Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Sad That We Can’t Discuss Politics

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Today I went to the post office and I ended up being there for quite a while because I used the wrong envelope and I had to start over. I let people go ahead of me but by the time I finished my new envelope the line had not moved at all. Someone was getting a passport, apparently a very exacting and time-consuming task. If you ever get behind someone filling in passport paperwork and having it checked over you might as well leave, do another errand and then come back. There was one other clerk but she had an Aussie gentleman with very complicated insurance and packaging issues. So we stood in line. (At least we had a counter to lean on.) We began to discuss our pets who are, apparently, all spoiled rotten.

As our wait continued we began to discuss the conditions that were keeping us waiting. We were nice and did not try to make anyone feel too badly. The man next to me in line knew that the desk was one clerk short because the missing clerk was his wife. She had a vacation day. We were pleasant and civil and just chatting. But it was primary day so I mentioned my anxiety as I waited to find out the results of the voting. I mentioned that I was looking forward to seeing Hillary Clinton win the New York primary. I was hoping people would pipe up and say who they would like to see win.

I know that politics is not a topic that is supposed to be discussed in polite company. But I, of course, can’t help myself. I wanted to know what people were thinking on this primary day. Sadly I believe it has become more difficult for us to discuss politics than ever. We should at least be able to talk about what we think we know about the candidates and where we got our information.

However, as soon as I said Hillary’s name a woman down the line made a sour face and said Hillary is a liar. Now I don’t think this woman knows Hillary personally. I could not really ask where the woman was from, although she had an accent, because as soon as I said Hillary’s name she made that disapproving prune face. If she came from another country maybe Hillary did something there that had upset her. After all, Hillary was the Secretary of State. I tried to probe gently, because I couldn’t accept an insult without some kind of backup, but the woman just repeated that Hillary is a liar.

Perhaps Hillary Clinton is a liar, after all everyone says she is, but I just tried to argue that the only way we know about Hillary is through the media and that it is always important to consider the slant of the particular media that is supposedly offering evidence against Hillary. When I have traced many of the “proofs” back to their source I have found the media to be right wing media. I would bet that the main source of news for this woman was FOX news. I will never know if that is true though.

The woman made an instant decision to dislike me because I had an opinion about Hillary Clinton that did not agree with hers. I would have loved to listen to the reasons why she had concluded that Hillary is a liar. I would have loved to share my reasons why I do not believe Hillary to be quite the monster that the media paints her. But the conversation was over and it was over with rancor on the part of one of us and dismay on the part of the other. Everyone else in that long post office line (we were there for about half an hour) said not one peep either during or after the exchange.

I can’t help thinking that it is sad that we can’t talk about politics at all in our free society, at least with anyone whose opinions differ from ours. People have chosen their favored media outlet and are not the least bit curious about what other media outlets have to say. We no longer take in all sides and try to make sense of all of the evidence. We make up our mind and any attempt to offer another point of view meets with a stone wall of anger and defensiveness. I know this has probably been true of every society from time to time when passions run high and answers are tough to come by, but it’s a shame and I hope such inflexibility disappears and that we will be able to try to analyze and decide important cultural matters with some sophistication and a spirit of mediation at some point in the near future.

By Nancy Brisson

Money and Hillary Clinton

money and Hillary Clinton

I actually know very little about Hillary Clinton and money, and neither, apparently does anyone else, although there is plenty of theory and conspiratorial conjecturing going on out there among those who are either very informed or very paranoid. I don’t know what Hillary intended in Libya, or in Africa, or in Honduras. There are many who call her the new Dick Cheney or the new Henry Kissinger and imply that she is a Machiavellian figure, or perhaps one of the Borgias.

To folks in these particular journalistic circles she represents the very worst in American politics which has a secretive dark agenda and sends out our government officials to meddle in the business of nations around the world, build nations up and tear nations down, all for cynical reasons having to do with economics and money. Or perhaps Hillary has no mission to inform her actions but is simply acting on her own. According to these folks Hillary is a sinister figure who ruins nations when their economies are getting too successful and are challenging the America economy. Wow! Who knew Hillary was this powerful and this corrupt? Apparently everyone but me.

