Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired of the American Election Process

If anything more closely fits the title of this blog, it’s the American election process. Where else on this planet do we have election cycles that never seem to end? Where on Earth do you get a candidate who can utter the first thing that creeps into his addled brain? As an amateur historian I have difficulty remembering any presidential hopeful that boasted that they could shoot someone on a major New York street, and not lose a single vote. Hitler may have offered something similar in his 1932 Chancellor campaign, substituting Rosenthaler Platz for Fifth Avenue. 
We finally move into the 21st century nominating a woman to run on the ticket of a major political party. Has she made some questionable choices in her long career? Is she unique among her peers on that issue? She has certainly put in her time, beginning with First Lady of the state of Arkansas, then of the United States, followed by U.S. Senator for her adopted state, and finally Secretary of State. She has the credentials, and when we compare them with that of her GOP challenger, it’s really not much of a contest. 

Hillary worked tirelessly, during the early days of her husband’s first Presidential administration, in a vain attempt to get decent medical care for most Americans. But, in this great corporatocracy we call America, if the pharmaceutical industrial complex doesn’t go along, it just can’t happen. That’s why ObamaCare, which her opponents have labeled ObamaDon’tCare, is a joke when compared with the way healthcare is handled in real democracies. Bernie wanted a single-payer system, but his candidacy was destined to failure owing to slick behind-the-scenes operations by some of Hillary’s cohorts, including the now shamed Debbie Wasserman Schultz. 
There are numerous acts, committed by the Democratic nominee, that I find abhorrent, not the least of which is her signing off on the Bush-Cheney’s war for oil (certainly not the only Democrat to do so). But I like to think of myself as a realist (please stop snickering), and understand that once the primaries are over, in our less than-democratic-republic, the electorate is given few choices.
She has been described as a shill for the banking industry, something not unique to her or other politicians. Could she dispel that notion by revealing the contents of her Goldman-Sachs speeches? Dunno. That might hurt her campaign, which could possibly explain her failure to do so.  Is that any worse than The Donald refusing to show his tax returns? What is he hiding? That maybe his claim to be a multi-billionaire is a sham (which wouldn’t be his first)? Or are there some profit-making items in his portfolio he would prefer not to share with his disenfranchised supporters?  It makes me wonder why not a single journalist has asked either of them these questions in the past several months.
If Hillary wins the election and is ruled by Big Bank, won’t we be as well? Will she follow in the footsteps of her husband and the current POTUS, by looking the other way as the banking industry continues to have its way with us?
Obama’s first Treasury Secretary was Timothy Geithner, was rewarded with the presidency at Warburg Pincus, a highly-leveraged financial entity that benefited greatly from the bailout Geithner engineered in ‘08 and ‘09. These benefits far out-weighed what the average non-financial firm received, or the average taxpayer (which wouldn’t have taken very much). And to ensure that banks were to big to fail and their executives too big to jail, Obama’s first Attorney General, Eric Holder, who had the revolving-door experience, did not prosecute a single banker (He’s now back at the Wall Street firm that employed him prior to his A.G. stint). I assume Holder worked under the direction of Obama, who had accepted Wall Street campaign funds in 2008, according to Incidentally, if you believe this has relevance, Goldman-Sachs was Obama’s second largest campaign contributor. #44 simply followed the campaign practices of #42 (who just might become the first First Gentleman). Bill’s Treasury Secretaries were Robert Rubin, followed by Lawrence Summers. Did they follow the path of the first to serve in that position? I don’t think a ticket to Broadway’s most expensive play will reveal the answer.
Rubin, during the campaign of 1992, was hired as a financial advisor, where Bill could take advantage of Rubin’s Wall St. connections. This would help create the symbiotic relationship that the banking industry that ultimately led to the repeal of Glass–Steagall. I think we all remember the result that followed.
Below is a quote from the Moyers and Co. blog (read the whole article here):
“This practice of giving private paid speeches to big corporations was nothing new for Summers. Before joining the Obama administration, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees (sound familiar?) from financial institutions that the White House was involved in bailing out and then shielding from more intense regulation. For Summers, the speech at the outsourcing conference was simply a relapse.”
G.W. Bush followed the Clinton lead, using Goldman has his recruiting center, thus explaining the hiring of Hank Paulson to head Treasury. Paulson, to his credit, says he cannot bring himself to vote for Donald Trump, hardly the only Republican to abandon their party's nominee.
Just so this doesn’t look like an attack on just Hillary, let’s spend a few moments addressing the foibles of that other candidate.
Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact maintains a website that keeps track of candidates (on both sides) statements, evaluating them as fact or fiction. Below is how The Donald fared.
Donald recently claimed that Hillary rigged the debate schedule with her then primaries opponent, to guarantee the lowest possible turnout resulting from the football schedule conflicting with debate dates. Turns out, that the schedule is fixed by an independent bi-partisan organization.
Trump has gone back in forth on how well he knows Vladimir Putin. Depending on which date the subject was mentioned, his relationship goes anywhere from “Putin has said some very nice things about me.” to “I have no relationship with Putin.” His claim of having great knowledge about Russian business is similar to Sarah Palin’s, claiming to be able to see Russia from her back porch. He boasts about his ownership of the Miss Universe Pageant (held in Moscow in 2012), which was “a great success, a really great success, believe me.”
There was also that flow of drivel about David Duke, leader of the KKK, and also a candidate of the Reform Party.  Despite an occasional disavowal of Duke from Trump, Duke praised The Donald’s acceptance speech at the convention’s conclusion. When asked by reporters, Trump said he didn't remember if he actually ever met Duke.
Trump has been trumpeted as a successful businessman. If by “successful” you mean he’s figured out ways to screw more people who were taken in by his promises, then hail to the Trump! If you think three bankruptcies of his gambling enterprises is indicative of his business acumen, you may need to read a dictionary definition of that word. Trump University is probably not offering this course.
Trump tells his disenfranchised supporters that taxes are too high in this country. Since taxes are the last thing the unemployed, or underemployed should worry over, the applause he gets after making statements such as these are baffling, indeed. To be specific, he does want to lower the tax rate for millionaires. Warren Buffet’s statement, about his secretary paying more taxes than he, does not strike a familiar note with The Donald. The U.S., incidentally, has the 36th highest maximum tax rate in the world.
We are always left with the meager choice of the lesser of the two evils.  If you agree with Trump (and most Republicans) that Climate Change is a Hoax, then by all means, vote for him.  If you like the Supreme Court the way it was composed before Scalia rose to heaven; if you think the minimum wage should be lowered; if you own stock in a wall-building company, if you like the idea of excluding immigrants based on their religion - then, by all means, vote for Trump.
That’s why I’ve adopted the motto: HYNFH  (Hold your nose for Hillary), because with all of her flaws, which candidate is actually qualified to lead this country?