Trump flirts with the voters as the bad boy, but hopefully they may decide to play it safe…

September 1, 2015

It’s beginning to look like the 2016 presidential contest could be Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.

While the Democratic Party is having a not-too-unusual struggle between the left and the middle of politics, the Republican Party is faced with what could be called an “outlier”.

Donald Trump is running away with the show in the later stages of the early part of the campaign process.

On the Democratic side, Ms. Clinton’s only serious political primary contest challenge is from the self-avowed socialist from Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders. But one could say that is the usual challenge from that party’s left contingent (even some of the far left don’t think Bernie is far left enough).

But on the Republican side, the whole process with 17 candidates has been turned upside down by a billionaire who does not fit or fit neatly into the categories of right and left or even centrist — he’s just Donald Trump. He says he wants to be the Republican nominee, although he would possibly go the third-party or independent route if need be. Trump has talked of, gasp! raising taxes (but not on the sacred middle class but the rich, including those involved in hedge funds) and imposing tariffs on goods our corporations bring in from outside the country. Trump is not afraid to criticize big business or the privileged monied class of which he is part. He even admits to taking part in the rigged game but proposes to even the playing field a bit.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush who had been the assumed eventual nominee, seems impotent (politically). And the rest of the crowded field can only wish that they could command the attention Trump does.

To the extent Trump really does have an allure, despite disrespectful and uncivil and reckless and at times sophomoric rhetoric, it may be kind of like how men are attracted to fast women but bring home the girl next door to meet mom and dad and eventually marry and why women secretly or not-so-secretly are attracted to the bad boys.

And I had thought the GOP was finally paying the price of what began as the “Southern strategy” back in the days of Nixon of appealing to white racists and others of narrow (and sometimes weak) mind and went on to take in others outside the mainstream with a reactionary frame of mind, who might call themselves tea partiers. I thought the GOP had unwittingly created a monster that would force it to nominate a reactionary candidate, such as Ted Cruz.

And I guess I should have mentioned Nixon’s “silent majority”, that untapped group in the middle, politically silent, but harboring resentment and a longing for the way things used to be (in their minds). Trump claims to have tapped into that.

At any rate, so along comes Trump with an ego as big as all outdoors and a political view that does not seem to fit the common stereotype. Here comes someone who may never have planned to be a real candidate — he was just a showman building or maintaining a brand but a portion (and it seems a large portion, although polls can be misleading) of the public has taken him seriously.

It’s almost like the Colbert (coalbear) Report, where Stephen Colbert did the parody of one of those new reactionary far-right pundits on TV or radio and people (well some) thought he was serious (some people cannot comprehend satire, researchers say it’s a genetic disorder).

So now I’m saying I see good news for Hillary (emailgate notwithstanding). Although it is scary that someone as wild and reckless as Trump could actually get the nomination of one of our two major parties, I think in the actual vote come November of 2016, Hillary would win and do so by a fair margin if not a landslide. If Trump ran separate from the two major parties, it would seem the advantage would go to Hillary (but conventional wisdom this time around seems shaky).

But in the end, voters might be seen like young people taking a sober look at their future:

The young man decides reality dictates the girl next door, not the fast woman, and the young woman only wants to dream about the bad boy, for her real life she has better sense.

We can only hope.

p.s.

I don’t endorse Hillary Clinton but in no way would I want Donald Trump as president.


AT&T U-verse does not work for me (or does it?)

August 29, 2015

Fresh lead on this post:

Beware of AT&T U-verse internet service. It does not work for me and several people have told me they had problems with it and had to switch.

I had it installed this past Tuesday (going on almost a week as I write this updated portion of the post) and nothing but problems. It basically does not work. I only had the internet portion, not the TV, thankfully. I’ve heard bad things about that too.

————————–

LATEST UPDATE: (8-31-15, 9:38 a.m. PDT) So my new internet connection seems to be working and has been for some time, so what do I do? I mean I feel fairly certain, from my experience with it over the past week, it will crash any time, probably when I need it the most. Life’s vexing problems!

