Hillary’s Preceived Problem

This is from Roger Cohen:

A lot of Americans want change; Trump is the political upstart and Clinton the political establishment. Nothing that transpired in the debate will have altered the fact that millions of Americans want rupture not continuity, and they see in Trump the potential for a radical break from politics as usual.

This from Thomas Friedman:

I am not enamored of Clinton’s stale, liberal, centralized view of politics, but she is sane and responsible; she’ll do her homework, can grow in the job, and might even work well with Republicans, as she did as a senator.

Trump promises change, but change that comes from someone who thinks people who pay taxes are suckers and who thinks he can show up before an audience of 100 million without preparation or real plans and talk about serious issues with no more sophistication than your crazy uncle — and expect to get away with it — is change the country can’t afford.

Electing such a man would be insanity.

There is a narrative fed by the media that Americans are tired of the status quo and demand change.  That runs through both these analyses.  Hillary does not represent change, she represents the status quo.  That is why there is no real enthusiasm with younger voters.  There is a truth and there are a couple of problems with this analysis, but perception is critical.  The truth is we need change and Hillary does represent the establishment Democratic Party that has been too willing to compromise the country further and further right.  The lie is that the dysfunction is from politics as usual.

Actually, the dysfunction has nothing to do with politics as usual, but the new politics implemented by the Republicans of obstructionism.  The Tea Party simply took this tactic and radicalized it.  Americans in general have been mislead by our media into believing both sides do it, not because the media is evil, but because they confused partisanship with facts and created a false equivalency between the two parties for infotainment.  If Hillary could implement her ideas, we actually would see real change.  And as Tom pointed out, “she can grow in the job”.  As things work, there will be acceleration.

But she hasn’t pushed change yet, only scratched the surface.  She made a grand mistake in the debate last Monday when she did not own up to her statement of the TPP being the Gold Standard of trade agreements.  It makes her look like both sides do it.  She did make a rational point about trade agreements, but it was lost in the Trump attack.  This was a great opportunity to start pushing change.  She could have explained that the TPP is more than just a trade agreement, but a foreign policy instrument to balance Chinese incursion in the Pacific.  While she made that Gold Standard statement before it was negotiated, now she sees how it favors economic inequality and it must be renegotiated in that light.  She should not pander to the no trade agreements crowd, but take it head on.

Her way forward in the last month is to show, as she started to do in the debate, that Trump isn’t change at all.  It is failed economics all over again, that they have been the problem, that her way is actually the new way forward, and if we want real change, it is a Republican Congress that has to be changed.  That should be the talking points from now till the election.  Donald has shown himself to unfit as a leader.  You can ride that pony for about another week, and then go after Republican policy.  That would make Hillary the change candidate.  She has to show she will fight them and their obstructionism because it is that obstructionism that has made government dysfunctional.


Well the denial is over with mostly.  Fox News of course will continue to spin the debate, but Donald Trump failed and failed miserably.  It is not that he failed, but he clearly showed who he was which was failure.  Now here is where I really find what is going on rather disheartening.  The Republican chatting class are all chatting about how to better prepare him next time as though being prepared would change who he is.  In the political lingo, he needed to be presidential so those on the fence could finally say, well, he could do it.  But what we saw on Monday night was who he really was and he could never be presidential.  Most of us have known that for a long long time, but there is that 7% undecided who are clueless, or that whole pack that is going to vote third party, shirking their responsiblity to make a meaningful choice, which is a choice in itself.

But after watching him expose who he was and how ignorant he is, it was clear he would be a danger to the country.  So how craven are these political pundits that still in some socio-pathological way, still want to dress him up in a false costume so he will pass muster with the mindless out there?  And mindless they are.  The man is petty, misogynistic, reactionary, ignorant, racist, and he was caught in so many blatant lies it was scary.  Whether he believes them or not is irrelevant.  And yet Republicans still want to tell us how he can do better next time?  He is a reflection of how dysfunctional the Republican Party has become and it should wake up America.  From the clown show they called a Presidential primary, to this pathological liar as their standard-bearer, the party has no morals or values.

