I’m a political junkie but not for Holiday gatherings…

November 28, 2019

Note: I originally posted this yesterday (Thanksgiving) but realized what I say holds true for the whole Holiday Season, at least in my opinion (which is always subject to change), so I reworded it a little accordingly.


I hope it’s not too late, like you already ate or destroyed your thanksgiving dinner which ended in a knock down drag out fight over politics.

But although this goes against my grain, my advice is not to discuss politics at family gatherings during this so-called festive season unless that is just your custom and you are really into it and all of you can give and take and are objective in your views — not likely.

Strangely, even though the immediate family I grew up in was politically aware I do not recall political discussions at Thanksgiving dinner when we had relatives over. It was always the custom that Thanksgiving was at our house and Easter at someone else’s, usually one of two uncles. Christmas was always just us. New Years too. Maybe there was some political discussion that I just do not recall. I mean when we were kids (I’m 70 for reference) we played and did not bother the grownups for the most part. And we usually were outside playing in the yard rather than stuck to games or whatever on our phones or tablets — being as we had no cell phones or tablets then.

But anyway, I see no good to come of discussing politics during holiday gatherings if you see there might be some hot disagreements. Yes, I do think good citizens ought to be up on their politics and not afraid to discuss them with family and friends and neighbors, but on proper occasions — except I do not know what those occasions might be. Maybe if you are politically involved locally, you might have discussion groups. Maybe if you belong to a service club, except aren’t those just connected business people and insurance agents?

My problem with discussing politics is that quite frankly I know what I am talking about. I don’t have the answers to all of our thorny problems but I know what I am talking about. I have kept informed since I was in grade school. And I don’t just throw up my hands and say “they are all scoundrels” as most conservatives (or people who not really understanding the whole thing identify as such) do when it is proved to them that their guy was lying. I don’t think liberals or moderates (I put myself in the latter) use this device to deflect a criticism of their side. I’ve always heard it from conservatives or ill informed people.

And what is the use of talking to ill informed people who don’t really want to know the truth? You are not going to convince them.

It’s frustrating to listen to ill informed people talk of political or public policy issues. I was talking to just such a person the other day. He thought that California was trying to downgrade environmental standards and that President Trump was trying to strengthen them. Just the opposite of course. When I informed him of this, no reaction. I told him, you stick to sports, of which you seem to be an authority, and I’ll stick to politics.

The saving grace with people like this is that most of them don’t vote.

On the other hand some do. That is scary. But what are you going to do? We can’t require public issue awareness tests for voting. I mean it would be nice, but those who would conduct them would manipulate them in order that those who do not have the right political philosophy would flunk.

As we know, Trump got into the White House not by gaining the most votes but by getting enough electoral votes in areas (states) where he apparently had some people who were frustrated with the status quo and wanted to shake things up. They did and he did. Not so much for the better.

But that is not the point here. I’m just saying stay away from politics if you want a happy meal. A good device is to engage people in subjects they like (even if you do not) and think they are experts at. People love to talk about things they feel comfortable with. And then you can tell them your own non-political stuff.

Yeah, there is a time and place for politics. I don’t think it is at most family gatherings.

Just don’t ask me about politics. Get me going and I might not shut up.


Impeachers may be barking up the wrong tree; it’s the shady business dealings…

November 20, 2019

After hearing much of (not all of) Tuesday’s (11-19-19) impeachment hearing it seems to me the Democrats would do better to go after Trump and his associates (and family) for essentially using the power of the Trump presidency to make business deals or commerical profit. It seems apparent the cast of characters Trump has surrounded himself with are more out for the buck than the interest of the American people.

We all may not know the facts in all of this but there sure seems to be a lot of smoke and where there is smoke there is often fire.

Yes, it does seem improper for the president of the United States to ask or otherwise pressure a foreign leader to criminally investigate a political rival, namely Joe Biden, but since neither Trump nor his supporters care much for true statements they can explain that away by using the old Clinton ploy of it depends upon what the meaning of is is or in this case what the meaning of favor is, as in can you do me a favor before we give you that military assistance. Just make a public statement that you are investigating my opponent. And then there is the escape route of well the assistance came through without the investigation, as if an attempted crime is not a crime.

