Sleeping through the wake-up call

What’s the first thing you think when you hear, “Ralph Nader”? The first thing that comes to my mind is, “narcissist whose obstinacy led to the most disastrous presidency in our history”. It’s not right that this could be his epitaph, since he should be remembered for his lifetime of selfless consumer advocacy, and the genuine differences he made in our quality of life.

Nader also made many good points about our electoral process during his 2000 run for office. No one could argue with him that both major parties are beholden to corporate interests, that the American people deserve more and better choices, and so on.

But his blind spot was his insistence then (and now) that there was no real difference between Bush and Gore. Admittedly, it was a little hard to see why this wasn’t true at the time, as no one really knew much about GWB, and no one had a crystal ball. But the lesson should certainly have been learned in retrospect: one of the two major party candidates was going to be the next president and they were NOT the same.

The people who backed Nader were so convinced he was the only guy for the job, that a third of them said they would not have voted at all in a two-person race. When the dust cleared, Florida went to Bush by only 537 votes. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida. Exit polls asked respondents how they would vote in a two-person race between Bush and Gore.  47% of the Nader voters said they would choose Gore, 21% would choose Bush, and 32% would not vote.

Here’s the thing. 16 years later, this important lesson has still not been learned. The people who still plan to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson at this point are just delusional. They know not what they do.

But what about the Bernie voters who now insist they won’t vote at all?

capture

In this random article,  a young genius-for-Bernie says:

“I could, at this point, care less if Hillary Clinton won or lost because I think that Donald Trump winning might actually be a wake-up call for the rest of the country, and a wake-up call for the Democratic Party.”

Kid, try to understand. The wake-up call is not Trump winning the presidency. The wake-up call is Trump winning the nomination.

Voting for Bernie

In Massachusetts, it doesn’t much matter if I vote in the presidential election. The state will go to the Democrat.

In 1968, Nixon ran on his “Secret Plan to End the War” (for any Millennials that might stumble on this, that would  be Viet Nam). By the time 1972 rolled around, the war was still going strong, and another 20,000  American boys had been pointlessly killed. But in the 1972 presidential election, Massachusetts didn’t have much company.

Image result for 1972 electoral college map

If you want to feel like your vote matters in MA, the primary is your best shot. This time around, I voted for Bernie. I knew Hillary would make a perfectly fine executive, but I thought she wouldn’t be a very strong candidate.

Running for president and being president require two completely different skill sets, and I knew Hillary had problems with the first. She just wasn’t a natural like Bill was. Not to mention the headwinds she’d face with the 25 years of made-up scandals that FoxNews would be yammering about. She could actually lose the election, despite being the best person for the job.

Voting for Bernie was a rush.  First of all, it would the greatest thing in the world if the U.S. elected a Jewish Socialist as president. It would finally take the idiotic stigma off being either.

But the main thing was Bernie was a guy who believed in the power of government to do good things, to solve problems, to lift us all up. He believed it sincerely and passionately, and deep in his Jewish Socialist bones. Hillary is more a technocrat, and that’s good too. Life would be better under her than under any Republican alternative who would believe that government is never the solution, but always the problem. With the modern Republicans, you know what you’re going to get: an anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-science, environment fucker that is beholden to Dark Money.

At least, that’s what we thought until the Ass-Clown-in-Chief hijacked the whole thing. With Trump, the problem is he has no beliefs, no principles, and, worst of all, no consistency. He only cares about “likes”, “upvotes”, or whatever the hell it is you get from Twitter. Every thought and “position” is transient. Don’t like what I said just now, how about the opposite?

It turns out Trump understands the job of running for president a lot better than anyone thought. But how well does he understand the job of being president? I know what the people of Massachusetts think, but what about the rest of you? Stay tuned…

The Sun Revolves Around the Earth

I was watching one of those focus group things after the third Clinton-Trump debate. They had a bunch of “undecided” voters in a room, and were asking them whether anything they heard would cause them to commit to vote for one of the candidates.

It’s been said before, but, really, who the hell could possibly be undecided at this point? You already know you’re dealing with people who don’t have it quite together. So, of course most people said, no, nothing had changed for them. And one guy said yeah, he was now voting for Hillary, and a woman said now she was voting for Trump. Everything is designed to be “fair”,  meaning the ridiculous false equivalency that we’ve been served up here must be maintained, or else, God forbid, someone will say the coverage is biased.

Anyway, her “reasoning” was along the lines of “they’ve had eight years, blah blah nothing changed something something America etc etc.”  I wasn’t really listening. Put it this way – I’m not undecided and this moron wasn’t gonna change that.

But I totally get the impulse to throw the bums out. Doesn’t matter if unemployment is down, the stock market is up, Guantanamo is moribund, we’ve got the only kind of peace we’re ever going to have in our lifetime, and so on. Give someone else a chance. Change is good. Let’s shake it up a little.

Except this time is different. The one guy is so obviously, manifestly, thoroughly unfit for the job, we just can’t let it happen. This time, we have to keep the bums in.

In this country, everyone is entitled to be as stupid as they like. It’s in the Constitution. I almost wrote “that’s what makes our country great” there. Problem is, the die is cast. It’s too late now. The worst just might happen. There’s nothing left to do about it. It could be President Trump.  If only the election WERE rigged!

