Saturday, July 23, 2016

The GOP Convention That Didn't Matter

Someone asked me if I had watched the GOP convention.

Why would anyone?

It doesn't matter what was said or done at the convention. Short of denying Trump the nomination, nothing said or done would have made one bit of difference to people who are going to vote for him. They are beyond the reach of reality, mesmerized by this crafty would-be dictator.

What about the undecided? Wouldn't the convention influence them? No. If they are still undecided at this point, they aren't paying enough attention and likely didn't even watch the convention. Indeed, half of them will still say they are undecided the week before the election. Then they will vote in the same partisan proportions as the rest of the electorate, if they bother to vote at all. That's what they always do.

All the pundits who pontificated this past week about the GOP convention were wasting everybody's time because nothing that happened or was said is going to make one little bit of difference. The candidacy of Donald Trump has nothing to do with the ordinary pundit-accessible analysis.

His winning the election or not comes down to how many people are so full of hate and resentment that they will vote for this charlatan. His original message about Mexicans being rapists and criminals was all they needed to hear. From that moment on, they belonged to Donald Trump. Frankly, he and they richly deserve each other.

The election theoretically could be decided by how many non-hate-filled Republicans march like robots to the polls and vote Trump because they "always vote Republican".  From what I hear from people I know who are longtime Republicans, this is exactly what may happen with a large percentage of them. If, however, Trump gets every single Republican vote, it won't be enough. GOP registration is only 23% of the electorate. On the other hand, Democratic registration is only 32%. The unaffiliated are now the largest political party. What will they do? Probably favor the Democrats, but who really knows.

But maybe just this once the Republicans won't be robotic. Listen to these voices, chiefly those of GOP big shots as collected by Nicholas Kristof in a NY Times column this week:  What Republicans Really Think About Trump -

Amazing indeed, isn't it? Trump stole their party right out from under them. Even worse, because they tolerated and encouraged all the GOP "red meat" hate-preaching of recent decades, they actually created his opportunity. Now they are stuck with him.

I just hope the rest of us aren't.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Meet Our Own Hitler

Thank God someone has finally said it loud and clear. Trump is the next Hitler. You have to read the New Yorker article referred to below and then work to stop his election no matter your politics. This is beyond party. We are all Americans, and America is all that we have, and we are all that she has to stand against this threat. I remember the era of the first Hitler. There was a movie back then called "It Can't Happen Here" but it did in the movie. And it can—in reality!—happen here. 

After all, he has already taken over one of the major American political parties.

Read it. The fate of the world is at stake. Being Honest About Trump

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Are We Crazy? Allow Trump to Appoint Four to the Supreme Court?

When Bernie Sanders announced this week that he is supporting Hillary Clinton, a Sanders' supporter told the New York Times that Bernie Sanders has "broken my heart". He then vowed never to vote for Hillary. Parting Words for Bernie Sanders

What's this about your broken heart, mister?  Grow up. Your personal feelings aren't important when the nation's fate is at stake and we are faced with a two-bit facist who has encouraged his followers to beat up on people. You're like my misguided older women friends during the primaries who supported Hillary on the silly grounds they "just have to see a woman in the White House" before they die. I'm looking at Trump and remembering Hitler, and they are looking for a feel-good moment on the way to the cemetery.

Since when did the serious business of electing a non-Hitler president become a personal soap opera, a question of our little broken hearts? Our private little hopes and joys aren't worth a fig when we are confronting the likelihood that the next president will have four—count 'em!—four Supreme Court apppointments. If these four appointments go to a law-scoffer like Trump, we will have lost the Constitution and the country.

I'm not going to name the four seats. If you need me to tell you, then you are not doing your homework as a citizen and a voter. It's the duty of everyone of us to know what's at stake in this election.

And what's at stake if we do elect, not Trump, but that Clinton woman, whom I personally depise? Maybe a war. But not for certain, not near as certain as those four awful appointments to the Court if Trump wins.

Some argue, however, that her election could be the end of Sanders' political revolution.  But that's only if we let it be.

We can likely block any hawkish moves on Clinton's part, and we can certainly keep the revolution going. (If you don't know how, learn how. It's your country.) But we can't do a damn thing about those four Trump appointments to the Supreme Court once he's president. And if Trump gets those appointments, you won't have a hope in hell of Bernie's political revolution continuing.

The noble thing to do now is the grown-up and sensible thing. It's tempting to posture nobly about not compromising our principles and therefore not voting for Hillary.  After all, our principles are valuable. But we have to rise to the true nobility of voting for the simpering, conniving crook that is Hillary Clinton. Otherwise our valuable principles becomes just expensive trinkets.