Bernie Sanders indicts Hillary for using government service to get rich. He tells his supporters anecdotes which supposedly prove that she has offered influence in return for donations from wealthy nations. Sanders apparently implies that the Clinton Foundation is a front to peddle influence and line the Clinton’s pockets. He believes that accepting money from Wall Street proves that you are absolutely corrupt. His followers believe all this is true beyond a shadow of a doubt and they revile Hillary for this. Again, I did not ascribe to Hillary even this level of villainy. They say that Hillary is a criminal who should be indicted for war crimes, or crimes against humanity, or bribery, or if nothing else sticks, then for the private email server thing (possibly risking national security).

How naïve am I? I see that half of Congress is made up of millionaires, many of whom lined their bank accounts while in government service. I know that Bernie Sanders is solidly against money in politics, feeling that it robs the people of their right to govern. I agree with him. I was shocked when Citizen’s United was upheld by the Supreme Court, giving legitimacy to all the money that floods in and befuddles politics in Washington. But Hillary came up as a politician operating within the system we have now. Bernie is a revolutionary who wants to dump the system we have now. We could possible get money out of politics through a grassroots groundswell, but it is more likely that it will be tough slog, accomplished in baby steps.

Hillary, as the first woman to get this close to being an American President, has a foot in the past and a foot in the future. She cannot be blamed for playing the game according to the rules of the boys club. We are always changing the rules just when a woman arrives at a threshold. Bernie’s purity did not help him shine in Congress although it certainly looks appealing now. But there is no other person in our government like Bernie Sanders and changing the way our government does business cannot be as easy as he makes it sound. If Donald Trump is dividing the nation before he gains the office, then Bernie Sanders is likely to divide it if he becomes our President. People who have been on the gravy train for years are not going to gently step aside. If we the people win the day it might be worth the fight, but we could probably win the day eventually with just good solid strategy if we had a plan.

I believe that people are painting Hillary as a villain based on some pretty convoluted reasoning and theorizing. Of course, if anyone can prove these accusations beyond any doubt then I suppose that Hillary is too byzantine to make a good President. If she actually treats the globe like some kind of calculated game of Risk then that is diabolical and she should be stopped. I just don’t buy it though.

By Nancy Brisson

The GOP War on Women and Hillary Clinton

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We might not have needed Hillary Clinton if the Republicans had not spent the last seven years (at least) making women’s lives miserable. Women, no matter how men feel about it, have been under attack by the GOP and especially by Conservative Evangelicals.

We remember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut because she wanted to continue to have access to birth control pills. BIRTH CONTROL PILLS! I’m surprised no one recommended that clitoral mutilation should perhaps be adopted as an American rite of passage. There was an implication that women should not get any pleasure from sexual relations. Representative Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) wanted women to be submissive to their husbands as a way to “fix America”. Women were blamed for the demise of the families which then led to the demise of the entire social order in the US. OMG – we went to work – and we liked it. It gave some of us a sense of purpose and sometimes prevented negative female problems like frustration, depression, etc. So the GOP told America that “liberated” women can be blamed for the holes in the fabric of the American Dream.

We might not have felt we had to insist on a female President except for the number of times Congress has tried to “defund” Planned Parenthood and threatened to shut down the US government in order to do it. We value Planned Parenthood. It has helped huge numbers of women at times when they needed safe, inexpensive, and confidential attention in their lives for a variety of reasons (and it still does). It sort of stands as a symbol of the freedoms women have won. I have a tough time understanding anyone who does not see that the GOP has been obsessed with women and issues that should only concern women, and perhaps their partners, ever since Obama took office. But none of this is Obama’s doing; he has no beef with women and vice versa.

