Monday, October 31, 2016

Should Hillary make an Impassioned Plea?



 This is our twentieth piece about the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump race - just this year alone! I apologize for this, and obviously our fixation must come to an end in about a week (half of these pieces were about each of the two candidates, and roughly half were written by me and half by Madeleine).

The “Comey letter” has revived the persecution of Hillary Clinton for the way she has handled her e-mail. This is an unbelievable abuse of power by the FBI chief, whose attack is pure innuendo, an attack which says: “You MAY be guilty of something, but I cannot tell you what it is. Good luck defending yourself.” And to do this 11 days before the election is obviously meant to throw the election to the Republicans. It violates several laws and regulations, including the “60 days rule.” The timing is obviously calculated to inflict maximum damage, as Comey could have written the exact same letter six weeks earlier. The election is rigged indeed, although not the way Trump has alleged. This is a variation on what happened in 2000, when Florida’s Republican secretary of state Katherine Harris stole the presidency from Al Gore and gave it to George W. Bush.
Read more...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Facts about the Newly discovered Emails

by Madeleine Kando

The Players

Anthony Weiner, former congressman
Huma Abedin, personal aide to Hillary Clinton
FBI director James Comey.

(Sorry Donald, Hillary Clinton doesn't appear in this play).

The Facts

• On October 28, FBI director James Comey sends a letter to Republican legislators stating that ‘potential new evidence was discovered related to Hillary Clinton’s handling of her personal email when she was Secretary of State.’

• None of these new emails were to or from Clinton and has virtually nothing to do with any actions taken by Clinton. They were not withheld during the investigation, nor suggest she did anything illegal. Read more...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hail, Hillary

By Madeleine Kando

Born on October 26, 1947, Hillary Rodham Clinton is four years younger than I am. That makes her a ‘baby boomer’, whereas technically, I am a member of the silent generation, since I was born in 1943. But I feel that we are of the same generation, since we both experienced the same world events.

Just to put Hillary in a historical perspective, I have put together the following list of world events that happened after Hillary was born:

NATO was created when she was just learning how to talk and walk. The first hydrogen bomb was tested when she was still playing with dolls. When the Supreme Court declared segregation unconstitutional, she was finishing Kindergarten. The birth control pill became legal when she was 13. She was 17 when John F. Kennedy got assassinated. When she was 18, Johnson created Medicare, Medicaid, the Food Stamp program and dozens of other programs intended to lift Americans out of poverty. She was 21 when Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. When she was 26, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. When she was 42, the Berlin Wall fell. During the Gulf War, she was 41. She was 45 when NAFTA was signed. She was 44 on 9/11. When she was 47, we invaded Iraq. She was 60 when she ran against Barack Obama. She is 69 years now, running against Trump. Read more...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Evidentiality: A cure for Trump’s Pathological Lying

Madeleine Kando

In about a quarter of the world's languages, every statement one makes must specify whether you personally witnessed it, heard it from someone else, or inferred it. It is called ‘evidentiality’. It is the evidence one has for the truth of a given statement. Unfortunately, the English language relies on extra words to show how valid the source is of what someone proclaims: “I heard that…” and “I saw.”

But some languages have this evidentiality baked into their language, so that you cannot just say ‘the car drove off the road’. You have to specify: ‘I saw the car drive off the road’, or ‘I heard him say the car drove off the road’, or ‘I heard the car drive off the road’, etc.

In such a language, when Trump says ‘Hillary deleted emails’, it means that he actually saw her delete them. If he only heard or read about it, it would be impossible for him to say ‘Hillary deleted emails’. Nobody would believe him, since everyone knows he never lived with Hillary and was able to look over her shoulder while she was deleting them. In other words, they make a difference between direct experience, inference and conjecture, and the truth of a statement is measured according to these markers. Read more...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Truth about Hillary's Emails

by Madeleine Kando

Why did Clinton use her own email account?
For convenience.
Her government colleagues knew she was using her private email account to communicate with them.

