Wednesday, August 31, 2016
This year’s presidential election feels like I’m playing an endless game of whack-a-mole. Every time Donald Trump says something outrageous, tells a big lie, insults someone, or just opens his mouth in general, I have to whack him. Every time I whack him, he pops up with another heinous declamation. His attacks are starting to be hurled at warp speed and I can no longer keep up. Therefore, I will just have to whack the ones I can.
Last week, Trump’s most whack-able offense was calling Hillary a “bigot.” She’s been called all kinds of disgusting names, but she’s never been called a bigot. That’s because most people know how to identify bigots and recognize that Hillary doesn’t have a bigoted bone in her body. Her lifetime works are proof of that. I don’t think Trump believes she’s a bigot. However, it’s the oldest marketing tool ever used and Trump knows how to do it well. Say anything enough times, and it becomes embedded in people’s minds. That’s why he says, “She’s a liar. She’s a liar. She’s a liar.” Now when people think of Hillary, liar is the first thing they think. Now he is repeating bigot, bigot, bigot. Hopefully all Americans are becoming immune to his mind-control tricks. Whack-a-mole!
Another phrase Trump has said so many times is that “Hillary lacks the judgment to be President.” Well, let’s talk about Trump’s judgment. I could write a book as long as War and Peace on that topic but am constrained by space. Let’s just look at the judgment he uses to employ the management and public faces of his campaign.
In last week’s column I told you about the alt-right connections at the highest levels of Trump’s campaign. I have more to report on his new campaign manager, Steve Bannon of Brietbart News. Two major stories were released about Steven Bannon. First, his domestic violence arrest in 1996 and the court battles between he and his ex-wife that went on for ten years. Testimony in court documents revealed that one of these battles concerned his objection to the prominent private school his girls were attending in California. He said, “There are a number of Jews there. I don’t want my girls going to school with Jews.” Whack-a-mole!
The other story about Steve Bannon concerns voter fraud. This is particularly interesting because Trump is now using his marketing tool of repetition to convince us that the elections are rigged before we even cast the first vote. Bannon is registered to vote in Florida at an empty house where he has never lived. Florida law requires voters to be legal residents of Florida. Bannon’s home is in California. Bannon, in Brietbart news in 2012, made the case that “non-residents who vote in a battleground state are a threat to democracy.” Florida is one of the MOST important battleground states. So, using his own logic, that makes Trump’s campaign manager a threat to democracy. Whack-a-Mole!
And again, Trump’s judgment can be questioned because he hired Bill Stepien from New Jersey last week. In case you don’t remember, Stepien was Governor Chris Christie’s campaign aide that was fired in the Bridgegate scandal. He colluded with others to close the lanes on the George Washington Bridge in retaliation to the Mayor of Ft. Lee. Also, in one of the e-mails, he called the Mayor an “idiot.” His willingness to affect the lives of tens of thousands for a political vendetta makes Stepien unfit to serve at any level of government. He will fit in great with the rest of Trump’s campaign staff. Whack-a-mole!
We should all be concerned about the judgment Trump has shown in associating himself with this band of suspect players at the highest level of his campaign. It’s not like these people will disappear if Trump is elected President. They will be right by his side influencing his every decision or action. Either these are the types of people Trump prefers, or he gave no consideration to their character. I gave more thought and research into hiring a carpet cleaner last week than Trump did in hiring the closest confidants in his campaign to be President. Are these the type people you want standing beside the man with the nuclear codes? Whack-a-mole!
The first Presidential debate will be held September 26th, if Trump doesn’t find some excuse to weasel out of it. His debate preparation will be easy. All he has to do is come up with some additional catchy insults and repeat them. I imagine Hillary is having a hard time finding someone to play Trump. The job description calls for someone who will listen to over one hundred hours of his speeches and be familiar with everything he has ever said. I can tell you now, that’s not a job for me! I would douse myself with gasoline and set myself on fire if I had to listen to him for any extended time.
Labor Day is Monday. Labor Day is a holiday intended to celebrate the workers of America. Perhaps we should honor them by not making them work on this day. For those fortunate enough to spend Labor Day doing fun things with your family, thank an organized labor union member whose organization created this holiday.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
I can’t decide whether Facebook is a blessing or a curse on our society. One thing for sure, it’s a driving force in modern day politics. I continue to be amazed at how many people believe everything they read on Facebook as the absolute truth. They even use the saying, “I saw it on Facebook” as proof of the legitimacy of the claim. For instance, a friend called in a dither this morning because “Obama has banned the Pledge of Allegiance in all schools.” This otherwise smart man fell for this hoax without any reason other than he saw it on Facebook.
So who are these people who create these hoaxes that go viral online day after day? They are called the “alt-right.” Perhaps you’ve never heard of them, but if you have ever read one of their conspiracy theory stories or incendiary memes and found yourself believing it, you have been victimized by the alt-right.
The alt-right is a modern day Internet movement that is hostile to mainstream conservatism and the Republican Party. They target Blacks, Jews, women, Latinos and Muslims. Does that remind you of someone? While America has always had white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and neo-reactionary movements, they have now joined forces and are in one big melting pot called the alt-right. And they are dangerous, my friends, because they can reach millions with a few keystrokes.
While it has been no secret that Donald Trump has flirted with White Supremacists and other alt-right groups throughout this campaign, it became real, very real this week. Donald Trump has become the Presidential nominee for the alt-right wing of the Republican Party. Essentially, they have taken over the Republican Party and denounced traditional conservatism. The alt-right makes the Tea Partiers look like Pollyanna.
This week, Trump appointed the leader of the alt-right, Stephen Bannon, as his campaign chairman. Bannon is the editor of Breitbart News and has been one of the main leaders in the alt-right movement. He loathes conservatism, as we know it. He has constantly undermined NATO and praised Putin. His forté is peddling conspiracy theories. Trump has often used Breitbart News as his source of some of his most nefarious statements.
