Category Archives: Opinion

Julian Assange is no longer credible

Over the last several days, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been releasing thousands of emails, mostly relating to John Podesta, the Chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  Nothing earth-shaking has been revealed by those leaks.  For the most part, they have shown how political campaigns – all political campaigns – are run.  What is disturbing, however, is the following:

First, all of the leaks have been about Hillary’s campaign.  Wikileaks has not released anything relating to Donald Trump.  Some claim that Trump doesn’t use email but what about every other person who is or was involved in his campaign.  What about Corey Lewandowski or Paul Manafort or Roger Ailes or Steve Bannon or Roger Stone?  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see their communications?

Second, it has become very clear that Wikileaks and Julian Assange is no longer about anti-secrecy.  In fact, a strong case can be made that Assange, Trump’s campaign, and Russia are closely tied together and have been trying to influence the outcome of the Presidential election.  For instance,

(a)  How did Sputnik, a Russian propaganda site, get a hold of an email from Sidney Blumenthal to John Podesta leaked by Wikileaks before anyone else did?

(b) Why did Sputnik deliberately misrepresent the facts in that email by saying that Blumenthal had made a statement about Benghazi  when in fact the statement was made in a story that Blumental was simply forwarding to Podesta?

(c) Why did Trump, only hours later, read from that erroneous story from Sputnik at a rally in Pennsylvania and how and from whom did he get that piece of propaganda?

(d) How is it that Roger Stone, Trump’s ally, knew that a story was coming out from Wikileaks about Podesta even before the email was leaked (he tweeted about it)?

Why would Assange want to help Trump?  Assange has been in hiding trying to avoid a rape charge in Sweden.  Perhaps the Trump camp promised him a pardon if Trump got elected.  This is not that far fetched since the Sven Court just upheld the warrant for Assange’s arrest.  Why would Putin want Trump elected?  Because he knows that he would be able to manipulate Trump who has already expressed his admiration for Putin on more than one occasion.

Ecuador’s government  recently shut down Assange’s internet access.  Wikileaks has stated that it is trying to find a way around that.  Even if they do, in light of the apparent ties between Assange, Trump’s camp, and the Russian propaganda site Sputnik, and since it’s clear that Roger Stone and Assange were communicating prior to the leaks, I feel that the media should refuse to publish any further leaks if and when they become available since those leaks and Assange’s credibility are questionable.   Instead, the media should do some serious investigative work for a change and try to find out how Roger Stone knew about the leaks before they happened, why no leaks about anyone in Trump’s camp is being released, and how Trump got a hold of the erroneous report from Sputnik which he quoted from at his Pennsylvania rally.

Perhaps no one cares anymore since a Trump victory at this point is unlikely.  However, we should care.  For months, Trump has subjected the entire nation to a barrage of lies, including a claim that Hillary has Russian ties.  Yet, he has never released his tax returns so there is no way of knowing whether he has any financial interests tied to Russia and Paul Manafort, who was in charge of Trump’s campaign, clearly did have pro-Putin ties.  Now this incident has occurred.  Even if Trump loses the election, there has been talk that he won’t be going away; that he’ll continue to push his anti-everything agenda.  I, for one, would like to know whether Russia and Julian Assange have anything to do with that agenda.

(C) 2016

Hillary Clinton – Why She Isn’t Winning In More States

Whenever Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity is discussed, there are three issues that come up repeatedly.  First, the Benghazi incident.  Second, her emails.  Third, the Clinton Foundation.

However, none of those issues is the real basis for her unpopularity.

BENGHAZI:  There were eight hearings held on Benghazi spearheaded by the Republicans which cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.  They were unable to find anything to hold her directly responsible for – and everyone knows how hard the GOP must have tried.

EMAILS:  Tens of thousands reviewed by the FBI and other than the fact that a woman in her 60’s should probably not have assumed that a private server was actually private, should have carried two phones, and should have been more careful,   the FBI found no criminal wrongdoing.  As for the emails now being released by Wikileaks, they are mostly John Podesta’s emails and only show that the Clinton camp was planning political strategy like every other political camp does.  Besides, there are good reasons why those Wikileaks emails are not credible. (See my other post about Julian Assange).

