One of the flaws of democracy is the absence of a "poll tax". No I am not talking about unfair tests to discriminate against minorities. Rather I am talking about white people who don't have a clue about the issues - including economics - and simply vote based on their reference group and/or binary passion.
I love England. But having a referendum on remaining in the EU was an enlightening vote and the people made a mistake.
Already almost 3 million people have signed a petition - it goes to the House of Commons - to hold a second referendum. Many have been quoted as voting for Leave and admitting it was a mistake. It is unlikely a second referendum will happen now.
Meaning there is a price for ignorance in a democracy.
While Remain/Leave isn't - despite a minority of pundits - an analog to the 2016 US presidential race; it does remind US voters that there are no do-overs after November.
A vote for Trump - given his immigration, trade and nation debt policies - would take down the economy and likely lead to a world-wide depression.
For all Americans who don't understand how Trump's policies will impact economics; please do the research or just don't vote.
June 27, 2016
The only implication of the Brexit that I can say for sure, is that (a) world-wide currency and stock markets have already baked in a Remain vote (b) the bake is in computer programs and (c) thus today will see extreme market volatility.
Great Britain's prime minister Cameron had to resign. He is the one that called for the Brexit referendum in the first place. So it is a political vs. process move, because the referendum isn't legally binding and will take two years to negotiate (with the EU and/or other EU countries).
Scotland and Northern Ireland- which voted overwhelmingly for Remain - now are free to gain independence and join Ireland respectively. Meaning the UK/Great Britain may have lost its last vestiges of the British Empire.
It is quite possible and maybe probable that France and other EU countries will begin a domino effect.
Finally, this referendum - which in no short order was based wrongfully on blaming immigration for the automation of manufacturing and services - maybe an analog for the same Trump argument/voter cognitive dissonance
June 24, 2016
Trump. I am not sure what else to write.
Everything I have written is now recognized gospel by main street media.
Trump has $1.3 million in the bank. His supporters are even asking how a "billionaire" can make calls asking for money. Even though he is unwilling to disclose his taxes, he has to disclose his campaign fund. And besides being almost as bankrupt as his casinos - how you bankrupt four casinos boggles the mind - his campaign records show that much of his spending is paying himself and his jet.
I have written about his likely problem of not having a solid VP choice. That is coming true. There is almost no support for Trump by GOP lawmakers. That means he is going to have to settle for someone who is either not in politics or has retired from politics.
How someone runs a campaign is often a precursor to how they would run the country. In Trump's case, his campaign organization has been dysfunctional. When kids have to tell dad what to do, that is not a good sign.
70% of all voters say they will not vote for Trump. That means everyone in the GOP that is running for election or reelection has had to distance themselves. With such unfavorable ratings and without enough money, the GOP has had to start factoring in that they will not win the White House.
How this plays out at the GOP convention next month maybe unknown. But there are only two likely outcomes. One is a unconventional convention where Trump puts on his own show and members of the GOP either don't show up or go through the motions. And the other - not probable but still a real possibility - is a contested convention.
Either way, the great arrow of time can't go backwards. Everything Trump has said or tweeted is going to be played back by the Democrats. HRC has the money to be less visible and simply flood media buys with Trump clips. She can run as the anti-Trump and win by default.
Trump can turn around his rhetoric. He may or not be able to do so. But his money issues - which are his real achilles heel since that is what is supposed to give him credibility - can not be undone.
June 22, 2016
June 14, 2016
1. The Black Hole Of News On Saturday. Saturday is a day when the most journalists take the day off. Ali recently died on a Friday night and most of the coverage the following Saturday was pre-written obits (these are written by first-year journalists or interns).
2. The Victims Were Not Children. They were all LBGT members of Orlando. To evangelicals, many will see the hand of god. To the most liberals, they were congregating in a place few have ever been.
3. Except For Locals The Rest Of The Nation Moves On Fast. Boston and San Bernardino terrorist attacks are still remembered in those cities. But after a week, the nation moved on. And so it will be for Orlando.