Trump did not demand he just mentioned. And is it not right to investigate corruption? Corruption that just happens to conveniently implicate a political opponent? Well there are proper law enforcement channels to go through.

And I still cannot understand why there is a not a tape of the call or calls they keep talking about between the president and the leader of Ukraine. I mean they have summaries sometimes erroneously called transcripts that have been made public, so how could it hurt to hear the real words?

But I think the impeachers are missing the mark if they are not actively investigating those business deals.

Trump is making a mockery out of our government by simply running it as his own business enterprise and refusing to disclose his financial dealings and tax returns and not putting his business assets in some type of blind trust as his predecessors have.

The president’s foreign policy actions should be under scrutiny and so should his witness tamperings via his twitter feed. But follow the money, that is where he is vulnerable and that is what needs to see the light of day.

 

 

 


The media takes sides in the impeachment story, how did it get that way?

November 19, 2019

A day off from my real job and I had time to watch a little of the impeachment hearing as it got under way. I was doing this on my laptop. I was also scanning the news sites.

So, ok, we all know that Fox News is in the president’s corner. It is not and never has been a source of objective reporting.

Trouble is, it does not seem that CNN nor the New York Times are anymore (assuming they had been in the past). Maybe they are partially objective, if that can be possible.

And maybe it is like this: the mainstream press or media — everyone uses the term media it seems, maybe since the printing press has become like horses in the automobile age — for so long did appear to slant slightly progressive or left on most issues. I always assume if that is true it is because most writers are products of liberal education (liberal in a non-political context). They are exposed to a multitude of ideas and history and see things through a wider lens. But it got so bad in the 60s and into the 70s that the forces of conservatism decided to create their own form of mainstream press or media. There were two main draws to this: for conservative politicians it would be good for elections. For business people it was a way to capture a hungry market. And it worked.

Is there something in between, something more objective or even totally objective? If you know let me know, please.

There is public television and radio, PBS and NPR. Those two tend to present more balanced reporting and more lengthy reporting and certainly cover a wider subject area. I think there is a leftward slant at times. And that is because of the natural slant that comes from people who are educated and the fact that when you don’t have the profit motive you don’t have to protect the interests of those who want to retain the status quo. And you tend to look out for the interests of people in general rather than just the status quo.

All of that is not to say that conservative writers or press or media are uneducated, it is to say that conservatives just block out their wider knowledge in favor of the status quo. And conservative policies are not bad or not all bad just because they are conservative or status quo or old. But something that just favors one class or race is bad policy generally.

A middle ground is attractive. I’d like to see it in both politics and reporting.

As far as public policy, the middle is important. One reason is that when we try to accommodate a class that has been shortchanged in the past we run the risk of simply changing the discrimination from one onto the other.

The enemy of objectivity in journalism is profit. News outlets today have stiff competition and seemed forced to appeal to a demographic.

In my relatively short career in small-time journalism the rule supposedly was that the business side of a newspaper was separated from the journalistic side in order that there be no conflict in reporting the truth. For the most part that seemed to be true — not always. But that was in a different day and age.

The public broadcasting of today to my knowledge depends upon individual and corporate donations and seems free of pressure from its sponsors. How they manage all that I don’t know. Apparently there is a market (albeit a non-profit one) for the truth and/or more complete information, thankfully.

With all the old-time print newspapers biting the dust there had been some talk of government subsidies. That would be a bad idea. Government-controlled media is what dictatorships use.

All this time I have spent writing this I could have been listening to more of the impeachment hearing but now I need to get some other chores done and take advantage of my day off. But I will catch up on all the news as I can. It would be nice if I could depend upon one objective source.

Well I can watch the PBS Newshour tonight.

p.s.

There is always one more thought: this mixing of opinion and straight news reporting that began with electronic media has infected print journalism (I include on the web when I write print) as well. And really it is difficult to present a full report on something without delving into speculation and opinion. The truth is often quite elusive. There are no easy answers.


Trump is a bad actor but he’s our bad actor his supporters seem to say…

November 17, 2019

If you are a diehard President Trump supporter you either don’t see it or don’t care but it seems rather obvious that he and his gang are running the administration like a mob racket. Your defense is likely — “they all do it” (Republican and Democrat).