And yet you cannot keep wondering how conservatives keep enabling him.  You would think at this point they should walk away.  Real conservatism, which I think has run its course, still has values and beliefs and cares about this country.  Anyone associating with the Trump campaign is now forever tainted with the slime that comes off this man.  Is that what Republicanism has become?  They are so craven to party power that they have no values or morals anymore?  I think for most of them, this is sadly true.  How else can you explain it?  On Monday night he was out there for all to see and now they pretend they did not see it.

I think I might know what happened to conservatism that finally left it mired in a moral-less, value-less pit.  It failed.  And when it failed it did not evolve.  Remember the cry of some conservatives about where are the new conservative ideas? There aren’t any.  From Ronald Reagan onward, conservative ideas simply increased economic inequality and set up the economy for the giant crash.  The George Bush years was the epitome of Republicanism and the economy tanked.  They learned nothing.

Now they are back acting like that never happened, only more aggressive and radical in their approach, losing all tolerance for compromise, enabled by the false equivalency of both sides do it.  Evolving to what reality was telling them was heresy. In other words, in the face of the reality that almost everything they believe in is bankrupt, they created an alternate reality.  Somehow Democrats have caused all the misery and are evil.  Sadly our media played along and enabled them because their lunacy was good entertainment.

So here we are.  We now have seen an ignorant, bigoted, pathological liar exposed and yet they press on as though the emperor just needs new cloths.  The reality is the emperor is a man that could just wreck this country and start WWIII, and yet they press on living in some fantasy reality because the barbarians at the gate (Democrats) might rule on.  Think about it.  Even if you hate Hillary, she won’t wreck the country and she won’t get us into WWIII.  And if Republicans give her a chance and her policies fail, there will be a new election.  But instead, in the mind of the purist, they would rather kill the country than give success a chance.  That is where we are.  That is what has been exposed on Monday night and in the aftermath.  At this point you have to ask how anyone rational could be a Republican.

More More Debate

One other thing that should really scare you about Donald Trump was his comment about the Russians moving toward updating their nuclear arsenal and maybe considering using it as a first strike weapon.  That is true, but did your head snap around?  Did you say so which is it, Valdimir Putan, a decisive leader or danger to the world?  He is not a problem in Crimea or Ukraine, but maybe to the rest of the world?  NATO is important or it isn’t?  He shifting his positions all over the place after some minor enlightenment.  More about that at the end of this blog.

But the really scary part is where he got those facts about Russian, from 60 Minutes last Sunday night.  So he is oblivious to what is really going on in world affairs and then he gets his information from one segment on 60 Minutes?  Oh, and note as the 60 Minutes episode made clear, our military is well aware of the threat and is doing some muscle flexing of its own, flying B-52 on Russia routes that each are capable of carrying 20 nukes.  

Now the first point I will make is that I use to fly in B-52s and sat alert with nuclear weapons.  I was the guy who armed and dropped the nukes (and launched the cruise missiles.  I know something about the tactics.  They get approved all the way to the top.  Our government is well aware and taking measures.  They are gaming that the other side might use a first strike nuk so our leaders can properaly plan and weigh our options.  And the Donald is clueless about all of this.  Just reactionary.

I will make one other observation.  He made fun of the old reliable B-52 and claimed we are not upgrading our nuclear arsenal like the Russians are.  Of course we are and it is highly secret.  But what he is saying is, “Yikes! I just saw this 60 Minutes segment and we need to start an arms race.”  Secondly, yes the B-52 is old, but it has been rebuilt so many times it is not the same airplane I flew in with new everything including targeting and weapons systems.  So we should spend trillions for a new launch vehicle when the B-52 is perfectly suited to this mission and can reach anywhere in the world?  Really, this is you smart, crafty businessman at work?  Be afraid America.

I will leave you with one last thought on the subject.  Republicans just think Donald needs to be better prepared next time.  First and foremost he won’t do it.  He would have to watch more than one segment of 60 Minutes. More likely he won’t show up.  But what does better prepared mean?  If they take seriously that he is now being picked off for all his lies, would he have to learn what is really going on and adjust his policies accordingly?  I don’t think the Donald can afford to be better prepared unless that means camouflaging his lies better and better equipped to distract with throwing dirt instead of with logic and real policies. Yeah, I guess from a pundit point of view, that would be better prepared.  Amazing isn’t it?

