Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

October 16, 2017

Why Weinstein matters

Filed under: News commentary,Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 11:54 am

Unless you have just returned from a vacation in Antarctica you have heard of the fall of film maker Harvey Weinstein. Joss Whedon must be breathing a sigh of relief.

Whedon not long ago was accused of being a flagrant serial adulterer by his ex-wife. The accusations against Weinstein go way beyond that.

Weintein stands accused by an ever-growing list of actresses, former actresses, and staff of sexual harassment, stalking, groping, obtaining sexual favors by bribery and threats, and outright unequivocal rape by four alleged victims as of the time of writing.

This was an open secret for more than 30 years.

Weinstein’s brother says he was aware Harvey was a serial cheater but didn’t realize the extent of his depravity. The circumstances of their business relationship make this somewhat credible.

Actors who have worked with Weinstein such as George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, and Russel Crowe say they are shocked and appalled and had no idea.

They’re lying.

Hillary Clinton issued a belated and rather tepid condemnation. Poor lady was in a bit of a bind. On the one hand she had to condemn to maintain her feminist creds. On the other hand… Bill.

The fact that Tinseltown is a hotbed of corruption is not exactly news to us. The earliest use of the term “casting couch” dates back to the 1930s.

So why do we care and why isn’t this scandal dying out as fast as any other tabloid fodder?

I can think of some reasons. One is we delight in the exposure of hypocrisy. Weinstein has virtue-signaled his championship of every fashionable cause on the left, including feminism. He has made a feeble bid at redemption by vowing to “fight the NRA.”

Furthermore, women who have come forward with tales of harassment – and worse, are often stridently feminist themselves. Many have been loud in their condemnation of the “Republican War on Women” and the alleged sexual assaulter in the White House.

Ashley Judd of the pink knit hat comes to mind. And some gut-wrenching photos emerged of tiny Emma Watson being manhandled into a limo by the huge physically powerful Weinstein. The terrified look on her face strikes like an ice dagger in the heart of every man who loves his daughter. Yet in her feminist screeds not a word of criticism for her own industry.

We love comeuppance. Hollyweird has touted the moral superiority of the progressive left, their disdain for “flyover country,” and their contempt for people who cling to quaint old-fashioned notions of family, faith, and love of country. And here is proof they are no better than we are, and probably much worse.

We love to see the mighty brought low. Though it’s not an admirable sentiment, we can’t help a sense of satisfaction at seeing his so-called friends desert him and his wife, whose clothing design business he promoted by coercing stars to wear her products on the red carpet, has dropped him like a hot rock.

But here is the real significance I think. Weinstein, like Hugh Hefner, could have had all the willing playmates he wanted. And according to the testimony of reporter Jade Budowski, who once worked as a waitress at a restaurant Weinstein used for assignations with aspiring starlets, he did.

Weinstein’s disgusting behavior demonstrates not mere lust, but a delight in humiliating women and assaulting men, arrogantly confident in his power to silence critics.

Weinstein’s double life as champion of the progressive left and abuser of power is a stark example of the great political divide today.

On the one side the “progressive” view that all of society’s ills will yield to the use of unchecked power in the right hands once we have discarded the outdated superstitions of the Founders.

On the other the view that there are no safe hands. That power is dangerous and men corruptible. That problems are best addressed by free men in voluntary association in almost all cases.

What both sides see plainly, the former with increasing dread the latter with a somber sense of recognition, is confirmation that this is the reality of power.

