Sunday, December 4, 2016

Announcement

By Patrick

This post will be very surprising for almost all of our readers, but unfortunately it was also inevitable at some point. Kathleen and I have decided that we won't continue Politicalgates, and that we will stop blogging. There are several reasons for this decision, and we have been thinking about this move for quite a long time. It was not an easy decision, as we have a wonderful community here, which has developed over several years, and which is also very unique.

It has been a long and ride wild ride for us, which started already back in 2008. Most of you know the history very well. After a particularly busy time at Palingates, in the very important year of 2010, we started Politicalgates as our own blog in early 2011. It has been an amazing experience in so many ways, and blogging became a huge part of our lives.

Even though many of you will now feel sad or even shocked, there is some good news as well. Our wonderful community can and will continue to exist. However, you all have to "migrate" to a different place. 

We would like this new place to be the blog "Nomadic Politics", which is a very active political blog, run by our friend Nomad. 

You all know Nomad already very well. I have spoken to him a short while ago, and he is very motivated to continue with his blog. He certainly would also be happy to expand his readership, and he truly deserves it, as he continues to publish excellent posts. 

As an American citizen, Nomad is particulary interested to provide a critical voice during these very difficult times. He uses "Disqus" on his blog for the comments as well, so the transition will be easy.

There certainly would be many things to say, but I am a bit lost for words right now. Kathleen and I hope that you will understand our decision. We need to get on with other things in our lives. Continuing this blog with other people in charge was never really an option for us, as we feel too emotionally attached to Politicalgates, and we do not want to worry all the time what is happening with the blog. We would like to have a proper conclusion, and believe that this is the best solution for our readers as well.

Please note that we have no plans to delete the blog. It should stay online as a point of reference.

Just for the record, our decision to stop blogging has purely personal reasons, and nobody "forced" us to do this. :-)

We would like to thank our contributors and readers who made this blog and this community a very special place over the years. We are very grateful that we had the opportunity to bring you all together. This blog has now come to an end, but we know that the community will survive and prosper. After all, we cannot allow  the "bad guys" to be victorious, and we have to continue to fight for freedom and democracy, every day. We hope to occasionally catch up with you all at Nomad's blog in the comments in the future. Lots of love to all of you!

Friday, November 25, 2016

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY!


By Patrick

Just a little bit late. Kathleen and I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope that you all have a great time, and that you won't be bothered too much by Trump-loving relatives. ;-)

There are also some good news:


Which does not come as a big surprise. Not even Donald Trump is THAT crazy!

Have a very pleasant long weekend, everybody!



Saturday, November 19, 2016

Election Post Mortem With Leadfoot, Bella, L.A.’s Handsome Mayor and Some Other Smart People

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Essential PoliticsPost Election Symposium

By Leadfoot

Last night, Bella and I had the privilege (see what I did there?) of attending the Los Angeles Times Essential PoliticsPost Election Symposium. I got an email inviting all subscribers to attend, and immediately ordered tickets. It was good I acted quickly, because the event was sold out within 5 minutes. Apparently we all need post election therapy here in L.A.

So I busted Bella out of school early, and we drove downtown. She missed last period, which is social studies. I figured this event would be more educational anyway.

First up was Jill Darling, survey director of the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. That is a very long title that just means she conducted the poll that the LA Times printed before the election – the only major newspaper poll that predicted a Trump win.

Since the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Presidential Election Daybreak Poll debuted in July, people on social media had asked “what is up with that LA Times poll though?” because it predicted Trump winning the election by 3 points. It was so different from the other polls, that observers thought the LA Times had to be wrong. Now the pollsters look like geniuses. So how did they do it? Darling said they “caught the wave of secret Trump voters” by not using the telephone. They went into communities in the swing states and set up panels, which they used to get to know people. They formed relationships and built trust, meeting face to face with the same people each week. While respondents might lie to a faceless pollster on the phone, they tell the truth to someone they know and trust.

Darling was asked why the rest of us were so duped. She responded that “people were looking at predictor models, not scientifically sound poll results.” Everyone was looking at sites such as the New York Times and Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com, which told us the percentage chance that Hillary would win, so we felt confident. For example, Nate Silver showed Trump had a 30% chance of winning, so we all thought that meant he would lose. But if someone told us we had a 30% chance of having a major earthquake, we would take that much more seriously. That still means that 3 times out of 10, there is a path to victory (or your house falling down). The lesson is – do not rely so heavily on the predictor model.