Third Parties

Think it through people.  Its either a vote for Hillary or it is a vote for Trump. If you hate Trump, but are not satisfied with Hillary, your vote for a third party is a vote for Trump, pure and simple.  It works the other way around too.  Oh, and please, as the NYT cautioned you this morning, understand what you are voting for:

Gary Johnson:  The Libertarians believe health care should be handled by the private sector — goodbye, veterans’ hospitals — and would end Social Security. The party is devoted to free trade and dislikes any international trade treaties, including those that protect workers. The party is against all forms of foreign aid and military assistance, and a direct attack on the United States is the only instance in which Libertarians favor a military response.  They would legalize marijuana but oppose laws to regulated it.  They oppose most federal spending, including on public education and college assistance. It opposes the income tax, including on the richest Americans. So how does that work?    I wonder who builds the roads?

Jill Stein:  The Green Party.  Ms. Stein proposes to slash military spending in half and close every United States military base on foreign soil — some 700, including bases used in the war on terrorism, as bulwarks against Russian and Chinese aggression and as staging areas for humanitarian assistance to victims of war and disaster. That would send an isolationist message to our allies that would rival Mr. Trump’s.  She wants the federal government to “buy” all existing student loan debt, at a cost of about $1.3 trillion. That’s about one-third of what the entire federal government spent in 2015 — on everything. On top of that, she would also throw in free public university education. These proposals are so off-the-charts unaffordable that they would never pass any Congress, regardless of which political party held a majority. Nice ideas and I want an airplane.  Not going to get it.

Gary appeals to the younger set, but consider what would happen if we did away with Public Education. Who would get educated and who would level the playing field.  Remember back to the Robber Barons?  Slaves and Industrialists.  Oh, and who would build highways, airports, subways, etc?  Jill has some good ideas, but there is no mandate for it.  Congress would laugh her out of town.  But if we just all hold hands it will come true.  Oh, and don’t forget they are against science in terms of inoculations and other modern health ideas.  

So think hard.  Hillary or the Donald will be president.  Gary and Jill are in La La Land and will suck votes that are needed to maybe elect a sane candidate.  So it is your choice.  Choose not to be stupid and irrelevant.

More Debate

One commentator, Mark Schmitt is the director of the political reform program at New America, saw something I forgot to mention that was extremely important in last nights debate, that Mrs. Clinton started to focus on failed Republican economic policies and how Trump’s are nothing more than an extension of them:

But right from the start tonight, Clinton made the choice to take Trump’s economic policies seriously — not as eccentric, but as an extension or expansion of Bush policies. “We have different perspectives,” she said early, describing Trump’s economic policies in familiar terms. She compared the balanced, sustainable economic growth of the late 1990s, identifying it as a product of Democratic policies, with the meltdown of 2007 and 2008. If Clinton continues this line through the remainder of the campaign, it will be a significant shift, and might help Democrats link Senate and House candidates to Trump’s economic policies, by treating them as both mainstream and wrong.

While we focus on style, stamina, and presence, the real fight will be in the last month to show that more conservative economics, whether from Donald Trump or a Republican Party is what is wrecking this country. If she can effectively do this, real change is in the air.

The First Debate

I think I can summarize it this way:  Hillary outperformed expectations and the Donald underperformed.  How that will change anything where people don’t care about facts is hard to say, but I think the Donald’s “surge” is over.  I watched the Republicans throw up a fantasy bubble that he was great, but he wasn’t and while he may have wowed the mindless, he did not win over anybody who is undecided and thinks.  When he went incoherent on foreign policy you should be very afraid. I think if I am right there will not be two more debates.  He will declare a biased press or the fix is in and refuse to further demonstrate his ignorance and lack of policies or plans.

UPDATE TUESDAY MORNING FROM THE NYT (It was a news letter or I would give you the link where each lie is documented):

Dear Times Reader,

He lied about the loan his father once gave him.

