Sunday, November 6, 2016

Donald Trump: Candidate Y2K16

Remember the late 90s, when everybody was in a tizzy over the imminent end of the world because the geeks hadn't fixed the clocks in computers? And remember how we woke up on January 1, 2000 to an intense hangover of continuing life, our money still in the bank, electricity still thrumming through the grid.. and most important of all, intact and crystal clear cell phone and Internet connections?

This time around, the disaster hysteria revolves around the very slim chance that a different kind of virus known as Donald J. Trump will usher in Armageddon.  If Trump is elected, Putin will invade America, take over the Internet, and super-rich people will be fleeing the country in droves. It couldn't get any worse than that last part.  

And it would be all your fault because, even if you personally voted for Hillary Clinton, you obviously didn't work for her hard enough, guilt-tripping your friends and neighbors into voting for her too. This failure to work for free for a quarter-billionaire is the new original sin. Because only Hillary can save the planet. The Guardian said so right in a front page editorial over the weekend.

What really had the serious people freaking out over the weekend was revered odds-making guru Nate Silver giving Donald Trump about a 35 percent chance of beating Hillary. As a result, he is being declared a jerk and a traitor by the HillHuffPo. How dare he crunch numbers that are not, at minimum, one hundred percent favorable to Hillary Clinton? Nate Silver is causing unnecessary "waves of panic" all across the landscape. By putting his thumbs on the math scales, he is almost as dastardly as FBI Director James Comey himself.

The declaration of treachery in turn unleashed an F bomb-laced, 14-part Tweet-storm from Nate Silver, who in his own defense was even forced to partially plagiarize Michelle Obama.

"When you go low, I go high 80% of the time, and knee you in the balls the other 20% of the time," the math whiz fumed.

But Nate Silver's feelings getting hurt is nothing compared to the angst that The Market is experiencing in the End Times. They're in a downright shuddering frenzy. With Donald Trump's poll numbers improving, the S&P 500 was down for the ninth straight day on Friday, something that hasn't happened since 1980. The Donald Bug has led to the most prolonged selloff in stocks since the '08 financial crisis.  Even the manufactured Y2K Bug-Panic of '99 didn't have the power of Trump.

So it's only natural that media pundits would also be scared out of what passes for their wits.

Frank Bruni, who only last week vowed to quickly get over his Trump coverage addiction, isn't quite there yet. He admits to being "terrified" by Election Armageddon. Even if we all wake up Wednesday morning breathing a sigh of post-Trumpian relief, our fear will linger on like a really bad case of the measles:
There’s no end here, just a punctuation mark, a measly comma between the rancor that has built until this point and the fury to come. And there’s no way to un-see what all of us have seen over these last 18 months, to bottle up what has been un-bottled.
Election Day will redeem and settle nothing, not this time around. No matter who declares victory, tens of millions of Americans will be convinced — truly convinced — that the outcome isn’t legitimate because untoward forces intervened. Whether balloons fall on Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, there will be bolder divisions in America than there were at the start of it all and even less faith in the country’s most important institutions.
I know exactly what he means. The FBI, which has been in its own frenzy of fear-mongering through entrapment of marginalized people into fake terror plots while ignoring warnings of real terrorists like the Tsarnaev brothers, is a prime example. It's been such a well-regarded public institution for well over a century. And just look at it now. James Comey's re-opening of the Clinton email investigation and meddling in our free and fair elections has seriously tarnished its stellar reputation. It has effectively neutered its recent noble accomplishment of secretly scanning millions of our Yahoo email accounts. If we can't all be considered terrorists until never proven otherwise, we might as well become atheists and refuse to recite the Pledge. If we're going to be divisive, we may as well go whole hog and be boldly divisive.

And the rest of the world respecting us? Forget about it. Donald Trump has been such an embarrassment. He is doing untold damage to the reputation of Barack Obama, so beloved throughout the globe for his humanitarian wars and drone assassinations. If Trump wins, the rich and famous people had better think of emigrating to Waziristan so they can huddle in the safety of the tribal regions. Better to hear drones constantly buzzing above your heads than to have to listen to Donald's potty mouth all the time.

In its recent survey of global attitudes,  Pew researchers discovered that the majority of residents of other countries strongly disapprove of both the Obama administration's drone attacks and its widespread surveillance upon ordinary citizens. Trump would seriously erode these ratings, because he would probably be prone to bragging about the atrocities. The United States might not get as many Likes in the global popularity sweepstakes under Trump. It would lose the favorability it still enjoys, against all odds. Even Nate Silver might be flummoxed.