Clearly the GOP does not intend to wait until numbers are on their side to overturn Roe v Wade and perhaps make some forms (or all forms) of birth control illegal. They can do this if they control all three branches of government and there will be almost nothing we can do to stop them. The Republicans have created such a threat against women that the only way we will feel safe from losing hard-won rights, granted by law and bolstered by scientific advances, rights that offer freedom to women, is to put a woman in the White House. One reason many women will support Hillary is because things look really grim for us if we don’t.

The GOP has spent seven years riling up all of the groups of Americans who are not white men or Evangelical women and now they act surprised that the only people in their tent are old white people, including white supremacists like David Duke and the KKK. The Republicans will reap what they sowed, we hope. The media, on the other hand, seems to have suddenly come down with collective amnesia. Hillary Clinton might rather just enjoy being a grandmother, but we can’t let her do that yet. So when the GOP starts in on Hillary, and they will, I hope that at least the women of America will remember what they stand to lose if we put a Republican in the White House.

A Worried Democrat Ponders

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It all sounded so simple. The Dems would back Hillary Clinton but they did not want her to run alone. They wanted a primary – a sort of pro forma affair, just to keep her on her toes. She was the anointed but they did not want her to appear to be the anointed. In fact it seemed as if they needed Hillary because she was so experienced, but they didn’t really “feel” Hillary. There was a last minute groundswell for Elizabeth Warren.

When Bernie Sanders entered the race, along with Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, none of these male candidates seemed strong enough to change the course of the Democratic Party’s push to elect the first female President of the United States. O’Malley and Webb were virtual unknowns, not hefty enough in personality, experience, or cultural cachet to be any real force in the primaries. Bernie Sanders was a Socialist, for heaven’s sakes. Americans shudder at the faintest whiff of “socialism”.

The exigencies of the current state of our nation, are perceived by shell-shocked Americans with great anxiety. Faced with an economy far less favorable than projected, there is unexpected appeal in a senior citizen who, philosophically, has remained in the 1960’s for decades, and who preaches a revolutionary message that has finally found its powerful rebirth. This has become a phenomenon that is changing everyone’s predictions about who will be the Democratic candidate in 2016.

I have found such solidarity with fellow Democrats, all resolved that we must not let a Republican win the Presidency in 2016. That goal is even more important now with the Supreme Court suddenly in play. Bernie’s success is splitting Democrats into the Hillary camp (seemingly growing smaller by the day) and the Bernie camp (ostensibly growing larger). Most Hillary people say they will support Bernie if he is the party’s candidate. The reverse is not as likely to be true however. Some Bernie people say that they would rather vote for a Republican than for Hillary Clinton. How is that even a thing? The Republican’s agenda is in no way similar to that of the Democrats. Perhaps there is a strong desire to be a firebrand, an extremist – any extreme will do. It is as if there is no middle anymore.

It doesn’t help that Bernie gets such sweet media attention. The media loves Bernie. The media also puts on a sour face for anyone who is not an extremist. And Bernie has been nice. He has been the ever-well-received “happy warrior”; probably stunned and pleased by his success, by a reawakening ‘60’s vibe. There do not seem to be many bad things to say about Bernie Sanders. Some say that he has been slogging away in government and yet has accomplished very little and has not, until now, made much of a splash. But the people in his state do seem to love him in spite of the fact that single payer health care failed in Vermont. I have even been tempted by Bernie. I grew up in those same energetic times when we dreamed of equality for everyone, an end to war for all people and all times, and changing the “establishment” so that our government would become truly Democratic, instead of a Democracy in name only.

Hillary, on the other hand, seems to be no one’s darling. The media rarely has anything good to say about her. They pound away at her lack of authenticity, they say that people don’t like her or trust her. They say it almost every day. And some of these media folks are classified by the right as left-leaning journalists and pundits who should be allies for Hillary. “With friends like that who needs enemies?”

