Tag Archives: Election 2016

How I Learned to Stop Despairing and Accept President Trump

President Trump

I’ve spent probably a few hundred hours in the last 8 months writing articles about Trump’s unfitness for president, about how damaging many of his policies and stances will be and how he will combine the disastrous age of Silvio Berlusconi with the alienating age of Duterte to generally fuck up our country; I’ve been arguing with associates, friends and strangers online and in person about whether Hillary has “blood on her hands” from Benghazi (she doesn’t) or whether what Trump has said and done proves he’s disrespectful to women (it does). But Donald J. Trump, reality star and silver-spoon-born real estate developer, is the 45th president of the United States of America, having ridden a wave of populous discontent to the White House.

It took me half a bottle of Wild Turkey and some serious rage venting Tuesday night (and an abandoned article that starts off with a rant against Susan Sarandon and at some point blames Snookie for a Trump presidency) but I’m working on getting off that hate-filled ledge. The truth is, this is America’s vote and we can be unhappy with it, we can write scathing articles or doomsday prognostications or more insults aimed at the Trumpkins’ education level (because that obviously worked), or we can try to decipher what this means and do whatever we can to continue moving forward as a little more than half a country (after all, Hillary did win the popular vote).

Yes, on one hand this is easier for me to say because I have a blond-haired, blue-eyed son and I live in the mountains. On the other hand, my whole life revolves around nature. Clean air, healthy waterways. Deep snow, make America white again indeed. And the survival of our species depends on the health of the Earth. Civil rights have always moved forward, even if sometimes there’s a slight ebbing or impediment rising. But the environment is dying and once it’s dead, there is no guarantee that it will ever return. To build a wall or overturn gay marriage or Roe V. Wade will be impossible (plus, no doubt there have been a few abortions undertaken to quell some errant mini-Trumps). But he can gut the EPA, greenlight every coal/oil pipeline and dig, and turn federal lands over to the states relatively easily. Environmental destruction may be one of the longest possible effects of a Trump presidency.

But for the immediate future, I can’t help but be disgusted with the message his win sends about what is okay to say about and do to women, about how much this win is a vindication of hatred, xenophobia and bigotry. The philosophical scars will go much deeper than the gubernatorial ones, especially with all the emboldened derelicts getting their kicks from physical, verbal and psychological attacks on people of color.

His policies as written will add trillions to the deficit without improving the lives of any except his uber-rich cronies, his list of scandals, including some still being investigated, is longer than the Benghazi report, and the real kicker is if he were to get convicted, incarcerated, impeached, his VP wants women to bury their aborted fetuses and believes that turning a gay person into a straight one through conversion therapy is real while evolution isn’t. So we’re still fucked. As for his supporters, the ones who didn’t vote out of hate but just voted because they thought he would make their lives better? In 3 years I’ll make sure to tell the working class Trump supporters who still can’t get a job because he doesn’t have the power or will to actually bring back labor or factory jobs at a decent wage “I told you so.” But it’s time to stop calling them fucktards and uneducated rednecks. It’s such an attitude that led them to think a spoiled rich, immoral New Yorker is one of them.

That said, short of moving abroad there’s nothing realistic I can do to change my nation’s leader for the next 4 year. So here are 10 things I’ve been trying to focus on to keep the fear and loathing from overtaking my shell-shocked mind; to inspire myself to keep on, save my energy, revitalize the heart and get ready for 4 years of fighting the good fight in whatever way I can.

My President Trump Mantra

1. Republicans, it’s on you.

For 8 years now I’ve had to see Republicans claim that they could fix the world if Obama wasn’t screwing everything up. “We know how to make health care work if Obama would just repeal the ACA.” “We could make so many jobs if it wasn’t for government regulations.” “We could fix inner city violence and make all the poor rich if Obama didn’t foster this victim entitlement attitude, bootstraps and all.” Alright. You got Congress, the Senate and President Trump in the White House. GOP, you can no longer be the anti-government party. You are the government.

Fix everything you’ve been promising to fix for almost a decade. Or admit you were full of shit all along.

2. Guns Inc. Has Lost Its Most Powerful Ad Tool

Since Barack Obama’s first campaign, the NRA has been claiming Obama, and most recently Hillary, will be coming for your guns. Nobody ever came for anybody’s guns but the gun companies made bank hand over fist thanks to this fear-mongering posing as constitutional defense. It was all a mad man magic trick and you folks who spent thousands of dollars to protect yourself from the government got got. But now there’s no black/female boogeyman waiting in your closet to raid your arsenal. Look for gun sales to plummet. Hell, this inability to use fear as a marketing tool will be more powerful than any AR-15 regs.

3. “Empire Strikes Back” Is The Best Star Wars Movie

Donald Trump may be the president-elect but since plenty talking heads on the Right refused to give Obama even a modicum of respect or trust from day 1, I refuse to give Trump any unless he can (somehow) earn it. Obama got Osama and still didn’t warrant respect from the hawkish right so the bar’s high. I think Trump’s a dangerous demagogue and if not watched closely, he may very well drop the most retrogressivist policies we’ve seen in my lifetime. That will usher in some very dark days indeed. Still, the dark times are when we grow the most, become the strongest, get the greatest chance to become the heroes we were destined to become. My 8(?) year old 3rd cousin saw that. Dark times are a chance for the powers of good to come together and show what they can really do.

