Archives for posts with tag: Hillary Clinton

a goal-oriented person or team works hard to achieve good results in the tasks that they have been given”

For the purpose of this post it doesn’t matter whether the goal has been assigned by somebody else or has been chosen by the  would be goal-achiever itself.

The problem, as I see it, is that those who focus too much on achieving a specific goal usually fail.

For at least two reasons.

First of all the goal itself might not be appropriate. Never was or something had changed.
For example, I had learned hard to become a mechanical engineer. Worked as one for 5 years and enjoyed every minute of it. I still love to fix things around the house.
But I gave it up when I realized I couldn’t feed myself in post communist Romania.

We consider ourselves to be rational. If this were true, all human goals would have been both appropriate and achievable.
How many of them really are?
Then why are so many of us willing to go to extreme lengths in order to achieve certain goals, against all signals suggesting that they should desist?

Even if the goal is reasonable, for instance to loose 20 pounds in a certain situation, if the would be achiever is excessively focused on that single goal it may try to reach it too soon, be unhappy during the entire duration of the process or even both at the same time.

So, should we give up all our goals?

That would be a goal too… so… no, obviously!

What I’m trying to say is that goals should be our stepping stones instead of being considered, any of them, ultimate pinnacles.

Before going any further I’d like to discuss the alternative suggested by Shane Parrish in at least two different articles.

Goal-oriented people usually fail, and other things I’ve learned about succeeding at work 2015 in BusinessInsider.com and

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, 2013 in Farnamstreetblog.com

There’s no real alternative? He is still focused on a specific goal, “success”, only he is wise enough to consider it in a reasonable way – as in ‘create as little disturbance as possible during the process of achieving it’?

Well, this is indeed a very important step forward.

Yes, forward!

I never said I was willing to give up goals altogether so I (think I) know where I’m headed!
The point is, and here I agree completely with Shane Parrish, that we should try to achieve our goals WITH at least some of those around us instead of being ready to reach them by CRUSHING, one way or another, everybody who might dare to even utter the smallest dissent.

In other words, there is only one legitimate goal that each of us is entitled to pursue at any length. Survival. All others are figments of our imagination and should be followed with discretion. Otherwise our actions might turn against us. And hamper our own survival.

Let me give you a very hot example.

Last year the American People had chosen their President.
This is a two step process. In the first one the parties nominate their candidate and then the entire people is asked to pick one of them for the job.

Almost the entire world knows that the American political scene is divided between the Democrats and the Republicans and that having your man at the helm is a big bonus for any party – the latter being valid in almost all countries, not only in America.

During the first of the two electoral steps, the Democrats have nominated Hillary Clinton while the Republicans have chosen Donald Trump. Apparently two completely different individuals.
A consummate ‘political insider’  versus a successful business man with a history of getting things done, seemingly at all odds.

Lets see how differently these two guys really are.

Hillary Clinton had identified, correctly, a huge number of issues and and formulated reasonable promises about each and every one of them.
Donald Trump had identified a huge pool of discontent and energized those who were waddling in there aimlessly.
Different indeed but only the opposite sides of the same coin. Political marketing at its  best. Or worse?

Hillary Clinton was a person who had no problem in using her, and her husband’s, official position and authority to achieve her goals, even if that meant bending the rules. Using a personal e-mail server, installed in a private setting, wasn’t a proper thing to do for a Secretary of State, was it?
Donald Trump is indeed a very successful entrepreneur. Only he did his ‘thing’ in a very ‘special’ domain. One subjected to various zoning laws and other heavy rules imposed by the ‘all powerful’ government.
I’m also going to remind you of the fortune he had inherited from his father – made using comprehensive political connections – and that Trump had used part of his money to curry favors with various political figures.

“Trump later told Politico, “As a contributor, I demanded that they be there—they had no choice and that’s what’s wrong with our country. Our country is run by and for donors, special interests and lobbyists, and that is not a good formula for our country’s success. With me, there are no lobbyists and special interests. My only special interest is the United States of America.”