4. The New Normal. The terrorist attack in Orlando was committed by an American Muslim. While 99.9% of American Muslims don't carry the same beliefs; the Muslim radical fringe hates America's liberalized views on LBGT and female equality. No wall can stop them. No deportation could have stopped the killer. And carpet bombing ISIS won't stop it but instead inflame it.
5. President Trump's Reaction. While George W. Bush and Obama have both been stately after terrorist attacks, Trump reacted politically and too soon. He said I told you so and he said the country was going to be destroyed if we don't act fast. That's not a dog whistle. That's a bullhorn. Finally he blamed all of this on Obama and Clinton. He took an American problem and made it all about him. Failing to recognize or admit that any of his crazy deportation/immigration plans wouldn't have stopped an American citizen.
Leaving the Orlando tragedy with the sad fact that it will be quickly forgotten, while Trump will not.
June 13, 2016
If you get a chance you should watch the Netflix documentary "Mitt". Myself and others came away saying the same thing. Where was this Mitt Romney?
Romney was interviewed yesterday by CNN. It was in my opinion an extraordinary important interview.
Romney shows the same man in "Mitt". His values are exemplary. And he answers a question I have been asked too often: what to do if you are a Republican and don't want to vote for HRC. He acknowledges the elephant in the room - abortion - but puts a social matter into the context of overall economics in which a Trump presidency would harm ALL Americans.
He also distinguishes himself, and by extension all GOP voters, from currently elected GOP officeholders.
I am not with her. I am with Mitt.
June 11, 2016
Sen. David Perdue, a freshman senator from Georgia, opened his remarks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference by encouraging attendees to pray for President Obama. But, he added in a joking tone, they need to pray for him in a very specific way: “We should pray for him like Psalms 109:8 says: May his days be short and let another have his office,” the senator said, smiling wryly.
Conservatives have long invoked this verse in the yearning for an end to Obama’s days in office. A Christian Science Monitor from November 16, 2009, detailed the popularity of bumper stickers that read simply, “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8.”.
Sometimes I just like the idea of driving from my Chicago place to my Florida place. Weather doesn't scare me. The miles don't scare me. But in places that include Illinois through Florida these signs scare the hell out of me. No pun intended.
What is weird about these giant concrete crosses, is they are usually close to unsavory stops along the road. Anyways, the juxtaposition of Christianity - writ large - and the guy who was executed, seem at cross purposes.
Judaism is a verb. The religion evolves. There is nothing top-down about it. It is a constant debate - where debate is welcomed - for more than 3,000 years.
Christianity seems to me to be a noun. And less a debate than a potpourri of cherry-picking Old Testament quotes.
Let's be clear. The guy who was executed was a leader of a non-violent protest movement. His ideas were radical then and now. His followers may have adhered to his credos; but over time the very words attributed to him - in the New Testament - are mostly an inconvenient and ignored truth.
I believe hypocrisy is the worst sin of all. The concrete crosses along the road - whether based on Judaism or Christianity - go against what is supposed to be a common belief in not worshipping false idols. And Psalms 109:8 and Obama?
Don't blame Donald Trump. He was just smart enough to have his people listen to talk radio. He tapped into the hypocrisy and ran with it. And that includes - without Trump knowing anything about the bible - the justification of praying for the end of Obama; and awaiting any savior who could slay him or his disciples.
June 10, 2016
Most of us, only know LBJ's 1964 campaign ad - "Daisy" - from history or docudramas.
It is as infamous as Bush/Dukakis's "Willy Horton" and Bush/Kerry's "Swift Boat" ads.
Well, yesterday I saw what I believe is a an incredibly effective anti-Trump ad
Instead of addressing all of Trump's worst demagoguery, this commercial reduces the argument, down to the lowest common denominator - an innocent child. Making "Grace" in effect "Daisy".
Even the most racist Americans, can't help but recoil from this ad.
Trump's achilles heel is now coming into focus. Instead of HRC running for president, she is running as the establishment's anti-Trump vote. Trump can't raise cash. HRC can. All HRC has to do - in my opinion - is throttle down her retail campaigning and simply play Trump's televised words against him.
