Musings from George

What is going on with this election?
September 18, 2016, 12:57 am
Filed under: Politics

I hear the panic. Trump should be polling single digits, and should be as rebuked as David Duke is (remember when Trump could not remember why he should rebuke David Duke?) The press appears to finally be wetting their respective beds, since they have failed completely to focus the spotlight on the Donald’s absurd claims and defenses. How has a major party candidate managed to lie consistently without being questioned by reporters? How has a questionable business leader (see Trump University) been granted the freedom to withhold his income taxes? Why has a man who eats Burger King and KFC not been forced to have an independent health evaluation?

Donald Trump offends every single social norm about political candidates. He is a racist, with forty years of provable offenses and lawsuits to justify that statement — which might be libel to a real candidate, but is provable about Donald. He is a misogynist, perhaps the MOST offensive man to ever walk this planet (who says things like that about a conservative talk show host like Megyn Kelly? I may not like Megyn’s politics, but WTF?) He is completely out of touch with real people, asking blacks “What do you have to lose?” as if he is going to do *anything* to actually help a black person (read his plans. … oh sorry, he doesn’t have any). He is a fascist (“build a wall, charge the prisoners rent”) with no connection to reality. He built his early empire with illegally imported laborers (mostly from Poland) who pretends that he can find the 2 million criminal aliens in the US (overcounting by a factor of ten, and … guess what … Obama has been hunting those folks down and deporting them already).

I spoke with someone recently who said that he cold not vote for Hillary because he was a successful businessman, and he did not want to pay more taxes. I threw up in my mouth just a little (sorry, borrowed from the movie Dodgeball), and asked about the rest of the toxic package that he was willing to support. He accepts it. So … if someone thinks Donald Trump will help their business, they should go verify the employment status of all of their employees. It is likely that someone in their orbit (house cleaner, landscaper, nanny, janitor or receptionist) is going to be hurt by Trump’s policies. When Supercuts shuts down because every barber from Asia is deported, and mowing a lawn costs $50 rather than $20 (but you *will* get that lawn mowed by an angry white man), you will have gotten your just desserts.

My latest information is that Canada is more expensive than most of us have assumed. Have a backup plan after Election Day — Vancouver doesn’t want you.

I sincerely hope that every voter is thoughtful, and everyone shows up to vote. Vote your interest, not your heart. I read with horror that Hillary has less support among Hispanic voters in Florida than Obama did … WHAT? How could any self-respecting Hispanic vote for Trump, after his denigration of Mexicans and his repeated vow to punish Mexicans because they … work here in the US? have the gall to get educated here in the US? because they send so much money back to Mexico? Trump is a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) for our international relations, and I will be despondent if American voters cannot see it. Educate yourself, register to vote, and vote … your self-interest.

If you are worth $10 billion, and Trump’s promise to eliminate the estate tax is meaningful to you, vote for him.

If you are NOT worth $10 billion, recognize that Trump is proposing to keep $4 billion for himself rather than paying this tax. For the record, we have NO IDEA what he will save, since he is too cowardly to share his tax returns and prove how dependent he is on foreign investors in his properties (and to document how he has illegally avoided paying taxes). Trump is a criminal, and the crimes should not come out after the election (see Nixon, the only president ever to resign).

We are better than Trump. Democracy works. I trust that women, Hispanics, and blacks will elect Hillary. I just wish that she could also get the votes of every intelligent and articulate voter, since NONE should vote for Trump. Polls don’t lie, but they certainly under-count and mis-represent.

But I really didn’t think W could win a second term, and I lost money betting that Trump could not become the Republican candidate. Clearly I am not the median or average voter in our country today.

Looking back through my posts, I recognize that I have said “more soon” incorrectly many times. So I will not do that this morning … just thank you for reading, and remember that friends don’t let friends vote for Trump.


Random Walk
September 18, 2016, 12:21 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Random walk

I just commented on an article in the NY Times, and thought it was time to write more than 140 characters or 1500 words about important topics.

KPFA is a local NPR station that does amazing things on its own small budget. One of their most popular services is interviewing very smart people in town-hall settings in Berkeley, California. Berkeley is one of the most liberal communities in the world, and people who like to be interviewed by KPFA tend to be pretty liberal.

I donated to KPFA this year, as I find their appeals hard to resist (are you listening? have you paid? freeloader!!). One of the gifts for donating was a USB thumb drive with almost four hundred interviews with interesting people, a gift of serendipity for a person with no ability to seek out those interesting people or to read their books.

Two retired CIA employees were interviewed as one of these many informative talks. The man had spent years in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and he was fairly blunt about our (the US government’s) prospect of success there: zero. What we portray as a democratically elected government fighting a terrorist organization is better represented as our decision to support our puppet in power (a Tajik) against the majority of the population (Pashtuns). Together with some additional powerful tribes (Uzbeks, Hazaras), the mix in Afghanistan looks oddly familiar (think Iraq) and equally unsolvable.

We drop bombs, we write checks, and occasionally an American soldier dies doing something that he / she believes is important. In the grand scheme of things, we are NOT helping. We prop up a minority-led government, we kill at times indiscriminately, and we get nothing in return.

Status quo is attractive. Inertia is powerful. But we really should *stop* doing things that do not benefit us. Even one more dollar, one more death is too much. I understand the Pottery Barn rule (you break it, you bought it) but that is capitated at the cost of the item you broke. We clearly did not break $850 BILLION in assets in Afghanistan … let’s cut our losses, bring home the troops, and make friends with the Pashtuns. Let’s stop buying heroin, and see if they plant fewer poppies. Hunting down their leaders, who have no argument with the US, is a waste of time and money.

I’m just saying …