He lied about his company’s bankruptcies.

He lied about his federal financial-disclosure forms.

He lied about his endorsements.

He lied about “stop and frisk.”

He lied about “birtherism.”

He lied about New York.

He lied about Michigan and Ohio.      

He lied about Palm Beach, Fla.

He lied about Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve.

He lied about the trade deficit.

He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.

He lied about her child-care plan.

He lied about China devaluing its currency.

He lied about Mexico having the world’s largest factories.

He lied about the United States’s nuclear arsenal.

He lied about NATO’s budget.

He lied about NATO’s terrorism policy.

He lied about ISIS.

He lied about his past position on the Iraq War.

He lied about his past position on the national debt.

He lied about his past position on climate change.

He lied about calling pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers.

He lied about calling women “pigs.”

He lied about calling women “dogs.”

He lied about calling women “slobs.”

So… who won the debate?

Political Gossip

I turned on the TV for about 2 minutes today before changing from news to baseball.  It was total political gossip.  Who thinks what will happen tonight, who will be stronger, how they need to engage one another, and political spinning by operatives.  This is news?  It is a disservice to the country.  Could they have discussed some critical issues and brought some facts to bear?  Oh wait, that would partisan because facts have become partisan.

Well if we are in the mood for political guessing, I will give you mine.  The Republicans are all head up because the Donald has moved up in the polls (maybe).  But he is the same flawed pathological liar he always was.  Or as the NYT called mom, “Yet he has attracted throngs of Americans who ascribe higher purpose to him than he has demonstrated in a freewheeling campaign marked by bursts of false and outrageous allegations, personal insults, xenophobic nationalism, unapologetic sexism and positions that shift according to his audience and his whims.”  Ted Cruz cravenly supports him and that should tell you all you need to know about the Republican Party.

And come November, it won’t be close.  Right now the political press has done a number on Hillary giving the Trump mess a chance.  I think they are waking up to the damage they have done, and in the last month we might see a more balanced coverage pointing out the disaster Trump would be.  I think most Americans will start to get this and in the end, although never admitting it, pull the lever for Hillary.  I think she will run away with it.

What happens in the Senate, I don’t know.  Democrats need to make the economic argument against Trump and his craven Republican Party.  If that starts to sink in, and the danger he poses to both the business community and our security become apparent, the safe choice is Hillary and that is what I think they will do.  

I will leave you with this.  The dysfunction we have seen over the last 16 years from the Bush follies to obstructed government and the slow recovery can be blamed soley on the Republicans.  They have come so far out of the mainstream that government stopped when they could not get their way.  Their more rational leaders have been chucked aside.  Sadly our media missed that message and brought us the both sides do it lie that is part of the problem we face in this election.  If this country is going down the tubes, it will be because our news media badly failed the nation in their greed for infotainment.

The Missing Debate

The debate tonight will probably be shaped by three factors, character, economics, and terrorism.  If you have been paying attention, and most have not, Hillary wins the character and economics argument hands down.  The NYT did a very good job of describing her character when they endorsed her yesterday.  The confusion has come from the press trying to make the Donald’s pathological lying equivalent to Hillary’s emails*.  I would love to see the Donald survive an FBI investigation.  She has a history of fighting for the little person (both economically and in stature) while he has a history of ripping them off.

On economics, there is no comparison.  The Donald bloviates about helping the middle class and then proposes a more extreme form of flow down than we have ever seen. As the NYT told us this morning in an editorial of why Donald Trump Should Not Be President:

Despite his towering properties, Mr. Trump has a record rife with bankruptcies and sketchy ventures like Trump University, which authorities are investigating after numerous complaints of fraud. His name has been chiseled off his failed casinos in Atlantic City…But voters should be asking themselves if Mr. Trump will deliver the kind of change they want. Starting a series of trade wars is a recipe for recession, not for new American jobs. Blowing a hole in the deficit by cutting taxes for the wealthy will not secure Americans’ financial future, and alienating our allies won’t protect our security. Mr. Trump has also said he will get rid of the new national health insurance system that millions now depend on, without saying how he would replace it.

