I’m hearing from trump supporters, like a tea party commenter on Facebook, who writes: “Give him (Donald) a chance. I think he’s in this for the right reasons.” To which I reply, “What kind of chance did you teabaggers give President Obama? You hated on him from day one, you blocked and obstructed his every proposal, your new president-elect insulted him vilely and called him the worst President ever, and your colleagues portray him and Michelle as monkeys, even as they scream ‘Kill the fucking bitch, jail her’ about Hillary. So what the hell are you talking about, ‘Give Donald a chance’?”
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, my rightwing friend. Do you have any idea how hurtful your budding fascist movement has been to Democrats? You have slimed and slurred us, questioned our patriotism, our motives, our humanity. Are you suggesting Barack Obama did not run for President “for the right reasons”? That is precisely the racist slander that has spewed from fox “news,” Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and the rest of the storm troopers for years. Are we liberal-humanists now supposed to sit down, hold hands with the haters and sing Kumbaya? I don’t think so. I don’t think they would take our hands even if we offered them.
By the way, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so let’s not hear about a mandate. Drumpf has no credibility in most of our urban areas and particularly in the coastal states of the West and Northeast–the economic drivers of our country, which voted against him in huge numbers. Entire demographic segments of America are terrified of him. I have not heard any apology from him for his insults, nor seen a single reach-out by him or his minions to us; rather, the threats continue in their fury. The local media in the Bay Area report that drumpf will probably cut federal funding to cities such as San Francisco that have sanctuary policies. That would be on par for a vengeful person like drumpf. I know many people who are crying, whose children are crying and fearful of being singled out for violent action, as they very well might be, by this deplorable group and its acolytes. We didn’t hear much about gay rights in the campaign, but you know and I know that the tea party and particularly its evangelical extremists—to whom drumpf made secret promises that have yet to be revealed–is chomping at the bit to undo gay marriage and restore Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military. And look at the pit bulls he’s surrounding himself with: “Doctor” Ben Carson, Mike Pence, Newt Ginrgich, Sarah Palin—certified gay-bashers. When drumpf appoints a homophobic christian to the Supreme Court, we will be one vote away from a horrendously retrograde social policy. If drumpf tries to kill gay rights, I promise you we will have White Night riots in every city in the land, which drumpf could easily use to install martial-law type crackdowns, the way dictators, whom he loves, do to keep themselves in power. In this, he could be aided and abetted by rightwing law enforcement agencies and our national F.B.I., which may already have been infiltrated by white supremacists.
Sound extreme? Read your history. To those who have—and I suspect most Republicans have not, being too busy reading their bibles–is this not reminiscent of the mid-1930s in Germany, when Hitler followed through on threats he had made in the 1920s in Mein Kampf? Why would we think drumpf will not act on his campaign promises of deportation, blocking immigration, going after women who have abortions, arresting people based on their appearance, destroying the Environmental Protection Agency, making the National Rifle Association even more powerful, empowering a scurrilous anti-science christian cabal, encouraging militia-type white supremacists, letting Big Pharma and Big Insurance continue to rip off Americans, demolishing banking reputations so that Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs can keep on plundering, and–by the way, just for good measure–fomenting racial unrest? When he was making these utterances during the campaign, people said, “Oh, that’s just campaign rhetoric, he doesn’t mean it.” They said the same about Mein Kampf, which turned out to be a precise blueprint of what Hitler eventually inflicted on Europe and the world. Like Hitler and Goebbels, drumpf used the Big Lie to confuse uneducated people, like the white men who voted for him, who hate it when government helps the poor, but demand federal dollars for themselves. Drumpf now has the choice of igniting massive civil unrest, if not war, or of trying to unite this nation by reaching out to liberal-humanists. But is there anything in his background or what we know of his intellectual makeup that makes anyone think he’s capable of being conciliatory? No. Asked the other day what he thought of the protests in dozens of American cities following his election, he said they were led by “professional protesters.”