I’m reminded of a line in a movie about World War II and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It seems there was a certain corrupt dictator in Central America that the U.S. needed to be on our side. “He’s a son of a bitch (FDR said) but he’s our son of a bitch!”

(That probably holds true for all the corrupt anti-democracy dictators the U.S. has supported and continues to support in some cases even today.)

So both Trump supporters among the electorate and in both houses of the congress seem to feel that way: he’s a son of a bitch but he’s ours.

When I write these things I always take pains to let the reader know that I am not a Trump supporter — never have been, never could be. I don’t like his politics and I don’t like his attitude and his crude and threatening behavior.

But I live out in the real world of American working people, not the upper class, not the non-working class, not the upper middle class, just common everyday folks. Even if I often do not agree with some of the common attitudes I get where they come from. So does Trump, now that I think of it. That is what gets him over. He plays upon ignorance and prejudice.

In saying all that I just said (or wrote) I do not suggest that others before him have not done much the same but usually in a more careful or subtle manner at times (Trump is just a blunt instrument).

So this impeachment thing. The Democrats are going to have to discover, if they have not already and just not released it, waiting for dramatic effect, a true smoking gun that no one can argue with. Something like the Butterfield tapes in the Nixon case that forced President Nixon to resign in order to avoid the further shame of impeachment and conviction.

However, even though there has been a lot of obvious corruption, such as Trump and his children profiting commercially from his presidency, putting their collective fortunes over the needs of the people, it seems more likely that some sacrificial lamb will be, well, sacrificed. Some suggest former New York mayor turned mafia-like actor Rudy Giuliani.

But you know what jumped out at me in the very first day of the impeachment hearings? Glad you asked. The fact that the Cold War, which I had thought ended about 30 years ago with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union and the freeing of Eastern Europe from the chains of communism directed from Moscow, never ended or more precisely got a new birth.

It seems that Vladimir Putin, a former secret police officer with the Soviets and now dictator of Russia, started it up again. Russia is every bit the adversary on the world stage today as it was under its old name — The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. So is China, an adversary (which still is communist), and even more so. It seems that Nixon with his reaching out to China and establishing relations with it awakened a sleeping giant who threatens to overtake the U.S. as leader and top economic power in the world.

But the disturbing thing to me that came out of the hearings is that we (the U.S.) are still in the business of nation building, the same business that has caused us so much woe, that has taken such a deadly toll on us in the past,i.e., Vietnam, Iraq, and even Afghanistan and Syria today.

Vietnam of course was a pure proxy war. Since neither the U.S. nor the Soviet Union wanted to fight each other directly because it would mean lobbing nuclear missiles at one another with the quick end result being mutual destruction of each other and most likely the whole of planet earth, we had others fill in. Instead our proxy was South Vietnam and their proxy was North Vietnam. Originally it was just Vietnam but the nation was divided artifically. We propped up dictators (not democracies) in the south and the Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent China, backed up the communist dictator in the north.

And since the south did not seem to have the power or stomach to fight off the north we poured our own military into the war and spilled a tragic amount of American blood only to give up some ten years down the road and let the whole place fall to the communists. It is communist today and a peaceful trading partner with the U.S. So what was the purpose of that war?

We may have wanted an American-style democracy for the south but that would have had to come later, after fending off a communist insurgency in the south supported by the soviets and the North Vietnamese regular army (who backed up the so-called Viet Cong guerilla fighters of the south).

As far as I am concerned the Middle East quagmires we got into had more to do with saving our sources of oil and world trade routes than a desire to fight the forces against democracy. But, yes, we were or are fighting a kind of proxy against Russia.

Whatever. I question how far the U.S. should go in nation building or whether we should even try. It would seem we have our hands full taking care of our own people. Have you noticed the every-growing population of homeless right here at home? Have you noticed our own breakdown of society that manifests itself in mass shootings?

We need to get our own house in order.

But back to the impeachment again: the story being told so far is that Trump bypassed normal diplomatic channels hanging out career foreign service personnel to dry. I don’t think that is unusual — regrettable but not unusual.