September 27, 2017

The UN speeches

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:28 am

Last week President Trump and Vice-President Pence delivered speeches at the United Nations on successive days. Nobody seems to realize it yet, but this changes everything.
Public reactions ranged from sneering dismissal to outrage.
Why? Because they said things every sane and sensible person knows to be true, but must not be said.
“The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return,” Trump said.
His message was though we share a common humanity we are not “citizens of the world” but citizens of the United States and entitled to look after our own interests, just as citizens of other countries are entitled to look after theirs.
Furthermore he said it is right and proper that this be so. That nations are not impediments to a grand world order but at their best laboratories of human diversity where men are free to seek the good life in their own ways. That nations have a right to exist and a right to enforce their borders.
But at their worst nations create living hells of oppression and misery, and in our time the chief sources of this misery have been the ideologies of socialism, communism, and Islamic jihadism.
And he named names. Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and the bandit regime of North Korea.
And to the consternation of delicate minds everywhere he said something must be done about them. That evil must be fought, sometimes at a terrible cost.
The very next day Pence addressed the UN Security Council and said what is as plain as a pikestaff that no one has dared to tell them to their faces.
He said noble intentions and sweet words are not enough. That great beginnings do not ensure good ends.
And he said the UN Human Rights Council is at present a sham.
“As we look at the membership of the council today, we see nations that betray these timeless principles upon which this institution was founded. Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world. A clear majority of the Human Rights Council’s members fail to meet even the most basic human rights standards,” Pence said, expanding on Trump’s remark.
Pence called out Cuba and Venezuela, and called out the council for its history of condemning Israel while ignoring the most murderously oppressive regimes on the planet.
These things they said are true and beyond dispute. The conclusions that flow from them are inescapable.
There are evil men in the world who are masters of nations. Some of those nations have, or soon will have weapons of terrible power. Some export terrorism and disturb the peace of the world.
“He called Kim Jong Un Rocket Man!”
Oh heavens, he insulted a tyrant who starved perhaps a million of his subjects to death and holds public executions, attendance mandatory, where people who displease him are blown to bits by anti-aircraft guns, a name from a song by Elton John.
Whatever will this poor old world be FORCED to endure next?
What the hell is so controversial about this? When did it become vulgar to point this out? Our fathers knew it. Many still bear the wounds they got fighting evil.
Well Trump is regarded as a vulgar man by the elites both left and right, and he is. He speaks his mind when it might serve him better to hold his tongue. He displays his wealth ostentatiously and unashamedly. He’s a womanizer and not at all discrete about it. (Though it should be said he does seem to be able to take “No!” for an answer, which his predecessor Bill Clinton had a problem with.)
I’ve said before that the Best and Brightest are not getting meaningful answers because they are not asking the right questions.
In this case the question is not why did Trump and Pence say these things, but why those who so obviously consider themselves our betters did not?

September 11, 2017

Asking the right question

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 11:02 am

Well we’re three-quarters of the way through the first year of the Officially Worst President Ever Who Will Bring About the Apocalypse.

Or at least that’s what you’d think from all the overblown rhetoric flying around.

“How did this happen?” you hear to the accompaniment of wails and gnashing teeth.

“Why don’t they (his supporters) see he’s a monster?” they ask.

“Why don’t they impeach him?” they demand.

Let’s take that last question first. The reason they don’t impeach Trump (aside from a Republican majority in both houses of congress) is that impeachment is a trial. To have a trial you have to have a crime. Being crude and obnoxious is not a crime. Heck being a bad president, if that’s your belief, is not a crime just a misfortune.

Second to last question. Because his supporters don’t think he’s a monster. Most probably don’t think he’s a saint either, just better than the alternative.

As to the first question the answer is it’s the wrong question.

First of all let’s consider what did happen, bare facts no opinions.

What happened was a reality TV show host and high-end real estate tycoon who had never held public office beat a seasoned politician with: time in the White House, time in the Senate, time in the State Department, the endorsement of a sitting president, overwhelmingly favorable media, good campaign intelligence, and a campaign chest at least twice and possibly as much as four or five times as large.

Is any of that in dispute?

If not, let’s go on to the obvious question.

What was it about Hillary and her supporters that made Trump a viable alternative to enough voters in enough places to carry the Electoral College?

Like a great many simple and straightforward questions there is more than one answer. The combined weight of Hillary’s various scandals, the fact she carried Bill’s baggage but without the charm, the fact the cultural left is getting scary to ordinary folks, etc.

But there’s one reason that stands out and it’s only getting worse.

Leftists are so unbearably self-righteous it’s hard to stand them.

This was shown in stark relief when Hillary coined that phrase “Basket of deplorables.”

More recently Tim Commerford, bassist for the group Rage Against the Machine, commented on the DACA controversy, “Anyone who voted for him is racist, he’s a racist. And as a racist who voted for a racist, you have an opportunity to make it right, and admit that you made the wrong decision.”

This is not exactly new. We’ve had our noses rubbed in the fact that those on the utopian left consider themselves our moral superiors.

They’re against racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, war, and injustice. Unlike the rest of us who want to bring back slavery, put women back in the kitchen and homosexuals in prison, impoverish the working class, wage total war against the rest of the world, and sell justice to the highest bidder.

You see, you can’t just be wrong with them your opinions have to come from active malice.

“I think affirmative action was a well-meaning experiment but has probably hurt more than it’s helped.”

“You’re a racist!”

“I think minimum wage laws destroy opportunities for low-skilled workers to advance.”

