When “Forget it” isn’t an option: Decision time for 2016

This election season has been unlike any other in my memory. On the Democrat side of the aisle, the choices were between 2 old white people – a fascinating development for a party that make regular proclamations that old white people are what’s wrong with this country. One of those was an avowed socialist whose platform centered on how much “free” stuff he could give away, heedless of the fact that his programs would quite literally double the national debt the instant they were enacted. The other is a confirmed liar and cheat whose inaction, negligence, and careless led directly to the deaths of 4 Americans in a terrorist assault on a US Embassy. She has engaged in willful violations of this nation’s laws and government policies, exposing critical national security information to compromise and loss so as to cover her own misconduct.

For the record, the lying, cheating, criminal was nominated by that party. 

But enough of their problems: there’s plenty to be had on my side of the aisle. The Republican Party had no less than 17 –  seventeen – candidates available. Most were basically conservative but had different emphasis on what part of conservatism held their highest interest. That’s a good thing. They ranged in experience from sitting Senator to former Governor – and two members of the executive business community, one of which possessed a penchant for saying offensive things, calling names, and generally acting like a boorish ass. 

Guess which one came out of the primary season on top. My colleagues on the generally-Republican side of the aisle passed up actual government experience, solid records of conservative action and voting records, and any semblance of likeability to select a bombast who couldn’t even be cordial to other members of the party he allegedly claimed membership in. Hell, they even passed up a wonderfully capable woman, throwing away the opportunity to negate the “woman card” as a feature of the election cycle. (Disclosure, in case you missed it: I was and remain a supporter of Carly Fiorina.) The entire nomination process made me very bitter, and the continuous dissmive and antagonistic attitude of Donald Trump’s supporters didn’t help. I have never in my adult life failed to vote in any election in which I was eligible to participate but this one… this one brought me very close to saying “forget it” (or some variation of that) and staying home on election day. But there are too many reasons to stay engaged and my pride isn’t a good enough reason to overcome those. So, with that, what now?

There are matters in every adult’s life that calls for a decision to be made and there are many, many decisions that have to be made between options that are not what we wish they were. When some highly-used system at the house breaks – a door lock or a shower head or a phone – and you need to replace it right now, there’s no guarantee that whatever store you have to go to will have just the thing you’re looking for. Sometimes, you have to replace it with something that will do the job and get you along to the next opportunity to replace it with something better. Sometimes, you have to make the choice between the options that are available and pick the one that is  best capable of meeting your needs, even if it doesn’t meet all of them or meet them in the way you’d prefer. I believe the election decision of 2016 is one of those matters. 

Hillary Clinton is confirmed to have mishandled critical national security information. She’s lied repeatedly about what she did and we have undeniable evidence of that. The people supporting her don’t care about that or are willing to overlook it. I’m not and they shouldn’t be either. She will continue Obama’s policies and programs which will cause even more damage to the fabric of this nation. She will accelerate our deepening debt and continue to undermine our rule of law. She will seek to put people into the Supreme Court whose aims are not to uphold the Constitution, regardless of their oaths to the contrary, but to abuse their judicial power to push their own edicts onto the rest of the citizenry of the United States, a group they clearly have no respect for. She is completely unacceptable as a President.

Donald Trump was never my first choice as the nominee for the Republican Party. His support for the practice of using eminent domain to claim property that will then be used for private economic development is something I stand vehemently against. I am unconvinced that his support for the exercise of 2nd Amendment-protected rights is solid. And I have little faith that he will attempt to reign in government expansion and cut spending in areas where the Constitution have given the federal government no authority to operate in the first place. But… there is a chance that he will measure up in all of these areas. He stands a chance of finally starting to get a handle on the runaway bureacracy that is Washington, DC. He has already demonstrated his skill in dealing in matters of international diplomacy, an area in which the alternative candidate has demonstated an utterly dismal lack of ability. 

Is he a wonderful candidate? No. Does he show qualities that I prefer in a President? Not much, no. A decision must, however, be made and I’m adult enough to weigh the options to come up with a decision that best meets the needs. So, no more caveats, no more qualified statements. Donald Trump is the best candidate for President in 2016 and I’m going to vote for him. I know there are those who are angry over the process and I agree with much of their anger. As I said, I’m not going to allow my pride to keep me from supporting the people who are best able to carry my concerns forward. I urge those who would otherwise be inclined to vote Republican to join me and vote for Donald Trump in November. 

Brit who tried to assassinate Trump “meant no harm”?

Ooookay. And then there’s this:

The mother of a Briton accused of trying to shoot and kill US presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he is “sorry for everything”.