UPDATE: (8-30-15, 11:10 a.m. PDT) Well today no problems so far — and this after I gave AT&T and ultimatum over the phone last evening — I was super frustrated. But I am trying to stay calm and just see how it all stands by Monday, but if any more problems as before, drop it, go to a different carrier for my home wi-fi. But I have my cell and a portable hot spot through AT&T  and have had for several years with almost no problems — so this current issue is really distressing, and sad.

————————–

The nightmare began like this:

So I kept getting letters from my internet provider to upgrade my home wi-fi, new and improved. I resisted. Why fix what ain’t broken? I had few problems with my current wi-fi. I didn’t say I had no problems, but few.

But I was in the phone store to get my youngest daughter a cell phone to replace the one she dunked in water or something – she’s 43, does not live under my roof but she is my daughter and it seemed like a good birthday gift.

So while I was there the guy pulls up my account and notices I don’t have the new and improved wi-fi. I said yeah I keep getting your letters but I have not decided whether I need to change. He told me I had an old type service, DSL, and he didn’t think they even sell that anymore. He said I’d be much happier with the new higher speed one. And on top of that I would be paying less each month. Well that caught my attention.

So Tuesday a technician came out with the new box, modem, or whatever. As soon as he left it quit working, or maybe it was some time, but we are only talking a few hours at most.

Since then I have had a half-dozen technicians come out. Some work inside and some out. Oh, they found all kinds of possible culprits, old wires, bad connections, just all types of stuff. But after doing whatever they do it still did the same thing, that is to say it did not work consistently – lots of green flashing lights followed by a red light, followed by my frustration of being in the middle of something on the internet, such as a page where if I filled it out I could converse with the carrier via my computer keyboard rather than calling on the phone and going through the electronic answering merry-go-round each time, but in the middle of it the internet dropped and I lost everything.

I called customer service and had to repeat my story several times. Once I asked why they said they were coming out and did not show (they did show several times but not this particular time), the lady on the other end said because they came out a day early so this day’s appointment was cancelled. I did not have a clue what that meant. I mean I just called when I had problems and had set up several appointments.

They are on their way once more. That is a tech called me and said he was. He vowed to get to the bottom of the problem (or try). I mean I don’t know what is left to do. They’ve repaired or replaced lines and connections inside and out and swapped the new modem for another new modem. I told some of my family members that I think the next thing is they are going to replace the high voltage power lines that run in back of my place (I was kidding). I don’t know, maybe the electrical field it creates is causing a problem. But it did not seem to before. And I mentioned that and the tech did not think so.

Well still another tech has arrived. “There must be a short somewhere”, he said. I’ve heard that one before. Anytime you work with electricity that is a potential and it seems it is often hard to run down the problem.

I once was driving a big truck and I kept having problems with something not working – one day it was my lights, one day my speedometer did not work, and sometimes all my dash gauges would go crazy, and some days all of them would quit working or work and then not work. I had that truck in and out of a repair shop several times. No one could trace where the short was until finally someone had the bright idea of disconnecting the QUALCOMM device (which on our trucks was useless anyway, and I don’t know why). Presto, no more problems. No QUALCOMM but no more problems.

But back to the problem at hand:

I’m more interested in getting things up and running rather than speculating where the problems are. If I knew where the problems were I’d fix it myself and be done with it.

Life can be frustrating.

I have not mentioned who the carrier is in this thing. But I am not happy with the service or lack of it at this time – I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Hold on. The latest technician to come out (I lost track of how many it has been, but several) says he thinks he found the problem (I have heard that several times already this week): “the interface that connects the outside with the inside (was bad).” No I don’t know what he is talking about. I just want it to work consistently. I have already had to switch back over to my portable hot spot device while writing this post — maybe I should just use it all the time, but then I would have no backup and it does not have the data capacity or whatever and is more expensive to use, whatever, I don’t understand it except the bill I get each month and I don’t understand it except the bottom line — how much I have to pay. This young guy is real confident he has found the problem.

The confidence of youth.

Bottom line:

It’s late Saturday (remember I had it installed Tuesday) and it is not working properly, it goes off and on and off.

For me and for several other people I have talked to AT&T U-verse is bad news. It may work in some areas I don’t know.