Hillary brings progressive policies that are a start to addressing the fundamental problem with our economy and that is economic inequality.  She has laid out policies that start to make government work for the middle class again.  Donald is betting on flow down and all the old conservative policies that have worked terrifically for the 1%.  But in one area, although Hillary presents a more coherent plan, they may be missing the mark a little.  That would be terrorism.

Make no mistake, the Donald has no plan except to beat up every bully that kicks sand in our eyes.  That would be ISIS’s dream date that could embroil America in a war against Islam.  The Donald has a “secret plan” to defeat ISIS, while Hillary has laid out maybe a slightly more aggressive approach in the continuation of the Obama strategy to support, but not fight the battle.  And in this election season saying more might be a negative as Americans tire of war, but in true schizophrenic fashion, want to kick ISIS’s butt.  But I want you to consider this from the King of Jordan, Abdula II, who on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS described the war against ISIS as really WWIII. I tend to agree with him.  This is a war between 5th century ignorance and intolerance, and modernity and democracy.

He pointed out that ISIS moves to another country (Libya, Africa) when things get to hot in say Iraq which they are right now.  He also pointed out that we are talking about less than 2% of the Muslim world and these religious extremists, like religious extremists that have arisen before in all religions have to be defeated by the majority of that religious sect.  When asked if the United States should be more actively engaged in the battle, he said what I think is critical, we should be enabling the battle, not fighting it.  Jordan has taken on more refugees and is actively fighting ISIS yet with antiquated equipment and a poor nation.  So eventually we have to take King Abdula’s advice and rethink our strategy.  Remember, ignored and dispossessed refugees will be the terrorists of tomorrow.

While he did not say it, Donald Trump represents everything that ISIS could hope for.  Making Islam the problem and alienating the Muslim world is what they are hoping for.  From his isolationist approach to his description of how he might deal with Iranians who made obscene gestures at us, it is the approach that will further exacerbate an alienation of Muslims.  So again while we need to rethink our approach to ISIS with a more holistic approach, do we think the Donald has a clue?  Hillary does and she will move cautiously.  The debate will deal in sound bites, but you have to see who could have an evolving approach to a realistic approach to the problem.

One last thing on foreign affairs.  Fareed also had a piece on how the Russians were moving to considering using low yield nuclear weapons in conflicts where they thought it might change the balance of power with the assumption that the West would not respond.  This is what Vladimir Putin has brought us, the Donald’s ideal of leadership.  We are entering another cold war, if you have not been paying attention, and Donald Trump is oblivious.

So when you get done with the debates and the rational arguments, you still have people chosing Trump because he seems decisive and strong.  Impulsive and defensive is more like it.  Nicole Wallace, a Republican, reported to her horror that her parents were supporting the Donald:

Like many Trump supporters, my parents believe that only someone from outside the political establishment possesses the necessary skill to break the cycle of dysfunction** in Washington. They are not racists, misogynists, anti-Muslim or anti-American. They see Mr. Trump as the deeply flawed candidate he is, but they find Mrs. Clinton more deficient. Their second choice this year was Bernie Sanders.

Okay, I just laid out why that is an irrational point of view.  But I will send you back to my early blog, The Gated Community Syndrome, political persuasion is not rationally decided.  For Republicans, who are fearful people to begin with, strength and bluster, leading to totalitarianism puts their mind at ease.  I rest my case.

*Emails were a non-story.  If we want context, lets look at Collin Powell’s emails.  Oh wait, he refused to provide them.  Secrecy?  We have over classified the world and I would bet anything classified in her emails could be found in the newspaper.  Oh and Collin recommended using a private server so you could get things done.  The press ran away with this because they had nothing else.  So for Donalds 80% of lies, they made it equivalent to Hillary’s 80% of truths.  Yes she has changed position on things.  We should be glad for that.  Republicans haven’t change and regressed.  Again, where is the problem.

**The “cycle of dysfunction” comes from Republicans who won’t compromise on anything, wanted to make Barack Obama a one term President, and brought us the Tea Party that would rather shut down the government than find reasonable solutions.  Nicole’s parents are the problem of dysfunctional government.