Next up was a panel of political strategists, including:

n      Bill Burton, deputy White House Press Secretary during President Obama’s first term
n      Bill Carrick, a Democratic consultant who previously worked for Diane Feinstein and advised Loretta Sanchez’s Senate campaign
n      Tim Clark, Republican consultant and the Trump campaign’s California director
n      Sean Clegg, former deputy mayor of LA, and consultant for Senator-elect Kamala Harris
n      Mickey Kantor, a former Commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton
n      Rob Stutzman, who used to work in former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, on the Romney campaign, and was a loud voice in the Never Trump movement

First, they were asked why everyone in the world of politics and the media predicted the outcome so incorrectly.

Tim Clark said that “people started to believe the media line that Trump didn’t have a ground game. We knew we were going to win. We knew we had North Carolina and Florida won. Our campaign was built on metrics, data and a strong ground game. The press corps and the Clinton campaign began to believe the media hype.” The Trump campaign decided to just keep quiet and not tip their hand.

Protests in Los Angeles against Donald Trump

Next they were asked if a different Democratic candidate would have changed the outcome.

Bill Burton responded, “There was a lot of anger out there. I don’t know that some other candidate could have won this race on the democratic side. Trump just did too good of a job appealing to the angry white people without college degrees in the rust belt. The Dems needed more white people (to vote) and I don’t think any candidate would have attracted them.”

Other panelists noted that “Make America Great Again” was an economic message, and “Stronger Together” was not. Americans wanted an economic message during this election cycle. Instead, the Clinton team made their campaign about Trump -- his failures as a human, and as a candidate. They needed to focus much more on how to improve the lives of people feeling economic pain. “We need an economic message that appeals to people who make between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. We completely missed that group of voters,” said Mickey Kantor.

Loretta Gonzalez from the AFL-CIO chimed in to note, “We overlooked why Bernie appealed to people in the Rust Belt. He had a great message on trade and unions that appealed to those in the blue collar labor force. The DNC cast his messages aside, and that was a mistake.

The Sanders movement was real! Those were passionate supporters. In retrospect, Hillary should have made him the VP candidate. And his message must not be ignored going forward. The youth has a very strong BS meter and they didn’t trust Hillary. They thought Democrats should never support trade agreements that don’t protect the workers.”

Kantor agreed and said that “Michael Dukakis carried Iowa by 12 points in 1988 and Hillary lost it! She just did not appeal to rural communities at all.”  The Clinton campaign spent more money in OH and PA than any presidential candidate in history. It simply didn’t matter. The message was wrong.

Trump spent far less money than any candidate in recent history, and that fact appealed to his base. He was the first truly independent candidate to ever win the presidency.

That said, if you look at the Senate candidates’ vote counts, people who voted for the GOP Senate candidates outweighed those who voted for Trump in FL, NC and OH. So the Republican voters weren’t entirely buying what Trump was selling. Many didn’t vote for him, but did vote for Portman, Rubio, etc. He is still the least popular candidate to ever win the presidency.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Essential PoliticsPost Election Symposium

Clark implored the audience to understand that “We need true leadership – someone who talks to the American people in plain language and walks them through the plans in a way they can understand. They need to hear specifically how we are going to improve education, and how we are going to create jobs.” The crowd grew restless and it was clear that most disagreed that Trump had walked them through anything specific. But the point was taken that Hillary’s message went over most voters’ heads.

Rob Stutsman did not vote for Trump because he “had grave concerns about a campaign that was run on denigrating women, minorities and the disabled.”

When asked if Trump will abandon the inflammatory rhetoric of the campaign once in office, even the two Republicans on the panel admitted that “Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions are a bad sign.” Kantor said “Bannon is not a person who is worthy of working in the West Wing.”

Kantor also said that Trump gave so many mixed messages that nobody has any idea what is actually going to happen. “Buy your popcorn and get in the seats, because this is going to be a wild show!”

At one point Clark said that when his wife gets together with her “lady friends” -- and all the women in the room started booing, and he didn’t even get to finish the sentence. Apparently misogyny is contagious among GOP officials.

Once he was allowed to speak again, Clark said the GOP was united, and is always united. They get together to support their candidate. He doesn’t know which way the Dems will go moving forward. “Will the Progressives or the Centrists lead the party in the next 4 years? And how do they get them all to come together and support the same candidate?” he asked. It was a rhetorical question, or at least one that nobody had the answer to, so we moved on.

