Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Grandma's Political Primer

I don't do Facebook. Sometimes Steve reads or shows me things he finds of special interest. Today it was a discussion between my daughter and granddaughter (no names but those who know me know them) about Clinton vs. Trump. My granddaughter starts with she doesn't really follow politics, but she thinks Trump has more to offer than Hillary.

I sent the following email:

subject line: Clinton v. Trump

Dear (Granddaughter),

Steve's been reading me some of the conversation between you and (your Aunt) on the subject. I can agree with one thing you have said. That's that you have not been keeping up with politics. Here's what you can call "Grandma's Political Primer."

Lets go back to when Hillary was First Lady... of Arkansas. She and Bill came up outside of the mainstream political system and still he won the support of the people. Yeah, he was screwing around, but that's on him, not her. Because they were "outsiders", they got attacked just to get some insider into the office "because they'd earned it" by being part of the organized system. Then, and at every step along the way, people who knew Hillary came to love and respect both her and her knowledge, not to mention her ethics.

Advance to Bill getting elected President. Still considered an outsider, and still hated by the establishment, the "Machine" cranked up to ruin him. By then Fox News, sponsored by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdock, gained the muscle to go on a 24/7 campaign to ruin the Clintons and any other Democrat they could in order to advance their own agenda. (Study fascism and its goals, not as a name calling tactic but the philosophy that thinks only the rich should have power, and should only use it to get richer on the backs of the little guys.)

Fox did 2 things. They put TVs in all kinds of public places like doctor's offices and airports, making sure they were tuned to their channel with no way to switch the channel, and then began their propaganda war against liberals. All liberals. They made liberal a dirty word, working to shame news outlets not to air contrary information for fear of being "too liberal". Facts became Fox facts, i.e. whatever served their cause only.

They knew their history, and knew the power of the "Big Lie". Repeat it often and loudly enough and it becomes perceived as the truth. After all, it's on TV, right? So it must be true, because we'd had years of integrity in news reporting, a policy called Equal Air Time, and actual fact checking of statements from everybody, including politicians. Reagan got congress to end that requirement, but the people still trusted. They weren't following politics either. Just in the habit of trusting.

Back to the Clintons. Even before they arrived in the White House, the Machine geared up against them. Are you old enough to remember Kenneth Starr? He publicly announced he was going to bring them down. And from that "neutral" position, he was made a special prosecutor for Congress in order to do just that. It started, actually, with Nixon, forced to resign over criminal activities rather than face impeachment. Republicans were mad and wanted to get even.

The outsiders were thought to be easy pickings. It started with Whitewater, probably the only "scandal" without a -gate added on the end. It was a real estate investment deal that the Clintons put some money in. They had no control over what happened, just made an overly optimistic investment. It fizzled. Good ol' Ken thought he had a scandal. He didn't, and not for lack of trying. Eventually he cost taxpayers $50 million for his investigations. Other issues were brought in: who was used as a travel agent, whom X-mas cards were sent out to. When a friend, Vince Foster, committed suicide, they were accused of murdering him. It finally all came down to sex. Two people were found who (later admitted) lied under oath. One was an Arkansas highway patrolman who claimed he "found" unwilling women for Bill to have sex with, and Paula Jones, who lied about being one of them. Of course, hearing so many accusations, a lot of folks believe/d there was something criminal actually there. (Big Lie at work.)

Since there was no there there, it might have all gone away, except for one thing. Bill actually had a history of infidelity, and was currently getting blow jobs from a very willing intern named Monica Lewinski. She was stupid enough to keep a souvenir, a little blue dress with a semen stain, and even stupider when she told another woman, Linda Tripp, a member of the opposition, all about it. Starr pushed for impeachment, stretching the terms to justify it way past the constitutional definition. It failed.

And interesting side note here is that history has shown that the loudest voices for impeachment were themselves philanderers, some hiring prostitutes, some diddling young boys, some closeted gays back when that was totally unacceptable, especially politically. At least Bill had willing, adult partners. Not saying his actions were OK, but less awful than many, and no worse than many former Presidents.

Note that Hillary very publicly gave him the cold shoulder for months, but after a lot of counseling, the two put their marriage back together. What it is now, what it was then, is private. She of course took a lot of flak for not divorcing him.

One of the first and main things Hillary did as First Lady was, consulting with a lot of experts, put together a healthcare plan that 1) got sent to congress for their evaluation and hopefully, after doing their thing with amendments, passage, and 2) was a whole lot better than what finally got put together as Obamacare. Please note that what finally passed years later is almost identical to Bob Dole's plan, fine by Republicans back when he proposed it, considered a very poor second to what Hillary's group recommended. Once again, being the "outsider" cost support.

Meanwhile, the machine ground on, though many of its members disgraced themselves publicly and fell out of public office and public view. Not necessarily out of actual power, however.

Hillary (and Bill) moved to New York. Ex Presidents can play golf, work for Habitat for Humanity, or start a charitable foundation to do good around the world. Hillary won a Senate seat and ably represented New York  while Dubbya ignored warnings about Bin Ladin planning to use airplanes a weapons, ignored reports that WMD's were no longer in Iraq, and took us into the wrong war for the wrong reasons. He also ignored Bin Ladin, the actual leader of 9/11. On the plus side, if he was screwing around, he kept it well hidden.

