Category Archives: US Election 2016

Six Months in…

…and how many more to go?

Where to begin?

I have just re-read my post from January 17th, 2017 – yes, the last time I posted,  so perhaps it’s best to pick up there. As you all know, the situation in the US and in the world has only gone downhill.

My abstinence from writing has been caused by a complete feeling of impotence. I have felt overwhelmed by the shameless acts of little t and the republican majority in both Houses of Congress. The sheer speed of t’s (and the republicans) attempts to sabotage the country – and for that matter, the world – in every possible area has been breathtaking. Every day we’ve been bombarded by the next unbelievable appointment he has made for high offices, his next executive order, for example, to ban Muslims from entering the country, to turn back the clock on environmental protection, or to abolish the regulation of a financial industry that single-handedly caused the international economic crisis of 2007-9. I won’t bore you with listing everything, which would be an impossible task. You will have either followed it with your jaw hanging on your chin, or you will have turned off, watched sports or a movie, and let it all take its course. It may be true that you and I can do little to stop him.

HOWEVER, all those marches and all those protests against everything t is trying to change for the worse have had their effect on the Democrats, at the very least. They may have rediscovered their calling.

Although I haven’t expressed my opinions here for six months, my friends and family will all too willingly tell you that they think I’ve been obsessing about the political situation. Nor have I kept quiet on Facebook. Maybe because it was my first foray into voting in a US presidential election since 1972(!!), or maybe because of my inability to grasp that the American electorate could go so wrong in their choice, but I have not been able to normalize this presidency. Every day I start out by reading as much as possible online about the news from the US. Could it be that, just maybe, that overnight (we are 6 hours ahead) the Russia investigation blew up and t has been taken down?

So far, no luck. But the news leaking out from the investigations is encouraging. The special counselor Robert Mueller is extremely competent. And a very busy man. I’ve read that he is hiring prosecutors by the dozen. Looks like, where there is smoke… I live for the day when all will be revealed. And I tell myself, it’s not all that far off.

A slight comfort to my lagging intellect is that, time and time again over the last 6 months, analysts and commentators in quality media – think: MSNBC – Rachel Maddow and co. – have also expressed their own feelings of being overwhelmed by events. But they, being professionals, got on with the stories. They have demonstrated that the press is truly the fourth pillar of American democracy.The epithet of fake news has not kept them from their work.

The other three pillars – legislative, judicial and executive – have been duking it out. And the press has done its job and exposed their shortcomings. The executive’s (president’s) attempts to castrate the courts and control Congress are finally being fought off. Have Congressional Republicans (bought and paid for by big business) finally realized that t’s ship is foundering? Will the Democrats reform their party and push back against the republican gerrymandering that has caused them to win more seats than is their due? So many spaces to watch.

And the end won’t come a day too soon.

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Filed under Donald Trump, Politics, US Election 2016

#NEVERMYPRESIDENT

 

This is the winter of my discontent.

This is the winter of my discontent.

 

Just two weeks ago, the cosmic cycle, at least as we Earthlings see it, reached its end and immediately began its course anew. Our sun rises and sets. And the planets orbit that sun, oblivious to the species that dominates Planet Earth and continues the self-eviscerating process of destroying its own living, breathing environment, as well as slaughtering other species, even its own. Why do we do this? For wealth, for power? I suppose they are one and the same.

The above probably would not seem a promising start to a holiday letter. But it was what I spontaneously wrote as I contemplated our annual missive to friends and relatives.

Fortunately, I thought better of using it and attempted a more upbeat version.

Unfortunately, it reflects the writer’s state of mind this winter.

With massacres in Syria and the countless other atrocities that are causing the refugee floods from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere; with Europe weakened by Brexit, populist movements and insufficient leadership; with the new tenant moving into the White House, chosen by less than 25% of the electorate, having won (or actually LOST by 3 million popular votes) on a message of hate and division – no, sorry, neither my brain nor my heart can muster a message of optimism for the New Year 2017.

I have read that clinical depression is diagnosed when a person finds him/herself depressed for no apparent reason. So I can breathe a sigh of relief and begin the year with the certainty that I am definitely not clinically depressed.