Sunday Morning

Beautiful Fall day, but apple mania in the valley below.

Beautiful Fall day, but apple mania in the valley below.

It is Apple Head Mania up here so I hide on the top of my hill.  I live in Apple Hill right above Placerville, CA, and it is a mostly agricultural community growing fruits, grapes, and Christmas Trees.  The stone fruit season is about over and apples are coming ripe.  So this time of year is the perfect fall day to everyone in California to come up to the country, travel from farm and fruit stand to farm and fruit stand, run through corn mazes, ride miniature trains, ride ponies, get your face painted, buy junk, pick apples, buy apples, eat apples, eat apple pie, eat apple donuts, eat apple strudel, eat apple fritters, eat just about anything.  Oh, and pick pumpkins but it is a little early for that yet.  So the normally empty country roads up here are clogged with families on their day in the country all driving parade speed.  Better to just hunker down and let them enjoy their day without some cranky old guy angry about going everywhere at 10 mph.

It is a beautiful day and I am sitting on my patio reflecting on the nonsense in the news.  The first is the whining by third-party candidates that they are not in the debates.  If your messages resonates, why isn’t your “party” represented in Congress might be a good question to ask them.  If you were elected, where would your power base be?  And of course, they are not even polling 10%.  The person elected is going to be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and that is where our focus better be.  Those of you whining about not having Bernie try to focus on the fact that he lost, even without the Super Delegates, so it is time to get real.  If you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent that is voting for a third-party candidate in protest, you are voting for Donald Trump.  Get you head out of your ass. Pull up your socks and make a choice.  That is what your citizenship requires.

Meanwhile in pundit land Nicholas Kristof weighed in on covering Trump and his advise was sage, but I did note a couple of things that show me that journalist in general are late to the game of false equivalency and failing to fact check:

Traditionally, American reporters respond to a controversy by quoting people on each side and letting the public decide. Some of us have argued that this approach hasn’t worked in this election cycle, and that we in the media (particularly some in cable television) have enabled a charlatan by handing him the microphone and not adequately fact-checking what he says.

Actually Nick, it has not worked for the last 16 years and has given rise to a war in Iraq and the Tea Party ignorance so much on display today.  Republicans figured out it was a he said/she said game years ago and just out shouted the other side with total nonsense. It explains why we still have one party in denial of global warming and can actually with a straight face propose flow down again as a solution to our economic problems.

But then Nick gives us these truths about the current state of affairs:

Frankly, we should be discomfited that many Americans have absorbed the idea that Hillary Clinton is less honest than Donald Trump, giving Trump an edge in polls of trustworthiness.

Hello? There is no comparison.

One commonly cited example of Clinton’s lying is her false claim in 2008 that when she was first lady she came under sniper fire after her plane landed in Bosnia. In contrast, with Trump, you don’t need to go back eight years: One examination found he averages a lie or an inaccuracy in every five minutes of speaking.

…When some (all) in cable TV cover Trump endlessly without sufficiently fact-checking his statements or noting how extreme his positions are, because he is great for ratings and makes money for media companies, we are again failing the country. We are normalizing lies and extremism.

…Our job is not stenography, but truth-telling. As we move to the debates, let’s remember that to expose charlatans is not partisanship, but simply good journalism.

Amen to that final one.  The press has done a number on Hillary doing their false equivalency thing and as the NYT editorial pointed out today, she is not the slimy untrustworthy politician she has been painted as.  And she learns.  We could not have a better candidate for the challenges ahead, and the fact that this election is even close says a lot about failed journalism.

The Gated Community Syndrome

We all suffer from it in one form or another.  We like to surround ourselves with people we feel comfortable with and it has a tendency to screen out diversity and new ideas.  To further multiply the effect, most of us understand and feel empathy as a function of our own personal experience with the world.  Republicans reliably have must less natural empathy than non-conservatives. They lack compassion. Yet as in the Bill Maher reference, Dick Cheney finds empathy when his own daughter is gay.  Then he gets it, sort of. He just can’t transfer that epiphany to all the other things he has wrong.