“You want people to be poor!”

“Since more people want to come to America than we can possibly accommodate, it makes sense to choose from among them those who are most likely to assimilate and contribute to our country.”

“You’re a redneck xenophobe who hates anybody who’s different!”

Sound familiar?

When you get that message as an in-your-face rant from an addled second-rate rapper you might get mad, but you’ll likely shrug it off and forget about it.

But when you get it from a smug self-righteous church lady in tones so holier-than-thou it makes your blood pressure go through the roof, what do you do?

You watch how much Donald Trump drives them to apoplexy and you inwardly smile a little.

July 8, 2017

Now it’s a fight

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:54 am

“Be nice. Until it’s time not to be nice.”
Patrick Swayze, Road House

Oh my, everyone seems all a-Twitter about the president’s feud with the media.

“Greatest Liar, idiot, schmuck, thug, goon, unbalanced, like somebody pooping their pants,” said Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe.”

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..” tweeted Trump.

After attacks by CNN Trump posted an old video from his days promoting wrestling of him body slamming a WWE wrestler, with CNN superimposed on his opponent.

CNN cried “He’s inciting violence!” joined by any number of intellectuals, many of them Republicans, many whom I respect highly, and Jerry Springer too.

I urge everyone to take a chill pill.

The president’s behavior seems erratic, childish, and embarrassing. But those who call it disturbing have evidently forgotten presidential hijinks from Clinton to LBJ.

Remember Clinton’s behavior with interns? Remember when a couple of White House secretaries resigned because Johnson made them take dictation while he was sitting on the white porcelain throne? And remember JFK seduced a 19-year-old intern and coerced her into servicing a friend while he and others watched?

In terms of bad behavior, Trump isn’t even in their league. Yes it’s childish and petty, but it’s not the end of the Republic, it’s something else.

It’s a fight.

At the presidential level we haven’t seen a real fight in a long time. Mitt Romney fought like a sick nun. John McCain fought like he’d been paid to take a dive in the third round.

It’s not new. What’s different is that someone is fighting back now.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was accused of inciting murder by the New York Times, and had David Letterman describe her as having the appearance of a “slutty flight attendant” and joked about her 14-year-old daughter getting “knocked up” at a baseball game.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was opposed with riots, vandalism, threats on his life and some of his political allies had their doors kicked in at midnight by heavily armed police on trumped-up charges.

Representative Paul Ryan (R- WI) was portrayed as pushing a grandmother in a wheelchair off a cliff.

Their responses ranged from stoic dignity to feeble protest.

Down here among the plebes how many have grown tired of being called racists, fascists, Nazis, etc because of opinions and concerns which they could articulate and were willing to discuss like free men in a free state?

Within the past week I’ve seen two articles. In one the author proclaimed he did not have to talk to his opponents because he’s a decent human being – and they are not. In another the writer said white, Christian, rural Americans are superstitious bigots who will never change.

Though he didn’t offer a solution to the problem of sharing a country with such, one gets a chilling suspicion of what he’s willing to consider.

One could dismiss these as solely the responsibility of the writers, but comment threads seem to show the opinions have widespread support in some quarters.

What Trump seems to have grasped on some level is that rational discourse is not an effective reply to name-calling. That the major media openly and flagrantly tilt heavily leftwards and are widely disliked by a great many people. That they will never judge him by the same standard as JFK, LBJ, or Bill Clinton.

In short, that there is nothing whatever to be lost by fighting back hard and dirty.

Lord how I wish we had a president who could fight like a gentleman and then share a drink with an opponent, as Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil would.

How I wish we had a refined intellectual with a pragmatic working-class streak like Daniel Patrick Moynihan as president.

And how I wish so many had not lost sight of the fact that disagree is what free men do!

But here we are and here we will be for a while. Because a lot of frustrated people have discovered they like a good fight.

April 25, 2017

The Return of Socialism

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:38 am

Well it happened again. Something I’ve run into from time to time starting in college.

Apropos of something I forget I remarked that after the catastrophic collapse of socialism worldwide in the late 1980s early ‘90s I thought socialism would never again be a viable movement.

Subsequent events have proven me wrong.

A very intelligent and articulate person with as I have, years of experience living in Eastern Europe, said those countries weren’t socialist, they were communist.

I countered they called themselves socialist and officially considered themselves as working through the transitional stage of socialism towards true communism.

He replied there are plenty of prosperous democratic socialist countries such as the Scandinavians, and if you wanted to see capitalism look at Russia today.

