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After Three Debates It’s Clinton 3 – Trump 0


We’ve seen three debates and for what it’s worth (which I know isn’t much), here’s my analysis. Take it with how ever many grains of salt (preferably nicely arranged on a margarita glass) you need.

  • Clinton usually answered the questions she was asked. Trump usually didn’t. He tried to pivot away and make the point he wanted to make even when it wasn’t a question about his, um, colorful past.
  • Trump interrupted less as the debates wore on but his facial expressions were enough to terrify small and not so small children. I feared his face was going to break from the scowl. When Clinton attacked the things he said or did he looked like he was about to become apoplectic. By comparison, she usually looked fairly comfortable and relaxed.
  • Trump has serious issues with reality. Through three debates he’s consistently denied saying things there is plenty of video showing he said over the years. How someone can live in such a state of denial is beyond me. People used to talk about the Steve Jobs reality distortion field but he had nothing on Trump (although Steve was actually better at getting people to believe him).
  • I think Trump’s reference to the “Obama regime” is telling. Regime is a word usually associated with dictators. I don’t think he was trying to cast Obama as a dictator (at least that’s not how it sounded from context). I think he thinks of presidential administrations as regimes. And that says how  he would view his own presidency. That scares me more than a little.
  • Trump is clearly willing to say anything without any supporting evidence. Most of the accusations he threw at Clinton were obvious fabrications. Either he believes these things (and given his penchant for quoting conspiracy theories maybe he does) or he is unfettered by ethical considerations. Either way that makes him dangerous.
  • I expect a politician’s views to evolve over time. After all as we learn more, our views should adapt to that knowledge. Trump’s views change faster than some people change underwear. You can find video of Trump contradicting both his own words and those of his campaign representatives of dozens of topics usually within days or weeks.
  • I think Trump’s denial of sexual assault is also telling. He attacked the accusers and then basically said they weren’t pretty enough to bother with. I had talked with others about this sort of denial earlier this week where he basically admitted that he could do something like that if they met his standards and was glad to see Clinton bring it up. Whenever Trump is challenged on anything he attacks the challenger and not to deal with the substance of the challenge.
  • His “apology” for his talk of sexual assault with Billy Bush was not an apology at all. He tried to downplay the significance and said it wasn’t him but it matches decades of his own recorded words on the way he treats women.
  • I think both are wrong on healthcare. Insurance is the wrong model for something you know you will have to use. At that point it’s not insurance. It’s just a middleman creating inefficiency in the system. I’m not sure what the perfect healthcare system is but it probably looks more like a single payer system than our current model. Think of the entraprenurial spirit that could be unleashed if people were free to take the risk of starting a company if they didn’t have to worry about health care for their families!
  • Overall Clinton responded to most questions with substantive answers (at least to the degree a two minute answer allows). Trump kept saying “bigly,” “tremendous” and “disaster”. I want to know the president has a plan that is more than a slogan.
  • Trump’s tax plan actually hurts lower class and middle class families but is incredibly generous to corporations and the wealthy. Clintons actually helps middle and lower class families. Trump’s trickle down theories does just that. It shuts the economy down to a trickle based on the experience of the Reagan/Bush years.
  • Trump was almost incapable of not getting the last word. I lost track of the number of times he would not let the moderator continue when Clinton was supposed to be the final speaker.
  • Clinton showed us how easy it is to get under Trump’s skin. He goes to extraordinary lengths to try to justify himself even when there is no defense. The one time he apologized for something he did, he then undercut his own apology. I have seen five year olds who were less easily provoked than Trump.
  • Trump’s love of Putin and other dictators and his methods shows that he doesn’t understand what it is to be our president and what democracy is about.
  • And lastly, his rhetoric about rigged elections and not accepting the results when he loses is dangerous. He may just be posturing because he needs to justify to himself that this is the only way he could be beaten by a woman, but even if that’s all it is, is dangerous. There are many people who will take his words and use them to act. Trump himself could be the cause of the radicalizing of a disenchanted group of Americans. He could be planting the seeds that lead to domestic terrorism. Whatever his motivations for this rhetoric, it is dangerous and only serves to undermine our political system.

Over three debates  I found Clinton to be the reasoned, calm voice and Trump to be the voice of hysteria. This isn’t to say that Clinton is perfect. She is probably the most investigated person ever to run for president. But think about it: all those investigations by her most potent political enemies and they couldn’t find any criminal behavior, Ever. And they were trying really, really hard. She may not be a saint but she is certainly no devil. Trump has shown no signs of being anything other than Putin-lite.

Libations With Linda, Episode 3: Lauri

In this episode I speak with Lauri about life in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1980’s and what it was like to be a lesbian and serve in the military.

Our libation is Ménage à Trois Midnight, a delicious red wine blend.

