The Imperfect Candidate and Some Added Perspective

My blogging friend Gronda Morin is a self-proclaimed RINO who does a highly commendable job of research and rational thinking as she writes her blog posts on issues of the day. Like a few other bloggers who are more independent minded, she covers issues better than many so-called news outlets and provides well-grounded opinions rather than being a homer for a political party.

As an Independent voter and former Republican and Democrat, I appreciate her research on policy issues and candidates. Like me, she is supporting former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A good example of her research is the following piece based mostly on the article posted on June 13, 2016 by Michael Arnovitz of the Policy blog, called “Thinking About Hillary — A Plea for Reason.” 

The gist of this piece is Clinton is far from perfect, but her opposition is running against a well crafted caricature that has been built piece by piece over time. Yet, a key data based component notes that her relative popularity rises while she is doing the job like Senator or Secretary of State and falls when she is running for office. I think this speaks volumes about her as she is a doer and knows the issues, but when campaigning the caricature becomes the opposing candidate not the person running.

I would encourage all voters to read this piece. I would especially encourage all voters who are unsure or not comfortable with their choice to read this piece. You may not agree with its conclusions nor with Gronda and me, but I do believe you will walk away with added perspective on the campaign. It won’t make her perfect, but it may help you understand her better and the obstacles she faces.

Michael Arnovitz’s Defense Of Hillary Clinton

Vistas are beautiful, but people make the journey

My wife and I returned yesterday from a wonderful trip to New England. Flying into Boston, we ventured north to Maine for a few days returning to Boston for a brief visit then traveling southwest to Connecticut to see more family. The vistas and scenery were terrific, but what made the trip so special was visiting with our nieces, nephews and friends.

Our first stop was in Bar Harbor, Maine, which is quite the place. It sits on an island reached by driving, that mostly consists of the Acadia National Park, a true treasure. On Saturday, we met up with our niece and nephew (and his son) who live in Maine. Our niece loves showing her favorite place off to visitors and she traveled up from Portland to be our tour guide.

We all met at her favorite breakfast restaurant.  We hiked two separate gardens – Thuya and Asticou gardens – and then ventured into the park to see lakes, mountains, beaches and beautiful scenery, returning to Bar Harbor for an early dinner.Spending all day with them was a treat and allowed us to get to know them. We had never met our great-nephew and not seen his father in over ten years.

On the way to Boston, we hugged the coast at the suggestion of my wife’s brother and saw more vistas and extremely quaint towns. Boston offers so much, but our time was limited as our relatives in Connecticut said they would love to have us stop by for dinner before we left. So, we did two walking tours downtown probably walking as much or more than we did in Maine.

Like true world-class cities, Boston has beautiful parks in the downtown area, the Public Garden and Boston Commons. Later we visited the Back Bay Fens Victory Garden, which is a few blocks from Fenway Park, the famous baseball stadium. Boston is a pedestrian friendly city with wonderful architecture, restaurants, river and bay shorelines and markets. We did do the Quincy Market, which is a treat and went down to the bay. I realize we had only a small taste of Boston, but it was nice.

Our final destination was to drive past Hartford to a small town in western Connecticut. There we saw another niece who had moved with her two kids to her mother’s, who we also know. Our niece had to separate from the children’s father and was living with her mother, her mother’s second husband and their two kids. We had not seen our niece in over ten years and had not seen her mother in 31 years, as she was in our wedding along with our niece.To say we had a delightful time is an understatement as my wife was good friends with the mother. Her husband and other two children were a delight as were our niece’s kids.

The reason we had not seen them is divorce affects more than just the couple. My wife’s brother, who is the father of the children, lives near us and we love his third wife dearly. The niece in CT was his first child and my wife became friends with her mother. After their divorce, my brother-in-law married his second wife and had two children who were our tour guides in Maine. So, we lost touch with his kids and his first wife, who he remains very amicable with. This trip was so meaningful and exceeded our expectations to reconnect. We sensed that they enjoyed reconnecting with family, as well.

I mention this has it is never too late to reach out. Don’t miss the opportunity to reconnect. Seeing his first wife after thirty-one years is now a treasured experience and we have invited them to come down. It was truly like old times and she looked forward to our visit as much as we did. While we had just seen one of our nieces after a long  ten year hiatus, seeing her with her brother in Maine was truly joyful. These two lovely days made the trip even more worthwhile, even more so than the beautiful vistas.



Three bloggers who offer context and rational discourse

While I am traveling for a few days, I thought it would be a good time to steer you to three representative posts of bloggers that consistently and capably discuss the issues of the day. I enjoy many blogs, so please do not look at this small selection as evidence that I do not fancy others. With the importance of the current US Presidential election to the planet, I find reasonable discussion from rational people helpful. While we agree often, we don’t always, but that is the great part of learning, to challenge our thinking.

The first is by Jill Dennison and it focuses on the proposed mental health care plan of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the fact it was covered very little by news outlets. The latter point being our country cares little about details and more about contests. This lack of focus is a key reason a man with very little details and plans can gain so much footing.

The second is by Gronda Morin and is a part of her series on policy issues. This particular one is on climate change and the need to act more forcefully than we are. To me, this issue is so urgent, we can ill-afford a President or elected officials that do not see climate change for the major problem it is. It should have been discussed at the NBC Commander-in-Chief Forum, as the Department of Defense says climate change is one of the greatest threats to national security and one candidate thinks it is a hoax.

The third is by Hugh Curtler, who routinely writes excellent pieces on education, environmental and political issues. As a former college professor, this is not his most adroitly named post, but it is very much related to his theme of how easily many of us are being taken in by a con artist running for President. As an attorney who used to work for this candidate said in an Op-ed piece, the man “lies all the time.”


