Saturday, September 24, 2016

Change

Pundits mouth the mantra:  This is a change election.  Lost in the mystic mumbling is the change still in the tank of the Obama/Clinton agenda.  Obama inherited a capsized kayak of state.  He had to flip it over before he could move it forward.  Rowing against a strong Republican current has been slow and hard.

Hillary is best suited to make a progressive push forward.  Change is legislation passed, regulations implemented, modified or eliminated.  As a successful Senator and a policy wonk she has the chops to get us to the left bank.

But, particularly for millennials, the most important change, is climate change.  When we boomers are six feet underground, they may be six feet under water.  Trump is a climate denier.  Gary Johnson is a policy denier.  Libertarians want to let the market decide.  You may not like big oil's decisions.  The Green Party, bless their hearts, spent two hours at their convention on breathing exercises.  If you care about breathing clean air, drinking pure water, and tackling global warming, join every major environmental group in supporting Hillary.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blind Trust

Hillary Clinton has been forced to agree, that if elected, her entire family would have no interaction with the Clinton Foundation.  The premise is that people who donate to help millions fight aides and malaria, might be given favorable treatment during a Clinton administration, even though the Clintons receive no financial benefit.

Trump obviously benefits directly from his businesses.  Although his refusal to release his tax returns has shrouded his business interests, no one doubts extensive foreign ties, as well as foreign made ties.  He is believed to have loans from German and Chinese banks as well as investments from Russian Oligarchs.  He manufacturers products overseas, and has projects in other countries.  Unlike the Clinton Foundation, his businesses pose a direct conflict of interest.  If Hillary cannot have Bill and Chelsea run the foundation, how has Trump been allowed to skate with his proposal to turn over running the business to his children?

Where is the outrage?  Calls for a blind trust must be strident and continuous.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Quote of the Day from Political Wire

Quote of the Day

“Other than destroying every instrument of democracy in his own country, having opposition people killed, dismembering neighbors through military force and being the benefactor of the butcher of Damascus, he’s a good guy. This calculation by Trump unnerves me to my core.”
— Sen. Lindsey Graham, quoted by Politico, on Donald Trump’s embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Tale of Two Foundations

Charitable contributions provide a peak into a candidate's heart.  The Clintons gave 10% of their income to the Clinton Foundation according to their tax returns.  Based on good works done, and low overhead, independent reviews of the Clinton Foundation place it in the top tier of charities, along with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. The foundation has saved thousands of lives by providing treatment for AIDS and other diseases.

Trump has not disclosed his tax returns.  But according to the Washington Post, and other news sources, his giving has been meagre, particularly for a self proclaimed billionaire.  His foundation is a case in point.  He has not contributed to it for years.  Just like his use of campaign funds to buy his own books, he has used foundation funds for his own benefit.  He has spoken loudly at silent auctions.  Among the items he has bought are Tim Tebow memorabilia, and a date with Salma Hayek.

Currently Hillary's meetings with top donors to the Clinton Foundation is a cause celeb.  Giving millions to a charity is like flying first class.  You don't go any farther or faster than coach, but you get some perks.  The perk used to help millions, and save the lives of thousands, was access.  Donors were made to feel important.  But nothing has shown, that they got farther or faster.  The greater scandal is Trump using his foundation for his own benefit.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Manafort Overboard

Trump now has a campaign manager who can whisper sweet somethings on the plane, but plainly has never run a campaign.  Bannon Breitbartesque banners, will blister the airwaves with bile.  Trump will be teleprompted to nowhere.

Meanwhile, Manafort has been forcefully thrown into the last remaining lifeboat.  A true political operative lands on his feet, even when the ship is going down.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Claustrophobia

With reliance on Aisles, formerly of FOX News, and the  hiring of Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, Trump's plan is clear.  His team knows he has a lower ceiling than Hillary, but hopes he has a higher floor.  This will not be a campaign of persuasion, but rather a cramped war of attrition.

Trump will not broaden his base, but instead will saw away at Hillary's weakest support.  He wins by building the vote for 3rd party candidates, and decreasing turnout.  His attacks will be so vicious, and unfounded, that he will expand his already high negatives.  He does not care.  As he has said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

To stop the insanity, we need to raise the roof.  We need to solidify Hillary's wall of support, or risk a wall of intolerance.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pearly Gates

Trump is more a fan of gold, but I doubt he has objections to pearls.  But the pearly gates may have objections to him.  Forget Hillary's shading of the truth, and Trump's braggadocio.  Forget her pant suits, and his hair.  Focus on the test that matters.  Have they each helped more people than they have hurt?   Is the world better because of them?

The answer is easy for Hillary.  As an attorney, and as first lady, in Arkansas and in the White House, she championed the cause of women and children.  As a Senator she worked to help New York rebuild after 9/11, and particularly worked on behalf of first responders.  GOP senators satisfying their base by vilifying Hillary, privately, and not so privately, admit they can work with her.  As a Senator she reached across the aisle.  Because of Bill's charisma, friends of Bill has become a catch phrase.  But her friendships are more telling.  At the convention we heard from a few.  She has long and deep friendships.  The kind that only endure by caring and listening.

The case for Trump is far less secure.  His life has featured self promotion, whether about his love life in his youth, or his business acumen in later years.  His goal has been to retain, and sometimes expand, the fortune left to him by his father.  His business dealings have spawned thousands of law suits.  He has used financial leverage to beat down vendors.  Employees and other stakeholders have suffered the costs of his bankruptcies, while he has bragged that he profited.  Trump has indiscriminately sold his name to scammers.  Thousands have lost all, or much of their life savings, through Trump Institute, Trump University, and numerous condominium projects that never broke ground.  Where are his life long friends?

Both Trump and Clinton have foundations.  With all the hyperbole around hers, it is easy to forget that it is a charitable foundation that does good works.  The Clinton tax returns show a pattern of donating roughly 10% of their income.  Media reports that Trump has stiffed his foundation since 2008.

Finally there are the campaigns.  A candidate cannot be blamed for who choses to support him.  But there is a reason that Trump has been endorsed by the American Nazi party, former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, and various white supremacist groups.  From his birther attacks on Obama, through his immigration polices,  his campaign is about fearing and hating "the other."  It will not go down in history as a great campaign slogan, but Hillary's "Stronger Together," stands in stark contrast.