The fact is that Hillary has not led a quiet political life. Because of her marriage to the high octane Bill Clinton she has been in the limelight for decades. She was not just a helpmate either; she had her own career goals and she got involved. She got her hands in the dirt, so to speak. She was not just the great lady who told the gardener what to do, she helped plant the garden. She legislated. She designed the precursor to Obama’s health care plan. She travelled the world and met the world’s leaders.

Hillary is vulnerable to attack because she has been front and center. She has not been timid, or held back, or bided her time. She has just rolled up her sleeves and helped her nation solve its problems. She is vulnerable in so many ways because she actually “did stuff” and is accused of making many wrong decisions. The tough drug arrest policy of the 1990’s is the newest albatross being hung around her neck. She didn’t pass that program alone. Even Bernie voted for that one. We, perhaps, only see what a mistake this policy was in hindsight.

Bernie Sanders is not looking quite so sweet these days. He is no empty suit. He has become a powerful opponent, splitting the Democratic vote and perhaps even getting some Republican votes. Independent voters find themselves choosing between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. How is that even possible? It boggles my mind. I see nothing in common between these two. In spite of the fact that Bernie is now fighting to be President for real, he is still not getting a lot of bad press. I am even reading mixed results when it comes to vetting the plausibility of Bernie’s programs. Some authors think that there is some economic viability, most have reservations.

Is Hillary Clinton as bad as the media paints her? Do the people even know anything about Hillary except what the media has told us or hinted at or insinuated. Is Bernie as spotless and pure as the media lets him seem? I am guessing that Bernie is “as honest as the day is long”. He just does not seem very materialistic or in possession of any strong personal ambition. While these qualities may make him a trustworthy leader, will they make him a powerful and a flexible leader? I don’t think Bernie Sanders is good at compromising. I think that may be his Achilles heel. I saw the camera catch a look on Bernie’s face the other day which did not look at all sweet, or flexible either. Look up “Bernie faces” on Google Images. He is not always so sunny these days.

What I am saying is that Bernie Sanders is creating a split between me and other Democrats who I thought of as my allies against the Republicans and that this split has me worried. I am also worried that it is looking less and less like Hillary Clinton is the most viable Democratic candidate among Democrats. We had better hope that if Bernie Sanders and the fans of revolution get the nomination that they can actually carry the day. Will the word “socialism” be used as a club to beat Bernie up and will the majority of American voters come to his defense?

I refuse to give up on Hillary yet. We wait, we listen, we watch, we express our thoughts – but we won’t know until we know.

By Nancy Brisson

After the 2016 Iowa Primary

Hillary and Bernie2

This election cycle started so early that it was almost a surprise when we finally arrived at the first primary of the 2016 election in Iowa. In my opinion the caucuses were a hot mess this year. Did Ted Cruz really announce to the people of Iowa that Ben Carson had withdrawn from the race, a statement that was patently untrue but might have netted him some of Carson’s ballots? Apparently he did, although he apologized after the caucus was over. You gotta love his timing.

Why did Hillary say she had won when the Democratic caucuses were not finalized? Why did her staff have her do that? Did some contests in the Democratic caucuses end in tie votes that were actually decided by a coin toss? That seems to be a true statement but there is more to this story, however it’s quite technical in a way you probably don’t want to know about. If you do want an explanation it can be googled.

Bernie Sanders is thinking about asking for a recount. Since the way the Democrats vote by just collecting in groups of like-minded people and then counting is sort of akin to a flash mob how would you ask for a recount?

I have decided to think of round one in the Democratic primaries as a toss-up, a tie. People are obviously excited by Bernie Sanders’ “revolutionary” middle class agenda. In fact we have given up fighting about Socialism, and we are now fighting about who is more Progressive. Given the number of Republicans in Congress and taking into account the analyses which suggest that those numbers are unlikely to change very much because of things like gerrymandering and voter suppression, it seems improbable to expect a far left agenda to make much headway even if Bernie Sanders does win the Presidency.

