.

The Big City Press (N. Y. Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Atlantic Monthly, etc.) has been falling all over itself portraying the first weeks of the Trump Administration as Chaos or Dysfunction.  They can find nothing being done by the Trump Administration that measures up to the wonderful job done by Mr. Obama and his Administration in its early weeks in office.

An example:

In today’s Washington Post, E.J. Dionne, Jr. has an Op-Ed that states that Trump is unfit to lead.  His opening shot is that the Michael Flynn resignation was not just a terrible choice but showed a total lack of vetting.  How could Mr. Trump appoint someone who had lied to his Vice President about National Security matters?  He implied that Mr. Trump was, at best, a very poor decision maker and a bad judge of character.  Dionne goes on to say that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should immediately recuse himself from all investigations to do with Russia, just because he was chosen by Mr. Trump who Dionne says is in bed with Russia.

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It would be interesting to read Mr. Dionne’s op-ed about Mr. Obama’s choice for National Intelligence Council Chair in 2009, Charles Freeman.  You will remember Mr. Freeman who had worked for (was on it’s Board) the Chinese Government-owned Chinese National Offshore Oil Company and who had lobbied extensively for Saudi-Arabia.  Oh, wait.  Dionne never wrote such an op-ed.  It was apparently fine for an Obama appointee to be in bed with the Chinese Communists and the Saudis.

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It would be similarly interesting to see Mr. Dionne’s op-ed asking Loretta Lynch, Mr. Obama’s Attorney General, to recuse herself from the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s pay-to-play scheme and email scandal while Clinton was Secretary of State.  You will remember that Lynch and Bill Clinton had a timely discussion just prior to Lynch making a decision that was very beneficial to Mrs. Clinton.  Again, Mr. Dionne saw no evil there, either.

What about Tom Daschle?  He was the Obama appointee for Health and Human Services who somehow neglected to pay more than $140,000 of taxes.

Or, Timothy Geithner who was actually confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury and served in the position for 4 years?  Geithner somehow forgot to pay his Social Security Taxes for years (inspite of being advised to do so and being given extra compensation for that purpose).  Geithner was also in the thick of the banking crisis that set up the 2008 recession and profited greatly from the rules he backed.  Dionne did comment about that: “All of the administration’s critics are being emboldened by its hesitancy in dealing with the banking question and its apparent fear of temporary bank nationalization. On this issue, the president genuinely is trying to steer a moderate course.”  Moderate?  To appoint a tax cheat and one of the bankers at the heart of the crisis?  Imagine, if you can, Dionne saying about Mr. Trump, “…the president genuinely is trying to steer a moderate course.”

Or, Bill Richardson who was appointed to run Commerce.  He was not nicknamed “Dollar” Bill for nothing.  He had a history of accepting outsized political donations from people who sought favors (mostly State contracts) in return.  He finally withdrew, or was asked to withdraw, after over a month as the appointee.

Dionne did not, to my knowledge, decry any of these gaffs.  He did not claim Mr. Obama was “unfit”.  In fact, Dionne wrote in his recent book, We are the Change We seek: “Despite his fervent campaign promise to ease the country’s political divisions, he discovered that he faced a Republican opposition intent on taking back power by stymieing his program, challenging his mandate to govern, (emphasis mine) and leaving his dreams of harmony stillborn.”

Why such a different view?  Perspective.  Mr. Dionne and much of the Big City Press backed Mrs. Clinton.  They were out of touch with the heart of the country and they are sore losers.  They will continue to cherry pick the news and harp on the evils of Donald Trump, much as they cherry picked the news and wrote glowing reports of Mr. Obama and his actions.

The facts show that every administration has some missteps and some successes as they get started.  Mr. Dionne’s conclusion that Mr. Trump is “Unfit to Serve” is provably biased and, at best, premature.  Mr. Dionne and the Left learned nothing from the Right’s “Birther Movement” and show their inability to be unbiased observers and reporters with every stroke of their pens.  They should take a deep breath and, for once, try to be reporters of the truth, not just hacks using their pulpit to push their political views.

 

…to anything outside of their silo.  And, I don’t mean colorblind.  The left is anything but colorblind.

It has been said that the media, the pollsters, and the political left were shocked by the U.S. Presidential Election because they wear blinders.  It is said they only see what fits their worldview.  Of course, that can be said of almost anyone.   However, for the past eight years, the left has reinforced its own belief that anything that does not fit its view is stupid (remember the uneducated ‘deplorables’), or racist, or homophobic, or sexist, etc.,etc.

