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.



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.





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Brexit – Why did the Brits Vote to Leave?

The answer to that question is not a simple one and must take into account a myriad of different things.  However, we can get a good insight by looking at one simple item of news today.

The European Commission has decided that Apple owes almost $15 Billion in back taxes to Ireland.  You would think that Ireland would love that.  But it’s not the case.  Here’s why:

Corporate taxes in Ireland are about 12.5% vs. the 35% average in the USA.  That, and an educated and less expensive workforce, has led to Apple (and Microsoft and Facebook and Google and about a dozen huge US companies) to establish facilities in Ireland.  These companies employ about 140,000 people in Ireland.

It was the Irish who improved their education system to prepare its people to become a highly valued workforce.  It was the Irish who decided to establish a tax system that would be attractive to foreign investment.  The EU did neither of these things.

Now, the EU thinks it is unfair for Ireland to make itself more attractive to investment than the rest of Europe so they want to punish the Irish while pretending to work for them by winning for Ireland a big tax windfall.

This is all about the EU flexing its muscle and keeping a ‘curve breaker’ in line.  The Irish are too smart to fall for it.  They are fighting the EU ruling.  In short, the Irish are doing a better job than the EU and they want the folks from the EU to butt out – almost in the same way that the Brits wanted the EU out so they could once again determine their own fate.

Of course, Apple is also fighting this and it will be interesting if the Largest US company or the European Union will prevail.  The backlash against central planning and globalism seems to grow daily.

Hillary Clinton currently leads Donald Trump by anywhere from 5 to 15% depending upon which polls you read. The press is falling all over itself demanding that everyone agree with them that Donald Trump will be defeated in an historic Clinton Landslide.

It is interesting to note that in 1988, George H. W. Bush trailed Michael Dukakis by 17% in July and still by 7 to 10% in late August.  Dukakis ended up winning a total of one state – his home state of Massachusetts.

Similarly, in 2000, Al Gore led George Bush by up to 10 points in mid-September.  In September, John McCain led Barack Obama by as much as 5 points.  As late as October, Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by 4-6%.

Obviously, my point is: “Most successful pundits are selected for being opinionated, because it’s interesting, and the penalties for incorrect predictions are negligible. You can make predictions, and a year later people won’t remember them.”   -Daniel Kahneman (emphasis is mine)

Romney landslideBrexit Prediction

hillary-clinton-shocked-600x400“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”  – from the statement released by FBI Director James Comey on July 5, 2016

I am amazed at the fact that Mr. Comey has chosen not to file any charges against Hillary Clinton.  I guess I am naive and don’t understand that corruption must be the rule, not the exception in Washington, D.C.  Maybe if I can find the answers to a few questions, that will help me understand.

Here are some questions about Hillary Clinton that I would love to have answered by supporters of Mrs. Clinton:

  1. Would Mrs. Clinton, today, pass a background check to allow her to have access to classified materials given that she has proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in her past handling of secret government communications?
  2. Would any U.S. Citizen, today, pass a background check to allow access to classified materials given that citizen had proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in his or her past handling of secret government communications?
  3. Is it possible that Mrs. Clinton has so little understanding of modern communications that she was totally unaware of the security risks that she was creating by having multiple communications systems outside of the government systems?
  4. Should a person who is so totally unaware of modern communications and who is unwilling to accept the recommendations of experts on how to handle such communications be allowed to hold high public office?
  5. Is it believable to you that Mr. Clinton’s meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix was a chance meeting and that they spoke only of golf, grand children and travel plans?
  6. Shortly after her meeting with Bill Clinton in Phoenix, Attorney General Lynch stated that she would accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and federal agents concerning whether to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton in the email investigation. Do you believe that Attorney General Lynch knew that the FBI would not recommend that charges be filed against Mrs. Clinton?  If so, do you believe that she knew that before the Phoenix meeting with Bill Clinton?
  7. Do you believe that Mrs. Clinton obstructed a federal investigation when she delayed for months in delivering emails to the FBI?  If not, why do you think she was so slow?  Why do you think she had her emails screened by attorneys working for her and withheld many of them saying they were personal?
  8. Do you understand how Mrs. Clinton turned a $1,000 account into $100,000 in the cattle futures market in less than a year?
  9. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton has the moral character to hold the position of trust and power that is the Presidency of the United States?
  10. Can you list Mrs. Clinton’s highly touted “qualifications” to be President?
  11. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton is beholden to more or fewer special interests than Mr. Trump?
  12. Have you read to the end any speech or article given/written by Mr. Trump or is your opinion of him formed exclusively from viewing videos and hearing/reading sound bites about him or his actions?