I feel that this is the time to elect a woman to the Presidency and we have a woman who is well-prepared to occupy the oval office. Everyone is saying that Bernie Sanders is FDR, but what if Hillary Clinton is FDR and Bernie is Eleanor Roosevelt. After all, FDR was a reluctant Progressive. The real activist was Eleanor Roosevelt. I want a ticket on the Democratic side that has Hillary for President and Bernie for VP. I can’t picture Bernie Sanders being simply a rubber stamp Vice President. He can hopefully prod Hillary to govern a bit more to the left.

By Nancy Brisson

Why I Pick Hillary in 2016

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I am a girl. Hillary is a girl. I’m with Hillary. I would not back Hillary just because she is a girl, but she is a girl who has an agenda for America that is well-thought-out and based on plenty of experience. In addition, I assume that she will be flexible enough to adopt a new approach to a problem if she is convinced that it will be more effective. And I feel certain that she will not turn into a Republican anytime soon.

I love Bernie Sanders, I do. His people make an ad for him with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” song from the Book Ends album. It warms my hippie soul. If I didn’t think that it was time for a girl President, then that little revolutionary in me would go for Bernie. But right now the only way I will pick Bernie is (1) if he turns into a girl (highly unlikely) or (2) if he wins the Democratic nomination.

Girls, ladies, women, females have always been asked to wait. Wait for this, wait for that, and when we felt it was appropriate, which we usually did because we are pragmatic and compassionate, we did wait. I don’t think we have to wait in 2016. I think we are good to go. So I back Hillary Clinton and all the other women who have worked so hard in the past eight years to keep the rights that women have won – rights that never came easily. So I also stand with Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood and I stand with Emily’s List trying to get more women elected to office and a whole roster of active women that I won’t list because then I’ll forget someone and I’ll feel badly about it.

I sure would like to hear Hillary Clinton addressed as Madame President and I know those other women will be there to help the first woman President in America do a truly great job. Now that will be huge!

By Nancy Brisson

On Authenticity, Hillary Clinton, and Ben Carson

I do understand how people question Hillary’s authenticity. Her answers do not sound like they come from a marriage of her heart and her head. They sound like answers from her head only, her political head, which weighs expediency and poll numbers and produces a well-rehearsed sound bite. She is an authentic person who seems phony.

In order to appreciate Hillary you have to review what she has tried to do, what she has done, and what she wants to do. She is a person whose actions speak louder than her words. I saw how nervous she was when she went to China to speak about women’s rights. She entered the jaws of the authoritarian dragon, a society dominated by men for centuries and she spoke to Chinese women. Everyone at that meeting must have felt that there could be repercussions. She has met with women and girls on almost every continent trying to raise awareness of antiquated misogynistic traditions that keep women powerless. She has worked with groups offering micro loans to women who turn a small business into progress, family by family.

If Hillary has done all of this without being President it is fairly easy to believe that, whatever problems she has with sounding authentic, she will faithfully strive to determine what the American people need, to listen to what the American people want, and to make sure to accomplish as much of her agenda, an agenda that while it is somewhat left of center is in no way extreme, and which she believes is our agenda. She tells us that she would like to win bipartisan support, but I am certain that if she cannot move the other party, she will still work to make a strong America.

On the other hand, everyone talks about how authentic Ben Carson sounds. He talks in a calm manner and argues persuasively, if laconically, offering statements that seem both rational and heartfelt. Even when he says outrageous things he quietly and pedantically accuses us of misunderstanding him and of giving his words more drama then intended.

Sunday (10/25/15) on Meet the Press he was questioned about his statement that if the Jews had guns then Hitler would not have been able to round them up and kill them. He, without changing his laid back tone, blows off those who see this as anti-Semitic and says there is no double meaning. (Somehow I cannot see Hillary ever making such a comparison to begin with and I have difficulty seeing that as a bad thing.)