And it’s not only that he had no qualms in using his money to convince politicians to do what he wanted them to do, he also tried to use governmental power to ‘convince’ an old lady, under the pretext of ’eminent domain’, to sell her house, at half price, so that he could build a limousine parking lot for a casino in Atlantic City.

These two candidates no longer seem to be so different anymore, do they?
Both equally ‘goal oriented’ – a.k.a. power hungry – and equally determined to use whatever ‘energy’ they could concentrate in that direction, including governmental power.

Then how come each of them had been nominated by their respective parties?
Considering that both parties paid lip service to the need to simplify the government…

Could it be that the real goal of both parties was to gain the Oval Office?
At all costs to the country at large?

I’m not going to pretend now that the survival of the US is in danger, just because Trump, currently acting like an elephant in a China shop, is the perfect opportunity for Putin to inflict as much damage to the US as he possibly can.

You see, Putin didn’t meddle into the election process because he had any hopes that he would be able to influence any of Trump’s decisions. Putin simply knew that Trump, once elected, will, in a ‘natural manner’, wreak havoc in Washington. What else could he have asked for?

Well, this may prove to be yet another ‘goal oriented’ failure… Had Clinton become President she would have probably continued to encourage the malignant growth of an already humongous government… this way the American People has the chance to wake up. Because of the tantrum Trump is throwing around…

And, maybe, the parties will also learn something.
Democratic government means governing for the country as a whole, not for the group which happens to control the power.
Real democracy is about honestly discussing the issues before the elections, so that as many as possible of the potential problems to become evident before the people having to choose a direction or other. Whenever the parties try to lure the population towards a particular ‘goal’, using any of the various tools devised by the political marketeers, the electoral process is no longer democratic.
In that case the whole thing has been demoted to ‘mob rule’. Which is dangerous.

Over reliance in our ability to choose a goal or to devise/run a system (government) is the deepest pitfall ever dug by humankind. For ourselves.

What can we make of it?

Momentous as it was the result was no landslide.
Only a little less than 120 million people bothered to vote – out of the 250 million or so who are old enough to do it – and most of them, 47.7% vs 47.5, have chosen the ‘looser’.

Actually I don’t like the notion of anybody winning – or loosing, for that matter, a democratic election but that’s a different subject. Stay tuned, I’ll probably cover it soon.

Then Trump is no Hitler, as some have feared.
Even if he is riding a similar wave of popular discontent like the one used by Hitler to rise to power, and uses the same political tricks, Trump is nothing more than the ultimate opportunist.
Check his body language.Turn off the sound and just watch him.

the-most-corrupt
While Hitler was a mad ideologue absolutely convinced of his own righteousness Trump’s only conviction is that he ‘deserves’ as much as he can ‘grab’.
Now, that I’ve mentioned ‘ideology’, in this respect it is Clinton who belongs to this category – people who conscientiously use an elaborated ideology as a compass to find their bearings and as a ‘looking glass’ to read the fine print on the maps they try to navigate. But this is a subject I’ll have to come back to at a little later.

No landslide but still momentous.

A lot of people who had not bothered to vote before have come out in droves.

Trump, the business man, and the Republican Party – which now controls both Houses of the Congress, cannot afford to forget this.
Also, they must not forget about the other half, the one which had chosen to remain silent, on Tuesday, of the electorate.
The fact that they didn’t vote, then, doesn’t mean that they didn’t have any opinion.
And they are simply too many to be discarded.

“How come we haven’t seen this coming?”

I keep hearing these laments from my fellow sociologists.

Well, the raw data was all there. Compiled in the opinion polls result sheets, only that we could not interpret them right.
Trump had felt it in his gut – and acted on this hunch, but we had not been able to see it coming despite our ‘scientific’ methods and hugely accurate number crunching machines.

Which brings me to the main topic of this post.

