Early votes are in for this family – please vote

Joe Biden has aired a commercial which encourages people to vote. He only appears at the end and he does not say vote for me, although that is tacitly implied. While Biden is ahead in several swing state polls, the lead is within the margin of error of the sample size and presumes the poll is unbiased and looks like the voter mix. It should be noted that these polls indicate a mean, so one standard deviation encompasses only 1/6 of a likelihood in either direction around the mean.

Biden has rightfully told his campaign team to assume we are losing and go out with vigor. Trump followers like to say the polls were wrong in 2016, but actually they were pretty accurate. Before the late Comey announcement to reopen the investigation, HIllary Clinton had a supportable margin of standard deviation toward a victory. After the Comey announcement, the standard deviation indicated Trump could win.

So, some lukewarm Clinton voters stayed home or made a protest vote for Jill Stein. A few Bernie Sanders supporters were so ticked off at Clinton, they actually voted for Trump. That was an insult to Sanders, but it mattered not. Clinton would have been a better president than she was a candidate, just as she was when she was a Senator. Yet, too many whacks at the Clinton pinata over the years left a negative impression in too many.

While Trump’s faults were obvious in 2016, he was expected to be better than he has been. Now, people have seen the divisiveness, the corruption, the incivility, and the lying that embodies the president. And, he has taken credit for things he had little to do with or not as much as advertised and blamed others for his faults.

So, I encourage every one to vote. Please do not mess around this time. To be frank, Trump needs to not only lose, he needs to lose convincingly. He has been overtly cheating for many months and will do so after the election if the margin is not convincing. He is a cornered animal and he will actually get worse as we near the election.

Please vote. My family has all voted now. My wife, daughter and I voted early yesterday. It was well done, safe and secure. It took us twenty minutes. Please invest that time. It is important.

A Republican Senator is less than kind in his remarks about the president

Senator Ben Sasse has been a troubled Republican Senator for the last few years. Of course, his words have gotten him on the president’s “naughty list” when he has dared utter inconvenient truths. In an article yesterday republished by MSN (see link below) called “GOP Sen Sasse unleashes scathing attack on Trump TV obsessed narcissist,” Sasse continues to share his concerns. Here are a few paragraphs.

“During a telephone town hall, a constituent asked Sasse about his relationship with the president and why he has to criticize him so much, according to an audio clip that was first obtained by The Washington Examiner and has been posted on Youtube.

‘I’m not at all apologetic for having fought for my values against his in places where I think his are deficient, not just for a Republican but for an American,’ said Sasse, who then began ticking off a number of things he dislikes about the president. ‘The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers.

‘The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor,’ Sasse continued, adding that Trump ‘mocks evangelicals behind closed doors…has treated the presidency like a business opportunity’ and has ‘flirted with white supremacists.’

There is truly nothing to add to this comments other than I share his concerns and more.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-sen-sasse-unleashes-scathing-attack-on-trump-tv-obsessed-narcissist/ar-BB1a5Z23?ocid=msedgdhp

Two weeks later – the debate disaster still impacting Trump

I did not need a presidential debate to understand the nature of the beast who is the US president. His corrupt, deceitful, bullying and childish behavior over years has show us who he is. Yet, sometimes, there needs to be a clear reminder. The presidential debate a few weeks ago may have served that role.

In an article called “Trump hasn’t recovered from tailspin set off by raucous debate performance, poll shows” by David Lauer of The LA TImes, the following paragraphs frame this story. The entire article can be linked to below.

“With three weeks left until election day, President Trump has not recovered from the self-inflicted wounds of his first debate with Joe Biden and, instead, has sunk farther behind his challenger, a new USC Dornsife poll shows.

The encounter in Cleveland, dominated by Trump’s repeated interruptions and his cryptic statement that seemingly welcomed a right-wing extremist group, appears to be the exception to the usual rule that the impact of debates fades quickly.

The damage the debate did to Trump’s standing has persisted through his bout with COVID-19, leaving him with a deep deficit and little time to recover. (Trump’s refusal to participate in an Oct. 15 virtual debate led to its cancellation; the final debate is set for Oct. 22.)”

Last Saturday, I watched a replay of “Real Time with Bill Maher” from the night before. The guests made two interesting observations about Trump’s debate disaster. For all of those viewers who were are troubled by Trump and his behavior, they were fully reminded of who Donald Trump is with his rude and overbearing behavior as he repeatedly interrupted both Joe Biden and the moderator, Chris Wallace.

That would have been enough, but for a US president to swing and whiff at an easy lob by not condemning a white supremacist group, was mind-boggling. Then, to give tongue-in-cheek support to a white supremacist groups was beyond the pale. I am not surprised the racist president feels this way, but I am surprised he said what he did. It was truly an unforced error, but an actual window into his nature.