I received the cartoon below from a friend recently.  I wonder if, eight years ago, you were to have replaced the images of Mr. and Mrs. Obama in the cartoon with those of George and Laura Bush, what would have been the reaction.  My guess is that there would have been an amazing uproar about the racism of cartoonist Gustavo Viselner, by the same people who laugh at this and see it as a fairly benign political cartoon.

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Ten years ago yesterday, Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco and introduced the iPhone.  The world has changed dramatically since and because of that introduction.  Here is a link to the video of the full introduction:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hUIxyE2Ns8&feature=youtu.be

Save this video for when you have a little over an hour and would otherwise watch a movie.    It is as good a documentary movie as you will watch.

Apple misses Steve Jobs.  Who knows what other changes the world would have seen had he lived to envision those changes?

Eliminate the Cent, Mr. Trump

Eliminate the Cent, Mr. Trump

A good friend of mine, Mark, is very optimistic, as am I, for Mr. Trump’s opportunity to make positive changes.  He thinks there is a lot of low hanging fruit that can be done quickly to set the tone.  His only concern is that the press will not report it.

Mr. Trump, here is the very first thing you should do:

Eliminate the U. S. Cent (legal name for the lowly penny) as legal tender.  It costs anywhere from 1.5¢ to 2.5¢ to make so that is enough reason to dump the cent (it loses taxpayers about $50 Million annually).  Add to that the cost to all who use it in making change, counting the till at the end of the day, not to mention the back pain for geezers like me when we stoop to pick up pennies in front of the 7-11.

So why do we still make pennies?  I can think of 3 reasons: 1 – We are very bad at math (see my post here); 2 – There is so much of our culture built around the cent that we can’t give it up (“a penny for your thoughts”, “…not a red cent”, “a penny saved, a penny earned”……): 3 – Lobbying dollars to support political campaigns.  Jarden Zinc Products is the sole supplier to the U.S. Mint of the clad copper metal used to make the U.S. Cent.  It is rumored that if a congressman needs some quick donations, one way is to propose the elimination of the cent.  Jarden Zinc Products, it is said, will offer the congressman a nice donation if he drops the idea, forever.

If Jarden in fact (I have no proof) has a monopoly and is willing to pay elected officials for the privilege of keeping that monopoly (no proof here either, just rumor), this is exactly the type of corruption that Mr. Trump should send packing immediately.  What a nice symbolic move it would be to embarrass Congress into dropping the penny forever.  And it would save about $50 Million a year – chump change for the U.S.Government, but real money to the rest of us.

When the Brexit vote was predicted as a sure win for the “Remain” coalition and the actual vote was to “Leave” by a healthy margin, the stage was set for what happened at the polls in the USA on November 8th, 2016.  The Brexit vote showed that the elites in Britain, those who run major bureaucracies/institutions and who run the government were out of touch with the majority of the people.  In particular, the media was out of touch.

I think that the U.S. Presidential Election followed the same pattern, with a twist.  The media did its best to convince everyday Americans that Hillary Clinton was going to win in an historic landslide.  In so doing, they convinced themselves of the same result.  Part of the problem was that fewer and fewer people read, listen to, or watch the “mainstream media” and fewer still believe what the see, hear and read.  They were far off the mark because they had elevated themselves above the masses and could not see or hear how the masses actually felt.
hillary-loser-1024x683

The twist?  The Democrats had chosen an almost unelectable candidate.  Clinton has a colorful history, in particular as to her understanding of the word “truth.”  She was untrusted and disliked by the vast majority of all adults.  Her almost saving grace was that she was pitted against a man with negatives almost as high as her own.  The press did Mrs. Clinton’s work deflecting the bad news, attacking Mr. Trump’s character, and running stories at the bidding of the Clinton Campaign.  And, in doing so, the media convinced themselves that she was the best candidate and had the support of the majority of Americans.  They saw those things that reinforced their view.  They created and saw polls that bore out their belief.  They dismissed as crazy all evidence to the contrary.

deceive-yourself-kierkegaard

Mrs. Clinton was gracious in her consession speech but was clearly still unsettled after the ‘shocking’ loss.  She too, had read too many of her press releases turned news stories and had believed them.  I think until a week ago she was measuring the draperies in the White House.  I hope her concession speech was sincere in stating her desire to work with all parties for the betterment of America.  I fear she is no more believable now than she was on the campaign trail.  I do not think this loss has relieved her of her lust for power, the same lust for power the American Electorate saw and rejected.

