The Clinton Standard

Since when did the Clintons become the standard for propriety in politics? The latest news is that Hillary Clinton intervened to keep an accused of sexual harasser on her staff when he was about to fired. The implication is that the #metoo crowd should back off, because even Hillary tolerated harassers.

Well, duh. She’s the person who excused her husband when he cheated on her with a young intern named Lewinsy.  In fact, she aggressively defended him.

But here is the thing. The Republicans have spent the last 30 years telling us how corrupt and slimy the Clintons are. So telling us that even the Clintons cheat, lie, steal, etc. is not the best way to say that it is ok to do it. We are not really talking about Ghandi or Mother Terresa here.

The truth is that the Clintons are an excellent straw man. Bill is an admitted adulterer / harasser yet has high approval ratings – ergo, other harassers that aren’t as popular also should be able to get away with it.

Hillary doesn’t have Bill’s high approval ratings, but she is living in some kind of alternate reality. She fancies herself a politician and is easily drawn into the fray. But the truth is that she is a great policy wonk but a terrible politician, constantly making decisions without understanding how they will play out politically, such as defending harassers or ignoring advice not to use a personal email server.

The best thing she could do for the Democrats would be to declare that she is a flawed individual who should not be a standard for anything, and fade away from politics. A true politician would realize this. Unfortunately, she is not a politician.

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Where’s My Purse?

Getting ready to go out with a friend yesterday, she was frantically looking for her backpack purse. “Did you see it? I hope I didn’t leave it somewhere . . .”

I let her search for a few more minutes before I kindly pointed out that it was on her back.purse

“Ohhh. Hmm. Ok, ready to go now.”

I have seen this movie before, but it still makes me laugh.

 

The Self-Driving Future: Part 4

So I am driving down the highway in my self driving car and the driver in the next lane pulls a bonehead lane change. We crash. Who is liable?

Of course the self driving car should be smart enough to avoid bonehead moves by other drivers? But how smart? What will the standard be?

On the one hand, the self driving car would probably have a camera recording everything that happens around it, and would be able to show the cops and insurance company the reckless and probably illegal move the other car made that ‘could not be avoided’.

On the other hand, the manual driver might say, “Look, maybe it was an idiot move, but people make idiot moves all the time – that’s part of driving. An alert driver would have been able to avoid an accident and your self driving car is obviously not as good as an alert manual driver.” Sue the manufacturer.

Inventively there will be horror stories in the press about people with unexpected hits on their insurance due to self-driving crashes. Eventually, the government, the lawyers and the insurance companies will work it out. But until they do, look for many folks to be reluctant to turn on the autopilot.

 

Trump Will Lie To Mueller

At some point over the next few months, President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller will have a conversation. Each will be accompanied by a phalanx of lawyers. Mueller and his team will ask questions. Trump, guided by his team, will answer. And then Trump will throw in a few lies.

It is certain that Trump will lie? No, but the odds are pretty good, and here’s why.

  1. He has done it before. Trump has been in court many times. He is familiar with testifying and has told many lies and misleading statements in the past
  2. He doesn’t believe he is lying. Trump is a narcissistic pathological liar, in other words he believes his lies because they are part of his self image.
  3. Even if he knows he is lying, he feels that as president he can do whatever he wants. Trump probably believes it is his right and duty to lie in the right circumstances, and a vindictive witch hunt by Mueller is one of those circumstances.
  4. He doesn’t see any downside to getting caught lying. The president can always pardon himself from committing perjury, right? Even if that doesn’t work, what’s the worst that can happen? He’s the guy that could get away with shooting someone in Times Square. They certainly aren’t going to impeach him for a lie or two. If they try, there will literally be blood in the streets – his people will never take an impeachment attempt lying down.

Mueller probably knows that he will never take Trump down. But he can take his company and business associates down. When he uncovers the full nature of the money laundering and side deals that Trump, Inc. has been involved in with the Russians and firms like Deutsche Bank it is going to get mighty uncomfortable to be in business with or as a Trump.

Google Steals Your Face

A few years ago, Google came out with an Arts and Culture app that gave users access to artwork from a multitude of worldwide museums. Want to see paintings or sculptures? Here’s your app.

In the past month, Google added a new feature to the app. Upload your face and it will try to find a ‘match’ with a piece of art. Want to tell your friends that you look like a famous painting? Google can help.

Of course, one has to remember the first rule of the internet: When the service is free, the product is you. Google gives you a ‘match’ (most of the ones I’ve seen are pretty iffy) to a museum piece and you give them a face to add to their database. They then analyze your facial characteristics with your search habits, browsing habits, shopping habits, email habits and any other habit they can get their greedy little tentacles on to figure out what you should be seeing, doing, buying, etc.

If the National Security Agency or the FBI tried to collect this kind of information there would be huge outrage. But in exchange for a little social media fun, it looks like millions of people will voluntarily give it up to Google. What ever happened to “Don’t be Evil”?

Who’s A Racist?

Donald Trump doesn’t consider himself a racist, and by his definition he is probably correct. Trump’s picture of a racist is someone that belongs to the KKK, looks for black people to harass or worse and tells bigoted jokes regularly. Since none of those apply to him, he is therefore not a racist. Heck, he even has a black person in his cabinet.

Trump’s views of minorities and have-nots were probably shaped during the months that he worked on crews in his father’s construction business. His roll models were blue collar, working class white men. They likely held a hard day’s work in high esteem, welfare and handouts in low esteem, ogled the ladies and had little use for affirmative action and similar programs, especially they negatively impacted their job eligibility.

Trump understands these guys and knows how to communicate with them, which is why he won the election. Few of these men, if any, considered themselves racist and neither does Trump. Sure, some of these guys are prejudiced, but in Trump’s experience their hearts are good, which is why he makes excuses for them.

As far as Trump is concerned, there shouldn’t be any question that Haiti is a shithole. It’s full of slums and the closest thing the Western Hemisphere has to a failed state, right? Too bad he is ignorantly oblivious to how prejudiced he sounds when he calls black countries shitholes.

And therein lies the truth. Trump is not a racist. He is a clueless bigot.