A Story Without Heroes

In a country split down the middle into two irreconcilable factions exacerbated by confirmation-bias readers and an Internet all too eager to please them, I look around and see a pretty hopeless situation. Let’s take stock of where we are, rewinding back about two years.

In March of 2015, Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for President. He was soon followed by Rand Paul of Kentucky. These were the first two Republicans to jump in the race. Both men were known for distinct philosophies about government. You might not like them but you can’t deny they stood for something. They were serious candidates. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was the first to announce. Sadly, in that instance, we had someone with no convincing ideology and a party ready on day 1 to coronate her. Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chaffee and finally Jim Webb would step up to challenge her but in the end only Sanders posed any real threat and that threat was never really taken seriously by the Democratic party or the main stream media.

On June 15, after a prolonged tease, Jeb Bush jumped into the GOP race and was immediately assumed to be the front-runner. Despite the rocky presidency of his brother hanging over him, Jeb was still believed to be the “smart” Bush. Many were already predicting another Bush/Clinton face-off, the first being in 1992 when Hillary’s husband, Bill, defeated Jeb’s father, George HW Bush.

Just one day later, everything changed. A moderately successful real estate mogul, branding genius and star of a popular American TV reality series, descended the escalator in the building bearing his name, to the tune of Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World”. He announced not only that he was running for President but that his core raison d’être was to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. His indelicate assessment that Mexico was not “sending us their best” but was instead sending us “rapists” threw the left into a collective conniption and made some on the right uneasy. Thus was born the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump.

And at this time the dishonesty in the media also went into high gear. Trump’s attack, no matter how rude, was limited to people entering the country illegally. The media and the left in general immediately conflated this to anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant. You repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Trump was an anti-Latino bigot.

But of course, Trump didn’t stop there. It seemed almost every week was taken up with some new whopper thrown down by Trump either deliberately (McCain is not a war hero – “I prefer people who don’t get captured”) or via leak (“I can grab them by the pussy”). And it seemed almost every week, the media counted him down and out. In the meantime, the 16 men and one woman who opposed him, one by one dropped out of the race. Perhaps the most devastating admission of defeat came from Jeb Bush on February 20, 2016. The establishment candidate who many believed would carry on the Bush dynasty, was called “low energy” by a loud-mouth, know-nothing carnival barker and the label stuck. Other labels would define other candidates – Little Marco (Rubio), Lyin’ Ted (Cruz). In fact, even Cruz’s father was not immune from attack with Trump implicitly implicating him in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It seemed, the more outrageous Trump got, the more his base loved him and the more his party (it was never really his party) feared him and reconciled themselves to his eventual nomination.

On the Dem side, the contest came down to an idealist with pie in the sky plans for America that promised way more than a chicken in every pot and a front-runner who had been careless at best and criminal at worst in her handling of classified materials while Secretary of State. Supporters of the idealist, Sanders, could not convince the identity-politics driven elite of the Democratic party to abandon their first potential “woman President”. As a result, Hillary Clinton, one of the least trusted politicians in the country won the Democratic nomination – odds of winning be damned. The arrogant position that beating Trump was a slam-dunk set in almost immediately.

Then Wikileaks, the “truth telling” organization run by Julian Assange, started releasing little bird droppings all over the Clinton campaign, portraying the campaign as targeting Sanders’ lack of religious conviction and other unflattering revelations. The revelations were culled from stolen emails from the DNC and John Podesta (whose email password was “password”).  It is currently assessed (using proof we the people are not allowed to see) that Russian hackers at the explicit behest of Vladimir Putin were employed by Assange in an attempt to weaken Clinton’s eventual presidency (reports are that even Putin did not expect Trump to win).

In November of 2016 the woman who did not deserve to be President was defeated by the man who had no business running in the first place.

Fast forward to today. We have a President totally ignorant of how government works, with zero incentive to learn. His Twitter account which was amusing during the campaign has not been shut down and is now the source of accusations serious enough to either raise the question of criminality of the previous administration OR raise the question of the current President’s mental health.