I’m writing this on Election Day, November 8th.  It seems appropriate to give thanks every day to veterans of military service.  Somehow, it seems even more appropriate when a nation is free to elect its leaders as we are today.  Like the bumper sticker reads “If you Voted today, Thank a Veteran.”

v-day-16

First, let’s get the big question out of the way.  Why do I say “Reasons to Vote Against…”?  Simple.  Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump qualify as almost nobody’s ideal candidate.  There is near universal agreement that both parties chose candidates that do their image no favors.  But, it is, what it is, and we must now choose one of these two to be our next President.  So the purpose of this post is just to lay out probable consequences of that choice.

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What a vote for Clinton will likely mean (this list is based not on what Hillary says but on her past actions and associations):

  1.  The status quo – she has been part of the Establishment for more than 30 years.  It is in her best interest to keep things as they are –  why would she change a system that has made her and her family worth hundreds of millions of dollars?
  2. Continued or even increased obscurity of government actions – Hillary’s history is one of hiding from public view anything that she thinks could work against her.  A vote for Hillary is a vote for the antithesis of “transparency” in government.  There was a reason why she illegally  destroyed 30,000 emails and it wasn’t because she wanted transparency in government.
  3. Abuse of Government power (the Bully Pulpit) to increase the wealth and power of the Clinton Foundation as a way of funneling wealth to Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton.  It has been called Pay-to-Play.  When Bill was President, you could sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom if you donated enough to the Democrats.  When Hillary was Secretary of State, she arranged for access to high government officials in return for large donations to the Clinton Foundation.
  4. Continued erosion of the American dream.  The more that Democrats control government and use government giveaways to buy votes, the more of your hard-earned money will go to government programs.  This equates to fewer opportunities for people who want to work.  If you need examples, look to any city that has been run by Democrats for the past 25 years, like Detroit (since ’62), Chicago (since ’31), Philadelphia (since ’52), etc.  This is Hillary’s background and would be her future path.
  5. More government paperwork for day to day activities.  Do you want to open a bank account, buy or sell a house, enter into a contract to repair your car?  Each of these things and a multitude of others will become more regulated, more complex, and will be accompanied by more extensive paperwork.  The establishment has found that if you can be kept busy, you won’t have time to look carefully at what it is doing to you.  Just consider your federal income taxes.  In 1966 (50 years ago) the instruction to fill out your form 1040 to accompany your payment of federal taxes was 20 pages long and most people filed taxes without the need of a CPA.  Today, the 1040 instructions run 105 pages and only one third of taxpayers do their own.  This increased complexity and paperwork is a true tax on all of us.  It is a time tax.  You are being deprived of your right to spend your time as you choose.
  6. More bureaucratic overreach as Mrs. Clinton would use government agencies to bend things to her will.  Think about the IRS audits of conservative groups at a rate 3-4 times as great as the number of audits of “progressive” groups.  This is the sort of activity used by the current administration and admired by Clinton.  We will see more of this.
  7. Further control over business activities.  This is in the form of things like Obamacare that mandate costly programs for private enterprise that reduce the efficiency of U.S. companies.
  8. Higher taxes, especially on businesses.  This in turn will cause businesses to reduce staff to pay the higher tax load.  That means losses of jobs.  Most businesses are either Subchapter S, LLC or sole proprietor businesses.  That means that their profits, the profits needed to reinvest in the business, are considered income for the business owner.  Higher taxes on these business owners will mean less investment in businesses and therefore fewer jobs.  Mrs. Clinton’s complete lack of understanding of this is a huge danger to our economy.  If I were more cynical, I would say she completely understands this and wants to punish business and create more unemployed people whom she can control through federal giveaway programs.
  9. Supreme Court Justices who believe the Constitution is a living document and should be warped to the views of the current leaders of the country.  If you think there is too much political correctness now, just wait until the Supreme Court has a 25 year run as a reliable Liberal rubber stamp for policies like those of Clinton and Obama.
  10. Further racial divide.  Mr. Obama has presided over the biggest increase in racial strife that we have ever seen.  Now, Mrs. Clinton would add a war between the sexes.  Again, it’s divide and conquer.  The more people she will be able to keep busy with animosity toward others, the eiser it is to hide what you are doing to them.
  11. Further corrosion of our culture and our morals.  She is very clear that she has no respect for the sanctity of life.  She would increase government programs to help people abort babies not save them.  She, much like the Obamas have done, would continue to glamorize sex and the demeaning of women in our music, our film, art.
  12. She would work steadily, as has Mr. Obama, to undermine our national sovereignty and move us to a “global” economy and government.  She wants to break down borders.  She wants to have free trade but will not enforce violations.  She will make and support trade agreements that give all advantage to others. If you doubt this or any of the above, just look at Mr. Obama’s record and and ask yourself where she disagrees with Mr. Obama.
  13. This is just a small list.  It is too depressing to write more.