What happened these days is yet another proof that the math used by the number-crunchers is nothing but a (very accurate) language and that ‘science’ is nothing but a (meta) tool that can be used to make sense of various aspects of the surrounding reality.
The results obtained, by us, through the use of this tool and expressed with the help of that language depend primarily on our skills and intelligence and only secondarily on the quality of the tools used in the process and on the precision of the language used to present them.
Not to mention the fact that it was us who developed the tool and formulated the language…

I ‘warned’ you I’ll come back to ‘ideology’.
This is yet another tool. As I mentioned before, we, all of us, use it as a compass with which we try to find our way through the world and as a magnifying glass with which we try to make sense of what’s happening to us.

‘But you just said we’re using science ‘to make sense of various aspects of the surrounding reality’?!?’

Well… we’re using both.
Whenever confronted with anything new we have to make a snap decision. Try to assimilate it with something we already know or investigate it.
It is our personal ideology which kicks in first and tells us what to do. And each time that we choose to look in our mental drawers for something that might fit in the new situation we remain in the ideological realm and continue to use ideology as a light beacon – what happens to be inside that beacon is brought to our attention while everything else doesn’t exist for us.
Only if we choose to investigate, science kicks in. But not even then we are not entirely free from ideology. Each time that the investigative process leads us to anything which contradicts something that had been already ‘filed’ in our ideological cupboards we find ourselves in a huge dilemma. How to proceed from there on. Continue to trust the scientific method or revert to the safety of the already settled?

This is why individual responsibility is hugely important.
And why no one should ever consider that he is the sole repository of the entire truth.

This is why we need to be constantly reminded about the limited nature of our understanding.
And the democratic process has been proven, time and time again, invaluable in this respect.
As long as it was allowed to proceed freely and it was conducted with respect towards all members of the community involved.

 

trump-nbc-favorability-trump

trump-temperament-nbc

1478656414_trump_treatment_of_women

womens-votes

evangelicals-votes

white_catholics-votes

clinton-honesty-nbc

whether-to-continue

direction-of-the-country

trump-wins

New York Times, Elections 2016

Like always, the dispirited enough to stay at home have given a carte blanche to the  desperate enough to ‘jump into the unknown’!

And no, this is not exclusively about the ordinary voters!
They’ve already sent plenty messages stating clearly that they’ve had enough.
But those whose job was to make things work had chosen not to hear.
Then, when it had become plenty obvious that the boil had been festering for long enough, most of them had stepped aside – leaving at the forefront of the ‘operating table’ a ‘surgeon’ whose long resume was anything but capable of generating trust and a ‘willing’ and ‘enthusiastic’ ‘wannabe’ with no experience.

And now they are trying desperately to find an ‘honorable way out’…

 

the-final-countdown

 

“We’re leaving together,
But still it’s farewell.
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?

It’s the final countdown.
The final countdown.”

the-final-countdown-2

the-most-corrupt

“Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the Presidency… she is protected by a rigged system” said the paragon of free trade who attempted to use eminent domain in order to evict an old lady from her house so that he could spare a few hundred thousand bucks… and who later bragged about ‘women allowing him to “grab them by the pussy” simply because of his status’.

His competitor, whose slogan reads “Stronger Together”, is a former Secretary of State who has been accused  by both the State Department and the FBI of ‘gross negligence’ and ‘extreme carelessness’ towards important matters of national interest.

89797467_emailclinton

“Mrs Clinton failed to comply with rules on record-keeping, the inspector general found, and used private email for official business without approval.”

So, one of them thinks the system is rigged only when it cannot be twisted to suit his own interests while the other believes ‘togetherness’ can be build around someone who completely disregards the existing rules…

I’ve been asking myself, for some time now, ‘what’s going on there‘?
How come so many intelligent people have allowed themselves to be sucked in this extremely dirty game of deception?

In fact the answers are so obvious that I’ve lost interest in them.
(“The 2016 presidential election has seen a strange flip-flop with respect to conservative and liberal voters. In many ways, even though Trump is the nominee on the right, he is running to the left of Hillary on many issues. Hillary represents the status quo mainstream, usually denoted as the Republican nominee position, while Trump is the obvious “change agent” of the election. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been seen by many government officials as being more conservative than liberal, even though they use the Democratic platform to advance their hold on power.”)

