Five Trump biographers say don’t vote for this man

Politico Magazine has pulled together the biographers for Donald Trump on a couple of occasions. All five are in consensus – do not vote for this man. Per Politico, Wayne Barrett, Gwenda Blair, Michael D’Antonio, Harry Hurt and Timothy O’Brien have studied Trump more than anybody and have written an aggregate 2,195 pages in books.

About the man we are seeing in the campaign, “They are not surprised. Trump is who they thought he was. This, they said, is not a show. It is not an act. This is the man they wrote about,” as reported in the article. Further, the biographers said, Trump is “profoundly narcissistic, willing to go to lengths we’ve never seen before in order to satisfy his ego.”

Another key voice is Tony Schwartz who ghost wrote “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s bestseller. As reported in The Guardian. Schwartz’ publisher calls him Dr. Frankenstein because his book gave Trump credibility taking his ramblings and spotty business record and making him look better than he is, thus creating a monster. A quote from Schwartz in the article echoes what the five biographers say above, “He (Trump) is a man who is a chameleon and doesn’t have any core beliefs beyond his own aggrandisement and power.”

From the outset, this man has been a very poor candidate, whose greatest skill is merchandising himself. His history reveals everything one needs to know about his modus operandi of exploiting others through bullying, stiffing people, lawsuits, and threatened lawsuits. As his biographers note, his mentor, attorney Roy Cohn, who also advised Senator Joe McCarthy of communist witch hunt fame, advised Trump to “sue everyone.” That he has done, either initially or in counter suit.

USA Today has updated its earlier report saying Trump has had over 4,000 lawsuits, with 75 still pending as of today. After the election, win or lose, he is facing three class action lawsuits for alleged misrepresentation by Trump University to students and seminar groups. And, he and a less-than-saintly co-defendant have a judicial conference date in December for the alleged rape of a thirteen year old girl. It should be noted that these claims are “alleged” at this point. But given his own comments on the Access Hollywood and on Howard Stern shows (about sexual assault and his proclivity to walk in on undressed beauty pageant contestants, some as young as age 15) and the twelve women who have come forward with sexual assault claims, nothing surprises me about this man.

Trump represents change. I get that. But, please do not mistake that his change will be for the betterment of others. That would be out of character for this man.

Sunday reflections

I hope your Sunday is going well. I have a few reflections for your review and digestion in no particular order.

I find it telling that ISIS fighters are hiding behind human shields of the people they captured. These terrorists have bastardized a peaceful religion and have brainwashed young people to do their dirty work. I think this last line of defense speaks volumes.

The Brexit debate continues leaving a lot of leaders looking for antacid. Reasonable exit from the EU looks harder to come by and many are calling for a new vote, which will unlikely happen. Scotland continues to evaluate and position itself for a potential exit from the UK if Brexit happens. I understand the reasons for those wanting Brexit, but unfortunately the price of retrenchment might be too dear.

On the other side of the world, President Duterte of the Philippines has said God wanted him to start cursing less. He has been colorful in telling allies to go #$*% themselves and calling them sons of ^@#$, which has left his ambassadors scrambling. By this way, this is what a Donald Trump presidency would look like in some respects. But, apparently, God did not tell him to stop having drug addicts and peddlers murdered, his solution to drug crime.

In all of the talk about Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood”  tape of his approach to sexual assault and his discussion on Howard Stern’s radio show about his walking in on undressed beauty pageant contestants because of his ownership, one story is not being discussed. While twelve women have accused him of unwelcome advances, the fact he has a pending judicial conference in December for the alleged rape of a thirteen year-old girl is not mentioned much if at all. I realize it is “alleged,” but enough validity has been given the allegations that it is moving forward to this stage.

Speaking of trials, Jill Dennison has done an excellent job of summarizing the over 4,000 lawsuits that Trump has had in his 45 year career (see link below). He has seventy-five pending lawsuits, three of which are class action lawsuits against Trump University for alleged misrepresentation. This is on top of the investigation into his Trump Foundation for self-dealing, meaning he allegedly used the funds for business and personal purposes.

