Tuesday, December 20, 2016

RANT AT STOP TRUMP MOVEMENT

First things first.  This rant is not targeted at all people who do not prefer Trump as President.  I believe that the people that I am referring to are a small minority of the electorate of those that voted for Secretary Clinton in the election.  I respect the fact that everyone has a right to vote for who they think is best for the job.  It is that minority that have such a vitriolic hatred for the President-elect that they feel they have an obligation to not only degrade Mr. Trump but also degrade and offend those who do not agree with the way they see things.  I am sure that by the time I finish this it will be totally disjointed and not very well written.  I feel it will end up that way because the intensity that these folks attack goes off in several different directions and it isn't easy to tie things together nice and cleanly.  So keep in mind this is a rant, pointed at a specific group of people who feel they have to force their thinking on you and if you do not agree with them then there is something terribly wrong with you.  If I do not agree with them then I am racist, sexist, homophobic and stupidly narrow minded person that does not have a clue or have the ability to understand the issues as they state them.  Honestly, I have never seen anything like this and never expected to see anything like this happen after a Presidential election, or any election for that matter.  The Grand Jury in the Whitewater investigation drafted an indictment on Hillary Clinton but it was never released or served.  We still do not know what that indictment said.

So, where to start ....

Why didn't I vote for Clinton may be a good start.  I was not thrilled by the choice of Representative Sanders or Clinton.  Sanders' ideas and philosophy were just too liberal for me to think he would be good for the nation.  In my mind, his proposals would not be sustainable financially without raising taxes not only to the very well off, but also to the middle class Americans, of which I am one.  As far as Secretary Clinton is concerned, all I had to do was take a look at her personal history the number of legal scandals that have been targeted at her since her husband, the former President, had been Governor of Arkansas.  During her years as first lady, the Arkansas scandals followed the Clintons to Washington.  Just off the top of my head I remember Whitewater, the Travel Office, FBI files that disappeared only to show up again after the investigation had been closed   She accused of trying to steal property of the United States from the White House when they left after eight years.

Then there was the biggie.  She oversaw a breach of security while Secretary of State.  This was discovered after her office had been investigated for non action in the deaths of four diplomats in Benghazi.  The stop trump movement will say that she had been cleared of anything to do with that by anywhere from three to nine congressional investigations.  They say "Read the reports" from the investigations, which I have.  The thing is though, they don't seem to acknowledge the last report that was released by the House Oversight Sub-committee.  I have read that one as well and it does anything but clear the Secretary of any wrong doing.  The report is on the house.gov website but was kept from being published as part of the record by the partisan minority of that committee.

The House sub-committee hearing was called after discover of an unsecure server in the basement of the Secretaries house which contained classified e-mails sent to and from Clinton.  They deny this fact even though it has been confirmed by the FBI.  FBI Director Comey after an investigation into the e-mail server gave example after example of how Clinton had lied to congress and to the American people and then, amazingly in my mind, said it did not rise to bringing formal charges against her.  I sat and I watched the hearings on Benghazi and the hearings on the e-mail server.  I watched Director Comey's press briefing and his testimony before the sub-committee.  I firmly believe that Clinton acted recklessly and dangerously with our national security.  I believe that her actions put lives in danger and compromised our policies and actions around the world.  Actually, I think that it brushes pretty close to a treasonous act.

She continued to lie time after time as new facts emerged.  She lied all the way to election day.  These are not petty lies, or exaggerations or miscommunications, they are out and out lies and they put us all at risk of terror attacks around the globe.

Then there was the fact, in my mind, that she just lies about anything and everything.  The biggest joke was her lie concerning her arrival in Bosnia under sniper fire where she had to run across the tarmac ducking to evade the snipers and jump into an armored vehicle.  News footage showed this as a blatant lie and so she lied about what she lied about.  On and On it goes, lie after lie.

So the fact that she is a woman did not influence my vote.  The fact that she was a democrat did not influence my vote.  What influenced my vote was basically that I did not feel comfortable trusting her with my country, my money or my life.

The stop Trumpers started calling Trump a liar.  He might say something wrong here or there or get the facts wrong or be misinformed but I honestly believe that Trump did not intentionally lie to cover up any of his actions.  What I do not, can not understand, is how these fanatics can turn a blind eye to all of Clinton's negatives and heap those very allegations onto Trump without any hard evidence at all.

Well, then they uncovered an audio tape of Trump that took place eleven years ago making an off color remark to a reporter about women.  They jumped on this like wildfire and before you knew it, a dozen women came out of the woodwork to accuse Mr. Trump of molestation.  He was a rapist all of a sudden.  None of these accusations have been proven or followed up on because they did not happen.  They just kind of slipped off the mainstream medias charts because the stories had no legs.  But the Clinton breach of national security kept being out there.  Her habit of lying stayed out there.  I think those things stayed out there because people saw and listened to her lies and they did happen.

Let's see, I guess next would be the cheating the Clinton campaign did during the Democratic Primaries.  Seems that questions that would be asked during the debate were made available to Clinton.  Again, even though being caught red handed, lies from Donna Brazille, a CNN contributor, and from the Clinton campaign.  It doesn't matter what the truth is, we are suppose to hear the lie and then shrug our shoulders and say.. " oh... okay..".