 

 


The political parties need to get stronger…

August 29, 2015

I already forgot the exact quote but something like they’ll let the whore into the church but they don’t let her lead the choir the first day. That was supposedly what Republican candidate Wendell Willkie was told after he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican. He was a businessman and a political outsider.

And I did not call Donald Trump a whore, it just seems like I implied that.

(As I understand it, Trump was previously a Democrat.)

I could see Trump going two ways if he ever got to be president:

A. Continuing with his egomaniac ways and trying to be the great dictator who will take care of all of us and finally flaming out or destroying all of us and the world too.

B. Settling down once he got elected and trying to govern within the confines of a democratic system with three independent branches of government.

I would bet on the former.

Meanwhile, thanks to my internet connection and C-Span, I caught Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Party confab last night in Minneapolis. Once she got warmed up it was a rip-roaring old-time Democratic speech. I liked it. But I am no longer sure I really like some of the Democratic line — but I like a fiery political speech, and I don’t mean the Trump style of trash talk which is not delivered in traditional speech form but more like someone hurling insults on the street and displaying bravado.

Hillary’s primary opponents are crying foul and saying the party is rigging things for her. They may be.

Now wouldn’t that be a strange turn of events. In my lifetime it has been the Republicans who get behind one candidate early and who have gone under the rule (no longer in effect it seems), “thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican”.

But I think the pundits are saying Hillary needs a primary fight to fire herself up and to make her reach out to those left of her and to in the end come up with someone (well Hillary actually) who the whole party can stand behind and get elected.

And in her speech she was unabashedly pushing women’s rights (equal pay, ect.) and, gasp! gun control (and I don’t mean holding the gun steady as the gun enthusiasts joke). I think she used a euphemism for the words “gun control” .

She and others have pointed out that Democrats lost majorities in the House and Senate by failing to get the vote out. Too many Democrats stayed home.

And I think that is the danger of the weak party system we have gotten ourselves into. There is a good reason to have political parties. Through political parties diverging ideas coalesce into workable policy. In the absence of strong political parties you get independent candidates who may not feel that they need to represent all of the people. And you get government in constant gridlock, powerless to do anything.

I’ll never forget watching TV crews interview stranded people in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina with the full forces of government, including the armed forces, unable to rescue them. What’s that all about? Even Communist China sends in the army in natural disasters — but we were tied up in the Middle East at the time (well we still are). We can unleash death and destruction half way around the globe but we can’t help people right here at home.

Yes, I know the military did take part in the Katrina rescue operation but it was an embarrassingly weak show led by an embarrassment of a president.

The whole reason so many people seem to be taken by the Trump rhetoric is that they see our gridlocked government as ineffectual, expensive but useless.

I’m rooting for both of our major political parties to have a good fight in the primaries and then come out with two worthy contenders in the general election.

I’m not sure that is going to happen.


Biden was wrong on Bin Laden and he would be wrong to run…

August 28, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden advised President Obama not to take a chance and go after Osama Bin Laden — it was not 100 percent at the time that Bin Laden was where they thought he was and that the raid would be successful.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said go for it.

Just like capturing Saddam Hussein, who was hiding in a hole, was a coup for President George W. Bush and helped seal his re-election, killing Bin Laden was a high point for Obama — even if people so quickly forget it seems.

Well Joe, you can’t get them right all the time.

But my advice to you Joe is:

Don’t bother running for president. Spend more time with Jill. You’ve done your service to the country. You’re getting too old, quit while you are arguably ahead (family tragedy notwithstanding). You’ve had a rough time of it, losing your son and your first wife, don’t add to your grief and strain your marriage.

Also, I imagine you could snag a cabinet post — heck, maybe secretary of state. Or maybe a choice ambassadorship. To the Middle East — you’re such an expert on that area of the world (sorry, a little sarcasm, I couldn’t help it)…

I’m sure Biden is a good man but I don’t think he is presidential material, even though he is a heart beat from the job as it is. I mean I know in a pinch he would rise to the occasion, but his time has passed to begin a term anew.