4. Late Night TV And Satire Will Reach Heights Not Seen Since W. Bush Days

I hadn’t watch SNL for years until this election cycle. From Bernie David to Kate MacClinton, it’s been one hell of a season. But Trump is a living, breathing caricature, a walking lampoon in a cheap Macy’s suit. Every Republican talking head and politician will be spending the next 4 years apologizing for what is guaranteed to be one rotten gaffe after another. But Oliver, Noah, Maher and SNL, and every other late show host, will have golden fodder for the next 4 years

5. Paul Ryan Is a Shorn Puppy

It’s crazy that Paul Ryan became the sensible voice of the Right but that’s where we are. I still remember his VP campaign stunt where he spent a day working at a fast food joint to look like an “average guy” in 2012, and I recently wrote about how his health care plan essentially amounted to ensuring that the poor and very sick die quickly so he could keep a few extra bucks in his deep pockets. I get a good laugh when I think about him telling an interviewer that he liked “Rage Against the Machine,” only for Tom Morello to fire back with a statement that Ryan was the machine he was raging against.

But let’s not forget that he’s been a thorn in Trump’s side, going so far as to propose a separate GOP agenda and disinvite El Trumpo from a WI campaign event only to have to endorse the man at the 11th hour, likely at the bequest of the power-brokers. Trump is the kind of man who has twitter wars at 3 AM with women he knew a decade ago. He doesn’t forgive and he doesn’t forget. And now he’s the head of Ryan’s party and his country. It’ll be wonderful to watch President Trump break this lily white scarecrow.

6. The Republican Party Will Actually Have To Figure Out What It Stands For

Most of the college-educated young Republicans I know are social liberals, though most of the Trump crew is overwhelmingly not. As it is, the Republican party has been suffering an identity crisis ever since it became the party of the rich under Reagan. Rich people may have the means to seize power but they don’t have the numbers to vote people into office so they have to find some way to appeal to the poor and middle class despite policies that don’t benefit them. How do they do that? By appealing to religious zealotry and nationalist pride. Sprinkle in some voodoo economics. This led to the populist Trump uprising.

I believe in the importance of balance and even if I’m liberal and always will be, I know the key to freedom is the constant push and pull from both sides of the spectrum. The Republican party may have pulled off a resounding defeat of the Democrats but in more ways it was a defeat of the system as it currently exists. The GOP spent so many years as the reaction party that it seemed to have lost the ability to show what it stands for. That might be because modern Republicanism comprises so many hypocrisies it’s much easier to stand together against than for. They will have to now figure out what they can all stand FOR and if they can’t may have to kill the GOP and start a new Conservative party. After they repeal Obamacare, of course.

7. We Can Finally Stop Talking About Hillary’s Emails

Considering the exorbitant time and money wasted on going through Hillary’s emails with no real results, any impartial observer can see it was a (brilliant) way to trump up enough unsubstantial flubs to convince people that the most qualified presidential candidate in my lifetime (maybe ever?) was corrupt and thereby defeat a candidate Newt Gingrich called unbeatable in 2012. Add in an FBI insiders have said was obsessedly anti-Hillary to the point that they planted false innuendo to sway many of the 20 million early voters and it’s as blatant a fix as I’ve ever seen. Now that Hillary has finally lost, no more government time and taxpayer resources will be wasted on her emails.

8. We Can Officially Stop Pretending We Live In a Post-Racial, Post-Sexist America

When Obama was elected, everybody said it was a sign that America was finally beyond racism and we convinced ourselves that the bastards whose poorly spelled tweets (“your” is a possessive adjective; “you’re” is the conjugation of “you are”) insulting the presence of a black girl in “The Hunger Games” or calling the POTUS a Muslim extremist or claims that women are paid less than men because they do less work were just isolated crackpots. Obama, though, inspired people to point out the systemic racism that still existed, to try and squeeze some gnarly pus out of the festering wound that we’d hoped would just heal. That act in turn pissed off more racists who were finally fine with black people as long as they didn’t ask for more than just a promise not to attack them. And the racists then become more passionate about their bigotry in response to these uppity negros. The most recent development was a bunch of old racists claiming that Obama invented racism, which is like claiming that those folks from Spotlight invented priests molesting little kids.

Trump has empowered the hateful, misogynistic, racist, backwards bigots from grumbling quietly in their doomsday-prepped basements to step out into the sunlight. For those of us who dream of a final victory over the racist assholes (who in my case endlessly fill me with shame to be white), the key is knowing who your enemies are. Whether you unfriend them — or keep them on your feed to see what they’re up to — is your prerogative.

9. If You Can’t Beat the Crazies, Join Them

Brexit. Duterte. Europe. The whole world has fallen victim to the false prophet of populonationalism, the end of globalization as we know it and the move to ignore the less fortunate suffering in wars we’ve all had at least a small hand in fomenting, which will of course lead to more desperate disenfranchised middle-easterners which will of course lead to more terrorists. One of the largest reasons for the comparatively-high quality of life for Western Nations is the sharing of resources, supplies and cultures through trade and treaties. President Trump may be a promise to end all of that but it likely would have ended at the hands of somebody else considering the closed-border upheavals in Europe and elsewhere. It’s not just America; the whole world is cracking up. At least we’re still a leader of global trends. And hell, in a world of mad men, only the sane lose.

10. Trump Has Debts to Pay To People He’s Not Used to Having to Pay

Donald Trump has spent his whole life making deals with international dignitaries, wealthy investors, Sultans, Sheiks, mafiosi and God knows who the fuck else, almost exclusively in the largest urban centers in the world. Now, he’s made a deal with working class middle America.

