My Letter to Hillary


 

I’m taking a day off from the Trumpocalypse articles because I have company over for the evening. So here, instead, is a letter to Hillary. You can write one, too, and send it to the following address:

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Dear Ms. Clinton;

I wish to take a moment to say thank you.

Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration and hope for generations of Americans.

Thank you for standing up on behalf of those who, for so much of our history, have thought no one stood for them.

Thank you for fighting back against hate and sexism and misogyny with grace, style, and élan.

Thank you for trying as hard as you could to elevate political discourse, and focusing on the issues that matter.

Thank you, odd though it may seem to say, for being a woman of power in a position of power and for showing everyone, especially younger girls, what it can be like when a powerful woman fights for them.

I am very sorry that the rest of our country couldn’t see the real Hillary Clinton, and instead voted against the “cartoon version” of you. I had hoped for, fought for, and expected more from, the people of our nation. It is to our great shame that we failed you and failed ourselves.

Thank you again, and know that while this election might not have turned out the way we hoped, your cause is right and just, and we will continue to fight for it.

Yours sincerely:

Chris Swanson

At Last…


Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow we, as a country, decide if we want Donald Trump, a former reality TV star, failed businessman, a racist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, sexist, fascist anti-Semite to be our next president, or do we want Hillary Clinton, who, to be fair, mishandled some emails?

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I’m very much with her!

I urge all of you to go out and vote for Hillary for our president. I’d prefer that you also vote Democratic for the House and Senate, as well as for your state and local races. But I’ll settle for her being our president.

It really is important that we, as a nation, repudiate Trump in the loudest, most certain way possible. It’s vital that we drive a stake into the heart of Trumpism now, while we still can, because the next advocate of his beliefs will be someone outwardly sane. Someone who might get into office.

That’s really all that I have to say. That, and that I really hope the Republicans take the right lesson from this experience. They won’t; they’ll double-down on what happened and continue to morph into a white nationalist party of the sort that Britain First and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging would find familiar.

As a final statement, I’ll suggest you all take time to read this fantastic op-ed by Fareed Zakaria. Then, please, go vote for Hillary. And tune in tomorrow, for my live-blog of the election results.

What’s in a Name?


Let me tell you about a presidential candidate that I’m going to call Jack Henderson.

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He’s fake, so here’s a flag instead.

Jack Henderson (D-NY), is a New York-based politician. His life was pretty interesting. Here are some highlights of his time before elected office.

First ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College.
Distinguished graduate of Yale Law School
Editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action
Appointed to Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migratory Labor.
Co-founded New York Advocates for Children and Families
Staff attorney for Children’s Defense Fund
Faculty member in the School of Law at Columbia University
Former Director of the New York Legal Aid Clinic.
Chair of the Legal Services Corporation
Former civil litigation attorney.
Former Law Professor at the Columbia University School of Law.
twice listed by The National Law Journal as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America
Twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America
Created New York’s Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth
Led a task force that reformed New York’s education system
Board of directors of Target and several other corporations
Instrumental in passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
Promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses
Successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health
Worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War (now recognized as Gulf War Syndrome)
Helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice
Initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act
Traveled to 79 countries as part of various job duties
Helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.

And all that, mind you, before he even ran for office. It gets better. Here’s a list of things Jack accomplished while in office. He got elected to the Senate in 2000, and here’s what he did there.

Opposed things W wanted approximately 49% of the time (only 11 other Senators opposed him more often, and remember, it was right after 9/11, and even I tended to support W at that point)
Voted with fellow Democrats in the senate 96.5% percent of the time, while the average Democrat voted with them “only” 88% of the time
Voted with “Big Labor” 95% of the time
Voted with social and economic liberals 90% of the time
Showed pragmatism by occasionally siding with Big Business

Again, this all seems pretty good here. Let’s further say that Jack left the Senate in 2008, after being reelected by a wide margin, to serve in Obama’s cabinet. If you’re playing along at home, you can guess what position he was in, but in case you can;t, here’s a hint: It rhymes with Becretary of Bate.

Jack severed in that role with distinction for several years, fighting back against numerous politically-motivated attacks and smear jobs from the Republicans. Attacks so severe that they even went so far as to cost the government millions of wasted taxpayer dollars in the form of hearings that never once found any real evidence of intentional wrongdoing.

