November 1, 2016


          Originally I had intended to postpone writing the customary first of the month issue until the country had cast its votes and we have an inkling of what the future might hold under the new president. But I have a professional meeting in the middle of the month, that requires a great deal of preparation, and there won’t be sufficient time to discuss the pre-election situation in the depth it deserves. This is why I decided to stay with the routine and prepare the data for the first of the month. It was providential because, like everybody else, I had no idea what the afternoon of Friday the 28th would bring. It takes me about two days to write the Issues, proofread them, have them once more independently proofread before they go the webmaster on the last day of the month, which this time happens to be a Monday. Since I didn’t want to completely spoil the weekend with work I started on Friday morning without any inkling what the afternoon would bring. Instead of writing a completely new version I shall present what had already been written because it can serve as background for the new revelation that will shape the election campaign up to November 8th and beyond. 

          In previous issues I have already presented the reasons why I feel that neither of the current nominees has the appropriate qualifications one would expect from a President of the country and thereby the “leader of the free world.” Instead of repeating myself, the reader is invited to look at the installments starting with April 1, 2016 because nothing has happened in the meantime to invalidate these assessments of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The earlier prognosis that Hillary’s e-mail server and the Clinton Foundation problems would become headlines has proven correct and so have the statements about Trump’s character flaws.

          Let me, therefore, just briefly summarize last month’s events and why so many of us have such great difficulty deciding for whom to cast their vote, or why a great many will not participate in this process at all. The highlights until October 28th were the two debates, allegations of Trump’s sexual impropriety and a steady stream of e-mails, via WikiLeaks, that throw an unfavorable light on Hillary.

Although Trump had clearly lost the first debate, he was gaining momentum prior to the second one and the Hillary campaign, that was already beginning to suffer from the e-mail scandal, had to do something to reverse the momentum he was gaining. For this reason they rolled out a 2005 video where Trump and Billy Bush, a cousin of George W. and Jeb Bush, engaged in highly graphic banter. Trump boasted that due to his fame and popularity he can sexually molest good looking women and get away with it. He was clearly egged on by Bush and one comment, where he bragged that he could grab women in their genital area, was regarded by the Democrats as their ticket to win the election because he could now, in addition to his other flaws, be portrayed as a sexual predator. During the rest of the month up to 11 women came forth with allegations about Trump’s sexual misconduct and the media had a feast. The video clip was played over and over again and even Megan Kelly on the Fox News channel, which is reliably pro-Republican and supports the standard bearer of the party, couldn’t resist venting her distaste on a daily basis of such an unsavory character. Yet, let us put this event into context. Boasting about sexual exploits is common among some men when they are by themselves and is regarded as “locker-room” talk. Trump’s bragging is legendary and one only needs to remember his statement during the primary season that “I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and people would still vote for me.” Nobody in his right mind suggested at that time that he is a born killer.

Since distortions as well as outright lies are such a prominent aspect of all aspects of life in our society let me now digress for a moment and discuss this prime evil of our time. Both candidates accuse each other of lying and both are right. But there are several types of lies that can tell us something about the person. The most common is defensive where one professes innocence when confronted with proof to the contrary. The most recent example is Hillary’s lying about her private e-mail server, where she now claims that it was a “mistake.” Of course it was a mistake, but the evidence also shows that it was apparently a deliberate evasion of the guidelines governing the conduct of State Department personnel. She did so, in all probability, to prevent the public from gaining access to the contents of her conversations via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This law was enacted by Congress in 1966, over President Johnson’s objections, precisely to ensure some degree of accountability by government officials to the public. Hillary, as well as her staff at the State Department, knew fully well that she was circumventing the rules; they informed her about it, but she went ahead anyway. Earlier this year she testified before Congress that there were no State Department confidential e-mails on her server but FBI Director Comey proved this to be untrue.

The second type of lie can be called the offensive lie. This has been used by all governments as an excuse to start a war. Hitler manufactured the Gleiwitz incident to justify the invasion of Poland and most recently our war on Iraq also was based on a lie. Saddam Hussein did not have WMDs. The UN inspectors searching for them were still in the country when the Bush administration ordered them out because they were in the way of the impending invasion. An honest administration that had no hidden motives would have let the inspectors complete their job and subsequently deal with the result within the UN framework.