See, Donald cashed a check from a shit-ton of shit-ons, of disenfranchised, underemployed, heavily-armed white men who think he’s going to save their dying towns and/or ways of life from the rot of post-industrial decline. These people think he’s going to bring back steel mills, get iPhones made in the skeletons of the old factory towns and make coal cool again; that they’ll be able to support their families without demeaning their prides or going back to school. Of course that’s not how the world works. Look at Spain, look at Amsterdam, look at London. Once the factories have moved on, they don’t come back. And if somehow he got some of them back, they’ll be offering bottom dollar without benefits.

Not to insult the desperate American white laborer. It’s horrible what is happening to the poor in this country, white or not, urban or rural, and even more a big part of the reason this happened was the constant insult of America’s heartland from elitist liberals, including at times myself. For my part in that I am sorry.

That said, if in three years these people who voted for him still find themselves underemployed, unable to get decent healthcare, unable to support their families; if the rust belt stays rusty and the rural towns of the west stay run through with opioid addictions and dreams of yesterday, President Trump is going to have to answer to blue collar white America. And I know plenty of people in this category. They’re not the kind to take to twitter wars.

But Let’s Not Mince Words

Republicans have been saying now is the time to reunite the country. Of course, that’s only because they won; there were already plans for gun rallies and protests should they have lost.

Do I believe our nation needs to come back together, to heal? Absolutely. My well-educated “cultured” friends from NYC and LA need to try and find common ground with my hunter, fisher, mountaineering survivalist friends out in the range. And as people post pictures and tweets and comments about the fucktard idiots in the middle of America and threaten to separate California from the rest of the nation (hey guys, did any of you think about the fact that all of California’s water is stolen from the Rocky Mountains?), I want to shout out that this ignorant dismissal of nearly half of America is the reason Trump won.

But I will always remember the racist pictures of a big-eared Obama running from elephants that my friend’s brother, a cop in Atlanta, ex-marine and all-time bigot (and animal hater) posted on social media (despite the fact that he was still enlisted and therefore still technically sworn to protect, respect and obey the president). All the birther claims and calls for violence against that nigger in the white house. If the GOP thinks I’m just going to blindly support Trump for “the sake of the nation” after they spent 8 years doing literally nothing but undermining Obama, they’re as delusional as the white underemployed who think Trump’s going to save them from the progress of humanity.

Still as I consider trading Putin for poutein (Justin Trudeau is the president I wish we had), the above ten will be a sort of mantra I’ll repeat over and over to energize me for what will likely be four years of fighting tooth and nail to maintain every gain we’ve made since 2009, to inspire me to contribute however I can to the things I believe in that Trump has threatened to rape, pillage and plunder, things like women’s health, the environment, Religious freedom, gay rights, hell human rights in general.

When things get really dark between now and 2020, this list will become a hyperspiritual dynamo for me and hopefully give some fire to the majority of Americans (since, again, Hill did win the popular vote) to keep fighting the powers of old and evil.

It starts with all of us getting down off that ledge.President Trump

The Final Call For All Voters to Seek Truth in Election 2016

Election 2016

What a hellish, exhausting year it’s been.

Every time there’s a presidential campaign shit gets ugly in America. Emotions run high. Divisions are played on and widened by political masterminds who know how to paint a line and convince us that stepping over it will be the first step in our bath towards joining the ranks of evil. And by the time you get to the final vote for president of the United States of America, you’ve watched so many fake smiles and organized argument exercises and propaganda commercials and wonk catfights that you have no choice but to crawl out on an existential ledge, embrace the political nihilism that crawls into your soul and wakes you in the middle of the night wondering if any of it even matters, whether all these months spent being dragged through the gutters of DC have taught you anything other than the fact that you officially hate politics and by association every goddamn politician.

This election has been preternaturally long (starting with Newt Gingrich’s comment to MSNBC in 2012 that the GOP doesn’t have anybody who could compete at the same level as HRC), uglier than possibly anything in the history of American presidential elections. Even the ugliest moments of the Rove swiftboating pales in comparison to the insults hurled at women, at Mexicans, at Muslims, at the handicapped, at POWs, at gay people, but also at the rural, the disenfranchised, the non-urban, the non-college-educated. And let’s not forget the largest, most expensive, most monumental and most egregious smear campaign in the history of politics.

Yes, election fatigue has washed over me but not to the point of giving up; I’m not muddling in the pits of nihilism, no there is no wavering support from this patriot. For the first time in a long time, I feel like there’s actually a lot at stake in this election and that energizes me. Supreme court justices weighing rights for women and gay people and every other progressive bill. The next step in Obamacare – either forward to something that works better or backwards to something that worked poorly. Not to mention a steady hand in what’s looking to be the greatest international fracturing since the beginning of globalization (or at least since WWII). There’s an important choice to be made here and it’s glaringly clear if you push aside all the 3-ring hoopla and the hyped up scandals, if you ignore the memes and party lines and physical attributes, if both candidates existed in a vacuum and you based it solely on what type of president he or she would be, what he or she will bring to the important role of steering this supertanker America, what is for the better of America.

At this point most people have already made their choices but I’m first and foremost a seeker of truth. If I can inspire just a few people to really look into their decision, to seek truth instead of buying dog-wagging propaganda or bigotry dressed up as populist truth-telling. I’ll consider the countless hours I’ve spent researching and writing in the last 8 months time well spent.

