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


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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Buyer's Remorse

In 1980, I held a paid staff position in Congressman John Anderson's independent presidential run.  Eager for a fresh face and new policies, the press bought into our fledgling campaign.  Our poll numbers crept north of 20%, and had us in the lead, or within the margin of error, in a few states.

Newness only lasts so long.  Soon the press was in the Costco return line.  We finished with 6.1% of the vote.  The only magic left was that 6.1%  qualified for federal campaign funds under public financing.  We staffers got long delayed pay.

Trump received the most pre and primary coverage according to Harvard studies.  His coverage was far more favorable than that of Hillary.  As with Anderson, buyer's remorse has set in.  Trump's desperate need for attention, while at the same time vilifying the press, has exacerbated  his media meltdown.  Reporters are not waiting in the return line.  They are dumping Trump in the nearest editorial receptacle.

Live by the pen, die by the pen.  All that twitters is not gold.

Friday, August 12, 2016

An Ego All a Twitter

Pundits pulsate that Hillary wins if the election is about Trump, and Trump wins if he can make the election about her.  But Tump and Hillary agree.  He wants the election to be about him, and so does she.  He prefers news that is rotten, than to be forgotten.

Hillary's paid media paints him as too dangerous to be trusted.  Better yet, like Tom Sawyer, she has convinced Trump to finish the job.  Painted into a corner, Trump has only one way to escape.  Carter successfully portrayed Reagan as dangerous until the first debate.  Reagan was reasonable and presidential.  Paid media never wins if it conflicts with free media.  Reagan won.

Trump is no Reagan.  Reagan was comfortable in his own skin.  Trump's skin is too thin, to reign in, his festering ego.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Moves After Dark

Roslyn and I attended "Moves After Dark" at the Music Center, courtesy of our good friend, Nina.

We were treated to four dance programs, each in an unusual venue.  The first and our favorite, was in the seats of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with us watching from in front of the stage.  By crawling between the seats, dancers magically appeared, and regrouped.

The second dance was on the staircase of the Pavilion.  The costumes and rhythms were Brazilian, but the dance included commentary on Black Lives Matter.

The third dance was in the fountains of Grand Park, close to City Hall.

The final performance was outdoors at the Music Center.