Maybe some logic to Trump stance on contesting election but he is playing a mean-spirited and dangerous game…

October 20, 2016

I only caught part of the final Clinton-Trump debate and did not immediately realize the full import of his statement at the end that he would not necessarily accept the final outcome of the election. I mean I took it to mean that if he wins of course he would accept it and if he loses he might not. That is just Trump nonsense. I am immune to that by now. He used the line “I’m going to keep you in suspense”, as if this was just some unreal reality show on TV like he is so used to.

Also, I have to admit, maybe asking someone if they will accept the result in advance, not knowing what kind of shenanigans might take place — ballot box stuffing, dead people voting, various polling place dirty tricks, intimidation at the polling places, and so on, is a bit unfair. Oh, I forgot, hanging chads. If there were some clear evidence the election was “rigged” or stolen or subject to widespread fraud, then of course he or anyone else would have the right to contest it.

But even Richard Nixon who wanted to be president so bad in 1960 but who was beat out by JFK by a razor-thin margin and the possibility that there was vote tampering in Chicago by the Daley Machine, did not contest the election results, reportedly for the good of the nation. I mean there was no immediate conclusive evidence and he did not want to call our voting system into question and thus destabilize our democracy.

On the other hand Al Gore rightly contested his defeat after winning the popular vote but failing to win the electoral college over a snafu of hanging chads from voting machines in Florida. Of course anytime a candidate cannot win his home state, as was the case with Gore, it would seem he might be in trouble.

And these days it is told as truth, not just suspicion, that LBJ won his first election to the U.S. Senate in 1948 by ballot box stuffing but went on to be President of the United States.

Trump would have a right to contest the election of Hillary Clinton if there were actual verifiable evidence but right now he is just playing a game as he has all along.

And it is sad and dangerous to our nation.

I try to be an open-minded person but I would have a hard time understanding anyone who by now actively supports or would vote for Trump. I get the not liking Hillary — and I feel bad writing that. I mean I don’t know why she sometimes seems so unlikable. Maybe it is her transparency in being, well not transparent.

But she does spout good intentions.

Trump just spouts hate and vitriol and nonsense — and every once in a while hits on some form of truth, but that is almost by accident.

In politics secrecy is part of the dealing but at some point the public’s business has to be in the open…

October 17, 2016

Note: Here’s something I composed not long after the last presidential debate but did not post until now for lack of time to proof. I do proof my own stuff, and I know I don’t always catch the typos and grammatical errors (darn near impossible to adequately proof your own stuff I think). But I think it is still timely.

But who checks the fact checkers is what I want to know?

I’m not on the Trump bandwagon and never would be but he charged in the second debate that Hillary Clinton destroyed emails — I think he said 33,000 — that were under subpoena.

The first so-called fact check article I read claimed that was false. But the second one, and it was in the New York Times, said it was basically true.

(I feel it necessary to add here that stories about the Clinton email scandal and fact check articles about it all seem to be rather convoluted and ambiguous. You just have to draw your own conclusions.)

It gets kind of complicated but the way I understand it is that thousands of her emails were destroyed because she deemed them personal but the FBI says that maybe they were not purely personal. And I could see that if you commingle work and personal emails it would be difficult to judge and, anyway, if you are personally emailing people in the same business, well, it might be a mix of business and personal all in the same email.

The right thing to have done, besides not using a private server for government business, would have been to simply have turned over everything — come get it. You look less guilty that way, even if you might be embarrassed or have your privacy disturbed. And I mean this for someone running for president. A private citizen would have every right and reason to demand a search warrant and a specific one at that, and not let authorities go on a fishing expedition. I mean that is what the constitutional  protections on search and seizure are all about. In times past and in some other nations the police can at will ransack someone’s house and use anything they can find to (excuse the expression) create trumped-up charges. But Hillary was a government official and had a special responsibility with information she was handling.