On this same Bill Maher show, a female guest added something interesting about the Vice Presidential debate. She noted that even though Mike Pence is not as rude as Trump, he still talked over Kamala Harris and the moderator, Susan Page. The guest noted many women have used (or thought of using) the line Harris said, “It is my turn to talk.”

Being overbearing is not restricted to men. But, when men are overbearing, people think less of it. When a women is overbearing, they are labeled with harsher words. The exception is when a man is over-the-top overbearing. The president does not study facts or history, so his way of arguing is to name-call and raise his voice. As my grandmother said, those who name-call and shout usually have a poor argument.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-hasn-t-recovered-from-tailspin-set-off-by-raucous-debate-performance-poll-shows/ar-BB1a0Qcy?ocid=msedgdhp

Two articles speak volumes

Two articles are worth noting as we head into the election. The first is “Trump’s handling of coronavirus pandemic hits record low approval: Reuters/Ipsos poll’ by John Whitesides of Reuters. Here are a few paragraphs.

“Americans are steadily losing confidence in President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with his net approval on the issue that has dominated the U.S. election hitting a record low in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll taken Tuesday through Thursday, after Trump’s COVID-19 infection and weekend hospitalization, found 37% of American adults approved of the president’s handling of the pandemic and 59% disapproved.

The net approval rating of negative 22 percentage points is the lowest in the poll dating back to March 2 and has steadily declined over the last 10 days, as Trump’s illness and his return to work in the White House dominated news headlines.”

The second article was reported by Randy Tucker in the Cincinnati Enquirer is called “Mitch McConnell says White House’s lax COVID rules are why he hasn’t visited since August.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday said he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of what he saw as lax coronavirus practices. “‘ haven’t actually been to the White House since Aug. 6 because my impression was their approach to how to handle this (pandemic) was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said during an appearance in Northern Kentucky.

These excerpts and articles speak for themselves. To be frank, while bad, I am surprised the disapproval rating of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 response is not higher. We are just shy of 218,000 deaths in America, yet that does not seem to be a problem or a debate question worth answering. It just shows how little news actually gets to people that need to see it. That is what this independent voter thinks.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-s-handling-of-coronavirus-pandemic-hits-record-low-approval-reuters-ipsos-poll/ar-BB19Q8zM?ocid=msedgdhp

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mitch-mcconnell-i-havent-visited-white-house-recently-because-of-lax-covid-rules/ar-BB19PyTp?ocid=uxbndlbing

One is telling us to vote, the other is saying watch who is voting

In and of itself, the title of this post tells you all you need to know about who should be the president in January, 2021. One candidate, named Joe Biden has a commercial telling people in commercials to vote. Not vote for me, although that can be construed, but he never says the words and he only appears at the end.

The other candidate named Donald Trump is telling everyone the voting process, especially the mail-in process, is fraught with errors and people can cheat. He is behind in the polls and has been most of the summer, but he has said routinely, if he does not win, the system is rigged. Note, the significant majority of Republican leaders have said there is no evidence of such and five states rely on mail-in voting, with 37 states who use it often.

Please reread these two paragraphs. This should tell you all you need to know about the two candidates. There have been and will be stories of questions about mail-in ballots, but those happen all the time. They just don’t have conspiracy people like the president looking to use them. I do know election officials are trying very hard to assure the process is fair and secure, very much unlike the person who occupies the White House.

My thesis is simple. The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans confirmed the Russians interfered in the 2016 election favoring Trump, actually going further than the Mueller report. Neither investigation was a hoax or witch hunt. Here are a few questions to ask. Has the president called the Russians on the carpet? Has the president been active in making sure the election process is secure? Has he reassured Americans about the process? Has he offered proof of widespread problems? Or has he been his normal rabblerousing self stirring up trouble because his fragile ego cannot tolerate losing?

I was both saddened and amused when the president told Bob Woodward he did not let Americans know about the dangers of COVID-19 as he did not want to start a panic. Really? This president traffics in panic. That is in his modus operandi. Cause panic, create fear to divide Americans and make himself look like he is above the fray. The problem is these fires of unrest are traceable, in part, to the person holding the gas can in the White House.

Plain talk

I try to mute the campaign commercials, but sometimes they slip through. The truths often get overwhelmed by the narrative of the story. But, for some politicians, the truth is not a frequent guest in their house sans commercials. Here are few observations that I will call plain talk.

– One pro-Trump commercial says Joe Biden voted to send all the jobs to China. The truth is CEOs chasing cheap labor sent those jobs to China and to Mexico, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

– One pro-Senator Thom Tillis (NC) commercial said his opponent’s public health care option is government run healthcare and may close down 22 hospitals in North Carolina. First, like Medicare, it is publicly run insurance, not healthcare. Second, I have seen no reputable report that would support the conclusion a public option would close 22 hospitals.