Roger Stone is another alt-right believer working with Trump’s campaign. Stone is a notorious muckraker. He’s the one that says that Hillary’s right-hand woman is a terrorist, because she is a Muslim.
Roger Ailes, Mr. Fox News, is now working for Trump after being ousted by Fox for being a serial sexual harasser. It was discovered when Ailes was booted, that he had been conducting a “dark operation” investigating his enemies and members of the Republican Party. He spent millions of network money for this venture. We can only speculate in what way he found this information useful.
I find no connection to the alt-right and his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, except those she associates with. The Trump campaign is in deep trouble with women. Conway said she was hired because she is an expert on how women think and what they want to hear. She obviously wrote the speech delivered by Trump Thursday night where he admitted he regretted his hurtful words. (Hell yeh he regrets them; he’s losing”!) You know, the speech touted as the one that would turn Trump’s campaign around. The speech was “her” words, not “his.” According to Conway, that’s what women want to hear. Personally, I despise pandering to me just because I’m a woman.
Speaking of women, after the big campaign shake up, Trump held a mock cabinet meeting. There were twenty-five or more present sitting around the board table. All were white men, wearing suits, no doubt made in China. At the end of the table were only two women; Kellyanne Conway and a Black professor.
Alex Jones of the Infowars Internet radio show is beyond Alt-right. This is a prime example of how fast something can spread, no matter how ridiculous. He wrote that Hillary supposedly has Parkinson’s disease, syphilis, brain damage, a brain tumor, autism, a degenerative disease that is giving her seizures and/or strokes, and a blood clot. Oh, and he says she has a drug problem.
Sean Hannity of Fox dedicated an entire week on this non-sense. Worst of all, Donald Trump is using some of these allegations as his talking points. Trump says things like, “something is wrong with her.” “She goes home and goes to sleep.” “She is mentally and physically unfit to be President of United States.” Not one iota of evidence. The alt-right and their Presidential candidate just say it and millions of people believe it.
So if it were true that Hillary is sick, perhaps with Parkinsons, and that makes her unfit to serve, then we should probably be thinking about what we’re facing here in Georgia. Hillary is not sick. But Senator Johnny Isakson is sick. Says who? Says Johnny Isakson! Should we elect someone who may have to resign before his term is completed? Do you want Nathan Deal appointing himself to the Senate? Chew on that and I’ll get back to you.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Well, look who’s back! When it was decided I would write for the Reporter again, I wondered how I would do it; how I would jump back in the fray. After all, I thoroughly enjoyed my hiatus from the various stresses one faces writing an opinion column in an otherwise right-wing newspaper. Then I remembered playing jump rope as a kid on my school playground. I hated “jumping in.” I was awful at it. The rope would slap me on the legs, but I would get up and do it again. So, here I am again!
A lot happened while I was gone. The shootings and protests were happening so fast I got them confused. It was a heart breaking time. Each time I heard the words, “This just in” my heart would skip a beat. But I don’t need to remind you of those dark days.
Also while I was off, the GOP had their much-heralded national convention. Remember when Trump promised us the biggest extravaganza in history with the biggest stars? Turns out, our Backlot Players could teach him a thing or two about production! No doubt about it, my favorite part was when Melania Trump gave Michelle Obama’s speech. The rest was like something on local access television.
As for the Democratic Convention, it was everything the GOP’s convention was not. It was choreographed down to the minute. It was truly a star-studded event with speakers from all walks of life. President Obama’s speech was nothing short of oratorical excellence. And what about Khizr and Ghazala Khan! I call them the gift that keeps on giving. I wish I could have seen the look on Trump’s face when he saw that Hillary’s balloons were bigger than his. When this convention was over, I have never felt more proud to be a Democrat. Did you Republicans feel the same about your convention?
I know you want to hear about Donald Trump. Seems no one can get enough of him. Watching him is more mind-boggling than visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. Quite frankly, I don’t know what more I can say about this man that others and I haven’t already said.
As preparation to write Unfair and Unbalanced again, I reviewed my previous columns. In my column dated September 3, 2015, I wrote this: “I want a kinder, gentler nation.” Does that sound familiar? That was the vision revealed by George H. W. Bush in his 1988 speech when he accepted the Republican nomination for President. In that same speech, he observed that the Presidency provides an incomparable opportunity for “gentle persuasion.” Evidently the electorate agreed and he was elected. What a difference twenty-seven (27) years make!
I long for a kinder, gentler nation. I fear it’s not going to happen in my lifetime. Trump has damaged the psyche of Americans so badly, it’s going to be difficult to recover.
I also noticed from my column review, that from the day he rode down that escalator, Trump has continued to ramp up his hate filled speech, pushing the envelope further each time. We have become immune to his psychotic behavior. I hear it from his supporters, “Oh, that’s just Trump.” If you had a neighbor that said the things that Trump does, you would move!
But the good news is more and more people in this country are refusing to drink his Kool-Aid. The same is true for our very own State of Georgia. At this writing, one Georgia poll shows Hillary Clinton up by 4 percentage points. Another poll shows her up by 7 points. The kicker is 10% of voters are undecided and Hillary has the momentum. Hillary’s internal polls must have convinced her that Georgia has a great chance of turning blue because she has started sending resources to Georgia and hiring staffers. It’s very exciting to be a “Battle Ground State.” We will get lots of national attention. The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee will spend millions in Georgia, as well as Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. The media in Georgia will benefit greatly from increased advertising. Regardless of which candidate wins, Georgia will be the real winner.
As this campaign ridiculousness continues, please take my sage advice. Do not discuss politics with your family, close friends, or the man that repairs your computer.