Extreme Vetting – Why I am Endorsing No One this Year

Republican nominee, Donald Trump has famously called for “extreme vetting” of new immigrants and refugees coming to America. It occurs to me that the time has come for extreme vetting of nominees for the office of President of the United States.

We are told by the media that presidential candidates take great pains to vet their VP nominee. Chris Christie’s background was so toxic in 2012 that Mitt Romney passed  him over for VP. (Christie returned the favor by spending most of his GOP convention speech talking about himself.) But who vets the top of the ticket? How would that vetting work?

The Constitution restricts the presidency on only age and citizenship. My guess is the founders wanted the office open to any patriotic American (white men in the late 18th century and any damn fool today). Should prior political experience be a requirement? Four of our presidents got elected with no prior political experience. Based on their service, no definitive causality can be constructed between political experience and success. Zachary Taylor was mediocre and the second elected Whig in a row to die in office. Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation has improved after many years of historical perspective but he’s still not ranked among our best. Herbert Hoover is associated with the worst financial crisis ever suffered by our country. Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over America’s post World War boom and the birth of suburbia. Grant and Eisenhower prove you can have a decent to excellent presidency without prior political experience.

Should some moral test be applied? This is wrought with peril as morality is a shifting target. Trump’s lewd comments caught on tape were uttered 11 years ago in an America increasingly sexualized, prior to the onslaught of the political correctness movement. I am not justifying his behavior but our reaction to it is tempered by the times we are living in. Consider this. Donald Trump boasted about the ability to grab a woman’s “pussy” if he wanted to. Back in the late 1990’s, President Bill Clinton actually inserted a cigar into Monica Lewinsky’s vagina before putting it in his own mouth. Lewinsky was his employee. It was the definition of workplace harassment.  Liberals with their hair on fire right now do not move me one iota. It’s the height of hypocrisy.

It appears that in the past, the primary voters did the vetting and did a decent job of it. In 2012, Herman Cain was a laughing-stock. He rose in the polls for a millisecond and then deservedly slipped back down before leaving the race in scandal. But something strange happened this year. Reince Priebus, GOP Chairman, probably thought Donald entering the race would do no harm and bring a bit of publicity to the party before Jeb Bush was nominated. Things didn’t work out that way. An ignorant electorate conditioned by American Idol, had a massive brain fart and Donald J. Trump, reality star, became the party’s nominee.

Things were only marginally better on the Democrat party side. A woman who has been chased by scandal after scandal, who endangered national security in her one and only Federal appointment (if you don’t count “HillaryCare”), who betrayed the fundamentals of feminism by attacking the victims of her husband’s predatory behavior, who betrayed the progressive agenda with her cozying up to Wall Street (revealed this past Friday but overshadowed by Trump’s pussy scandal), is the chosen nominee of the party. A vote for her is a vote for four years of guaranteed Nixonian paranoia and shenanigans. A vote for Hillary also gives her husband Bill a partial third term in the oval office. The man who once told America “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” while he was using her vagina as a humidor.

So neither gets my vote. For several weeks I toyed with voting for Gary Johnson. Unfortunately, Gary has proven to be a nincompoop. My principle in this election has been to not vote for the lesser of two evils. I want to vote for someone I can believe in. I’m not voting FOR someone as a vote AGAINST someone else.

So I have settled on a decision I first considered several months ago. I am boycotting the 2016 presidential election on the grounds that every candidate being offered is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. I will vote down-ticket only. I will let the rest of America deal with the pile of shit they brought upon us in the presidential primary season. I will hope that in 2020, some form of extreme vetting saves us from our current predicament.

What do you think? The bar is open.


Clinton Cash: The “Film”

Why do I put film in quotes in the title? Your average 12 year old with his own YouTube channel could have produced a more professional looking product. The roughly hour long documentary has no first person interviews. The only person filmed expressly for the doc is the Clinton Cash book author, Peter Schweizer. Everyone else is featured in stock  footage. 

If we get beyond the cheesy look of the film (disembodied hands exchanging cash, a disembodied hand writing out “$1,000,000”) and focus on content, the best we can say about the Clintons is they have zero trouble with moral ambiguity. 

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Foundation (which I believe are two related but distinct entities) play footsie with corrupt governments like that of Nigeria.  They go into Haiti after a devastating earthquake and run projects that help donors but do little to help those in need. They get into a complex scheme (that I could not completely unravel) involving uranium going to Russia and a uranium company traded on the Canadian stock market making out like bandits. And then there’s that time in Colombia when Bill just happens to bump into the Secretary of State while they’re on “independent” business trips. 

