Barry Goldwater never scared me, Donald Trump does…

July 31, 2016

I was not old enough to vote when Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964, but I paid attention to the news and was interested in politics (strictly from an observational position). It did not scare me that he could become president of the United States. And I think I probably thought that political attack ad beginning with the little girl picking daisies and ending with a nuclear mushroom cloud was a little over the top.

Actually, in retrospect we probably should have been concerned that LBJ would be elected, and of course he was, and of course history (tapes of phone calls) shows us that he knew from the beginning that Vietnam was hopeless but nonetheless thrust us into the quagmire with as much as a half million troops and then ten years later we pulled out after sustaining nearly 60,000 war dead and thousands of gravely injured and a drain on our economy felt for decades, not to mention a deleterious effect on our own self image that still plagues us to some extent today.

(LBJ did great things with his Great Society, but was pulled down by what he himself called the Vietnam “tar baby”.)

Some feared Goldwater would have dropped the atomic bomb (or used “low yield” nuclear weapons) to end the war, based on things he said. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? He might have sent an ultimatum to North Vietnam of some kind. While not a fan of Richard Nixon I have always felt that his move to blockade Haiphong Harbor was a good one, but a little late. And I never understood fully the controversy over his sending troops into Cambodia to prevent the forces of North Vietnam from having a sanctuary or route to supply munitions and men against us in the South. Wars should be avoided, but when they are fought military strategy is necessary and should take precedence over political strategy (although I realize politics cannot be ignored entirely — FDR and Ike found they had to play some politics with our allies in World War II).

But now today the possibility of Donald Trump becoming president does scare me, not just concerns, but scares.

Goldwater was a statesmen. He did service in the military and had a long career in the legislative branch of government. He had morals, Trump does not. Goldwater told it like he saw it. Trump just says anything and takes any side of an issue that suits his fancy for the day and then claims he was just joking or never said it at all. While Goldwater criticized what he called the “me tooers” in government, I don’t recall he resorted to vile name calling. He was not sexist. One might say he was a bit racist in that he opposed civil rights legislation, but his counter was that he was just supporting conservative ideals of liberty from an overreaching federal government.

(Conservatives of today might not like Goldwater because he eventually came out as somewhat liberal on some social issues, and I think that is because he maybe was more libertarian than conventional American conservative.)

Hillary Clinton, today’s model of a super progressive (some would say liberal), we all know, as a young lady was a “Goldwater Girl”.

Some said Goldwater was a mad man. I have never seen any evidence of that.

But I truly believe Trump is demented.

He goes way beyond the usual (and legitimate) criticism of opponents. He insults women, disabled people, an American POW and war hero (Sen. John McCain), and even the father and mother of a Muslim who fought for the U.S., as well as the poor dead soldier himself.

I hope that Trump does match Goldwater in one way, that is losing to his opponent in a landslide…

p.s.

The Donald is plainly (to me) not fit to be president in a civilized society. I truly believe he is the Adolf Hitler of our time. And at best he is just too crude and ignorant. Some point to the fact he must know something because he is so rich. But I have never seen the connection between intelligence and money. Yes, you can be ignorant and quite wealthy. And we really don’t know how wealthy Trump is. We don’t know how much he has cheated on his taxes (and he has thus far failed to release his tax returns) or how much of his supposed net worth is bankruptcy-plagued smoke and mirrors, we don’t know.

I suppose there are legitimate measures of what constitutes a good president and a bad one but much of it is subjective. Of course it would be relatively easy to designate one as a popular or unpopular one. In my lifetime, most popular would likely be John F. Kennedy (I liked him; and he may be more popular in death than in life) and Ronald Reagan (I did not care for him). Most unpopular? Maybe poor Jimmy Carter (today dissed by both Democrats and Republicans as most ineffectual). In my books worst president in my lifetime so far: George W. Bush. But even he is at least civilized and stable, as far as I know.


Hillary’s speech like her likability: good enough…

July 29, 2016

I watched most of Hillary’s speech but broke away while I think she was winding it up by trying to personally humanize herself, admitting that a lot of people just don’t get what she is all about (well besides wanting to be president).

What I heard was not particularly rip roaring or inspiring but I think certainly sufficient. I think she can win the election if she does not get tripped up by Trump, that is his crazy antics where he says anything that comes to mind at the moment and gets instant news coverage for it — and the more bizarre and outrageous the better — and winds up distracting from important issues.

