Clinton & Legalese Double Speak

There’s little more to say about The Donald. It’s clear: As a confidence man, or con man if you’d rather; the man is top shelf. As a world leader with the breadth and might of our mammoth military and massive economy; the man would be an apothalyptic -a word I just made up for the occasion- disaster. So what about Hillary Clinton? Maybe no one will ever read my opinions on the matter, nevertheless, I tend to best find my feelings upon jotting them down. And so…

I’ll start with a quote from today, a quote so indicative of her political doublespeak so many find repulsive; or at least I do. When asked AGAIN about the private server bullshit she spews this legalese:

The FBI director said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people”

What the focker does this even mean? And to imagine her in some room with her advisors and lawyers coming up with this after all that’s taken place, I just cannot get my head wrapped around the logic involved? Isn’t there anyone with clout on her staff that can straighten this out? Just tell the voters the obvious: After 30 years in the public eye, my poor decision to hide my personal business was a reactionary move that I’ll do my best to not repeat. If classified material was compromised in any way, it was wrong. I’ve learned from this and hope it will make me a better, more informed leader. The end!

But hell no! It’s this dribble dribble that falls out of her mouth among the constant pauses of, um, uh, um, uh, uh, that only solidifies voters assessment of her honesty, or dishonesty, as it were. You have to wonder how she interprets the public’s perception of her in general? Is she unable to distinguish independent voters from the 24/7 media and how substantively they are different? Or maybe I am way off base here and her unsuitability and dishonesty stems from other cues? Sure, conservative voters latched to the GOP come hell or high water will likely never find her agreeable, no matter her polish. The bloc I speak of is made up of Sander’s ardent supporters, centrist older white voters and those who typically do not vote. These are the subsets that in many ways elected Obama in 2012, Clinton in 1992 and Carter in 1976, and are the voters Hillary would need to win up against most establishment Republicans. Against Trump however, she will likely skate by either way. But look out for 2020….unless the GOP is foolish enough to go with Ted Cruz, another fringe lunatic.

I’ve come to really like the WNYC podcast, On The Media. Of course the show this week started with a Trump themed piece: Has he finally gone too far, this time, this time, this time, the shameful ticky-tac with the Khan family the latest. The host interviewed a reporter from The Daily Caller, a conservative site that’s posted articles recently calling into question the patriotism of the Khan family. Listen to it if you get the chance and you care about Veteran’s issues. The lengths to which some in the right-wing media will go to defend Trump is quite despicable, however, it reveals the politicization of Vets and the Military by some in both wings of the media. The lip-service is usually just that. Vets are little more than a ladder to power and ideological purity, and little else. It sickens me. Thanks to Bob Garfield at On The Media for the great unveiling! Listen here.

Too many days for me away from the cabin this week. Dealing with the VA where I am at is a chore. I suppose it is anywhere? It’s good to talk with Vets waiting at the offices. It’s the one place I cannot hide the fact that I am one of them, yet it’s the one place that I wouldn’t want to. It occurs to me that our soldiers, especially the ones who served post-9/11, have been to psychologically damaged due to the abuse of our patriotism among other aspects of America 2016, many of my fellow Vets are willing to support Trump in the face of his careless psychopathy. Another words: the establishment -lead by the likes of Clinton, W. Bush and Obama- has caused such harm that anyone challenging their control of government, is thereby necessary? I could argue the public writ large, especially the middle class who’ve been so disrespected, lied to, sent to war, and ever falling behind the elite, see Mr. Trump as a kind of fire breathing monster, capable of crushing the DC oligarchy?

So yeah, that might have been the closest I’ve come to the ramblings of a madman? I do have other interests beyond politics, as unlikely as it may seem?