The Political Upwelling

There has been one great thing to have come out of this rotten year of 2016. More people have spent more time reading, researching and discussing the state and direction of our nation and its leaders. I have a friend of mine from college, a North Shore lifeguard and semi-pro spear-fishing Oahu freediver who’s been posting countless political comments, memes, videos. He admitted in one of his posts he’s new to this whole politics thing but even though we don’t agree on a lot of points, the fact that he’s now paying attention to politics bodes well. At some point, he’ll have to look at where his philosophical allegiances lay.

There’s one basic truth I’ve arrived at after decades in a political family, an understanding that you can boil American party affiliations down to a belief in one of two lies.

Like everything else, of course political affiliation is more complex — economic policies, social values, ideals of strength and dominance, gun control. But in the end, Conservative or Democrat is decided by which lie you choose to buy into:

You either believe the lie that opportunities in America are equal for all or you believe the lie that it can be made so.

Of course there are “Republican” sociopaths who know this country isn’t fair and they think that’s the way it should be, fuck the ideas of opportunity for all, there are winners and losers and as long as I’m a winner that’s good enough for me (oh, and as an aside I hate all people different from me). On the other side there are “Democrats” who just want free shit, or who like to feign offense for the sake of attention and preach madness to indulge liberal guilt. But mostly it comes down to equality — one group thinks we have more or less enough opportunity in this country that if you work hard and pay your dues you’ll get ahead regardless who you are or where you come from; the other thinks that isn’t the truth, but that government can effect that change towards an equal society.

Of course they’re both right and wrong. The degree to which you believe one or the other dictates your political affiliation and where on the spectrum you sit.

Let that be the first bit of philosophy to inform your beliefs. In most elections, that would basically be enough, where on the spectrum you sit. Do you think the system is more or less equal and so government doesn’t have to intervene to assist a less-privileged group because such assistance would actually create an imbalance and weakening in the system? Or is the system loaded with inequities and so it is our responsibility to push for a more fair society and, in some cases, use government as a tool to force the powerful and wealthy to contribute towards the powerless or working class and even the playing field?

As I said, normally this is all you need to inform your choice of POTUS. But this isn’t a normal election. This election can’t be decided by party allegiances because neither candidate is philosophically or historically pure, and that’s actually refreshing in a way.

We really need to look deeper into the people we’re looking to vote for and for once, there isn’t a ton of guilt being heaped on people who don’t vote the party line (especially if that party line is red).

Election 2016: Look Down the Ticket

Before I jump to the presidential election, I want to emphasize how important it is to look into your city council candidates; your local and state judges; into your state lawmakers. And of course there are several big national battlegrounds, battles for seats in Congress and the Senate that could actually swing Capitol Hill from GOP-controlled to Democrat-dominated.

But to get big national results, you have to think locally. The Bernie movement was huge and impassioned, and a lot of Berners began saying that his loss meant the end of any possibility for real progressive change in America, fradulent logic that stands against everything Vermont’s favorite socialist believes in. But the truth is, a Bernie presidency would’ve been a lame-duck presidency. Without support from lawmakers and governors and both federal and local judges, his uber-radical ideals would all get destroyed. The most telling bit of this whole election cycle has been the fact that Bernie won Wisconsin in the same vote that also allowed a zealotmad judge who referred to AIDs as God’s righteous vengeance on gays to be elected to their state supreme court for the next decade.

So know that while the presidential election is the single one most important decision, all the many lower decisions actually add up to something MUCH bigger.

That said, I know where the public hunger lies. Everybody wants the bullride; the bronc-busting and barrel races are maybe more technical and make a night of it but we’re all about the big bull.

So let’s do a final rundown of who to elect president.

Hillary Vs. Donald Round 1: Time To Address The Rural Plight

In the last year I’ve seen the evolution of a man from successful CEO reality star with cameos on such notables as “Home Alone” and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to presidential candidate of one of THE two major parties. There’s a lot to respect in that ability to jump to a completely unrelated industry and at the very top. It’s “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” made into an unfunny cinema verite where the window washer is granted a massive arsenal of nukes by confirming the belief of urban liberals that the rurals in this country are really as racist, sexist and ignorant as they’d always suspected. The more complicated truth is that’s not the case, at least not completely.

Yes, there are racists and misogynists and xenophobes in the basket of deplorables but there’s something more than hate fueling Trump’s rise. What he really tapped into was the discontent of a large of chunk of America that has continuously been lampooned, insulted and cast aside by those very urban liberals who love to poke fun at those broke-ass good ol’ boys.

The best explanation of the Trump uprising was written about in Cracked magazine, of all places, in an article forwarded to me by several unrelated people I greatly respect. The gist is there’s a massive populous of mostly white pout of work working class Americans who’ve been forgotten and insulted and typecast by the Left, and that these folks just want somebody to promise the pain will stop.