But let’s put this into perspective: Mrs. Clinton, like all politicians, felt a need to operate in secrecy because when every little thing you do or say is made public it makes it impossible to negotiate with anyone and no one wants to talk to you lest they find themselves and their every word in the news. And I never thought I’d write that, having been a news reporter and having the belief that the public has a right to know how its business is conducted. But the reality is that to get anything done and to work with people who may not agree with you there has to be some secrecy. Do we conduct our own lives for all to see?

But the problem is when that secrecy is carried beyond day-to-day interaction and negotiations to actual enactment of laws and policy. I mean I used to cover county board of supervisors meetings and it was apparent that all the discussion on many issues had been carried on outside the public’s ear. Even though California where I worked has an open meeting law (it can be fairly complicated), supervisors routinely broke that by, in my opinion, mis-labeling many items as “personnel discussion” to fit into an exception in the law. So what would happen is that an issue was given an agenda number and then with no public discussion the board would vote it into law, or an ordinance, as it was called at that level of government. Interestingly enough, they also used that trick by labeling things “negotiation (s)”, to fit into another exception in the open meeting law.

On Obamacare (something that I am neutral on, neither for nor against) I think too much of the discussion and wheeling and dealing was done in private, so much so that most members of congress had no idea what they were voting on. And for sure the public did not. It would have been better to be honest about it and get a health care law through that people supported and understood. We did get a nice provision that prevents insurance companies from not insuring pre-existing conditions, and that is good and bad. Good for us, but not for insurance carriers who have to violate the concept of insurance and guarantee to pay for something they know will come to pass. Why didn’t we just skip private insurance and go to government single payer? Or, perhaps, congress should simply, as I suggested all along, have offered Medicare-type insurance to all of those who could not get private or employer-subsidized insurance.

Mrs. Clinton ran afoul of having too much secrecy in the public’s business and may or may have not violated the law or policy on emails dealing with government information.

Mr. Trump on the other hand has proved to be a bigot, a misogynist (in his own words and actions), an ignoramus when it comes to domestic world issues, and an all around poor excuse for a  human being. His public appearances and video tapes clearly demonstrate that. He is not fit to hold public office. And there is little evidence that he is in fact a good businessman. I mean maybe he can make money by playing huckster and by abusing the bankruptcy code and courts, but that is not my idea of a good businessman. That is more my idea of a crook.

So you have Mrs. Clinton’s judgment vs. total unfitness for public office and ability to act with civility.

That charge that Mrs. Clinton has “hate in her heart” made by Trump was a strange one. I mean where did that come from?

It does seem that Mr. Trump is filled with hate and promotes hate.

To be sure, being in politics all her life, and being associated with Bill Clinton, who knows how to turn the charm on but apparently also has a dark side with hints of unseemly behavior and outright sexual abuse of women, has taken its toll on Mrs. Clinton. I’m just not seeing the hate. I mean people seem to hate her, but I have not seen the evidence of it going the other way. Oh, yeah, I guess she is known to snap at staff, and I did see a tape where she snapped at someone asking a loaded question — but hate? No have not seen or felt it.





Can’t stand Trump, but I liked his answer to the last question…

October 9, 2016

If Donald Trump had handled things like the answer to the last (silly) question from the audience in tonight’s presidential debate I think he would have a better chance and/or would be more respected by more people. But it is way too late now and he has said to many horrible things and conducted himself atrociously, inciting riots and bad feeling, and promoting bigotry and disrespect for women.

But anyway, I thought the question of whether either candidate could find anything positive to say about the other was asinine. And again this was an audience question. I mean when you are running against someone it should not be your task to build them up.

But faced with that question, the usually inarticulate trump who shoots from the hip and uses gut reaction may have done just that but I think he came up with the right answer:

He said Hillary is a fighter and never gives up and even if he does not agree with her he respects her for that.

Of course he did threaten to prosecute her and throw her in jail if he were to be elected president earlier in the debate.

On the other hand, Hillary was really put on the spot, for what could you say positive about someone so childish and evil as Trump?

