Clinton vs. Trump

Clinton-Trump

 

Political name-calling is nothing new, and the modern media loves a nickname better than the cure for a deadly disease. They also seem to love controversy better than substance and there has been no shortage of either in the 2016 Presidential election campaign.

Republicans and conservatives love to call her, “Killary,” or “Crooked Hillary,” while Democrats and liberals call him, “Lying Trump, DumbTrump,” or any of a long list of colorful metaphors I’ll leave to your imagination or social media feed.

Hillary Clinton has certainly been accused of lying more than once, along with virtually every member of Congress, but I think there is a large difference between changing your position on a particular issue, qualifying your remarks, and outright lying.

Clinton has changed her position on more than a few points over the years, but after forty years of dealing with law, public issues, and government service I’m not surprised.

I don’t think there are any lawyers or politicians alive who haven’t withheld information, so she isn’t spotless, but who is? If you think that is too passive a statement, then I recall a passage from scripture, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I’ll freely admit Hillary was not my first choice for a Presidential candidate, but then many saw Bernie Sanders as far too radical to ever win or hold the high office. I saw Bernie as everything Trump is not, as if they were matter/anti-matter particles.

Honestly, it was unlikely the majority of Sanders reforms would ever have passed Congress into law but I’m sure his effort would’ve been valiant.

Trump, on the other hand, is the epitome of the worst kind of salesman. The kind you are forever suspicious of being swindled by before the deal is over. Just in the last few months, not a lifetime, he has contradicted himself repeatedly. This hasn’t been informed change of consideration on particular issues but more saying what goes over well with whoever happens to be in the room.

His list of business failures is equally troubling. In fairness, every business mogul takes on a risky venture at least once and a bust or sell-off isn’t unheard of, it’s simply part of the game. However, the list of ventures that have crashed and burned under Trump’s guidance does enormous damage to his credibility.

The concept of a former Republican mayor from New York City taking the stage at the Democratic Convention is an oddity, but Michael Bloomberg did just that. He sugar coated nothing by saying neither party held all the answers or owned a monopoly on proper solutions, and he gave a bold opinion on his experience with Donald Trump.

Being mayor of the largest city in the country for twelve years provides a well honed perspective, and given Trump has prime property there means his business practices were closely scrutinized by NYC government. Bloomberg blatantly called Trump a con man, citing his bankruptcies, his lawsuits, and his abuse of immigrant work visas. The last point being rather hypocritical given his outspoken plans to deport millions. Bloomberg is easily ten times as wealthy as Trump, and his track record both business and political shames the GOP nominee, which drives home the point he knows from whence he speaks.

Even if you discard the business failures and the rampant, repeated change of opinion, Trump still displays a volatile temperament reminiscent of a schoolyard bully. There is a large difference between a person of strong, assertive character who would stand tall for our country on the international stage, versus a man who holds a press conference after the Democratic Convention to announce how much he wanted to hit people that disagreed or insulted him. Once again, given the brash and lewd terms Trump has publicly thrown at his opponents, a petulant level of hypocrisy becomes clear.

For all of Clinton’s detractors, I am reminded of the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said, “I know my Republican opponents hate me, and I welcome their hatred.”

Roosevelt was branded as a socialist, a communist, and a fascist dictator for his “New Deal” because he supported projects where the government acted in the interest of the middle class and the poor. He supported and pushed forward reform to end what he called, “business and financial monopoly, financial speculation, and reckless banking.”

FDR’s middle class supporters believed their candidate understood and sympathized with them, as one worker put it in 1936, “Roosevelt is the first man to understand that my boss is a son-of-a-bitch.” Despite the unending stream of labels by his opponents, he managed to get elected by wide margins three times.

While much has changed since 1936, many of the accusations laid against Clinton echo from history. For all of the Republican efforts via Congressional committees to State and FBI investigations, not a single charge has been convicted against her. I also find it ironic that for all the claims of lies and wrong-doings, I have seen zero evidence of her so-called crimes. Former Secretaries of State Powell and Rice both publicly admitted using private email for classified information, and fifty-three embassy members died during conflicts under Former President Bush, and there hasn’t been the slightest hint of criminal implication to any of them. What makes their action non-criminal and Clinton’s worthy of punishment?

Few people can put forth the kind of life-long resume of working for the benefit of children and equality that Clinton has in spades. Frankly, I’m amazed that with eight years of complaint and criticism over the Obama Administration, the best the Republicans could muster is Donald Trump? Where are the giants of their party? Where are the people of extraordinary class and character that stand for fiscal responsibility, sound business practices, families, and efficient government? None of those qualities are embodied in Trump.

By contrast, Clinton has spent a lifetime in public service, and the ideals put forth in her nomination acceptance speech covered more ground than many who have already held the Oval Office. She has seen the world and knows we get farther on “we” rather than “me.” One line of her speech gave the great summation of our democracy in that progress is made through compromise, not isolation. She knows we are the melting pot of the world and our diversity is our strength and our future. This country has a long, ugly history of fearing and demonizing every influx of immigration, from the Irish, to the Italians, the Jews, the Blacks, the Japanese, the Middle Eastern, and the Mexicans.