Will Trump benefit these people? No, Trump is a New York developer who became rich by, among many other things, ripping off the very laborers and concrete layers and unemployed factory workers who now form a strong core of Trumpkinism. But I live among a lot of wonderful, hardworking, intelligent men and women who espoused the rural lifestyle romanticized by John Wayne and Marlboro, the American iconic cowboy that the rest of the world associates with our fledgling nation. Many of these people out here haven’t had the opportunity for travel or higher education enjoyed by many people growing up in the cities, in part because we’re the children of our parents and if your dad was a rancher or a farmer rural handyman who didn’t believe in vacations much less exotic travel, you don’t see much use in dropping 120 grand to learn about international business. Unfortunately, we’ve often marginalized and ignored the plight of these people whose livelihoods are disappearing. And Trump is promising them he’ll return them to a time when they could live well by the sweat of their back and not be looked down on by men with manicures and skinny ties. Nevermind the fact that bringing concrete and steel jobs back to America would mean saddling his brood with higher costs of raw materials; that keeping out South American laborers would considerably raise Ivanka’s and Jr.’s and Eric’s labor costs. And will he really bring Wall Street to heel when they’re the only people who can actually afford to (and want to stay in) his garish superhotels?

Rural America is desperate, and will accept any vile behavior as long as it brings with it hope that they’ll be able to support their families the way their own parents supported them, that their ludditism (I’m an admitted luddite too, begrudgingly accepting the world of social media and smartphones and podcasts long after I’ve seen all my urban friends thrive off them) won’t lead to their eternal financial damnation.

Hillary speaks of the plight of minorities, of gay people, of the environment without addressing these massive swaths of people who have been passed by the system except to maybe refer to them as deplorables. She lives in ivory towers in New York or DC or wherever and preaches the forward march of society, a noble dream for sure and where my allegiances lie but at the same time she and her supporters indirectly (or in some cases directly) insult fellow Americans who envision a return to the atavistic West, where free-range organic means an elk you shot yourself, not a cow allowed to walk around a super-ranch in upstate New York. I know folks who have literally never met black people, not because they hate or fear them but because there simply aren’t many around in the mountains, much less are there Muslims. So they don’t understand the pain felt by such people when Trump insults and panders and says racist things seemingly on par with the jokes about yokels we drop without hesitation.

That said, Trump’s policies simply won’t benefit you if you’re not a large business owner. They’ll lead to public lands being turned over to private billionaires to cut off your hunts; they’ll lead to corporate overlords opening factories where they pay people less than anybody can support a family off in the name of “revitalizing towns.” They’ll lead to your women having to pay for sexual indiscretions with a life of missed opportunities to make more money to support their family the way the women had one day dreamed of and they’ll lead to the marginalization of the counter-status-quo whose religions and sexual practices aren’t those of the majority (which you think would be understood by such groups as Mormons but, again, we’re all hypocrites to a certain extent). And they’ll still benefit the powerful east coast elites because, if nothing else, we’ve seen that Donald and kin are very tightnit and do you really think he’ll suddenly put in laws and practices that punish his billionaire children just to support the growth of rural communities? He’ll make Ivanka pay double for conrete and steel and wood mixed and refined and milled in America?

No. To a certain extent, there is no hope for the rebirth of the old way of the self-sufficient fly-over independent. Many of Trump’s policies will accelerate the death of their way of life.

When he talks of a return to the old ways he doesn’t mean a restoration of well-paying working class jobs and a movement towards rural independence. No president can do that. He merely means the promotion of a return to a world where the wife is second to her husband, gays hide in the shadows, non-Christians have to hide their beliefs and non-whites are considered lesser citizens soilely becaus of the melanin pigment in their skin. He doesn’t even want to take America back to the 50s, when we at least had a strong middlke class. He wants to take it back to the 30s, when we had nothing.

But and so regardless who wins, there will have to be a reunion with rural white America. But for the rest of America, let’s do a vacuum evaluation of the two candidates. See the truth about their qualifications, their wrongdoings and what kind of president they would be.

Hillary Vs. Trump Rd. 2:  Experience

The get even a mid-level job somewhere you need relevant work experience. While the President is the ultimate job, one nobody can fully prepare for, it still takes a lot of skill and experience navigating the vaunted halls of DC to be able to do an even adequate job. Thus the reason that most of our businessman presidents fizzled, at best.

When it comes to experience in this electiomn, there really is no comparison. I remember when Hillary was first lady, there were bumper stickers saying “I voted against president Clinton and her Husband.” It was a jibe at the fact that Hillary used her elevated platform as first lady to go beyond state dinners and PSAs to try and make real actions. Including health care reform (dear working class Trump supporter: how often have you complained about the fact that you can’t afford healthcare? It’s not because of Obamacare; it’s because CEOs of insurance companies make paychecks with more zeros than a “Big Bang Theory” convention) and don’t want to sacrifice any of that to help people with their health issue. Trump would allow that to stay the status quo. Let’s be honest, insurance has never been affordable for anybody but the upper middle class and above).

Hillary has championed family wellbeing her whole life, served as a national lawmaker representing New York (where she learned the process of getting a law passed in the national system) and became Secretary of State (where she learned how international politics really works).

Trump has never worked in the public sector except to cozy up to internationally dignitaries to get the permits and permissions he needed. He also has serious ties to Russia, a nation to be watched like a snake in the grass as it arms Assad and anybody else willing to pay for its weapons.

Plenty of people like Trump because he’s “not a politician” but let’s be honest, politics is like any other structural system, it takes time and experience to navigate effectively. Hillary, if she became president, would have the backing of at least the Democrats and considering the fact that she’s painfully moderate, she’d probably even get some of the left-leaning Republicans. Trump will be even bigger of a lame duck than Bernie would have since half of the GOP lawmakers and all the Democrat lawmakers will refuse to support anything he puts forward.