No, for much, if not all my pessimism, can be explained by one huge event that will be sending shock waves through the planet for the foreseeable future: the election of Donald J. Trump to the American presidency. As most of my readers know, I don’t live in the US but in Germany. This year, for the first time since 2000 (when another Democratic candidate was cheated out of this post), I was in the US in November and experienced the circus firsthand. I became addicted to watching quality news broadcasting and following incredulously little t’s path to the Oval Office. I must say, any belief I had in the democratic election process has been thoroughly shaken, if not completely destroyed.

Now back home, I am still following as best I can, the way the US and the rest of the world have reacted to t’s alleged election victory. Since then, I’ve been participating enthusiastically in the fireworks ceaselessly exploding on Facebook, sharing articles that reflect my opinions – and it would seem, the opinions of many. It isn’t easy, but I try to stay away from name-calling FB users with views contrary to mine. (Many of them do not reciprocate the courtesy.) But I do not spare little t. He deserves any name that anyone calls him, except President.

It is true, I have not listened to the news on Fox nor read Breitbart online to discover if I have somehow missed little t’s good side: his presidential demeanor and diplomatic prowess, his magnanimous spirit, revelations of his much-touted “secret plans”. However, to this day – three days prior to his inauguration – the content of those secret plans to fix the Affordable Care Act or to end the war in Syria, have remained just that: secret. Why, even the Republicans who hold sway in both Houses of Congress are not that big on content either. In regard to repealing Obama Care, what are they going to replace it with?  They have no idea; they just know, it has to go! Who cares if millions of Americans lose their health care coverage!

I must confess that, rather than tuning in to Fox or Breitbart, I have relied solely on listening to t’s very own voice on TV, expounding his great, fantastic, big ideas, plans, programs, etc. Unfortunately, so far there is still no discernable content. Or to reprise an earlier presidential campaign: Where’s the beef? Gee, back then, voters actually asked that question. Now, it would seem many were satisfied with any empty hamburger roll.

Of course, it’s been hard to avoid the charming Kelly Anne Conway and her attempts to interpret the “World According to DJT” to the real world – what did little t actually mean when he said X, Y, Z? She has told us that we shouldn’t listen to his words but see what is in his heart.

This is about the time when I find myself gagging.

In fact, this is when we can change the station. We needn’t bother listening to her blather, for when she is done, we are none the wiser.

The biggest – in reality, the only hurdle to returning to normality is DONALD J TRUMP. With every Tweet he alienates anyone who voted against him. He widens the abyss and digs it deeper. No, you don’t have to watch CNN or MSNBC to become afraid of what t will do to the US, Europe, NATO or the UN. Not to mention the damage he will do in relations with Russia*(!!!), China and North Korea. All you need to do is read or listen to the unfiltered, unedited pronouncements emanating from his own mouth.

IMHO we have a right to worry.

So what lies ahead for 2017? Impeachment? Constitutional crises? Only the stars know.

*That’s a kettle of fish I’m going to leave the lid on right now. Can’t wait to find out what’s really in the pot. But one thing is for sure: it will stink.

The winter sun sets on my discontent.

The winter sun sets on my discontent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Disasters, Donald Trump, Europe, Politics, Syrian civil war, US Election 2016

WHERE’S THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT GONE THIS YEAR?

The Trump has stolen Christmas!

It’s down to the wire with sending those Christmas cards, shopping for presents and decorating the tree. But why can’t I get into the seasonal spirit this year?

Never fear, I do intend to tell you why.

For the first time since 2000, I was in the US for the election. Back then it was bad enough. I was relieved to hear, as my plane lifted off for Germany, that the winner of the popular vote, Al Gore, had been declared president. Upon arrival in Frankfurt, George W. Bush was suddenly president. We all know how well those eight years went.

This time round, I was, during the course of the primaries and the election campaign, so appalled by DJ Trump’s campaign that I took a step unprecedented for me. I registered to vote in my home state of New York, a place I hadn’t lived since 1972. Over my adult lifetime in Germany, I have never felt a need to vote in US elections. The issues were mainly American; I did not know about them, I lived in a place beyond their relevance and was content to leave the choices up to the locals.

But as this election cycle progressed,  I was reminded of the undeniable fact that US foreign policy runs the world – even though American election campaigns cannot be won on foreign affairs issues! It seem to me that a good deal of at least the Western world should have a vote in a choice far too significant to be limited to the US populace. Alas, that will never happen. So I took up the gauntlet to play the minuscule role allotted me and voted for Hillary Clinton.