 

awesome-donald-trump-wallpaper

What a vote for Trump will likely mean (this list is based on what Mr. Trump has said, and his past actions):

  1.  Wall Street Will Be Scared for two or three months until they remember that a President can only do as much damage as the Congress and the Courts will let him.  Our government is one than changes slowly and almost requires that all three elements (Justice, Congress, Executive) be in agreement.
  2. The Establishment Will Be Scared.  Change is the enemy of the Establishment.  The rich and powerful have learned to live within the current rules which they have molded to their advantage.  They like things the way they are because they have prospered and had their way.  Many of the changes Mr. Trump has outlined would threaten their ability to keep their advantage and their power.  If there are fewer funds to give to constituents, that hurts incumbents.  If there are fewer barriers to entry into business or politics, that is a competitive thread to those now in power.
  3. Foreign Powers will be scared, especially those who have been working the USA to help feather their own nests.  They don’t want to have to pay for any more of their defense than they do now.  They don’t want to give up subsidies, aid, or our good will.  They fear if demanded to pay their share of things like the U.N., they will lose good will and the money that props up their social programs.  They would also not be sure what the USA was going to do in trade or military actions months in advance like they do now.
  4. There will be voter ID required.  Mr. Trump would move to reduce fraud in our voter roles and our actual voting by requiring identification in order to register to vote or to vote – just like it is required to rent a car, open a bank account, cross a border into another country.  This is not an act of racial discrimination but an act of common sense.
  5. There will be less government control of our lives.  For example, Obamacare will be radically changed.  We will stop subsidizing prescription drugs for the rest of the world (we pay more for the drugs than any other country even though most are developed and made here).  The tax code will begin to be simplified.
  6. The Court will be more conservative than if Hillary is elected.  It will respect the Constitution.
  7. Political Correctness will begin to abate and the Racial divide will slowly be reduced as people have work and faith in the future.
  8. The economy will improve.  Making the use of tax dollars more effective and more oriented toward infrastructure will create more jobs rather than encourage people not to work.  Decreasing taxes means more money is left for people to use as they wish rather than giving it to the politicians and bureaucrats to spend as they wish.
  9. Government will be more transparent.  No longer will unemployment of 16% be reported (as it is now) as 5%.  No longer will the IRS be used as a tool to suppress the other party.
  10. We will again have a border that will allow us to maintain our sovereignty.  Part of the effort to reduce terrorism and drug imports requires borders.  The current administration has proven and a Clinton administration promises to continue to underfund border control.

I have missed a lot of things, but, this all boils down to the following:

If you vote for Mrs. Clinton you will get more of what you have had for the past 8 years.  If you vote for Mr. Trump it will be somewhat different.

We have no way to prove that Mrs. Clinton will do what she has done in the past but that is more likely than it is that she will do what she promises in her campaign.  We have no way to be sure that Mr. Trump will accomplish what he promises in his campaign, but based on his past actions, he will value life more than Mrs. Clinton has and he will negotiate better than she has.  He will not allow the USA to be used by most of the rest of the world, as it has been for the past many years under weak leadership.

trumpclinton

Assume the worst about both candidates:

Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar, a threat to our National Security, a pay-to-play politician willing to sell access to anyone in government for the right price, is willing to destroy any woman who threatens her husband or her political future, etc., etc., etc.

Donald Trump is unqualified to be President, is crude and dismissive of women, has fondled half the women he has met, has been bankrupt himself and will do the same to our country, etc., etc., etc.

This presidential campaign has become the biggest schoolyard shouting match in history, and, like kids yelling insults, much of what is said is false and/or misleading.  So what can you believe and who should you choose?

Most people are holding their nose and making a choice.