Here is one of the oddest moments of the campaign.  Clinton was running partly on the empowerment of women.  Elect a woman President or you are a sexist.  Now the strange part of this drive to empower women, at one campaign event the singer Madonna offered a sexual favor to any men who would vote for Clinton.  Now it just may be me, but to offer sex in return for a vote doesn't really feed into empowering women.  Vote a woman into office to show all the girls coming up in the future that they can do anything ..... well, if you offer sex in return for votes.  Just kind of... I don't know, just doesn't seem very consistent.

Then there was the annual threat from celebrities that if a democrat was not elected they would leave the country.  Nothing new there, it happens every four years.  They think that they are SO beloved that the thought of them leaving the country would play a part in citizen's decision on who to vote for.  They think they are so important to the country.  Truth is, I don't think anyone would notice if they did leave.  Doesn't matter though, they never follow through with this empty threat. 

The Clinton Foundation.  Okay.  The details of this organization were released by WikiLeaks.  As the details became more and more disturbing, the Clinton campaign decided that the Russians had hacked into the campaign e-mails.   So far, there has be no proof to this, just accusations.  So I suppose it is possible that the Russians had hacked but given Clinton's track record, it is just another lie as far as I am concerned.  The emails told of a massive pay for play scheme that lined the Clintons pockets with millions of dollars to have the former President speak or to have a meeting with the Secretary of State.  One thinks slush fund?   To me it appears totally illegal and keeps in step with the reputation the Clintons have built for themselves.  I am not going to get into the incident in which Trump sarcastically told invited to Russians to keep hacking to bring the full truth out.  The Stop Trumpers use this to claim how reckless he would be with national security.  SARCASM PEOPLE.  In all fairness sarcasm is one of Trump's weaknesses but I believe he has learned from that and has toned his sarcasm down a lot.  This story goes on and on and is still on going but it put enough doubt in my mind to be another piece of the puzzle not to vote for Clinton.

That was all pre-election.  Now things get really crazy.

To the whole country, the election was pre-ordained to be Clintons for the taking.  Trump did not stand a chance.  I felt that way.  I could not believe that Clinton was a serious candidate for the presidency.   The main stream media was laughing at the prospect of a Trump presidency.  Clintons history was a non issue they thought.  Clinton was loved by everyone.  She would be the first female elected to the presidency.

Election night came and the numbers started drifting in.  Trump's narrow path to the White House started to widen.  States started to fall.  Clinton states started to fall.  Then came the big one in my mind.  When they called Wisconsin for Trump, I said aloud "whoa..."  I knew then that Trump was going to win this crazy thing.  Trump did win the election but it wasn't over.  You see, Hillary was supposed to win.  When the votes from California started to come in, Clinton took the lead in the popular vote but as far as the Electoral College was concerned, Trump had won by a wide margin.

As the returns came in there were scenes of people crying uncontrollably.  Suddenly everyone was scared for their very existence.  Universities cancelled classes because the students were too traumatized to attend class or take an exam.  Special rooms were set up for people to come and feel safe in and to cry over the loss.  Dogs were brought in to comfort those who needed comforting.  soon safety pins started showing up on shirts and clothing to let others know that the person wearing the safety pin was a "safe person" (i.e. a Clinton supporter) and they didn't need to be afraid of someone with a safety pin on.   Protest marches started in the streets of large cities, some of them turning violent and into riots because Clinton had lost.  People who had Trump stickers on their cars were dragged from them and beaten.  On social media sites, the barrage of insults were relentless as were the pictures put up and the condemning of the Electoral College.  News media called it a racist and sexist vote fueled by angry white men.  One commentator on CNN even called it a "white lashing".  It never crossed peoples minds that maybe, just maybe, people had heard enough of Clinton and her scandals and lies and did not trust her enough to vote for her.  No, if that was the case, then you didn't understand the issues, you were narrow minded, you were stupid, you were racist and homophobic ... etc etc.  As I watched these college kids cry their eyes out because their candidate did not win the only thing that crossed my mind was "This is the future of our country?  I am the one who should be afraid."

And so phase two began.

During the debates, Trump was asked if he would accept the outcome of the election.  He answered no, he was not prepared to say that.  The Clinton campaign came down hard calling him unpatriotic, going against the constitution and proof of how unfit he is to be President.  Then the shoe went on the other foot and now the question was if Clinton would accept the outcome of the election.

Jill Stein of the Green Party decided all on her own to call for a recount of three states that were suppose to go to Hillary.  She raised over seven million dollars to fund the recount in the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.  The recounts started and by the time the courts called a stop to the recounts, Trump had actually picked up votes over Clinton.  (As an aside:  one million of that seven million that Stein raised went to... wait for it ... administration and consultation.  We will never know where that money really went but I have my own ideas.  Personally, I think there should be an audit of where those funds went.)  So the recount did not work and they had to find another way to get Clinton in the winners circle. By the way, the Clinton campaign who attacked Trump for saying he would not blindly accept the outcome of the election, joined the Stein recount efforts and did not accept the outcome of the election.  For a lot of her supporters, they still have not accepted the outcome of the election.