Lynne Sandford was allowed to visit her 20-year-old son, Michael, in jail in the US for the first time on Thursday.

Mr Sandford, from Dorking in Surrey, is accused of trying to grab a police officer’s gun to shoot Mr Trump at a Las Vegas rally on 18 June.

Ms Sandford said she did not “for one minute” believe he meant any harm.

“He’s very remorseful and glad that nothing happened, nobody got hurt, and he just feels terrible about the whole thing and the effect that it’s having on the family.”

Well, if the Mom of the guy who walked up to a uniformed police officer and tried to snatch his gun out of his holster while attending a rally for a political figure with whom he “allegedly” disgrees strongly says that her boy “meant no harm” then all’s well, eh? OK, here’s a newsflash to the BBC: the guy isn’t just “accused of” trying to take the gun. He did try to take the gun. And he didn’t do it because he just liked the finish on the grip. He did it because he wanted to hurt someone, to kill someone. And if he’s feeling badly about the effect it’s having on his family, perhaps he should have considered that before trying to register his political dissent using a firearm.

The press, as usual, is softpedaling all of this because the guy was going to off someone that doesn’t agree with their political agenda and priorities.Had this been some redneck from Alabama trying to snag a gun off a cop at a Hillary rally, we’d be hearing about it every 24 hours with a continuous overtone about how it’s all Trump’s fault, anyway.

Another thing: Clinton’s lost phones should each be an investigation in process.

And here’s another thing about the FBI document dump this week. Hillary Clinton – who, if you recall, insisted on using her personal e-mail system because she wanted the convenienceof using just 1 device/service – apparently had multiple mobile devices. Thirteen (13), to be precise. Now, she wasn’t using all 13 at the same time. No, no… she was using 1 at time because she had a habit of losing them.

I don’t need to link to some expert opinion on what’s supposed to happen then. This is my field – I do this for a living. I know from first-person perspective what’s supposed to happen when someone loses an IT asset owned by and connected to a federal information system. First up, that action is a matter of grave concern and is considered an information “spillage” if the system it was connected with is considered classified in any way whatsoever. Even the loss of an “unclass” asset calls for a complete investigation into what happened, what was likely on the device, etc. For someone to just leave it lying around and – whoops! – forget where they left it isn’t something that just gets blown off. I know. It’s my job.

Secondly, if an asset like that is to be retired you don’t do so with a hammer. Well, that’s not entirely true; there are situations where the physical destruction of the device is called for in the normal decommissioning process. Those situations involve assets that are known or suspected to have been involved in the transmission or storage of highly-classified data. So if Clinton’s aide felt the need to ball-peen the phone into little, tiny bits, then that’s a good indication that he thought something had been on there that was more sensitive than yoga discussions. Oh, and where’s the asset decommission documentation? Federal property is, you know, public property and when it’s retired it’s not supposed to be destroyed without good reason. It’s put through a “excess” process and returned to the federal pool to be deployed elsewhere if it’s still useful. It’s hard to do that when it’s been hammers into shards. 

Does anyone really think she’s going to be any better steward of federal property if she’s President? That she’ll really obey the law any better? Utter nonsense. Her sense of entitlement will balloon and she’ll dare you to do anything about it. 

Clintonian Mendacity: She’s lying about her confusion with classification markings

The FBI finally decided to release their notes about Clinton’s testimony to them regarding her clear violation of federal law on handling classified material. Of course, they did it on a Friday afternoon when they hope no one’s watching.The particular bit that I find most galling is the bald-face lie about her confusion as to what the classification markings in the e-mails meant. 

According to the files, Clinton claimed to have relied on the judgment of her aides and other officials to handle classified material appropriately. She even told investigators — when asked what the “C” marking meant before a paragraph in an email marked “Confidential” – that “she did not know and could only speculate it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order.”

In a word, ladies & gentlemen: horseshit. In my career I’ve been through those briefings – which are refreshed in semi-annual mandatory training sessions, by the way – and there is absolutely no doubt that they went over this material with her. She’s lying. Through. Her. Teeth.Not that the FBI cared, of course. Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey had already decided they weren’t going to enforce the law where Her Majesty was concerned. 

Clinton is cavalier with classified information to the point that it’s not even a concern to her whether people die. She will continue to act with that same disregard if she’s the President and it will be with every agency’s personnel on the line, not just the State Department. Any of you with active-duty military in the family should understand that this woman, who has already demonstrated this level of mendacity, will be just as careless with the information that protects the lives of your soliders,sailors, airmen, and marines. Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted with control of our military and she is unfit for the presidency.