But what consequences will arise from this mess?

Is Putin going to be the sole real beneficiary of this electoral process?
Because, regardless of the outcome of the vote, America has made such a fool of herself that she has already lost much of the huge respect the rest of the world had for her?

But what if, again regardless of the immediate outcome, enough Americans will eventually wake up from their slumber and bring things back on their right track?

Don’t count America out just yet.
Hitler and the Japanese militarists  have been only a few of those who had fallen into this trap…

On the other hand too many trips to ‘the brink’ are not ‘good for your health’. The Western part of the Roman Empire had fallen apart in almost similar conditions while its Eastern half had been able to post-pone  its own agony only by becoming a dictatorship.

OK, then please someone explain to me what the heck is going on here.

“Other researchers have pointed out the correlation between education rates and declining female health outcomes. The most shocking study, published in August 2012 by the journal Health Affairs, found that life expectancy for white female high-school dropouts has fallen dramatically over the past 18 years. These women are now expected to die five years earlier than the generation before them—a radical decline that is virtually unheard of in the world of modern medicine.”

femalemortalityratesmaplg

(Health Affairs/The Population Institute, University of Wisconsin)

“…women in parts of the country have been left behind, and in some cases, they are dying younger than they were a generation before.”

swing-states-20161

 

This map shows the probable number of votes each parties candidate would win in the Electoral College if the meeting of the College were held today.  If you live in a red state on the map above you probably do not have to vote for anyone for the office of POTUS but you should vote for a candidate for all  the other offices on the ballot.  – Abyssum

bullshit

I’m not a Trump fan. How could I be? Just look at his face!

On the other hand….

“I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” Abraham Kaplan

Or, in this case, convince a journalist of something and he will ‘dress’ the facts to fit his new conviction.

As I said before, I don’t like Trump.
If I didn’t have a lot of trust in the overall resilience of the American democratic system I would be scouring for a big enough rock to hide behind if/when he might ascend to power.
Unfortunately the present most likely alternative isn’t any better.

But that’s another topic.

Let me go back to the present one.

What we have here is a news/opinion outlet which has a clear political option.
OK, I can live with that. I have some opinions of my own and I love to argue and defend them. In private as well as in public.

But I do believe that the quality of the arguments used in a debate are of paramount importance.

Let me analyze the four I mentioned above.

“Within 20 seconds at a press conference on Wednesday, actual Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went from suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had once called President Barack Obama the n-word to saying he hopes Putin likes him.”

The apparent implication here being that Trump has trouble maintaining logical consistency inside a rather short discourse and that he is rather gullible – “For the record, there is literally zero evidence that Putin ever called Obama the n-word. It’s hard to say where Trump got this idea, but he has a long history of naively restating things he heard from one person — even random people on Twitter.

Hard to argue against this, specially since there is ample video testimony that he really said it.

a shocked again trump

Well… after actually hearing him, things are not so clear anymore.

“Putin has said things over the last year that are really bad things. He mentioned the n-word one time,” Trump said from his resort in Doral, Florida.
“I was shocked to hear him mention the n-word. You know what the n-word is, right?” Trump continued. “He has a total lack of respect for President Obama.”
Putin doesn’t like Obama, Trump told reporters.
“I think he’s going to respect your president if I’m elected, and I hope he likes me,” Trump said.
Earlier in the news conference, Trump claimed he had never met the Russian leader.”

Not a trace of either ‘gullibility’ nor of any logical fracture here. So why not call Trump for what he really is – a callous manipulator – instead of using convoluted makeshift allegations?

normal versus anormal

Absolutely impossible not to agree with everything written here, right?
No matter what side any of us belongs to…but wait!

“The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. …”
“The Republican Party’s convention was not a normal political party’s convention….”

A new cleavage in American politics: normal versus abnormal

America’s main political cleavage is between the Democratic and Republican parties. That split has meant different things at different times, but in recent decades it primarily tracks an ideological disagreement: Democrats are the party of liberal policies; Republicans are the party of conservative policies.