All she could come up with is he has nice kids (and I don’t know that to be true or not).

I missed the first debate but heard about Trump’s constant sniffling. He did that tonight. I don’t know what is up with that? A health problem? Cocaine (that had been suggested by someone after the first debate — in jest? I don’t know). Tonight he sounded like a sniveling little kid caught in the act doing something bad and then trying to deflect the blame off himself by claiming all he did is engage in locker room talk (the tape where he talks about groping women and grabbing their genitals), while he accused Bill Clinton, former president and the husband of his opponent Hillary Clinton, of actually raping women, and of Hillary enabling him and intimidating his accusers. Hillary did not give a direct response to that as far as I heard. And there are women who have publicly stated that the former president attacked them.

Trump also accused Mrs. Clinton of destroying emails after they were subpoenaed by investigators in the email scandal. As I understood it, her response was that only personal emails were destroyed, but I don’t know the status or the details of all that. I mean if she destroyed any that were subpoenaed that would seem wrong.

Besides Trump’s lack of civility, his worst problem is his inability to use the English language to its best effect. Like I said in an earlier post: the value of being able to speak well is not to show off but to communicate more effectively.

I believe Hillary Clinton excels in that — that is use of the language and being able to present an argument.

Mr. Trump did land a good one thanks to the recent leak of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street that shows she said sometimes people have to have a private position on an issue and a public one. She tried to explain that away by something about Abraham Lincoln that was lost on me and everyone else. But I do see that in political negotiations it is necessary to talk one way to some people and one way to others to get to the goal you want via changing minds or political compromise. I guess Mrs. Clinton was trying to say Lincoln did that. I could see that point. Even so, it is embarrassing to her and leads people to wonder if she means what she is telling them.

But again, if Trump, inarticulate as he can be, would just stick to the issues and can the deplorable behavior it would or could have done him and his party well.

I think Trump was so beaten down from the uproar over the last 48 hours or so over that despicable tape about his bragging about attacking women that he tried to in the end be a little conciliatory toward Hillary (again, even though he earlier threatened to throw her in jail).

Could this be the new Trump with now slightly less than a month before the election?

It would be refreshing, but I’m not buying it.

Oh, and I wanted to mention, early on in the so-called town hall-style debate, it looked like Trump was going to make it devolve into one of those phony wrestling matches with the scripted verbal fights, and it actually made me nervous to think our politics at the presidential level would come down to that, but it calmed down somewhat.

And Hillary kept her cool.

And she did come across as the only adult on the debate stage.


I may be over analyzing it, but I think Trump has to be given some credit for being clever enough to answer that last question by showing he was not going to beat up on his female opponent (any more than he had) and at the same time praising her tenacity as if to say — she’s tough, just like me.


Trump’s weak defense: Bill Clinton did it too; please just give it up and get out of our lives Donald…

October 7, 2016

Latest UPDATE: (SUNDAY, 10 -9-16):

Donad Trump’s defense of his video tape women assaulting outrage seems to be Bill Clinton did it too (or talked about it in private). Somehow to me that does not seem to be a defense at all. But then again, perhaps not everyone thinks as I do.

UPDATE: So fellow Republicans are outraged over the vulgar personal account by Donald Trump of sexual attacks on women. He’s running for president of the United States. Why does not the Republican Party dump him? Late in the game yes, but do they want him to drag their party and the country down with him? If they put Mike Pence on the top of the ticket (and ousted Trump), even at this late date, who knows? They might give Hillary Clinton a stiff challenge and save their dignity in the process. Some of the far right views (not as popular as they once were) of Pence would then be revealed, but as far as I can tell, the man is a pious Christian (although I don’t really know that). He would not embarrass the GOP and the nation and endanger the world, it would seem. And if Trump even had a speck of decency (which he likely does not) he would resign out of personal shame, if nothing else. If the GOP does not get rid of this guy then it has no credibility. Shame on the party of Lincoln!

