Archive for the 'Opinions' Category
Talking about the election last night I got, yet again, “Well, what about the 33,000 deleted e-mails???” The whole e-mail thing really annoys me, it’s just so absurd. Secretary Clinton did something tech-stupid, but not criminal. Technology-wise, the State Department is kind of a mess. It’s a lot of very intelligent, highly experienced people of an older generation, doing an even older job, into which very new rapidly changing technology is being shoe-horned. Tech-set up mistakes were GUARANTEED. Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail server wasn’t criminal, and it wasn’t malicious, it was just dumb. Of course, people still ask,”Why would Clinton delete 33,000 e-mails??? You don’t get 33,000 yoga tips! She’s a crook! Crooked Hillary!” Um, actually, 33,000 yoga tips is pretty damn easy to believe if you do the math…
Okay, I suck at math, but don’t worry, I used a calculator!
The Law: You’re not required to turn over any e-mails of a personal nature, including SPAM to the FBI.
Now, every day I get roughly sixty some totally useless e-mails. I get Facebook, Google+, Twitter notifications. I get iTunes, Twitch notifications. I get Apple ads, Battle.net ads. I get newsletters; Goodreads, MaddowBlog, ATIA, FAAST. I get multiples from each source, particularly the notifications. Then, I get four or five private personal e-mails that I wouldn’t show to anybody, ever, not even for money. Then, maybe I get ten casual personal e-mails. So, let’s say, I get, in my In-box, seventy-five e-mails per day.
Alright, math time!
75 x 365= 27,375
I, little ol’ me, get roughly 27,375 e-mails per year that I would delete before I handed my iMac over to the FBI. That said, rather than some complex shadowy conspiracy, it’s far easier to believe that Secretary Clinton, a mother, would have some 33,000 yoga tips, newsletters, notes about her daughter’s upcoming wedding, and private conversations with her husband that she’d rather delete than hand them over to a bunch of stiff suits. The simplest explanation is usually the right one.No comments
So, if Hillary Clinton is such a horrible disgusting corrupt liar, why isn’t she in jail, or at least out of politics? Well, as I see it, there are three options to consider. First, the Clintons are so wealthy, so powerful, that Presidents, Federal Agencies, judges all bow down to their awesome power. Second, America’s just a corrupt, filthy place. Just the right people in just the right places like the Clintons, particularly Hillary. Two senate elections got rigged for her, people covered for her crimes. We live in an awful country. Third, they can’t take Secretary Clinton down because they just don’t have the tools. There’s no smoking gun, no damning documents, nothing. The first option is just stupid. I can’t believe in theory number two, I have faith in our government, I believe that our founding fathers built something so lasting, because it is good. That leaves option three, if they could have laid Secretary Clinton low, they’d have done it. If the weapon existed, they’d have fired it like the Death Star.
There’s a tactic found in the political Dark Arts manual; throw enough darts at your opponent until one of them sticks on the board. Truth has nothing to do with anything, get down deep in the gutter, do whatever it takes. Bury your opponent in so much trash all your opponent has time to do is dig out, and even after the digging, they can’t help coming out looking dirty. Note the word, looking. Even if none of the accusations are true, none of the darts hit the board, the trash isn’t deep enough to suffocate your opponent, you still call it a win. It’s a win of perception, the perception that your opponent is absolutely guilty of… SOMETHING! This is what we see with Hillary Clinton. The right slings accusations, Republican leadership brings investigations, hearings, you name it. The media has to report, Hillary Clinton today has been accused of… Hilary Clinton is under investigation for… Hillary Clinton just wrapped up eleven hours of testimony during a Senate committee hearing on… People have had to listen to these things for nearly three decades, hence the perception, the false-perception, that she’s done SOMETHING bad. The accusations never come to anything, the investigations never uncover anything, the hearings bear no evil fruit. Sadly, with too many people, none of that matters. All that matters is perception.