Here is what I believe to be true and how I plan to vote:

  1.  Hillary is an egoist.  She will do whatever she believes serves her self interest.  Any failure will be hidden from public view or rationalized as having been caused by others or by conspiracies against her.  The egoist puts herself and her desires above all else. She believes she can get away with any action legal or illegal.  She believes she is above the law and above those she would rule.  She is more likely to destroy others than to build herself.
  2. Trump is an egotist.  He will do whatever he believes will enhance a positive view of him.  Any failure will drive him to do something to make him look so good that people forget the failure and see only his success.  The egotist puts his image above other concerns.  He is more likely to pose with a beauty queen than to destroy one to prove his power.
  3. Egoist vs. Egotist.  It is an important distinction.
  4. Donald Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party because he is not part of the political establishment.  Period.  For the most part, those who backed hims did not care if Trump was a brilliant businessman or not, whether he had a concrete plan to improve fix any of the ills of our federal government or not, whether he employed more female executives than anyone in his industry or not, whether he saw women as objects to be manipulated or not.  All that mattered to a large numbers of citizens was that for the past 40 years (covers the political lifetime of most voters) an elite cabal of political functionaries has taken effective control over the lives of most Americans.  A large and growing number of people are sick and tired of being used by their political “betters” and want to see change.  At this point, the desire for change is great enough that many feel that any change away from the self-serving, ego-driven, aloof politicians, regardless of party affiliation, will be for the better.  Trump may be ego-driven.  He may feel he is better than the rest of us (just like most politicians do, especially the Clintons).  He is not, however, seen to be part of the current “ruling elite”, not part of the establishment.
  5. There are a lot of people who resent Hillary Clinton for getting away with crimes that would put the rest of us in jail.  They don’t like being told what to do by people who have never really “done” anything except tell others what to do.
  6. Like a majority of those who voted for Brexit, I think the American public is getting fed up with being governed by condescending, self-interested politicians.  As a result, they could well vote for any “non-establishment” option.
  7.  The national media are part of the establishment.  They are working hard to preserve the status quo.  They live in a world that is oblivious to the feelings and concerns of “average Americans.”  As a result, like in the U.K. during the run-up to the Brexit Vote, their sheltered viewpoint blinds the media to the real feelings of the majority of Americans.  They are out of touch.  People don’t know who to believe, but they are certain that national media have an agenda and are not to be believed.

It has been said often that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity.  I think many are willing to risk most anything to see if we can’t break the cycle.  People want less government control and they want more efficiency out of their government.  They don’t want to be led by people who break the law.  They will vote against the “Establishment”.  They will vote against “more of the same.”  I will.

stick-it

It’s 1776 in America again.  The King rules in his own self interest and that of his fellow ruling elites without concern for the lives of his subjects.  Most people put up with the rule of a tyrant who lives in a far away capital.  They do so for one reason – inertia.  The more abusive and capricious the rule of the King and his ruling elite friends, the more he lives off the work of the people, the more he stacks the deck for his friends, the more resigned his subjects become ….. to a point.  At some point, tolerating the status quo begins to look as dangerous as rebelling against it.   A revolution is brewing.

The Loyalists, those whose stature, power and privilege give them a vested interest in continuing the King’s rule, are beginning to worry that the Revolutionists could actually upset their apple cart.

It appears the backers of Hillary Clinton, those who benefit most from the status quo, are running scared.  The Loyalists saw the Brexit vote and it scared them to death.  They just don’t understand.  How could all those “little people” wield so much power?  Privilege is ours, not theirs, the Loyalists believe.  The Elites rationalize every lie, every misdeed, every crime, all for fear of losing their status.  To every exposé of the corrupt practices of the ruling elite they react by deflecting to another subject or by using another lie that their “journalist” friends will legitimize.  They refuse to answer questions about significant issues.  They sling mud and bring the debate to the lowest level.  They pretend that every fact, not in their favor, is a part of a vast conspiracy.  They refuse to accept the reality that the ruling elite of our country have weakened our economy, our ethics, our culture, and our position in the world.  The Loyalists want things to continue on, just as they are so that they can retain their privilege.

It seems to me that a majority of the people are fed up.  They are tired of a double standard.  They are tired of the debasing of our society.  They are tired of each new incentive for people to work less while those who must work harder are ever more taxed and regulated.  Most are now willing to gamble that if is worth risk of some things being broken if the eventual result is a more free, honest and prosperous country for all, not just the elites.

Ronald Reagan asked the right question, “….are you better off than you were four years ago?…”  I think many people today are asking a variation of that question, answering “No” and concluding that we can’t continue on our current path.  If that is true, the current privileged class could be in for a rude awakening this election day.

frenchintellectuals

 

 

 

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