Worse than that, though, it seems that Trump and his cronies maligned career personnel, primarily an ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. And worst of all, even as she was testifying before the impeachment committee, Trump tweeted derogatory and false things about her. He also had previously — at least reportedly — made what seemed like threatening statements against her that could have come right out of an organized crime movie script, assuring the leader of Ukraine that she would “go through some bad stuff”. She was removed from her post, told that she had lost the confidence of the president. The president does have the right to choose and un-choose his own ambassadors — bad mouth and threaten them? I don’t think so.

Without going into all the complicated detail in all of this, on the one hand, any number of things Trump has done I think could be impeachable and grounds for throwing him out of office. And that is because they are bad and that his acts do not have to meet any normal legal standard in a court of law to meet the constitutional requirements of “high crimes and misdeameanors”. And that is because those things are not spelled out in the constitution. Impeachment is a political process primarily. Should it be used simply as a tool by an opposing political party? I do not think so. I believe the first impeachment, Andrew Johnson, in the 19th Century, which did not lead to conviction, was partisan. So it happens. Nixon’s almost impeachment that led to his resignation turned out in the end to be bipartisan. Bill Clinton’s impeachment but not conviction was almost totally partisan.

This one against Trump: certainly political but certainly justified at the same time. But being right does not always guaranteee victory. Public pressure would lead to Trump’s ouster.

That will just as likely, or actually more than likely, come a year from now if it is to come, in a vote of the people called the presidential election — notwithstanding that so far elusive smoking gun.

But I have come to believe the impeachment proceedings are a good thing in that they get things out there clearly for all to see.

They are very enlightening. People who actually read and listen to more than just what they want to read and listen to have an opportunity to sort through it all and make up their own minds.

And the Republicans, in general, do not seem yet to know quite how to handle it. They are working through denial at the moment.


Democrats and Republicans need to take stock of themselves…

November 9, 2019

As a baby boomer, interested in current events and politics since almost first grade (really), I had always been taught or led to understand that the Democrats were a political party that basically represened working people, as opposed to the rich or even those who employ others to work. Not that there is anything wrong with being rich and so on (I mean keep in mind the old saying: “I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich; I prefer being rich” — or something like that).

That is not to say Democrats themselves had to be poor or just among the working class. President John F. Kennedy was born with the silver spoon in the mouth and his folks set up trust funds for their many children. But he was of Irish descent, and close to the working class and that was his politics. I suppose he was seen as liberal for his time — today he would be considered a moderate I think.

Anyway, after two terms of Republican Ronald Reagan, a saint among some conservatives (probably not conservative enough for those today), along came Democrat Bill Clinton and wife Hillary. He was a moderate during his presidency and she ran for president after becoming quite chummy with the business elites — millions of dollars in speaking fees chummy (while Bill hobnobbed globally with questionable people).

She received more votes, three million more, than Donald Trump, but she lost some of the working class, just enough to deny her a victory in the Electoral College.

That should be a lesson for all Democratic candidates, especially those who want to make it to the White House. Don’t forget working people (yes I know, a lot of folks who work hard are not classified as “working people” but it is just a term understood in context).

Meanwhile, the Republicans have a problem. They have abandoned modedration and have gone full-tilt reactionary. They are against everything in modern enlightened society. People with higher education for some reason gravitate toward the Democrats. The Republicans put a racist in the White House. That does not exactly make people of color gravitate toward them (although some do — and how lonely they must feel). And they cling to flat-earth beliefs (that they cannot really believe), calling our burgeoning climate catasrophy and the science that proves man’s activity is a major cause of it, a hoax because it threatens business as usual and they have no imagination as to how to deal with it and save the traditional economy at the same time.

But we need Republicans as a check against rampant socialism. Socialist or leftists are taking over the Democratic Party, or so it seems, with the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

If you think Trump’s vision of a wall to keep the Mexicans out is bad, what about that wall in Berlin torn down by freedom seeking East Germans 30 years ago? Socialist/communist East Germany of the time had to erect a wall to keep their own people from escaping to the free West.

