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Friday, July 22, 2016


Emily Dickinson observes, in one of her poems, that God requires that we die in order to see Him, thereby indicating a sadistic streak in the Almighty that does not comport well with His reputation for sublime mercy.   This penchant of His for pointless cruelty is construed by the faithful as a test of our faith.  I am afraid we are often presented with analogous tests in the political realm.

The latest word on the web is that Hillary Clinton will soon announce that she has chosen the egregious Tim Kaine to be her vice-presidential running mate.  Kaine is a pro-life Catholic who supports the TPP and just a day or so ago spoke of the need to DEREGULATE the banks.  

I understand that this is intended by Clinton as a test of my resolve to work for her election as the only way of putting an end to Donald Trump's megalomaniac dreams of dictatorship.  I also understand that her decision is a cold-eyed calculation of the relative advantage of appealing to the progressives, whom she obviously thinks she has secured, as opposed to moving to the center to draw in Republicans and so-called Independents appalled by Trump.

I trust I shall be worthy of the test.  Is it too much to ask that my readers express their outrage elsewhere?  It is difficult enough to do what I know I must do, without being berated by those who offer no viable alternative way of defeating Trump.  Those fortunate enough not to live in battleground states like North Carolina are of course free to strike heroic poses and vote for Jill Stein.


Chris said...

Kaine is all around disgusting.
His donors are wall street, of course:

And he's shameless in taking bribes:

""Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine took advantage of the state’s lax gift laws to receive an $18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA basketball Final Four during his years as lieutenant governor and governor, according to disclosures he filed.
Now a leading contender to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Kaine reported more than $160,000 in gifts from 2001 to 2009, mostly for travel to and from political events and conferences, according to disclosures compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. The givers included political supporters, a drug company that soon after bought a facility in Virginia, and Dominion, the state’s biggest provider of electricity.""

Hypothetically, would you ever consider Gary Johnson a viable vote? He's just about to be legally required to be in the presidential debates, and his civil libertarianism is a breath of fresh air (e.g., no more police state or drug war), although his domestic economics are lunatic.

I've always thought libertarians and Sanders style progressives are perfect matches on civil liberties, which makes them okay candidates, but can't meet eye to eye on economics.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Not in North Carolina, which appears to be really in play this year. On the other hand, if Clinton takes Florida, where she is currently up in the polls, she wins regardless.

Chris said...

And she clobbered Bernie in Florida (my former home state) :(

Rich A. said...

The only thing that matters in this particular election is defeating Trump.

Anonymous said...

I thought Gary Johnson was not exactly anti drug war, but he preferred allowing the states to decide which drug laws to implement and enforce. Obviously that would not be the same thing.

He is pretty despicable generally. He pals around with extreme nativist and anti-immigrant types. His highway project while governor of NM was a disaster and an obvious donation to the Koch bros. And his civil rights record while governor was less than stellar. I'm pretty sure he's just a normal Republican who realized he might be able to get some press by convincing some people they might be able to buy weed someday at Starbucks.

F Lengyel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Shore said...

Prof. Wolff has blown up the potential menace posed by a Donald Trump presidency to such astronomical heights that he cannot bear to have readers desecrating the sanctity of his blog by making a case that an even greater potential menace may be posed by a Hillary Clinton presidency. However, readers other than Prof. Wolff should take the time to read Conn Hallinan’s column in Foreign Policy In Focus (, “We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War” based on former defense secretary William J. Perry’s recent book “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink” reviewed in the July 14 issue of the New York Review of Books. The essence of Hallinan’s column is that the demonization of Putin’s Russia, the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders, and the confrontation between the United States and Russia in Syria, coupled with a growing sophistication of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, has created a frighteningly unstable situation that could easily ignite a nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Standing as we are on the brink of a world-ending nuclear holocaust do we really want a war-hawk like Hillary Clinton with her likely war-hawk defense secretary Michele Flournoy to be president? The likelihood that Clinton will even increase the current needless provocation of Russia is just about certain. Say what you will about Donald Trump’s glaring weaknesses and limitations, it is to his credit that he has said he would get along very well with Putin. That is no small thing.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

If Robert Shore genuinely believes that Hillary Clinton poses a greater threat of nuclear war than does Donald Trump, then of course he has an obligation to campaign for, contribute to, and vote for Donald Trump. If I believed that, I would do the same. Since this is not an idle exercise, I assume that he will be doing just that. If not, then perhaps he will explain why not. Declaring "A pox on both your houses" is not a responsible option.

Roberr Shore said...

The main point I was trying to make in my comment is that the choice between Clinton and Trump is by no means as clear as Prof. Wolff has made it out to be. Prof. Wolff is, of course, entitled to vote and campaign for Clinton, and I can certainly understand his reasons for so doing, but he should at least acknowledge how fraught with danger a Clinton presidency is likely to be because of the terrible possibility of nuclear war with Russia hanging over all of our heads and Clinton’s likelihood of increasing that possibility. As for me, I have the luxury of living in Massachusetts where a Clinton majority is a dead certainty, especially so with her having Elizabeth Warren’s support, and so I will vote for Jill Stein. If I were living in a potential swing state like North Carolina and the election were to be held tomorrow I would vote for Trump for the reason given in my comment. The election is, however, more than three months away and if during that time Trump were to switch over to share Clinton’s terribly mistaken and dangerous assessment of Putin’s Russia I would have to vote for her as the lesser evil.

Seth said...

We are in the trickiest phase of the campaign now. Trump beat a lot of expectations by reaching the nomination. This now is causing a lot of people to find reasons *not* to be surprised again when (if) he is elected. I'm listening to some highly intelligent people work through mildly bizarre rationalizations for thinking maybe he would be ok. But I think they are overthinking it. Trump is a chump. But his "Archie Bunker" persona resonates with economically challenged "traditional" (white, not recent immigrant) America. Channeling their fear and anger was an opportunity ready for anyone crassly opportunistic enough to seize it. But the reason we control ourselves in public isn't only some sinister political correctness -- a well defined and purposefully driven top-down set of rules for correct behavior. People in public life need to behave in a way that inspires confidence in their judgment and reliability in sticking with the values they profess. Trump can't control himself, and that ultimately means too many people he needs will abandon him for someone whose behavior is more intelligible.

That said, it might be close and we have to push for a sane outcome.

Unknown said...

The idea of the “I go with my gut” Trump being anywhere near the nuclear trigger is, to me, frightening. His overwhelming ignorance of the rest of the world is appalling. His argument that Japan and Korea should have their own nuclear weapons and not rely on us is an argument for nuclear proliferation in a very unstable part of the world. Ditto his suggestion that he’d check to see which NATO members were up to date with their contributions before coming to their aid if is friend Putin invaded them is an invitation to European countries to develop their own nuclear capability. From the reviews I’ve read of Perry’s book (I haven’t read it) he argues that a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons is essential. Trump’s ideas would lead to the opposite—they would lead to a proliferation of nuclear states. Many countries with nuclear capability have refrained from building weapons because of the US guarantee would change their policies very quickly if that guarantee were removed.

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