Listen: a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, or any reputable politician interested in uniting the country, would have said something like, “I understand their concerns. I might not agree with their methods, but they are patriotic Americans, and they have to right to protest.” Instead, we get this stupid, insulting vitriol, which isn’t even true—a mere prelude to what we can expect from an unstable demagogue who believes nothing can stop him now.
So, to the “Give Donald a chance” crowd, I say: No way. If you voted for him, you will stand before the judgment of history, of your children, and of their children, down through the generations. And you will be found wanting.
My peeps are all shocked and saddened, of course, by this Trump thing. Everyone is wondering what to do next. One school of thought is, let Trump govern, or try to; when his voters see nothing changing, they’ll realize he’s no more effective at fixing things than Democrats, so maybe that will topple the two-parry system. (There’s a lot of that kind of thinking in Oakland.) They’re not sure what will replace it: there’s a lot of idealism among my friends, who are awaiting some super-spiritual messiah to rise up and lead America according to principles of morality. I, myself, am too much of a realist to buy into that. I think we’re stuck with the system we have, which is a political one. My own inclination is to take a hard line towards Trump and the Republican Party: never give in, never give in, never give in, fight them on the landing-grounds, etc.
Anyhow, sorry for not posting the last two days: medical emergency. Here’s what I think. Democrats, liberals, humanists and people with a shred of human decency now will have to figure out how to deal with this catastrophe. I personally plan to take a sabbatical from nonstop watching of the news, which really has lain me low, emotionally and physically. But that doesn’t mean I’ll cease blogging to offer my commentary, for there is much that needs to be said, and will be said, to counter what is sure to be the welter of bullshit coming from the Republicans and Team Trump.
Among that B.S. is the steaming pile of sanctimony about “unity” coming from Trump’s mouth, a mouth more accustomed to expressing lies, insults, smears, threats and anger. I am reminded of the old adage, “Watch what they do, not what they say.” This man, Trump, was placed into office by a cadre of sullen, uneducated, resentful white males from bible-thumping red states and counties, people from whom I feel utterly alienated (and I know they feel alienated from me and people like me). These Trump storm troopers will demand that he enact nativist, backward-looking legislation aimed at undermining the one-half of the population they wish to get rid of. Trump will be only too eager to accommodate them, and with a tea-party, Christianized Congress and (soon to be) Supreme Court, he will attempt his own Machtergreifung (the German word for Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933) and enact his rightwing agenda.
So what do we liberal-humanists do?
One of the first things an over-confident Trump movement could attempt is the persecution of Hillary Clinton. We all heard from the Trump brownshirt the other day who said of Hillary, “Kill the fuckin’ bitch”—a horrific slur that Trump’s lapdog, Giuliani, relished and would not denounce. We know that a good part of the Republican Congress has vowed to prosecute Hillary and will not rest until they throw her in jail. So what can we expect, especially in the House? A re-launching of Benghazi and the email nonsense into a Republican witch hunt, complete with hearings, subpoenas and hateful invective. At the very first sign of this—the first press conference, the first announcement—we must take to the streets, in overwhelming numbers, to issue a stark, simple message to Republicans:
LEAVE HER ALONE!
These deplorable white men, these open-carry ranters, these bratty children playing with matches—they think they’ve won it all now, and in their swaggering confidence, they believe they can get away with anything they want, starting with locking her up. Well, we have to stand up to the bullies, even though they may be bigger and better armed than we, and are led by the Bully-in-Chief. Liberal-humanists must show them we will not be intimidated. From Boston to San Francisco, Austin to Portland, Atlanta to Albuquerque to Seattle to Denver to Topeka, we will link arms, surround courthouses and State houses and even the sacred halls of Congress itself, and tell the haters:
LEAVE HER ALONE!
For in going after Hillary, these bullies are going after, not just one woman in a pantsuit, but the sixty millions of us who voted for her—more than Trump’s total. We who respect and admire Hillary Clinton will defend her against any aggression by a mob of vengeful haters. If the Congress—and that means Trump, who now owns the Republican Party—insists on throwing down the gauntlet, let us assure them they will not find a passive, demoralized opposition, but us, energized and unhumbled, sure of ourselves and our cause, convinced this election will be nullified by events. It is we whom the Republicans will have to break before they lay their fat, white hands on Hillary.