Finally, the panel discussed California. One strategist said that “California is now the center of the Progressive universe. We have a unified Progressive government that is committed to protecting Californians from anything Trump might do.”

The issue is that our values here in California are at odds with fiscal responsibility. For example, we support immigrant rights, but that position is very expensive to us. We have to come to terms with that reality at some point. “That’s one of the reasons we put marijuana on the ballot. We want those tax dollars!” exclaimed Gonzales.



Photo from the Los Angeles Times Essential PoliticsPost Election Symposium

The strategist panel was excused and the mayoral panel was brought out. Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, kind of made me fall in love with him. He spoke with enthusiasm and passion (after just getting off a 16-hour flight from Qatar, where he was discussing the city’s Olympic bid), had on a very hip suit and shoes, and his answers were inspiring! He’s pretty easy on the eyes too. Remember his name. He has a future in the Democratic party! The other mayor was Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego, who is a Republican.

The first question was about Trump’s promise to cut off funding to sanctuary cities.

Mayor Garcetti responded, “The LAPD’s job is to keep citizens safe and to solve crimes. We are going to focus on that great responsibility. We cannot solve murders and rapes and other serious crimes if we are enforcing immigration law. We are not a city that will ever stop people and ask them to show us their papers. It’s just not ever going to happen here.”

Mayor Faulconer answered, “In San Diego, we are building bridges with Mexico, not walls. Literally. We just opened a pedestrian bridge that crosses the border. We already have a fence in San Diego, we don’t need a wall. We aren’t focusing on any of that. We are focusing on how to build a mutually beneficial relationship with Tijuana and on creating jobs on both sides of the border.” Hmmmm, he sure doesn’t sound like a Republican. 

Garcetti went on to say that “sanctuary cities” aren’t even a real thing. There is no definition anywhere in any charter or legislation. Los Angeles does not consider itself as a sanctuary city, so we don’t know how a Trump administration will affect us yet, but we don’t think we should lose any federal funding. We will push back against any attempt to cut us off. “Pico Union isn’t filled with terrorists, it is filled with hard working people.” The crowd went wild. My heart was aflutter.

Faulconer admitted he opposed Trump and wrote in Paul Ryan for president. He did back Trump on some policy issues though. “We would like to partner with the new administration on infrastructure. We agree that improvements are needed. We need better water infrastructure, to plan for autonomous vehicles, etc. However, we will fight the administration on climate change. We passed an aggressive climate change bill in San Diego, which focuses primarily on water recycling. In CA, climate change means wildfires and mudslides. It is a big deal to us and we will continue to fund programs to combat it.” 

Garcetti has reached out to president elect Trump to try to arrange a meeting. “I want to let him know that values are important and we will never compromise on that. I left him a message to tell him I will call him out if he says something un-American, but otherwise, let’s get to work!” Do you think he will fit in my bag? I want to take him home. No? Ok, well at least I have never been so proud to be an Angeleno.

Asked if Trump’s presidency could affect LA’s bid for the Olympics, Garcetti said, “Our diversity is our greatest strength. Los Angeles is a reflection of the world. We have the people, and the experience. So nothing should derail our bid.” (I mean, ladies, am I right?!)

Asked about Calexit, both mayors said it is a bad idea. Garcetti answered, “I love this country and I want to make its political winds blow from the west.” And with that, I officially dropped my support of Calexit.

Next up was a panel of LA Times political reporters. Their most interesting comment was that they were shocked by people’s reactions to Trump all over the country. They witnessed first-hand the power of celebrity and showmanship. People reacted to him like he was a rock star. Women tried to touch him. They screamed and fainted. Everyone took selfies. Even the men. Trump also resembled a stand up comedian. People were laughing as much as they were cheering. He hooked them by entertaining them. They felt that they already knew him because he was a universal TV celebrity, so they were comfortable with him. They liked the way he spoke to them as much as the things he said.

On top of that, the reporters said that many men they talked to “voted with their middle finger.” They resent college educated liberals, whom they thing look down on them. “So many people we talked to, didn’t care whether Trump was qualified. They just wanted to stick it to the liberals.”

Finally, it was time for the question and answer session. We had to write our questions on cards, and pass them to the front. I submitted 4. Bella submitted one.