To their credit the British investigated the events leading to Tony Blair’s assistance in the promotion of, and subsequent participation in, the Iraq war. The final Chilcot Report rendered a blistering indictment ( This brings up the question:  Why can the British honestly investigate the reasons for the mistakes made by their leadership but Cheney and Bush, who can be regarded as war criminals by the standards of the Nuremberg trials which America instigated, are free from public scrutiny and accountability? Yet it is this war and the urge for “regime change” which has created all the disasters in the Middle East and North Africa that are still unfolding, as well as the refugee crisis that floods Europe. Hillary now says that her vote in the Senate for the war was a mistake. But it was not simply a mistake, just like the private e-mail server for government business was not simply a mistake. These actions are evidence of poor judgment and disregard also of international law. The war was a crime and I warned against it in these pages starting on December 2001 (War on Terrorism).  It is indeed frustrating when private citizens, on basis of their limited information, can see disasters unfolding and find themselves unable to effect meaningful change, while elected officials, who clearly should know better, pursue policies that are bound to be ruinous.

The third type of lie can be called the Muenchhausen lie and is used extensively by Trump. Baron Muenchhausen (1720-1797) was of German nobility and had experienced an adventurous life including service in a campaign of the Russian army. During retirement on his estate he regaled his dinner guests with tall tales of his exploits. They were essentially harmless massive exaggerations to portray himself in a heroic light and it is unclear how many of these he really believed. His tales were subsequently fictionalized and became a favorite children’s book. In Trump’s case he not only exaggerates his effectiveness but also misinterprets events he has heard about and when confronted with facts he refused to accept them. The “dancing Muslims” at the fall of the Twin Towers as described  in Twin Specters Haunting America’s Politicians (April 1, 2016) is a typical example.

On the other hand, Trump does have a streak of honesty which comes out in unguarded spontaneous eruptions that are then distorted by his adversaries. A typical example occurred during the second debate. When Hillary commented that “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” He interjected: “because you’d be in jail.” He had insisted for months that the system was “rigged,” by which he not only meant voter fraud at the polls and the media bias against him. Furthermore, the Justice Department and the FBI also had not properly carried out their duty in regard to Hillary’s e-mail server as well as potential malfeasance in regard to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State. In the August 1, issue (Brexit, The Refugee Problem and America’s Election Choice), I mentioned that if Hillary Rodham had been a lowly cipher clerk in the State Department and had used a private e-mail server for official correspondence, she would not only have been fired but probably imprisoned for sharing state secrets. The media were appalled by Trump’s outburst and told us that if elected President Trump would put Hillary behind bars. But what he had said in a spontaneous manner was the truth. If our justice system had not been corrupted by political pressures, FBI director Comey would in all probability have recommended criminal investigations to the Justice Department in July of this year. Instead, he closed the case with merely pointing to Hillary’s extreme carelessness.

Does it matter if government officials or persons who want to be President lie to us on a daily basis? Of course it does; it erodes trust and breeds fear which can become paranoia. In the case of President, or Secretary of State, it is even worse because they have to deal with foreign governments. If they lack respect at home how can they expect to earn it abroad? This is the situation our country finds itself in at present. President Nixon, when confronted with the Watergate scandal, looked into our collective eyes and said: “I am not a crook.” Well, he did obstruct justice and had to resign. President Clinton wagged his finger at us exclaiming emphatically: “I did not have sexual relationships with that woman; Miss Lewinsky.” But when her blue dress with presidential semen stains appeared that was the end of that lie and under oath he lawyered: “it depends on what the definition of is is.” Although the impeachment trial went nowhere, Clinton did lose his license to practice law for five years and he had to pay a $25,000 fine. While running for his first term Bill Clinton told us that by electing him we’ll get two for one, indicating that Hillary would be a full partner. With Hillary’s election we’ll again get two for one. The sleaze, as well as the misjudgments of the years from January 1993-Jauary 2001 is likely to return with a vengeance because the world has changed since then and become far more dangerous.

In the 1990s Russia was prostrate and suffered from the effects of “privatization” which created billionaires, while throwing the masses into poverty. China was not yet a full-fledged player on the world stage and Europe an obedient listener to her master’s voice. America reigned supreme and behind the scenes the neo-cons, of whom nobody knew anything, were plotting on ways and means to keep America’s dominance for all time. The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was hatched and the world was regarded as theirs for the taking. With the Bush- Cheney administration they emerged into daylight. The Obama administration forced them somewhat into the background again but the idea of regime change was not beholden to party labels. Hillary had pursued it in Libya as well as in Ukraine (Ukraine Crisis March 15, 2014, Ukraine: Let Truth be Told, April 1, 2014) and now is eager to achieve the ultimate price of forcing Russia back into her helpless Yeltsin type period. But Putin stands in the way and this is the reason why he has to be branded as a current source of evil. Since Trump had said that he wants to make some kind of accommodation with Russia, especially over Syria, Hillary called him in the third debate Putin’s puppet. He objected, but to no avail. In the current issue the Editors of The New Yorker wrote, under the title of “The Choice,” a paean for Hillary combined with what amounts to a hatchet job for Trump. A picture of the front cover is shown below.       





