Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Correspondence: Post-Halloween horrors

Edited by Moristotle

“Hillary’s Male Tormentors ” [Frank Bruni, NY Times, November 2]. Excerpt:
His archaic masculinity is her opportunity: a stroke of good fortune in a presidential bid with plenty of bad luck, too. When he seethed that she was a “nasty woman,” he might as well have been offering to carry her luggage into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
    It’s hardly the first time that a man’s cravings colored her fate. How much of her Achilles’-heel defensiveness is a byproduct of her marriage to Bill? When he was governor of Arkansas and when he ran for president in 1992, there were constant rumors of his philandering and a ceaseless effort to keep them from spreading. She learned early on to see the media as invasive, her opponents as merciless, and privacy as something to be guarded at all costs. That doesn’t excuse her use of a private email server as secretary of state, but it does help to explain it. [read more]
I didn’t distribute candy on Halloween as planned. A member of my family was in the hospital from Sunday morning until Tuesday afternoon, and I was just too tired. But I got to experience some of the color of Halloween this morning, on a walk in our neighborhood. I picked it up so I could attach a photo to my email:

“Donald Trump Voters, Just Hear Me Out ” [Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times, November 2]. Excerpt:
This is my last column until after the election, so I’d like to address the people least likely to read it: Donald Trump voters. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and a few of them will buy fish wrapped in this column, and they’ll accidentally peruse it! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
    While I’ve opposed the Trump candidacy from the start, I’ve never disparaged Trump voters. Some are friends and neighbors; they’re all fellow Americans. We should take their concerns seriously. But we should also demand that they be serious, that they draw distinctions between these two presidential candidates.
    Yes, Hillary Clinton is a flawed leader — but in the way so many presidents were. We know her flaws: She has a weakness for secrecy, occasionally fudges truths, has fawning aides and a husband who lacks discipline when it comes to moneymaking and women. But she is not indecent, and that is an important distinction. And she’s studious, has sought out people of substance on every issue and has taken the job of running for president seriously.
    Trump is not only a flawed politician, he’s an indecent human being. He’s boasted of assaulting women — prompting 11 to come forward to testify that he did just that to them; his defense is that he could not have assaulted these women because they weren’t pretty enough.
    He’s created a university that was charged with defrauding its students. He’s been charged with discriminating against racial minorities in his rental properties. He’s stiffed countless vendors, from piano sellers to major contractors. He’s refused to disclose his tax returns because they likely reveal that he’s paid no federal taxes for years, is in bed with dodgy financiers and doesn’t give like he says to charity. [read more]
Does Hillary Clinton deserve the widespread negative view of her? If anyone looks at the facts, no, she does not deserve it. The problem is, people who despise her do so for their own reasons and they have no interest in facts. It is sort of like a Ford vs Chevy debate between NASCAR fans – don’t confuse the issue by adding facts to the conversation.
    I know people who firmly believe George W Bush was an excellent president; 9/11 was Bill Clinton’s fault & the recession happened because people knew Obama was going to b elected. Where would you insert facts or logic into a conversation with those people?
    All that said, I am worried Hillary will basically be a 3rd term for George Bush. I am more concerned, however, that Trump would be a resurrection of Mussolini.
    Came across a relevant quote the other day: “The problem with the world is the stupid people are cocksure, and the intelligent people are filled with doubt.”

Did you see this article? [Yes, someone else alerted me; see above for another excerpt.] “Donald Trump Voters, Just Hear Me Out” [Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times, November 2]. Excerpt:
The idea that large numbers of manual factory jobs can be returned to America if we put up a wall with Mexico or renegotiate our trade deals is a fantasy. Trump ignores the fact that manufacturing is still by far the largest sector of the U.S. economy. Indeed, our factories now produce twice what they did in 1984 — but with one-third fewer workers.
    Trump can’t change that. Machines and software will keep devouring, and spawning, more work of all kinds. Did you hear that IBM’s cognitive computer, Watson, helped to create a pop song, “Not Easy,” with the Grammy-winning producer Alex da Kid? The song was released on Oct. 21, IBM noted, and within 48 hours it climbed to No. 4 on iTunes’s Hot Tracks.
    No one knows for certain how we deal with this new race with and against machines, but I can assure you it’s not Trump’s way — build walls, restrict trade, give huge tax cuts to the rich. The best jobs in the future are going to be what I call “STEMpathy jobs — jobs that blend STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math) with human empathy. We don’t know what many of them will look like yet.
    The smartest thing we can do now is to keep our economy as open and flexible as possible — to get the change signals first and be able to quickly adapt; create the opportunity for every American to engage in lifelong learning, because whatever jobs emerge will require more knowledge; make sure that learning stresses as much of the humanities and human interactive skills as hard sciences; make sure we have an immigration policy that continues to attract the world’s most imaginative risk-takers; and strengthen our safety nets, because this era will leave more people behind.
    This is the only true path to American greatness in the 21st century. Trump wants to make America great in ways that are just not available anymore. “What do we have to lose” by trying his way? Trump asks. The answer is: everything that actually makes us great. When the world gets this fast, small errors in navigation have huge consequences. [read more]

Grateful for correspondence, Moristotle

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