I am having a hard time imagining a worthwhile debate between the two. Trump would not play by the rules. He would make a mockery out of the whole thing I would think. He would be like the class clown or bully making faces to get the attention of the kids and distract them from what is supposed to be serious.

It is strange that the Republican Party has fallen into the abyss. I mean one of the other plethora of candidates could have given Hillary a run for the money and may well have beat her. But for some strange reason they seem to have wilted before Trump or fallen for his antics only to shame themselves.

Hillary Clinton is a much safer and saner choice for voters than Donald Trump. But it is too bad that the voters do not have the choice of a mainstream moderate who might constrain the impulse to fix all societal woes by legislation and bureaucratic regulation. I mean of course we must have the rule of law and we must have regulation, but we have to allow some breathing room.

Social activists can be people with big hearts and sensitive consciences who commit their lives to the well being of others, and they can be people who realize that doing good can be a money-making career (not that there is anything wrong with that per se) and they can be people who turn it into a major cash flow — read the Clinton Foundation (or whatever it is called).

But the Republicans went off the deep end — why? I don’t know. Maybe the party elites did get too comfortable and lost touch with the electorate. Also perhaps people who heretofore ignored politics got so frustrated with their lives they got involved and voted in the primaries or at least answered pollsters questions. The elites got nervous and fell apart and lost their party.

Hillary’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, and others, and then tonight Hillary herself, told of her life-long social activism. I think she probably has a laudable record.

I am not at all sure that her stint as secretary of state was anything close to stellar, but I imagine she was competent. I have yet to see how she is supposed to be blamed for a terrorist attack in Libya that killed our ambassador and others. That is a dangerous part of the world. And even if some little bit of the blame could be put on her for not making sure we had better security there (and that is a stretch) or for getting the details, as to motive and such, of the matter wrong in the immediate aftermath — so what? She planned the attack? Please.

I’m not the first one to write this of course, but what could sink Hillary now is some terrorist attack or another email scandal…

p.s.

Is Hillary likable?

Answer: she’s likable enough.

 

 


If only President Obama had used the bully pulpit; the totalitarian threat of Trump…

July 28, 2016

I know if you are a Donald Trump supporter you would not be stirred by President Barrack Obama’s speech Wednesday night at the Democratic Convention, but also you would not bother to read this because you probably don’t read or don’t read things you might disagree with.

But I was stirred by the speech. It sounded like the Democrats I once knew calling for a better society for everyone, not just those who consider themselves worthy of privilege by their race and religion, inheritance, and what they consider the true American culture.

Even though I get concerned at times about changes in society, I am not willing to go down the road to hate and fear so much embraced by Trump supporters and so much promoted by Trump himself.

But as stirred as I was by his speech, I had to wonder why Mr. Obama did not to seem to carry the spirit of his campaign speeches through to his work in the presidency. I was surprised that he did not go out and use the bully pulpit more to get the support of the people against the Republican obstructionism that has come to the fore under the pressure of the far right or wingnut right.

I have to say, though, Obama is one heck of an orator. At one of his high points or maybe the crescendo of his speech he declared that no one has ever been more capable to be president than Hillary Clinton, no one, “not me not Bill” …

And I think a main point Obama made against Trump is that the American people don’t want a dictator and would (hopefully) reject the cult of personality (Trump) used by totalitarian societies.

Some commentators were saying that they detected Obama trying to elicit support from more conventional Republicans. And I think that is crucial.

I know I don’t want any part of a Trump society, I just hope most people don’t.

Now I realize the line by Republicans or the anti-progressives or anti-liberals is that progressives and liberals want big government and government that runs our lives.

I guess there is always that danger, but from what I know from current events and history it is totalitarian, nationalistic societies that use a powerful government to stifle dissent and to enforce rules based on the accepted culture of only one part of society.

p.s.

Totalitarianism, curiously, rears its ugly head in far right fascist-style governments and far left socialist or communist governments. They both use a strong man and cult of personality, usually displaying large photos of the anointed one and demanding allegiance to him. And don’t you see something akin to that in Trumpism?

I never thought I would see the day that someone so base, so vial, and so ignorant, could get so close to being president, and I’m not talking Hillary, I’m talking Donald Trump.

If he were to be elected I think I might feel like a Jewish person when the Nazis came into power and his formerly friendly neighbors turned on him.