What about the Rio Olympics? Has anyone else noticed -the Sochi winter games were similar- the press coverage leading up to the actual events? How many stories have we heard relating to athletes, their story, their sport, personal pieces meant to give us individuals to root for? Yes, there was the millionaire golfer who publicly refused to attend due to Zika, but otherwise? I read a nice piece on a female boxing phenom from Flint Michigan. What we have been fed is Zika, open sewers, political corruption, zika and zika. I tend to agree that the IOC, like FIFA, has lost sight of the games as competition, to the games as revenue. And of course, terrorism. We don’t hear that it is winter in Rio, a time of relatively few Mosquitoes. I hope the games go off peacefully? But why not? Brazil seems like a strange place for ISIS or Al Qaeda to target?

Gotta run.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Clinton, Libya & Addiction

This opinion may no longer be unique? Nevertheless, after reading the Washington Post, Donald Trump interview transcript today, –I will try later to link here if I can figure out how– it occurs to me that the man is, in fact, seriously psychologically damaged. I’ll refrain from elaborating in detail. The transcript speaks for itself. I have little doubt he will crumble prior to November. The pressures are tremendous and even the most disciplined politicians find the process so taxing they avoid beginning the race altogether. What seems most fascinating to me is how he will manage the destruction, or how the GOP as a party will play the circus?

As a former drug counselor and recovering addict, my first reaction to his instability is to assume he is on drugs, particularly some type of amphetamine / sedative combination. I write this off almost unconsciously, yet maybe we/I shouldn’t? The abuse or dependence on substances typically evolves from a co-occurring disorder related to a mental health condition. Self medicating is the loose terminology. I might be off base, perhaps, or as Trump might say: ‘many people have written this, I’m not saying but, you know?” His ever increasing seemingly uncontrollable behavior and his increasing need to be affirmed by polls and ratings, might suggest an addict slowly losing control? His behavior is consistent in process, but increasing in lack of control.

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016

After an appointment with the VA this afternoon, I have to consider the fact that many folks in this country support The Donald, come hell or high water. Just today I had brief conversations with strangers who all supported Trump. My question in all cases was, why and how? Little was learned despite my openness. I just cannot imagine a future with this man anywhere near the Oval Office. Call it hypothetical cognitive dissonance if you’d like?

Another tidbit I came across was an interview Hillary Clinton did in the immediate aftermath of Qaddafi’s execution by NATO supported rebels in Libya. It was cringe worthy and revealing unlike most of the sanitized views of Clinton. Her maniacal laugh and obvious joy with the killing of a head of state, had it been a leader of another country, would’ve been rightly condemned. She obviously learned NOTHING from the lessons of Iraq. Anyone with a brain and accurate information could have easily predicted the future of Libya, yet she seemed blind? Either she truly is ignorant, or more likely, a Libya lawless with nonstop civil war is the policy of our government? Either way, how can we support her for POTUS? A question I will continue asking myself as the campaigns come to a close.

It makes me glad that some actually read some of my rambling thoughts. Thank you, and I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WAR: ON TERROR & FREEDOM?

I’ve never told anyone the particulars of this story outside of my grandfather, a WWII & Korean War Veteran, who passed away in 2013 at the age 91. In the spring of 2002 upon completion of my initial training with the US Army I was intigrated into a light infantry battalion and almost immediately deployed to Afghanistan to join my new unit. It all happened so fast, -I’d enlisted in September 2001- I didn’t have a chance to really feel anything up to that point beyond just not trying to fuck up. It was frightening, no question, but it was a fear of failure and not the fear of combat. That would come soon enough. It may have never really left me, in fact?

Our Platoon was at that time designated a quick reaction force, or QRT. The first mission beyond the wire for me turned out to have historical meaning, though this was far from our minds at the time. The mission was in support of a special forces unit who had come across a hostile compound of enemy al Qaeda forces. After a foreign interpreter was killed approaching the walled compound, my unit was transported by helicopter -Chinook- to the vicinity. Combat air support was also dispatched from Jalalabad, including an Apache helo and an A-10 fixed wing jet.