We all know all the things he has said - Mexican-American judge from Indiana, Muslim judges, female judges, females should make less money than men and stay home, walls, deportation - and things he can't help but say in the future. They will all be played back to the electorate.
Then there is the $10 billion problem. He doesn't have enough money to spend on his own as he claims. Expect not only his inability to raise money as a challenge, but expect forensic accountants being dispensed and commercials running that show he is an economic fraud.
His appeal and what he brags about is being successful. But what happens when all of that is debunked and robo-commercials run this fall?
Trump's achilles heel is everything he has said that is recorded. Although I expect to see a rich amount of material to run anti-Trump campaign ads, I think "Grace" should be a mainstay.
June 9, 2016
Throw out all conventional wisdom when it comes to Trump's VP selection.
For three reasons. The first is the "Nixon" strategy. The second is Trump's personality. And the third is GOP careers.
Although I have admired a lot of Nixon accomplishments, it has been historically accepted that his VP - Spiro Agnew - was so bumbling and corrupt that Nixon felt Agnew would be his get-out-of-impeachment ticket. The problem of course was that Agnew had to resign after being indicted by the grand jury in Maryland. Replacing him with Ford - a popular member of the House - is what really accelerated Nixon's downfall. If Trump is elected it is almost certain that the only counterbalance left for the country is to impeach Trump. Hence expect Trump to nominate someone actually less qualified - as only Trump can to discern.
Second is Trump's personality. Anyone that can't figure out how to shut up and prepare for the GOP convention - instead campaigning in the blue state of CA - isn't going to want a strong orator who takes up any press coverage in another city or state.
And finally, who from the GOP is going to want to risk their careers, being chief apologist for Trump's daily gaffes? I was thinking Newt Gingrich because he has supported Trump and has really nothing to lose. Well if Gingrich turned on Trump - over racist remarks Trump made of the judge in his Trump "u" lawsuit (read all the documents released and it reads like Glengarry Glen Ross) - what standing GOP governor, senator or congressman is going to accept Trump's invitation?
Don't think Romney-Ryan. More likely Trump-Ben Carson.
June 6, 2016
It is fair to make the argument that perhaps an outsider can change the country. But it isn't fair to compare Ronald Reagan - as some do - with Donald Trump.
Reagan was a two-term governor of the largest state in the US. He ran enough of a successful campaign in 1976 - beating Gerald Ford in the second half of the GOP primaries - that the 1976 GOP convention was contested. Most notable was his willingness to step aside and support Ford. Trump has no government experience and it is impossible to imagine him gracefully stepping aside in such a convention.
Between 1976 to 1979 Reagan wrote a nationally syndicated column in newspapers. Look it up. He wrote all the columns himself (when Reagan's ranch house had a fire his wife grabbed all of his handwritten daily columns). Trump? I doubt he could write one single coherent editorial without a ghost writer.
Reagan had developed over twenty years his views on foreign policy and economics. Trump still doesn't have a coherent plan on anything.
Reagan was not a zero sum thinker. He negotiated with the opposition and famously said he wouldn't fight for something if it meant he had to carry his flag over a cliff. Trump is a zero sum thinker. In his world there is only a winner and a loser.
The Great Communicator persuaded through the written and visual media. Trump has no tolerance for the press. He pulls reporter credentials at his whim.
Reagan had a world view. He negotiated with NATO on nuclear missiles. He negotiated with the Soviet Union. He took troops out of Lebanon after a terrorist attack. Before Obama's "don't do stupid things" was coined, Reagan was smart enough to know that getting directly involved in the Middle East was folly. Trump is the anti-Reagan/Obama. He doesn't have a world view.
Reagan did make a few mistakes, but I am old enough - I voted for him in 1980 when I was finally able to vote - to know that he changed the US and the world for the better. Trump's isolationist tendencies and ethic xenophobia will not make the US and the world better.
In short beware of the argument that Trump is the next Reagan. He is actually the exact opposite.
June 3, 2016