 Most recently Trump  vowed to purge generals that were "rubble" in the Obama administration and installing generals who were known to be supportive of him from whom he would take advice in shaping mid- east policy, though he "knows ISIS better than the generals". That is a trick Putin could pull off since he has virtually eliminated opponents. Trump would run up against Senate confirmation of the highest ranking generals and rank protection rules of those below, so that we might be spared that kind of self-verifying advice from pre-screened yes men.

Trump likes to boast he knows how to negotiate, but could he ever drive a hard bargain with Russia in negotiations over differences?. He seems more prone to simply agree with Russian foreign policy in all of its aspects. Trump's foreign policy is more  like Make Russia Great again. He just objects "to their system" while not understanding how Putin rose to power, and yet he embraces the end result of being a "strong man".

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The fear factors in the race for the White House

Last week left many asking why  Donald Trump was so schizophrenic. On the same day he posed as presidential in his press conference after meeting with the Mexican president,  he delivered a speech with red meat dripping in hate fueling tones that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. There was no “pivot”. The kinder, gentler Trump had disappeared in six hours. Why? It appears that his strategy is to scare more voters to support him by creating an even greater atmosphere of fear. Will it work?

It could not help his already dismal standing with minorities.  Even some of his Hispanic advisors distanced themselves by the next morning, expressing their “disappointment” and “being misled”. That response does not bode well for outreach to Hispanics.  No doubt it consolidated the base he groomed in the primaries.  But would hyping fear and hate help him expand his support among independents and suburban women?

It is obvious he did not aim any of that day’s actions toward gaining more minority support. In his evening rally (billed as a policy speech) he repeated his battle cry of “build the wall and pledged he would still make Mexico pay for it.   “No amnesty” was once again his message to the eleven million undocumented in this country and he doubled down on deportation of criminal illegals (he estimated at two million), proposing to increase border patrols and to triple ICE agents in a deportation task force to work with local police. Otherwise, much of what he proposed was already Obama administration policy and priorities. Trump simply placed the nine million illegals who did not commit crimes as lower priority for deportation and in limbo since he promised he would come up with “humanitarian” policies after his other deportation and build the wall proposals had been completed.

His tone was even more important than his avowed policies.  He ginned up fear of immigrants.  To whom and how will that expand his support ?To justify his earlier assertions that  illegal immigrants were murderers and rapists, he paraded by his microphone a dozen or so parents of victims of those who were murdered and raped by illegal criminals who escaped deportation if having been found guilty of prior crimes. Fact checkers had already knocked holes into the figures of crime increases and most of those caught, they reported, had been released by Court order, not by Obama or Clinton’s State Department policies.  The “problem” of due process would continue to exist no matter who became president.

 In a current Atlantic article, I found a compelling case made that his fear based strategy was his most important allure, but it could turn off some, as well. . Most already  drawn to Trump are those who are  the most fearful, and it is not so much  fear of economic and job problems, it  is the racial and  cultural changes and terrorist threats brought on by  recently  increased in migration of Mexicans and the prospect of more Muslims. This strategy, however, may be backfiring with women in suburbs. They see his fear mongering  as causing more violent and emotionally disturbing conflicts in the future in their communities and in the world, not less.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

For sometime I have felt that there was something irrational at play during this election cycle. A recent  article  in The Atlantic puts a name to it: fear. Mostly supporters of Trump are the most fearful..and it is not just fear of economic problems, it is the racial, cultural changes and indeed recent iincreased immigration that is the driver. Trump has tapped onto it regarding immigration. Hillary has tapped into the fear factor, too, with the danger of his temperament causing even more danger, especially in foreign relations. 

My take on this: This is where the battle for the undecided is taking place and it may even explain why usually Republican women in suburbs are swinging away from Trump due to his racially charged, anti minority tones. They see this as causing more violent and emotionally disturbing conflict in the future in their communities and in the world, not less. By nature, women are peacemakers and peace makes their families even more secure. .They see Trump as causing more conflict with his hateful rhetoric than resolving it.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Trump's big day on immigration: What an actor he is.

What an actor Trump is.  In one day he posed as presidential in his press conference after meeting with the Mexican president Wednesday, August 31,  and in the evening he delivered a speech in Arizona with red meat dripping in hate fueling tones that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. There was  no “pivot”. The kinder, gentler Trump had disappeared.  Even some of his Hispanic advisors distanced  themselves by the next morning, expressing their “disappointment” and “being misled”.