Connected to many of these arrangements are “coincidental” paid speeches by Bill Clinton, in the six figure range, almost 5 to 10 times as much as he got paid prior to Hillary becoming Secretary of State. So, the very credible allegation made is that CGI work indirectly lined the pockets of the Clintons. 

The film was produced by Steve Bannon, formerly of Breitbart fame, and now CEO of Donald Trump’s POTUS campaign. Hillary fans will call it a hit piece full of circumstantial evidence. They will call it the product of “the vast right wing conspiracy”. Hillary haters may have heard it all before. Folks on the fence though should definitely give the movie a peek to get a preview of how murky an HRC administration might be. After viewing this doc, any reasonable person would have to ask himself, can’t a charity be run without all the moral ambiguity?

I give the film 2 out five R’s for poor production quality and 4 R’s for content being thought provoking. 

Production quality: RR
Content: RRRR

This box office bonanza can already be viewed for free on YouTube. 


My Political TV Oasis and the Hillary Sex Speech

With All Due Respect

My friend and former political blogger Huck has been taking over blogging duties here lately. His film reviews and pop culture takes on politics have been great and have inspired me to knock off a quick TV review to end the year. As a bonus, I’ve drafted a speech for Hillary to deliver since Trump has her rightfully in his cross-hairs.

First some quick background. From the late 70’s I was a fan of the various incarnations of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s film review programs. Once Gene died I stuck with Roger as he went through a few co-hosts and stayed on the air until poor health forced him out from in front of the camera. We have since lost Roger too. There was something about two guys debating their opinion on a topic that was fun to watch.

Well, film has changed to politics and Siskel and Ebert has changed to Halperin and Heilemann and the show is “With All Due Respect”. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the two “Game Change” books have the same bouncy back and forth on things political that Siskel and Ebert used to have on things cinematic. Halperin is the nervous one with facial ticks and a certain obnoxious stubbornness to his interview style. Heilemann is the laid back pot smoker. Mark appears moderate, skewing perhaps a wee bit conservative. John seems pretty clearly liberal.

This is pure inside-baseball folks. You don’t get the impression that either Mark or John give that much of a rat’s ass about the good of the nation or the world. This show is not about preaching. It’s about politics as a game and how it is played. Who is winning and who is losing. It reminds me of the great WordPress blogger ChenZhen of years ago who really was just in it for the horse race. When the race got boring he retired. I stuck around trying to argue the right and wrong of things. I think I missed the point. Right and wrong only exist on a personal level. On the macro-level, sadly, it is just a game and we can either be entertained or watch in disgust.

The leading GOP candidate is a master of branding with little else to show. The leading Democratic candidate is a woman most find untrustworthy but will still inexplicably support. How can one approach this political season with any sincere hope for a good outcome? That is why I turn to my oasis in the political desert, a show where the game is indeed just a game and the analysts know exactly how to call the play by play. On a side note, I’ve caught plenty of hell from the bar patrons on my MSNBC habit. “With All Due Respect” broadcasts on the Bloomberg channel but effective January, 2016 the MSNBC snarking will begin again as the show does a dual broadcast on Bloomberg and MSNBC. Regardless, “With All Due Respect” gets five stars from me.

The Hillary Sex Speech

Donald Trump, God bless him, says the stuff everyone wants to say but is afraid to. When Hillary calls Trump crude and sexist, Donald fires back with a hat tip to her philandering husband and former POTUS Bill Clinton. In the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus gave an unconvincing argument as to why Trump was not off base. It seemed to suggest being married to a pig made attacking a pig less credible. Fine, but the better argument is Hillary’s own behavior. Hillary viewed Monica Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony” and asked that her opinion be documented, as discussed in Lewinsky’s Vanity Fair article from last year. Let’s be clear. Bill was a workplace predator. Lewinsky was a victim. Hillary lashed out at the victim, never publicly acknowledging the harm done to her.

So now in reaction to Trump, I suggest Hillary deliver in prime time, the equivalent of 2008’s Race Speech by Barack Obama. This one should be called The Sex Speech and it goes something like this:

What goes on in a marriage is nobody’s business but the people in the relationship. Donald Trump’s comments about my husband’s behavior are intrusive and rude. But I would like to take this opportunity to address an article published in Vanity Fair last year that expressed the emotional damage done to Monica Lewinsky, the intern whom my husband sexually harassed. I have zero tolerance for workplace harassment and my husband’s behavior back then was inexcusable. I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Miss Lewinsky for the pain and suffering she has gone through. I also want to apologize for not addressing this sooner. As women, we must stand together against workplace harassment. I know that Bill is sorry for his behavior. He and I have made peace with it. I hope that Miss Lewinsky can find peace also.

Of course, Hillary is way too arrogant to ever give such a speech but I think in the words of Halperin and Heilemann, it might be a game changer.

Happy New Year,