CLINTON FOUNDATION:  Let’s not forget that this Foundation has received 4 stars from both Charity Watch and Charity Navigator, files tax returns as a non-profit, and can and has established that the majority of its funds goes towards solving global problems such as hunger, education, and HIV.  In any case, Hillary Clinton was not part of the Foundation while she served as Secretary of State, was not involved in the sale of the uranium mine to Russia which the media and Trump tried to make a big deal about, and that sale required and received the approval of 8 other government agencies over which she had no control.

Compare all of those things to what Trump has done (the continual lying, the insults hurled against people of color, POWs, a gold star family who lost their son in battle, a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage, the media, other Republicans, and, of course, women, his refusal to release his tax returns, the numerous shady deals made through his Trump Foundation, his tax plan which he says will help the American people but is designed to benefit the rich, his failure as a businessman, his past of discriminating against blacks when renting apartments in his buildings, his disparaging remarks about an Indian tribe when he was trying to prevent them from getting a gaming license, his admission that he has committed sexual assault against women, his most recent claims that everything relating to this election is rigged against him, etc.) and it’s absolutely no contest.  It’s absolutely clear who the liar and crook really is.

So, why is Hillary still so unpopular in so many States?  One article I read suggests that it’s because she doesn’t come across as warm or approachable; no one knows what she does “for fun”.   Another mentioned that she should smile more.  Comments have been made about the pants suits that she wears.  Those comments, whether or not the people who made them realize it, illustrates a major problem that Hillary Clinton faces – gender bias.

As a professional woman who has worked in a field dominated by men, I fully understand the narrow line that Hillary Clinton has to walk.  For example, when a man walks into a meeting to negotiate a deal, he can be brash and aggressive, even condescending, and although many may consider him a jerk, he’s still thought of as strong and a formidable opponent.  If a woman behaves the same way, people will call her a “bitch”, say that she’s being overly emotional, and make remarks about PMS.  And yet, if a woman comes across as caring or too friendly in a male-dominated environment, she’s thought of as “weak”.   I’ve seen it happen time and time again.  Disturbingly, it isn’t only men who feel this way.  A white female supporter of Trump who was interviewed on television  said that when she thinks of a President, she thinks of a man because women have “hormones”.

So many women who are serious about their careers develop a professional persona.   They try to come to meetings more prepared than their male counterparts.  They  try to dress appropriately – not too sexy, not too “mannish”. ( I, too, began wearing pants suits when I heard a man murmur “Hmmm…sexy.” one day as I was passing by his office.  I wasn’t  wearing anything revealing but I was wearing a dress that revealed my legs so I began covering them up.)  They try to ignore stupid comments and even brush off compliments about their appearance.  They are wary about sharing personal information or gushing about a brand new baby or a pet.  At the same time, they need to be concerned about appearing too cold – an “ice queen” is what some men have labeled their female counterparts if they perceive her as not friendly enough.  Their guard is always up.  This may not be who they are in their personal lives, but it’s who they feel they have to be in their professional lives.

So what about Michelle Obama you may ask?  She’s an intelligent and attractive woman, an attorney, who is a dynamic speaker and yet appears approachable.  She dances with Ellen DeGeneres on stage.  She sings karaoke in a car with James Cordon.  People love her as do I.  But it’s unfair to compare these two women.  Michelle Obama has done great work in her private career and has been an exceptional First Lady, but she has never been and does not care to be involved in politics and was even reluctant about her husband’s involvement even though she committed to supporting him.  She seems almost relieved to be leaving the White House.

Hillary Clinton, however, has always been ambitious and politically inclined.  She even kept her own name for a while because she wanted to be a separate person from her husband and was involved in the political arena long before Bill Clinton became President.  Bill Clinton even said that if he was elected, the people would get “two for the price of one”.  And although there are women in high political offices, politics is still very much a male-dominated field where women hold slightly less than 20% of the seats in Congress.

So Hillary Clinton may not be likeable in the warm and cuddly sense – in the ways that you would like to envision a woman of her age to be.  What she is, however, is intelligent, a hard worker, and experienced in navigating the “good old boy” mentality that still pervades politics.  Whether she will be a great President, who knows?  I think that she would try her hardest to be since she has something to prove  and she cares about the kind of legacy that she would leave.  In any case, the worst that she would be is a so-so President.   We’ve had those before.  In fact, we’ve had really bad Presidents before.  Our nation has always managed to survive.  Our nation, however, may not survive if Donald Trump becomes President.