Once again he repeated his battle cry of “build the wall and pledged he would still make Mexico pay for it.  He ignored the subsequent tweet from the Mexican president that he had told him Mexico would not pay for it.  Trump differed from the president saying the pay issue was never discussed.   That is no minor embarrassment.

To bolster his heated rhetoric, he made assertions that were based on many falsehoods and exaggerations per Associated Press fact checkers.   Some measures he proposed were already US policy and being implemented with such vigor that Pres. Obama had received the title from Hispanic critics as “deporter in chief”. What was new was that Trump would form a deportation task force by tripling ICE agent numbers and increasing border patrol personnel, using local police to finger illegal immigrant criminals hiding out.  Unnoted by Trump  it would also require convincing  Congress to pass laws regarding his  proposal of  withholding federal aid to  “sanctuary cities” first to force and  free local police cooperation with ICE..

To justify his earlier assertions that the illegal immigrants were murderers and rapists, he paraded a dozen or so parents of victims of those who were murdered and raped by illegal criminals who escaped deportation if having been found guilty of prior crimes. Fact checkers had already knocked holes into the figures of crime increases, but he ignored or exaggerated the statistics.   As the Associated Press fact checker reported, most of those caught had been released by Court order, not by Obama or Clinton’s lenient policies.  That “problem” of due process would still exist if Trump were president.

Tough talk against any form of “amnesty” or providing a pathway to legalization, was another way of saying: “no softening”.  He simply placed the nine million illegals who did not commit crimes as lower priority for deportation and in limbo since he promised he would come up with “humanitarian” policies after his other deportation and build the wall proposals had been completed. Critical humanitarian and legal concerns such as breaking up families, deporting even US  citizen children,,  and passing laws against birthright citizenship were ignored or dismissed out of hand as not  as important.  If illegals wanted legal status to avoid deportation, he said, they would have to go back to their country of origin and apply.  This was not a matter of "standing in line", but Trump also proposed to change the criteria for getting back in, “extreme vetting” and   to much tougher standards and loyalty to America values with affidavits, presumably all honestly sworn. There would be a quota system that would keep the number of immigrants to "historic levels".   Some might interpret as a code to keep America white and free of Muslims from certain Muslim countries.  This is a throwback to the race and country of origin based quotas of the 1960’s.

For the sake of the country, Hillary Clinton needs to shut down the foundation and clearly apologize for emails.

Hillary Clinton's favorable ratings have now sunk to 31%, on par with Donald Trump's, according the recent polls. Emails and Foundation issues are not  blowing over and it appears she has the advantage now in electoral college votes, but she is in danger of losing the popular vote,or be a minority president with less than 50% of the popular vote,  and  it would weaken her claim of a mandate needed to make her presidency effective.  What if her voters stay home or throw away their votes on a third party?  What if Wikileaks does produce some damning information or  more email disclosures produce a dramatic October surprise? There are some unknowns in this race that is like no other.  What is happening now will also follow her into the White House, complicate her ability to govern, and feed the GOP's never Trump to re-elect their senators, who are clever enough to paint themselves as a check to Clinton. This hurts  the chances of a Clinton friendly Senate and to get her agenda passed or the best choices for a Supreme Court to get approved.

In earlier postings I have recommended that the Clinton Foundation needs to announce a transition to Gates and that Bill Clinton and Chelsea, as well as Hillary be at more than arms length.  Sure the Foundation does great stuff and sure the key is the importance of the Clinton family's influence, but at this point the Gates foundation has the ability to continue with existing programs and Hillary's election and trust in her as a president are far more important issues when we consider the good of the country as a whole.  It is also a pre-emptive strike against unknowns lurking out there that could be even more damaging..such as the Wikileaks threats or even more revelations of pay to play in heretofore unreleased emails.  She should stop  being a lawyer covering her tail.  What Clinton did may not have technically broken the law, but the ethics factor and her  propensity to parse words to skirt the law are harmful to her campaign  and will cloud trust of her even into the Oval Office.  For the good of the country, the Clintons have got to remove themselves from the Foundation and she has got to say again and again, she screwed up with  the emails.  Those are the best inoculations against lurking surprises in October.

Could the shut-down of the Foundation be contingent on Clinton's election?  It could be, though not as convincing as beginning the process now.  The process could be started,  now but reversed if she is elected. If for some reason she is not elected, at least the Foundation could continue its good works and the conflict of interest would no longer be an issue.