The issues in this campaign, apart from the sex interlude, revolve mainly around the economy, taxes, health care, immigration, lawlessness, composition of the Supreme Court, and similar ones that may be called bread and butter concerns of the citizenry. While these are indeed important the one issue which overrides all others has so far hardly been touched by either one of the contestants or the media. It is the foreign arena where forces in and out of government are working for regime change in Russia and Iran. If President Duterte of the Philippines were to keep insisting that American troops should leave his country he is likely to be added to the regime change list. Although this idea has taken root in the leadership of both political parties it is the most dangerous for our future and should have been extensively aired in the debates. We know where Hillary stands, she is for regime change, but we have no idea what a President Trump would really do.

          Donald Trump is a master of evasion. When confronted with a direct question he does not like, he changes the topic. He is also not beholden to his own previous firm statements. For instance, he insisted over and over again that Mexico would pay for the “beautiful wall” he intends to build between our two countries. Reality is beginning to sink in and he has changed the mantra to pointing out that the Mexicans will pay later. The deporting of 11 million Latinos who have moved illegally into our country has also been pointed out to him as a non-starter, so he changed his rhetoric to immediately deporting only the criminal element and he would deal with the others depending upon circumstances later. Initially he declared climate change a hoax, but is now willing to listen to both sides of the debate. His fund of historical information seems to be non-existent because similar to George W. Bush he has never found time to read substantive books. Maybe the clue to his conduct is that he is both a business man and an entertainer. During the primary campaign he rejoiced in the role of entertainer where he liberally fed the media with his antics. He carried this conduct over into the Presidential race, but when his poll numbers started to fall precipitously after the third debate he seems to have begun to listen to his friends who urged him to stay on message. There might, therefore, be at least the hope that as President he would regard himself as America’s CEO who strikes deals with foreign leaders instead of applying a pseudo-moral compass that labels everybody who disagrees with us as evil.

          Hillary tells us that she has tirelessly worked for women and children throughout her life in and out of office. She also advocates equal pay for women, but apparently this policy has not reached the Clinton Foundation, where it could most readily be implemented. Her conduct as Secretary of State certainly was not good for the women and children of the Middle East and Libya who are now exposed to privations they had never before endured. We should not condone a policy that advocates further regime change when the results are nothing but disasters for the people of these countries. Our moral outrage over the conduct of certain governments is also highly selective and involves only countries with which we have disagreements. Where, for instance, is the desire for regime change of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and numerous other countries that also treat their people, and especially women, abysmally? It, therefore, appears that the noble phrases of “free trade,” “human rights,” etc. are the excuses to hide the real purpose. It is to create, what may be called, an “Amerocentric planet” where all other nations obediently cruise in the orbit we have assigned to them. This vision is abetted by the arms industry which reaps hefty profits, and has Hillary’s full support. Yet it must be exposed as a highly dangerous fantasy because, barring unforeseen events, neither China nor Russia will stand for it and has to lead to global war.

So where are we in regard to next week’s election? The Democrats’ Bernie supporters will bite their tongue and vote for Hillary regardless of her obvious faults. So will even some Republicans, simply because they viscerally hate Trump. He has alienated the Republican leadership during the primaries and he isn’t a Republican anyway. Philosophically he is unaligned who runs on the Republican ticket because an Independent can’t win the election. The Republican leadership knows this and is afraid that it would lose its clout if Trump were to win. The current strategy is to concentrate on retaining control of Congress and then subvert whatever program Hillary might put up for a vote including Supreme Court nominees, while hoping for a better standard bearer in 2020.  This strategy while sounding reasonable on the surface has a serious flaw because prior to 2020 Hillary’s continued baiting of Putin may have led to a shooting war with Russia.

          Early on Trump had a chance to win the majority of Independents but as the saying goes in this country “he blew it.” His boisterous erratic conduct turned many of them off to the extent that some regard Hillary as the lesser of the two evils, while others will either vote for one of the third party candidates or abstain altogether. These seem to be reasonable options but in fact they are not. As Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice-Presidential nominee, has recently pointed out here in Utah, they actually amount to a vote for Hillary. Anyone of the third party candidates cannot win and therefore would only dilute the Trump margin. Staying home likewise would deny Trump a vote he needs to win and give Hillary the advantage.   