Hillary vs Trump Rd. 3: Fine, Let’s Address the Scandals

I didn’t want to waste too much time on this so here it goes:

Hillary has email issues. That’s the one crutch propping up GOP voters who just can’t vote for that damn Clinton woman, what with her pantsuits and the voice like their ex-girlfriend’s mother trying to make friend talk. I’ve heard people insist they’re only worried about national security (though they always fail to acknowledge that Russian hackers got into the State Department server in 2015 which really makes the argument that Hillary jeopardized national security kind of moot – in fact, her private server might have made it more secure.)

I agree that classified material should be handled sensitively, and since the State Department was able to be hacked, cyber warfare is a huge concern. What she did violated no laws or protocols that I am aware of. I waste a lot of time is this pointless act of facederbating and the only clause I saw (18 US code 793) that points to arguable wrongdoing was a clause against sending material outside accepted storage units (again, the first clause of that amendment mentions intent of sharing with extra-state people)(and this is punishable by a fine). If the concern is national security going forward, considering how Hillary has been raked across the coals and apologized for jeopardizing her emails’ security, I think you can rest assured that she won’t do that in the future, which is your main concern, correct? Security going forward? Do you think she would purposely jeopardize national security? Or is there a chance that maybe, just maybe, she was a nonmilitary person in her 60s who didn’t realize that it was a huge deal to send emails offsite considering the many government officials, including a 4-star general, who’d done the same thing before?

And wikileaks, yeah, they keep releasing emails showing she makes deals and stuff with other people. And, like, politicians have favorites. It’s actually becoming kind of pathetic, Julian. Just apologize for molesting that girl and go to jail.

And Benghazi? Yeah, even people on the right, if they’ve read the Benghazi report, admit that the worst thing Hillary did was follow orders as she’s supposed to do. The CIA and DOD failings much more directly led to those deaths.

On the other side we have Donald. Sexual assault cases in double digits. A history of lawsuits against his company (while this is a bit reaching, if he can claim his company’s success is due to him I can say their lawsuits are also). Comments that no respectable man would utter in the locker room (nobody I know has ever bragged about assaulting a woman in any of the many locker rooms I’ve inhabited). Honestly, I could go on about any and everything he’s said every other day for the past 8 months. People claim they want him because he speaks his mind. But I think we also want to be respected. Donald’s mind doesn’t remind me of Churchill or FDR or any great, eloquent world leader from the modern era. He reminds me of that sniveling little two-bit street punk Duterte. And a lot Silvio Berlusconi.

Hillary vs Trump Rd. 4: Their Plans For the Future

It wouldn’t be proper to mention political campaigns without once mentioning what a president under each president would look like based on their proposals. So let’s do a run down of a few of their big sticking points:

Hillary vs Trump on Trade

Hillary supports it. Trump opposes it. Trade is dying, though, so this is kind of a moot point. Get used to paying 3 times as much as you do for everything. Trump, meanwhile, is promising a return of jobs by getting rid of trade.

Hillary vs Trump on Healthcare

Trump hasn’t fully fleshed out this plan. But it seems to rip a bunch 0ff Ryan’s plan, advocating HSA’s and stuff (I wonder if he even understands health care plans?). Hillary, on the other hand, wants to help rural people by expanding telemedicine, wants to expand female health, and has already mounted campaigns and messaging fighting big pharma.

Hillary vs Trump on Immigration

Trump wants to build a wall. Hillary wants to build a path to citizenship because, fuck, we already have a wall. People just build tunnels under a wall.

Hillary vs Trump on the Environment

Trump is for giving federal lands back to state that can’t afford upkeep of the vast lands and are becoming increasingly cash-strapped. And he’s for fossil fuels and thinks global warming is a hoax (so if you’re standing behind the Standing Rock tribe, there’s somebody else you should be standing behind). Yeah.

Human and Civil rights

Do I even have to write anything here? Even Trump supporters will admit that he doesn’t want gays to marry, doesn’t want Muslims to move around freely. They might not admit that many of his statements show he has little respect for women except as arm candy and occasionally hot deal-closers. There’s really not even a debate here.

Again, most people have made their minds up. A video of Donald buttfucking a 12-year-old Ivanka could show up on YouTube and Trump supporters will still cry “That’s what it takes to make jobs.”

But all I can say is, do a deep, searching look at the person you’re voting. If you don’t want to, that’s your right, though I find it an insult to the institution of democracy.

But before you cast that vote Tuesday, if you don’t know exactly who – and what – you’re voting for, you’ve killed democracy a little anyway.

How To Copy Italian Greatness To The Letter: Elect Silvio Trump

Silvio Trump

With Trump’s recent call for Russia to hack his opponents’ emails (a proxy-Watergate except standards of conduct are so twisted in this foul year of our lord 2016 that what used to be considered an impeachable (or at least inconsolably treasonous) offense is written off as just more campaign bluster)(though misuse of email is worthy of prison, of course), a lot of the talking heads are claiming Putin will be controlling America. At the least he’ll be Trump’s top global backer (ironic, considering Russia was America’s number 1 “geopolitical foe” according to the GOP a mere 4 years ago), the numero uno intellectual international investor in the orange one’s privately-traded campaign firm. Or maybe just as his inspiration; many have started saying Trump is America’s Putin. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Putin was (is) KGB. While he was fighting James Bond, Trump was squabbling with the DOJ over his right to evict tenants and refuse to serve blacks. No doubt Putin sees Il Trumpo as an easy mark, not his equal, and Trump seems all too happy to look the part of Putin’s prison wife. No, to find Trump’s real pater from the old country, one need look only at media mogul (self-made, and his lucre hoard is bigger than Trump’s, which means he’s a better businessman and, of course, a better human)(as an aside), sports team owner, appreciator of beautiful women and all-around playboy Silvio Berlusconi. Call it the emergence of Silvio Trump as the man who will make America “great” again. Just like he did with Italia.