Obama came in, giving us a President we - and the world, don't belittle that! - could finally believe in. He made Hillary Secretary of State, so even though they were rivals, he saw something valuable there. The Machine now had two targets. There was the black guy, and never fail to underestimate the remnants of racism in this country. Those folks are still plentiful, and they're angry. They also had Hillary, as rumors swirled around her for years that she had ambitions on the White House.

First they tried to make hay out of the tragedy of Benghazi. You've surely heard the accusations by now. After all, there were 7 (!!!) hearings trying to pin the blame for the loss of 4 lives on her. Even the most slanted of them found nothing. Congress had slashed the security budget for our embassies beforehand. Ambassador Stevens had turned down extra guards, believing he was well liked and safe there. When a controversial video came out angering the devout Muslim world, a small group came in and took advantage of the unrest to turn it into a violent riot. (Hey, same thing in Fergusson and a lot of other cities in the US over cops shooting blacks, turning peaceful protests into riots and lootings. ) But because the video was known about first, crediting it for the unrest was seen as some kind of evil coverup by Clinton and others. The rumor that our jets were told to stand down instead of coming to our aid in Benghazi has been proven repeatedly to be false. No such order was given, and no jets were stationed close enough to have done an ounce of good anyway. So every, and I mean EVERY, investigation exonerated Hillary. Of course, Fox didn't, beating the drum with lies and innuendo for years.

(Your Aunt) has taken you through the email bruhaha. Listen to her. Believe her. Policies were changing at the time she - Hillary - took over as Secy. of State. Internet security was just becoming "a thing", and yes, mistakes were made. They have, and I'm sure will continue to increasingly be, corrected. No criminal intent was found, even by the head of the FBI. Fox plays the worse edit of his statement over and over, but I bet you've never heard him say that what happened never came close to rising to the level where any kind of punishment was appropriate. And yes, that question was asked. And answered.

And erasing emails, accidentally or on purpose? Give me a break please. My spam folder gets filled with suggestions on how to spend money I don't have, ways to increase the size of body parts that don't grow on me, diet miracles that never are, and even people I maybe have met but don't want to talk to.  My regular folder fills with cute pictures, funny jokes, more ads my spam folder hasn't filtered out yet, invitations for phone sex with a stranger, claims of court dates disguising malware, just open this zip attachment for the details. Sure I delete them. I even delete conversations with loved ones, long after they cease to be important.  I bet you do too. Are we crooks? We're not that important so we don't start off with 5,000 new emails each week. Imagine it.

Fox goes on and on about the use of 13 cell phones over the four years. Think about it. They get wet and die. Screens break. Newer models replace older ones. They get lost, maybe on the way out the door, maybe between car seats, maybe heading to 4 other countries in 3 days. Calls come in to associates who hand it over with a "it's for you". I bet you can think of more reasons people switch phones, and unless you know a lot of drug dealers, pimps, and terrorists, not one of them is hinky.

So please, before you swallow anything about "Crooked Hillary", consider the source and the history. It's way too easy to  dismiss it all with that smoke-there's-fire nonsense.

If you want a better health plan, or child care plan, or tuition plan, write an actual letter - not email, not form petition, but paper and stamps - to the person in office who has some say. Try Klobuchar and Franken, working where the actual laws get made. Find out who is the Representative where you live now and write them and if that's no help, vote for the opposition.

Now, why on earth would you consider Trump? Examine most of his so-called plans, then look at the constitution and the limits of powers, and ask yourself which of them he'll actually accomplish. Keep in mind he's even less liked by his own party than the Clintons were. Can he build a wall - much less should he? - and force another country to pay for it? Do you actually support all the racist things he's been saying about Mexicans, African Americans, Muslims? The rest of the world is terrified of him taking office, and equally afraid if we were stupid enough to elect Dubbya, and if Britain was stupid enough to vote in Brexit on a lark (per exit poll interviews), we might go for Trump this time. These are the world powers who know Hillary, and TRUST HER!

By the way, he'd love you. You're slim and attractive. That's how he values women. He wouldn't care if you're kind, smart, supportive, nurturing, decisive, happy, goal oriented, honest, hard working. Like I do.

As a businessman, first consider, on the experience of 12 years in government, that business and government often have opposite goals, require different skills, and have different kinds of results. So take his claim of expertise with a grain of salt.

Or a bushel.  Ask yourself, how does the house lose when it's a casino and everything is slanted towards the house winning? How does one go bankrupt running a casino? Might this have anything to do with his hiding his tax returns. Perhaps he doesn't want us to know exactly what kind of business man he is.   Look at his universities and the fraud charges against him for them. No, not drummed up by political opponents, but legal processes. Has he actually skipped paying income taxes for the last 18 years, and if not, why not show us? Does he care about this country, or just himself and what he can get out of it for himself? Do you want a president who mocks the handicapped, denigrates our soldiers, sexually harasses females? How about one who incites violence during his rallies?

If you think one possibly better idea, all disclaimers above noted, is worth throwing your vote that way, then with all respect, as you asked, I'll be terribly disappointed in you.


PS Grandpa says he loves you too.

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