And it's America that will pay the price for those expensive trinkets if we insist on valuing our "principles" beyond all else and let Trump win. And it's also the children who will pay the price. Because if Donald Trump gets those four appointments, America has no future. Nor do our children.

Nor does the planet. Given that Trump's a climate-change-denier, his election will doom life on this earth. President Trump Would Be a Climate Catastrophe  To those who have studied the issue for decades, it's clear that the spiral of heating is ever-excellerating. Nevertheless Trump has promised to immediately undo all the excellent climate-protection measures President Obama has adopted by executive order. Then Trump's Supreme Court will likely compound the madness by striking down the provisions of the Clean Air Act that have been applied to curb global warming.

Confronted with the risks to our nation, our children, and the planet, no sane person has a choice. It's Hillary for eight years —if we get lucky and also work hard.

For it's not enough that we hold our noses and vote for her. We also have to arm-twist others to do so. Even then our job is not done. It will be up to us, if she is elected, to be sure she does the right thing. Sanders gave her a fearful scare. It's up to us to be sure she continues scared and therefore does the Sanders' sorts of things she has promised. Thanks to Bernie Sanders and his supporters, the Democratic platform is now about what it would be if Bernie had become the nominee. The Clintons, however, have to be watched continuously and they have to be whipped into line, but they can be made to do the right thing. That is our job and our solid hope.

With Trump, however, there is no hope. No hope at all. After all, the German top echelon thought they could "control" Hitler. There's no controlling such men. They know how to get the power to control all of us.

Don't underestimate Donald Trump. Vote early and often for — argh! — Hillary Clinton.

Well, well. I'm not alone in appealing to the grown-up side of our natures. Here's from the NY Times after I wrote the above:  Let’s Grow Up, Liberals. Surely we will.

Th Eagle Has Landed! But On Her Beak!

I have arrived in Pennsylvania. Hurrah!

At least part of me has. Between jet lag, being 80 and having had all the the work and worry of moving, I am about half here and half still plodding through the air over Kansas.

When the rest of me gets here, I'll be back with you, looking at the crazy scene we call the 2016 election campaign.

Until then, remember always not to move.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Time Out. I Have to Move So I Can Vote in Pennsylvania.

First, the bad news.

To win the presidency, a candidate must win 2 of these 3 ''battleground" states,  almost all others being predictable. Here's the polling in those 3 and it ain't good!

Now the good news. I'm moving on Monday to Pennsylvania so I can vote against Donald Trump in November and thereby swing that entire state against Trump! Is that dedication to one's country, or what? Isn't that also considerate of the rest of the world?

Wish me luck in this move. At 80 it is hard. I have done most of the packing myself and made most of the arrangements. If you haven't moved lately, don't.

I'll be off-line for about three weeks. Don't let anything happen in that time! And be good to yourselves and the rest of humankind. Take care of the earth too.

See you in a few weeks, God willing and the crick don't rise, as we used to say in my rural Illinois childhood.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wharever the Motive in Orlando, The Recurring Gun Massacres Are Largely Ronald Reagan's Fault

As governor of California in 1967-74,  Ronald enthusiastically pushed the closing of California's state mental hospitals. Tens of thousands of deeply disturbed people were sent into "community care homes" which were so inadequate that many of these psychotic people soon were on the streets — homeless, unmedicated, filthy and frightening. The head of the largest chain of the new "community care homes" gave a big fund-raiser for his friend Ronald Reagan.

Some of those turned out of the state asylums became epically violent. One became a serial killer, raping, slaughtering and cannibalizing female students, one after another, at the University of California in Santa Cruz. Six of these deinstitutionalized killers murdered at least 40 people in the years immediately following Reagan's closing of the state mental hospitals. Ronald Reagan's shameful legacy: Violence, the homeless ...  Across the country the toll is now unimaginable from those murderers who should have been hospitalized through the years since Reagan.

Enabling Reagan's insane budget-cutting method of dealing with the insane was a cadre of do-gooder "social workers" who were grievously ill-informed as to the danger the severely psychotic can pose. In the name of civil rights, they cheered on the closings and pushed a law making it virtually impossible to hospitalize the psychotic against their will. That California law, beloved and nurtured by Ronald Reagan, became the immediate model all across the country. Then, as president, he further  encouraged the disastrous closings nationwide.