From the time Berlusconi stormed Rome in 1994 (serving 1994-1995, 2001-2006, and 2008 until he was run out on a flaming pile of scandal) to the time he left it in 2011, Italia went from great center of culture and wealth to being lumped in with Spain and Portugal and even Greece, goddamn, as just another Mediterranean black sheep not pulling its weight in the ECB. Berlusconi left the nation with debt at 116% of GDP that reached up to 128% of GDP just a few years after his departure, 2nd-worst in Europe after Greece at 175%. GDP growth went from 2.152% in 1994 to 0.7%  when he left in 2011, followed by a drop to -2.9%, -1.8%, -.3%, finally rebounding into the black at .6% in 2015.

Over his time as PM Berlusconi was sued multiple times, was implicated in one of the biggest sports scandals in the modern era when the team he owned (AC Milan) was punished for fixing a few Serie A games, has been caught up in lurid sex allegations and dropped more than a few verbal gaffes a man as controlled as Putin would not. He eventually was chased out of office by a conviction for tax fraud (or was it for having sex with an underage prostitute, can’t remember)(BTW, interesting Il Trumpo still won’t release his tax returns, eh?).

I could analyze Silvio’s and Trump’s analogous blowhard paths to prominence; could talk about their countless personal and busines scandals and the conditions of their nations that led to their political rises. But plenty of other journalists have written about this, most of them more accredited and, hell, let’s admit it, most of them much better journalists than myself. So I figure I’ll just let the men speak for themselves.

Just a few months ago I showed the connection between Bernie Sanders and the ill-fated George McGovern campaign through a few Hunter S. Thompson quotes. You can tell a lot about a public man from the reporter who helped propel him to the top. But for men who consider reporters rats (always trying to use facts and quotes to attack honest billionaires and keep leaders in check, skivey bastards), who view the press as something between a nuisance and a 24-7 reality TV crew (you just gotta kill it in the ratings), the most telling quotes are the ones they say themselves, when they are just “feelin’ it” and want to connect with “the people.” It’s when they’re stumping and go off script because their own instincts are obviously better than those of some square with a computer and a speechwriting degree that we get a glimpse of the man behind the tinted Rolls window. And if the shared histories and similarities aren’t enough (as a reverse Fellini, Trump is a Berlusconi parody, balding pate and big business film villain smile included), here are just a few quotes to show America that Silvio Trump would lead our nation into the international shitter alongside Italy:

On Their Roles As Saviors:

Out of love for Italy, I felt I had to save it from the left.” – Silvio

Nobody knows the system better than me — which is why I alone can fix it.” — Trump

I don’t need to go into office for the power. I have houses all over the world, stupendous boats… beautiful airplanes, a beautiful wife, a beautiful family… I am making a sacrifice.” — Silvio

I’ve given up a tremendous amount to run for president. I gave up two more seasons of ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ ” — Trump

I Don’t Need Anybody’s Money. It’s Nice…I’m Really Rich.” – Trump

On Their Sexual Attractiveness And Proclivity

When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said, ‘Yes’, while the other 70% replied, ‘What, again?’  — Silvio

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money.” — Trump referring to himself in the third person

All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” — Trump

The women of the Right are certainly the most beautiful … the Left has no taste, not even when it comes to women.” — Silvio

So any girl you have, I can take. That I guarantee. And that was proven before.” — Trump

On Islam And The Press When It Calls Them Out On Said Bigoted Islam Statements

We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights and — in contrast with Islamic countries — respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its value understanding of diversity and tolerance…” — Berlusconi

and after he was called out for that perhaps not being very “correct”:

I did not say anything against the Islamic civilization… It’s the work of some people in the Italian leftist press who wanted to tarnish my image and destroy my long-standing relations with Arabs and Muslims.”

Meanwhile, Il Trumpo said:

Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind.” — Trump to Fox News after the Orlando attacks. 

The WaPo took that to mean Trump was implying perhaps Obama was Muslim and had some sort of unholy alliance and our nation’s capitol’s newspaper wrote as much. After the article in the WaPo came out:

We are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post.” 

Of course he also said at another point:

I love the Muslims. I think they’re great people.”

But we know what Trump’s said. By now we could all quote a few of his mad one-liners from heart, the type of ignorant rambling usually reserved for drunk frat boys in the privacy of their own house; we know his cadence, his crudeness and his “honesty.” So I’ll let you hear a few more lines from Silvio to keep it fun and fresh; connect the dots in your own damn head:

[Mr Obama is] young, handsome and suntanned.”

It’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay.”

Only Napoleon did more than I have done. But I am definitely taller.”

I’ll try to soften it and become boring, maybe even very boring, but I am not sure I will be able to do it.”

I always win, I’m cursed to win.”