Was it allowed? 
Yes
It was permitted. Copies had to be sent to the National Archives. They were sent.

Did Clinton use her email to send or receive classified information?
No
Nothing was marked classified. Only after she left office, were some unclassified emails upgraded to classified, prior to public release, to protect national security.

How did Clinton receive and consume classified information?
As hard copy while in the office.
On a separate, closed email system used by the State Department, while traveling.

Is there a criminal inquiry into Clinton’s email use? No Read more...

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Trump Victory would be the Equivalent of an Extinction Level Event



 I am worried that Hillary Clinton may lose the election. Although the revelations about Trump’s sex crimes have been helpful, Hillary remains vulnerable to the daily drip-drip of Wikileaks e-mail releases. Who knows what surprises may yet lurk around the bend.

Here is what is so aggravating: There is no conceivable equivalency between the two candidates. Trump is a reincarnation of Mussolini, a fascist, a psychopathic monster, a sexual predator and a criminal. Clinton is a highly competent and decent human being and politician. There is ZERO equivalency between these two individuals’ misdeeds and character flaws. NONE of the “revelations” which have been demanded from her for the past several YEARS has shown one single serious offense. Not “Benghazi,” not the flap over her use of a private server, not the wikileaks about her Wall Street speeches and communications by the National Democratic Party. She released 30,000 of her e-mails, and deleted 30,000 messages. So? I, too, have dozens of thousands of e-mails. I, too, have deleted dozens of thousands of messages. We all have.
Read more...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Humanity's Future: The Next 25,000 Years



Hi Folks:

About a month ago I let you know about my new book with the above title. At that time, I provided you with a link which enables you to purchase a POD (Print on Demand) copy from Amazon for $9.99. Now, I want you to know that you can also get an electronic version of my book for a mere $2.99 by clicking on the following link: Kindle Store; Humanity’s Future

As I wrote last month, this book is an experiment. Like most people, I grew up on Star Trek in its many generations, Star Wars, and innumerable other science fiction materials, from optimistic classics such as Arthur C. Clarke’s and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 to a variety of apocalyptic prognoses.
Read more...

What we Can Learn from America: An Optimistic Story about the Promised Land

A book review by Madeleine Kando and Tom Kando

Rick Nieman, a Dutch journalist who has lived and studied in the United States, recently published this charming and well-written book about his impressions and views of America. He comes to the conclusion that Holland can learn a lot from the US.

The most significant point in his book is that America, unlike Holland, is a country of 'dreamers'. Not in the sense that Americans have unrealistic hopes for the future. Americans, in fact, are pragmatists and they believe that starting out with nothing, you still can make your life better. They believe in the future.

It is the idea that many things are possible, which is typical of a young country. Nieman compares America to a teenager and Europe to an older uncle, who could learn from his young nephew. America, he says, is a nation that believes in its own power to change the world and itself in it.

What the Dutch admire the most about America is its freedom, both physical and social. This freedom is a result of a long struggle to kick out the British rulers. The Founding Fathers realized that total anarchy would not be a good idea, so they conceded to have some parts of society controlled by a government: Safety and foreign affairs, but not much else. Compare that to Europe’s history where the opposite took place. Bit by bit, the King or Emperor gave their subjects a few freedoms and kept adding to them. Europeans are used to being governed centrally, whereas Americans want self-governance, and minimal meddling from government in their affairs. Read more...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thomas Piketty on Trump

By Madeleine Kando

This is a translation of Piketty’s latest post on his blog. It is important to listen to the opinion of one of the most important economists in the world and how he views the Trump Phenomenon. You can find the original article here: 

In less than two months, the US will have a new president. If Donald Trump wins, it would be a catastrophe for his country and for the world. Racist, vulgar, in love with himself and his fortune, he embodies what is worst in America. And the fact that Hillary Clinton had so much trouble leaving him behind in the polls concerns us all.

Trump's strategy is classic: it convinces the poor white voters, battered by globalization that their enemy is the poor black, the immigrant, the Mexican, the Muslim, and that everything will be better once the great white billionaire gets rid of them.