While Hillary Clinton’s emails to her aide Huma Abedin are being reviewed as a result of the FBI discovering them as they investigated Abedin’s ex-husband/ ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner for his unique version of sexual assault via sexting, it reminds me that women are victims in multiple ways by powerful men. Whether it is Congressman Weiner, Trump, Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby, your wealth and power do not give you the right to sexually assault women.

Finally, I find it amusing that Trump claims the election is rigged against him when he is reading from daily email feeds from hacked emails of Clinton’s staff. His staff has an active voter suppression campaign underway to dissuade African-Americans, Latino-Americans and women voters from voting at all. Also, the man has benefitted from more publicity than all other candidates including Clinton.  Plus, his party has had five states’ voter suppression laws ruled unconstitutional this year. So, saying it is rigged against him is a huge stretch.

Call me crazy, but I would take the word of Trump’s five biographers, one of whom Trump unsuccessfully sued. All five agree on a key point – do not vote for this man.

Sue, Sue, SUE!!!

 

Two obstacles promise to continue

Two prominent Republican politicians in Congress promise to continue their hardheadedness should Hillary Clinton win the White House. Senator and former Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has begun percolating the idea that the Senate should not vote on any new Supreme Court justices. Not to be outdone, Utah Representative and Chair of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz has noted he will hold committee meetings with the purpose to throw dirt at Clinton and find something that will stick.

I don’t know about you, but I think Americans are tired of these kinds of antics. I have noted before that the media has been sloppy on their reporting of why people don’t like Washington lumping all of the reasons together. The majority of Americans want them to work together and get things done. There is a smaller percentage, primarily on the GOP side, that only want it done their way and compromise and collaboration are viewed as curse words.

The big problem here is the latter group is the predominant reason why the anger exists in the first place. Cruz has been a leader of the obstinate Tea Party and extreme right GOP members in the Senate. He single-handedly almost caused the US to default on its debt payments. Try that with VISA and see how far it gets you. And, then he advertises as a candidate that he wants to become President to solve all our problems. Senator Cruz, you are the problem, and if you want to solve it, then please resign.

As for Chaffetz, I have not been too impressed with his efforts. When Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards testified in front of his committee, Chaffetz put up a chart showing their ineffectiveness, saying it came from the Planned Parenthood website. After a whisper from behind her, Richards pointed out that chart was inaccurate and actually came from an anti-Planned Parenthood group website. She proceeded to tell him where it was wrong. It was one of the most effective put downs I have witnessed and showed that Chaffetz had not done his homework.

So, now Chaffetz wants to belabor anti-Clinton committee hearings. This comes on the heels of eight Benghazi hearings which former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice described as witch hunts. Yes, Clinton had some fault, but so did many others and the final report agreed with a nonpartisan report done three months after Benghazi. And, not to be outdone, Cruz does not want to vote on Supreme Court justices at all, violating the mandate under the Constitution. It was bad enough the GOP Senate leaders punted on nominee Merrick Garland, but now this ineffective leader wants to stonewall some more. I guess we should let it whittle done to zero justices.

Excuse my language, but when is this bullshit going to end? It might be helpful to the American people if our Congressional leaders tried something unique like governing. It has gotten so bad, our own military defines Congressional inaction as one of the gravest threats to our national security. Senator Cruz and Congressman Chaffetz, my strong advice to you is to worry less about keeping your job and just do your damn job.

 

Millennials have more at stake

While this title is painfully obvious, it cannot be overstated in this election. Everyone will be impacted by this election, but millennials will feel the brunt.

While both major party Presidential candidates are flawed, there is a clear light of day between Clinton and Trump, with her experience, competence, global relationships, temperament and toughness. On this latter point, Trump is a seventy year old petulant child when things don’t go his way or he is criticized, while his opponent weathers the storm.

Yet, three definitive comparisons need highlighting for all, but especially millennials – environment, economy and equality, the three E’s. The impact will have a lasting effect on our country and planet.

Environment: HRC and the Democratic Party have firm stances and policy positions consistent with the United Nations and every major science organization on climate change and man’s influence thereon. Trump is acquiescing to the fossil fuel industry with the rest of the GOP, going even further saying climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to steal our jobs. He plans to tear up the Paris Climate Change Accord and roll back environmental regulations. Both actions should scare all of us, but especially our younger voters.