But in this year’s presidential election, the difference is more fundamental than that: The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate.

No, I’m not going to take sides here. Not only because I’m not an American citizen so I’m not entitled to vote. But simply because Democracy relies mostly on mutual respect. You cannot refuse to the other party the very right to exist yet still call yourself a democrat. Pretending that your opponent is ‘abnormal’ means that you’re convinced that your opponent should not exist at all.

The way I see it ‘America’s main political cleavage is indeed between normal versus abnormal’ only it seems that both the  Democratic and Republican conventions, if not the parties themselves, belong to the realm of the ‘abnormal’.

But wait, things are getting even more juicier.

When women speak, people tend to mentally turn up the volume

Women, and women leaders in particular, often get criticized more for how they say something than for what they actually say. They have to walk a difficult line of being assertive but not too aggressive, likable but not too much of a pushover.

Even though women are interrupted more often and talk less than men, people still think women talk more. People get annoyed by verbal tics like “vocal fry” and “upspeak” when women use them, but often don’t even notice it when men do.

The same mental amplification process makes people see an assertive woman as “aggressive,” which gets in the way of women’s personal and professional advancement. Women are much more likely to be perceived as “abrasive” and get negative performance reviews as a result — which puts them in a double bind when they try to “lean in” and assertively negotiate salaries.

These kinds of implicit biases are sexist, but having them doesn’t make someone “a sexist” — or if it does, it makes all of us sexists. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or whether you are a man or a woman; everyone has some implicit biases against women.

And that may be one reason why this is the first time a woman has ever won a major party’s nomination.

OK, so what should people do? Vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s a woman?

And no, I don’t have any implicit biases against anybody. I cannot vouch for anybody else but I cannot see myself as ‘abnormal’ so I expect there are others in my situation.
Hence I strongly believe that candidates should be evalued ‘all around’, without any biases based on their gender.

Or race.
Hey Trump, this one is specially for you.

barack is not the cause

I’m afraid that Dara Lind, the author of the article I just quoted above, has got her ‘butterfly’ wrong.
It’s not Obama that inadvertently caused any hurricane.
Do you remember the intensity of the birther campaign that had swept across America both before and after Obama was elected President?

And while it’s clear that Trump was one of the most vocal ‘birthers’  do you know who started the whole thing?

“You know who started the birther movement? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first?” Trump asked.

“Hillary Clinton, she’s the one who started it. She started it years before it was brought up by me.”

Trump said he no longer talks about the issue because it always breeds controversy but promised to “raise it against” Clinton in a general election.

OK, we don’t have to take Trump’s word on this, even if he’s quite an authority on the subject – given his passion about the issue.

The last quote is from an article published on the CNN site. Click on it if you want more specifics.
OK, so where does all these leave us?
Scratching our heads while trying to figure out what went wrong around the ‘deep well of anxiety about America losing its culture and values’?
Or rather staring at those who drew from deep within this well and used the proceedings to stoke people’s emotions in order manipulate them? One way or the other?
It seems the he wasn’t the only one. Wannabe presidential candidate and ‘racial provocateur’.
So why keep on hoping that by choosing the ‘lesser evil’ we’ll ever reach the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’?
Why keep on trying to manipulate people one way or another instead of finally calling both ’emperors’ for what they are?
other countries are laughing at us

Paul Noth, The New Yorker Cartoon

The US is the most religious of the civilized nations.
Yet so many Americans believe that “greed is good” despite greed being scorned by all major religions.
Most of those who do believe that quote Adam Smith when asked about the foundations of their creed:

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Unfortunately they don’t take the time to read some more of Smith’s work.