It seems that everytime a democrat loses an election, it is because of an antiquated theory called the Electoral College.  Cries from all over the stop trump movement called for the dissolving of the Electoral college.  The theory they have is that because the person who won the popular vote was denied a victory it meant that "my vote doesn't count"  So all the celebrities and the so called "Social Justice Warriors" or SWJ's began calling to amend the Constitution to get rid of the out dated Electoral College.

Just to be clear, here is my take on the Electoral College.  The Electoral College assures you that your vote will count even if the winner of the popular vote does not win.  This election gave us a classic example of how that works.  If you discard all of the popular vote of one state, in this case California, Trump would have won the popular vote.  One state.  Now Clinton took a massive percentage of the popular vote in New York and California and a sizable number in Florida, Texas and Illinois.  Not enough to actually win Florida or Texas, but she did grab California, New York and Illinois.  Now, seeing as how JUST the vote in California put her over the top in the popular vote, then add a huge popular vote win in New York, this means that in states like Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, New Hampshire ... well without the Electoral college if you live in those states, or one of any of the smaller states in the union, then your vote really doesn't count.  Every election cycle, the President would be elected by the big five, being California, New York, Florida, Texas and Illinois.  This year as the numbers came in, everyone was looking at North Carolina, Wisconsin, and, dare I say, New Hampshire to see whose column they would fall in.  The fact is that those who voted in New Hampshire votes actually did count.  California did not elect the president.  New York did not elect the President.  It took a lot of states, with a number of electors determined by the states population, to put the President in the White House.  This is the way it should work, this is why it works and this is why it is needed.  I, for one, do not want California electing a President every four years.

Okay, so the recount didn't work.  Wait, they said, we still have the Electoral College!  The evil outdated Electoral College that discounted votes.  And so began a relentless attack on all of the Electors in each state to flip who their state voted for and vote for someone else.  This is legal in a lot of states, including my own Missouri.  They bombarded the Electors with emails, hate emails, threats, some even death threats to make them flip their vote.  Suddenly a commercial appears on television.  All of these celebrities who decried the Electoral College suddenly were lecturing us on the goodness of it.  In so many words, their basic message was something like this is why the Electoral college was created.  Our founding fathers created the college to keep someone who is unfit or unworthy of being president from taking the oath if the people were stupid enough to elect him.  So it was the Electors patriotic duty to flip their votes and put someone who is capable of being president into office.  <huge sigh>  So now the Electoral College was a good thing.

Well, yesterday the Electoral college met to cast their votes in the fifty state houses of the country and the SJW's were out in force to protest and make one last attempt at intimidating people from carrying out their constitutional duties.  Guess what happened.  More electors actually flipped from voting for Clinton than did for Trump.  Just as in the popular recount, Trump increased his total.  The outcry was typical.  A lot of crying, a lot of yelling, temper tantrums being thrown in the state houses .... AND the Electoral College is outdated and useless once again.

You know, it has always been my personal observation that when conservatives protest, it seems to be done in a calm, organized, manner,  Liberals on the other hand protest loudly, with intimidation as their goal and sometimes it turns violent.  JUST AN OBSERVATION of mine.  I may be wrong, but it just seems that way to me.

Last night I got on Facebook to see if it was causing a ruckus.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  There was one comment about it being one of the worst days in American history.  Really?  Lets see, Pearl Harbor, Japanese interment camps, JFK assassination, Boston Massacre, Lincoln assassination, Gettysburg, September 11, 2001 ... many others.

I didn't address the many ways the left demonized Trump.  Just hitting a couple of high spots, he was a White supremacist because a chapter of the KKK endorsed him (Robert Byrd comes to mind) He was a rapist and sex offender because of that one quote, He was a liar... still don't know why he was labeled a liar other than the fact that they had to come up with something to balance the fact that Clinton was a habitual liar.  Doesn't really matter.  Trump will be President and to be honest, I trust him, his philosophy and his thinking much more than I would a scandal ridden Clinton Administration.

The next step is January sixth, when Vice-President Biden will have to stand in front of the United States Senate and read the results of the Electoral College.  He will declare Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States.  Not sure if there will be protest at the Capitol that day or not.  I kind of imagine so since a chance to protest can not be missed.

We have already been assured that on January 20th, when Trump takes the oath of office, the stop Trumpers will still be fighting and will do their best to  disrupt the nomination.  It won't accomplish anything and it will show a lack of class, but they will be there in full force.

Then over the next four years, I suppose we will have to hear yelling and see finger pointing every time he ties his shoes wrong, or whatever they can find.  At any rate it will be a long four years, but in four years, if the Democrats can find someone who is better fit for office, then chances are they will have a good chance of being elected.  If a democrat is elected in four years though, don't expect to see any riots, crying rooms, safety pins or disregard and respect for the peaceful transfer of power from the conservative side.

I am not saying Trump is perfect.  He has a lot of issues and a lot to learn.  He does not know how to play the politics game.  If anything he is more honest than people are use to in their politicians.  He says what he thinks and we are not use to that and a lot of it, even though based in reality, is not what we want to hear.  I think he will surround himself with good advisers and take that advice, weigh it out, and come to decisions.

