Thursday, October 13, 2016
Words Versus Deeds
Donald Trump’s gutter talk about women shows yet again that he is bad news. The problem is that Hillary Clinton is far worse.
Women have a right to be offended by Trump’s words. But women have suffered a far worse fate from Secretary Clinton’s and President Obama’s actions. Pulling American troops out of Iraq, despite military advice to the contrary, led to the sudden rise of ISIS and their seizing of many women and young girls as sex slaves.
A message from one of these women urged the bombing of ISIS. She said she would rather be dead than live the life of a sex slave. Some women who tried to commit suicide and failed have been tortured for trying.
Meanwhile, President Obama tried to downplay ISIS with flippant words, by calling them the junior varsity. His half-hearted, foot-dragging military response has allowed ISIS to parade before the world as triumphant conquerors, appealing to disgruntled people in Western countries to carry out terrorist attacks in support of their cause.
That is a lot worse than some stupid and gross words by Donald Trump, which even he has had to repudiate. Make no mistake about it. Neither party has a good candidate for President. The choice is between bad and disastrous.
Are women more in danger from Trump’s words or Hillary’s actions? Are Americans in general more in danger from Trump’s shallowness on issues or Hillary’s ruthless grabs for money and power – a track record that goes all the way back to the days when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas?
Mrs. Clinton’s own announced agenda attacks the very foundation of American Constitutional government, on which Americans' own freedom depends. She has already said that she will appoint Supreme Court justices who will specifically overturn a recent Supreme Court decision, “Citizens United versus FEC.”
That decision said that both corporations and labor unions have freedom of speech, including the right to contribute money toward political campaigns.
Hillary Clinton’s determination to pick judicial appointees on the basis of their willingness to overturn that decision is a more brazen extension of the political left’s other attempts to stifle the free speech of those who oppose their agenda.
Demands that various advocacy organizations reveal the names of all their donors are an obvious attempt to scare off those donors, with harassment by everyone from vandals to rioters to the Internal Revenue Service and other government bureaucrats.
Without the right to free speech, none of the other rights is safe. Government officials can get away with all sorts of abuses, if others are not free to talk about those abuses.
Despite Hillary Clinton’s claims to be a champion for black people, her political agenda threatens the education of black children, the employment of black adults and the physical safety of black communities.
Mrs. Clinton is on the side of the teachers' unions that want to stop the expansion of charter schools, even though these are among the very few places where black children can get a quality education to prepare them for a better future. Here, as with other issues, her public statements are contradicted by her actions.
No law has done more damage to the employment prospects of young blacks than the federal minimum wage law. But nothing is easier, or more popular, than for some politician to raise the minimum wage – despite the fact that unemployment rates among black young people have skyrocketed to several times what they were before.
You don’t get any wage at all when you are unemployed. And if you are young and unemployed, you don’t get any job experience to help you rise up the ladder, when you don’t get on the ladder.
As for safety in the black community, Hillary Clinton has allied herself with those who demonize the police. The net result has been a sharp increase in the number of blacks killed by other blacks, as criminal elements take control of the streets when the police are not allowed to. Do you choose a President by talk – or by actions and consequences?
It Wasn't Donald Trump Who...
It wasn't Donald Trump who for personal convenience as secretary of state flouted the rules and long-established procedures, taking the unprecedented step of evading the official secure government email system in favor of a private email server for government business, including classified information. And it wasn't Donald who then had the server scrubbed, destroying thousands of messages that were not only government property, but evidence, and then couldn't provide a credible reasons for any of it.
It wasn't Donald Trump whose possible-criminal situation caused untold irregularities in the operation of the State Department, the FBI and the Justice Department. Those included a "chance" meeting on an airport tarmac between the prime suspect's husband and the attorney general of the United States, putting dozens of public servants in the position to destroy their credibility and trustworthiness to save a presidential candidate's backside.
It wasn't Donald Trump whose vast experience in government in the U.S. Senate and the State Department resulted in neglecting dozens of requests for increased security prior to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. That attack resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans. And it wasn't Trump who then blamed an obscure Internet video for a clear terrorist attack, resulting in jailing the video's producer.
And it wasn't Donald Trump whose frequent profanity-laced tirades insulted and denigrated Secret Service agents and White House staffers.
But that was a long time ago, and since all of that was a long time ago, it probably isn't relevant that it also wasn't Donald Trump who worked for the congressional committee investigating the Watergate cover-up many years ago, and was fired for lying.
It was Donald Trump who took some money from his father, invested it in businesses and created hotels, casinos, golf courses and television shows. Some of his creations didn't work out, as is not uncommon in the world of business. Luminaries such as Henry Ford, Walt Disney, F.W. Woolworth, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates also sometimes failed.
It was Donald Trump who claimed business losses of nearly a billion dollars on tax returns many years ago, probably cancelling an equal amount of income over several years, using provisions in the tax code to reduce taxable income, just as most every American who pays taxes does through deductions for such things as dependents, mortgage interest and charitable giving.