A puppy fawns upon its dam, and a spaniel endeavours by a thousand attractions to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man sometimes uses the same arts with his brethren, and when he has no other means of engaging them to act according to his inclinations, endeavours by every servile and fawning attention to obtain their good will. He has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion. In civilised society he stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons. In almost every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance  of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and shew them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely. The charity of well-disposed people, indeed, supplies him with the whole fund of his subsistence. But though this principle ultimately provides him with all the necessaries of life which he has occasion for, it neither does nor can provide him with them as he has occasion for them.
The greater part of his occasional wants are supplied in the same manner as those of other people, by treaty, by barter, and by purchase. With the money which one man gives him he purchases food. The old cloaths which another bestows upon him he exchanges for other old cloaths which suit him better, or for lodging, or for food, or for money, with which he can buy either food, cloaths, or lodging, as he has occasion.
Had they done their homework they would have had the chance to figure out that Smith was the first to understand that in order to fulfill their self interest people must treat each-other with respect. Otherwise trade would be impossible.
And what kind of division of labor could develop among people that despised each-other? Could anyone eat or wear something that even came close to a pariah – the actual meaning of the word being “untouchable”, a person that soils everything that makes contact with his person?
The US is the biggest economy in the world. It has enjoyed that status for more than a century now. During that time many American corporations have built huge portfolios abroad and some of them do more business outside the US than inside the borders.
This very week the Republican Party has nominated its presidential candidate. This guy, Donald J. Trump, has managed, in the last six short months, to aggravate almost everybody on this planet. Mexicans, Chinese, the whole Islam… and more than half the American population – he is perceived unfavorably by 59.2% of ‘his’ potential constituents.
Traditionally, the GOP was biased towards businesses and the business people – and fittingly so. So much so actually that G. W. Bush has thrown the traditionally Republican fiscal prudence overboard during his first mandate. Not only that he had reduced taxes but also embarked on a massive spending spree.
During the convention that nominated Trump as candidate Gov. Scott Walker, one of Trump’s most enthusiast supporters, mentioned:
Why is it so hard to figure out that ‘the well connected in Washington’ – exactly those who control those huge American businesses abroad – are doing everything in their power to get rid of Trump? Even if that means backing such an unpalatable candidate as Hillary Clinton? We should not forget that her behavior as Foreign Secretary – in what concerns her manner of dealing with her e-mails – proves a total lack of respect towards rules and regulations.
And what does Gov. Walker mean by ‘the well connected in Washington’? By every measure Donald Trump is one of them. So much so that he gleefully admits it.
trump wedding
Finally, but not last, we have the problem of the ‘failed presidencies’.
Quite a sizeable number of Americans are undecided whether Carter or Obama were the worst American Presidents ever.
The rest of the world remembers Carter as the guy who successfully brokered the Camp David deal while Obama continues to enjoy a good reputation abroad, despite the huge number of drones that were used during his mandate over foreign territories and despite  his failure to shut down Guantanamo, as he had promised.
Had America been a small country, equivalent to Switzerland, for instance, all these would have been of very little importance.
Since the US is not only the biggest economy of the world but also the most powerful nation on Earth, people all over the planet are keeping their fingers crossed about what’s going on there.

I recently read an excellent article about how the ever-growing lack of trust in public institutions, governments and experts included, is generating aberrations like Donald Trump becoming the darling of a sizable proportion of the American Republicans.

collapse of trust in institutions

I’m afraid that all of us have contributed to this.

People who get elected to power use it to fulfill  their own goals yet continue to get elected despite the fact that many of those goals do not add anything to – and too many times even subtract from – the general well being.
People who, for various reasons, vote for those mentioned above.
Media pundits who fill the airtime with their versions of the reality, purposefully crafted to fit their own goals instead of honestly trying to present to the public what they have seen/understood of what had happened.

What’s bothering me most is that all of them are behaving in an absolutely ‘rational’ manner.
In the sense that all of them are convinced they are following the current mantra.
“Make the best of the opportunities at hand”

Given the current ethos – that only the pussies do not grab everything within their reach – each of those in places where they might be given things would act foolishly not to accept those ‘gifts’. If they might find a ‘legal’ way to do it.
And the Supreme Court of the US concurs.

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.””

What happened was that former Gov. Bob Mc Donnell had accepted various gifts from a certain business man called Williams and then (because of them?) ‘set up meetings, hosted parties and called Virginia officials to discuss  a series of meetings to discuss aspects   related to William’s businesses.