Where is the hero, the white knight, who will rescue us from this fiasco? Nowhere to be found. The Democratic party unable to admit they chose the worst candidate in a century, has morphed Russian propaganda and influence on American opinion (to be expected) into “election hacking”. Let’s be crystal clear. Trump won this election fair and square. He exceeded the number of electoral votes needed to win – popular vote be damned. The Russians didn’t tamper with the voting machines. But you wouldn’t know that from listening to the Democratic party.

The media won’t help us either. Their lies throughout the Trump campaign were called out by the nominee and now President. Their reaction has not been introspection. They are defensive and doubling down. We have a mainstream media whose feelings are hurt and they are more interested now in bringing down Trump than getting at the truth. So, we really cannot depend on them to defend us from a serial liar who is very possibly mentally disturbed in a way that disqualifies him from the Presidency. The credibility of the media, upon whom we rely to get at the truth, is seriously compromised.

Last week, we witnessed the symbolic cherry on the shit cupcake.Ted Cruz once called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” for humiliating Cruz’s wife and insulting his father. Last week he went to the White House for dinner with Trump. He took his wife and his kids with him. Truly puke-worthy.

And thus ends this chapter in the story with no heroes. The country is at an all time low with no relief in sight. The story is not over but it does not look like we are in for a happy ending.

What do you think? The bar is open.

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All the Queen’s Horses

By now the entire world has seen the footage of Hillary Clinton unable to stand or walk by her own power and being thrown into a van “like she was a side of beef“.

The episode will certainly fuel ongoing speculation as to the Democratic party nominee’s health, which has included everything from stroke to Parkinson’s Disease.  Clinton, herself, has called such speculation a “wacky strategy”, while CNN went so far as to label the entire issue a conspiracy and the conspirators “The New Birthers“.

Wacky conspiracy or not, the issue is sure to explode after today.  It was a mere hours after Clinton was rushed away from the 9/11 ceremony that we were informed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, and was advised to rest and medicate.  But a presidential candidate’s gotta do what a presidential candidate’s gotta do, and by Friday night she was at a fundraiser, where she labeled half of her opponent’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables“, and on Sunday, was all but obligated to attend the 9/11 ceremony in New York City to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the terrible tragedy.

Adding certain fuel to the speculative fire is a tweet by reporter, David Shuster, making the claim that the DNC will be meeting tonight to discuss replacing Hillary as the party’s presidential nominee.

If true, the party will certainly be exploring a variety of important questions.  Who do they replace her with?  Does running mate, Tim Kaine, get the nod?  Someone else?  And, if it’s anyone other than Bernie Sanders, will he sue the DNC for denying him the nomination?

Now that Hillary Clinton has been seen having a great fall, in the literal sense, can all the queen’s horses and all the queen’s men put her campaign together again?  And, at this point, are they even willing to try?

What do you think about the above questions, and can you pose some others?

The bar is open.

Democratic Convention 2016

Day 4

Black Cop Lives Matter

The first thing that caught my eye on Day 4 was a sheriff who called for a moment of silence to honor fallen officers. The moment was interrupted by an asshole screaming “black lives matter”. What happened next was a beautiful thing. Two black women in a row spoke to pay tribute to their husbands, policemen killed in the line of duty – and BLACK. A nice retort to the disruptive and misguided BLM contingent. Black lives mattering and police lives mattering is clearly not mutually exclusive.

The Clinton Kid

Just as all of Donald Trump’s adult kids spoke at last week’s GOP convention, on Day 4 of the Dem convention we were treated to the Clinton kid, Chelsea. I come to this with a bit of bias because in my former life in corporate America I became aware of Chelsea’s tenure at McKinsey (a consulting firm) and the scuttlebutt was that she was quite difficult to work with. That said, let’s get back to her address. I had never seen her speak at length before so I was pleased when she started. She had humor. Her delivery was calm and paced. But then I noticed it seemed almost too calm. She almost seemed to be under a spell. She reminded me of animatronic department store dummies, as her head slowly moved back and forth between teleprompters. Then I put my finger on why she seemed so odd. She reminded me of the brainwashed veterans in “The Manchurian Candidate” who were programmed to praise one of their fellow soldiers, a man who was actually a total prick. I couldn’t resist a tweet:

She’s an odd bird. According to Dick Morris, former advisor to Bill, it was Bill who was most involved with her childhood, not Hillary.