For taking legal tax deductions Trump has attracted mountains of criticism from his betters, who somehow twist this into meaning he doesn't care about the country, or the military and dozens of other things. But the thousands of people who work in his businesses do pay taxes, and that is significant.
And, yes, it was Donald Trump who managed to anger his primary opponents and many Americans with his petulant personal attacks against those who opposed and challenged him. His crass manner leaves much to be desired, and his locker room vulgarity, spoken in private 11 years ago, justifiably repulsed anyone not blinded by partisanship. But if some rapper had used those same words as lyrics, it'd be #1 on Billboard.
Apparently, it's a more serious offense to say things that offend someone than to put national interests at risk, to lose $6 billion of State Department funds and generally fail to competently run the agency you've been entrusted to run, and then go on to make millions giving $250,000 secret-content speeches to Wall Street banks that you publicly criticize. By virtue of merely having been elected a U.S. senator and appointed as a cabinet secretary, you are thus qualified to be president, even if the "best" you did in those positions was inconsequential or, too often, harmful.
Strangely, people are more offended by Trump's words than Hillary's vicious attacks on her hubby's numerous sexual victims and conquests, her position on coal mining and the Supreme Court, and her comments supporting open borders, spoken in a private $250,000 speech.
Trump is a crass bully with an authoritarian streak. Clinton's hubris already put national security at risk, and she will continue Obama's dangerous, destructive, and unconstitutional policies. Thus is our choice.
Trump Will Win the National Battle for Legitimacy
BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN (Whom I have always found to be an unusually insightful commentator -- JR)
The referee should have stopped it in the tenth. Punching at will, Donald Trump said, "Hillary used the power of her office to make $250 million. Why not put some money in? You made a lot of it while you were secretary of State? Why aren't you putting money into your own campaign? Just curious." Reeling and against the ropes, Clinton gasped that she supported ... the Second Amendment. It was a brilliant rhetorical device: under the rubric of campaign financing, Trump slipped in an allegation that Clinton corruptly enriched herself by using the power of her office for personal gain--and Clinton didn't even respond. That's a win by a knockout.
That's the decisive issue of the campaign: the corrupt machinations of a ruling elite that considers itself above the law, and the rage of the American people against the oligarchical ruling class that has pulled the ladder up behind it. Trump's bombshell below Clinton's waterline came at the end of the debate, well prepared by jabs at Clinton's erased emails and Bill's rapes. Trump used the "J" word--that is, jail. That was perhaps the evening's most important moment. This is not an election fought over competing policies but a struggle for legitimacy. A very large portion of the electorate (how large a portion we will discover next month) believes that its government is no longer legitimate, and that it has become the instrument of an entrenched rent-seeking oligarchy.
By and large, I agree with this reading. "America's economy is corrupt, cartelized and anti-competitive," I wrote in August. It is typical of rent-seeking that Lockheed Martin's stock price has tripled during the past three years, and payment to its top management team has risen from $12 million a year to over $60 million a year, while Lockheed Martin's F-35 languishes in cost overruns and deployment delays. Produce a lemon and get rich: that's Washington. It is not a trivial matter, or unrepresentative of our national condition, that the FBI director who declined to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling of classified material just returned to government from a stint at Lockheed Martin, where he was paid $6 million for a single year's service. I don't know whether FBI Director Comey is corrupt. But it looks and smells terrible.
That's why it was so important for Trump to talk about jail time for his opponent. If things had not gotten to the point where former top officials well might belong in jail, Trump wouldn't be there in the first place. The Republican voters chose a reckless, independently wealthy, vulgar, rough-edged outsider precisely because they believe that the system is corrupt. They are right to so believe; if the voters knew a tenth of what I know about it, they would march on Washington with pitchforks.
Panicky GOP Leaders Should Come Home after Trump Wins Debate #2
The whole weekend news cycle centered around Trump's potty-mouth tape, which will count for exactly nothing in the final tally. No-one who has followed Donald Trump in public media for the past thirty years expected anything less from the great vulgarian. We are stuck with Trump precisely because the Republican establishment imploded over Iraq and the economy.
I assumed that Trump's diffidence during the first debate amounted to profiling his opponent. No-one would remember what was said in the first debate come the general election, and Trump appeared to be probing and watching Clinton's responses. This time he has bloodied her. Whether there is more to come--a thermonuclear revelation of some kind--I have no idea. But given Trump's experience in the entertainment business, we can assume that the really nasty stuff will come out later.
Whoever wins, a very large part of the electorate--perhaps more than a third--will believe that the government lacks legitimacy. We have not had circumstances like this since the Civil War. If Trump loses, his voters will blame a corrupt oligarchy and its allied media for electing a criminal to the White House; if Clinton loses, the minority constituencies of the Democratic Party will respond as if the Klu Klux Klan had taken over Washington. There has never been anything like this in the past century and a half of American history, and it is thankless to predict the outcome. Nonetheless I will: Trump will crush it. Clinton, the major media, the pollsters, and the mainstream Republican Party have badly misread the insurrectionist mood of the electorate.
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Posted by JR at 1:33 AM