 

 

 

 

 


Bill praises Hillary, but is she an enabler? Still she is preferable to Trump…

July 27, 2016

Listened to Bill Clinton’s speech praising wife and now official Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Actually it was so long I turned it off in the middle but then felt guilty and turned it back on; I was driving a truck at the time and listening on radio.

He painted a picture of a life-long liberal/progressive activist. What with her story (as told by Bill) and the influence of Bernie Sanders it seems if Hillary were to win we would be on a leftist trajectory — well the Republicans say we already are with Obama, but he seems more middle to left to me, and as I recall that was the secret of Bill Clinton’s victories. He was liberal and conservative at the same time. I guess socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

Now the speculation is what role would former President Bill play if Hillary becomes president. I know one thing, it’s going to be hard for him to keep his mouth shut.

Bill does have that folksy way of talking. He comes across as folksy yet erudite.

But when I hear or see him I can’t get some of his purported creepy sexual antics out of my mind and the fact he embarrassed the office of the presidency. That to me takes away from some of his appeal in politics.

I mean what is private should stay private and when you are in a high position you have to work extra hard to have control and to keep things that way, and not do anything creepy in the first place. And by creepy I do not mean having sex, I just mean creepy. I mean we don’t know what he actually did, but there were tales of him accosting women. Then you add that to his known cavorting in the White House, well it just takes away from the Clinton name, and makes Hillary look like an enabler.

And still, the Clintons are much safer for us than Trump.


Bernie calms down revolt; Trump-Putin reminds me of Hitler-Stalin…

July 26, 2016

Even though it looked like early on that the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia was in chaos with a revolt by Bernie Sanders supporters fired up by the revelation of hacked emails that demonstrated the Democratic establishment pushed for Hillary Clinton and tried to find dirt on Bernie Sanders, Sanders gave what I thought was a good speech Monday night that seemed to calm things down — I don’t really know, being as I am not there, just listened on radio.

Bernie’s people did manage to chase Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of the picture — she is resigning and decided not to even preside over the convention after getting booed out of the place. I know next to nothing about her, so I am neither for nor against her.

But as far as I can see at this time (Monday night as I write this hurriedly because I have real work and have to get to sleep) Hillary Clinton should come out of this with fairly solid support.

But I did hear a young Sanders supporter who seemed level headed and realistic, who expressed major disappointment after all the effort he and his fellow campaign workers had put in in order to get someone who would buck the establishment.

But like Sanders said in his speech: “No one is more disappointed than I am,” but he reiterated his full support for Clinton.

The young Sanders supporter said he had not made up his mind on voting yet but that he would  be watching Hillary to see if she would follow reforms Bernie called for.

And just one other thing. It occurred to me today that it is interesting that Donald Trump seems to have a “bromance” with Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator. I recall that Hitler made a pact with Stalin of Russia, which he of course broke.

That’s all for now…


A positive spin and big turnout in November could save us from jackboots…

July 24, 2016

Really have not had a chance to digest things, but at first blush the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine ticket is a lot less problematic and certainly a lot less scary than the Donald Trump/Mike Pence ticket.

Trump does not get any easier to like. In fact he is downright scary and some might even say he seems a bit unhinged — and isn’t he stuck on himself?

Just saw Hillary’s VP pick, Virginia Sen. Kaine, and he seems pleasant and open to more than just Anglo-Saxon type white people (of which I guess I am). At his debut as Hillary’s VP candidate, Kaine demonstrated his fluency in Spanish, which he said he learned while working for his father in Honduras. I have seen Spanish used in the past by candidates and it kind of depends upon the venue and context. Kaine used both pure Spanish and some mixture of Spanish and English and of course straight English — the mixture part was obviously so people would not feel left out. He was in Florida with its large Spanish-speaking population. Foreign language ability is always good, and it would not hurt to talk to the Hispanic population here and in our neighboring Latin America instead of making callous accusations and name calling. Oh, and Kaine demonstrated he can speak fluent Spanish.

As for Indiana Gov. Pence, just the fact that he would even run with someone like Trump makes him suspect in my book.

While there certainly are frustrating problems the so-called elite from both major parties have not seemed to have addressed, the angry approach, the bull-in-a-china-shop approach, the my-way-or-the highway approach, and the declaration that he (Trump) is the only one who can solve our problems and make us safe, I think spells trouble.

While I am not the type who always wants to stress the positive, I think if Clinton and her fellow Democrats stress it, and bolster it with reasonable measures aimed at bringing peace and prosperity to all (not just an old white class afraid of losing its majority status — and don’t get me wrong, I know the feeling) and if there is a large turnout come November, Clinton will win.