And what a toll a Trump presidency would take on freedom of the press. His serial insults of news agencies and reporters might even cause the USA to drop from its current dismal 41st place in Reporters Without Borders' annual ranking list. What a dreadful blow to our national reputation it would be for Mauritania or Slovenia or Niger to beat us in the event of a Trump victory. It's already bad enough that the highly ranked Scandinavian countries are as transparent about informing the public as they are generous in their "people first" social welfare programs.

Of course, much of the fear-mongering about the Trump of Doom is for crass purposes of last minute fund-raising for the Democrapublican Party and its respective offshoots. So any email you're receiving slugged "Dead Heat!"  is bound to contain a panic-stricken appeal for cash.

Here's former Bernie Sanders supporter Robert Reich mongering on behalf of  MoveOn, one of the biggest Democratic veal pens in existence:
By now, we all know the stakes of this election—and the choice between a dangerous authoritarian demagogue or a woman of great experience and commitment, running on the most progressive major-party platform ever.
We all know the real threat that Donald Trump could win. The polls have tightened to a dead heat this week, with Trump ahead in many battleground states.
Even the normally cool President Obama is siding with Nate Silver and pretending to push the Trump panic button. “This should not be a close race, but it’s going to be a close race," he warned North Carolina voters last week.

Obama should just relax. 

I, for one, am feeling very relaxed. I just mailed in my ballot, and feminist that I am, voted for four fine women: Jill Stein of the Green Party for president; Robin Laverne Wilson of the Green Party for U.S. Senate; Zephyr Teachout of the Democratic Party for U.S. House of Representatives; and  Pramilla Malick of the Democratic Party for New York State Senate.

(Malick is really something of a miracle in these parts. Although the GOP incumbent has run unopposed for decades, more people have chosen "blank" on their ballots than have actually voted for him. Senator Blank has been the real victor for way too long. So it's nice to actually have a real human choice for change.)

I'll be back after Election Day... assuming that there is no shocking TrumPutin Armageddon and I still have an Internet connection.

Vote! And don't let anybody tell you you're throwing your vote away if you choose to diverge from the Duopoly. That line of bull got stale a long time ago.

As Corey Robin lays out in an excellent post, we mustn't let the inevitable gaslighting by Hillary supporters get to us:
 Liberals in the media, academia, political circles, and on social media who support Clinton act as if your one vote—out of the more than 100 million cast—determines the fate of the republic. If you vote for Stein (whether in a safe state or not), you are personally responsible for Trump’s inauguration.
These voices are often the very same people who, when challenged about Clinton’s voting record in the Senate or Obama’s policies, will say: Clinton was only one voice in a Senate, out of…a hundred voices. Obama was one lonely man arrayed against…three veto points.
Somewhere in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith has a passage about how we identify with the trials and travails of a king, giving him all of our sympathy and understanding, yet are so repelled by the tribulations of the lowly that we can scarce understand what they’re going through.

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens


Pearl said...

Meredith: You may be discovering many able and interesting women in professional lives whom we never hear about. That statement could be even more true of the women who represent progressive thinking with backgrounds of hardship who work at modest jobs but contribute more of use to humanity. The real dirty work of pushing for change comes from that source and how brave in their quests for recognition are the 'successful' ones as on the major media outlets (such as the Washington Post you mentioned) who do not challenge the establishment much.

Nurses unions fighting the health care system, workers striking against low wage jobs in Wal Mart and fast food establishments, many of whom are women come to mind as well as Code Pink Women for Peace who challenge the disgraceful history of war decisions made in America.

Hillary as first female President does not necessarily represent an agenda for women to copy. I personally do not honor women's right to join men on the battlefield and consider it a victory.
Feminism represents different points of view to many of us. And with the "emancipation" of women comes social responsibility. I wonder how much of
that quality exists among the voting public.

Pearl said...

Some disturbing news from the new Liberal government in Canada From Truthout

Europe and Canada Approve CETA Corporate Trade Deal Despite Heavy Opposition via @truthout

Jay–Ottawa said...

Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau Fils (who tells us he looks up to Obama) really is different from Conservative Harper. Harper was from the west of this vast expanse called Canada; Trudeau is from the east. Harper didn't smile much while he undid democratic traditions north of the border. Trudeau has a nice smile and flashes it often, as when he pushes the CETA agreement Canadians do not favor, as he allows CBC board members appointed by Harper to continue with their sell off of the CBC to private interests (to include the very buildings under the feet of the remaining staff), and, so, so disappointingly, to retreat from one of his key campaign promises, which was to back a switch to proportional representation (PR), even after parliamentary hearings around the country in recent months confirmed that 70-90% of Canadians prefer PR vs winner-take-all. The promises are gone, but the smile remains; and that's pretty much the difference between Conservatives and Liberals up here. Now back to your local station and more scary news about your own collaboration with the Big Bad Two Party System.