The much anticipated Brexit Vote in favor of Leaving the EU surprised a lot of people.  Especially the detached, urban-centered, media.   They did not see it coming because they had not taken an hour’s drive out of the city to learn what the “common man” thought about living under EU Rule. The political elites managed no better than the media.  479 Members of Parliament came out in favor of “Remain.”  Only 158 came out in favor of “Leave.”


What have we learned?

First, the vote was clear.  Those who took the trouble to vote, by a margin of 52% to 48% wanted out of the EU.  72.2% of those qualified to vote turned up and did their civic duty.  That is a greater turnout than any national poll/election in the past 20+ years.  This was not something to be “corrected” by a recount.

Baby Boomers voted largely to “Leave.”  Was this just looking back at better times, hoping to return to a more orderly, more British society?  Were youth who voted overwhelmingly to “Remain” led to believe (brainwashed, the Boomers might say) in the sanctity of multiculturalism and globalism?

If one thing has been shown in the few days since the people of the U.K. voted to exit the E.U., it is that the elitists, liberals, and the governing class are poor losers.  Everything I have read suggests that the losers are doing all they can to overturn the will of the people.  So convinced were the political class of victory for the “Remain” vote, they are now convinced that the “Leave” campaign must be guilty of the type of misdeeds to which they are often a party.  They are planning everything from a second referendum (re-vote) to bureaucratic maneuvers to delay the actual separation indefinitely.

The losers are resorting to name-calling and personal attacks.  They suggest that only very small minds could be convinced to leave the EU.  Who could believe leaving the EU would be better than staying, being multiculturalists, globalists, etc.?  Many are making it known that they will “punish” the Brits for this action.  Having read many of the scare tactics used in the campaign, I don’t doubt that there will be threats and skulduggery.

The most poignant article I have read to date ties the exit vote to fear of rape and increased crime.   Most people don’t understand international trade.  Probably fewer understand why it is their duty to house and feed able bodied young Muslim men.  But, they fully understand when women they know (including wives and daughters) are being assaulted at rates far greater than ever seen in the U.K. before.  With the majority of this increase in crime and offenses against women coming from immigrants of the Muslim faith, it is easy to see how many blame the EU for this problem.

Time will tell if this turns out to be good for the United Kingdom.  In my view the Brexit victory is a long-term positive for the U.K., the U.S. and, yes, for Europe.  Here’s why:

  1. Central Planning/Collective Action doesn’t work.  Short term, it can show some impressive efficiencies.  Long term it kills initiative and the work ethic and is unsustainable;
  2. Central Planning is dangerous.  It creates, among other things, agricultural monocultures that are susceptible to massive kill-offs from a single vector.  Isn’t it strange that multiculturalism is the holy grail of the Globalists in the EU but they don’t see the downside to agricultural monocultures which they legislate into effect;
  3. The political class was shown, once again, to be totally oblivious of the interests and the will of the people whom they rule.;
  4. Independent thought and action, self sufficiency, and individuality create a stronger culture and one that is resilient and sustainable, if enough people are willing the work for it;

In the meantime, this battle between the Elites and the Populists will get its second hearing in the U.S. Presidential Election in November.  Some say this bodes ill for Hillary, who much like the “Remain” campaign has the support of the majority of youth and the media.  Both groups showed themselves to be out of touch with the majority in the Brexit Vote.  Donald Trump’s presence in Scotland to dedicate a new golf course just as the Brexit votes were counted may show that he is more in tune with the people than either the media or the political class.

Each year, the Memorial Day Weekend is very important to our wine sales.  We have a big open house, garden, and vineyard and do wine tasting for about 100 people a day for each of the three days.  We sometimes lose the importance of Memorial Day.  To help us remember, below are a couple of things sent to me by a friend with whom I was honored to serve in the Air Force in the late 60s and early 70s.