Which of course brings the Trump-soul-brotha back into the game:

We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me.” — Trump

On Rape In The Military

26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” — Trump

We could not field a big enough force to avoid this risk [of rape]. We would need so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful.” — Berlusconi

Putin, The Biggest Dick In a Room Full Of Dicks

Though of course it’s hard to deny the Putin quotes too, the crudest uttered in a leader-to-leader conversation, others issued to the proud Mother Russia but all showing the kind of nationalist, hubristic dick-wagging peacock who, if Berlusconi is Trump’s father or maybe even his brother from another mother, Putin is certainly the strong grandfather they both revere:

He turned out to be a strong man, raped 10 women. I never would have expected it of him. He has surprised us all, we all envy him!” — Putin, October 2006, joking to Ehud Olmert about then-Israeli-president Moshe Katsav.

We are a victorious people! It is in our genes, in our genetic code!”

If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional. We have very good specialists. I can recommend one for the operation. He’ll make sure nothing grows back.”

Though then he says something like this and we see a deeper, more literary, more structured mind, an almost-poetic quote more profound than anything we could ever imagine being vomited out of the mouth of America’s favorite “genius” blowhard:

Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, as the saying goes. It knows who to eat and is not about to listen to anyone.”

Then it’s back to more petty castigation of his opponents and overt jingoism:

This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them [the Americans], and we assume they are decent people, but he [John Kerry] is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”

The biggest nationalist in Russia: that’s me.”

But then we get into more violence with animal analogies (he loved Jack London, that Putin) and again see a well-read speaker:

In any case, I’d rather not deal with such questions, because anyway it’s like shearing a pig — lots of screams but little wool.” — Putin, on not wanting to deal with the US re: Edward Snowden

And then we get:

Sometimes I think, maybe it would be better for our bear to sit quiet, rather than chasing around the forest after piglets. To sit eating berries and honey instead. Maybe they will leave it in peace. They will not. Because they will always try to put him on a chain, and as soon as they succeed in doing so they tear out his fangs and his claws.”

Though of course he’s also said:

He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that… He is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.” — like a shark seeing a whale lumber into the room who he knows is most easily disarmed to accept the con by puffing up the whale’s oversized ego.

Putin knows a mark. He saw one in his previous pal and admirer, Silvio Berlusconi. Now we can bring in the press quotes, specifically the Financial Times:

Controversy has long surrounded the relationship between Mr Berlusconi and Mr Putin, the odd couple of international politics. For years western diplomats have tried to fathom the nature of their friendship, with one US ambassador in Rome alleging shady business dealing and wild parties, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. … Mr Berlusconi, who holds ambitions of mounting a highly unlikely political comeback, has sought to fashion a role for himself as an intermediary between Moscow and the west.”

Trump wishes he were Vladimir Putin. But in reality he’s Silvio Berlusconi. Because Putin is a stronger man than a spoiled American playboy could ever be. And because Putin can incarcerate his castigators and bankrupt his oligarchic criticizers and get away with it in a nation where such behavior is considered moderate beneath Stalin’s long shadow of murdering dissidents.

Trump can’t do that. That’s why he called on Russia to do the dirty work that Nixon and company was tough enough to do themselves back in the day. That’s why he’s declared bankruptcy over and again instead of being able to pull a few strings and having the people he owed jailed for impugning his good name. That’s why he tells folks in his crowd to punch out protesters (I bet Trump’s never thrown a punch in his life)(not that we want a brawler for a leader but at least if he was he would be as authentic as all the Trumpkins claim he is).

Silvio Trump, The New International Joke

No, Trump is no Putin. He would not be able to keep his people mostly united and unwaveringly proud in the face of a collapsing economy and international disdain like Putin has. He’s an American reincarnation of Silvio Berlusconi, a misogynist hater of gays and minorities with hideous hair and a penchant for making deals with less-skilled business foxes often for no reason other than they made the mistake of trusting him to keep his commitments (hell, even the Lannisters paid their debts). A person who can navigate the shady world of big business because he’s willing to fuck over the little guy but has no place as a leader of a citizenry, with all its conflicting interests and values and socioeconomic strata, all its countless ways to be considered successful. He has no place playing games with leaders on the world stage whose lifetimes of experience have given them long razors with which they’ll shear him like the political lamb he is. Even if his campaign manager has advised and worked for many of the most despicable strongmen and shady politicians in the world, the orange one loses his cool if he gets tough questions from the media.

Silvio Trump’s hardcore supporters may give him carte blanche to say whatever the fuck he wants as long as he promises that a white man with a high school degree won’t be put out of his job by men with darker skin and people with fancy college degrees from big cities rambling on about “global warming” and “equality.” Trumpkins may be able to ignore the many quotes that denigrate their mothers and daughters and sisters and may welcome quotes that threaten to cut the very immigrant thread that holds together our great and diverse nation because they’re so afraid of becoming irrelevant and unemployable in their own nation that they’ll bow down to anybody promising to kick out everybody they blame for the simple fact that their atavistic skill sets and outlooks have no place in the 21st century.

But as a writer I’m a strong believer in the power and truth of the words a man utters, especially the ones he utters in public. And those words above paint a frightening picture for an America under Trump: a twisted amalgamation of the funboy leadership and scandal-ridden economic-ignorance-fueled collapse of Italy with the heavy-handed assaults on liberty tied to Russia’s neo-Soviet alpha male. Silvio Trump with a man crush on the Western world’s bad boy pin-up. And considering the direction both those nations are heading, we should be very, VERY afraid of the prospect of Trump ever coming anywhere near the inside of the White House gates.

At the same time, there is one more Trump quote we should take very seriously, especially since he is a man who knows how to judge people and always tells it like it is:

I know Hillary, and I think she’d make a great President.” — Donald Trump, 2008