Ben Carson also said that he sees those who fight abortion as being brave activists like the abolitionists who fought slavery. Yet I cannot agree to this analogy. Slaves were snatched from their families as adults and turned into the property of a usually white owner. They were fully formed people with lives and rituals and wives and children. Unborn babies begin as clumps of cells. They have no foothold yet in the world. I believe that those who defend the rights of women to control their own reproductive health are much more similar to those who fought against slavery. And why does Ben Carson go to these extreme analogies except to get attention and display his contempt for our petty powers of reasoning.

The problem is that when Ben Carson tells what he wants to do as President, the American people do not seem to enter into the equation anywhere. He says that he believes all abortion is wrong. He will be the final arbiter. He will overturn Roe v Wade. We could assume that he is a moral authority but there is no proof of that. He does not speak of our government as a democracy. He does not mention the wishes or the needs of the people. He may sound authentic to some but to me he sounds arrogant, a leader for a much more authoritarian nation than ours.

Perhaps Hillary has some areas where her own values will not permit her to follow the majority but I am guessing that Hillary mostly wants an America that offers all its people a comfortable life with opportunities for individual growth and for our nation to prosper. So while she may strike some as phony, her actions and her hopes make her anything but inauthentic.

I would say that exactly the opposite is true of Ben Carson, who speaks softly but has a burning desire to teach the bad, bad American people a lesson, which, one on one, might involve a switch from a willow and a closed room. What good is it to be authentic, if you are authentically wrong?

By Nancy Brisson

Andrea Mitchell and Hillary Clinton

Andrea Mitchell is getting on my last nerve lately. Right wing media tags her as partial to Hillary Clinton, but it sure doesn’t seem that way. Andrea Mitchell has questioned Hillary again and again about her use of that private server to get her emails while she was Secretary of State. She has interviewed her several times, seeming to intimate that there is a terrible secret reason for her choice of that private server.

Ms. Mitchell, whose own career in the news business rose steadily since she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967 with a BA in English Lit., is either at the peak of her career or slightly past the peak. On this issue she probes long after it seems that there is nothing much left to probe.

Hillary has apologized. She cannot go back and undo her choice. All Ms. Mitchell’s interrogation seems to suggest that she is with the right wing on this issue and believes there is some sinister connection to the events in Benghazi. Or perhaps she is trying to make the point that Hillary’s poor choice (boo boo, lack of tech savvy, accident – see how the weight of events changes with the adjective) makes Hillary unfit to be President and that she needs to be hounded out of the race so that the Democratic Party can be competitive in the 2016 election.

While it seems as if, for Andrea Mitchell, Hillary has already failed her screening the Presidency yet Andrea Mitchell does not seem to feel that the GOP slip which gave away the political nature of the Benghazi special investigation should lead to the demise of this committee. Why not? Why are we powerless to deal with these transparent and distasteful election ploys? Andrea Mitchell clubs Hillary with polls that show her as untrustworthy and unlikeable, but it is hard to tell if people are just susceptible to what they hear on the news.

I am here in the cheap seats and I am not hearing a groundswell or drum beat for Hillary Clinton to be President out here in the boonies of NYS, far from Manhattan, but not a lot of people here are news junkies like I am. They watch the evening news, they read what Facebook sends their way (usually articles that feed their beliefs) and they like some drama with their news (FOX News). It is still difficult to tell which came first, their stand on the issues or what they hear on the news. They do not agree that this is not their parent’s Republican Party and that boggles my mind.

My ‘spidey’ sense, which can detect sedition, is not tingling in relation to this email story, but I’m still listening. I am unable to discern how choosing an ill-considered server could be an act of sedition, but I have no trouble labeling a recurring desire to shut down the Federal government at great cost to taxpayers as sedition. Although these Republican disrupters may think they are patriots rebelling on behalf of Constitutional government, I see them as puppets of the Koch brothers trying to dismantle government.

If Andrea Mitchell is acting as Hillary’s friend I would not want to be her enemy. If she keeps pounding away at Hillary with this email hammer it is very possible that Hillary will eventually have to withdraw from the election. Ms. Mitchell seems to believe that Democrats cannot win in 2016 with Hillary, but what if we can’t win in 2016 without her?