Economy: HRC has detailed plans about keeping the economy percolating and investing in our infrastucture, which will create jobs. UK based Oxford Economics joins other economic forecasters in saying Trump’s economic plans will likely cause a US recession, while Clinton’s will be neutral to positive in impact. Further, the nonpartisan Committee for Responsible Federal Budget and nonpartisan Tax Foundation model that Trump’s economic plan would increase our $19 trillion debt by $5.3 trillion in the next ten years, while Clinton’s would only increase it by $200 billion. Note both of these are in the wrong direction, but there is a 27x difference between the two candidates’ plans.

Equality: With aggravated hate speech and fear mongering, Trump has tapped into the worst part of the American psyche. No American has more rights than another and no less either. Yet, too many are being demonized and their rights and opportunities are being stepped on. Plus, their voices are not being heard. We are better than this and must be or we will harm our future. Clinton has fought for the rights of the disenfranchised here and abroad, especially those of women and children. And, her plans on investing in infrastructure jobs and education, improving Obamacare and increasing the minimum wage are representative of her focus on those who are disenfranchised.

To me, this election reveals a stark contrast to where we need to go. We cannot retrench on fighting climate change and environmental protections. We cannot avoid investing in our infrastructure and new technologies. And, we cannot forsake the rights of all of our citizens. It is my strong belief, that Clinton will also be a collaborative leader as evidenced by her work as a Senator and will work with both parties to get things done. Our millennials will bear the brunt if we don’t address these issues.

Two misconceptions need to be challenged

“Innovation is portable,” said David Smick, an economic advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, in his book “The World is Curved.” In essence, innovation will occur where it is welcome and the initial jobs will be created around it. We should not lose sight of this observation as we discuss our economic future.

Smick surprised many when he noted in his book the similarities in Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who were the number one and three best job creating Presidents, in that order. They both loved global trade and hated deficits. And, they were known for their collaboration with Congress, even with an opposite majority in power. Collaboration is essential to getting buy-in and understanding of the problem and possible solutions.

With this context, we need to challenge some notions that do not tell the whole story and, as a result, could lead us down the wrong path. We need to look at holistic causes to problems, so that we can address them effectively. Our problems are not solvable by bumper sticker solutions, no matter how loudly and forcefully they are espoused.

Here are two of those simplistic notions and challenges to think about:

Immigration is taking jobs away. This is far too simple a statement. Our history has been built on immigration, who have tended to be hard workers and spawned a higher relative percentage of entrepreneurs. As noted in the famous play “Hamilton,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda based on the book by Ron Chernow, immigrants tend to work hard to make it in our country, as they did not have such opportunity from whence they came. Our economy actually flourishes more with immigration. But, as we look to better govern immigration, we should look at the whole picture. And, on the subject of illegal immigration, a concerted study of the impact of curtailing such on certain industries – housing construction, landscaping, agriculture harvesting, etc. – is critical as we move forward with better governance.

Global Trade is bad for domestic jobs. Global trade is actual good for a domestic economy creating more jobs around the world and here. The downside is companies tend to chase cheaper labor and always have, but an even greater threat to jobs is technology advances. A CFO said in the book “The Rich and the Rest of Us,” an employer will hire no one if he could make it work. Yet, what creates jobs more than anything else is “customers,” per Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist. And, more trade means more customers. When we look to better govern trade, we need to look holistically at the jobs created domestically versus the ones lost. The ill-fated Brexit decision failed to consider all of the foreign companies who have European Headquarters, distribution and manufacturing sites in the UK. These companies are now reconsidering locations should Brexit move forward.

Of course, we need to better govern immigration and global trade, but we must guard against throwing the babies out with the bath water. Let me close with three thoughts.

First, we cannot shrink to greatness. Retrenching from your global market share makes little sense.  Second, think of all of the foreign companies who employ people in the US like Michelin, BMW, Mercedes, Husqvarna, Doosan, Volvo, Nissan, etc. who do so to keep manufacturing near distribution of its goods to their customers. Third, as an example, Steve Jobs is the biological son of Syrian immigrants. Had he not been in America, would Apple exist today at all or as an American company?