Then last year, Jack announced he was running for President, and managed to win the primaries. At the nominating convention, he came on board with the most liberal, most progressive party platform in ages. He coasted to an easy victory in the general election, and became our president.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Democrats were running such a person right now?

Read the rest of this entry »

Master Debators 2016 – Round Three – FIGHT!


6:04pm MST – Starting a bit late here, but let’s get going! F5 to refresh, as always.

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6:05 – First up, a question about SCOTUS, with a question about whether or not the Constitution is a living document. Hillary answers with an intelligent response, including mentioning that the Senate should confirm or deny Garland’s nomination.

6:07 – And now we get Trump, who believes that the Second Amendment is “under siege”. It isn’t, but arguably our citizens are. He’s also an originalist, which is a problematical point of view.

6:13 – Hillary is trying to square the circle when it comes to gun control, and make a broad appeal to the center. A wise course of action.

6:15 – Trump just made it clear that he’ll appoint justices who will overturn Roe v Wade. So again, if you’re on the fence about voting for Hillary, do so. She’s the pro-choice candidate.

6:17 – Hillary’s defense of abortion rights is full-throated and wonderful. Trump’s lies about what late-term abortion is are just what I’d expect.

6:18 – And she promptly slaps him down for that.

6:21 – “Right now, we’re getting the drugs and they’re getting the cash.” Sounds like an argument to legalize, to me.

6:23 – Putting minorities on trains. I’m sure that wasn’t an accidental image.

6:25 – Well, it took him 25 minutes to interrupt this time. Not bad.

6:28 – He keeps saying “bigly”. I don’t think he knows words. I’m also sure that Obama hasn’t deported “millions and millions of people”. We have fewer illegal immigrants in this country because many have left, because their own countries have improved.

6:30 – Here we go. Here’s the start of the meltdown.

6:31 – “He’d rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and intelligence professionals who are bound to protect us.” An excellent quote.

6:34 – Trump is coming off as a lot more controlled this time around. Still not good on facts, but there you are.

6:36 – Now Clinton is pushing improvements to infrastructure and clean jobs, as well as raising the minimum wage. And this is the first time I see Donald actually taking notes. Well, I assume he is. For all I know, he’s writing down the number of his coke dealer.

6:39 – Given a chance to talk about the economy, he pivots right back to our defense treaties. Obviously he doesn’t understand how international politics work, either.

6:42 – Trump’s comments are a word salad about all sorts of nonsense. Hillary’s is much more intelligent and nuanced.

6:43 – Now she’s praising some of W’s actions toward the start of the Recession. It’s not a bad idea, and will, again, help track toward the center when it comes to earning support for disenchanted Republicans.

6:45 – India and China are growing extremely fast. Do you know why? Because they started from a much lower position than we did. Also, in September we added 156,000 jobs, and unemployment remains under 5%.

6:48 – “Excuse me. My turn.” Yes, ladies, a man is talking! Keep to your place! He’s allowed to interrupt you, but you are not allowed to interrupt him.

6:51 – Again, the Status of Forces agreement, which is why we left Iraq when we did, was signed by W.

6:53 – So he’s specifically said that people were hired by the Clinton campaign, and paid $1,500 each, to cause violence at rallies in Chicago. He says there’s tape of this. He says this in the context of a question about the women accusing him of various inappropriate sexual acts. So, yeah, that makes sense.

6:54 – I suspect what Hillary is saying about the way Trump treats women is something that will really resonate with women on both sides of the spectrum. To give you an idea of how important that is, here’s Nate Silver’s map on what would happen if only women voted.

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6:56 – Almost an hour before got to the emails. Such restraint!

7:02 – I strongly doubt that 100% of Trump’s charity money goes to charity. Even the best charities need at least some operational cash.

7:05 – Clinton’s one interjection was about his hotel being built with Chinese steel. Excellent.

7:07 – So for the first time, a major party candidate for president is poisoning the well by saying our elections are illegitimate. Let that sink in. And “millions” of people who shouldn’t be allowed to vote, are registered to vote. That’s interesting, if true. But, well, come on.

7:07 – “Let me respond to that, because that’s…horrifying.” Perfect.