One of my questions was read first: “Do you see any of the electors refusing to cast votes for Trump?” The political reporters said no. “I will never say never, but I don’t see this going anywhere. There is no incentive for other states to do it.”

Bella’s question was read next, and the moderator said the question was from a 13-year-old (we wrote that on the card.) She asked “Why do you think so many women voted for Trump after he showed women such disrespect?”

The LA Times political reporters said that women, like every other group, are not one issue voters. No female candidate ever gets 100% of her gender to vote for her. Women, all along, had negative views about Hillary. They were willing to overlook things that Trump said because Hillary was paid $250,000 a pop for giving speeches to Goldman Sachs, and that turned them off more than Trump did. His female supporters were mostly voting against her, instead of for him.

Bella was not at all satisfied with that answer. As we walked out of the auditorium, several people stopped to ask her if she was the famous 13-year-old (the crowd was mostly north of 50. Bella and I were easily the youngest people in attendance). She said yes, and then talked to strangers about how that answer didn’t sit well with her. “Women should frown upon anyone who disrespects other women. Even if they didn’t like Hillary, they could have still not voted for Trump. It’s possible to leave the President part blank!”


I beamed with pride as I scanned the room for mayor Garcetti, but he had already left. Oh well, all in all, it was well worth cutting school to attend the event. We both learned a lot, and felt motivated to write letters to reporters, call our congress people, and maybe even run for office one day. 

+++

Note by Patrick:

Great post, Leadfoot, many thanks! 

Also, that's how children receive "real" education. I see a bright future ahead for Bella.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The best commentary about the election, and the best movie


By Patrick

Well, what is there to say during these trying times. Not much, really! Nothing is going to stop the upcoming disaster, and although Donald Trump apparently promised that he won't lead the USA into chaos straight away, but will keep a few pieces of civilization, there is not much hope. One could of course be cynical and could say "well, maybe it is good that America will finally see what right wing policies REALLY look like"....but then, too much damage will be done.

A good European comparison to Trump is actually Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister, who also was a successful, boastful businessman, who liked the look of scantily dressed ladies, had strong ties to the mafia, was himself deeply corrupt - and finally left Italy in a terrible state. Pretty much a carbon copy of "the Don."

OK, as promised in the title of this post, I present to you the best commentary about Donald Trump's election that I could find - click to read, it really is a "must-read":


OK, well, that was probably a bit one-sided, this analysis, haha, but in general I can highly recommend this wonderful blog called "Medium" which really deserves a larger readership! :-)

The best movie? Well, there is no contest: Of course it has to be "Idiocracy"...!

This little movie from 2006, which Fox tried to bury back then, but which then became a "cult hit" on DVD, provides the perfect narrative for the upcoming Trump-presidency.

I had to think of this movie immediately when our dear friend Leadfoot commented on the previous post:


"The reason that people like my family in Ohio watch FOXNews is because it is packaged for less educated people. They like to feel entertained. They never watched Hillary speak because they literally cannot understand the words she is using. Her vocabulary makes them feel stupid and inferior, so they hate her."


Some of you might not have seen this movie yet. You can find quite a lot of clips on youtube, even the full movie (in bad quality, though), and here are some examples:

CLIP 1:




CLIP 2:




CLIP 3:




If you have the chance to see the full movie, I can only highly recommend it - the DVD is not too expensive.

I would like to close by quoting yet another comment by Leadfoot on the previous post - because reality is always better than fiction:

"It is the same thing that has played out in my own family. I have one foot in L.A. and one foot in Ohio, where my family lives. They all voted for Trump because they are poor and stupid. But, and I have said this a million times here now, so sorry.... The economic frustration they feel is their own goddamn fault. They are LAZY. People were told 30 years ago that we were moving towards technology, and away from manufacturing. They were told to educate or re-educate themselves, and they chose not to. They chose not to leave their small towns for places where there are more opportunities. And they are PISSED OFF at those of us that did. I am sick of being told by my cousins I am a snobby bitch because I had the foresight to move away and did the hard work of getting 2 college degrees. They resent me because I became more than they did in life. And it is THEIR OWN FAULT. I am done. I will not even listen to willful ignorance and fake reality anymore. Donald feels like the world frowns upon him, just like my family does. And they are right. That makes them angry. But they fail to take any personal responsibility. Idiots!"

Very well said, Leadfoot!

Good night, and good luck!