In the mundane world of everyday experience we see this in one form or another.  Everyone I know can easily fix our school system, except most of them have never worked there and have no idea about the hurdles that are really out there.  Then there is the common theme running through most conservative thought that if poor people just found jobs and showed a little discipline…  Mitt Romney’s 47% comment captured this clueless belief so well in 2012.  It is reinforced by conservatives own personal experience.  They worked hard and are successful or get along, so why can’t everyone else?  And in that question is the very root of their lack of empathy with those who have worked hard and the system failed them.  But they have no experience with it so it doesn’t exist.

There is a ton of data demonstrating that conservative and liberals are not different just in their  political beliefs but in both their psychological and anatomical make up of their brains.  In the reference above about their lack of compassion, there is glimmer into the real threat of the Right Wing base that now supports Donald Trump. Facts don’t matter, authoritarianism  does.  And speaking of Donald Trump, he and his family live in the ultimate gated community uninformed by the reality that most of us inhabit.  As was pointed out the other day by Richard Cohen in the Washington Post, Trump may actually believe all his lies.

But his family is a case study.  His son, Trump Jr. gave us, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” Roger Cohen of the NYT took this idea apart this morning, but I will give a simpler way to look at it.  If your freedom and happiness depended on crossing the street and you know that 12 people a day die crossing the street, would you cross the street?  Of course you would, you would just be careful about it.  But the comment speaks volumes of Trump Jr.’s understanding of the human condition.  How would he know, the closest he has gotten to natives are the porters on his killing trips to Africa.

So let’s turn our attention to Donald’s daughter Ivanka who is lauded for pushing her dad to announce a child care plan.  So far so good, but here comes the problem with the “gated people”.  They are clueless about what is the real need, and that there have been plenty of attempts to do this in more realistic terms (tax credit versus tax deduction) killed by the very party they are part of.  She introduced her dad by saying that he was the only one who was thinking about this and we need to move on it.  Clearly she missed the much larger program of tax credits to help all people not just those who deduct on their income taxes offered by President Obama, or the much more comprehensive one offered by Hillary ages ago that recognized that it is not just women who raise children any more.

My point is very simple.  They have a conservative brain reinforced by the gated community* in which they live.  There was a time when a fearful mind served us well, but in a world where change is accelerating, it tends to hold to the status quo which is stagnation in the here and now. They have no clue about the real world or real people’s problems and that is why conservative ideas have failed us.  They don’t address the problems of most people.

Their ideology is not consistent with reality.  And facts don’t matter because they don’t have the empathy that allows them to believe the facts.  They only know what they have experienced first hand and they careful filter that.  Those of us with a liberal mind (I came from a completely conservative family) may not have the worldly experience to challenge our ideas, but we have the capacity to read and empathize.  It is no surprise that the Trumps or most conservatives are not great readers of great literature.  The value of a liberal education is that it exposes you to the human condition, even more so in great fiction. Shakespeare was the greatest psychologist that ever lived.

There is hope however.  If Dick Cheney can learn to be tolerant of gays through personal experience, there is no guessing how far conservatives can go if they were forced to rub elbows with the rest of us.  Have you ever wondered why most modern urban centers are liberal?  We are forced to meet our neighbors and diversity becomes so much less scary.  We see the plight of our neighbors and get a sense that we are all in this together.  Fareed Zakaria in his GPS show chronicled how Singapore where there is a mass mix of cultures and races have overcome the problems we see because they actually legislate against gated communities.

And the largest gated community is represented by economic inequality that allows us to separate our selves from the huddled masses and live in a bubble world where everyone around us reinforces our fantasy universe.  The Trumps truly epitomize this trend and we should wake up.  The far Right are his white mob and they are enthrall with authoritarianism where they have switched off their brains. Facts don’t matter and they are a true threat to democracy and freedom defined by our Constitution.  The problems they want to fix are not the real problems, they are, and we are approaching a turning point in this country’s history.  Please vote.

*Full Disclosure:  I live in a gated community albeit one that keeps the deer out of my grapes.  I guess I could mingle more with the deer to understand their need to destroy my vineyard, but then where would the wine come from that gives me the patience to listen?