Perhaps they won’t. Perhaps Trump will tell them not to, and they’ll listen to their Great Leader. But let this stand as a warning to Republicans, and a rallying cry to Democrats: don’t mess with Hillary Clinton.
LEAVE HER ALONE!
I’m writing this Monday evening, and I’m feeling better about the outcome. I now think Hillary will win. (I don’t know about the Senate.) So, here’s my Winners and Losers of this election. But first, a little fun:
- CNN. Americans have been turning away in droves from this sorry-ass excuse for a news channel. They pretend to be “centrist” or “objective,” but by treating all statements and candidates, no matter how mendacious, as equal, they have proven themselves to be useful idiots for the right wing. They never confronted Trump or his surrogates on their lies and evasions. It was really appalling to see: CNN has absolutely no credibility whatsoever.
- Paul Ryan. Trump will never forgive him, and neither will Ryan’s tea party constituents, who just might vote him out of office. Ryan really had no good choices; he exists at the fracture-line that has splintered his party. His best bet would have been to quit the Republican Party and become an independent, but he didn’t have the cojones.
- Pollsters. This is pretty obvious. None of them saw Trump coming a year ago, even six months ago. They missed the mental illness at the heart of the Republican Party.
- Rudi Giuliani, Chris Christie and Paul LePage. These three redneck Republican career pols thought they’d hop on the Trump gravy train and ride it all the way into the Cabinet. Instead, they ended up gridlocked on the George Washington Bridge. If there’s a God, we’ll never see Rudi’s sneering face on television again.
- And the number one loser: DONALD TRUMP. That feels so good, I’ll say it again: DONALD TRUMP IS A LOSER!
Now another cartoon that my wine-and-food-loving readers will appreciate:
- Kellyanne Conway. Yes, I’ll give credit to this Republican campaign manager, even though I think she’s loathsome. She was dealt a losing hand and came within a cat’s whisker of winning. Good job, kiddo.
- Tim Kaine. He barely registered in the media—the campaign kept him on a tight leash. But he seems like a good guy, with a pleasant personality, and he’ll be fun to have around.
- Truth. It’s not a person, it’s a concept. All we heard from the Republican side were lies that threatened to overwhelm this fragile bird, Truth. But Truth triumphed. That’s a good thing.
- Hillary supporters. That’s you guys, my readers—most of you, anyhow. You stuck by your gal through the tough times and never gave up. Kudos to you.
- And the big winner is: HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. The first female POTUS. Like Hank used to tell the audience on “The Larry Sanders Show,” “This is exciting, isn’t it?”
That’s it! Now let’s hope my predictions turn out to be true! Happy Election Day.
Well, tomorrow’s it. This horrible election season will be over. God knows it’s been hard on all of us, I know. I, myself, have not been able to watch any of the news channels for the last two weeks: too upsetting. It’s actually affected my physical health. And me, the biggest political junkie in the world! So instead of news I turn to Turner Classic Movies, just an old man who prefers sweet nostalgia to the confusing, hostile nihilism of Now.
I think Hillary will win, barely, but Trump might; I’m reconciled to that possibility. If he does, I shall have to do, personally, what Democrats will have to do collectively: deal with it. The way I feel now, I cannot forget, or forgive, what these Republicans have done, to Hillary, to Bill, to the Obamas, to Democrats, to our country, to me. They have insulted and pilloried the people and values I hold dear, which my parents inculcated in me: fairness, decency, inclusiveness. Their lies—Trump’s, especially—are intellectually repulsive to my intelligence and sense of fair play. I was raised to respect all people, not hate them, the way Republicans so often seem to hate, with such easy smugness. I suppose that’s the biggest difference between the parties: not issues per se, but attitudes. Republicans find it so easy to hate “the other”: gays, Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, the poor, liberals, urbanites, educated people. As a Democrat and a human being, I will confess that I am not without hate, although “hate” is perhaps too strong a word: resentment is better. I see people doing things of which I disapprove. I can relate to the feelings of some Republicans that America has become too soft, that Democrats have become the party of leniency.