Arriving in between the initial Apache engagement and the A-10 strafing runs I witnessed, it crossed my mind: fuck, fuck, fuck! The SF team breached the compound first, followed by my fire team about 60 seconds later. There was contact including small arms fire and at least 2 minor explosions the likes of grenades. It was surprising considering the damage inflicted by the aircraft, the last of which was a 500 pound bomb let loose from a bone -B1 bomber- How could anyone survive such devastation, let alone be able to fight our assault?

In the confusion an American SF soldier had been seriously wounded in the first 20-30 seconds, the result of shrapnel from a grenade. He later died, sadly. Of the 2 enemy that had survived the air assault, one had been killed upon entry, the other, barely alive, turned out to be a 15 year old Canadian citizen, Omar Khadr. I can’t be too specific, but just imagine the situation? A KIA American, initially thought to have been killed by this kid? Luckily, -if luck has anything to do with this- there were a few ranking soldiers on scene who reminded some of the others of our duty to the laws of war. Omar was cared for and sent off for medical treatment in Khost.

Whenever I come across the subject of Guantanamo Bay and our prison on that island, I cannot help but think of Mr. Khadr in particular. I feel disgusted. If I hear or see someone extolling the benefits of GITMO, or even feigning indifference to the policies the continue, a sickening, queasy feeling of anger often washes over me. How could anyone who espouses the freedoms of America, our so-called exceptionalism of their fantasies, also remain committed to such injurious, demeaning, cruel policies?

I have zero doubt our future civilization will look back upon our current selves with a justifiable contempt. There’s little doubt that this whole messy, deliberate and systematic flaunting of international law will be recorded with regret, but little sympathy. If our people could have quickly modified our positions, held those in power accountable for their blatant criminality, maybe history would have forgiven? What we have done is indemnify or muddle our actions, a sure way to do it all over again the next time we get angry.

That’s all for now

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Cuban, REALLY?

The Clinton campaign seems over the moon, sending out a press release; “great to have Mr. Cuban’s endorsement.” This kind of shit, to my mind at least, is exactly the sort of retrograde celebrity bullshit that turns off undecided voters. His endorsement is critical and worth advertising why? Because he’s rich, so he must be some sort of populist oracle who knows best? Here’s a little advice for the Democrats, -or “Democrat Party,” as the GOP refers to it [them] with deliberate precision- Why not try: Sister of Afghanistan War Vet endorses Hillary, or, Father of New Hampshire Teacher of the Year endorses Clinton? Instead, the Saturday night political news cycle consists of 3 fresh Trump “this will do him in for sure” stories and, “immature Texas billionaire -who 98 out of a 100 people couldn’t say exactly how he made all that money- proves his billion-brain true by endorsing the generic candidate over the madman.”

Even though I have access to current news only once a week, maybe twice, I believe even less saturation might be necessary to ease my already fucked up mind? I almost never bring up my service in the Army beyond the confines of this blog and my sporadic work towards completing a book on the subject. Contact with men I served with over 10 years ago has also become rare for reasons I understand but cannot seem to explain. For some reason this election cycle tends to expose that pain I work so hard to suppress, prodding me to hate the political process and those reporting on it. It feels like in my mind, 15 years of continual war should be reflected more seriously in the coverage and by the candidates. Why does the country seem to dis the topic altogether, from Congressional irresponsibility, failed tactics, Veteran’s issues, extrajudicial use of the Predator Drone -U AV-, Presidential executive power, the ongoing travesty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and other ancillary issues?

The two subjects most often breached, from my perspective at least, are bureaucratic red tape within the VA, and should we send more troops to the Middle East… or just ramp up the bombing and UAV campaigns? Most disturbingly, Obama seems to have codified many of these practices in the minds of most liberals. It is easy to predict their reaction once -if- Donald Trump continues to employ the exact same practices: outrage! Too bad, just think of the ways The Donald could punish Muslims for crimes, guilty or not, in even more of the poorest countries throughout the Muslim world? Or what are we going to say once countries the likes of China, Russia and Iran deploy these RC weapons against their stated enemies beyond their borders? This is not an if, but a when? Instead the modern machine twists and turns, fact checking a serial liar, analyzing polls upon polls, pitting one side against the other and arguing about bathroom etiquette or “how the VP pick helps” with some other wing of the party. 