Both parties would do well to get with the mainsteam of hard-working folks who just want stable employment and a stable economy and freedom to pursue their own goals. They don’t want the state planning of socialism where the government decides what will be produced and when and how you will receive your medical care. But they also don’t want a society in which the government and laws and policies favor only those of the monied elite or oligarchy, even if each and everyone of us would not mind being part of the upper echelon.

Yeah, both parties need to take stock of themselves.


The all politics is local phenomenon may have won the day for Democrats…

November 6, 2019

It appears that the Democrats have had some major victories overnight in at least a couple of state elections, Kentucky and Virginia. Republicans held on in Mississippi. But it may not be so much a repudiation of President Trump as local issues, as in the old saying: “all politics is local”. And that is a good lesson for the Democratic Party, get the support of the locals and don’t forget them when you get to Washington.

Reading and listening to voters on CNN this morning — you know, in those segments where they have some focus groups — it appears to me that people tend to worry more about what can be done for numero uno (me) over seemingly more weighty issues such as did the president violate the law or commit some type of high crime or misdemeanor by connecting military aid to Ukraine with getting dirt on or sullying the name of a political opponent, namely Joe Biden. One lady asked: why are we giving aid to Ukraine (millions of dollars) when we have veterans in need of aid in our own country. While that may seem like she was veering off the point a little, I have to ask the same thing.

And I also think a lot of folks are confused, as am I, about just what a president can say or not say to foreign leaders and if everything a president says is public record. I have not studied the legalites of that issue but I have always supposed presidents, from FDR (and before of course) to Eisenhower to Kennedy, to Reagan, to even Obama, must have said things in chit chat at least that did not become public record.

And in high level negotiations, how could everything be so? Negotiations and diplomacy are a bit like the card game of poker. You can hardly bluff (make the other person question what cards you hold and thus give in) if you show your hand.

(Of course Trump’s method of negotiation sometimes seems to be a public form of bullying and sprewing of lies, but that is another story.)

Now of course once official agreements are made they are public record in a democracy.

Nonetheless, from what we all know now, there appears to be no doubt that Trump suggested to the leader of Ukraine or maybe I should say flat out declared that he wanted him to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden in exchange for the releasing of U.S. military aid. As it turns out, the leader declined and eventually got the aid anyway.

While I think Trump has done far worse things while in office, it does seem to me the attempt to trade military aid for dirt on a political opponent is at the least unethical and likely illegal, and impeachable. I’m not at all sure that the general public wants to throw the president out of office over just that, though, polls notwithstanding. Certainly the U.S. Senate which would make the decision is not there yet. But Democratic Party victories and a detection of the change of mood of the public couild lead it there.

And about the Biden episode. Two wrongs do not make a right (if that is the appropriate saying here), but it appears that there may be guilt by the president for trying to get a foreign country to help him in his own domestic politics (and I’m not talking Russia at the moment, but that too), but at the same time, then vice president Biden allowing his son to be connected to the internal affairs of a foreign country. Everyone knows that there could be no reason that a Ukrainian energy firm would pay (reportedly) millions of dollars to Biden’s son who has no expertise in that field and who was booted out of the Navy over drugs to sit on their board of directors unless it had something to do with having a conduit through the vice president (Biden) and thus to the highest levels of the U.S. government. And then Biden brags that he got the Ukrainain government to fire a prosecutor that was going after the company that his son is hired to. Biden claims that is just a coincidence, that the prosecutor was corrupt. Maybe so, maybe so. But just what was Biden and his son thinking when they allowed themselves to be compromised?

No the problem is I think that politicans go to Washington and become senators and then enrich themselves by basically selling influence with their cozy dealings with lobbyists and business people. I’m sure they rationalize it all internally and convince themselves that they are not doing anything illegal or unethical. But they are.

And back to those focus groups. I sometimes wonder where they get those people. A lot of them, or a lot of people I hear, just express the feeling: you know they all are corrupt (that is liberal or conservative or Democrat or Republican). They just want the crook who will at least do something for them.

I’d like to think that there are honest politicians out there. But they do need to pay attention to the people who voted for them.

I think, hopefully, our democracy still works. At least when people wake up and pay attention.


Have we regressed to the Middle Ages?