The bottom line being unless your ancestry is pure Native American Indian, we are all a product of someone who came to this land seeking a better life. If we don’t believe in that simple principle then we need to tear down the Statue of Liberty and the words inscribed on the pedestal on which she stands.

Republicans constantly cry reference to the Founding Fathers of our nation, who by the way, were immigrants. We came here seeking freedom from a singular ruler controlled by a national church. We are a plural society, which is what freedom is all about.

Hillary Clinton understands we should not be ruled by Wall Street, the wealthy, or the fear of health care costs. She knows the education of our children is paramount and the safety of our communities is essential. She knows when the Middle Class thrives and grows, people are lifted out of poverty, the economy is stronger, and the country as a whole is better for the majority of its citizens, and that is the essence of a democratic nation.

Hillary Clinton may not be perfect, but the last I checked, I surely am not, but I believe she is the best choice for this moment in history.

 

I’m with Hillary.

 

The Battle Within

StateEmergency

 

In a time of incredible unrest, where the clash of ideology, poverty, and corruption has turned fear into both violence and death, America is displaying the ugly side of freedom. In a place so often called “the greatest country in the world,” the face of ugliness has become more prominent than ever before.

All of this has not stemmed from the actions of a singular despot seeking ultimate power, it is battle from within. I don’t mean some kind of core group acting within the borders of our country, I refer to a battle within ourselves, and those are undoubtedly the toughest to win.

If everything we faced were a physical challenge then we would follow the path so often found in books and film. The character seeking victory would ultimately lose enough conflict to train them to get better. They would follow the example of winners, gain counsel from learned colleagues, and progress toward their final goal.

The ancient Japanese Samurai trained diligently in the art of weapons, warfare, and the mastery of their technique, but they also sought spiritual and inner peace. They sought to bring balance to their lives in every aspect, and those are qualities long missing in our present world.

As a parent I have tried to serve my children and family while setting an example worthy of following. Only the end of my days will eventually prove its value since our legacy seems to so often outshine our actual time of labor. Yet across all those years, the capacity for understanding and compassion will stand tall over anything accomplished through anger, rage, or vengeance.

We remember the wars fought and the battles won, but the most lingering after effect is the loss of life. We call it sacrifice to remind ourselves of the reason why, to console ourselves over the absence of a loved one, but in the end the sting of death still strikes home. All loss and pain because people were too unwilling to reach an understanding, too stubborn to compromise, and too greedy to care.

All war ends in a room with leaders, not on a battlefield. The taste for killing is filled to overflowing as many a soldier has returned home tortured by nightmares after coming face to face with killing another so much like themselves. They are the ones who truly bear the burden of the decisions made by idle leaders in the safety of their lofty rooms.

But today, in our hometowns, the battles are raging between our own citizens, and those charged with keeping the peace are caught in the crossfire. How many of us could effectively do our jobs each day if it meant fearing for our lives? These men and women are not facing a clearly uniformed, identifiable enemy, but the people who live and breathe around them each day. They are also people who chose to serve, and do so for a shameful salary given the risk. How have we become a society so tilted that we glorify professional athletes that are paid millions while we demonize those we call on to protect us from unruly harm? How is the entertainment of a game worth so much more than the security of our communities or the schools our children attend?

America will never live up to its proclaimed greatness until it learns to win the battle that is raging between its own citizens. Not its immigrants, not its enemies across the oceans, or its competitors around the globe, no, America must first and foremost achieve its own title…

“The United States of America”

As we stand today, it is a title we are not worthy of, and before we will ever reach the potential to truly lead the world we must first find accord and unity from within. Not by the means of any singular religion or leader, we must embrace each other and find the places where we all can contribute. We must make our nation as a whole stronger than any one person or group, because it is only through the strength of all that we can ultimately become… United.

Race, creed, gender, origin, young, old, rich, poor, etc…we are all made up of a diverse background. We all came from two hundred years of mixed ancestry, but that is exactly what makes us American. This is the common denominator we must hold most dear. Let us win the battle within and leave a legacy for generations to come that will be told with pride, and not a tale of woe.

The Useful Idiots?

I was recently shown the following newspaper article and I honestly have no idea when it was published. I have no idea who Garret Geer is but this whole text sounds like it was scripted for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or some other talking head on Fox News.

What I dislike most about the article is the blatant failure to be accurate. The central goal is to paint both President Obama and Hillary Clinton as communists in the vein of Lenin and Stalin by linking them to Saul Alinsky.

For starters, Alinsky was a community organizer, not a communist. Lenin and Stalin never advocated labor unions or various ways to combat poverty. The author of the article also fails to note the works of Alinsky have been distributed to Tea Party organizers by Republican Congressmen just as often as by Democrats. The work most often cited is Rules for Radicals, and its list of rules does not include one single topic listed in the article below.