The book mentioned in the episode is Secret Service: Untold Stories Of Lesbians In The Military by Zsa Zsa Gershick. My suspicion is that it is out of print now, but it makes fascinating reading.

Linda’s Rules For Debates


My rules, if I had been running the debate:

  1. Turn off the mic of the person who is not supposed to be talking.
  2. After the respondent’s time is up, turn off that person’s mic.
  3. If the respondent did not answer the question that was asked, point that out and if time remains allow them to continue.
  4. Don’t allow the respondent to deny reality. Lead the question with the video showing what was actually said and require them to respond to that.

Debates that devolve into verbal free-for-alls have zero value.

The Point With Trump’s Taxes


With the recent New York Times article about Trump possible avoiding taxes for up to 18 years, the news media has been in a bit of a frenzy. But, largely, to me at least, it seems like they’ve missed the point.  We can have a debate about whether the tax code is promoting recovery or allowing the rich to skate on the back of the middle class in cases like this, but it’s the secondary question.

I expect most people try to take advantage of anything the tax code offers to lower their tax liability. If someone can finagle that down to zero, then good for them. However, assuming it was all done legally, it’s not the point. For me the point is that this was only possible because of a huge, nearly billion dollar loss. Since Trump is running in large part, on his success in the business world, this loss stands in direct contrast to that. To put that in perspective, he lost more in one year than fifty people might make in a lifetime. That he was able to bounce back from that is due, in large  part, to taking advantage of the tax code that he claims to want to fix. But, while Trump was able to recover, how many were not? How many business had to close because he never paid his bills? How many people lost jobs at his operations? His recovery came at the expense of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others.

This revelation also reveals the hypocrisy of his criticism of others for not paying enough in taxes.

People used to marvel at the reality distortion field created by Apple and Steve Jobs but Jobs had nothing on Trump.

Clinton Impresses During Debate

Clinton 2016 LGBT Logo

I just finished watching the first presidential debate and was expecting it to be painful to sit through. To my surprise, I actually found it informative and it held my attention. Recognizing my own confirmation bias, I tried to listen critically to both candidates. Could my own world view keep me from making a rational judgement? I owed it to myself to try to listen to both candidates as if I’d never heard them before. Here were my takeaways from the debate:

  • Trump just can’t tolerate being called wrong. Over and over he interrupted when he disagreed with Clinton’s remarks. You could see on his face how angry it made him to have his judgement questioned.
  • Where Trump either sidestepped questions or answered in generalities, Clinton answered in specifics (to the degree that the format allowed).
  • Trump continued to ignore history and pretend that he never said the things he said. And when he admitted to them he said they were either said “lightly” or were unimportant.
  • Trump proved to me he does not understand international treaties and foreign relations while Clinton had an excellent grasp.
  • The best Trump could say on court cases where his companies were sued for racist practices was that he settled without admitting guilt and that it happened to lots of other companies also.
  • Trump as much as admitted it was his strategy to blame Clinton for everything and anything. Either his grasp of recent history is woefully inadequate or he just doesn’t care and will say anything. He blamed Clinton for virtually every woe in the world today for things that predated her entry into politics. That woman has some amazing influence by Trump’s reckoning.
  • Trump basically says almost every idea that comes from Clinton was “failed” or “a disaster” without providing any evidence. His ideas are “great” but, again, no evidence to support that other than the words came from his mouth.

The only Trump positive I could find was that he actually remained relatively calm. This was the same Trump we’ve seen just quieter. He dismisses any idea that isn’t his; can’t tolerate criticism and dodges responsibility for anything he’s done. By comparison, Clinton was articulate. She was prepared and her arguments made sense. It was clear to me that Trump does not have the temperament to be president and Clinton does.

Congratulations to Secretary Clinton for a great job and further solidifying my confidence in her.

To All The Depressed Millenials

Your Vote Counts button

Many of the millenials I know were fervent Bernie Sanders supporters. I get where they were coming from. Bernie made a lot of good points and had a lot of good things to say, but he didn’t become the nominee. One can argue that the system was rigged against him and to some degree it was but he knew that going in. He was always a long shot although at times it felt closer than it really was.

Now, with six weeks to the general election, many of those same millenials are still trying to figure out what to do. Vote for Gary Johnson? Not vote at all? Many of you harbor quite a dislike for Clinton. I’m not going to argue whether you should like her. You’ve got your reasons and I respect them even if I disagree with many of them.