Another President Clinton

Hillary’s acceptance speech was met with low expectations because historically the acceptance speech pales in comparison to the ra-ra-sisboomba speeches that come before it in the first three days. That said, OMFG!!! The thing seemed to go on forever! Hillary does not have Obama’s gift of delivery. As the pundits put it, she speaks in prose, not poetry. I hate to admit I literally dosed in the middle of it and woke up in time for the ending. The speech was completely forgettable. I have trouble coming up with a single quote that will stand on its own historically. She tied Trump’s fear mongering to FDR’s “the only thing we have to fear …” quote. That was a nice touch. She reached out to Bernie voters. Not bad. But otherwise, the speech seemed poorly structured. I felt no narrative arc. She repeatedly cleared her throat, just adding to rumors she’s not in the best of shape. In fact, she looked quite tired half way through the address. Protesters, God bless them, tried to disrupt the speech but were drowned out by shouts of “Hill-a-ry” and “USA”.

This was an uninspired speech by an uninspiring candidate. This speech and the entire convention were marred by the cynical view that making history with a woman President is more important than taking into account her checkered past. November will be a coin flip. Donald got lucky to be running against the only American almost as unpopular as he is. There will be no good outcome in November. The President will either be someone who has no business anywhere near the Oval office or someone who brings so much baggage and such questionable judgment that four years of scandal are almost guaranteed.

Day 3

Courage and Kleenex

Every time I see Gabby Giffords I am amazed at her tenacity and courage. Giffords who was shot in the head by a crazed gunman has regained most of her ability to walk and speak. I focus on her grit and ignore her inexplicable support of Hillary Clinton. She was introduced by her husband, a former service member and astronaut. It doesn’t get much more patriotic than that.

It’s been almost 4 years since 20 precious children lost their lives to a lunatic scumbag with a gun-happy mother, who, for God knows what reason, thought it a good idea to take her little monster to the shooting range. Four years later I still cannot see photos of those kids without totally losing it. When Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the murdered Sandy Hook Elementary principal spoke, I fast forwarded through it. I just can’t take it. What Democrats refuse to say and Republicans already know is that the only solution to our gun problem is confiscation. That is never going to happen.

Uncle Joe

Whenever you mention Joe Biden to a conservative you are reminded of his plagiarism scandal that short-circuited his presidential campaign almost 30 years ago. That’s about the best they can do in condemning Uncle Joe. Believe it or don’t believe it, Biden comes across as the guy who lives next door to you. He is warm. He is corny as hell. He is inappropriate (remember Barack being “well spoken”). On Day 3, Joe told the audience to shut up and listen. Then he gave the most simple condemnation of Donald Trump imaginable. Do we really want a leader whose signature catch-phrase is “you’re fired”? Biden ended his speech with what should be the Democratic campaign slogan from now until November: “Come on! We’re America!”

Persuasion from an Independent

Former New York Mayor, former Republican and always billionaire, Mike Bloomberg made a plea to independents and Republicans to reject Trump. What made his speech persuasive was his status as a businessman in Trump’s league (if not richer) who could bust the myth that Donald was somehow self-made and successful by normal business ethical standards. Not the most dynamic speaker, Mike still may have given the fence-sitters some second thoughts about the Donald.

The VEEP

It seems nearly impossible to dislike Tim Kaine as a person. He seems friendly, kind and service-oriented. He does nothing to make Hillary look more progressive. He’s vanilla ice cream which is exactly what Hillary wants since she’s doing enough damage control already. His speech was 50% ripped off from his Miami speech last Saturday when he was first introduced. The last half was devoted to dissing Trump but clearly dissing is not Tim’s strength. He’s just a nice guy. Oh, and he speaks fluent Spanish.