+++

BONUS:

Maya Rudolph, the former SNL-star who also head a lead role in "Idiocracy", had a very funny appearance on "Ellen" a few years ago:



Saturday, November 12, 2016

The reactions of German politicians to Donald Trump's success


By Patrick

German politicians had some interesting reactions to Donald Trump's victory.

Angela Merkel had a very distinct response. She went on to praise the "old and honorable" American democracy in great length and afterwards provided her money quote:

"On the basis of these values, I offer a close cooperation to the upcoming President of the United States, Donald Trump."

Watch:




The German chancellor is much braver than many people know. She also had no hesitation to sharply criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin in common press conferences, while he was standing next to her - in particular in regard to the Ukraine. Putin did not like this at all.

Imagine a common press conference with Merkel and Trump. This could get interesting in the future.

Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democrats) made little attempt to hide his feelings:




Germany's minister for the defense, Ursula von der Leyen, whose father was a conservative politician, also made some interesting points:




German politicians are not afraid to speak out against authoritarian leaders. Donald Trump will not like the Germans very much.

Well, at least he is proud of his "German blood" - whatever that is:



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The disaster, it has happened


By Patrick

Well, it is happened, the Americans have elected a vindictive racist narcissistic moron into the most important position in the world, with the power the blow the whole world up, and what could now possibly go wrong?

I am very angry, because I believe that many sides are to blame for this catastrophic result, and as I am not connected to any US party, I feel free to speak my mind.

This has been in the making for decades, and ever since the word "Liberal" became an insult in the eyes of many, the American democracy has been in great danger. Nobody knows this better than the Germans.

In Germany, we were once confronted with the fact that the minds of a large part of the population had been poisoned, and these people then also motivated a lot of other people to vote for an evil person. The results were catastrophic, as well all know.

The parallels to Nazi-Germany are too obvious. In Germany, it was the right-wing Hugenberg press-empire which made Adolf Hitler respectable, and in the USA, it was Fox News in particular as well as many right-wing radio shows all around the country which made extreme right-wing views respectable.

Yes, this election was manipulated, by Russian hackers, Wikileaks and Mr. Comey, but it is a huge failure of the political system as a whole that a flawed candidate like Donald Trump was possible in the first place.

Donald Trump cannot act within a democracy, because his twisted and sick mind does not allow it. He can only function as a dictator. If he does not become the "American Putin", I will eat my hat.

Moderate Republicans should have stopped Trump, but they were far too self-absorbed and could not commit to one strong candidate to run against Trump. Then, the #NeverTrump people could not bring themselves to vote for Hillary and wasted their votes as a result.

The Democrats obviously lost their connection to a large part of their traditional base, which is terrible.

Not enough was also done against the destruction of the middle class - now many of them turned to an extremist.

I am also very upset that Barack Obama continued to expand the surveillance state, with the naive belief that this monstrous surveillance machine would only be used for justified actions. It should have been more than obvious that this machine can also be abused, and I am pretty certain that Donald Trump's domestic enemies will get "first impressions" of this fact pretty soon. With the available surveillance technology, virtually everybody is an open book, as all communications can be easily monitored, and real privacy has become virtually impossible. Good luck with that.

This might not be a popular view, but I really don't care, sorry: It was a huge mistake in my opinon to construct and expand this huge surveillance machine. It will soon be in the hands of Donald Trump and his ruthless extreme right-wing allies. They surely will put it to "good use."

What else is there to say? There really is little hope. It will not be bad, it will be worse. Many Americans will suffer, and probably many people abroad as well. History tells us that people like Donald Trump are hell-bent to start wars, and I do not believe that Trump will be the exception.

Democracy in the USA will soon become a travesty. This is inevitable. The most important features, like the free media and free speech, will be under real threat, no doubt about it,

The media failed as well, as we have often discussed in the comments. They can now become his claqueurs, because much more won't be possible any more.

The prophecy by H. L. Mencken from 1920, it finally became true:

The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Rebecca Schoenkopf at Wonkette has some harsh words for her fellow citizens.

Many people don't know yet what will hit them. They will know it pretty soon.

I feel very sorry for the good Americans who are now caught up in this mess. This should have been avoided.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Today is the day when Donald Trump will lose and we all will win!

No, he won't be President, don't worry!

By Patrick

"The day" has finally arrived! Hurray! The end of Donald Trump is near!

There is so much we learned during this crazy election!