But if too many Democrats and other voters disenchanted with the choice they are offered stay home, Trump will win and then who knows?

If it looks and sounds like a fascist future where you don’t ask questions but just salute, then it might well be.

Yeah, it could happen here folks.

When I heard chants of “USA, USA, USA”, and “Lock Her Up”, all I could think of was mob mentality, and I thought I heard the trump, trump, trump of jackboots.

 


Trump part con man, part populist, part patriot…

July 22, 2016

I nearly got caught up in the spell listening to what I guess was the last part of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention to be the GOP’s candidate for president — he was promising to make us great and safe and to cure-all the ills that might afflict us.

Almost felt like yelling Sieg Heil!

To accomplish all he promised and how he promised — like doing it overnight, like making the trains run on time, or I should say fix the problems with the TSA at the airports (he really mentioned the TSA), he’d have to be a dictator.

I was confused to hear the public broadcasting people (who I generally admire) opine that what he set forth was not positive — but of course I only heard part of the speech. But why would you describe everything as positive if you think things are wrong and they need fixing — and if you promise to fix them, isn’t that positive?

But I am not defending Trump, but he sure has hit a nerve and says things (some things) I agree with, like we should be producing things in the U.S. and retaining good paying jobs.

Both the Republicans and Democrats in high places have pushed for free trade which has brought our wages down. I personally think we ought to retain good wages and compete world wide on quality. I know we need trade but I don’t think we have to or should give up a higher standard of living for it. I think we can have both robust trade and good wages — I just have to believe that.

I won’t go over point by point (for one reason I did not hear it all), but I notice that Trump is not tied to ideology — he plays both ends against the middle. He is part con man, part populist, and probably part patriot — I’m sure he must love America — it’s been very good to him.

Let’s see what Hillary Clinton offers next week.


New Miami shooting points to urgent need for change of police protocol…

July 21, 2016

As is often or always the case, the facts seem sketchy or not complete, even though there is a video. The video does not catch all the action, does not tell the full story. But another black man shot by police, an unarmed black man. He claims he is a therapist at a group home and was trying to help a patient when the police arrived upon the scene. He claims he lay on the ground at the order of police and was shot. He claims he asked the officer why. The answer, he claims, was: “I don’t know.”

This all reportedly happened in North Miami, Fla. on Monday. I don’t know if any of this is accurate, except apparently an unarmed black man was shot by police. He survived.

I’m thinking the race is not as important as is the nagging question of why police only seem to have the firearm to resort to when in doubt.

Of course as the result of the recent attacks on police, they might be in a more defensive posture, but this has been going on long before those attacks.

If I were to be stopped by the police now (and I am not black) I think I might be a little scared. I might move the wrong way and they would fire away in self defense.

There needs to be an immediate review of protocol in the way police handle stops and calls to disturbances.

On the one hand, in view of the recent shootings in which police were drawn in an ambushed, police need to be on the defensive. But that cannot be used as an excuse to fire away at innocent civilians.

The police themselves will not be safe if they let the trust with the public erode.

So, in summary, I am 100 percent for the police, but I think it is their best interest to review current policies.


Maybe the whole idea of NATO needs to be revisited…

July 21, 2016

Donald Trump has let it be known (in an interview with the NY Times) that he is not exactly a fan of NATO and he thinks its members have been given a free ride for too long.

Well, finally something I can speak of with first-hand knowledge. I served in NATO as a U.S. Army enlisted man for about two and a half years in Germany (1968-71).

It always seemed like a waste of money and resources to me, although why should I complain? It kept me out of Vietnam. I didn’t have to be a draft dodger.

At the post where I was stationed it was definitely an American show. Our troops and equipment far outnumbered the Germans. On the other hand, it always appeared to me that the Germans at least looked more efficient and field ready. I don’t recall seeing any French troops, except one time a French officer met with one of ours to interpret what the Germans were telling us over the radio. Our officer did not speak German but he spoke French (actually I think he was an officer in training from West Point). Anyway, the message was for us to get our tanks the heck out there because we were down range on a missile firing range. We moved out smartly and very quickly. I think that might have been our finest moment.

Our tanks were always breaking down. Once we had a readiness test — an alert we called them. Out of several hundred tanks only a handful left the tank park. Our diesel-powered tanks were hard to start in the winter.