It has seemed that Donald Trump could do and say anything and still survive and sometimes even thrive politically.

But after just hearing the audio from a video tape, recorded in 2005, where he is apparently a victim (a victim?) of an open mic, I wonder that if this does not finally sink the Donald what could? Sure the low lifes and bigots might still be on his side, but no one with any decency, regardless of their party affiliation or their desire to thwart Hillary, could possibly justify a vote for him.

He talks about being able to use his celebrity status to grope women, to in fact grab them right on the …., well crude slang word for a private part.

Most people, especially guys maybe when they were young (or not young), have said crude things to their buddies they would not want the wider public to hear, but when you are in public life you really need to be careful to watch what you say — or course no one should ever say or think what he said.

But unless we have altogether dropped any standard of decency in public life in the people we choose for leaders, then this should be the final nail in Trump’s political coffin. I mean he’s been pounding those nails himself lately without any help from the opposition. Study for a debate? Who needs to do homework? Insult people? Yeah it just makes me famous. I’m a celebrity. There is no such thing as bad publicity.

But really is this latest episode not enough? If not, well, what more could I say?

I mean don’t women make up the bulk of voters? What woman would want to vote for Trump?

I can’t even figure out what man would want to vote for him?

Now since originally posting the above I thought about how Bill Clinton purportedly groped women when he was president, and I thought maybe Trump might bring that up as if it were some kind of defense. And sure enough I heard a report that Trump is now saying in response to the release of this video that Mr. Clinton said things just as bad when they played golf together.

Also one commentator brought up the earlier comment by Trump that a lot of the disparaging remarks he made about women were no more than playing a character in the entertainment world … like not real life. Well, the comments in this latest tape were made on a bus to some other guys, not in public. Trump has said it was just locker room talk. Well fine. But he said what he said and people can judge for themselves I guess. I admit. I made my judgment a long time ago and this does not change it.



If I call you deplorable and you are in fact deplorable does that make me deplorable?

October 6, 2016

When facts don’t matter what good is a debate?

I wrote right after Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate that no doubt about it, Mike Pence, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s VP pick, won. And he did. He simply overpowered Tim kaine, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s VP pick, with condescending smiles or smirks and shoulder shrugging and by simply refuting charges of the outrages everyone knows Trump has spewed — because they are all on video tape and have been widely reported by the news media who have been forced to report every word, every tweet, and maybe to use Trumpist-type language, every belch the Republican presidential candidate has said or made.

Now I do think Mr. Pence in some respects was on to something — although not much. For instance, Trump did call Mexicans coming over the border criminals and rapists but he also in some way noted that not all Mexicans are bad (how benevolent of him). You see Trump speaks crudely and is, have you noticed? not at all articulate (and yet he claims to be sooo educated — top of his class). He does not speak in complete sentences. So sometimes some thoughts get separated. There is a reason for speaking correctly and clearly beyond trying to show off — it’s called communication.

And even I, who cannot defend nor stand Trump, can see a reasonable explanation for Trump’s call for banning Muslims from entering the country or for banning refugees from Syria. I am pretty sure I have heard him say or at least I have understood him to mean that until we can make sure people are properly vetted and that terrorists are not intermingled with innocent refugees we have to do something. Actually, even though we can probably never know if some terrorist is within that group (we cannot read minds, yet), it is only prudent that we take special precautions in admitting people from certain areas and from a religious environment that is so out to get us. I did not mean all of Islam is out to get us — but there are one heck of a lot of terrorists who claim to be Islamists or Muslim who are.

But unfortunately Trump is not at all careful with his words, and too, I think he simply has malice in his heart — and I don’t know why. He is just a bad boy, I guess. And he does show signs of being mentally unbalanced.

And I in no way can come up with any defense or legitimate explanation or his anti-woman tirades or his implications that women are here to look and act a certain way for the likes of him.