7:09 – “He’s a great threat to our democracy and our democratic institutions. 240 years of peaceful transition of power could be in danger if he’s elected.” “Yeah, but email!”

7:12 – A “no fly zone” sounds like a good idea, but it’s a real problem, and I’m really iffy on whether or not that’s a good idea.

7:13 – Ah, the only reason we’re going on the offensive against ISIS is because of  Hillary running for president. We’ve been at it for about three years now. That’s some forward planning.

7:14 – I doubt strongly that Trump knows that Iran is one of our allies against ISIS.

7:17 – “Strong, nuanced take on what’s happening in Syria!” “Yeah, but Wikileaks!”

7:19 – The sniffing is still there, but less pronounced than before. His dealer must be giving him a new blend. Cocaine comes in blends, right?

7:21 – Again the argument that refugees are terrorists in disguise. It does make perfect sense that a terrorist would spend three years in refugee camps, going through the vetting and the like, just to come here and blow up stuff. I mean, just getting a visa and hopping onto a plane would be much more difficult.

7:28 – Boring, but reasonable responses to a question about the GPD vs debt. Even I’m tuning it out a bit, though. I imagine the average voter turned out minutes ago.

7:30 – A question about entitlements turns to him bitching about Obamacare.

7:32 – Hillary’s response is that she’ll at least be down with raising taxes. She also makes it very clear that cutting benefits is a non-starter.

7:34 – Hillary’s answer to the last question was very good and positive and didn’t mention Trump at all. His first words are about her, then he goes on to our “depleted” military, which certainly isn’t a thing. She framed her answer in terms of America and its people. He framed his answer in terms of her and how much he hates her. Also, mentioning that a vote for her is a vote for four more years of Obama is unwise, given that he’s got very good favorable numbers right now.

His performance was better still this time. Up from a D+ to a C. Hillary was, of course, just fine.

I leave you all with this piece from the Oatmeal.

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Wither Precedent?


This really is quite the election, isn’t it? On the one side, we have Hillary Clinton; wife of a former president, lawyer, former Senator, former Secretary of State, with 30+ years working in politics. She has some baggage, sure, as does anyone who’s spent that much time in the public eye. But most of the scandals and issues and such are distortions at best, and lies at worst. 90% of the negative things you’ve heard, I’d hazard a guess, falls into those categories.

On the other side, we have Donald Trump; a racist, misogynistic, sexist, egotistical, xenophobic, Islamophobic, fear-mongering, tax-dodging, reality TV star who, by some incredible means, is the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States. This is a man who cheats contractors, who brags about sexual assault, and has severely deepened already existing divides in our nation.

Aside from her gender, and the extreme amount of hate directed at her, part of which is likely due to her gender, Hillary is a pretty standard politician. She’s worked very  hard to get to where she is and has earned her current status.

Trump, on the other hand, is almost aggressively ignorant, and is about as qualified to be president as I am do give a Mass in Latin.

His candidacy is unprecedented in our country’s history. Hell, the most recent obvious comparison is Silvio Berlusconi, who ran Italy into the ground for a few years. He had about the same level of political experience as Trump, and was absolutely terrible. Oh, and he had about the same level of sexual restraint as Trump.

But Trump’s lack of experience and extreme ignorance is only one part of the mix that shows how unprecedented he is in American politics. Here are some others.

  • Until Trump, no American politician had been caught on tape bragging about committing sexual assault.
  • Until Trump, no American politician had openly mocked the disabled on national TV.
  • Until Trump, no American politician had sat up in the wee hours, urging people to dig up a sex tape of a former beauty queen.
  • Until Trump, no major party presidential candidate had openly called for the imprisonment of his competition, and said he planned to bring that about upon entering office.
  • Until Trump, no American politician had had “their” convention boycotted by every living former president from that party, as well as all but one of that party’s presidential nominees.
  • Until Trump, there had never been a large number of party officials and elected officials refusing to support their nominee.
  • Until Trump, no major American politician had speculated that we might not live up to our NATO obligations unless we were paid to.

I could go on and on and on, but life is short, and this is depressing.

Don’t vote for Trump. Vote for Hillary. Even if you dislike her as a person, vote for her. Better her than Trump. Better fucking Gary “What am other countries, durrr” Johnson than Trump!

