Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why I Can No Longer Mark my Ballot for Trump

"Love trumps hate" and "Love Trump's hats" differ in only a few letters. Analogously, it might be said that there are only relatively minor differences between the two leading candidates. Not enough to allow their more extreme proponents to tear the US Apart.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have favorability ratings below 50%. Therefore, most Americans will be voting against, rather than for our next President.

When I created the above animated image, I thought I was going to vote against Clinton by "holding my nose" and darkening the oval next to Trump's name on my Presidential ballot.

I can no longer mark my ballot for Trump or anyone else currently running for President.


Both Clinton and Trump are intelligent, well-educated, live in New York, and are patriots who truly believe their election would be best for our country:
  • Donald was born in New York. Bachelor of Science from Wharton School of Finance and Commerce (University of Pennsylvania).
  • Hillary was born in Illinois. Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College and J.D. from Yale Law School. She lived in Arkansas from 1974-1992, in Washington, DC from 1993-2000, moved to New York in 1999, and was elected Senator from New York in 2000.
Both are rich, having benefited from the give and take of US politics
  • Donald, mostly on the give, contributed to politicians of both parties in return for government permits, zoning, tax policies, and other assistance to the real estate projects, products, and services his corporations provide to consumers.
  • Hillary, mostly on the take, accepted support for her Senatorial and Presidential campaigns, as well as high-priced speeches by her and husband Bill at private corporate meetings, and contributions to the Clinton Foundation. 
  • Both Hillary and Donald "prove" the cynical point that, here in the USA, 
  • We enjoy the very best government money can buy. ©
Both have misrepresented themselves to the extreme wings of their parties to win their Presidential primaries, and to activate their "base" to come out and vote in the general election:
  • By most accounts, Hillary is far more centrist on social policy and more hawkish on military and foreign policies than President Obama or the Bernie Sanders Socialist, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter far-left wings of the Democratic Party. Quoting from How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk - The New York Times (2016/04/24/):
[Secretary Clinton] had backed Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recommendation to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, before endorsing a fallback proposal of 30,000. She supported the Pentagon’s plan to leave behind a residual force of 10,000 to 20,000 American troops in Iraq (Obama balked at this, largely because of his inability to win legal protections from the Iraqis, a failure that was to haunt him when the Islamic State overran much of the country). And she pressed for the United States to funnel arms to the rebels in Syria’s civil war (an idea Obama initially rebuffed before later, halfheartedly, coming around to it).
  • Although less is known about Donald's views prior to becoming a politician, it appears he has been far more centrist on social policy and less hawkish than the Tea Party, Religious Right, and Conservative Establishment far-right wings of  the Republican Party. He registered for the Reform Party from 1999-2001, Democrat from 2001-2009, and Independent from 2011-2012. (He registered as a Republican from 1987-1999, 2009-2011, and 2012-present.)  Last year I wrote the following, quoting from my Blog (2015/04/10):
Donald Trump, [is] a Crony Capitalist Democrat pretending to be a Republican. As recently as 2004, he told CNN's Wolf Blitizer "In many cases, I probably identify more as Democrat" and in 2007, also with Blitzer, he praised Hillary Clinton's ability to negotiate with Iran. Trump gave more to Democrats than Republicans between 1989 and 2009 according to NPR. ... Until recently, his views on military action in the mid-east, abortion, drug legalization, and health care have been more in line with leftist Democrats than with independents and Republicans.

Donald has said some stupid things that got him into unnecessary battles. He refused to back off, which only increased the damage to his campaign
  • Early in his Presidential Primary campaign, Donald said that Senator John McCain is "not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured." That dumb remark did not hurt McCain, because everyone knows he was a hero the moment he put on a US Naval Aviator uniform and flew dangerous missions over enemy territory. The fact he was shot down and served honorably as a POW is only icing on the cake of his heroic status.
  • Trump also went way overboard criticizing undocumented Mexican immigrants. He even questioned the fairness of a judge of Mexican ancestry who was born in the US.
  • Donald made an idiotic pledge to ban all Muslim immigration. Then he criticized Muslim Gold Star parents, a lawyer and his wife, who appeared at the Democratic convention to point out that a flat religious ban would be unconstitutional. Trump suggested the wife remained silent because Muslims do not value women.
  • Trump, not a professional politician, has been making extreme, sexist, and otherwise intolerable "politically incorrect" comments all his life. Instead of admitting that fact, he continues to fight decades-old battles, such as the one about a Miss Universe who gained some weight after she won the competition.
  • The most recent Access Hollywood video and tape is a particularly lewd example of Donald's taste for beautiful women. His comments are absolutely unforgivable.
  • Summary: Donald Trump is an amazingly athletic speaker. He can verbally kick himself in the head and step on his own dong without missing a beat.