One of the problems with maintenance was that most of the resources, and rightfully so, were being targeted for Vietnam.

I suppose, however, we did serve as a deterrent to the Soviet bloc in East Europe invading Western Europe.

But while the U.S. has spent billions and billions of dollars over the decade to defend Western Europe and Asia, many member countries have been able to skimp on their own defense budgets and spend it on their economies, and now they threaten our own economy with their exports to us and the imbalance of trade between us.

Maybe the whole idea of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should be revisited.

p.s.

I am a little curious about Trump’s remarks that he would not automatically go to the  military assist of NATO members before reviewing their contributions. I mean does he mean that we would be a mercenary force for them?

 


Ted Cruz ignites firestorm by calling on his party to vote its conscience…

July 21, 2016

So now I think I have heard and read the controversial speech that losing candidate Ted Cruz made at the Republican Convention. To quote the line I heard as a boy in the barbershop, one line in his speech made him as welcome as a turd in the punch bowl to the Trump supporters, who had wanted him to endorse Trump.

While Cruz outlined the typical ultra-right wing talking points, he then urged everyone to “vote their conscience”. Apparently that was stinging to the Trump supporters’ ears, because, well, maybe they have no conscience.

And what a spectacle: Cruz and his wife escorted out of the hall for their own safety. So much for freedom of speech or listening to opposing views. But then politics is rough and tumble and in the past there were violent incidents at conventions.

I’m no Cruz fan, and I think the Republican Party has really gone off the deep end this time, but I agree, one should vote his or her conscience — and that could be for Hillary Clinton or I guess Donald Trump — they are the only two who have a chance of winning.

Tonight is the turn of the man himself, Trump. It will be interesting to hear. I have heard him on at least one occasion speak in complete English sentences and maybe he will tonight.

I have to admit, he has caught the imagination of among many who see the United States as becoming something they do not recognize. Some of it is racism, some of it is rightful resentment of an upper class who not only take advantage of working class people who are Democrats or who follow the Democratic Party ideology, but of working class Republicans. Or just ordinary folks who hold no real ideology, except personal freedom and the right to make a living.

But I am definitely not a Trump supporter. I kind of like the tone of his vice president pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, more inclusive, even if I don’t go along with the ultra-ring wing stuff.

Yeah, vote your conscience, I say, but don’t sell your soul.

Oh, and I almost forgot. There was something curious in Cruz’s speech or at least the text I read. It spoke of we (Republicans?) passed the Civil Rights bill and ended Jim Crow. My memory is that the Party of Lincoln about 100 years after the Civil War turned into a party that voted against civil rights for black people (and all). Maybe Mr. Cruz should read up on some not-so-old U.S. history.


Following is my just previous post:

Like so many people, I am too busy working to keep fully informed on the ongoing Republican convention, except since I drive a truck I have caught some of it on the radio, but I feel way behind.

But what is this about Republicans supporting veterans? Correct me if I am wrong but it is Republicans who vote against spending bills that would be required to properly care for veterans. Of course it is probably Democrats too.

And I think it is an outrage that any veteran wounded in war does not get top-notch medical care immediately and all at the expense of the rest of us. We send them to war or they go in our name at the direction of our government, we owe it to them. If I were president I would simply order it done and see who would complain. Of course this would only be for veterans actually wounded in combat or in the combat theater.

And jumping around, what is this “lock her up” chant concerning Hillary Clinton. I think it is a bit over the top. We’re not some third-world or Latin American country that throws the opposition into jail. And as far as I know, Mrs. Clinton did not pull a Julius and Ethel Rosenberg thing and give away the atomic bomb secrets. As far as we know she commingled personal email with governmental email, some supposedly classified but we don’t know for sure that it was actually classified at the time or why it was classified and there has been no evidence presented that any supposedly classified info got into the hands of our enemy from what Mrs. Clinton did.

(And anyway, the government is classify crazy as I understand it. It classifies information that had already been public knowledge or something as innocuous as the daily lunch menu.)

But while we are on the subject, should we prosecute George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and others for falsifying intelligence to lead us into a war we had no business waging and that has led to instability in Iraq and the whole region around it and has led to the growth of the Islamic State terrorist group?

And I wish I had heard the Ted Cruz speech. Don’t care for Cruz, but an enemy of my enemy (Trump) could be a friend of sorts…

Yeah, I’m a bit behind here, but hope to catch up and have a more thorough comment on things by the weekend if not sooner.