I would like Trump supporters, and those who are still undecided, to try, just for a minute, to put aside their hate and fear and blind faith and disappointment and ask themselves two simple questions:  What would I do if it was a Democratic candidate who had been on that Access Hollywood tape, whose lies were constantly being exposed, who made claims that he/she knew more about ISIS than the generals do, who refused to produce tax returns, who quoted an erroneous Russian propaganda statement as fact, who praised Putin, and who is now claiming that the entire voting system, run independently in 50 States, are all rigged?  Would I still ignore all of that or would I be calling that Democratic candidate unhinged and out of control?

Horrible and unreasonable behavior doesn’t suddenly become justifiable and reasonable because a person and you happen to belong to the same political party.  At football games (and all athletic games), we root for our team no matter what.  It doesn’t matter if we don’t like the coach or a particular player or their performance during the season.  The Presidential election, especially this election, is not a football game.  This is no longer about Republicans vs. Democrats.  I cannot forget the woman in Columbus, Ohio who was interviewed by MSNBC and who said:

“I am voting for the Conservative Party.  And if this jackass just happens to be leading this mule train, so be it.”  (MSNBC  – Sept. 26)

The problem with that is Donald Trump is neither a conservative nor a true Republican.  He has simply slapped a Republican label on his forehead, thereby ensuring himself the vote of people like that woman in Ohio.  But nothing justifies unleashing THIS particular “jackass” on the entire nation in the name of party politics.  I can say one thing without any hesitation:  If Trump was running as a Democrat, I’d be voting Republican.

(c) 2016

What I Wish Hillary Had Said To Trump

When he threatened to put her in jail if elected:  “You know, Donald, you sound like a dictator now and not like someone who should be the leader of the greatest nation in the free world.”

When he went off on his tangents and failed to answer questions posed to him:  “I’m sorry (to the moderator or the audience member) but did he answer your question?”  or  “It doesn’t appear that Donald answered the question.  I’d like to if you don’t mind.”

When he went so low as to bring those women to the debate and made accusations against Bill Clinton: “This election is between you and me, Donald, not you and my husband.  So I’m going to take Michelle Obama’s advice (which she did bring up) and get back to answering questions that are actually important to this audience and to those who are watching at home. ”

When asked about being a president for all the people:  “I believe that here is where Donald and I differ the most.   Donald has been constantly telling his supporters that the nation’s economy is in a bad place, that unemployment is high, that crime is rampant.  The truth is, based on verifiable facts, that over the last 8 years, unemployment has gone steadily down, violent crime – nationally – is down although I know it may not seem that way because of the recent uptick in gun incidents that have been in the news.  Inflation is stabilized.  More people than ever have health insurance.  But there is still room for improvement.  We need to move forward, not stand around blaming everyone and everything.

Taxes –  my tax plan is designed to give the most benefit to those who are considered middle and low income who comprise most of the people in this nation, while making the very wealthy pay their fair share.  With sufficient tax revenue, we can assure that money will be available for social programs, for emergency aid, for education, for infrastructure needs, and so forth.  But just changing aspects of the tax code is only part of what’s required to maintain a healthy economy.  There needs to be available jobs so that people can work.

Contrary to what Donald says, not all loss of jobs is due to outsourcing, which he does himself, or illegal immigrants.  Many jobs are disappearing because the economy is ever-changing.   For example, by committing to move towards a more green economy, jobs in coal mining will be affected.  This is not something new.  We used to have milkmen deliver milk to our doors – that disappeared when it became more economically feasible for companies to market their product at supermarkets.   The book publishing industry is moving away from print to digital.  Many jobs have been lost to automation.  It is inevitable that as technology advances, certain jobs will be affected.  We should not waste precious time trying to go backwards or complaining about who or what is to blame.  We need to focus on moving forward.

For those who are in fields where jobs are being phased out because of automation or climate change or outsourcing,  we need to help them with the transition – provide education that will allow them to compete in the new industries that are emerging or to move to another career or, if they are near retirement age, to retire a few years early without penalty.  Businesses can be incentivized to assist with this education and transition since the fate of their workers should be their concern.  The main thing is that we don’t leave these workers behind.

We also need to work on creating harmony in our cities.  Violence impacts individuals and families directly but it also has an effect on the economy.  You cannot make your communities economically prosperous if people in your communities don’t feel or aren’t safe.  And companies will avoid investing in communities that are considered “unsafe” or won’t allow them to prosper.