The news media does these “voter on the street” segments, they ask kids, first-time voters shopping at Target with mom and dad, who are a Trumpians, So, why are you voting for Donald Trump? “Well, you know, Hillary Clinton’s just a liar, she should be in jail for the e-mails and stuff, she’s like, really bad for America. Trump’s really honest, he tells it like it is, and I like that.” Their moms and dads basically say the same things. That’s not just a coincidence. Also not a coincidence, when pressed, nobody, adults, young voters, nobody, can say exactly what she lies about, or why exactly “the e-mails and stuff” ought to land her in jail. Nobody can give specifics on anything Secretary Clinton has done that’s so corrupt, specifics backed by credible sources. If specifics are given, it’s all from Breitbart, or InfoWars, or The Heritage Foundation, or The Donald himself. Of course, The Donald gets his proof of Secretary Clinton’s corruption from Breitbart, and InfoWars, and The Heritage Foundation, and his own American Horror Story: Freakshow mind. Nor do these people realize that when fact-checked by legitimate sources, Trump’s lies, flat-out lies, total in the eighty plus percent range. Still, his supporters would swear to Christ Himself that Donald J. Trump is the only honest man in politics. It’s all about perception, again, false-perception. The perception is that Trump is a “straight-shooter,” though factually he is not. The perception is that Secretary Clinton is a corrupt liar, though factually she is not. Once perception sets in, it’s a brutal task to shake it. I want to help shake the perception that has been chained and padlocked to Hillary Clinton, but I’m not going to list all her supposed sins and litigate them. The fact that nothing on the list can be proven through a single credible source says everything.
The truth is, if you really look at her life, Hillary Clinton grew up in a blue-collar family who gave her a strong Methodist upbringing which taught her the belief that one should do as much good as they can, for as long as they can. She got into law, could have become wealthy in some private sector law firm, but she went into public service. Working for the Children’s Defense Fund she became aware of a disparity between disabled kids and public school attendance. She learned that schools didn’t accommodate kids with disabilities, so they stayed home, and the schools didn’t seem to care. Hillary took her research to Congress, and ultimately, it became law for disabled students to have access to public education. Some twenty years later, I got access to public education. She’s the first major party Presidential candidate who truly embraces disability issues. That says a lot to me about her heart. She fought discrimination, exposing schools that were supposed to be desegregated, but were not. As First Lady of the United States, after a hard-fought loss to pass Universal Health-Care, she went right back to work, this time successfully championing health care coverage for eight million children nation-wide. She served two successful terms as a New York Senator, fighting to care for 9/11 families and first responders who became ill simply by running toward the burning debris and toxic air to save others. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton reduced nuclear proliferation, fought for women’s rights and children’s rights on a global scale, and helped to finally bring Osama Bin-Laden to justice. She has done a great deal of good in her thirty years of public service, and as President, she’d do a lot more. Nobody’s perfect, but she’s good, which is what counts. As Secretary Clinton says, we are a great Nation, because we are a good Nation.
Donald Trump is a liar, a fraud, a fellow who brags about being able to commit sexual assault because his celebrity allows it. That alone should make him unfit for the Presidency. Still, there’s more. If boasting about physical sexual assault isn’t enough, how about dozens upon dozens upon dozens of instances of verbal assault against women? He’s described women as pigs, and dogs, and bimbos, and losers. He’s said his own daughter, Ivanka, is “a piece of ass.” He’s said, “For flat-chested women, it’s very hard to be a 10.” He’s made racist statements against African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims. He physically and verbally mocked a journalist with disabilities. Still, people defend him, they rationalize his documented total lack of a morale-compass by saying, “Well, we’re not voting for Sunday-school teacher, we’re voting for President.” That argument doesn’t hold much water either, as Trump has absolutely zero experience in politics, let alone public service. He lacks the basic knowledge that I learned in ninth-grade American Government. His shallow understanding of policy, both domestic and foreign, is astonishing. He doesn’t understand that in America, Presidents don’t jail their political enemies. He doesn’t grasp that you don’t start a shooting war over Iranian soldiers making crude gestures toward our soldiers. He’s never held any form of public office, yet now he feels he’s entitled to the highest public office in the land. Donald Trump has spent his entire adult life in service to one person, himself. He is dangerously unqualified for the Presidency.