Meanwhile, Hillary’s numbers are falling they say, although polls confuse me, and numbers I see still show her with a comfortable lead in both the primary and general election. But her problems are partly due to a perception that she is, shall we say, less than candid and is evasive on things and that she seems to be scandal prone (White Water, Vince Foster, futures contracts, unsavory dealings of the Clinton Foundation, and of course emailgate). As to the later, as some of the facts come out about the way the State Department before Hillary handled emails it does not seem to me that she was much more careless than anyone else, including Republican predecessors, but that is not much of a defense. She really needs to get on top of this. She should have gotten ahead of it.

I’d like to see her get out there and make a lot of fiery public speeches and state her case and quit the phony faux-folksy meet Hillary stuff or whatever she does. Hey Hillary, everyone doesn’t have to like you (they won’t anyway), they just need to be convinced they ought to vote for you.

And while I don’t think she should dwell on emails, she needs to come up with a credible or plausible defense and quit insisting no one is talking about it, because I’m sorry, they are (I mean it may be driven by the unrelenting media coverage aided and abetted by her enemies, but that is how issues come to the forefront, that’s politics, and she of all people has to realize she must deal with it).

The Republicans meanwhile need a moderate who can capture the imagination of the splintered parts of the party — you have to be clever to do that. Jeb Bush has not proven too clever so far. Brother W. was better at that, who would have known? But keep trying Jeb, you could be as smart as brother George (a pretty low bar at that).


No way to stop gun violence, our guns and our Second Amendment are as sacred as the Bible…

August 27, 2015

What could be more horrific than to see two TV news people murdered on air?

Well noting except maybe a class full of school children mowed down or a movie theater crowd sprayed with deadly gun fire.

Nothing but all of the other senseless shootings that are a result of our wild-west attitude toward guns and the availability of firearms to deranged people, not to mention the criminal element.

I saw that video out of Roanoke, Va. Wednesday, showing the woman reporter interviewing a woman out in the field and then the shocked face of the news anchor back at the studio who could not yet fully grasp the horror before her eyes. I don’t know how much that original footage showed on live TV. But if that was not enough, the gunman posted a video of himself on social media shooting the reporter, and I think it showed as well the shooting of the woman being interviewed and the TV cameraman. The reporter and the cameraman died. The woman was rushed to the hospital (I don’t know her fate as of this writing). The gunman apparently committed suicide as the police closed in.

The assassin was a black man who had been a reporter at the television station in question and who had been let go and who had filed a discrimination suit. He reportedly complained he was discriminated against both for being black and homosexual — his former employer and co-workers saying he was always looking for things that he could label as discrimination but that in reality he was a troublemaker. We don’t know about all of that. But of course even if he was correct, the actions he took show he was crazy.

And I just read that he expressed admiration for recent mass murderers.

Unfortunately, in this country upset and crazy people have easy access to firearms.

But we are all powerless to stop it.

So we just shrug, or say, “how awful!” and move on, but somewhere the thought moves briefly through our minds, we could be next. We could all be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But the right to keep and bear arms (which really had more to do with the concept of an army of the people in place of one representing the ruler, rather than everyone having an inalienable right to tote a gun, always ready to react to anything that makes them unhappy) guaranteed in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes it impossible to control the alarmingly easy access to firearms in this nation.

To politicians looking for votes or not to lose votes, the Second Amendment is as sacred as the Holy Bible.

And maybe it’s just a trade-off between freedom and making sure we have guns to protect ourselves from bad folks and bad government (we can all rebel at an instant like the Minute Men) or to hunt deer on the one hand as opposed to suffering the tragedy of wild gunmen mowing people down.

Like I always say, I thought for sure the Connecticut school massacre, Sandy Hook, would be the last straw for the American public.

I was wrong.

P.s.

I personally am not in favor of repealing the Second Amendment, even though I feel it is so ambiguous, as to make it almost indecipherable in today’s world. But it’s just a unique part of the American experience. So far the high court has pretty much gone along with the notion that although there can be some amount of control, there is a basic right for virtually every individual in the country, with few exceptions, to own firearms.

There just must be a better method, not a foolproof one I suppose, of keeping them out of hands of the deranged and the criminal element.