For example:

- We learned how easy it is to manipulate a very large part of the population

- We learned that it is actually possible to hide your tax returns while running for president

- We learned how somebody like Hitler could actually come to power (on a side note, the Nazis received 43,9% in the last "free" elections in March 1933, which will probably be very close to Donald Trump's result)

- We learned that even somebody like Glenn Beck is able to finally "see the light"

- We learned that most of the GOP politicans are disgusting cowards who would endorse satan if their political lives depended on it

- We learned that right-wingers like Ben Howe are actually able to realize that somebody like Trump would rule as a dictator and are not afraid to speak out against him (however, they will start to love other right-wing scumbags again pretty soon, sadly)

- We learned that democracy is very fragile, and that even after this election democracy in the USA will continue to be under threat

- We learned that politics in the USA is not a joke, but deadly serious, especially if you elect the person who will be able to blow up the world

We learned of course many, many more things - maybe you can add more examples in the comments.

It will be an exciting day! Let's praise democracy and enjoy ourselves!


+++

BONUS:

Wonderful "final clip" by the Clinton campaign - "Don't stand still. Vote today."



Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bill Maher delivers the ultimate pre-election smackdown - PLUS: A great and also frightening commentary in the UK Guardian


By Patrick

With the election unexpectedly close again, Bill Maher delivered an epic smackdown:




Also, the UK Guardian published a commentary that everyone should read - it is not just about America, it is about everybody:




We are standing on the brink of the abyss. And, like anyone who’s ever peered into a chasm, we are experiencing a queasy, sinking feeling. All round the world, not just in the United States, people are contemplating the prospect that on Wednesday morning we will wake to hear of victory for Donald J Trump.

Trump campaign hit with restraining order over voter intimidation fears – as it happened Follow live updates from the 2016 campaign trail as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are dispatched to swing states with four days to go until election day Read more The mere imagining of that outcome is inducing anxiety in those far away from the action. I don’t just mean obsessives such as me, who spend the midnight hour checking the early voting returns from Washoe County, Nevada. Otherwise normal people also confess to being reduced to nervous wrecks by the thought that Trump might actually win. They chart their mood swings on social media, delighting in hopeful news – Hillary Clinton up in ABC News tracking poll! – or panicking at any sign the snake-oil salesman might pull it off, such as today’s Washington Post headline: “Donald Trump has never been closer to the presidency than he is at this moment”, I could feel my palms turn clammy.

In Britain we feel especially vulnerable. If you voted remain, the memory of a ballot going the wrong way is fresh. And not just any ballot, but one you believe will cause lasting, epochal damage. The thought that Tuesday might bring the second such moment in a year is one to dread.

Thanks to Brexit, the usual reassurances – the expert endorsements, the polling data – have lost their calming properties. In June the smart money, including the betting markets, said remain had it in the bag. Burnt by that experience, nothing can soothe us now – except the right result. Until then, we have to chew our fingernails, hit refresh on the Real Clear Politics polling page and wait.

Many, especially in the US, will have a ready response: what’s it got to do with you? To which the answer is: plenty. The experience of the last photo-finish election – Bush v Gore in 2000 – taught many non-Americans a lesson we could not forget. Americans decide, but their decision affects the entire world. The supreme court’s installation of George W Bush as president had a profound and global impact. Just over a year later, Bush was agitating to invade Iraq, a choice whose consequences we live with still. (In Britain the focus is always on Tony Blair, as it was again this week when John Chilcot faced MPs. But that war would never have happened without Bush.)

(...)It's the contempt Trump shows for democratic norms that has people fearing they are witness to something akin to fascism So a President Trump will change lives far beyond the US. An American leader who believes climate change is a Chinese hoax, who believes terror suspects should be tortured and their family members killed, who believes that Saudi Arabia should have nuclear weapons, who is fascinated by nukes’ power of “devastation” and who has asked repeatedly why the US doesn’t use them; a man who says, “I love war”; a man who drools in admiration for Vladimir Putin and whose disregard for Nato, and refusal to promise to defend a member state if attacked, would all but invite Moscow to invade one of the Baltic states – such a man would plunge all of us into a dark future. That we are not living in the US will not protect us.o a Trump presidency would exert a pull beyond America’s shores. Suspicion of migrants, loathing of Muslims, a desire to put up walls and roll back social progress – these currents exist everywhere. Were Trump to win, they would have the endorsement of the most powerful office in the world. For eight years, Barack Obama has been a cautionary voice, counselling against the global rush towards xenophobia and insularity. If Trump replaces him, white nationalism will have command of the world’s loudest megaphone. Racists and bigots everywhere will feel validated, vindicated – and mobilised.