Hillary Clinton is a true public servant, she’s everything a President should be; kind, intelligent, level-headed, experienced. Look at facts, not perception, and make the right choice in November.3 comments
So, last night’s Vice-Presidential debate was contentious, lots of arguing and lots of Senator Kaine and Governor Pence talking over each other. The folks on MSNBC were complaining, analyzing, intellectualizing, world without end, amen. Normally, I like all that banter, but last night it was just annoying. If not for Lawrence O’Donnell, I’d have been vexed enough to change the channel. I’ve really come to respect and admire Lawrence O’Donnell, he sees Trump for the fraud that he is and calls him out on it. He and I shared a post-debate take-away…
Throughout the debate, Senator Kaine confronted Governor Pence with all of the outlandish and dangerous things said by both Trump and Pence during the campaign. Sometimes Pence tried to deflect, others he tried to pivot and get back on message, but often he simply denied with righteous disdain that no such thing was ever said, while strongly implying that Senator Kaine was being crude for even bringing up such muck. Now, being a lawyer, Senator Kaine knew that you never ask questions to which you don’t already know the answers. So, in that vein, he made statements that he knew to be correct. Donald Trump said, women should face “some form of punishment” for seeking abortions. Pence then vehemently denied that Trump ever said such a thing. Of course, he had said it. Governor Pence said that “inarguably Vladimir Putin is a stronger leader in his country than President Obama is in this country.” Again, Governor Pence strongly denied saying anything like that, but he did, and not long ago. He flat out lied over and over again. It wasn’t two candidates differently interpreting nuanced policy, it was one being factual and one not.
Lying bothers me, particularly stupid lying, which seems to be the Trump campaign’s favorite sort of lying. They say wildly untrue things, things that can be easily fact-checked, yet they say them anyway! History is factual, it isn’t flexible, it isn’t open to interpretation. You can’t say, “Well, if you look at Abraham Lincoln’s presidency like this, the Civil War never actually happened.” That is, unless you live in Trump-land. In Trump-land, anything goes, as we saw in last night’s VP debate.No comments
So, the Trump campaign is trying to spin his near-billion dollar business loss in 1995 and subsequent legal dodging of taxes as pure genius. They’re calling it a true American comeback tale. Ol’ Donald took a hit, pulled himself up by his boot-straps and ultimately prospered. It’s a great story, a story that people need to look at more closely.
Let’s take the biggest chunk first. Trump had this idea to build casinos and what-not, but it was obviously a really bad idea. When you lose almost a billion dollars in a single year, you did bad business. You screwed up. So, his “comeback” started after a giant mistake.
Now, let’s look at that billion dollars, where it came from and who really lost it. That billion dollars wasn’t Donald Trump’s, he didn’t bet big on his dream with his money and lose. No, Donald Trump went to banks, to private investors and he asked them to fund his dream, to trust him with THEIR money. The banks lost, the investors lost, Trump made out just fine. He wrote it all off as one huge loss for himself, so he wouldn’t have to pay Federal income tax for potentially the next eighteen years. Did he take full advantage of those eighteen years? We don’t know, he won’t release his tax returns to prove things one way or another. Still, given his KNOWN business practices, his KNOWN personal philosophy, and given that he absolutely does not want the American people to see his tax returns, I’d bet my own money he took those eighteen years whether he needed them or not. Why? As Trump always says, “It’s good business.” If you’re not paying income tax, your profits are higher, that’s what business is all about! The write offs were perfectly legal. The thing is, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right to do. First, if he’s the billionaire he claims to be, he didn’t need eighteen years to be made whole again, but whenever we get a glimpse of his income reporting, it’s always really low. So, he’s either not ultra-rich, or he’s gaming the system to avoid paying taxes. Second, many people, particularly the very wealthy, know that they COULD game the system, could use every single trick in the book, but they don’t. People understand that taxes are what fund roads, bridges, the military, care for veterans, everything Trump says is a “disaster,” yet won’t pay his fair share to help make better. Paying your fair share is just the right and ethical thing to do.
Morality and ethics are nothing to Donald Trump, all he cares about is profit, personal profit. He pulled off his great American comeback by making the American tax payers bleed for him. He got his second chance, but rather than give back to the country that has given him so much, Donald Trump takes and takes and takes. His textile business does its manufacturing in China. He buys inferior Chinese steel for his construction projects. He stiffs small businesses that provide the materials and labor for his luxury hotels. He has built his empire by cheating the little guy, by cheating America.