Now, is this an example of corrupt behavior or not?

According to the Government and to the lower courts that have sat on this matter, it is.
According to the Supreme Court, it is ‘distasteful and even possibly more than that’ but not yet corruption. Or, at least, not in the way the Government has presented its case.

“But conscientious public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf, and include them in events all the time. The basic compact underlying representative government assumes that public officials will hear from their constituents and act appropriately on their concerns — whether it is the union official worried about a plant closing or the homeowners who wonder why it took five days to restore power to their neighborhood after a storm. The Government’s position could cast a pall of potential prosecution over these relationships if the union had given a campaign contribution in the past or the homeowners invited the official to join them on their annual outing to the ballgame. Officials might wonder whether they could respond to even the most commonplace requests for assistance, and citizens with legitimate concerns might shrink from participating in democratic discourse.” Chief Justice John Roberts writing on behalf of the court.

The way I see it this is nothing but ‘hiding behind technicalities’.
From a formal point of view the Supreme Court’s decision is absolutely correct.
On the other hand almost everybody speaks out, some very vehemently, against ‘pork barrel politics’.

Yet nobody does anything when occasion arises. Forgetting that this is exactly what we, humans, are supposed to do. Make decisions and assume responsibility for them. Otherwise, if we only look out for pretexts to do nothing when those around us keep making ‘good’ use of whatever opportunities they identify, the whole world will soon become, again, encased in the kind of straight jacket Hitler and Stalin were trying to put on us.

Here’s another example.

Less than a fortnight from now the Republican and the Democratic conventions will likely nominate Trump and Clinton as their respective presidential candidates. Each passionately defended by their followers and viciously attacked by their adversaries.
Yet both almost equally disdained by the general public.

“More time on the campaign trail isn’t improving the image of either major-party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
Some 60% of registered voters held a negative view of Mr. Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, compared with 58% in May. Some 29% viewed Mr. Trump positively this month.
Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state and presumed Democratic nominee, fared somewhat better, with 55% viewing her in a negative light, compared with 54% in May. One-third of registered voters held a positive view of her.” (Peter Nicholas in Wall Street Journal, June 27 2016)

What’s going on here?
Why has any of them been picked up as candidate in the first place?

And why none of their detractors mentions the trait of character that both of them have in common?

The complete disrespect both of them have for ‘comme il faut’.
You see, ‘properly’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘being a stickler for the word of the law’ but certainly means following the ‘spirit of the law’.
You’d expect as much from the two contenders for the Oval Office, don’t you?

Yet Donald Trump has a history of trying to use the law in order to drive an old woman out of her house so that he could have build a parking lot for one of his casinos while Clinton is being currently investigated for the highly irregular manner in which she used to manage  her e-mails when she served as Secretary of State.

To me this is a pertinent enough explanation for why a majority of the people do not trust that any of them would have ‘the better interests of the country’ in mind if and when any of them will be elected to office.

Making a step further people might soon develop a distrust for the whole concept of democracy – simply because the system was unable to deliver better candidates/alternatives. Not only in America.

And since the idea of democracy starts with trusting your fellow citizen to be able to make pertinent decisions – even if they happen to be contrary to your own ideas on the matter – it is highly likely that we’ll soon live in a very untruthful world.

donald-trump-short-fingered-vulgarian-fingers-bruce-handy-ss13
When trying to understand a rather complicated phenomenon one has two options.
Amass as much pertinent information as possible and then try to put it together or watch out for questions posed and opinions offered by others on the same subject. And, then again, put them together in your own way, of course.
A friend of mine posted this on FB:
“Trump’s trick is that he has never run on substance, yet his opponents and detractors attempt to attack the substance of how he is wrong. Because there is no substance, they cannot help but miss.”
See what I mean? Why strain your own head when there are people who already have the answer to your question?
All that is left for me to do is elaborate a little.
Well, as the man said, it is hard to be a ‘Trump detractor’ since there is nothing there to detract in the first place!
As for the ‘Trump’s opponents’… here again it’s a matter of understanding the mechanics of human interaction.
This whole thing started when Trump, the ‘perfect opportunist’, noticed that the ‘anti-Establishment’ sentiment was strong enough to present a ‘workable opportunity’.
Which he gleefully grabbed. And started to position himself as the ‘quintessential anti-Establishment candidate’.
As a matter of fact this is also the explanation for why he joined the Republican camp… after lavishing so much money on Clinton, for instance.