The absurdity that is the dissemination of the candidates stated positions on issues like the TPP, tax rates or reproductive rights is a joke. Since when has virtually any national level politician actually held true to their word on the stump? Beyond the fact that most voters couldn’t even describe the TPP and its possible ramifications, Trump and Clinton’s stated positions opposing the trade deal is laughable. A policy decision like this, which directly affects the only constituency that REALLY matters,-the rich and powerful multinational’s and financial institutions-, to believe any mainstream candidate will oppose it once in office is a real hoot. If there’s one policy above all others, deregulation and trade deals maximizing corporate profits, the TPP is it. It’s going to happen. Period.

I learned by way of a very liberal news program that only 18 of the GOP delegates were African-American. Turns out it’s true. Shouldn’t that be mentioned by the mainstream news? Yet like much of the coverage I went back and watched, most of the media went along with the loonytoon Kabuki theater as if things were heavy, but not completely insane, as it appeared to me. The black speakers there, quite a few considering the demographic, were especially difficult to endure. The Milwaukee police chief actually said, “it’s about time someone with a good tan said, ‘all lives matter!” Wow, “a good tan?” CNN had the recently fired campaign manager for Trump working as color commentary! It is so pernicious, this lack of journalistic integrity. It wouldn’t surprise me if this ex-Trump staffer was sent out as a mole to actually work towards their advantage? Either way, what kind of reporter is limited of speech by a nondisclosure clause of the very subject of discussion? It all combines and mixes to become a national disgrace. A full on shit show on the global stage.

I have been lucky enough to travel the world, much of which was prior to military service, so I am aware to the degree foreigners keep abreast of American news and culture. The United States is involved by way of military forces garrisoned there, corporate interests, common currency and markets, as well as pop culture throughout much of the world. So many people watch us with a wariness, a skepticism, with some respect, depending on their particular affinity. Just the fact Donald Trump is 1 of 2 likely to become the next POTUS has possible ramifications impossible to quantify. By proxy, the world realizes now, that many American’s share many of his views; bigotry, hostility, masochism, misogyny, these are more than fringe beliefs and the man may soon wield immense military, clandestine, and economic powers that could -will- affect them in disastrous ways? Quite literally, just the possibility of his election puts American citizens and military in undo, unpredictable danger. If I were an Iranian, or an Qatari Muslim, or Syrian refugee, the man would exacerbate any fears I might already endure. This is Ronald Reagan on steroids. 

Could it all be one massive PR stunt that was never intended to accomplish more than Trump publicity? It’s possible. Maybe Trump, a dog with no more tricks, says to himself “I’ll be President Trump for the year. Think about the attention I’ll mainline into the jugular? Then, when I eventually lose, I can invent more conspiracies, even more attention? Win win!” Two things stand out in this scenario: 1) The joke is on us. The country is truly a decaying celebrity worshiping ignorance as cool superpower. 2) We end up with only one choice; the true Republican: Hillary Clinton!

The rational election should have been Bernie Sander’s (D) the liberal vs Hillary Clinton (R) the progressive conservative in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower. -No, I am not saying Clinton is of that level of politician- The problem with this binary choice is that the underbelly of white America stays largely hidden. If Trump has done any good, it’s this exposure of the irritated white Christians who actually believe we are the ones being discriminated against today?! That pain is real, it’s just that the perpetrator is misidentified. The true villain of the middle class is the ever greedy wealthy who promote ever lower taxes, less government service -for the poor and needy, not the banks and business class who’ve, you know, earned that shit!- and fewer regulations. They cleverly packaged these principals within organizations like the Tea Party and ALEC. The most genius move was to get the middle and lower class to vote against their own interest in order to punish the “takers” and “criminals.” Maybe this is coming undone for the elite? Or maybe they’ve fooled everyone once again by switching to the Democrats, Hillary Clinton their new vessel of confusion.  

Just some thoughts.