Stop me if you’ve hear this before.

“Oh the Nazis weren’t socialists.” Although National Socialist German Workers Party doesn’t sound like a right-wing trope to me.

“Oh they were communist, not socialist.” Though Union of Soviet Socialist Republics sounds, well… kind of socialist.

So what is going on here? Why is a political label associated with some of the most brutal tyrannies in history respectable, even popular again?

Firstly, I think there is a problem of definition. Those European countries cited as examples of democratic socialism are not socialist according to most dictionaries. They are welfare states, the desirability of which is an argument for another time.

The original and still primary definition of socialism is government ownership of the means of production. There are arguments about how much government ownership. Some insist the government should own only “the commanding heights” of the economy but us little folks would be free to own shops with a few employees.

Many people who call themselves democratic socialists don’t advocate this. One even asked me, “Where’d you get that idea of socialism?”

(I told him, “The dictionary.”)

One Englishman said, “Nah, socialism means taking care of your mates.”

OK, I can get on board with that. But it sounds not much different from a church committee or a neighborhood association. Church social = socialism.

What a lot of people seem to mean by “socialism” is “not capitalism.”

Again, we’re running into problems of definition here. By capitalism many mean what we’ve got now; private ownership of the large scale means of production by powerful interests which wield great political influence through funding political campaigns, regulatory capture, lobbyists, and every way legislation – and legislators are bought and sold. Plus socialization of loss through bailouts, subsidies, etc.

To counter this, modern socialists advocate taking large-scale economic decisions away from individuals and put in the hands of “democratically elected officials.” That is to say, curing the problem by doubling down on what caused the problem.

Free market advocates break their hearts and work themselves into early graves trying to explain that’s not what they mean by “capitalism” and what they advocate is something else entirely. That in fact the modern idea of capitalism is pretty close to Musolinni-style fascist economics.

A free market rests on a few basic principles. Among them: property rights, voluntary trade, and personal responsibility.

Property rights. What’s yours is yours to use as you see fit. Simple in principle though often complicated in practice taking into consideration your neighbors’ property rights, and legitimate public interest such as roads, bridges, levees, etc.

Voluntarism. That to the greatest extent possible trade of labor, goods, and services should be carried out by mutual consent, without force (robbery, extortion) or fraud.

Responsibility. You assume the risks, you reap the rewards – or incur the loss. This also means you do not inflict your costs on your neighbors. Again, simple in theory and complicated in practice. We all do this a little when we drive our cars, which nobody minds much. We tend to notice when a neighbor starts up a pig farm though.

Though markets are complex and prone to error, mistakes of judgement and unforeseen consequences, any argument for a command economy has to explain why the choices of the many should be overruled and controlled by the few.

It’s as simple as that.

February 19, 2017

Racism and identity politics

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics,Social Science & History — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:01 am

November 28, 2016

Death of a Dictator

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics,Social Science & History — Stephen W. Browne @ 12:19 pm

Well, he’s dead. At last.

Fidel Castro (1926-2016) the longest-ruling dictator in the Western Hemisphere died on November 25.

The encomiums were every bit as sickening as I expected.

“Fidel Castro was a symbol of the struggle for justice in the shadow of empire. Presente!” Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein wrote on Twitter.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called Castro, “a huge figure in modern history, national independence, and 20th-century socialism.”

President Barack Obama was somewhat more circumspect in his eulogizing.

“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” Obama said in a press release.

Though hedging his praise a bit Obama failed to mention that the way Castro “altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” was to imprison, torture, and execute people who disagreed with the Cuban socialist vision, impoverish a country that had a standard of living equal to the United States, and send untold thousands of people across shark-infested seas on makeshift rafts on the slim chance of arriving penniless on America’s shore as the better alternative to living in Cuba.

Contrary opinions came from thousands of Cuban-Americans dancing in the streets of Miami, Cuban-American politicians such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and President-Elect Donald Trump.

“The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said.

Trump called for, “a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”

One may hope.

Future generations may well wonder how and why a dictator not much different from any in the sad history of the 20th century was lionized by politicians, movie stars and media moguls who took tours of Cuban Potempkin villages and returned all aglow with the thrill of their brief proximity to absolute power.

Refugees and visitors who could evade their handlers reported magnificent works of architecture crumbing and decaying, mothers and housewives resorting to prostitution to feed themselves and their families, and the healthcare praised by Michael Moore doled out in filthy hospitals where patients had to bring their own bandages and bed linen.