Again, as the campaign rolled on, it became increasingly evident that Trump did not possess the personality, judgement or even the interest in doing the job that would qualify him to govern a county that loves to call itself the greatest on earth. The thought of his winning was just too ridiculous to seriously believe it could happen.

But happen it did. And in N Jersey I witnessed up close all the coverage following it, all the flabbergasted pundits who said it couldn’t/wouldn’t and above all shouldn’t happen. It was addicting, keeping up with the latest news on T’s atrocious appointments and nominations, on his Tweets that revealed a wild-west gun-slinger shooting from the hip with nary a thought of consequences. It was a heady feeling seeing protests across the country of Americans  peacefully (in the main), declaring that T was #NOT MY PRESIDENT.

BUT this was the man the country had chosen. Well, at least the 56 % who went to the polls. Well, of them 46.1 % who voted for him. Pitted against the 48.2 % who voted for Hillary Clinton (also-rans clocked in with 5.7 %). Clinton’s lead in the popular vote continues to rise. And now as it is almost final, she has 2.86 million more votes than he does. Doesn’t that work out to be somewhat less than a quarter of the population voting for him? Doesn’t it make you wonder what would happen if everybody voted? (BTW in Australia voting is a legal requirement. You will be fined if you don’t do your patriotic duty.)

Who knew that it really takes this long to count all the ballots. Who knew that the 50 States each has its own version of outdated polling equipment leaving them wide open for rigging the count.

Not to mention the restrictions put on the Right to Vote Act that barred millions of willing voters from casting their ballots.

T keeps calling his win a historic landslide. Hmm, lots of adjectives come to mind to describe his “win”, but not that.

With far too many anomalies to be classified as an election as usual, it is impossible to return to the routine order of the day. We now know that the Russians, led by their top KGB agent Vladimir Putin, interfered with the process via cyper-hacking. Of course, the FBI did their best to stir up the idiotic email issue – again – a few days before the election – which turned out to be unfounded as well as completely politically motivated.

I could go on till Hell freezes over about what stinks in this election. And most of you reading my post will know this already. But please bear with me while I make a few modest suggestions:

  1. Something must be done about the electoral college system. Either get rid of it or give the states the number of electors that truly represents their population. Go to http://www.nationalpopularvote.com to find out about what is already afoot to circumvent the necessity of a constitutional amendment to neutralize the college.
  2. Update your polling stations with machines that work, cannot be manipulated and can actually be examined for correct results.
  3. Improve the teaching of social studies, history and ethics in the schools so that children can learn how to be good citizens, how to respect the rights of others with disabilities and different skin colors, religions and sexual orientations. Make sure you have teachers capable of fulfilling this extremely important mission! If I recall correctly, in the US the separation of Church and State is still anchored in the constitution. Schools are not a venue for teaching creationism or white supremacy.
  4. Political correctness has had some really bad press. Rethink why this sometimes awkward principle is so vital in today’s United States and in the world as a whole. It’s all about:

    RESPECTING THE DIFFERENCES OF OTHERS!

Which brings me back to our President-Elect who shows very little regard for anyone other than Number 1. He mocks people who are different; he is actively supporting racism by his choice of staff and cabinet, elevating unqualified people who bring with them from the get-go plenty of their very own conflicts of interests. His, of course, he dismisses as his divine right.

(BTW the US President is not a deity, unlike Roman Emperors of yore.)

It would be too much to hope that tomorrow the Electoral College will be self-confident enough to stop Trump’s march to the Oval Office. That being so, I see many rocky roads before us. And I see the time, effort and resources that should be used to solve the nation’s urgent problems, being wasted in the next couple of years to impeach this travesty of a president.

He is not my President and never will be. I am ashamed to have to admit that I am an American citizen.

With all of these thoughts in my head, I just can’t muster much enthusiasm for celebrating Christmas this year.

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Filed under civil rights, Disasters, Gender Questions, human rights, Politics, US Election 2016

EXTREME FEAR AND LOATHING IN NEW JERSEY Part II

So now the deed is done. All the pundits and the media got it wrong with their projections. The US is faced with at least four years full of potentially nasty surprises. Unless DJT is impeached for fraud and racketeering, human trafficking, sexual assualt….the list goes on, and one can only surmise what crimes he will/would perpetrate once ensconced in the Oval Office.