As for Secretary Clinton, I feel that she is extremely smart.  I also think she is a career politician.  With what I consider to be overwhelming evidence about her character, I find that if anyone is not qualified to be President, it is her.  What I can't understand, and this is said with all due respect and sincerity, is how Clinton supporters or even just anti-Trump people have these blinders on that refuses to acknowledge anything negative about Hillary Clinton.  In spite of all the scandals, in spite of all the evidence that exposes her lies time after time, even after film footage of the famed Bosnia tarmac landing they continue to hold her up as the best possible candidate ever to run for the presidency.  It seems like instead of looking at Clinton in a reasonable way and admitting that she has flaws, they pound you with attempts to intimidate and insult those who do not agree with them.  I sincerely do not understand this mentality when it comes to the Clintons. 

Well, that is my take ... from a racist, sexist, homophobic, narrow minded voter who does not understand the issues and am clueless. If you know me even a little bit, you know that I am not any of those things.

I expect this may upset some people.  Some friends, some family but I want to sincerely state, as sincerely as I can, that if any of this offends you, it is not intended to.  That is not what I am about.  This was a rant.  This was off the top of my head.  This was my response to being labeled as stupid, clueless, narrow minded, racist, sexist, homophobic, white supremacist, neo nazi among many other things that are designed to intimidate me and my philosophy and thinking. 

Sadly, to me, it looks like the idea of a peaceful transition of power will not happen early next year.  The peaceful transition of power is one of the foundation blocks of our constitution.  It should be respected.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

BOB DYLAN AND THE NOBEL

Since 1901 the Nobel Organization has awarded 113 prizes for Literature.  When I stop to think about it, over the last 115 years only 113 authors have been selected to be the recipients of this prestigious award.  I looked over a complete list of these authors and discovered that I had actually only read 17 of these men and women who used literature as a means for promoting new ideas in philosophy, poetry and general humanitarianism.   I haven't even heard of well more than half of the names on the list.  Until this year the most recent Literature Nobel that I had read was awarded in 1983 to William Golding whose "Lord Of The Flies" I have read.  Most of the authors that have been read by myself were from the twenties to the fifties.  These are the seventeen Nobel Literature authors that I have read over my lifetime:

Bob Dylan 2016
William Golding 1983
Isaac Bashevis Singer 1978
Saul Bellow 1976
Jean-Paul Sartre 1964
John Steinbeck 1962
Albert Camus 1957
Ernest Hemingway 1954
Sir Winston Churchill 1953
William Faulkner 1949
Pearl Buck 1938
Eugene O'Neill 1936
Sinclair Lewis 1930
Thomas Mann 1929
George Bernard Shaw 1925
William Butler Yeats 1923
Rudyard Kipling 1907

The Nobel committee assesses who will win the prize for literature on the whole of a writers work.  It is not based on just one book or work as the Pulitzer Prize does.  The committee each year gives an explanation of why a certain writer is  awarded the prize.  I read all of the explanations of all the literature winners over the years and there seems to be one thing in common.  Their works promote a philosophy that addresses the state of mankind and to expose the failings and victories of mankind to help promote the betterment of the human race throughout the world.

There are novelists on that list as well as poets, historians and philosophers.   There is one that is different from all the others though.  This years recipient is Bob Dylan who is a singer/songwriter.

The literature world exploded when the Nobel announced Dylan's awarding of the prize.  A songwriter?  Sentiments ran deep and one writer suggested that if that is the case they might as well put Hemingway in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.  Songwriting is not literature and fears were expressed that there will now be a flood of songwriters being considered and receiving the Nobel for literature.

The explanation the Nobel gave for awarding the prize to Dylan was this:

"for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"

They considered his lyrics as poetry, which they are.  His canon of work dates all the way back to the late fifties which means that for at least the last fifty five or so years, Bob Dylan has been writing and recording songs that speak of individual rights that all men should be made available to.  The vast majority of his songs, or poems, deal with human conditions that have changed over the years.  He has written about civil rights.  He has written about the equality of man.  He has written about injustices.  He has written about political wrongs.  He has written of religion and his quest to find it.  He has written about the search for meaning and the search for truth.

If you don't like Dylan because of his style of music or because of his voice, then look up his lyrics and just read them.  Search for what the message is in each one of them.  Many people see Bob Dylan as a rebel, an instigator, a protestor and to a point he is.  Those parts of his philosophy are key to his special outlook on the American experience over the last half century.  He writes of things that need fixing.

Probably one of his most famous songs was one of his earliest.  "Blowing In The Wind" is a beautiful wonderful song but the words go deep.  The song lists problems and questions that the American people were addressing in the early sixties.  He addressed these problems and came to the conclusion at the end of each verse that "The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind..."

So what is the answer that is blowing in the wind?  Well, I am not positive what Dylan was thinking but as I have listened to that song nearly my whole life, and have sung it just as long, I have my own idea of what Dylan was trying to say.  The answer blowing in the wind was the American flag and what it stood for.  You take that flag and look at it and think of what it represents, the country it represents and the hopes that it gives us as Americans and you will find the answers in that thinking.  It is the Declaration of Independence.  It is the United States Constitution.  It is the freedom of Americans, some who have had to fight hard and give the ultimate sacrifice to save or gain that freedom and the hope of some who are still fighting for the freedom that this country strives to obtain for all of its citizenry.  That is what is blowing in the wind.  The flag and all it stands for.  Read these words and see what the answer is in your mind in this message from Dylan:

"Blowin' In The Wind"
Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.