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For the sake of comparison, the Rules for Radicals list is as follows…

  1. Power is not only what you have, but what your enemy thinks you have.
  2. Never go outside the expertise of your people.
  3. Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of your enemy.
  4. Make the enemy live up to its own set of rules.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
  8. Keep the pressure on, never let up.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
  10. The major tactic is the development of operations that will maintain pressure on the opposition.
  11. If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through to become a positive.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it.

 

In an inverted attempt to smear both Hillary Clinton and President Obama, the author of the article either inadvertently or intentionally listed all the things Republicans already support that are serving the purpose of the list of goals, not by socialist means (that benefit many) but by private means (which maximizes profit and only benefits the wealthy)

  1. Healthcare –  The GOP have repeatedly made certain to turn more control of prescription drugs and medical procedures away from doctors and into the hands of insurance companies. The cost of rising premiums are constantly blamed on the poor and elderly rather than insane profit margins.
  2. Poverty – The present poverty level can easily be traced to the GOP de-regulating and allowing, if not encouraging through tax breaks for corporations to export jobs, cut jobs, cut benefits, plunder pensions, and generally drive the cost of living ever higher while keeping wages low. Most notably the minimum wage.
  3. Debt – Ever since Reagan began deficit spending the GOP hasn’t looked back. Under Bush they repeatedly vote to raise the debt ceiling while cutting taxes. Yet we still support the largest military budget in the world by a wide margin.($0.60 of every tax dollar) Bush borrowed funds from China to fund war efforts rather than eliminating tax breaks to corporations or closing loopholes that allow the wealthy to abuse the capital gains tax at only 15% while upper middle class families suffer under the alternative minimum tax and rates almost twice as high. Any efforts to reduce the debt are always targeted on Social Security and Medicare with complete disregard for the citizens who paid into these plans all their working lives. Funding that even Reagan pronounced as being completely separate from the national debt.
  4. Gun Control – Conservatives and other GOP supporters have no argument here since the Congressmen bought and paid for by the NRA dutifully strike down any measure to regulate or curtail gun sales. While the death rate continues to spiral, they see no problems with the lack of training, licensing, or registration, all while we stand alone as the only civilized, developed country in the world with such a problem of mass shootings and gun deaths.
  5. Welfare – While the welfare system is constantly singled out as the source of our debt and poverty problems, why hasn’t the GOP put forth one single piece of legislation to reform the system? Why hasn’t there been more focus on creating more jobs to provide a path out of welfare as opposed to attempting to repeal the ACA sixty different times? The single biggest cause of welfare is the same as its always been. The wealthy don’t want to pay people to work a job, and just like the plantation owners of the old South or the greed-mongers who knowingly employ illegals for pennies today, they would have slaves do their work if they could get away with it.
  6. Education – This is another area where the GOP fights to keep from paying teachers and forces both states and communities to fund their own programs with minimal help. Our schools should be the envy of the world and not 29th overall, and Republicans have fought much harder to keep any kind of courses from being taught that contradict Christian teaching, all in direct violation of the First Amendment. The wealthy want schools to be poor so that private schools for their children are the only ones producing better education. Heaven forbid we as a nation should produce solid, open education that would allow a more intelligent, informed child the freedom to choose for themselves.
  7. Religion – “One Nation Under God” was added to our Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, NOT 1776, as was “In God We Trust” on our money. Freedom of Religion is part of the Bill of Rights. In communist countries such as Russia, religion as a whole is virtually forbidden and no such laws against churches exist here. Religion is taught both by word and deed in the home, in your churches, and in your lives by example. No religion has the right to rule this country, and if you aren’t teaching your children then no amount of Pledge, prayer in school, or ritual on the floor of Congress will do it for you.
  8. Class Warfare – Nowhere has the GOP excelled any more than in the constant way it plays to the wealthy in exercising power over the poor and working class. The term “redistribution of wealth” is constantly tossed into the ring as some kind of unholy rite, yet none of them have spoken out against the redistribution of wages, jobs, benefits, premiums, and cost of living. All of which are driven by the so-called free marketplace and Wall Street constantly juggling everyone’s investment for the sake of trade commissions and personal profit. They cry foul over government regulation but have no problem expecting bailouts when they run the ship aground.

 

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals bears no resemblance to Lenin or Stalin in the guidelines for creating a communist state. That point of view is however a constant train of thought with Limbaugh, Beck, or others of their kind. On the other hand I’m not surprised given that Glenn Beck believes the artwork on Rockefeller Center is communist in nature. I get the feeling if John D. Rockefeller were still alive to debate the topic there might be disagreement.

I would also like to see this “list of nations” that has been destroyed by Alinsky and his “Useful Idiots.” Although the title to the article is cited as a term used by Stalin, I would think the break-up of the Soviet Union along with the destruction of the Berlin Wall might be old news that the influence of Stalin is not spreading.

One last thing to the author of this article, the final quote, “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere,” was not made by Alinsky, Stalin, or Lenin. It was made by Voltaire, a French writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state.

I guess the idea of the “useful idiot” depends largely on your point of view, but the argument of Alinsky fostering communism in America is an idiotic one.