Of course, just under half of the popular vote (noting that only 55% of the eligible population voted) actually went to this man who thrilled his supporters by pushing all the right (emphasis here on right) buttons of angry white men, the poor souls who felt neglected by the political establishment, who resented a black man as POTUS for 8 years, who really believed T’s idiotic rhetoric, insane promises and hate tirades.

My challenge to you American readers is to go check out http://www.nationalpopularvote.com to find out about what is already happening to circumvent the rigged electoral college system. For there is a way and very few people are aware of it.

There are those voters who believe T will moderate his views now that he’s been elected. He has, in fact, deleted his promise from his website to ban Muslims from entering the country. We also have to take into account that a President is not the all-powerful dictator that T would like him to be. For example: How exactly does he expect to force Mexico to pay for that famous wall? I suppose he could hold a million illegal Latinos hostage at a secret location until our southern neighbor coughs up the dough.

And how pliant will the Congressional GOP turn out to be? Now that they are safely returned to the Senate and the House, maybe they just might recover some semblance of morality and courage. Oh dear, is that wishful thinking on my part? And I am not yet up to contemplating the field day T could have loading the Supreme court with his justices. My mind gets brain freeze from the mere thought.

I am reminded of the interview with the ghostwriter of T’s autobiography ( The Art of the Deal, 1987), Tony Schwartz, that appeared in the New Yorker (July, 25. 2016), in which Schwartz said that Trump’s attention span was no longer than ten minutes. That his brain is tuned into the short format of television sound bites, which is about all he can digest. How is this President-elect ever to deal with complicated policy issues that cannot be  reduced to  a TV sit-com format? Schwartz  stated that he deeply regrets having been involved in writing this book.

And now T is setting up his transition team. It seems no one has informed him that anti-nepotism laws and conflict of interest regulations exist. For he has chosen his three adult children and a son-in-law to be on this team. Oh, by the way, the same 4 rather close relatives will also be managing his companies while he is managing the country. Do you think there is something the man does not understand about the concept of a blind trust?

When exactly is the Justice Department going to catch up with this criminal who thinks that the laws don’t apply to him and his? Will this character make a laughing-stock of the US, similar to Berlusconi in Italy? One thing is for sure, the DOJ better get its skates on before T takes away their wheels.

Note: I have not posted any pictures of T — nor even spelled out his name — because his facial expressions are too ugly for a thinking person to bear. Say, if you like that I am in denial following Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote; however, I consider it self-preservation — something T is very adept at.

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Filed under Fiction and Other Truths, US Election 2016

FEAR AND LOATHING IN NEW JERSEY The 2016 US Election

This not-so-courageous blogger has ventured into the lion’s den to visit her sister as the US presidential election approaches its climax.on decision day: November 8th. To date, I have not broadcast my views on this platform, not for lack of strident opinions, but for more prosaic reasons. I have kept my political expression limited to outbursts on my private Facebook page where I have shared articles and news flashes about this brawl, also know as the Clinton – Trump presidential race.

Every election cycle brings with it far too little concentration on policies and problem solving and far too much mudslinging and defamation of the opponent. However, this time the vitriol is beyond vicious, the stakes are infinitely higher.

The US is poised on the brink of a precipice. If it now takes a wrong step, all the principles this country was built on will be shattered as they plummet into an abyss deeper than the Grand Canyon.

When in the past has the GOP succeeded in nominating a candidate it cannot support, where  elder Republican statesmen have declared they are voting for the Democratic opposition? This is unprecedented (No pun intended?).

No need for me to regurgitate all my reasons for opposing Trump and supporting Clinton. Thinking voters across the country – across the world! – have known for months exactly what these candidates represent. But with a choice between a seasoned, hard-working if flawed professional and a ranting, racist populist, well, there is just no contest.

I consider myself a student of history and have spent my entire adult life in Europe, where plenty of it happened in the 20th century. After World War II, the Americans were at the fore of rebuilding Germany into an exemplary democracy. The US, allied with Europe in NATO, stood as the guarantor of freedom in the face of the Soviet threat in the Cold War. Now, the great European democracies look west with horror in their eyes at the prospects of a Trump presidency, while Putin is rubbing his hands in glee.

My American friends and I in Germany have felt it necessary to apologize to the Germans and Brits we know for what has been going on in the US. It is as if their greatest mentor, their role model is outing itself as a charlatan.

Please, thinking fellow-Americans, get out there and vote for the only candidate who will  keep America great – Hillary Rodham Clinton!

 

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Filed under Europe, US Election 2016, World Wars