But again, Pence won the debate — but he won it in part by standing logic or reason on its head.

Best example:

We all know that Trump has engaged in disgusting name calling for months, but confronted with this fact by Kaine who accused Trump of running an “insult-driven campaign”, Pence turned it around by correctly noting that Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables”.

So two things here: one insult by Hillary somehow equals the constant insults from Trump? And more importantly, while Hillary may have overreached by suggesting that all Trump supporters were deplorable, I would imagine what she meant was that a vast array of bigots and disgruntled white people who fear a rising power of minorities (or even unfair advantage via affirmative action) and women’s rights opponents are the deplorables who make up Trump’s base. So to me it seems that Pence’s logic is that if I call out Trump for being deplorable then I am myself deplorable because I have insulted him, even though he might actually be deplorable.

I did not fully read the fact check stories, but I know that they claimed both vice presidential candidates apparently made deliberate misstatements. Pence I guess claimed Trump did not say things we know he said and also denied some of Trump’s asserted foreign policy positions. And Kaine gave Clinton credit for things she did not do and misstated positions.

I’m not sure how you keep debaters honest, but I have always felt that we the voters would be better served by a more formal debate format in which two people face off giving opening statements, argument, and closing statements. And definitely no interrupting each other allowed. And moderators should not become participants. (The lady who handled Tuesday night’s debate did the best she could under the circumstances and did not become a participant and that is good).





Pence calm, cool, collected; Kaine like a yelping little dog (and this has nothing to do with who was right or wrong); Pence for President?

October 4, 2016
Oops, I’m afraid the leftist commentators on PBS did not watch the same debate as I just did. They seem to think Tim Kaine did well. No doubt in my mind, irrespective of Trump and the reality of what an ignorant and dangerous person he is, and irrespective of facts I cannot immediately check (but I keep informed), Mike Pence bowled over Kaine. That’s the debate I saw.

Now they just acknowledge that maybe Pence won on style.

Pence did win the debate, period, I think. He is a smooth salesman and is more handsome than Kaine and in this world that always helps.

Trump’s campaign manager was quoted as saying Pence hit it out of the park. I would agree. If I came into all this knowing nothing, I’d almost want to vote the Republican ticket. Because the people who know nothing vote Republican? I realized what I just wrote in the sentence before last so had to add the last.

But seriously, why isn’t Pence at the top of the ticket? This question I think is already seriously being asked or it will be now. And I know nothing about him.

I was not impressed with Kaine at all. I also know nothing about him either, though. I’m just reacting to this one debate.

I just wrote the above as soon as the debate concluded and while the PBS pundits were just beginning their analysis.
You see, Kaine came in prepared with attack lines and then went after Pence like a pesky little dog nipping at his heels. Pence stayed calm and cool and collected and to me seemed to easily deflect. One commentator said Pence was on the defensive. Maybe so, but a good defense can win a game (and that is as far as I can go with the sport analogy stuff).
Yup, no doubt about it, the Republican establishment must be kicking itself asking — where was this Pence guy when we needed him?
One more thing: Pence cheated and cleverly so on one question: They both were asked where their faith came into conflict with their actions in government. While Kaine took the Michael Dukakis route (trying to be painfully honest) and said even though his faith was against the death penalty as governor he had to enforce the law of his state, Pence sidestepped conflict. He just said he was pro-life and, well, he was pro-life (no conflict, such as I am pro-life but I have to uphold the law of the land).
O.K., I meant Dukakis was given the unfair and nearly impossible to answer correctly question of if his wife were attacked and murdered or whatever would he call for the death penalty even though he was against capital punishment. He fell for the trap and said he would not and so and came off as heartless. 
Oh, and in fact the pro-life thing did come up here, with Kaine saying even though he was anti-abortion he did not think government should decide for women, While Pence simply said he was pro-life.
So regardless of what I might think of the issues and all the background, Pence I thought had the more commanding performance and Kaine came off as a yelping little dog. And if you did not watch, you will hear about all the interrupting Kaine did (Pence did some of his own too, but I think Kaine more).
It will be interesting to see how this is reported as to win or loss the next day and after or what the poll and social media reaction is.
And I can’t stop. Why is not Pence running at the top?
It is because it has been decided celebrity and shock power is what was needed, at least on the Republican side. No one ever heard of Pence, so he probably would not have been able to win enough primaries.
And Trump’s defense for saying shocking things is that unless he did no one would listen. While I don’t buy that as an excuse for all the terrible and ignorant things he has said, I have noted in my own small world that unless you make a fuss no one listens — like trying to get a table or service at a restaurant sometimes.