We need to assure, also, that those who have spent their lives working will be able to count on receiving their Social Security.  Increasing jobs increases what’s paid in to Social Security.  Adjusting the Social Security cap upwards will also increase the amount of the Social Security benefits available.   Right now, no one pays Social Security on income over $118,500.  That has to change.

A President’s job is to try to pass policies that will be beneficial for everyone – not just for the people who supported the candidate when the candidate was running for office.  It must be that way because the health of the entire nation depends on the collective health of the individual states.  However, that means that people must also care about the policies of those who run their local government and those who they elect to office in Congress.  Whether that is a Republican or a Democrat, it must be someone who is willing to work for the benefit of the nation as a whole and not only for special interest groups.  That will sometimes require compromise but that is required when you have a two-party or three-party system.  Otherwise, you’re operating in a dictatorship.

Calling out the media

Now that most people get their news online, it has become imperative that writers get readers to click on their stories.  So all we see on the homepage of our search engines are sensationalized headlines designed to entice people to click on stories.  Yet, many of those stories are misleading and not newsworthy.  .

Take a recent story that appeared in The Hill.  The headline read:  “Leaked memo shows Clinton was provided questions ahead of interview.”  There was absolutely nothing relevant about this story which concerned a television interview of Hillary Clinton by Steve Harvey, a comedian who hosts a variety talk show.   The story claimed that Hillary Clinton was given the questions ahead of the interview.  However, many talk shows (which are NOT news shows) conduct pre-interviews with their guests and provide them with information as to what topics will be covered.  So this particular story had no news value.  The ONLY reason that it was written was to imply another scandal so that people would click on the story.  It’s as though the reporter of this story wanted to imply that Clinton was favored by the media or perhaps that she received the Presidential debate questions ahead of time or that there was something shady about this practice or all of the foregoing.  And the fact that this very unimportant story was picked up and published by several online sites only demonstrates the pathetic  willingness of the media to chase innuendos instead of actually reporting news

Journalism is supposed to be the objective reporting of newsworthy events.  There shouldn’t exist “right leaning” or “left leaning” online news sites or publications.   If reporting is leaning either way, it’s not news, it’s an opinion.  But this is what happens when people like Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. are allowed to control over 100 media sites and publications (including Fox News, which really should be renamed Fox Entertainment, and the Wall Street Journal, which used to be a respectable publication).

To be fair, not all journalists are guilty of sensationalism or biased reporting.  But those who have tried to report facts seem to be completely disconnected from their target audience.  They don’t write to the reader; many write as though they are trying to impress someone with their writing skills and vocabulary.  They use words like misogynist and flummoxing.  Do they really think that the ordinary reader understands such words?   People won’t bother reading a story that’s too difficult to read and therefore will never get the message of that story.  Perhaps that’s why so many people are tuning in to watch political satirists and comedians like John Oliver and Trevor Noah.  These people, in between their jokes and idiotic gifs, actually do convey facts obtained from extensive research and they are able to do it in ways that the ordinary person can understand.  The best example of this, so far, is John Oliver’s broadcast on September 25, 2016 which examined the negative claims against both Clinton and Trump and reached a conclusion in a way that viewers could understand.  And yes, it was hilarious.

Perhaps we would all be better off if for every piece of bad news that the media reported, they would also publish a story about some of the good people in our country who are doing good things.  Perhaps then we who read the “news” wouldn’t feel so hopeless and as though the entire world has gone crazy.

“17 Sweet Things Men Do That You Don’t Even Notice” – My Response

This is a response to an article that appeared in Woman’s Day online magazine, which originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. I tried to comment on the actual sites.  However, Woman’s Day and Cosmopolitan only allow those with a Facebook account to log in and comment.  I have news for you Woman’s Day and Cosmopolitan – not everyone has or wants a Facebook account.  So I decided to respond here, on my own blog site, even though I am certain that my readership pales in comparison to that of the magazine.  You can find the actual article here:  http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a39806/sweet-things-guys-do-that-you-dont-even-notice/

1. Putting the toilet seat down.   This isn’t a sweet gesture – it’s simple consideration.  And since you had to put it up, why is putting it back down something so hard to remember?  Is your attention span really that short?