Which Came First, the Meme or the Media?

CNN Poll reprinted online in American Thinker

It is difficult to tell if people believe Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and a liar because she really is or because the media repeats these epithets every day hundreds of times in a news cycle. They say they are giving poll results in which average citizens record their opinions of whether or not these two adjectives are Hillary’s main qualities and they are doing that. But there have been dozens of such polls which means that we get to hear people’s feeling recounted over and over again. But which came first, the media hype or the public opinion?

Did this mantra begin with the investigation into Whitewater? Most of us no longer know the details of Whitewater (was it some kind of real estate, investment or banking transaction which seemed not quite up to snuff). It was reported that Hillary was cleared of any wrongdoing. However, a shudder still goes through the public sphere whenever the word ‘Whitewater’ is invoked. We have been lead to believe that there were improprieties but they were skillfully done and could never be proven. As long as questions linger, the taint on the Clinton reputation remains.

Then there are Hillary’s reactions to her husband’s indiscretions which suggest that the marriage is purely for optics, purely a political bond. How could any woman overlook infidelity and not assume that a wandering husband was a criticism of her behavior, or her womanliness, or her lovability? Perhaps this is where the adjective cold comes in and the adjective calculating. Women should never be so emotionally strong that they can keep their eyes on the prize and refuse to be viewed as less because of the behavior of their spouse. The conclusions made from this line of reasoning are that Hillary has no human emotions but can sometimes pretend to have empathy for others and that she should be ridiculed rather than praised for letting her ambition be more important than her image as a wife and as a woman. But it seems possible to conclude that she is a true feminist, who will not give her husband’s inability to remain faithful power over her own self-respect or the world’s approbation. Again the media possibly has furthered this social meme and perhaps kept it alive in the guise of merely repeating a popular opinion.

Benghazi. One only has to say the word. It is extremely doubtful that any American citizen let alone a Secretary of State would deliberately deny support to an American Ambassador faced with a violent attack. Testimony has shown over and over again that there was no help available that could arrive in time to save Ambassador Stevens and his staff. So when the press invokes Benghazi, which they must because the Republicans keep the situation alive by investigating it ad infinitum, what is it that their American listeners hear? Do they believe in their hearts that Hillary could have done something to help but purposely did not? If so that would be a terrible indictment of Hillary (but it has been disproven). Do they believe she was so lightweight and frivolous that she did not give the pleas of the Ambassador professional attention? Is Hillary shallow? If she is, which I don’t believe, then she would probably not make a very good President (although I don’t know who could be shallower than Donald Trump).

Or were all Hillary’s sins committed after the event when she supposedly colluded with President Obama during his election campaign to make events look isolated and to make Americans believe that terrorists were not involved? Political expediency has often affected stories the public is told about world events I would guess, and yet, even so, the President did use the words ‘terrorist attack’ both in the Rose Garden and in his speech as the bodies came home to America. We may never know the truth about Benghazi because half of the people believe we already know the truth and half of the people believe that dire secrets are being kept. The media’s role in this is perhaps inescapable because the Benghazi questions are kept alive as news.

Now we have the emails and the press reporting everyday about what the polls have to say. Hillary is untrustworthy. Hillary is a liar. This is the actual message America is hearing even though the media is only reporting the results of polls and not actual facts about Hillary’s character. We don’t have a true test that will prove whether or not someone is untrustworthy, unless s/he is caught red-handed. We have never really caught Hillary out in a lie. Did the Hillary adjectives, cold, calculating, untrustworthy, liar, begin with the public or with the press? Are they kept alive by the public or by the press? Which came first? I watch a news station that supposedly leans left and still the words untrustworthy and liar are linked with the name Hillary Clinton on each new hourly news show throughout the day. That is a lot of mentions and this has been going on for months. Is the characterization true or is it a witch hunt? We can no longer tell. I guess if the FBI arrests Hillary and charges her with a felony that will make a lot of people very happy. But not me. Perhaps Hillary was trying to be cagey and thought that she had found a way to keep her tenure as Secretary of State under her control, but I am certain that she did not intend to break any laws or play fast and loose with any government secrets. Did she do this to cover up anything shady about Benghazi? Since she set up the server before the events at Benghazi (at least as far as I know she did) then this seems unlikely. This reminds me of when Martha Stewart went to jail for something that happens all the time in the old boys’ club.