And so 15 years later, just what have we learned from 9/11? In some ways not much…

September 11, 2016

Just like everyone alive at the time remembers where he or she was when JFK was assassinated, everyone remembers 9/11 the same way. For me, a lifelong current events fan, it was strange in that when I heard about it I rolled over and went back to sleep or at least attempted to do so. I had been up late visiting my now late wife at the hospital (she would live another almost nine years). I was at my mother’s house and just like when I was a little kid mom had the morning news show on blaring throughout the house.

She opened the bedroom door and told me that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I don’t think I had ever heard of the World Trade Center. I knew about the Empire State Building. While I certainly thought that was big news, I was dead tired and figured I would catch up on it all when I got up. But then some time later she peeked in again and said another plane had crashed. I got up. And now having just written this I think I have answered the question as to did I see that second plane crash live or a re-run. Must have been the instant replay. But it is strange to me to think that I would not have instantly got up and rushed to the TV. I think my interest in current events stemmed from sharing a combination bedroom family TV room (at a different house) with one of my brothers. When I was as young as a first grader I would wake up to the Today Show with Dave Garroway blasting at me (well blasting due to the volume of the TV set, I think Garroway was soft-spoken himself). Mom always had the TV on loud. Once when I mistakenly thought I wanted to go into teaching in my application I wrote about how I was probably the only first grader to be up to date on the Suez Crisis.

Now can I say anything useful about 9/11?

I was somewhat astounded to read in a recounting of the events of that day by some key players with the president that you or I watching events on TV (well me once I got up) had more complete up-to-the-minute news than the president and his staff who were flying around in Air Force One with sometimes only intermittent and somewhat sketchy communication.  Of course they were still on the ground down in Florida when the first news from New York City hit, but relatively soon afterward took off in the president’s official plane not knowing where they were going, although the president reportedly wanted to get back to Washington as soon as possible. But his staff was not sure that would be safe.

And anyone who has followed the politics of the times should know that there were some people called “neocons” who were itching for the United States to take on a more aggressive role in the Middle East. Or to put it bluntly, they wanted the U.S. to invade Iraq. They had written a paper called Project For a New American Century and had suggested there needed to be a modern-day Pearl Harbor for the general public to be awakened and get on board to support a stronger role in the Middle East. With 9/11 they got their wish. Of course some have suggested it was all a plot by the neocons. I doubt it. Some have even suggested FDR knew about the Japanese plans for attacking Pearl Harbor and let it happen because he wanted the opposite of what the isolationists wanted. Doubt that too.

But back to the Middle East. I have not really studied the whole geopolitics of it all, but I know we vied for influence there, as we did everywhere else, during the Cold War. We wanted Middle Eastern governments to align with us and not the old Soviet Union. So what we basically did back then was try to be friendly with whatever dictator was in power and back him and if we didn’t like him we put in our own. We finally got called on that in the case of the Shah of Iran. He was overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists, and they never forgave us for installing the Shah.

We played the same game in Iraq and elsewhere. It was a lot easier when the threat was just the Soviet Union. We had one big identifiable adversary and in reality the interests of the two world super powers at the time, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, in some respects aligned. We both wanted to have hegemony over our own spheres of interests, keeping our adversary at bay and protecting our competing economic and political systems, capitalist democracies versus communist tyranny.