The same is true of the contempt Trump shows for basic democratic norms. As much as the rank prejudice, it’s this that has serious people – including Republicans – fearing they are witness to something akin to fascism. His insistence that “I alone can fix” America’s problems; his threats to curb the free press, punishing news organisations that have criticised him; his hint that he would sack America’s generals and replace them with ones more compliant; his threats to jail his opponent and his winking hint that gun rights activists could find a way to deal with Clinton; his refusal to say he will accept the outcome of the election – with each of these steps, Trump has trampled on the foundation stones of liberal democracy.

Should he win, it would be a victory for a candidate who has lied more than any in history, who is spectacularly unqualified for the job and who stands contrary to the very idea of expertise. (Asked who he consulted on foreign policy, Trump answered, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”) It would be a triumph over truth, facts and knowledge. It would be the start of a new age of endarkenment.

Well, at least nobody can say that this election is boring. ;-)

In any case, we still have a lot of hope that sanity will prevail in the end. That being said, the American political system is an absolute nightmare.

Have a nice weekend, everybody!

Monday, October 31, 2016

One of the faces of good America: Robert Reich



"America is great because America is good, 
and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
Alexis de Tocqueville

By Patrick

America is a very confusing country, maybe more than ever. One the one hand, it is home to millions of highly educated people. Many of the best universities are located in the USA - no less than 17 American universities can be found among the best 25 universities of the world. On the other hand, contempt of education, ignorance and the fanatic belief in authoritarian solutions have become popular, endangering the foundations of democracy. In this incredibly diverse country, a clash between several cultures is taking place. The outcome has yet to be determined.

Robert Reich is a prominent representative of the highly educated, and may I say, "good" America. He wrote many books which surely are excellent, but these days, the public conversation mainly takes place on social media. Books are not as influential as they once were. 

Social media however has become incredibly influential. That's where we spend many hours a week, where we form our opinions and communicate with others. Places like our blog, but most importantly, the conversation can be found on facebook and twitter.

Therefore it is a good thing that somebody like Robert Reich has become very active on facebook as well. He usually publishes several facebook posts every day, and they are often very thought provoking as well as fascinating. They are worth reading.

Here are some examples.







We will never stop believing in "good America." After all, there is something special which distinguishes America from many other places. People like Robert Reich are wonderful representatives of this free world with liberal values - a world which is now under threat. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Songs about Donald Trump


By Patrick

Donald Trump aspires to be a dictator who wants to throw his domestic enemies in jail, wants to throw millions of people out of the country, wants to end the concept of a free press and media, wants to torture his "foreign" enemies  and kill their families, wants to "shoot first and ask questions later", wants to punish women for abortions, and wants many more obscene things which I have forgotten about right now.

Donald Trump is obscene.

Therefore, it is fully justified to publish hard-hitting, even "outrageous" anti-Trump music-videos, like the Russian band "Pussy Riot" did yesterday. It appears that only those people who for example already experienced the humiliating life as a prisoner in an autocratic country can truly imagine what life in "Donald Trump's America" would be like. Three members of "Pussy Riot" had to endure nearly two years imprisonment in Vladimir Putin's prison camps, and they know very well what the very harsh reality would look like. No doubt in my mind that Donald Trump deeply admires Vladimir Putin's brutal system...

(h/t silver_desert)

Watch:




More interesting songs which are "featuring" Donald Trump in one way or the other can be found on the internet. Here is a small collection of songs which are worth watching.

CLIP 1:




CLIP 2:








However, there is no doubt in my mind that American democracy will triumph over the forces of evil in the end.

Have a good and pleasant weekend, everybody!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Saturday Night Live" with Tom Hanks - Looking for yuuuuuuge fun?


By Patrick

We need a new post, I am a bit "trumped out" at the moment, so I will keep it brief. Donald Trrump's campaign will probably go down in history as the worst presidential campaign ever, but this is hardly a surprise, as "the Don" is also the worst presidential candidate ever. 

Maybe the "Trump-wing" of the Republican party should just form a separate party. They could call themselves "Huge Nuts Party." Haha, I came up with this myself.

Anyway, Tom Hanks, a man I really admire, teamed up again with the good people at "Saturday Night Live", and the results are glorious, as was to be expected.