Both ends of the political spectrum bear some guilt for the fact that crazy people roam our society and can kill fifty in a bar in Orlando, nine Amish girls at their school in Pennsylvania, dozens and dozens of high school and college students all across our country, fourteen fellow workers at an office Christmas party in San Bernardino, nine Sikhs in Illinois, and twenty-six little first graders and their teachers in Connecticut. There were even more.  No matter the immediate motive in the Orlano masacre, the killer was unhinged. Super-violent people are sick.

In announcing the guilty verdict in one of the most horrible of the California murders during Reagan's governorship, the jury foreman said:

"I hold the state executive and state legislative offices as responsible for these ten lives as I do the defendant himself—none of this need ever have happened….In recent years, mental hospitals all over this state have been closed down in an economy move by the Reagan administration. Where do you think these . . . patients went after their release? . . . The closing of our mental hospitals is, in my opinion, insanity itself."

Nothing more profound on the subject has been said since that foreman spoke so courageously over forty years ago. 

Nothing has been so ruthlessly and sadly ignored.

Instead, the death toll from the criminally insane just keeps rising with no attempt to undo the idiocy of our past. I am a devoted champion of civil rights and liberties, even helping secure a significant federal law prohibiting mass detention without due process. Civil rights, however, do not encompass the right to kill.

But that is the right that has been secured by the irresponsible laws of the 1970s that virtually prohibit institutionalizing the insane. Reagan was an enormously stupid man about health care issues, e.g. stonewalling aboiut Aids and also dumping the disabled off Social Security medical benefits. He is responsible for thousands of death in these two categories, plus those slaughtered by the criminally insane he put back on the streets.

Nevertheless, we are far more to blame than he for the victims of the violence because we now know what happens when the mentally ill aren't restricted in some way. We are criminally negligent in not acting as a society to protect our own people.

Added to this criminal negligence on our part is the current shoddy tactic of Donald Trump  in blaming Muslims. This is not only ugly and hateful. It too is criminal because it takes our eyes off the real culprit — our massive failure as a society to deal with psychosis. 

In doing nothing, maybe we are as insane as the psychotic?  

Maybe we are even as stupid as Ronald Reagan?

"People", Churchill said, "get the government they deserve."  

If we want better, we must do better and must demand better.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hillary Is Too Late For Us Women

Back in 1984 I was awakened by an early morning phone call. A woman friend was excitedly reciting a news bulletin: Geraldine Ferraro had just been picked by the Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate. After the call, while I lay there in bed trying to get fully awake, a little bird began to sing in my heart. I hadn't planned on this, hadn't been looking forward to a thrilling moment about a woman candidate. I hadn't even heard of Ferraro or that she was being considered. So it was a startling thrill out of the blue! This was wonderful, 
for me and for all women who minded being women in "a man's world". 

Sadly, in a few weeks the thrill was gone.The media discovered Ferraro hadn't filled out some financial disclosure forms correctly and that her husband allegedly had Mafia ties. The glow went. She began to weigh the ticket down.

Looking back now, how petty those charges seem as stacked against the baggage of Hillary Clinton and Bill, but those charges were enough to negate the great lift Ferraro might have given the ticket. 

This time—for me, anyway—there is no glow to begin with. It's too late. 

In 32 years I have moved way beyond needing a woman on some ticket or as president. America has too. It's not "a man's world" to the extent it was then, though it still tilts somewhat toward men. But we individual women did all the fixing by ourselves. We didn't need role models or heroes doing it. We don't need them now. Hillary is too late, 32 years too late. 

Without her or any women being on the top of some ticket we women took a measure of inspiration from women like Shirley Chisholm, Dolores Huerta, Rose Bird and Rosa Parks. Mainly we took inspiration from our own aspiration. Mostly we moved ahead because we damn well had to. It wasn't about glass ceilings and the other stuff  Hillary babbles about in her $12,495 Armani jacket. It was about feeding our kids, getting medical care, getting a credit card, and getting something as unglamorous as car insurance. Credit cards and car insurance were actually men's prerogatives in the bad old days. "No women need apply!"

If you weren't there you can't know what we  women confronted right through the 1970s.  Please learn. It's important to know what half the human race has been struggling with and to understand and appreciate the great strides women have made without someone doing it for them. As I called it in a column I wrote last year, it's "The Biggest New Story in The History of the World."  It is, of course, an unfinished story, but at least look at its beginnings. You owe us women that much. 

And by the way, a little bird did show up this election year and sat on the podium of Bernie Sanders. That sang in my heart too. A 74-year-old lefty who is adored by the young who will keep the dream alive. This world is indeed getting better!

The Biggest News Story in History