But I don’t like that judgmental part of myself. I struggle against it every day of my life, not always successfully; but it is a struggle I owe to my better angels. If I cannot purge myself of negativity, at least I can work hard to free myself from it, to not give in to the simple temptation to hate. It forces me to try and understand others, difficult as that can sometimes be. This way of being, it seems to me, is the essence of being a Democrat: empathy.
But it seems that Republicans have ceased to struggle against that hateful, judgmental part of themselves, even though so many of them profess to be Christians. The tea partiers who call Obama a “nigger” or a “monkey” or “an Islamic radical”…the homophobes—embraced by the official Republican establishment—who still call gay people “faggots”—the vicious, violent smears of Hillary Clinton, a “cunt,” a “bitch,” a “castrating Lesbian”—I can almost conceive of how a Republican might think such things, in the privacy of his innermost being. But I cannot understand why that Republican should not be alarmed at this soul-eating sickness, why he should not fight against it with all his power. It’s a puzzlement how this Republican Party can have so fully embraced hatred—not just allowing its camel’s nose to snoop into the tent, but to welcome the entire beast, foul and stinking, inside, there to feed it until it swells to monstrous proportions.
If Trump wins, those haters will also have won. The white Christian women with their Trump hats and snarls, the white southern men with their guns and “Jail Her!” buttons, these are the Americans who will now be in charge of our national destiny, aided and abetted, perhaps, by a rogue F.B.I. Trump will immediately move to make good on his campaign promises: repeal the Affordable Care Act. Drop Merrick Garland like a bad rash and nominate an anti-abortion, anti-gay, Christian conservative for the Supreme Court. Destroy the environmental movement that has formed to combat climate change; wreck America’s decades-long bipartisan foreign policy and throw the world into chaos. He will increase America’s involvement radically in the middle east, in the guise of destroying ISIS, risking further wars and thereby hugely raising the Defense budget, at the cost of domestic investment—even as he cuts taxes for his rich friends. He will drill, baby, drill. He will pass, or attempt to pass, the harshest anti-immigrant laws since the nineteenth century. And on and on. And it will be done in a spirit of vengefulness: Trump’s followers are vengeful, and so, clearly, is Trump himself. Congressional Republicans, particularly on the Senate side, may not be psychologically vengeful, but they will get sucked into the darkness. There will be retribution against Democrats, and Hillary Clinton will be the first to feel the lash.
It’s said that Democrats don’t have a plan if Trump is elected. Well, we will be shell-shocked if it happens: so will the world. In the event worse comes to worst, we will have to go through a series of Kubler-Rossian stages of grief: the first, denial, won’t last long; the second, anger, will be strong and deep. The third is where the work starts: bargaining. But with whom are we to bargain? Even if we are willing to bargain with Republicans politically, Republicans are not willing to bargain with us. They have shown this repeatedly. President Obama spent his first term trying to be bipartisan, and Republicans told him to go fuck himself. If Republicans are victorious, there is absolutely no chance they will find themselves in a more conciliatory mood than they’ve been in for the past eight years. What, then, does “bargaining” even mean?
We’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes out, but I do want to warn any Republicans who might be reading this (fat chance): if you win, you had better move fast to make nice with Democrats. This will mean you have to shut off your extremists, the most hateful and divisive of your tea party-Trumpster cult. They got you your victory: now, you will have to distance yourself from them, since you recognize—I would hope—their mental instability. (They are “useful idiots,” if you will.) If you don’t—if you gloat and rub it in (which is a tendency Trump, a mean man, has), you will tear this nation apart so badly that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men might never be able to put it together again. Which would be an unmitigated catastrophe for all of us, including your children. As for Democrats, if Hillary wins, I promise you, reconciliation will be among her highest priorities.