I don't think the literature world needs to be worried about the Nobel being plowed through by a lot of songwriters.  The Nobel does not work that way.  You have to be a very special writer that really makes hard statements that promote your beliefs.  Think about it.  Out of all of the great authors over the last century or so and only 113 of them have gained this level of recognition.  There are not that many songwriters that even approach the bar that Dylan has set for them to win a Nobel.  I sat and thought about it a long time.  I thought of all the songwriters I know and if any of them approach what Dylan has accomplished over the last fifty years.   I came up with only four names.  Woody Guthrie, Paul Simon, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen.  Those four have written a lifetimes worth of song lyrics that addresses the social condition on a very steady basis.  But those three, as good as they are, do not come close to the quality and clarity that Dylan's songs do.  I don't think we will see another songwriter receive the Nobel for Literature anytime in the near or even the far future.

Dylan is special.  His music is special but most important, his message is special.

Bob Dylan more than deserves the Nobel for Literature 2016.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

THE YEAR OF THE CUBS - 2016

I should have written something about this historic event two months ago.  Work and family health issues have slowed my writing down however.  Now is as good of a time as any to write this tale.

I follow a few teams from my days as a child.  Teams that we would go see play the Athletics down at old Municipal Stadium.  I liked and followed the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, the Baltimore Orioles and the Minnesota Twins.  It was a time before interleague play so I did not know much about the National League teams except for the St. Louis Cardinals who my uncle Jack would talk about everytime he came to town.  Along with his talk about the Cardinals, he would often mention another team with derision.  The Chicago Cubs were mortal enemies of the Cardinals and in that way I became acquainted with the Senior Circuit Chicago team.

As I grew up the Athletics moved to Oakland and I said goodbye to them.  It was difficult not to follow them since I knew so many of the players on that team but as time wore on I found it easier to dismiss the team in California and learned to put the Kansas City Royals at the top of my list.

I grew up and eventually got married.  When cable television came to town, we signed up.  In the early days of cable there were only about twenty five channels available one of which was WGN in Chicago.  WGN was owned buy the Chicago Tribune Corporation who also had a sizable stake in the Chicago Cubs.  I started noticing that WGN broadcast every game of the season that the Cubs played.  This is somewhat normal these days but back in the late seventies/early eighties it was not heard of.  I did not much of the cubs games.  Their stadium, Wrigley Field, did not have lights so all of their home games were played during the day.

I will never forget the day I became a Cubs fan.  I had arrived home from work to find an empty house because the wife was still at work.  I turned on the television and found my self looking at a ballgame from Wrigley.  The camera was from ground level at third base and a player with the number 23 was on third.  I would learn later that number 23 was a future hall of famer named Ryne Sandberg.  Then I heard that voice.  A voice that almost sound like the announcer was spitting out the words.  This voice would become one that was dear to me as it belonged to the immortal Harry Carey.  I heard Carey say that it was the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, nobody out and the Cubs were down by only one run.  It became painfully clear that the Cubs winning a game during this season had become a rarity and Harry was totally immersed in the excitement that the game was there for the Cubs taking.  I decided to sit and take in the half inning to see if this group could pull out a win.  It unfolded quickly.  The batter at the plate hit an infield pop up, keeping all the runners pinned at the bases.  One out.  The first pitch to the next batter was a ground ball to second base that resulted in a double play.  Game over.  The Cubs had lost again.

It was Harry Carey's reaction to the Cubs having the bases loaded with no outs and not getting a run across the plate that caught my imagination.  I guess I fell more for the voice then I did for the team.  "Holy cow, this team can't buy a win this year.  The game was there, bases loaded, no outs and they blow it again..." and Harry went on for another five minutes ripping the Cubs to pieces.  He held nothing back.  I had never heard an announcer who was employed by a team tear a team down the way Carey was doing.  It was refreshing in a way.  As that summer went on I watched the Cubs more and more and began to learn some of the players names and their talents.  There were some very good players on that team but like Harry had said, it just seemed like they were meant to lose.

I picked up with the Cubs the next season, watching the last three or so innings of the Cubs in the afternoon and the Royals at night.  I came to learn that the Cubs had not been to the World Series since 1945 and had not won a series since 1908.  What a streak!  This was a team that you just HAD to love.  Day after day. season after season, always ending up out of the running for a spot that might get them back to the Series.  When Brett joined our family 1982, I raised him to watch the Cubs and I had set him up with a full set of Cubs t-shirts along with ball caps and a batting helmet.

In 1984, Brett's second season as a Cubs fan, the Cubs made it to the playoffs for the first time since they had lost the series in 1945 to the Tigers.  They made it to the League Championship Series only to lose to the San Diego Padres to keep them out of the series.  That same year the Royals had made it to the American League Championship Series only to have their hopes dashed at a series return.  The streak remained alive.  No series appearance since 1945 and no World Series Championship since 1908.  That season gave me hope however.  Both of my teams were just THAT far away from a series appearance.  And so as the season dawned upon 1985, I expected to see both the Royals and the Cubs in the Series.