We cannot govern off bumper stickers. Our issues are complex. People who tout such ideas are doing a disservice to the problem and citizens through false promises.

 

 

Man up, Little Donnie

While I am not a fan of former Alaskan Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, she is the author of a quote she has not used with Donald Trump, but should. “Man-up,” is a saying that applies here, but that actually does a discredit to women. Little Donnie is being called this by me as he has acted liked a petulant child throughout this election. We have often seen tantrums from Little Donnie without much provocation.

Yet, his continuous rant about the election being rigged against him by the media and election officials reveals a modus operandi for this man. He is thinking like he tends to do when criticized, “It cannot be me, so it must be you.” The culmination of this petulant attitude came at the final debate last night when he answered moderator Chris Wallace’s question would he support the election results? Trump said he would have to “wait and see.”

Little Donnie does not like to lose, nor does he like to be criticized. What he may want to pay attention to is people are laughing at him, even in the audience, when he said “No one has more respect for women than I do.” I am sure he thinks that, but the last poll I saw said 70% of Americans think he did grope women and not just talk about feeling them up and kissing them without being invited. I don’t know how Americans feel about him walking in on beauty contestants while they changed clothes, especially contestants who are only age 15, but my guess is not well.

But, in addition to Palin’s line, President Obama uttered the most scathing comment that speaks volumes, especially if you have ever competed in team sports. At a speech earlier this week, Obama said to Little Donnie, “Quit whining and go out and earn more votes.” Teammates and coaches do not like whiners, plain and simple. Please forgive the use of a curse word, but if Little Donnie claimed about the game being rigged, they would say “Just shut up play, dammit.”

Little Donnie has been a poor candidate from the get go. He survived this far as the GOP did not bring out his many issues and history in the primary. They thought a sensible candidate would win one on one, but that strategy failed. Trump is losing now because of one person, Trump. I am hopeful the polls ring true after the votes are tallied. And, he will need to say these words, “I concede.”

Could your emails stand up to scrutiny?

As there continues to be a leak of emails from Hillary Clinton’s staffers and previously the Democratic National Convention as supplied by WikiLeaks, it begs the question could your emails stand up to scrutiny? Irrespective of the source of the hack, with the Russians being accused as the perpetrators, we are learning of various internal machinations of a political marketing engine.

These emails are on top of the emails she released to the FBI from her personal servers while Secretary of State. From the folks who have taken the time to go through the emails, they have found them to be monotonous, as most emails are. There is quite a bit of pedestrian stuff. In fact, one reporter who was not a fan of Hillary Clinton’s, said she became one by witnessing how organized she was and how much she devoted to planning.

Yet, with any mountain of emails, there are various things that come out, which range from sales messaging to, in the case, of her state emails, emails she should have noted and handled differently. She has admitted she has made a mistake in using your own servers, and has compounded them by not being transparent from the get go. That is due to an Achilles Heel of hers which is to be close-vested. I am sure a large part is due to being protective, as she has been vilified over time, in part because she is a strong woman.

But, back to my question. Would your emails stand up to scrutiny? If you were shown an old email or several that showed you at your worst, where you sent an email you should not have, would that make you a bad person? I once asked “who told someone years ago that it was OK to do something that turned out later to be unwise?” It turns out I was that someone, but had no recollection whatsoever.

Further, what if we saw the emails of a few more contentious legislators? What would Senator Ted Cruz, who is not known for collaboration, have to say in his emails? What about those of former Speaker John Boehner, who had to herd cats on the majority side to keep things from falling apart in Congress and could only get major things through when he involved enough moderate Republicans with the Democrats? What about Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, the poster children for how Washington cannot get things done?

But, what about those of Presidential candidate Donald Trump or RNC Chairman Reince Priebus? Now, those would have some quite interesting exchanges about the candidates and his campaign tactics. Priebus would have several on “what do we do about what Trump said?” What bothers me about WikiLeaks, is the emails are one-sided. Clinton is far from perfect, but is it fair to pour through her sausage making and not her opponent’s? I find this interesting as he is the one saying the election is rigged.

Just think about this as we see more stories from her emails. I am sure there are more less than flattering emails therein, but maybe we should just set them aside, unless and until we can see others from her opponent. I am open to comments.