That was the reason for the “agonizing choice” of the headline up to the early afternoon of October 28 when the stakes for Hillary were raised even higher. More e-mail pigeons had come home again. On that Friday afternoon FBI Director Comey sent a letter to Congress that, although he had previously testified that the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s e-mails was finished, new e-mails from an unrelated case had come to the attention of his office and are currently examined for their potential content of classified information. “Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether this material may or may not be significant and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.”

           This is a serious blow to the Clinton campaign. Previously it could dodge the issue with the comment that the FBI had not found evidence for potential criminal conduct and the case was closed. The WikiLeaks were relegated to Russian hacking and falsification of the material. It was, as usual, all Putin’s fault, in spite of the fact that the admission of hacking indicated the vulnerability of the data. Now the case has been re-opened and this is bad news for Clinton. She is no longer fighting just for her political life but even her personal one. This means that she must win the election regardless of cost. President Trump would immediately appoint a new Attorney General who would order a thorough investigation by the Justice Department, impanel a Grand Jury, or appoint a special prosecutor to look into all aspects of the Clinton’s dealings during her tenure as Secretary of State.

We are now in the unprecedented situation where the presidential candidate of the likely to win party is being investigated for potential malfeasance by a government agency. If the November 8 vote were to turn into basically a draw it is likely to be challenged by the party with the minority vote. We will then be back in 2000 but this time the Supreme Court is evenly divided with only eight judges. Since this is now a do or die fight for Hillary her campaign is likely to go into overdrive trying to find some evidence that members of the Trump campaign not only have business dealings with Russia but got paid for political services.

          We may now ask what motivated FBI Director Comey to reverse himself 11 days before the election. Speculations abound, but Director Comey would be well advised to follow the request by Hillary as well as members of Trump’s campaign to give us a full account of the reasons for his letter to Congress at this critical time. He is an intelligent person who must have known that this would create turmoil with the election and beyond. He should tell us the full truth regardless of personal consequences, in order to put all rumors to rest.

Let us look at the enormity of what was done. A large segment of our population is already voting for a candidate who is under active investigation by the FBI for potential criminal behavior and who may face indictment some time next year. If Hillary were to win it would be impossible for her to bring the country together, as she has vowed to do, because Republicans in Congress would continue looking into the charges and block all her legislative proposals. The gridlock that currently exists in Washington is child’s play compared to what is likely to follow after Hillary’s inauguration.

The current situation reminded me of the summer of 1972 and President Nixon’s re-election campaign. In June of that year the “dirty tricks” brigade broke for a second time into the DNC’s campaign headquarters in the Watergate complex to fix listening devices and plant new ones. They were caught and criminal proceedings were instituted. Nixon, who had not known of the break-in, dismissed it as “a second rate burglary” and went on to win the November election in a landslide. But it soon came out that the burglars had been paid by the Committee to Reelect the President, which clearly implicated the governing party. Nixon stood by his staff, tried to dodge this potentially lethal bullet to the extent that he dismissed the Special Prosecutor who had been appointed to look into this affair. This led to the resignation of the Attorney General as well as his deputy and became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Nixon’s reputation was shattered and by August of the following year he had to resign to avoid guaranteed successful impeachment.

This is a precedent, and the shoe is now on the other foot. But the Trump campaign also has a real challenge. It can gloat over rising poll numbers and hope for a win while their standard bearer keeps putting his foot into his mouth on the campaign trail. Or it can come to grips with the seriousness of the situation, as outlined above, and convince Trump to literally put his money where his mouth is and follow the advice from commentators on Fox News. He should buy 20 minutes TV time and address the nation, reading from the teleprompter without sarcastic asides, about the type of government he intends to form. It should be inclusive with Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents and consist of persons known for their effectiveness in their professions rather then career politicians.

Those of us, who do not want a Hillary Presidency, with the consequences outlined above, deserve to know what he intends to do. The usual “trust me” no longer suffices. The world is too dangerous, and while our attention is riveted on the election, Russia’s one and only aircraft carrier, the Kuznetsov, has passed Gibraltar and is sailing with its battle group towards Syria. Can we protest when we have the USS Boxer amphibious assault carrier in the Persian Gulf and the USS Harry S. Truman in the eastern Mediterranean? Why is Putin doing this especially at this time? I believe he wants to tell Obama that Russia is not just a “regional power,” as he had called it, but a force to be reckoned with. His country spans two continents and he has more than enough nukes to wreak global havoc. These are realities and to avoid a catastrophe we cannot continue with business as usual but new thinking is required.

This week will be another one for the history books and we ought to pray that sanity will prevail. 

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