Does anyone actually listen to this guy?

At a rally in Delaware, Ohio on Thursday, Trump said he would accept the election results if he won.

What a relief!

He also said, “And always, I will follow and abide by all of the rules and traditions of all of the many candidates who have come before me. Always.”

Really? Shall we start with your tax returns?

Ted Turner Started It – Background

Before cable TV, and CNN, everyone got their news through the three TV networks. At a prescribed time once a day, trusted figures like Walter Cronkite told the American people what was newsworthy. They didn’t interpret it. They didn’t spin it. There was no agenda, or at least that was the idea. News was not a profit center for the networks, but the fulfillment of an obligation to the government, “payment” for the use of the airwaves over which their for-profit programming would be offered before and after the news was presented.

Ted Turner came up with the brilliant idea of a for-profit 24 hour news network that was offered over pay cable and therefore not subject to existing constraints and conventions. The first gulf war revealed the enormous pent-up demand for up-to-the-second news. No longer did we have to wait until six PM to find out who was shooting at who.

So far so good.

But Turner also had another idea that most people didn’t recognize as a problem at the time – he wanted to present an international viewpoint to an international audience. This meant the occasional story from the Iraqi point of view or stories about how the U.S. military was actually fucking things up now and then.

This was a little jarring to some people who felt that the news presented by Americans to Americans should understand Americans to be the good guys. CNN employed journalists, yes, but before that they were Americans. Edward R. Murrow never presented any story from the German viewpoint. He wanted us to win, though this was not understood as “bias” at the time.

Enter Roger Ailes. In the news-for-profit era, increasing ratings was far more important than getting the story right. The line between opinion and reporting blurred. FoxNews created a winner with its hard right fact-free version of the news, easily surpassing CNN in viewership, which was now the only important measure of success.

The only loser was the American people. No longer did we all tune in to the same stories at the same time every day to learn what was going on. Now there was a 24-hour echo chamber in which we could all have our viewpoints validated without worrying about what might be “true”, or, perhaps, learning something. Just stay away from those “other” channels, the ones only idiots watch.

Ted Turner Started It – Conclusion

First the news/opinion line was blurred, but that wasn’t enough in the news-for-profit era. In the quest for ratings and dollars, FoxNews went the next step – news became entertainment.

Entertainment needs personalities, thus the rise of O’Reilly, Hannity, etc. Their formula was simple: from day one of the Clinton administration, it was all accusations all the time. Nonstop nonsense. Gays in the military. Hillary’s health care efforts. Finally they got their meal ticket in Ken Starr. “Whitewater” led to Lewinsky blow jobs, 24/7. A very effective peace-and-prosperity administration was undermined (and our power and influence internationally, as well). Shoot at bin Laden? “Clinton is just playing Wag the dog. Well hear more from Linda Tripp when we come back”.

And always they were at Hillary. “Tonight: Is she the evil murderer of Vince Foster or simply a misguided lunatic? A fair and balanced discussion after this.”

Because of the stain on Clinton created by Murdoch/Ailes, Al Gore has to run away from the excellent Clinton record. Bush slides in, resulting in eight years of willful ignorance, profligacy, and the disastrous shadow presidency of Dick Cheney. The middle east is destabilized for keeps.

Obama landslide results, but FoxNews never quits attacking. The terrorist fist bump. Birthers. Framing a middle-of-the-road moderate as a dangerous radical. All the while they have their eye on the Heiress Apparent. Liar! Benghazi! Emails! Goldman Sachs!

Now comes Trump. Again with Bill’s blowjobs. After 25 years of the made up scandals and carping on Crooked Hillary’s criminal empire, FoxNews can no longer dial it down. When Trump whips up the “lock her up” crowd, they have to buy in. They can’t now say, “actually, you know what, never mind, we didn’t mean it all these years. You’ve gone to far. What are we – Iran? In this country, we don’t imprison or execute our political opponents.”

The toothpaste is out of the tube. Thanks for nothing, Ted Turner.

The New Republic explains Trump

The Pro-Trump Intellectuals Who Want to Overthrow America

What a crock.

How about this instead: Just as digital technology has disrupted and redefined all other endeavors and professions – journalism, retail, travel, cab drivers, stock brokers, classified advertising, yard sales, radio broadcasting, telephones, photography, pornography, and so much more – it has also changed what it means to be a politician.

Trump does not need a war chest of hundreds of millions to press his case (or should I say his venomous babbling) via TV ads on networks that no one watches any more. He doesn’t need Gallup polls when he has “likes”, “upvotes”, and “followers”. He only needs his cell phone and Twitter. All is said in 140 characters. All is transient, forgotten, contradicted, amplified, and transmogrified seconds later in the next tweet. Nothing is vetted. Facts, or as the Straussians prefer, “truth”, matters not.

Idiocracy has given way to Twitterocracy. The death of the printed word signals the birth of Trumpism. Give the worst instincts and impulses of everyone and anyone a platform and megaphone equal in power and authority to the New York Times, and let the devil take the hindmost.