For now, the gun lobby rules and a public jaded from violence being so commonplace moves on to something more positive to think about.


Black book club “wines” about Napa train experience…

August 26, 2015

Always nice when I can use an incident in my own life in commenting on something in the news.

It seems that a group of black women (with one white woman) got kicked off the Napa Wine Train (that’s in the California wine country) for being too rowdy (no doubt the wine had something to do with this).

And of course they played the race card, saying that they were kicked off for “laughing while black”.

Train personnel reportedly threw them (well not physically) off the train after other riders complained that their experience was being negatively affected by the rowdiness of the ladies.

Now did they complain because the group was mostly black?

It’s entirely possible that in the minds of some of the purported complaining passengers the fact that the group was black and was rowdy and was black (I repeated that on purpose) had some part of it. But I would think the main thing is more likely to be that the rowdiness was the real problem.

And you know, it’s probably a cultural thing. The way people behave in public can be dependent upon how they were brought up and it can also be entirely situational — I mean some people kind of look around and see how others behave and assess the setting and situation and act accordingly, and others just don’t care.

And here I will say it: I think that if a group of non-black people were rowdy on the train and got booted there would be no story. A story I just read about the incident made reference to train officials saying that from time to time they have to order people off the train.

I suspect anytime alcohol is part of the experience you have behavior problems or certainly the potential.

So just as the ladies argue that they were thrown off the train for the crime of laughing while black one might say all the fuss is that officials had the audacity to enforce their policy on train behavior on black people. And I admit I don’t know what that policy is or if they hand out cards stating it (probably not; they probably expect people to use common sense).

I think it was an unfortunate incident no matter what the reality.

I guess the train personnel could have just let things be and let their train get the reputation for being a moving boisterous bar.

Also, I have not mentioned yet that the ladies were reportedly marched past the other passengers and met by the police at a stop. Seems like the officials should have been more discreet if possible.

The top official has issued an apology and proclaimed that the wine train outfit was 100 percent wrong in their handling of the matter and has as I recall offered wine and tickets and so on to the group — they were a book club from Oakland, Ca.

The staff is also going to have to go through sensitivity training.

This has not mollified the book club ladies because they cannot erase the indignity of how they were treated, they said.

I almost forgot my own connection. It was not at all like the above, but it did have to do with the Napa Wine Train (and maybe race had some small part):

My wife and I years ago took a ride on that train. It is a most pleasant journey through the wine country. The train moves slowly through the vineyards and towns and you get to sip wine and eat dinner while enjoying the beautiful scenery and lovely ambience (there were no rowdy book club members on this trip — very quiet). Train travel is so intimate, you feel so much closer to your surroundings, to the land, than you do when on an interstate highway. It’s has as close a feel or even closer than when you drive your car down a country road. Even going through the back alleys of towns is fun.

So what happened?

Well when it was all said and done it was a great experience but it started off badly, but probably only due to my poor attitude.

We bought our tickets and boarded the train, all comfortable and excited about the prospects of a leisurely, wine-filled journey.

But before the train began to move a train employee asked us (but I think really told us) to move to a different car because an unexpected group of Asian tourists had showed up and they all wanted to sit together.

I was indignant. We bought our tickets before they got there. My wife cautioned me to hold my temper. As I recall I was fuming. But due to my wife’s pleas with me, I relented, still feeling aggrieved.

Well, you know, all we had to do was move to another car. It was great. They ended up giving us a free bottle of wine for our trouble.

You know, I’m lucky they didn’t kick me off the train.

P.s.

I hope I did not come across here as accusing black people of bad behavior. The fact is behaving rudely in public (and I don’t know the ladies really did, wasn’t there) has become the norm for much of society, regardless of color or ethnicity.


Jeb Bush politically inept; illegal immigrant and anchor baby problem overblown…

August 26, 2015

Jeb Bush seems to be politically inept. And that is disappointing because without him we have the threat of Donald Trump as president. I could see no other Republican candidate than Jeb right now who could possibly have the gravitas or name power to win the election, except Trump by the sole virtue of his polling so phenomenally well in the early running with his flying circus.