Finally—last point! We all know that this has been the nastiest, ugliest, most distressing Presidential campaign of our lifetimes. As I said earlier, it’s made me physically sick, to the point I needed to see a doctor. Who made it so ugly? Some people say both candidates. I say, that’s a lie. Thought experiment: If Hillary were running against, say, Jeb Bush or John Kasich, do you think it would have been this ugly? Or even against Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz? It would have been about issues. Who made it not about issues, but about insults, smears, put-downs, personal invective, rudeness, bullying, sexual predation, bragging, dehumanizing, innuendo, lies, threats? Trump threw this campaign into the sewer because, let’s face it, that’s where his soul dwells. No matter who wins, I hope History records that Trump is the most vulgar, disgraceful candidate in American history.
If you haven’t yet voted, vote for Hillary! Thank you.
One of the biggest Republican attacks against Hillary Clinton, and Bill too, is how rich they’ve gotten since leaving the White House in 2001. Yes, they are rich: by some estimates, more than $100 million.
Their wealth has been one of Trump’s main targets. I saw a pro-Trump T.V. ad, aired during the fabulous seventh game of the World Series, in which a narrator with an ominous voice calls the Clintons “filthy rich” and insinuates that the source of their wealth is nefarious.
(Never mind that Trump’s wealth is based, at least in part, on scams: Trump University, his late-night infomercials on how-to-get-rich-quick through real estate, not paying his bills, taking advantage of bankruptcy loopholes, etc.)
Republican voters have been eager to buy into the Trump denunciation of Clinton money. An anti-Hillary letter to the editor in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal referred to an alleged Harry Truman quote: “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”
Well, the Clintons didn’t get rich “in politics,” they got rich after Bill left the White House, and after Hillary left government service. Their wealth derives from book sales and speeches, not from siphoning money off the Clinton Foundation or any “crooked” practices. Let’s face the fact that, when you’ve been a high-level politician in America, the opportunities for making a lot of money legitimately are manifold. Ronald Reagan—who already was rich from his career as an actor—took advantage of his post-Presidential fame to earn millions from speeches, before Alzheimer’s robbed him of that ability. When Richard Nixon died, he had become a very wealthy man, mainly through real estate deals. George W. Bush—very wealthy through his family connections—made a lot more money when he left office, including at least $7 million for his memoir, and at least $15 million from giving speeches (which he’s still doing). Now, you might object that it’s tacky and unseemly for ex-Presidents (and their spouses) to cash in, but the fact is, writing books and giving speeches is not illegal, and you would probably do the same thing, were you in a position to do so.
The Trump campaign—arguably the most dishonest in recent American history—is, as I said, strongly insinuating that the Clintons’ wealth derives, in large part, from the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no evidence whatsoever that that’s true. Of course, “truth” is a fungible commodity in the Trump campaign; The Donald understands that his followers aren’t looking for truth, they’re looking for their resentments to be validated, their chief resentment being an unreasoning hatred of the Clintons. Trump is the validator-in-chief: he has never offered a shred of evidence that Hillary Clinton has done anything illegal or even unethical*, but that doesn’t matter to Trumpsters.
It’s odd, isn’t it, for the right wing—which celebrates, or claims to celebrate, the right of Americans to get “filthy rich”—to turn so violently against the Clintons for the “crime” of their wealth. But then, consistency has not been the highlight of Republicans during this campaign season. The morally pompous religious right has, for the most part, pardoned Trump’s sexual predation, while Republicans in Congress have been conspicuously silent about Trump’s promises that he won’t touch Social Security or Medicare, which have been the GOP’s bete noires for decades.
Finally, what’s so disgusting about this Republican attack on the Clintons is the suggestion that the Clinton Foundation is a money-making front for them. It is not. From everything I have read and heard—and if you have evidence to the contrary, let me know—the foundation’s work is incredible, working across a range of issues around the world to help poor, dispossessed people. What has George W. Bush done since leaving office to help anyone? Nothing we know of. And what has Donald J. Trump ever done to help anyone, except himself? You know, and I know, the answer is: nothing. The man is a greedhead, pure and simple. It just goes to show that the old saying is true when it comes to Republicans with regard to the Clintons: No good deed goes unpunished.
*That having a private email server was stupid is unarguable, but Colin Powell had one, so do lots of other politicians, and no doubt Hillary, and all other politicians, learned her lesson not to do that again.