Among the Republicans the anti-Establishment feeling is stronger than among the Democrats – Sanders doesn’t seem able to uproot Clinton.
Now I have to remind you what most Trump supporters were saying a year ago:
‘I don’t like him, as a person, but by supporting him I’m sending a strong message to the Establishment’.
What happened during the last 10 months or so – that so many people have started to ‘like him as a person’ – is very simple to understand. Trump was skillful enough to position himself effectively while those who disliked him started to ‘oppose’ him. And, by doing so, gave him ‘substance’.
You see, engaging a conversation – no matter how ‘heated’ – with somebody means acknowledging his presence. Speaking to somebody means lending him some of your own legitimacy.
The second mistake made by Trump’s opponents was ‘calling names’ to those who spoke in his favor. And, just by doing so, transformed those who at first only wanted to vent their frustration into full-fledged supporters.
What we have now is a perfect example of a man made ‘perfect storm’.
A ‘loose cannon’ candidate whose supporters are experiencing a double layered frustration. A basic one fueled by the bleak economic perspectives faced by the entire middle class which is exacerbated by the disdain so oftenly felt by Trump’s supporters whenever they express their political opinion.
Hopefully Trump will eventually loose. But the ‘perfect storm’ will remain and it will have to be treated with utmost care.
The point being that we should not forget who brought us here.
The Establishment.
Reason tells us that in its own interest the Establishment – who has the most to loose – would be the first to look for a solution.
As we’ve just seen, the Republican half has failed miserably and the Democratic one is following in their footsteps. Judging by the quality of the candidates, of course.
Could this be the reason behind Kim’s endorsement for Trump?
trump, far sighted politician

North Korea supports Trump over “Dull” Hillary

Trump's shirts

 

Did you know that Trump was selling shirts over the Internet?

Yes, Trump, the guy that so many Americans are going to vote for simply because they are convinced he will completely change the way America works.

Why?
Because he says so.
He presented himself as the quintessential anti-establishment candidate and they bought it.

OK, something has to be changed so I fully understand their exasperation with the current state of the Union.
But is he “the” guy?

And since deeds are, or should be, more convincing than words, lets see if he is as anti-system as he pretends to be.

Well… at some point he did try to use the power of the government in order to con an old lady out of her house, didn’t he?
from the vera to the Donald

And he did ‘bribe’ Senator Clinton to come to his wedding. Simply because he had the money…

clinton came because I gave

 

And now this.
The way I see it the real problem is not the fact that he makes his shirts in Bangladesh in spite of being vocal about the need to preserve American manufacturing jobs. After all it’s his job to conduct his business as he sees fit. And if he is comfortable with doing one thing while saying the complete opposite…. that’s his job too.

But how come so many people take his words for real, without at least perfunctorily checking the facts?
How come so many are they so convinced he is ‘the right guy’ when he sells himself so cheap?

Oh, you didn’t know you could buy a “Donald J Trump Signature Collection” shirt for as little as $12.56!
Why is he doing this? Because he is so anti-Establishment that he doesn’t care about money?
You’re already laughing, right?

Or he simply does it because he can get away with it!
Because we don’t really care. Not anymore…

As one of my friends said about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s ‘Democratic’ counterpart:
” Hard to fathom how someone so openly, unapologetically corrupt can be the front runner. I think that says a lot about what we really expect from our politicians.”

I’m afraid she’s absolutely right.
We are the real culprits here.
‘They’ are simply doing what they are good at, grabbing gleefully whatever opportunities are within their reach, but we are the ones providing those opportunities.

Not only in America.

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