But why is the Middle East so vital? I would think oil is the major reason. Our whole modern way of life depends upon oil. And it just so happens the world’s largest reserves of oil are located in the Middle East. In addition, our world trade routes go through there. And as barren as we think of that region to be, one heck of a lot of people live there. Europe does a lot of trade with the Middle East, particularly for agricultural products. And of course it is the center of the world’s three major religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

But with the collapse of the Soviet Union we faced a more diffuse and harder to identify enemy– Islamic fundamentalists who don’t wear uniforms (except now some have that all-black attire when they attack) and are not necessarily directed by individual nation states, and who are themselves factionalized. And they as a whole are, well to put it bluntly, crazy. The Soviets were not crazy. For all of their threats they apparently did not want to blow up the world. But the Islamic terrorists seem quite willing to destroy themselves and the world along with themselves. Much harder to deal with people like that.

And while our old arch-enemy, the Soviets, incited guerilla insurgencies, such as in Vietnam, the Islamic fundamentalist type organizations use worldwide terror.

So what can we learn from 9/11?

We are in constant danger but we don’t know quite what to do. Conventional military tactics don’t work well. We should have learned that in Vietnam.

But sending out unmanned drones and offing terrorists is problematic. We end up killing innocent people and breaking our own moral code.

I think the only thing we can really say is that the world has become a much more dangerous place when we face an enemy who can hide in the shadows and yet seemingly strike anywhere anytime.

And back to conventional military tactics. While they do not always work well and are cumbersome they may sometimes be called for. Even the terrorists need a base from which to work, and while it is difficult to find them always in say Paris where they may be hidden within the protection of our own Western culture and in the throngs of Middle Eastern immigrants (and they also of course have recruited non-Middle Easterners to some extent), the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has actually gone the more conventional route and has taken physical territory. It can be fought by conventional tactics.

I was appalled when I heard Hillary Clinton the other day vow in no uncertain terms that she would never insert American ground troops into the Middle East. How can she know she won’t face the fact she might have to? And I am sure she would if she thought she had to. But you give potential adversaries encouragement when you announce ahead of time that you will only go so far and then give up. So far, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Hillary have made that grave error.

You can’t pin Donald Trump down on what he would do, but talking tough is of little use too, I think.  Actions speak a whole lot louder than words, and saying too much ahead of time limits your options.

What did we learn from 9/11 again?

Not enough, probably, and that there are no easy answers. And that we lack leadership. And maybe the American public itself is conflicted as to what it wants, other than for it to all go away, which it will not.


Yes, leadership. Now that I think of it, the nation seemed united with resolve in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But then it faded and George W. Bush went astray and seemed to go the wrong direction, invading Iraq, a country whose leadership had been belligerent to us (even though we had just previously backed it) but who had no known direct or even indirect involvement in 9/11. And although we seemed to at first have success in invading Afghanistan from where 9/11 was plotted, that fizzled too with a leadership that could not seem to determine how far to push and where and who wanted to hide the real cost of military victory from the public and in so doing failed to achieve it.

And some have argued the whole idea of war over 9/11 was wrong. It was not an aggressive act by a nation-state but by a band of terrorists and should have been handled as more of a law enforcement investigation.

And I forgot to mention the lingering suspicions that the Saudis (our oil-rich ally) were complicit in 9/11. Well then it would be an act by a nation state.

It is all so complicated.

p.s. p.s.

And just watched something on PBS about the fact that many of the 9/11 planners or persons suspected of being involved in the plot or operation (obviously not the hijackers who all died or Osama Bin Laden who was killed by our own commandos) are in custody at Guantanamo but have not been prosecuted 15 years later. I don’t know, something about they can’t be brought to the mainland U.S. to our courts due to an act of Congress. Gee, why do they have to be brought to the U.S.? We didn’t hold the Nuremberg trials in the U.S. and we didn’t hang Gen. Tojo in the U.S.