Castro did defy the mighty United States from his little island, thus winning the admiration of America-haters around the world.

Though the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is generally thought of as a win for President John F. Kennedy there are accounts that Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba when he realized Castro and Che Guevara actually intended to use them to start World War III.

And at that Castro and Khrushchev got a win for their side by getting an agreement from Kennedy not to invade Cuba, for all intents and purposes abandoning the Monroe Doctrine.

Remarkably he continued to do so after the collapse of his superpower patron the USSR.

Boldness often wins the admiration of the timid. But there is more I think.

Castro appealed to everything base in human nature, the desire for ultimate power. To take what we want, to bend others to our will, and to kill on a whim.

A reasonably free country can offer the chance to rise very high, to the heights of wealth and fame of those who flocked to sit at Castro’s feet, and often sleep in his bed. But it cannot offer that.

Some of the most privileged of our fat happy country revealed the darkness in their souls by whom they chose to admire.

November 23, 2016

Dear America – chill!

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 7:42 am

Dear America,

Well the most bitterly contested election in recent memory is past and we have a new president-elect.

This was followed immediately by riots, calls to abolish the Electoral College, petitions to have the Electoral College overturn the election, charges of massive voter fraud, and most recently people disrupting a theater performance to protest the cast calling out the vice-president-elect at an earlier performance.

College students have held “cry-ins” and college administrations have offered “safe spaces” for students traumatized by their failure to get their own way.

Some have talked about impeachment – without considering that Trump actually has to be president before he can be impeached, and the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans so that’s not going anywhere.

In certain quarters there have been dark mutterings of secession and civil war.

In anticipation of potentially huge demonstrations against the president-elect at the inauguration, Bikers for Trump is planning a ride to Washington on the day. Joy forever unconfined!

America – chill!

I’ve spent some quality time in countries in the middle of regime change and civil war and I have to say that while the excitement was exhilarating I always knew I could wave my passport at the border and be gone when things got too tense.

We can’t do that here. Canada has made it plain they don’t want a herd of American refugees pouring across their border, Mexico would probably love the chance to laugh at us, and most of us don’t have passports anyway.

Take a deep breath (with or without preferred smoke) and calm down for heaven’s sake, because once you start down the road of violence it’s very hard to say you’re sorry and back off.

Now please consider a few things.

One is that the Electoral College is there for a reason. One of which is to insure a few densely populated areas don’t dominate the rest of the country. Another is to make it hard to steal an election by voter fraud.

And speaking of which, let’s investigate those charges of massive voter fraud. There are claims millions of non-citizens may have voted. Whether you believe that is true or not, let’s find out which and get that cloud of suspicion out of the way one way or another.

Both sides, remember that 46% of the electorate didn’t vote. That means nobody has a mandate. Only a little less than half of potential voters could muster enough enthusiasm to leave home and stand in a line for either candidate.

You on the losing side, you’re not helping your cause by behaving like spoiled children throwing a tantrum and breaking things.

You on the winning side, be humble. The job of “draining the swamp” in Washington is a daunting task that has so far been beyond the capability of any one man.

Losers, suck it up and consider giving the guy a chance. And ponder an expression used in England in the Mother of Parliaments. The expression is “the loyal opposition” and there is a world of meaning in it.

Winners, remember that your guy has unprecedented power to get things done by the previous assumption of power by a Democratic president and congress. Remember how corrupting the temptation of power is and consider exercising restraint rather than riding roughshod over the opposition. Because what goes around does indeed come around, as your opponents are just starting to realize.

And everybody keep in mind though we have deeply divisive disagreements on a whole lot of issues, disagree is what free men do.

November 15, 2016

Where do we go from here?

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:36 pm

Well this most contentious election in recent memory is over, and I’ll say it turned out kind of like I expected.

That is, I voted for Gary Johnson because I wanted to encourage the third party movement but had no illusions on that outcome.

I’ve never liked Donald Trump personally and haven’t since I saw him put his first wife down during an interview many years ago. I didn’t watch a single video of him during the entire campaign because I find his manner irritating and abrasive.

Nonetheless I’ve been warming to him quite against my will. I was jubilant when he won, and have been chortling with glee ever since.

Because Trump’s victory is a slap in the face for every snobby, self-righteous, holier-than-thou lefty who every issued those vile insults “racist,” fascist,” or “group-of-your-choice-phobe.”

Now I’m going to cease my chortling and offer some advice free of charge, to disconsolate Democrats on how to do better next time.