Tom Hanks is a great person and a real role model. The "antidote" to Donald Trump, so to speak.

Watch and enjoy!








Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Finally, the third and last debate - It will soon be over, and the Constitution will have saved the American people


By Patrick

Yes, almost done!

Don't worry, very soon, the nightmare will be over.

I am confident that America will recover, although it may take some time.

What I hope is the following: America will realize (again) that the Constitution has been created to protect us from ourselves. This year, the Constitution has to protect us from Donald Trump and his minions.

We need to have faith in the strength of American democracy.

The debate will probably just be as terrible as the last one, but at least it will soon be over.

Starting at 09.00 ET, as usual.

Here are two interesting clips.

Steve Schmidt, a man who redeemed himself, makes some stinging comments:




Stephen Colbert talks to "Melania Trump":






+++

BONUS:

Randy Rainbow interviews Melania Trump:



Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Apocalypse has to be postponed - Donald Trump will lose the election in a landslide, but what will happen then?

Albrecht Dürer, "The four horsemen of the Apocalypse", 1498

Revelation 6:1-8

The Seals

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder,“Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creaturesay, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

By Patrick

Yes, Donald Trump really is like a biblical plague. Fortunately, he will lose in such a huuuuuuge way that it will be very memorable, no doubt about it.


The question, however, is the following: What consequences will the election have, once it is all over? Will it make the US democracy stronger, or will it weaken it?

There is no doubt that Donald Trump unleashed a dangerous, radical, destructive and poisonous "movement." It is obvious that this movement cannot win a general election. There are simply not enough fools around.

However, will these people who threaten the media and crave an authocratic ruler like Donald Trump continue to have an impact, or not? This is the question. Much will depend on the self-confidence of Democrats, and it remains to be seen who finally takes over the Republican party, because right now, they are at war with each other.

I do hope that Trump's loss will make democracy stronger, and it should. Democracy can be very fragile, and it can be at risk. However, if America forcefully rejects Donald Trump, voters will send a huuuuge message. Any future populists will be compared to Donald Trump, and hopefully his evil "brand" of populism will then be tainted forever.

The USA still is in a massive crisis, as far too many pressing problems are being ignored. It is not enough that for example the economy recovers. There is more work to do. The USA are in dire need of a healthcare system which covers all their citizens and won't bankrupt them if they have serious diseases. The gun culture is literally "killing" US society. It is also not a distinction that 25% of all prisoners worldwide are being imprisoned in the USA. Poor people should not be just left to themselves, but should receive a minimum standard of state support which allows them to live a dignified life without crime and despair.

That's at least my opinion. I am living in a country where all these above mentioned problems actually have been solved or do not exist, and we have a very, very good life here. It would be great to see if all Americans could receive the same standard.

I know of course that there are many wealthy people in the USA who have a great life. But life should be great for everybody, not just for the wealthy. Currently, from what I have seen, and I have seen quite a lot, this is not the case in the USA. Far from it, actually. There still is a lot of work to do. In particular, the "War on Poverty" is far from over.

At the beginning of the 1960s, the USA was in a fantastic position. The USA was the biggest winner of WWII, as the war had propelled to economy and the military to "superpower" status. It should have become an incredibly wealthy country with no significant problems in society. Unfortunately, through many mistakes over several decades, things turned out differently. Today, we see that one of the results of the many mistakes which were made is the fact that the US society is deeply divided. This is pure poison for a country, which now becomes also very obvious as Donald Trump roams the land.

So this was a more serious post - although we also desperately need comedy for our mental health sometimes! :-)

Will the big problems be addressed, even after Hillary Clinton wins the election in a landslide? This remains to be seen. I certainly hope so, however, the previous eight years were also full of disappointments. We can only pray that the Democrats win the House as well as the Senate and then actually do something.



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump humor post - we have deserved a good laugh!

The upcoming issue of the UK satire magazine"Private Eye"

By Patrick

Guys and gals, let's face it: Donald Trump already lost the election. Still, don't forget to vote! ;-)

In addition, the GOP is toast as well, Cheers!

Therefore we can relax a bit and have a good laugh!

Randy Rainbow's new clip, I love it:



In New York, a "Trump Zoltar Machine" appeared at various locations, it's hilarious! Look out for new clips, on facebook, youtube etc!






CLIP 2:



More cartoons:



Fill in the blank, LOL:



Finally, a previous cover from "Private Eye":