Jill Stein, I’ll admit, would be a bit of a toss-up.

Master Debators 2016 – Round Two – FIGHT!


5:59pm MST – Well, here we go. How will Trump do in the wake of his miserable failure last time? How will he do in the wake of the tape that was released on Friday? How will he do in the wake of all the former endorsers running for the hills? And how long will it be before he mentions Bill Clinton? Find out all this and more, and as always, press F5 to refresh!

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6:02 – Giuliani apparently compared Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States of America, Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, and Leader of the Free World, favorably, to St. Augustine. I don’t know if Augustine existed, or if he’s in the afterlife, or what, but if he is, I’m pretty sure he just threw up in his mouth.

6:04 – No handshake!

6:05 – Our first question is about them as role models, and as Hillary dives right in, I notice Trump is already looking physically uncomfortable. Also, yes, irrelevant, but I quite like Hillary’s outfit.

6:07 – Donald Trump calls this “a great country”. I thought we were supposed to make it great “again”?

6:08 – I can’t tell for sure if he genuinely doesn’t know anything about the Iran deal or if he assumes that his audience doesn’t. I suspect both. Also, he isn’t even coming close to answering the question, which is about being a role model.

6:10 – And so begins the minimization and outright lying about what he said in the tape in 2005. “I said some really horrible things, but I promise I will bring down ISIS!”

6:11 – He’s sniffing again.

6:13 – As Clinton talks about the video, Trump is very obviously having to force himself not to interject. I wonder how long this resolve will last.

6:14 – Clinton is doing a very good job of sounding quite humble.

6:17 – There we go. Seventeen minutes. That’s all it took for him to bring up Bill Clinton and start on about the unsubstantiated rumor of her threatening the women allegedly victimized. Also, he’s continuing to push the lie that Hillary freed a rapist and laughed about it. It’s also yet another example of him dumping on the 6th Amendment.

6:21 – And there we go, with him pushing, again, the lie that Clinton’s campaign was the one that started the birther movement. Even if that were true, it still doesn’t excuse his embracing the idea and running with it. Also, wow, accusing Clinton of stealing the primaries, and bringing up the emails, again, while advancing menacingly on Clinton.

6:22 – Now he’s threatening to use the legal apparatus of government to prosecute Clinton, despite all the investigations that have already happened, and despite the head of the FBI, a Republican, said there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.

6:23 – Ah, there we are. The first interjection from Trump.

6:24 – Cooper telling the audience to keep it down reminds me again of my constantly-asked question, why the  hell is there an audience in the first place?

6:26 – Clinton is sitting when Trump is talking, and standing when answering the question. He’s up and pacing most of the time, looking quite uncomfortable. She still looks quite unruffled.

6:27 – Oh, hey, we’ve gone from 30,000 deleted emails to 39,000! Impressive.

6:28 – Wow, that resolve to behave just didn’t last. Now he’s constantly interrupting and interjecting. He’s lost control again.

6:29 – “I’m a gentleman.” Lie of the night, surely.

6:30 – I’m glad she’s making the point that, yes, there are problems with the ACA, but it has some great things, too, and just needs to be refined. I appreciate her listing all the benefits it has, too. Those are things people absolutely love; they just don’t like to pay for them.

6:32 – I don’t think that he understands that under the ACA, many people are buying their own insurance, and most of the rest are having it paid for by their employer. This isn’t government-funded.

6:36 – So Trump’s answer about pre-existing conditions really does just boil down to, “trust me, I can fix it,” and we’ll just go back to what we had before, but somehow allowing sales across state lines would magically fix it all.

6:37 – Trump is trying to say Islamaphobia is a shame. Accurate, but, gee, I wonder who’s been pushing that more than about anyone else?

6:39 – Trump answers the woman’s question and paces while doing so. Hillary walks right up to the woman, looks directly at her, and starts answering her question. It’s a much better way to make a connection.

6:40 – Ugh. What is Trump doing to that poor chair? It’s not a woman in 2005, Trumpie!

6:41 – Once again, he’s saying he didn’t support the Iraq War. He did. Soft support, perhaps, but he supported it.

6:42 – For the record, it takes about 3 years for a refugee to be permitted to come to this country. We already have “extreme vetting” of refugees. It’s frankly much easier for someone to come here on a tourist visa and commit terror acts that way.

