Saturday, October 29, 2016

Top 10 Reasons Not To Vote For Him

1. The inability, on a consistent basis, to talk in any detail about issues that will affect the entire world. No link needed for this first and most important reason.
2. The suggestion that he would kill the families of terrorists.
3. Threatening to assign a special prosecutor on Clinton if elected, as if that is the President's job.
4. Targeting Islam and Muslims, specifically all talk related to the impossible task of assessing people based on religion.
5. Mocking the disabled, which even Fox had difficulty trying to defend.
6. Insinuating that Ghazala Khan was not allowed to speak.
7. Linking a judge's ability to be impartial with his ethnicity.
8. The birther saga and eventual washing of his hands, stating that he "did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate".
9. "I wanted to hit some DNC speakers." Symbolic for me of all the middle-school level taunts and childish logic that has come out his mouth. This one hit home as I spend large parts of my life these days trying to explain why "we don't hit" to my 2 and 4-year-old. I must tell them that everyday, so my ears really perked up when this was his response to the political criticism in the Democratic convention.
10. And, or course, the suggestion that Mexico is sending rapists.

Sorry, I need to one more...

11. The tape on grabbing women without consent was bad, but to me it wasn't as bad as this response, in the midst of the controversy to let it slip that one of his accusers "wouldn't be his first choice". Unhinged!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Satire Paradox

I've enjoyed all of Malcolm Gladwell's podcast, Revisionist History, but this one on The Satire Paradox seems particularly relevant now as we limp toward election day in the U.S., laughing at the comedy shows and waking up at night with anxiety as we seriously consider the reality of our political debates.

I am absolutely guilty of laughing my way through recent elections, but there is a need for serious reconsideration of how "entertaining" we've allowed politics to become. There is a great contrast between the U.S. humour and the Israeli show highlighted in the podcast called "Eretz Nehederet". Try Hope Kindergarden.

While I laughed at Stephen Colbert for years, I feel somewhat justified in that I always most valued hearing those people as themselves, explaining how they got in that position and where there motivation comes from. Here's Colbert being interviewed on Fresh Air in 2012 and then in 2005.

I learned a lot about Super PACs from Colbert. I wasn't the only one.

All this is relevant to me as we have a deadly serious divide and an urgent need for the non-satirical voices to fill some of the air space before and, most importantly, after the election.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

How Is This Possible? -- The Redux

Looks like I am not the only one asking this question. Roger Cohen also asking the question today. I think the first response is most critical to me.
How is this possible? It is possible because spectacle and politics have merged and people no longer know fact from fiction or care about the distinction. It is possible because fear has entered people’s lives and that fear is easily manipulated. It is possible because technology has created anxiety-multipliers such as have never been known before. It is possible because America is a country living with the dim dissatisfaction of two wars without victory and the untold trillions spent on them. It is possible because a very large number of people want to give the finger to the elites who brought the crash of 2008 and rigged the global system and granted themselves impunity. It is possible because of growing inequality and existential dread, especially among the white losers from globalization who know minorities will be the majority in the United States by midcentury. It is possible because both major parties have abandoned the working class. It is possible because a lot of Americans feel the incumbent in the White House has undersold the United States, diminished its distinctive and exceptional nature, talked down its power, and so diluted its greatness and abdicated its responsibility for the well-being of the free world. It is possible because the identity politics embraced by urban, cosmopolitan liberals have provoked an inevitable backlash among those who think white lives matter, too. It is possible because Trump speaks to the basest but also some of the most ineradicable traits of human beings — their capacity for mob anger, their racist resentments, their cruelty, their lust, their search for scapegoats, their insecurities — and promises a miraculous makeover. It is possible because the Clinton family has been in the White House and cozy with the rich and close to the summit of a discredited political establishment for a quarter-century now and, to people who want change or bridle at dynastic privilege, that makes Hillary Clinton an unattractive candidate. It is possible because history demonstrates there is no limit to human folly or the dimensions of the disasters humanity can bring on itself.