Hillary has done some stupid things, such as being "extremely careless" in handling US National Security Secrets, and lying to the public about it. She lied even when unnecessary (as when she had pneumonia), and thus damaged her campaign.
  • The use of a private email server for both private and State Department emails while Hillary was Secretary of State, is not, per se, a legal violation. The problem that earned her a "PANTS ON FIRE" rating from Politifact was lying about the matter.
  • She and her close staff placed highly classified information on that private server and on insecure cell phones and iPads, and transmitted US National Security Secret and Top Secret information over unsecured networks that were (all but) certainly hacked by hostile governments and terrorist organizations.
  • FBI Director James Comey concluded that her private server and email system was less secure than Gmail:
  • And I’m not looking to pick on Gmail. Their security is actually pretty good, the weakness is individual users. But, yes, Gmail has full-time security staff and thinks about patching, and logging, and protecting their systems in a way that was not the case [with Clinton's private server]. 

  • From the group of 30,000 emails returned to the State Department in 2014, 110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was top secret at the time they were sent; 36 of those chains contained secret information at the time; and eight contained confidential information at the time.

  • Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
  • There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about the matters should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.
  • Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal email account.
  • During my employment as a System Engineer working on Department of Defense projects, I had access to classified information, mostly at the Confidential and Secret level, but including a bit of Top Secret material. Each project has Security Guidelines, so we all knew what types of material was classified and at what level. Each paragraph, table, figure and drawing was marked with a (U) for Unclassified, (C) for Confidential, (S) for Secret and (TS) for Top Secret, often with additional markings for NO FORN (no foreign access) and so on. If I had seen information that was not properly marked, I would have considered that a critical failure of security and would have reported it to be sure it was corrected. That she and her personal staff failed to so so rules her out as a person I would vote into the highest office in the land.
  • As a government employee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a legal duty to turn over all work-related email to the State Department. As we all know, her staff destroyed around 33,000 emails on the basis that they were not work-related. (She claimed they were about such things as her daughter's wedding, family vacations, etc. That seems like quite a lot!). Well, using forensic technology and emails provided by government recipients, the FBI found that thousands of her work-related emails had been deleted. Of course, we don't know how many work-related emails were not recovered by these forensic techniques, and what juicy materials they might have contained. We do know they were deleted after a subpoena had been issued for them.
  • Did even the most rabid Nixon supporter really believe that his secretary had "accidentally" erased 18 minutes of taped Oval Office conversations, or that those 18 minutes contained only innocent Nixon family matters or sports discussions? Of course not! Yet, some of you, reading this blog item, believe that Hillary's staff was justified in deleting work-related emails, or that former President Bill Clinton had an unplanned meeting on an airport tarmac with the Attorney General, shortly before she was to rule on whether Hillary's "extremely careless" handling of classified information should be prosecuted? Or that all they discussed was their grandchildren? 
  • By the way, I support Comey's recommendation NOT to prosecute Hillary Clinton, on the basis that her "extremely careless" handling of classified information did not rise to the "gross negligence" level required by the applicable law. Apparently there is no clear precedent for prosecuting anyone on that part of the law.


Up till about 24 hours ago, I thought I would "hold my nose" and vote against Hillary Clinton by darkening the oval next to Donald Trump's name.

What changed my intention?
  • Well, it was Trump's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor,on October 11th. I record and watch Bill O'Reilly almost every evening. Trump trashed Senator John McCain and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and said he would go it alone! That was what put me over the top!
  • I've seen both McCain and Ryan in person when they came to The Villages (in Central Florida) for their 2008 and 2012 campaigns. In 2008, I stood for almost an hour, twenty feet from McCain as he (and Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman) spoke and answered questions. In 2012 I watched Ryan's VP campaign appearance at an outdoor rally, where he introduced his mother, who happened to be a Florida resident. They are politicians, but also honorable men (as is Mitt Romney, whose hand I shook when he came here during the Republican primary).
  • So, for the first time in my life, in 2016 at the age of 77, I will not vote for the Republican nominee for President of the US. Of course, I will vote for down-ballot Republicans and hope we can retain control of the Congress. Perhaps I will write-in the name of Paul Ryan or some other Republican I admire. It is a long-shot, but, perhaps Donald Trump will withdraw his name and allow the Republican National Committee to substitute someone else, Who knows?

Ira Glickstein

PS: Earlier this year, during the Republican primary, I wrote some perhaps prophetic words on my Blog:
I am an old Goldwater/Reagan Republican, and a Proud Conservative in the modern sense (i.e., Classical Liberal). ...  
... Trump is a Crony Capitalist DEMOCRAT who is wrecking the Republican Party I know and love, with the inadvertent assistance of the ratings-hungry media, including Fox News, and the feckless response of the dozen other candidates competing in the Republican Presidential Primary, several of whom are excellent in my opinion.