Of course it may be good news for Hillary Clinton. I think she could beat Trump (although who knows?) if the email scandal does not bring her down. There are more Democrats registered nationwide than Republicans. Crossover Democrats, such as the Reagan Democrats, I doubt would vote for Trump (even though he is compared to Reagan sometimes), unless maybe in the general election Trump toned down the hate speech a tad and put a little bit more reason into his arguments (but then he would not be Trump and would lose his allure to those smitten with him).

Sounding a little more reasoned, I did hear Trump say that it would probably be impractical to impossible to repeal the 14th Amendment. He has a problem with it because it is used to justify automatic citizenship by birth. He said or indicated, however, that it might be tested in court.

Meanwhile, Jeb, who supports the 14th Amendment, got tripped up and assured everyone that although he has a problem with the so-called “anchor baby” phenomenon– foreigners having babies here so that the offspring will gain automatic citizenship (under the 14th Amendment) and health care and other government benefits that go along with it — he was not referring to “Mexicans” as Trump has but instead “Asians”.

Jeb has a Mexican wife and Jeb is said to speak fluent Spanish and does what he can to use those credentials to lure the Latino vote.

So he tried to distance himself from the xenophobia of Trump by directing the accusations at Asians instead of Latinos.

Yeah, that’s an adroit political move: instead of raising the specter of being taken over by brown people, bring back the fear of the “yellow peril”. Way to go Jeb! And he was still figuring out how to answer that Iraq question — you know whether it was worth all the sacrifice his brother W. put the nation through. This guy needs to be coached.

Now some are commenting that really Jeb has a point and there are two different problems. On the one hand, you have migrant workers (mostly Mexican and other Latin Americans) coming over the border and having children born here, and on the other hand, you have well-to-do Asians (Chinese for example) booking special trips by agents who specialize in facilitating the anchor baby process.

I’m not sure I read what the difference is but I think the idea is that these well-heeled people are conducting an outright abuse of the system. On the other hand, the illegal workers are simply in search of survival and the 14th Amendment protects the children who had no say in where they were born — and the undocumented workers are contributing by doing honest and much-needed work. You know, they do pay taxes out of their paychecks.

(I think I also heard that having a baby born in the U.S. can sometimes help the parents in gaining U.S. citizenship.)

And then there is the term “anchor babies” which purportedly is some kind of racial slur (I don’t see that). It seems Jeb vowed not to use it and urged others not to and then went ahead and used it. But he could not come up with any other word. I mean words and expressions are created to convey specific meanings sometimes. I feel his pain on that one.

In reality I think the whole anchor baby phenomenon and illegal immigrant problem are way overblown.

I would say just enforce the laws that exist. Require all employers to use E-Verify, and then deal with the rest.

If great multitudes are coming out of Latin America there is a reason. They are looking for a better life. Isn’t that why our ancestors came here?

Put them to work. Tax them. Be done with it.

(And no I don’t think a large portion of our crime problem can be attributed to robbers and murderers and rapists flooding in over our borders — but of course if there is a problem then we need to deal with it while not punishing good people.)

And back to The Donald:

I don’t want to keep writing about Donald Trump but I like to write and comment about politics and right now you can’t avoid mentioning him, but really over the past 24 hours all I have heard him say is the word “amazing”, repeated over and over again. He’s “amazing”. The turnout for him is “amazing”. People he likes (and I guess there are some) are “amazing”. He either does not have a large vocabulary or he is dumbing it down for the masses of asses. Kind of like that overused and wrongly used word “awesome” everyone seems to be saying, or at least all sales people and waitresses and others you deal with in daily commerce. I think you hear it at Back to School nights too.

(I’m old and some misused or overused words in the modern vernacular often grate on my ears. I mean “cool”, as in “it’s cool”, or just saying “cool” as a positive response when someone says something is slang but it has been around for so long  — at least a hundred years I would think — that it seems almost formal, but saying everything is “awesome”, is usually a gross exaggeration or inaccurate and always annoying).

I just saw a video of Trump before an Iowa crowd but turned it off after several minutes of him flattering himself as being so “amazing”.

Actually Trump may well be both “awesome” and “amazing” in some contexts.

But not necessarily in a good way.


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