Hint 1: The insult “racist” wouldn’t sting so much if the target really was a racist. Real racists aren’t the least bit ashamed of being racist and freely call themselves racists.

Hint 2: It really isn’t a good idea to call someone a Nazi or fascist who has seen Auschwitz and whose children are considered in Nazi racist ideology to be half-Slav untermenschen unworthy of life.

Hint 3: When you nominate a candidate who is proven corrupt to the core and criminally careless with national security, by a pile of evidence Helen Keller could read from beyond the grave, and then insist she is not merely the lesser of two evils but pure as the driven snow and unfairly maligned by a 30-year campaign of slander – it’s scary. The kind of scary you feel when you’re alone
in a room with someone who appears normal then starts calmly stating things of breathtaking absurdity while going through the knives in the silverware drawer.

Hint 4: It does nothing to allay the suspicions of your fellow-countrymen when thousands of disappointed partisans assault their opponents, hold “cry-ins” on campuses across the country, riot and destroy property. Not to mention calling for the rules of the game to be changed after losing to overturn the election.

Yes there is a hateful fringe on the other side, but to date their hatefulness seems confined to graffiti and some taunting. Not to mention the reported assaults that turned out to be hoaxes.

You want to know how you could possibly have lost with almost the entire media and academic establishment on your side and a huge (excuse me YUGE!) war chest?

Are you willing to look in the mirror and see where the fault lies, or are you going to blame the FBI, the media (!!!), or Facebook? Do you really want to do better next time?

Here are my suggestions.

OK my Democrat friends, pull yourself out of your funk, and stop crying doom and gloom about being taken to the Camps in boxcars. Stop insulting your fellow citizens for disagreeing with you, and face the reality that you brought this on yourself with your insulting, self-righteous behavior.

Because we need you – and I mean that.

Republicans now have control of the top two tiers of government, the federal and the states – and yes that’s dangerous.

Because it’s dangerous for ANY party to have too much power for too long. One would have thought you’d have learned that by now. It was dangerous when you had it, and it’s not any less dangerous when they have it.

Drop the insults, stop the riots, get some sound arguments for your positions and present them like rational human beings!

Re-learn how to love your country and respect your fellow-Americans in spite of her flaws and your disagreement.

Because disagree, is what free men do.

November 7, 2016

Getting through this election, and beyond

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 9:56 am

I write this a day before Election Day. It will go to press the day after.

There are three possible outcomes: Trump wins, Clinton wins, or we have a contested election. That last one is in my opinion the worst possibility.

We’ve been here before, during the Florida recount of the Bush-Gore election of 2000.

I was living in Poland at the time and one of the few English-language news channels I could get was the BBC, which gave me the interesting perspective of seeing the news from my country reported from another country.

I remember the Beeb showed a video of a polling station in Florida with a line of yellow police tape around it and a newsreader announcing with glee, “Looking more like a banana republic than the world’s greatest democracy…”

What occurred to me at the time was that in their joy at finding something to criticize about the U.S. (a very common reaction in the European press by the way) they had completely missed the point that it was a line of flimsy plastic tape protecting this site crucial to the election. Not a line of heavily armed men, as would have been the case in a great many countries, and not just repressive tyrannies either.

An expat colleague of mine said, “Hey, we’ll get through this like we always do.”

I wish I shared her optimism now.

There are already mutterings of a stolen election. On the right people talk about fraudulent votes from ineligible voters, people voting multiple times, the graveyard vote, and rigged machines.

On the left they accuse the right of supporting voter identification and periodic purging of the voter rolls as a method of suppressing minority votes.

I have my own opinions about which of these charges are likely, and how significant they might be. My opinions don’t matter though. What matters is what people believe the day after the election.

If a critical number of people are sure the election was stolen, belief in the legitimacy of the government may collapse with consequences we cannot foresee, but are sure to be bad.

If the issue doesn’t arise in this election, it is nonetheless not going away.

Unless we can reach an agreement that satisfies both sides as to the integrity of the electoral process.

So here is my question for both sides.

What would you agree on to satisfy the objections of the other side?

For the left: What would you agree to, to satisfy the suspicions of the right, however unfounded you believe them to be, that ballot boxes are not being stuffed with fraudulent votes?

For the right: What would you agree to, to satisfy the suspicions on the left, however unfounded you believe them to be, that eligible voters are not being disenfranchised?

And please keep in mind, if you dismiss the question as I’ve heard some do already, the other side can justly conclude you are not acting in good faith.

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