That season was not kind to the Cubs though.  They did not make the playoffs but not all was lost as my Royals did go to the Series and beat the Cardinals, which was somewhat satisfying from my point of view as both a Cubs and a Royals fan.

Through the following seasons the Cubs made it to the playoffs six times as they headed into the 2015 season.  Once again as the seasoned opened I fully expected to see the Cubs and the Royals in the Series.  Once again it was not to be.  The Cubs had a season for the ages.  During the course of the season they had managed to win a total of 97 games.  This is what every team drives for each season.  It was a strange season in the National League Central though.  Pittsburgh won 98 games and St. Louis, those nasty Cardinals had won 100 games.  The Cubs had ended up in third place while winning 97  games.  They did played a one game wild card against Pittsburgh and won.  Then they played the divisional playoff against the Cardinals and won?  Once again they were in the League Championship series with a chance to go to the Series but had to get by the Mets to do so.  They failed.  The good part of that year was that the Royals went from the one game wild card all the way to the Series and won the World Series over the Mets.  However once again, both my teams were THAT close to playing each other in the Series.

Then came the magic.  The 2016 season opened and by July things were not looking good for my Royals.  Indeed they would end up out of the playoffs.  While the Royals were dealing with an off season though, the Cubs took the National league by storm.  They ruled it and most important, they ruled that nasty Central Division.  They ended up with 103 wins during the regular season.  When they clinched the division, the second place Cardinals were 17 games behind them.  At he end of the season, the Cardinals found themselves still 17 games back of the Cubs.  It was SO sweet.  As the playoffs began, it looked like no one would touch the Cubs and they didn't.  The Cubs beat the Giants in the Divisional Championship series 3 games to 1.  It was during the series with the giants that I received a package in the mail.  It was a flag pole and a big Cubs flag to fly on my our house sent to me from my sister Elaine.  I hung it in the front window during the Giants series, and after the Cubs beat the Giants the pole went up on the house and the Cubs flag was displayed in all its glory for the League Championship Series with the Dodgers.  The dream of the Cubs breaking that streak from 1945 came to an end as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 4 games to 2.  The Cubs were in THE SERIES!  It wouldn't be easy though.

Representing the American League in The Series were the Cleveland Indians.  The Indians had been to the series a couple of time in the 90's and 2000's but had not won a World Series since 1948.  These two teams were the record holders for the longest dry spell of a world championship in Baseball.  It had been 108 years since the Cubs had won a Series title and a mere 68 years since the Indians had.  The year of 2016 would break one of these two dry spells.

It was a tough Series.  It opened in Cleveland for the first two games in which the teams split winning one game each.  The next three games were in Chicago at Wrigley and it was then that things began to look pretty ominous for the Cubs.  Cleveland won the first two game in Chicago taking a three game to one lead over the Cubs.  The Cubs would have to win the last game at Wrigley plus two more game in Cleveland.  It did not look good.

The Cubs won that game at Wrigley and then the teams returned to Cleveland.  All the Indians needed was one win at home to break their dry spell.  The Cubs needed to win both games.  The Cubs came out and took game six from the Indians setting up the ultimate game seven.

Game seven was a classic for the ages.  The teams swapped the lead a couple of times and at the end of nine innings found themselves tied as rain started coming down.  The officials called a rain delay and so the last game of the season was temporarily put on hold.  During the delay the Cubs players had a meeting in their locker room.  They were NOT going to let this get away.  They  built each other up and came out after the delay intent on winning.  It was the top of the tenth inning when the Cubs scored taking the lead and putting all of the pressure on the Indians in the bottom of the tenth.  When all was said and done, when the Indians had received the third out in the tenth inning, the world was silent for just a second.  The Chicago Cubs, the lovable losers, the most cursed team in all of baseball were no longer cursed.  The Chicago Cubs were World Champions.  What a night in Chicago and around the league.  Even Cardinal fans were glad to see the Cubs break the spell.  The Chicago Cubs.... THE CUBS ... had won their first World Series since 1908.

It had taken the Cubs 103 wins through the regular season, a romp through the National League Playoffs and then seven games, a rain delay and ten innings to break a spell that had lasted 108 years.

With all of that in mind, I kept my Cubs flag flying proud for over a week after the magic of 2016.

Monday, December 5, 2016

2016 ELECTION THOUGHTS

“Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” 
 – President Obama to House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, January 23, 2009.

Looking back over the last eight years it is clear that the President was very sincere in what he said upon taking office and his Democratic leadership in Congress followed him down that path that has weakened The United States foreign policy, weakened the economy and empowered many governments around the world in relation to the United States including most importantly Russia and China.   We have seen Senator Harry Reid turn Senate rules upside down in order to silence the Republicans in that chamber and Representative Pelosi push through legislation without appropriate hearings.  Pelosi famously said in pushing through the Affordable Care Act, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it"  What we found was a health insurance act that is crumbling beneath it's own weight.  It is a dismal failure that, while not necessarily needing to be repealed certainly needs a lot of tweaking to make it even close to workable.   After eight years of executive orders, it is over.  A new election has been held and Americans across the board from the White House, to Congress and on down to the state legislatures voted for change.  Elections do indeed have consequences but not the kind of power that President Obama thought his election gave him.   The country is set to go in a new direction.  