6:44 – Trump is, overall, doing better this time around than he was in the previous debate. But he’s still doing pretty awful, and acting like a #whinylittlebitch.

6:46 – Trump really does seem convinced that he can force other countries to do whatever the hell he wants. I really hope this man doesn’t become president.

6:47 – Here’s a question about the speeches. Let’s see how this goes.

6:48 – I don’t know that I would have started off by comparing myself to Lincoln, but it’s a reasonable example, I suppose.

6:49 – I am rather surprised that Clinton didn’t mention that Trump asked the Russians to hack the DNC.

6:50 – Wow, if he really believes the whole “honest Abe” thing, then he’s very much a naive individual.

6:54 – I, at least, am quite happy to have my taxes raised, depending on what I get out of it. I’m ok with that. But I recognize that I’m in the minority here.

6:55 – Again Hillary advances toward the front, and speaks directly to the person who asked the question. Let’s see if she actually answers it.

6:56 – She’s now providing specifics on what she would do, though not as many as I’d like.

6:57 – So he just admitted that he didn’t pay federal taxes for many years. And again, he’s claiming that he understands the tax code “better than anyone who has run for president”. Didn’t W at least have an MBA?

7:00 – I don’t think Trump understands quite how the Senate works.

7:02 – I’m very glad she’s taking the “30 years” thing on.

7:03 – Trump is spending a lot of time hiding behind his chair, rather like it’s a podium. Hillary is much more relaxed.

7:05 – Hillary’s response on handling Syria is intelligent, nuanced, and pretty good. I can’t wait to see what reality TV star Donald Trump has to say about this!

7:07 – A pretty mediocre response, which didn’t actually answer the question. Good that one of the moderators is calling him on that.

7:08 – Iran has always been a fairly powerful country, but I suspect he doesn’t know that.

7:14 – My computer crashed, so I was off for a few minutes. But I’m back now, just in time to see Trump a: complain about “our inner cities”, and b: say the word “Latino”, as though he had an accent. Fantastic.

7:16 – Again we see Clinton standing directly in front of the questioner, and looking him in the eye while answering his question. Trump just stalked around doing not much.

7:18 – Here comes a very valid question about the “deplorables” comment. She didn’t answer it especially well.

7:20 – Another four years of Obama? Sounds fantastic to me, and not a comment I’d make when Obama’s favorable rating is pretty high.

7:22 – “Does Mr Trump have the discipline to be a leader?” “No.” “Oh, I’m shocked to hear that.” Yes, that’s the sort of thing she’s referring to, Mister Trump.

7:25 – A good, but not great, answer on SCOTUS from Clinton.

7:26 – Trump says he’s quite keen to appoint justices in the same mold as Scalia. So consider that a warning to all those of you who are still on the fence.

7:28 – A fly just landed on Clinton. It didn’t move away for quite some time. That’s not a happy visual.

7:29 – Though to be fair, a fly buzzing around Trump’s head is a bit more amusing.

7:30 – Ugh. “Clean coal” isn’t. Natural gas is better, but coal is just terrible no matter how you slice it. Also, I find it a bit odd that he thinks energy producing companies have gone overseas or something. As far as I know, China isn’t shipping electricity to us.

7:31 – Clinton drives in the knife over Trump using Chinese steel. Yes, it’s important to remember that people who buy low-cost products made overseas, including steel, are the ones to blame for this.

7:33 – “Name one positive thing you respect in one another.” Excellent. I can’t wait to see how Trump turns it into a stab. For her part, Hillary turns it into a comment about his children, and that they’ve turned out as they have thanks to him. Not unreasonable.

7:35 – Can Trump think of anything positive to say about Hillary? Yes, in fact. Good for him!

So overall, I think Trump did much better this time than he did last time. But it’s like improving from an F to a D+. I also think that Clinton missed a lot of chances to really drive the knife home when dealing with him and some of the stupider comments that he made.

I was also very surprised that the video from 2005 wasn’t a much bigger issue during the debate. It certainly could have been.

Still, I feel a win for Clinton, if not quite as out of the park as it was last time.

One Last Thing on the Debate


The cold-open from last night’s SNL.