His strategy is to exacerbate racial and identity conflict so as to avoid the issue of class conflict, which would require him to explain his wealth. This predominance of ethnic divisions plays a central role in the history of the United States, and explains in large part the weakness of solidarity and of the American welfare state. Trump simply pushes this strategy to its limits, but with several major innovations.

First, it is based on an ideology of earned wealth and the sanctification of the market and private property, which reached record highs in the US, in recent decades. This structure of political conflict is spreading in the world, especially in Europe. Everywhere, we see in popular electorates a mixture of xenophobic temptation and resigned acceptance of global laws of capitalism. Since it is unrealistic to expect much of the regulation of finance and multinationals, hitting on immigrants and foreigners is a lot easier, albeit without the prospect of doing us much good. Many Trump or Le Pen voters are convinced that it is easier to attack immigrants than the financial system or even imagine an alternative economic system to capitalism.

Faced with this deadly threat, the response of the left and center is hesitant. Sometimes it is to align the dominant rhetoric of identity (as illustrated by the sad example of the French controversy on the burkini, fueled by a Prime Minister who claims to be Progressive). Or, more often, to abandon the lower and middle classes to their fate, themselves often guilty of voting against their own interests (or not voting at all) and to under-finance their political campaigns, making them dependent on a few rich donors.

Thus the parties of the left and center are found to promote themselves as the cult of market-kings, differentiating themselves from the populist right only by defending, at least formally, racial and cultural equality. This allows them to retain the votes of minorities and immigrants, while losing much of the indigenous working class, the most disadvantaged, who must increasingly turn to the best equipped in the world market for protection.

The challenge is immense, and nobody has a miracle solution. In the United States, In 2008 Hillary Clinton was supportive of a more ambitious social progress than Barack Obama, on universal health insurance, for example. Today, with the weariness in the Clinton dynasty, the fees received from Goldman Sachs, the time spent with donors to her husband, she appears more and more as the candidate of the establishment. She must now show the supporters of Sanders and demonstrate to the electorate that she is best placed to improve their lot. This involves proposals on the minimum wage, public education and tax justice. Several Democratic leaders have pushed her to finally announce strong measures on the taxation of multinationals and the largest fortunes. She could find justification for this in the recent EU decision to charge Apple for its Irish profits, which would also allow her to oppose the conservative position of the US Treasury and the financial community (who dream only of a tax amnesty for repatriated profits of multinationals).

The best solution would be if Europe imposed a significant minimum tax - at least 25% or 30% - on the profits of European and US multinationals. Such talk would show a genuine willingness to change our approach to globalization. If companies like Apple and others have obviously brought the world considerable innovations, the truth is that these giants could not have emerged without decades of public research and community facilities, benefiting from lower tax rates). This would require transparency and political courage. The time has come for Hilary Clinton to step up to the plate. leave comment here Read more...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Real Red Riding Hood

by Madeleine Kando

I just spent two weeks in Little Red Riding Hood's house. It is as tiny as you imagined it, reading about her in those children's books. It sits at the end of a country lane, in the middle of the 'polders' in the Northern tip of Holland, since this is where Red Riding Hood has moved to in her golden years. She still wears her red cape, but only when she goes out in the windy Dutch weather. It gives her silvery grey hair, of which she is particularly proud, an extra shiny appearance. She hasn’t grown much since you read about her, but her hips and thighs betray her age; they have settled in a comfortable voluptuousness, which actually gives her a specially endearing appearance.

The bricks on Little Red Riding Hood’s house are painted white with all the window trims a bright shade of red. The tiles on the roof are the color of fresh squeezed oranges, matching the bricks that form a little path around her house.

A large chestnut tree is standing guard, so close to the house, that its large leaves brush against the windows, as if to say 'don't worry Little Red Riding Hood, I'll protect you when the Northern wind comes.’ But sometimes it is the wind that wins the battle, pelting the orange roof with large chestnuts that it has ripped off this beautiful, old tree. Read more...