Meredith NYC said...

Does NY State have mail in voting? You say you just mailed in your ballot.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy! NBC is broadcasting from "Democracy Plaza". I know I will be glued to the station all day (okay, when I'm not at work or running errands or participating in this sham at my polling place, or cooking dinner or watching the Alfred Hitchcock hour, or ....).
Can't get enough of the brilliant and handsome Chuck Todd!

Kat said...

That was me. Did I tell you how much I love Chuck Todd?

Jay–Ottawa said...

OMG! It's 11:00 PM, and Trump is doing so well. (I've gotta go find a crow to eat.) Anti-establishment BREXIT fever is spreading around the world: the UK, Columbia, and now the US? More people than I imagined must hate Hillary. Wringing my hands but I can't stop smiling.

annenigma said...

Do I hear the fat lady singing?

Ste-vo said...

I wrote in Bernie Sanders. I will sleep well.

Jay–Ottawa said...

I do believe it's over, so strike up the diva's aria, which is all about Change, Change she's absolutely sure she can believe in, this time around.

And vengeance. Trump was backed by so many of those people who were screwed by the elites. Now it's their turn to screw the establishment. Let's see if their billionaire pulls that off as they would like.

Haven't seen a picture or heard a peep all night from Lame Duck or Hillary. Losers! And Bernie: how is he going to advance the progressive agenda now? There is no inside for him to work inside.

when Trump wins said...

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Just like I predicted on October 25, 2016 at 8:04am

"And on election night, when Trump wins by a 70% landslide, Hillary Clinton will start pointing fingers, blaming those who caused her demise. When Hillary gets around to blaming the deplorables, scolding them for her loss, the pushback by millions of deplorables at once will cause Hillary to suddenly start jerking her head around like a broken bobble-head doll. Hillary will scream, "you cursed deplorables, look what you’ve done, I’m melting, I’m melting, what a world, what a world, who would have thought deplorables like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness" as she disappears screaming into a cloud of steam.

video of the wicked witch melting away

The deplorables will be awestruck at first, but once they realize the Wicked Witch of Western Civilization is gone, they begin singing a song, "ding dong the wicked witch is dead!!!"

Countdown to HRC going up in hot air...3..2..1..

Zee said...

"Wringing my hands but I can't stop smiling."--Jay--Ottawa

That about sums it up for me.

Kat said...

How many commenters here are retired? I cannot be so sanguine. I am disgusted with the Democrats, yes. I feel like this was a long time in the making, but it is not making me smile.

annenigma said...

Poor Paul Krugman. He won't be Treasury Secretary after all.


Kat said...

Honestly-- I want to know how many of you are retired? You see, I can see that some disciplining of voters is in order and interest rates will rise. I don't like the way things are sputtering along now, but I am not gleefully awaiting a complete collapse.

I mean, seriously Hillary went down, but this is not about personalities.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Yes, the news is worrisome. The pattern that suits the new start with Trump may have been set in Venezuela, years ago, when Hugo Chavez took over in a long-overdue populist revolt against the elites. Chavez joined the BRICKS, went on to change everything, but alas not for the best. Like the US, Venezuela has always had a lot of guns in the hands of private citizens. It's a very dangerous place. After Chavez died, his hand-picked understudy was Nicolas Maduro, the thuggish idiot now in charge. So people there are in the streets again. History is full of populist revolutions that were subverted. The French ended up with blood in the streets and then Napoleon; then China; lately, the Arab Spring. A real democracy is hard to find.

Indulge me. Here, on the morning after, we must do something to keep our own spirits up as we hope––there's that word again––for a better day. Let's start a list along the lines of the Obama Scandals List (see blogroll).

However, a Trump Scandals List would be too easy a task, like shooting fish in a barrel. The New York Times will step up to keep that list. Instead of going negative, the new list I'm proposing will accentuate the positive, surprising us, perhaps even cheering us up, as we keep adding to it, something of an open-ended surprise like Trump himself. The Trump Good Deed List will list all the good things––the welcome side effects, if you will––resulting from the Trump takeover.

I have a few items to start. I hope the rest of you consider contributing. It's important that we keep busy with some project. Just sitting there, stunned, is not helpful. To begin:

Item: With all her humiliating sacrifices behind her, now that it's longer necessary to keep up a brave front for political reasons, Hillary will be free, free at last, to sue for a divorce from Bill Clinton.

Item: No more Obama speeches.

Jay–Ottawa said...