This election, to me, very much mirrors the election of Ronald Reagan over President Carter.  We want to be strong again.  We want to be respected.  We want our country to be safe.  We want a figure in charge that President Putin will respect instead of push around.  Americans voted to return to a Reaganesque type of government.  The difference between this election and the 1980 election is that everyone knew, even President Carter, that the country was ready to head in a different direction.  In 2016 though, voters, especially young voters, absolutely knew that Clinton would become President.  They felt entitled to what they wanted.  They were not prepared for what could happen, it never crossed their minds.  We live in such an entitled society that it carried over to the election and when it didn't turn out the way they wanted, they took to the streets protesting the outcome.  There were destructive riots in the streets across the country.  It seems that they had never heard of "a peaceful transfer of power".  One month out from the election and those that supported Clinton still can not or will not accept the outcome.  Donald Trump won and it is time to put all of this behind us and move on to setting up a government for the next four years.

Here are some of my thoughts that have crossed my mind since the election.  I have been fairly quiet about things taking time to observe how social media and the press were reacting to the Trump victory.  

Before the election, the people who were sure that Clinton was a lock were sending out messages that hopefully after the election, we can all come together in peace and harmony and support the new administration for the good of the country.  I was certainly all for that no matter who won.  I am not a great fan of President-elect Trump but neither am I a fan at all of Clinton.  Since the Trump victory, those same people who called for peace, harmony and acceptance have deluged social media with some of the most hate filled messaging and ideas I have seen since the campaign started a year ago.  Disagree with their sentiments?  Well, that is simply not allowed.  They will argue, put you down, call you names, insult your intelligence and question your sanity.  It is hypocrisy at its finest.

Clinton won the popular vote yet lost the Electoral vote, therefor amend the constitution to disband the Electoral College because it means your vote doesn't count.  Actually, the Electoral College makes sure that your vote does count if you broaden your thinking out a little bit.  Wait, I forgot that I am the narrow minded one ... I'll get to that a little later though.  ANYWAY, the Electoral College is based upon how each state is  represented in congress.  Each state has two Senators and then are given a number of representatives that correlate with the population of each state in the country.  What this means is that in congress, each state is fairly represented and has a fair say in legislation and all the other duties of congress.  It has the same effect on the national vote.  No one state can control the outcome of an election.  Each state has its representative say in how each state effects the election.  Think about it.  If our elections were run on a pure popular vote method, then basically five states would elect the President.  California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Texas would elect the president.  These five states have a mass of population that leaves the voters in the rest of the country meaningless.  However, thanks to the Electoral College, a lot of eyes were set on New Hampshire.  New Hampshire?  Trust me, without the Electoral College, New Hampshire wouldn't have been given a second thought and the votes of the good people of New Hampshire would not have mattered.  Can the Electoral College be improved?  Yes, I think it can.  If it were changed so that electors in each district of each state cast their ballot based on their district outcome instead of a winner take all for the state, it would be more representative of how each state went and would make our individual votes mean that much more to the process.  I would be all for that.  Actually I have been all for that for many years now.  But I do not want my vote dismissed because I do not live in one of the big five.  With the Electoral College, my vote does mean something, which is better than nothing.

Demand a recount in three strategic states that could turn the Electoral college to Clinton's advantage.  First off, the three states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan went to Trump by popular vote and wasn't even that close.  The recount is a futile excersize  in which it's only purpose is to drag out the process and give those who absolutely knew that Clinton was going to win false hope.  It keeps in the headlines that Clinton won the popular vote even though the recount will not change anything.  I predict that like the 2000 election, this will somehow end up at the Supreme Court which will have the same outcome as it did in 2000.  It is a waste of time and a waste of money.  I can look back in history and see how much things have changed.  How much the politicians and the electorate have changed.  It is well documented particularly in Theodore White's book "The Making of a President-1960" that in an extremely close election between Kennedy and Nixon that then Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago held back releasing the Chicago vote until the southern districts in Illinois released the vote tally from that part of the state.  In doing this, Daley inflated the numbers from Chicago (the infamous dead voters) so that Kennedy would get the Electoral votes from that state and put Kennedy over the top and become President.  Many of Nixon's advisors tried to encourage him to call for a recount, not to give up.  But Richard Nixon, being the evil crook that he was, insisted on not putting the country through the upheaval that a recount would bring.  Nixon as much said that the people had spoken and he accepted the outcome.  The stability of the country was more important to him.  I am not saying that Gore did not have good cause to ask for a recount in Florida in 2000, I think he did.  I also think that it brought to a standstill the organization of a new administration and precious time was lost in the endeavor.  The recount in 2016 though has absolutely no merit what so ever and should just be dropped so we can move along with the transfer of power.