November 3, 2019

It seems to me as if Ameican society, or at least a vocal and politically-potent part of it, is turning back to the mindset of the Middle Ages in Europe. Knowledge and science is suspect, superstition reigns.

I pass by the highway signs that warn vaccinations are bad for your health. As far as I know this belief is based on some kind of pseudo-science or just plain ignorance.

But like in so many things, I depend upon the word of scientists and doctors, formally educated, rather than politicians or self-appointed experts who permeate the airwaves in so-called political or public issue talk shows or weekend infomercials. And the term “infomercial” is strange in that it connotes a message with information. There is a difference between being informed and being propagandized. Propaganda or a sales pitch for snake oil is not informative in the sense that it provides truth. It just provides claims, always unfounded or twisted.

Information from a credible source can be wrong but usually because of inadvertent error or haste or the discovery of new information that had not been available.

Most people go about their daily lives not terribly worried about the macro economy of the United States or its foreign policy or even the details of its domestic policy, well perhaps except in times of crisis. All that historically has been left to what is sometimes called the “intelligentsia”, made up of political scientists or commentators and college professors and politicians and such. In other words, people who have nothing better to do than think about things, who are not encumbered by the day-to- day struggle of survival or manual labor or working in a cubicle or at a counter, or driving a truck, for instance.

When things are humming along this all seems fine. But when certain segments of society become uncomfortable they begin to look for scapegoats. Watch out intelligentsia.

Society begins to look at all those know-it-alls who are so big on book learning but not so big on common sense. I cannot define common sense, I just know that if one makes a mistake he or she is often accused of lacking it.

Another aspect of cultural upheaval and a revolt with the aim of going backwards is a change in societal morals. I was born in 1949. I would say while it was an ongoing process, society really changed beginning in about 1967 when I graduated from high school. In reality some of this change began after the end of World War II when soldiers came back from far away places. Or actually the same thing happened after World War I in 1918 as in “how you goona keep the boys down on the farm after they’ve seen ‘Paree”‘.

But the 1950s was still the Leave it to Beaver decade to me. While everyone did not live like the household depicted in that TV sitcom, it portrayed a fairly typical middle class household of the time. Mom stayed at home and in the kitchen. Dad was the breadwinner, and the children were respectful if a little rowdy at times.

And here’s one I repeat too much, but a true anecdote: I was about 10 and my mom and I were in a small grocery store. A man, a working man judged by his attire (you could actually tell back then — people dressed in what seemed appropriate to the work) was apparently frustrated with something and let fly a curse word (not directed at anyone in particular). Then he looked up, seemingly embarrassed about using a profanity, and told my mother: “Sorry mam.” Almost no one would be embarrassed or ashamed nowadays. That would have been in about 1960.

But again the big change, in my view, came in 1967. That was the summer of love and the hippies in San Francisco. They were all about fun and games and smoking weed and doing drugs and not working (some were college students and maybe living off mom and dad if they were of that class). They were also against the Vietnam War.

In my backwater it was still seen as patriotic by most to fight for the country and that is what we were being told Vietnam was all about. Already, though, the news from there seemed to be telling us different. The draft was in effect and boys were being sent over to a far-off land as cannon fodder to fight battles that had no point. Take ground and then let it go back, fight hard but not too hard because that would be something called “escalation”. It was a new kind of war. No front lines no real concrete objective, such as going for complete surrender by the enemy. They say Korea was kind of like that but even there geography played a role. We did expell the invading North Korean communist forces and the Chinese communists from the south.

Leave it to Beaver eventually gave way to “All in the Family” which poked fun at all the hypocrisy of 1950s society and revealed its built-in racism.

Over a decade or two we went from not allowing the word “pregnant” to be used in the sitcom I Love Lucy and demanding that husband and wife be shown sleeping in twin beds to programs with explicit references to sex and sex acts, and the use of four-letter words.

While almost all of society has gone along with all of this either actively or just passively, some people look back to what seemed the good old days, and I do not belittle this. I do it myself at times.

We lost the Vietnam War in that we packed up the gear and came home after the majority of the American electorate came to the conclusion in was hopeless and nearly 60,000 American troops were killed and thousands maimed.