POTUS

Barack Obama is a living breathing Rorschach test. Some see him as an arrogant, narcissistic, not terribly bright, petty bastard propped up by racially obsessed liberals. Others see him as an intelligent, articulate, kind, deliberative leader who has seen the country through tough times. There is no convincing either side of the others perception. I fall somewhere in the middle. Bottom line, if you reside in the first group, there was NOTHING Obama could say last night that would impress. Those that hate the man can barely watch him. If you fall in the latter group, Obama hit the ball out of the park with his Day 3 speech. Without mentioning his name, Obama called out Trump as a “demagogue” to be rejected in the same breath with Communists and Jihadists. He explicitly named Trump as a man devoid of plans or facts. He suggested that Americans will reject Trump because they don’t want a dictator. This made me chuckle since I know most of my readers consider Obama a dictator. Obama further asserted that Trump had hijacked the Republican party – that the GOP convention last week was neither Republican nor conservative.

His attack on Trump was far more effective than his over-the-top endorsement of Hillary. For the most part, while speaking in grand terms, Obama gave a boiler-plate recommendation that we’ve heard time and time again. She has always advocated for children. She worked hard for First Responders in the wake of 9/11 as New York Senator. She helped make the call to take out Bin Laden when she was Secretary of State. We’ve heard it all before. When he referred to her good judgment, I threw up in my mouth a little. Then came the whopper – Hillary Clinton is more qualified to be President than any other candidate in history including Barack and Bill. Well she may be more qualified than Barack and Bill – but Thomas Jefferson? My only response to Barack would be a variation of Biden’s rallying cry, “Come on! We’re America! We are not stupid!”

Day 2

A Moving Moment During Roll Call

Convention roll calls are priceless for their corniness. Each state bragging about itself before announcing the votes they cast for the various candidates. One unlikely delegation brought tears to my eyes. Democrats Abroad had its votes announced by Larry Sanders, Bernie’s brother who resides in the UK. Larry paid tribute to Bernie by reminding him how proud their parents, who died young, would be of him. It was hard to watch the two brothers well up and not get a bit weepy yourself.

The Mixed Message Mothers

Several mothers of black “victims” of shootings appeared on stage together. Apparently Hillary has met with these women and won their support. The problem is that one shooting is not the same as another and this set of mothers presents a very mixed message. Sandra Black mysteriously died in a jail cell, a supposed suicide, but the facts didn’t add up and the incarceration was triggered by a stupid traffic stop gone wrong. Her mother was the first to speak. Then a mother of a boy shot for playing his music too loud was the next to speak. From memory, I don’t recall this being a police-related incident. Then, heaven help us, the mother of Trayvon Martin spoke last. Trayvon is the gangsta-wannabe that pushed the black lives matter movement into high gear. Again, this was not a police related shooting. Worse, the photo of Trayvon shown on stage was the same misleading photo of a 13ish year old boy that we saw when the story broke — not the 17 year old thug who mishandled an encounter with crazy George Zimmerman. The mother of Michael Brown, the classic misrepresentation of a victim of police violence, was also on the stage but did not speak. Perhaps they knew she had best keep her mouth shut since her son never met the standard of “hands up, don’t shoot”. You could see the white-guilt oozing from the liberal audience. A sad affair overall.

The Big Dog, Bubba, Slick Willie

Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, was the main speaker of the night. He spent the first half of his speech trying to humanize his wife Hillary. His choice – to describe how he courted her. Problem is that his courtship sounded more like creepy staring and stalking. He even made a reference to not knowing where starting with Hillary would lead. Impulse control issues? You might as well have had a flashing MONICA LEWINSKY sign behind him during the first half of his address. The second half of the address portrayed Hillary as a tireless defender of the downtrodden. This was very effective if you can overlook the fact she is also a pathological liar.

Clinton, the wannabe First Gentleman, was caught in a bit of a catch-22. Humanizing Hillary can’t be done because it is the very human side of her and her relationship with Bill that stinks to the core. However, the professional side of Hillary doesn’t smell much better. The only marginally redeeming conclusion from Bill’s pitch is that maybe life is complicated for everybody and the Clintons are truly clueless to how bad their complications look in public. I might also add that Bill’s delivery was lackluster. I personally don’t believe he wants his wife to be President and I’m damn sure he doesn’t want her presidency to outshine his own.