Then there is the stereotyping of the Trump voter.  It goes something like this.  If you voted for Trump you are Racist, homophobe, anti-semetic ... well the list goes on and on.   Anything that would be a bad quality in any person is placed on the shoulders of a person who voted for Trump.  I will say right now, right up front that I did vote for Trump but anyone who knows me even a little bit knows how I feel about race relations, about what my feelings are concerning the LGBT community and that I am not a Nazi or a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan.  To hang those tags on me because I voted for Trump is an insult to me.  It isn't the way I was raised and it isn't the way I believe or act.  Being a white male who voted for Trump though, throws out the reality of who I am and replaces it with everything I am not.  I believe my actions over the last sixty years shows what I believe and how I think.

Let's see.... then there is the "if you voted for Trump, you are narrow minded".  Well, you know after thinking about this a bit, I probably am more narrow minded than the Clinton fanatics who think they are insulting me by say that.  The way I see it, to vote for a former first lady, Senator, and Secretary of State who was the cause of the largest breach of security in the nation's history and then covered it up by lying over and over and over and over again, it would take a pretty broad minded person to over look that and cast a vote for her.  And it isn't just the scandals that Clinton created as Secretary of State.  She has had two indictments written against her that were never issued.  That's right they were not issued, but on the other hand, to have those two indictments written means, to me, that there must have been enough evidence there to at least take that step.  Scandal had might as well be Clinton's middle name.  All the way from the governors mansion in Little Rock to the White House to her cabinet position, scandal has been tailing her every step of the way.  "READ THE BENGHAZI REPORTS" they say.  She was cleared twice by the House.  That is true.  But what they refuse to acknowledge is the third report.  The report that Representative Gowdy released after the third hearing, which was held after the private insecure email server was discovered.  That report is extremely damning to Clinton but the minority on the committee blocked it's release.  It is out there on the web.  You can read it if you care to.  It is on the House oversite gov site.  It does anything but clear Clinton.  Some of you should give it a read sometime although you will probably end up saying that the third one was partisan while the first two weren't.  <sigh>

Another thing I have noticed is that Clinton, in spite of all the evidence, is not a liar but Trump is.  I swear if the press asked Trump what he had for breakfast and he said "toast with strawberry jam" and the press found out he had toast with grape jelly the post all over social media and in the press would scream out that TRUMP IS A LIAR... WHAT ELSE WILL HE LIE ABOUT? .... My response is simply, really?  After decades of serious lies by Clinton, this is the best you can come up with? 

I want to take a moment to clarify what I mean by a "Clinton Fanatic".  I do not consider anyone who voted for Clinton or supports Clinton a fanatic.  Actually the term "Clinton Fanatic" isn't really accurate,  I should change that to be "Anyone But Trump Fanatic".  I know plenty of people and friends who do still support Clinton over Trump and wish it had gone the other way but are not fanatics.  A fanatic, in my mind, is one who can not accept the fact that the election is over.  They scream and yell about how the election was stolen.  Anyone who does not agree with them is stupid and narrow minded.  If you vote for Trump, you are not smart enough to know why you shouldn't have.  They deny that Clinton ever lied.  There is the idea that Trump is furthering his racist agenda by the people he is appointing to his cabinet.  Trump, to them, is the devil reincarnate, to many he is the actual anti-christ.  They deride those who hold a different opinion and hang labels on them.  A new thing I have noticed by the fanatics now is that if you don't agree with them, they simply delete your response to whatever crazy thought they had posted.

I want to make it clear that I do not consider Trump the best man for the job.  I do, however, consider him to be more fair, stronger, and trustworthy than I do Clinton.  There are several candidates that I would rather see in the White House then either one of these two.  The fact is that these were the choices Americans were given and all of us had to choose one or the other more or less and the American people chose Trump. 

You can wear all the safety pins you want, cry on each others shoulders, skip classes because you are too traumatized to handle the outcome.  You can, in my mind, over react and be scared and frightened because Trump is president (the only reason that you should really be a little afraid is if you are doing something wrong in the first place like being here illegally), but in the end things are going to be okay.  Look people, we have a constitution.  It has checks and balances that work.  It has held true time after time.  Afraid of the Supreme Court?  I'm not.  The Court is extremely stingy about overturning precedence.  No matter if it is a conservative court or a liberal one, that stinginess is there and it will stay there.  I can feel confident enough to say that Roe v Wade will not be over turned.  I feel confident to say that gay rights afforded to the states will not be over turned.  It takes a special case, with a special set of circumstances to cause the court to overturn precedence.  This country has survived so much over the years since we came into existence.  This country has survived because of that constitution.  I firmly believe in that document and I believe it will protect us and our country.  I always have and I always will believe that.

My suggestion, my desire, is that we put this last election behind us, accepting it for what it is.  That we have faith in the Constitution and the way it keeps the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial branches of our government from taking over the country and turning it into something it has never been or something we do not want it to be. 

It is indeed time for this country to unite as much as it can, because the tighter we are united the stronger we are, and prepare for the next four years.

To some this may sound snarky, to others it will sound like utter non-sense .... to that I say .."meh" or "whatever".  It is my thoughts and mine alone.  I want this country to move on and forward and in another four years, we can change things if we desire.

Well, that is it.  I have kept silent, reading others thoughts and ideas and have mulled this over in my mind.  As far as I am concerned, the election is over and there is no point in arguing about anymore.

Have a Merry Christmas all.