The press should give this particular litany of Hillary faults a rest. Stop all the stories that whisper those very negative adjectives in the same breath with the name Hillary. Let things shake out without your incessant pretense that you are possessed of knowledge which you do not possess. Polls are only powerful when they are used as clubs to beat people over the head and beat a message into their brain. It is now impossible to discern whether people would have been as convinced of these particular Hillary character flaws if they had not heard them hundreds of times a week for months.

By Nancy Brisson

Is Hillary a Traitor?

I can’t believe we are falling for this Republican gambit again. The GOP knows how to create a scandal and how to keep it center stage for as long as it proves to be to their political advantage (which is about as long as the half-life of U-235).

I can understand the argument made by a constituent at the Iowa State Fair who felt that Hillary’s poor judgment in choosing to use a private server seems to argue against those who tout her as being politically savvy. And yet we learn from the media that a number of Cabinet members have used private servers including Colin Powell. The problem is, however, one of degree. Republicans have us thinking that she is practically a traitor. They say that what she did is worse than what General Petraeus did – really – Petraeus actually shared national secrets with his paramour. Hillary did not share secrets with anyone as far as we know. Joe Scarborough is once again engaging in waves of bombastic hyperbole on the subject any morning you choose to turn in to Morning Joe, a habit I may have to give up because I don’t like to get worked up quite so early in the morning.

It sounds like so far the FBI has retroactively classified 305 (2, 60, 301, expect the number to keep changing and expect the media to be aghast as each new number is announced) out of 50,000+ emails as at least qualifying for the label Confidential, although Hillary tells us that she did not receive, on her private server, any emails that were marked as Classified when she received them. Joe Scarborough, foaming at the mouth, may buy that Hillary planned for future cover-ups when she decided to opt for her personal server, but that would suggest that Hillary is a scheming woman who lies all the time because she thinks lies will serve her better than the truth. This merely points out how women are painted with a different brush than men because this is obviously a skill we already contribute to almost every man who is a politician, but we don’t call it scheming, we call it strategizing.

This is what Republicans do. They create scandals and they kick back and watch as the media, which knows the people love a good scandal, broadcasts the details over and over. If the meme starts to die out then the scandal mysteriously escalates a bit. If the party doles out the rumors and innuendoes carefully the story lives through can entire election cycle and perhaps beyond (much like the way the press merely has to say a code word like ‘Whitewater’ to cast unproven aspersions on someone).

It is entirely possible that there is nothing sinister at all in Hillary’s use of a private server as there was no rule against it at the time and others at her level of government did the same. Considering the number of hostile hacks against our government computers (IRS, etc.) in recent years and the exposure of secure data, it could look like it was actually a prescient move to use a private server. But Trey Gowdy, the media, and, apparently, the FBI will make sure that no one else in America believes that because that Benghazi drumbeat is still kept alive and damning in the back of our minds.

[When have we ever had a perfect person in public office, a person we could trust 100%. Given the flawed nature of all humans we would be deluded to put all our trust in any President. It is why a democracy is supposed to be strong, because the people keep an eye on our leaders and call them to account if necessary. If we have never had a male President who is perfect (sorry Republicans, even Ronald Reagan) then how can it be that we expect to find a female President with no flaws? This is why it is important to concentrate on policies rather than appearance or personalities and make policy considerations at least as important as more superficial attributes.]

This does not have to be a huge story on the news every day. The data is in the hands of the FBI. The investigation is launched. We must wait for the results. Get a grip!

By Nancy Brisson