Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

After the burial

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

The election was called about three hours ago, but the result was obvious almost from the start, when the first returns started to come in.

Hats off to my friend Doug. Months ago, he called it. He pointed at the Brexit and gasped, and then he closely tracked what was coming, with mounting alarm. I owe him dinner. I wish I could feel good about his winning the point. (He doesn’t feel good about it either.)

I’m already over my anger and my sadness. Life goes on tomorrow. If we’re going to have a global recession because of this, as is the hot topic at the moment, I refuse to contribute to it. I’m going to get up tomorrow and fight for my little corner of the economy just like every other day.

I also won’t root against President-elect Trump. Yes, it’s hard to even write the title; I loathe him. But what I did like was his victory speech. It was completely unexpected in tone, being  generous of spirit, and just what we needed, in calling for people to come together. I hope we’ll see more of that. I will oppose him and his positions when I disagree, which will be almost all the time, but I have to hope for him to succeed. You see, I live with him. So do you. So does everyone else on the planet. So we must hope for the best.

What little anger I have left, after this long and exhausting and disgusting national contest, is directed at the media who made billions of dollars off the Trump campaign before finally approaching it as a serious candidacy, and, especially, at many of the elders in the Democratic party. Two years ago, I said to many of those people, “Ready for Hillary?!?!? NO, I’m not ready for Hillary. I want an actual contest with actual primaries.”  But party elders worked to clear the field for her — and here we are. Eight years ago, she was beaten by an inexperienced and (let me say it) black man, against all odds — and then this year was almost beaten by an elderly, socialist, Jewish Senator from Vermont with almost zero track record of success. And tonight she was beaten by a misogynistic, profiteering tyro with no understanding of the job requirements. So you know who I’m blaming right now? The Democrats who actively discouraged an actual contest and pushed the nomination of an unpopular candidate with a history of blowing a lead.

But the dirt is already on that coffin. And after the burial, life goes on.

Goodbye, 538; I guess you couldn’t count

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016


I’m sharing this, from FiveThirtyEight.com — back from yesterday, which now seems like a millennium ago, back when 538 still had a relevant business model. As of 2 minutes ago, they’re the new Pets.com.


Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

I voted weeks ago.

So Donald Trump’s extremely compelling last-minute argument that he’d just make everything great unfortunately came too late.

Election eve prediction

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Having read the latest polls, I can now confidently make this prediction:

When all the counting is done tomorrow night, I will have just as many votes in the electoral college as Gary Johnson and Jill Stein COMBINED. And I didn’t have to make an ass of myself to do it.

Imperfect settings

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Donald Trump, as someone who doesn’t pay his bills, and who denies saying just about anything he’s said, knows a thing or two about falsehood, cheating, lying, and manipulation. He’d fit right in at these 6 Infamous Places of Political Corruption.

The scariest thing I’ve heard this Halloween season

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

On Saturday night, my wife and I went to a Halloween costume party. I knew one or two of her friends a little bit, but got to meet a lot of smart, interesting people — who were dressed up as Alice from Wonderland, a pair of breasts, a secretary from “Mad Men,” and so forth. It was a low-key affair with food, drinks and conversation. I had two beers then switched to water, so the wife could drink whatever she wanted and I could drive us both home if needed.

Long after most people had left, a new guest showed up. He was a youngish black guy, friendly, but not wearing a costume. He brought up politics — the issue I had strenuously avoided all night — when he loudly announced that he couldn’t vote for the “warmonger” Hillary Clinton, and so he was going to vote for… Jill Stein.

Then he proceeded to tell us why.

For the record, Jill Stein is a whackadoodle who supports all sorts of discredited anti-science theories. She opposes vaccination, but supports debunked “alternative therapy” medical treatments, which is especially distressing for a medical doctor, and doesn’t show the slightest understanding of how our economy or our national security systems work.

As he went on in his fervor for Jill Stein, he also wandered into other conspiracy theories, fashionable and not. If you hadn’t heard that the Rothschilds control the world; that the FDA is poisoning us as part of an experiment, or that (somehow) Mummer Gaddafi had had something to do with most of that (?) that you were just uninformed.