Donald Trump is not a genius. He’s a ruthless, unethical con who only cares about himself. Why would he suddenly change after he’s elected President? The answer is, he wouldn’t. He doesn’t belong anywhere near the Oval Office, he lacks even the most basic qualities inherent to public service. That’s what the President is, a public servant, someone who puts their own needs last. Donald Trump is a servant, but only to his own desires. Our great nation cannot suffer such a man to be President.1 comment
So, obviously, I haven’t written in… awhile. It seemed like a break was necessary.
Anyway, after finishing my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge WAY early, I decided to re-read Caitlin R. Kiernan’s entire body of work. If you haven’t read Kiernan, it’s like saying you’ve never read Faulkner. She’s important.
I don’t re-read many writers, it usually feels pointless. They give you a story, the secrets are revealed and that’s that. Generally, it doesn’t seem worth the time to go through the book again. It’s not like you can multi-task while reading, it’s a real time-sink. Of course, rules have exceptions, and Caitlin R. Kiernan is on my very short list of exceptions. Unlike so many writers of our day, Kiernan doesn’t spoon-feed readers her stories’ revelations. She is very against “the reveal,” she leaves readers with questions, she leaves us to decide on so many whys and wherefores. It’s cause for criticism on occasion, which to me, only proves that readers are getting lazy. If you can’t google it, something’s obviously wrong. Our world isn’t supposed to have mystery, unanswered questions make us uncomfortable. The thing is, when you’re writing about human frailty, insanity, loss, magic, beings who were around to see the sun blink on, sometimes there just aren’t answers. Some things are simply unknowable.
Caitlin R. Kiernan writes beautifully conceived, gorgeously dark and compelleing stories that are fun to read and read and read again because with each reading the fog clears a little more, but never completely. There’s always something left to think on, always another reason to take another look.
Right now, I’m reading The Drowning Girl, which is a pretty good place to start if you’re new to Kiernan’s work. It’s a one of her stand-alone novels, it has absolutely no ties to her other books. It’s one of the most unique works of fiction I’ve ever read.
Well, that’s enough for now.1 comment
So, I get political when I feel like it, but I don’t think overly so. I’ve made it crystal clear that I don’t support Bernie Sanders, but I don’t feel like I post anything really divisive. Yet…
I noticed this tweet today:
“@wholeexpanse bye Michael it was nice knowing you. peace out #feelthebern”
I got unfollowed by someone who had followed me for awhile, who seemed to care about me when I’m up or down, all because I posted against The Bern. Whatever happened to agree to disagree? When did politics become, “We’re all liberal Democrats, but if you don’t like my candidate, fuck off?” Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed, I feel. They fought each other hard, they were trying to create something completely new, a Great Nation ruled by its people, their debates were often heated. Still, at the end of the day, they didn’t despise each other. They remained civil, men working toward a common goal.
Today, apparently all bets are off. Rather than admit his obvious defeat, rather than deciding to work toward uniting the Democratic party, Sanders seems bent on derision and division. He could still see his ideas come to fruition, if he would just admit that the people have spoken, just not for him, and collaborate with Secretary Clinton… with the Party. Instead, he continues the farce he calls a campaign, pitting his supporters against the rest of the Party, wasting MILLIONS of dollars that would be better spent helping us to take back Congress. Bernie Sanders is no Jefferson Smith fighting for a noble lost cause, he’s fighting a pointless lost cause in order to satisfy his own delusions of grandeur. He’s creating a rift between people who ought to be speaking out as one voice against the very real threat that is Donald Trump.No comments
So, I was totally overly giddy to find Darkest Dungeon on the Mac App Store. It’s a very unique Lovecraftian role-playing game set in and around a once grand manor-house fallen into ruin after a mix of hedonism and occult magick unlocked doors that were not meant to be unlocked. It’s unsettling to play, in a really fun way, using hand-drawn gothic imagery to bring its twisted tale to life.
I’m playing way too much already.No comments