I’m happy to try to convince you why I think Clinton would actually be a good president. She’s smart. She’s experienced. She has done a great deal of good work over the years. But, she’s also saddled with a perception problem. With decades of political life behind her she’s been in some ethically gray areas at times. Truthfully, any politician you see with that much experience will have the same issues. However, in my life, I’ve never seen a person who has been so systematicallly smeared by her political opponents as she has been. President Obama comes close but it’s been going on far longer for Clinton. These smears have been going on for so long that many people assume they are true. After all, people have been saying these things since before some of you were even born. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s ignore all that and assume there’s at least some truth to them. How should that influence the vote in November?

Let’s run through the options. The most appealing candidate to many Bernie supporters might appear to be Gary Johnson, but in fact he’s very much opposed to most of Bernie’s policies. Social safety net? Not so much from the libertarian. And let’s not forget that he’s less informed on foreign policy issues than the average 6 o’clock news viewer.

Jill whatshername from the Green Party? Her campaign strategy seems to be to get arrested to get any kind of news coverage. If I can’t remember her name then nobody else can.

And then there’s the orange candidate. Trump seems to think that disaffected Bernie supporters will flock to him. But Bernie supporters have far more sense that that. The only thing that Trump and Bernie have in common is that both have tapped into latent (and sometimes not so latent) anger in their supporters. But, they are angry about different things.

So that leaves Clinton or not voting as the only other options.

The only practical option is to vote for Clinton. Welcome to American politics (probably all politics) where there usually isn’t a candidate that feels like someone you can really support. However, you need to.

Let’s be clear: not voting or voting for a third party candidate only helps Trump. It might let you feel morally superior but that feeling will go away quickly when Trump manages to create even more chaos in the world. Where Clinton might be morally gray he is morally corrupt. All politicians lie to a degree but he lies more than any other in Amnerican history. Clinton is actually relatively truthful for a politician according to Politifact. Clinton’s foundation does real humanitarian work but Trump’s pays his legal bills and buy portraits of Trump. Where Clinton has policies Trump has slogans. She is substance. He is vaporware and hyperbole.

So, if you are a millennial and don’t want to vote for Clinton, do it anyway. But, then stay involved. Change the system. Build a viable third party (and fourth and fifth). It will take years of work but this country needs political options beyond what we ave  because our current two party system has become so polarized that there is no room for sanity. Trump’s very existence is an example of that. In any sane system a politician who is overtly racist and misogynistic and morally bankrupt would never rise to be a major party’s candidate. Clearly the system needs change. But, just as clearly, the time for that change is after the election. For this one, hold your nose if you have to, but vote for Clinton. Then change the world.

Libations With Linda, Episode 2: Rachel

The podcast has made it to episode number two!

In this episode I speak with Rachel about same-sex marriage in the Episcopal Church where she can speak from personal experience. Along the way we enjoy some Stash Chai Spice Black Tea.

On a technical note, while the audio quality is a bit better in this episode the need for better lighting is obvious. Apologies for the quite noticeable video noise. Hopefully some better lighting can be obtained before the next episode.

Here are the links mentioned in the episode:

IOS 10 iBooks Woes


There is a lot to like abou the iOS 10 update. The new maps layout is better and one can finally set the routing to avoid tolls. But, I opened the book I was reading in iBooks on my iPad and instead of the normal two-column layout in landscape orientation I get one giant column.

I don’t recall there being a setting for this but I go looking for one to no avail. The iOS 10 iBooks app seems to have taken a giant step backwards. Reading a single column in landscape mode is, well, awful and an iPad pro is too large for me to comfortably read in portrait orientation.

Fortunately, I won’t buy books with DRM that locks me in to a single provider so I was able to move my ePub over to MapleRead which is a decent ebook reader. It has a lot of great features that iBooks lacks though it sometimes gets the formatting not quite right. But, in this case it continued to properly do two-column layout in iOS 10 so the problem is an iBooks-specific bug (don’t even try to tell me there is a good reason for it).

So, if like me, you are having issues with iBooks and you have the option to use any non-DRM ebook reader then check out MapleRead. I have the SE edition since I keep my books in Calibre and MapleRead can talk to Calibre directly.

Libations With Linda, Episode 1: Mike

This is the first episode of a podcast I’m putting together. This is somewhat experimental. How often it happens or even if it continues to happen will depend largely on feedback and whether I can find guests on a regular basis.

The idea for the show is to sit down with someone to enjoy a beverage and discuss the topic of the day along with the beverage.

Future episodes will hopefully cover a wide variety of topics so if you have an idea for a topic or want to sit down with me to enjoy a beverage then let me know!

In this first episode I sat down with my nephew Michael and we discussed his coming out. Our libation was Premium White Peony from Teavivre.  This was a great white tea that we both enjoyed. It’s one of the better white teas I’ve had in my limited sampling of white tea so far.

Here are links to the sites mentioned in the podcast:

Apologies for the video noise and background hum. This was a first effort and I need to work a bit on the videography end of things still.

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