I couldn’t help drawing him out. I started asking questions, and getting straight-faced answers. Whenever I gently tried to rebut something, he replied that anything I said was just “philosophy.” “No,” I said, “it’s a fact. I live in the fact-based universe.” “There are no facts,” he said, “just philosophy.”

By this point, my wife was making serious frowning faces at me and jerking her head toward the door. But I wanted to hear more.

“I’ll tell you a fact,” I said. “If you put your hand in there–” I pointed to the fire pit we were sitting around — “it’ll burn. That’s a fact.”

“That’s philosophy!” he said.

I asked him to define “philosophy,” but he couldn’t.

I have to say, he never grew belligerent, and he seemed like a friendly, if animated, guy. He kept checking to make sure that we were okay — even while everyone else around the circle grew very uneasy at this exchange. At one point when he was afraid he’d overstepped because he caught my wife’s strained face, he leaned over to give me a friendly fist bump to show solidarity, even though he was somewhere in the eighth dimension and I was still on planet Earth.

Finally, when he said that Bill and Hillary Clinton had eight “hurricane machines” strategically positioned at various places around the globe, a young woman near me leaned in and said, “WHAAT? Why  would they do that?!?” Right-o, because the Clintons, if self-serving, would never wantonly damage their property.

At some point, I grew tired of talking to him. As the proverb goes, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.” My fun exhausted, I agreed to leave when my wife strenuously suggested it again.

In the car, I said to her, “He seems like a nice guy. He’s not stupid — he’s done a lot of research and a lot of reading, just all of it bad. He’s just terribly misinformed.” Here was a guy who had seemingly read every crackpot theory on the internet, I told her — and believed all of them.

My wife looked at me. “You just met 75% of American voters.”

And that, less than two weeks before the election, was the scariest thing I’ve heard this Halloween season.

A yuge amount of money, just yuge

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Twice, this piece on Politico says that a conservative PAC is spending “$500,000 million” on just this one GOP Congresswoman’s re-election. That’s… um… half a trillion dollars. Or, as I think of it: even more money than Trump lost in any given even year.

(Update:  They’ve corrected it. Now the PAC is spending “only” $500,000 — to protect a GOP House member in normally ultra-red Utah.)

Fucking red letter day

Saturday, October 8th, 2016



Today, on its front page, the New York Times printed the word “fuck.” And the word “pussy,” of course.

Prediction: Before this election is over, we’ll be seeing the word “cumshot” on the front pages of newspapers, and the only debate will be people like me arguing over its spelling.

The past two years has shown that all of this is certainly a good way to pick the leader of the free world. Just judge by the result so far.

The LAST person to defend Trump

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Yes, I watched the debate last night. Then dug in for an enjoyable evening of reading comments on Facebook and Twitter. Yee haw.

This morning, a friend of mine posted this on FB:

“Believe me, when I say I am the LAST person to defend Trump, but to everyone that is focusing their energy on mocking him for saying ‘Bigly,’ go back and listen again (if you can stomach it). I could be wrong, but I think he’s saying ‘Big League.’ ”

I’m not going to defend “bigly” — which is not in Webster’s New World Dictionary or Webster’s New World College Dictionary, which I consider the sources for proving (or disproving) such matters; however, I should note that “big lie” is in there, and perhaps that’s what Trump was fishing for. Of course.

But, going to the heart of the matter while parsing the language, I still don’t think my too-generous friend is on firm ground.

  • Because I think the LAST person to defend Trump would be one of those ex-wives.
  • Next-to-last would be all those vendors he screwed.
  • Then it would be all the employees and all the lenders shafted in his six bankruptcies.
  • Then it would be his GOP rivals who didn’t cave.
  • Then Bill, then Hillary, then Chelsea.

(I’m sure I’m forgetting others.)

Comparatively, and with all due respect, by the time it gets to my friend, he’s practically a supporter.



About walls

Friday, September 23rd, 2016


“Walls are for hiding behind. Americans don’t hide.” So says my friend the writer and performer and patriot Ernest Kearney. Check it out here.