2.  Walking on the outside of the street.   It used to be the norm and I don’t see it happening all that much today, but for the guys who still follow this “rule of etiquette”, one point for you.  And I, for one, would notice.

3. Staying up “way too late” talking to her and paying for it the next day. Are you saying that she’s the only one who wants to have a conversation and that you’re only humoring her?  And unless you’ve only been dating unemployed women, did it ever occur to you that she, too, has to get up early the next morning?  In fact, if she wears any makeup and styles her hair, she needs to get up a lot earlier than you.

4. Holding her after a bad dream.  Are you sure you aren’t just holding her in self defense since you found it necessary to mention that you only woke up after she elbowed you in the face?  And unless you sleep like you’re in a coma, I’ll bet there have been several occasions when you’ve nearly broken her nose with your flailing arm.  The only difference is, she was having a bad dream; you were simply shifting your position in bed.  So she didn’t have any reason to hold you and comfort you.    .

5. Trying to impress with feats of strength.  If you’re in need of exhibiting physical strength beyond  your capabilities in an effort to impress a woman, you deserve that sore back.

6. Volunteering to pay even when you’re broke. If you believe that you need to spend more money than you can afford in an effort to impress a woman, you deserve to eat ramen for a week. It always ticks me off when a man assumes that the way to any woman’s heart is through his wallet.

7. PDAIf you have “friends” who are going to make fun of you because you display affection towards a woman you care for, you need to start finding more mature friends to hang out with. Then again, how mature can you possibly be if you care about what they say?  By the way, some women don’t enjoy too much PDA – surprise!

8. Taking mental notes on things she likes. Really? I always thought that was something that came naturally when you truly care about someone, not something that required effort.

9. Joining her betting pool for “The Bachelor”.  I can’t comment on this since I have never watched that show. I hate “reality” shows. How real can anything be if there’s a camera present?

10. Not taking the blanket back after she hogs it allFirst, what makes you portray women as blanket hogs? Are you actually writing this article about a specific woman in your life?  Men, with their bigger bodies, are just as guilty of this if not more so. But here’s a thought – put an extra blanket within reach for whoever gets robbed during the night.

11. Carrying her purse. I suppose some women do that but I never would. Frankly, I find that to be a little demeaning to the guy.

around her when a sketchy guy approaches.  If you’re doing it to be protective, maybe that’s sweet.  But a lot of men do it if any guy approaches because they are territorial.

13.  Saving a plate of food or picking up takeout when she has to work lateYou consider saving a plate of food for someone you care about to be a sweet gesture?  Now you’ve got me wondering.  Would most men who aren’t trying to be sweet actually eat all of the food and leave nothing for her?  Perhaps you’ll think I’m out of my mind for asking this, but did it ever occur to you that you should wait and have dinner with her when she gets home so that she won’t have to eat alone?  That’s what I would do.

14.  Putting on the cologne you know that she likes but you don’t.  Okay, at this point, I’m really beginning to wonder – what kind of guy are you?  You can’t admit that a box is too heavy and that maybe you need a cart or that you can’t afford that pricey restaurant or that you feel stupid carrying her purse.  Now you can’t even speak up about your cologne?  Well, I suppose you’re right about one thing, you aren’t the one who’s smelling yourself.

15.  Setting her up with OnePassword.  Why do you make it seem as though women are incapable of understanding “this stuff”? I’ll let you in on a little secret: some women just pretend to be naive and unable to comprehend so that men can come to their rescue and feel so superior. I’m not favor of that either, but I have seen it happen SO many times. Sadly, my older sister happens to be an expert at this game. She has a Master’s Degree and yet has claimed to men that she can’t read a map or understand how to use a GPS and, predictably, those men have come to her rescue and ended up driving her to wherever she needs to go. She’s also been able to get men to pick up and set up her computer system, repair her car, run her errands – you name it. For the longest time, I believed that all men were stupid. Thankfully, I’ve met a few exceptions.

16.  Color-coding the remotes because she doesn’t know what they are for. See my response to number 15. By the way, if she REALLY can’t understand internet security or how to distinguish one remote from another, I’m guessing that intelligence isn’t on your list of traits that you look for in a mate.

17.  Cleaning up your beard stubble. Okay, but just don’t forget all the shaving that she has to do on more than one part of her body so that you won’t experience any scratchy surfaces either. Seriously, some guys just don’t have a clue.