#NeverTrump, I feel for you. What’s your alternative?

I think I made my position regarding my choice of candidates in the GOP nomination fight pretty clear while it was going on. For those who don’t want to go back through the record, I’ll summarize here: First choice, Carly Fiorina. Second, Ted Cruz. Rubio had a shot at second place but he got too cozy with establishment GOP leaders, in my opinion. 

In case you’re wondering: no, Donald Trump was never on my list.

So when the #NeverTrump movement began I certainly could understand their perspective and I even respect their steadfast adherance to their principles. But I’d like to ask them, seriously and calmly, what is the alternative they are proposing to voting for Trump in the fall? Now, far too often when this question gets asked, people dive in with a couple of well-worn tropes that I’m not interested in.

Trump’s the only one who can win this election! Sez you. I saw an interesting comment the other day where someone said that Trump and Hillary are the only 2 people the other one could actually beat.That’s clever and amusing but it’s also true. And besides, it’s not the question, here.

Trump’s a Democrat/Liberal/stinky-face-jerkwad who’s never been a conservative and will lose this election big-time! This one’s no better than the argument that he, alone, can win. The #NeverTrump team has been brutally clear about why they don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t need yet another repeat.

We have to vote for Trump to stop Hillary! Fascinatingly, this is the exact inverse of the argument being handed to Sanders supporters right now in the effort to make them vote for Clinton. And, again, it’s not the question. I don’t need someone to tell me how bad Clinton is. I’ve already written a post on Madam Above-the-Law and I already know she’s a disaster-in-waiting. Also not the question.

I want to hear from #NeverTrump folks about what they are proposing people do. Surely they can’t be suggesting that conservatives vote for Clinton. So what are they suggesting?  I’m posting this on Facebook, also, to see if I can get some commentary there. Word of warning, tho – for this post and (hopefully) this post alone, I am going to remove comments left that fall into the categories above. I’m not interested in another hash of why Trump’s da MAN or why he’s a jerk or why Hillary is so bad we don’t want her to be President. I want to know what the proposed alternative is as envisioned by the #NeverTrump folks. 

Thanks for your help on this.

3rd Party Candidates: Johnson/Weld ain’t Libertarian

With both the Democratic and Republican nomination processes complete, the 2 parties are now in the interesting position of having candidates that a significant number of Americans just don’t like. And I mean both of ’em. Donald Trump on the GOP side has managed to alienate most of the conservatives in the party and is on record saying that he can win without them; that he doesn’t need them and doesn’t care if they vote at all. Hillary Clinton on the Democrat side clearly won the nomination due to collusion between her campaign and the DNC. The leaked e-mails demonstrate that beyond doubt: Sanders never had a chance because the party made damn sure he didn’t. Conservatives on the right and socialists on the left are madder than hell at the respective party they’ve supported for years and they’re looking at alternatives seriously. One of those is the Libertarian ticket of Johnson/Weld. I certainly gave them a look, myself, and I’ve finished my assessment: they ain’t Libertarians.

Johnson’s recent commentary on the matter of religious freedom is certainly instructive. He claims that such a concept is a “black hole” and that government should be regulating people’s actions to avoid discrimination. He conjures up people claiming the right to shoot and kill someone on the street and justify it based on their religious beliefs – something no one in the US has done, I might add, and something generally held as invalid except in the more Muslim areas of the world – while dismissing entirely the question of whether a photographer should be forced to take pictures at a gay wedding. And he dismisses it as a non-issue while even admitting that such a thing actually did take place! Quite literally no actual Libertarian I know agrees with him on the matter, not at all. He’s inconsistent with his notion that our government should adhere to the Constitutional limitations placed upon it and that’s the defining characteristic of a Libertarian. 

Bill Weld supports gun-grabbing and, though he’s trying to wave it off now, he’s actually had a hand in enacting some of the very “gun-control” measures Libertarians decry. His support for the concept of eminent domain for the purposes of giving property over to private enterprises so they can develop the land into something that might generate more tax revenue is equally bad and anathema to Libertarians.

In short, these 2 arent’ the Libertarians you’re looking for. And it would take more than a dismissive wave of the hand to make that truth invisible. For conservatives, particularly, they are no improvement over the other candidates thus far.

We return you to your regularly scheduled blogging…

Sometimes you might not know it from looking at some of our fellow bloggers’ posting schedules but life does go on outside of a blog. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve completed a move to a new job and that pretty much sucked the air out of the blog. That’s done, I’m now beginning the new routine which allows me to pick up parts of the old routine… like blogging! Thanks for your patience and… here we go!