My Policy Wish For USA, Part XII (Climate Change)


Please enjoy these posts. These are not necessarily their best ones, they are just recent ones that offer context to today’s discussions.

The Wizard of Orange

I have used this analogy before, but there is a certain Presidential candidate who is doing his best impersonating the Wizard of Oz. The other night on PBS Newshour, two financial reporters, who had delved deeply into this candidate’s business affairs, used that term to describe his poor business management skills – he does not want you to look behind the curtain. They did say he was superb at public relations skills equating him to P.T. Barnum, of circus fame, who once said “There is a sucker born every minute.”

A lot of this poor management is likely apparent in the candidate’s tax returns, yet he is the lone Presidential candidate to not release them since Richard Nixon started the practice. Some have provided two years, while guess who has provided the most in-depth release of 39 returns – one Hillary Clinton. While the man said no one cares about his returns, it turns out 67% of Americans do in a recent Rasmussen poll. The reason cited is he is under audit, but he would not be the first one to do so under audit, nor is an audit preventing him from releasing older accepted tax returns.

But, the lack of tax returns did not prevent these reporters from reviewing the man’s business history. His early career was heavily laden with debt financing, so much that it led to several bankruptcies of his companies. The corporate bankruptcies almost led to his personal bankruptcy. They noted the stories of his looking out only for his interests, while screwing others over through stiffing contractors, employees and co-investors are “all true.” They said he was quoted as saying about others “that is their problem.” This is a key reason for his many lawsuits, which number more than 3,500 per a USA Today article in June.

His later career is not using debt as much. He is “renting” his name to other developers where he has nothing to do with the property. This is so they can charge more to unwitting buyers. The candidate gets his royalties and goes about his business. I personally find this exploitive at best and unethical at worst, but he would not be the first person to sell his name. My guess is he loves this, as he gets money for very little risk, as he can pull out at any time, which has led to even more lawsuits.

These reporters were not high on the candidate’s business acumen. They added that he also seems to have less grasp of financing than he touts and has made several errors attempting to equate this business knowledge to federal financing. When pressed, they noted his consummate skill at PR. He can sell his name better than anyone can theirs. This is not the kind of man we need leading our country as he would not be putting the interests of others first.




Mid-week Musings

Happy Wednesday everyone. Since I am having trouble coming up with a topic, here are a few miscellaneous musings.

In our country and others, there are some nativists who are arguing retrenching and involving themselves less with the world. That is a huge mistake as you cannot shrink to greatness. A global economy provides opportunity for all with jobs growing here and there. The entire equation of foreign companies expanding here must be included to get the full impact, along with accessing the global job market for young workers.

The best indicator of how a politician will govern is his or her history. If someone has a history of exploiting others, it is a sure bet they will exploit people while governing. This is the best reason not to vote for Donald Trump. It is all about The Donald and always will be. It would be out of character for Trump to think of the welfare of others before his.

Congress is back in session after being away for seven weeks. So, at least for seven weeks, we did not have to listen to the BS that permeates the place. They have some urgent things to do in only three weeks such as funding the government and Zika prevention efforts. Yet, I am sure the GOP will spend more time trying to discredit Hillary Clinton. This imperfect woman has faced more unfair criticism than any candidate I can recall, but she remains a better candidate than any of her competitors, even with her faults.

I am excited that China and the US have ratified the Paris Climate Change agreement. The two biggest polluters offer an important signal to the rest of the world. Good progress has been made, but we must leverage our efforts even more. Without the leadership of these two countries, progress would be minimal.

That is all I have for now. Have a great rest of the week.

A Labor of Love – why Mother Teresa should be so honored

Happy Labor Day everyone. Even if your country does not celebrate today, best regards for your toil for you and your family.

Irrespective of where we live, we work to make a better life and to keep a roof over our heads and feed our families and selves. Whether we like our jobs, we do what we have to do.

Yesterday, Pope Francis honored a hardworking woman officially making a Saint out of Mother Teresa. The Pope even said, while she is now a Saint, she will always be our Mother.

To be a Saint, the person has to perform at least two miracles. I find that a little over the top, myself. With respect to Mother Teresa, her miracle was helping people in need with care and kindness. She did these things throughout the day. Then, she got up the next day and each day thereafter to do them again.

I read in her diaries, she wrote how on occasion she did not know how she could go on. She would pray for strength to carry on. I find this humanity and humility so very compelling.

To me, these confessions to her diary show that even one of the finest people to ever walk the earth had doubts. Her doubts show that it is OK to be human. Just do your best and honor your God, your fellow people and yourself by treating people the way you want to be treated.

The miracle of Saint Teresa is she lived the words that Jesus taught us. Irrespective of one’s religion or spirituality, admiration for what she did is pervasive. Thank you Mother Teresa.

Leadership is not beating on your chest

I have written before that a key characteristic of a great leader is to deflect credit to others. Such a leader understands that most achievement is leveraged by a team of people who executes ideas or serves its customers.

Conversely, when you hear a leader or wanna-be leader take credit, even when undue, it is a sure sign that this person’s ego will get in the way of organizational success. If you hear too many “I’s” and “me’s” and too few “”we’s” and “us'” then that should give you pause. A candidate recently said ” I alone can solve this” which  should be sufficient by itself to discount his candidacy.

Our blogging friend Persia, who writes under a blog called “Blog of a Mad Black Woman,” has written numerous posts about exiting a narcissistic relationship. While she is from the UK, she does not have full advantage of how accurately she has defined the candidate I quoted from above who is running for President.

Her latest post, which can be linked to below, is a perfect example. In this post she compares the leadership attributes versus those of a psychopath, which is an extreme version of a narcissist. It is a quick read, but well worth it. In it, you can easily see why this candidate is scary.

Leadership Trait vs Psychopathic Trait