But we were now a disillusioned society. I hate to pick on poor president Jimmy Carter, but his inability to respond effectively to the taking of American hostages in Iran did something to the American psyche.

Meantime, some conservative California Orange County Republicans backed their boy, grade B movie star Ronald Reagan, and managed to get him into the White House after serving a stint as governor of California. He was elderly, handsome, and well spoken, that is he knew how to memorize and deliver a script. And he said things to make a disillusioned society once more proud to be Americans (I’m generalizing here and elsewhere of course).

Democrat Bill Clinton slipped into the White House after two Reagan terms thanks to Ross Perot playing spoiler with his third-party candidacy. But Clinton was popular.

But Clinton’s sexual shenanigans that led to his impeachment but not conviction in turn led into a successful strategy by the far right to attack Democrats on morals and excessive government spending (even though their people once in office often do the same — yup, they have illicit sex and spend like there was no tomorrow).

Let’s look at the presidencies of Bush Sr. and son W. They were essentially politically middle of the road Republicans disguised as conservatives.

Economics is what did them in, even though W served two terms. He left the economy in a shambles.

Enter the Democrats once more. Barack Obama became the first black American to win the presidency. I think that deeply angered many conservatives, especially among the lower class or uneducated working class (not all of course). I don’t think they were all as vocal about it as they might have been in the past. They knew that new laws and norms could result in sanctions and job losses if racial bigotry was openly displayed.

Conservative political operatives jumped on this and other things. Even though most of society operates on a new morality that includes single-parent households, more sexual liberation, and less religion, and drug or marijuana use, and I’m talking professed conservatives among all of this, there are those who longed for someone who would just tell it like it is without all the niceties of political correctness or policy speak of the intelligentsia.

Along with this is was the phenomenon of a radio disc jockey who while blabbing on a small radio station in Sacramento discovers that if he insults liberal know-it-alls he can get good ratings — Rush Limburger Cheese (ok my nickname for him). He sindicated and became a god of the Republicans.

Eventually using the same tactics, a New Yorker born with a silver spoon in the mouth, schooled in the world of questionable real estate dealings, uses some of the Rush tactics and some of his own and abandons some liberal positions he had previously and jumps into politics and the first office he wins is the presidency.

He is educated or at least attended college, records indicate, but he spouts off things like climate change is a leftist political hoax, as fires rage in California and the polar ice caps melt. And with this by executive order he reduces or eliminates environmental safeguards. And he promotes racial strife.

And you know, the intelligentsia or TV and movie stars or whatever you call them do not help the situation of distrust of the elites when they bribe colleges or otherwise pay to have their little darlings go to the most prestigious institutions by cheating and providing false information.

The conventional or established news media is under attack by people who don’t want you to know the truth but also by its own collective greed and the resulting changing of news into show business. This is primarily among the electronic media, which prevails nowadays.

Yes there is blame to go around.

But I go back to those signs on the highway that tell me vaccinations are bad for me and our children. So I should follow the directives of a sign someone posted or the rantings of someone on the radio rather than educated scientists and doctors.

And I should believe that global warming or climate change is a hoax. And this is based on what?

I can only hope that in reality that there is a vast silent majority who has better sense.

We may find out in next year’s presidential contest.

p.s.

I should not add to this long screed, but I want to inject this too: The American military is involved in hostilities is several Middle Eastern countries at present and the U.S. is supplying weapons and war material in general in places where we are not engaged. If we are honest, I doubt most of us fully comprehend what the purpose or use of all this is. We may “support the troops”, an ambiguous statement, but many of us are ambivalent as to the value or need of the whole effort. This only adds to the distrust of elites who have put us there. Correct me if I am wrong but the U.S. has not had an actual military success since World War II when we helped save the world from the enslavement of fascism and militarism or possibly Korea when we saved South Korea (one could ask was it our job to save South Korea, though). That is not a put down of the military or anyone. It does add to the distrust of those who put us into the situations.

And if you really want to make your head spin, read this article about the resurgence of the Klan and how some people who consider themselves patriotic have become Nazis or joined forces with them:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/11/03/greensboro-massacre-white-nationalism-klan-229873