I'm a senior with Social Security. Hillary would have been no protector of aid programs like SS. Here's a snippet of what one writer at CounterPunch had to say on the subject:

"Clinton will at the least swallow whole the Simpson-Bowles recommendations. All stops will be pulled. The woman holds popular sentiment in contempt, so public disapproval will count for nothing. Let us not forget that a principal function of neoliberal policy is to do away with democratic government, a requirement if the distribution of private and public resources is to be consistently to the benefit of the plutocracy. Those most dependent on government assistance - the elderly, the unemployed and the disabled- will be hit hard."

This was always a lose-lose election for the majority of us, and not just for the retired. The only good thing to come out of it is that the elites got the finger last night. That thrill will be shortlived. Now we'll have to brace for the hits that would have come, no matter who was elected. Both candidates were the enemy and it is impossible to tell which was worse. Only one side, Trump, gets to prove it in real time.

Zee said...


Yes, I am retired, but I am far from sanguine. As I said a thread or three ago, I did not vote for either Trump or HillBillary, so I was destined to be sick with worry no matter the outcome.

I do not underestimate the possibility that Trump’s election and subsequent bad economic judgment could wreck the economy, my retirement, and the lives of any number of my blue-collar friends and their children. My financial advisor lectured me on this very point a few days before the election, perhaps to sway my vote—but it had already been cast. Not that I would have changed it on his say-so.

So no, I am not sanguine: I’m just a little short of terrified. In fact, given a Trump presidency, I would have preferred that the Senate pass into Democrat hands as a check on his crazier ideas.

But Trump is an unknown quantity, and even Obama did not have it all his way during his first two years in office with Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. So perhaps even under the current circumstance, Trump will not have it all his way, either. One can hope.

HillBillary, on the other hand, is a quantity that should have been—but apparently was not—recognized by most Americans and Democrat Party leaders as: (1) corrupt— and corrupting —to the core, (2) unable to tell the truth when a lie will do, (3) ineffective as a Senator, (4) dangerously incompetent as a Secretary of State and reckless/careless with national security secrets, and (5) owned lock, stock and barrel by Wall Street and wealthy donors. She should never have been the Democrat candidate, and for reasons that have nothing to do with her personality.

But yes, Hillary’s final affront was personal. I worked in national defense in one capacity or another for 27+ years and held a security clearance for that entire time span. I worked with classified materials and, indeed, created some.

Had I done what Hillary did with her private e-mail server, I would be in Leavenworth right now, as are others who committed lesser security breaches than Hillary’s. The further affront was the uniform “pass” that she got for her crimes from her fawning followers, the media, and TPTB. I believed—and believe—that she should have been in jail, not a candidate for President of the U.S.

So no, I am not sanguine or even gleefully waiting/hoping for a complete collapse. But I hope that I can be forgiven just a little bit of schadenfreude at the sharp stick in the eye that this country gave to HillBillary. May we hope that we’ve seen the last of them.

Kat said...

Well yes, Hillary would have been no protector of SS. But the cuts are for future retirees. And that would hurt me. But my more immediate concern is the here and now. Although I did not vote for Hillary, I was not about to cast those who voted for her out of fear. (The love trumps hate crowd can go to hell, however).

Kat said...

uh, "cast aspersion on".

Zee said...


I’m not sure that I fully understood your brief comment, but I will try to respond as best I can.

We live in a time of great fear and apprehension. It is my perspective that both of those emotions are what drove the selection of the two most ill-suited major-party presidential candidates that we have ever seen.

If I fault anything for this result, I fault our damaged “primary selection process.”

So I’m not casting strong “aspersions” on anyone who voted for either Trump or HillBillary, because fear is a powerful motivator, and also a powerful “blinder” to reason amongst the best of us. Been there myself, and done that.

But we are left to work with the hand that we have been dealt in “the here and now.” Like me, it doesn’t sound like you got your choice of president, either.

So how do we play the cards that we have in our hand to preserve our mutual futures—and those of our fellow citizens?

when Trump wins said...

"The love trumps hate crowd can go to hell, however"

Silly comment, as if everyone who voted trump is in the klan or a nazi.

A vote for Trump was the only ETHICAL vote in this election. TRUMP beat the Clinton machine. I'm so glad the Trump voters did not WASTE their vote on Jill Stein, or Gary Johnson, or some other looser who could not beat Clinton.

"Well yes, Hillary would have been no protector of SS. But the cuts are for future retirees. And that would hurt me."

That's the problem with too many people, it's all about "me".

Now that Clinton is out, let's work to get rid of Trump, and change the rules that let the Clintons and Trump dominate the election.