What is the Hatch Act? It is a 1939 law named after a lifelong Democrat, Carl Hatch, who was U.S. Senator from New Mexico for sixteen years before being elevated to the Federal bench by President Truman. Hatch, who was chairman of the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, was bothered by partisan political activity by Federal government employees, Democratic and Republican, in the election process. The Act named after him forbade such employees from engaging in such activities.
The Act’s key wording is contained in the U.S. Code Section 7323: “a [government] employee may not use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” A sub-section of the Act (B II) specifically identifies employees of “the Federal Bureau of Investigation” as being subject to the Hatch Act.
The penalty for violating the Hatch Act is this: “An employee or individual who violates…this title shall be removed from his position, and funds appropriated for the position from which removed thereafter may not be used to pay the employee or individual.”
We come now to the case of James Comey, the current FBI director, who this past week “sent Congress a brief, inscrutable, election-shaking letter about emails that may or may not be new or relevant to the previously concluded investigation in Hillary Clinton’s private email server.” Comey, who we must infer clearly understood the bombshell nature of his letter, which came little more than a week before the election, tried to defend himself by claiming he was obligated to inform the Congress as soon as he learned that new information pertaining to the emails had become available. The problem with this explanation, it now appears, is twofold: (1) Comey “knew nothing about the substance of the emails,” which suggests a distasteful rush to judgment (they could have been cookie recipes), and (2) the emails were neither sent to Hillary Clinton, nor were from her, but instead were found on the computer of Anthony Weiner (and I assume you all know who he is). So “breathtakingly rash and irresponsible” was this decision by Comey, says the New York Times, that even the conservative Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, sent Comey a letter stating, “Your disclosure is not fair to Congress, the American People, or Secretary Clinton.”
When is the last time you heard a senior Republican elected official complain that something wasn’t “fair” to Hillary Clinton? The answer is Never, which means that what Comey did is pretty egregious.
Who is James Comey? We know he is a Republican. He was appointed a Deputy Attorney-General by President George W. Bush. He temporarily left government, to make some serious money, by going to work as General Counsel for Lockheed Martin, but was subsequently (2010) appointed FBI director by President Obama. Why would a liberal Democratic President appoint a career Republican, and one with close ties to the military-industrial complex, to head up the FBI? The best answer seems to be that Obama—already the target of a declaration of war by the Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell—realized he would never get the Senate to confirm a Democrat as FBI director. The move also reinforced the notion, which Obama was keen to advance, that Obama was a bipartisan President, anxious to work with a Republican Party that clearly was as hostile to him as any political party has ever been towards any sitting President.
It is obviously impossible to know what Comey’s true motive was in writing that notorious letter to Congress. His claim that he was simply keeping them informed about new information might be true; it might equally well, and more plausibly, be totally bogus. He might have done it deliberately to tilt the election to Trump (and Trump may well be elected because of Comey’s action). Short of a confession by Comey, which isn’t very likely, we’ll never know, which means that it cannot be determined if he actually violated the Hatch Act. It seems likely that he did. That his behavior “influence[d]…[and] interfer[ed] with or affect[ed] the result of an election” cannot seriously be denied, by even the most ardent Republican.
Which leaves us—where? Should Hillary Clinton be elected President, Comey’s days at the FBI are likely numbered: she will have the power to fire him, and should. Should Trump be elected, no doubt he will sing Comey’s praises, but Trump’s advisors will tell him he’ll have to let Comey go sooner or later (his actual term doesn’t end until 2020), because of the widespread perception that Comey enabled Trump. But it may turn out that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will have to deal with Comey. Yesterday, the conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens, urged Comey “to do the right thing” and “resign” now. By sending that nefarious letter to Congress, Stephens writes, Comey “lost the trust of his political masters, his congressional overseers and the American public.” That’s coming from a Republican, mind you, not a Hillary supporter.
Well, whatever Comey does, he will eventually land back into the military-industrial complex, make many more millions of dollars, and try to avoid dining out at Washington’s toniest restaurants, where no doubt many of his former friends will no longer be pleased to run into him.