A five minute tribute.

Memorial Day

I’m not an English Major.  I don’t spell well (but I get better the more that I read).  I don’t even write particularly well.  I’m not a linguist, definitely not a semanticist.

I do, however, observe, and listen better than some.

First a quick story, then on to the pet peeves.

In 1961 when our family moved to Hawaii, I found myself in a High School Hawaiiana course to learn something about the beautiful new state in which I now lived.  I learned a bit of Pidgen English (“Hey bruh, neva spock you long time.  Where you stay be?” which loosely translated means “Hey, man.  I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”).  I also learned some history of the Islands.  But, what stood out was local customs and colloquialisms.  I remember being told that anyone who was born and raised in the Islands invariably said “yousta to” instead of “used to.”  Fast forward to 2004 when we moved from California to Oregon.  We learned that “Spendy” meant expensive, that a “motorsickle” was a motorcycle, and a “rig” was your truck.

So what does all this have to do with Pet Peeves?  I don’t like what I observe to be “lazy English.”  Here’s a  list.  It is only a scratch of the surface of a much deeper and most distressing change in our language.  Please add yours.

  1.  “then” (time or order relationship) and “than” (referring to a comparison) are two different words with different meanings.  I find lazy people only use the word “then” regardless of the meaning.
  2. Similarly, “there (place),” “their (possessive of they),” and “they’re contraction of they are)” are three different words with three very different meanings/uses.I find lazy people only use “there.”
  3. “Irregardless” is the ultimate double negative used by lazy people to mean “regardless.”   It is not a word and it also seems strange that lazy people would add to a word rather than condense or shorten.
  4. “Exspecially”  which is related to “Expresso.”  Like “irregardless” neither is a word.  Now if you “especially” like strong coffee drinks, “espresso” may be for you.
  5. “Affect” is the verb while “Effect” is the noun.
  6. Lots of lazy folk say “I could care less” which means that you do care.  Try “I couldn’t care less” which actually means that you don’t care.


I first posted this 5 years ago but with a different video.

Please watch this video.  Then remember that the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have sacrificed have done what was asked of them by their country.  We should honor their service, not give them lip service.

Each year at Memorial Day we honor the lives and sacrifices of members of our Military Services who have passed on. On Veteran’s Day, we honor the lives and sacrifices of those who are still with us who have served in our armed forces.  I always wonder why we can get the emotion up to honor an overpaid athlete or entertainer and yet when we see a soldier, sailor, airman or marine in uniform, we often look the other way.

I have always appreciated the slogan depicted below.  This Veteran’s Day, why not make a point to say thank you to a veteran of the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, or Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy?

To me, two of the most significant words in the language are Responsibility and Respect.  Veteran’s Day is a good time  to show Respect for those who have taken Responsibility for Protecting our Freedoms and have sacrificed on our behalf.

If I were a Democrat, I’d be very embarrassed by the people who represent my party in the Senate, not to mention that I’d be similarly embarrassed by the Democrat occupying the White House.  You ask why.

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Today, the Democrats in the Senate, backed by the President’s threat of a veto, blocked a bill that would   punish cities that failed to follow Federal immigration law or cooperate with Federal Immigration officials.  The purpose of the legislation was to force certain cities to obey Federal law.

My guess, from how the Democrats framed the debate, is that they had two main objectives both of which were intended for political gain for their party and neither of which was for the good of the people they purport to represent.

First, they labeled it the “Donald Trump anti-immigrant bill.”  They did that because they are scared to death by the popularity of Mr. Trump and how his message is resonating with many “rank and file” Democrats.  Second, they think that immigration law enforcement loses votes in Hispanic precincts.  Oh, yes, there is the fact that almost all of the cities which claim to be ‘sanctuaries’ are controlled by Democrats.  At last count, 31 major U.S. cities call themselves sanctuaries and, at most, four are not solidly in control of Democrats.

If you are a member of the Democrat Party, please tell me why this doesn’t embarrass you.  I would love to understand or at least know one good reason to oppose such legislation.

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