Closing the Deal with Shattering Glass

Bill was followed by Alicia Keys, singing and Meryl Streep, of all people, emoting. Then on the video display in quick succession we saw pictures of the 43 MEN who have served as President and then a shattering of glass to reveal Hillary Clinton, live from New York state surrounded by girls of all ages. Say what you like about the racial component of Barack’s election eight years ago but it was never as flagrant in that year’s convention as the gender component this year. On the one hand, I get the historic moment. On the other hand, we are one of the last civilized countries to do this so maybe we oughta be a bit more quiet about our neanderthal past? Great Britain is on its second woman PM while we get all misty eyed over our first in 230 years.

Day 1

The 2020 Audition

Just as in 2004 Barack Obama delivered the speech that would catapult him to the 2008 nomination, so did Cory Booker last night. The soaring rhetoric was, in my opinion, unmatched by anyone else that night despite what the pundits will tell you. I predict he will be the Democratic nominee in 2020 against President Donald Trump.

Two Overrated Performances and an Off-key Legend

Maybe my disgust at the entire affair tainted my judgment. Perhaps I am so drained of energy that I can’t recognize it in anyone else anymore. That said, I simply wasn’t blown away by either the First Lady, Michelle Obama nor the Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. Both seemed low energy to me. Yes, Michelle painted a poignant picture of what it is like to raise two young girls in the White House. Yes, she did tie that to whom she would trust her girl’s safety to – Hillary. But the notion Clinton can be trusted with anything is so absurd as to make the punchline of any pro-Hillary speech utterly ridiculous. I’ve seen Warren do her anti-Trump speech and she has had ten times more energy in previous performances. I don’t think her heart was in it. As for Paul Simon – good God that was almost as bad as 2012 Clint Eastwood. He could barely stay in tune for his iconic song “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. It is also odd he did not sing “America”, the song beautifully used in the best campaign ad of the season by Bernie Sanders.

The Man Who Should be King

The speech of the night was of course given by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who gave Hillary a run for her money. This capped off the only truly progressive campaign of the season. His ultimate defeat proved that Democrats are more interested in identity politics and establishment politics rather than actually changing the status quo. Bernie did what he had to do. Unlike Ted Cruz, he swallowed his pride, accepted Hillary’s boot up his ass, and wholeheartedly endorsed her. At least he did not do so without bragging about his phenomenal campaign. It was a sad day for any Democrat who really wanted change in America.

And the Total Asshole Award Goes to …

Sarah Silverman, a comedienne who prides herself on “look at me, I’m so vulgar” comedy, a former Bernie supporter, decides to lecture Bernie’s devoted followers telling them they are “being ridiculous”. Sarah needs to stick to comedy. She doesn’t understand the whole point of a political movement. She does not understand you can’t just swap one D in for another and get the same result. She doesn’t seem to care, as a Jew, that her fellow Jew was being attacked for his religious views by the political machine she now supports. Sarah is the ridiculous one. She can seriously go screw herself.

More Email Problems

Before the convention even began, emails emerged to bite Hillary Clinton in the ass again. This time the email dump came from Wikileaks and the source was Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. Understand, the DNC is supposed to be a neutral facilitator of the Democratic primary process. The emails confirmed what so many Bernie Sanders supporters already suspected. The DNC, with the knowledge of its leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to tip the scales toward Hillary Clinton. In one of the more despicable examples, there was a notion to discredit Jew Sanders as an atheist. So the party so vocally rejecting anti-Muslim rhetoric was, behind the scenes, using religion to sway the electorate. By the time the opening gavel came pounding down, Debbie Wasserman Schultz had tendered her resignation (effective Friday) and bowed out of any formal role in the convention. As far as I’m concerned this was the last straw. This scandal rendered whatever happens next this week utterly hypocritical. The party that I thought always had the moral high ground has forfeited that status. I am no longer a Democrat.

The bar is open. What do you think?