– I see several commercials asking what happened to Senator Lindsey Graham (SC)? The answer is he has not changed much, with one key exception. He was good friends with Senator John McCain, who was more of a maverick. Graham would side with McCain on a few occasions. When McCain passed away, Graham continued down the path of sycophancy in support of Donald Trump.

– Tillis’ opponent Cal Cunningham is a very good candidate and has been ahead for much of the race. Then, it was confirmed he did something stupid as he was sexting with consultant to his campaign. My reaction is using a three letter synonym for the Democrat mascot with the word “dumb” in front of it. Will it affect the campaign? Likely.

– Speaking of the same phrase, Congressman Anthony Weiner not only destroyed his career by sending pictures of his private parts to young women, the fact his wife used the same server for some business for her boss Hillary Clinton, caused FBI Director James Comey to reopen the case and hand the election to Trump. So, Weiner’s less than prudent behavior destroyed two candidates and left us with the most corrupt and deceitful of presidents.

– What still amazes me is how Trump got elected after things that would have derailed others? The person is caught on audio tape bragging of his impunity as a rich, powerful person to groping women by their private parts, something he has been accused of by several women. Mike Pence had decided to drop out of the race, but was talked back into it, so when I see his puppy dog loyalty to this corrupt and deceitful president, I think back to when he almost remembered his conscience.

– Speaking of sexual misconduct, Bill Clinton was also famous for it, but not quite as prolific an alleged molester as the current president. It is interesting that both Trump and Clinton attended parties at Jeffrey Epstein’s. What I don’t get is Bill has an affair in the White House and his wife gets crap from the religious right for standing by her man? Mind you, Wild Bill deserved to jerked bald-headed as does The Donald. Maybe Melania and Hillary could video that for all of us to view.

Speaking plainly, the president is behind which means he will continue to get worse. His unproven accusations toward mail-in voting is just one example of his cornered-animal schtick. Believing anything Trump says is a fool’s errand. In addition to seeing Trump lose, I would love to see both Graham and Tillis lose. It appears Mitch McConnell will win, but he is the poster child for what is wrong with Congress. Until Trump brought his own swamp to town, I used to say Washington, but Trump is the new poster child.

The racist incumbent in the White House

In a article by Justin Coleman of The Hill called “Santorum: ‘Huge mistake’ for Trump not to condemn white supremacy at debate,” the former Senator chastised the president for not condemning white supremacism. Per The Hill’s article (a link is below):

“Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) on Wednesday said that it was a ‘huge mistake’ for President Trump not to condemn white supremacy during the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Santorum said in an appearance on CNN’s ‘New Day’ that Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacy was a ‘bad error,’ saying the president has “condemned these groups before.”

‘But for some reason, he didn’t and I think that was a huge gaffe,’ the former senator said. ‘And it’s been typical of the president when he gets backed into a corner he doesn’t like to be forced to say something.’

‘He made a huge mistake, and again you can’t say anything other than disappointed,’ he added.”

This is not the first time the president has failed to condemn white supremacism or has uttered racist remarks.

– Trump’s comment about good people being on both sides in the Charlottesville, VA white nationalist march and reaction that led to one woman mowed down led to his Jewish National Economics Advisor Gary Cohn to decide to leave the White House after he passed a tax bill.
– Trump settled a court case for housing discrimination against African-Americans, and then had to be taken back to court as he did not honor the settlement.
– Trump placed a full page article accusing the Central Park Five (all African-American teens) of a heinous crime. They were convicted, but the conviction was overturned.
– Trump used derogatory terms against Native Americans in public testimony as he was losing casino business to Native Americans.
– Trump for several years continued attacking President Obama for not being born in America, the “Birther Issue.” Would he have done this is Obama was 100% white?
– Trump referenced not wanting immigration from “s**thole countries” when he decided to unwind an agreed to DACA for the Wall funding deal made verbally earlier in the day.
– Trump made reference to the four new Congress members to “go back to where you came from” as they were women of color.
– Trump announced his candidacy referencing the “rapists’ coming in from Mexico
– Trump supported the right for his mostly white followers to protest (with guns) in state capitols to re-open the economies, but references the multi-racial Black Lives Matter protestors as “thugs.”

While I am not perfect, it is pretty clear the president has made many racist remarks, which make him racist. Further, I am hard pressed to not call Trump a white supremacist sympathizer. But, don’t take my word for it. His attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen said under oath to Congress, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” Why did he lead with racist?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/santorum-huge-mistake-for-trump-not-to-condemn-white-supremacy-at-debate/ar-BB19zId5?ocid=msedgdhp

And, the beat goes on – more Republican defections

I have written several pieces about the groups of and individual Republicans who have come out against Donald Trump in support of Joe Biden. The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, and Republican Voters against Trump are a key few.

Per a CNN report by Chris Cillizza called “There’s a historic insurrection against Donald Trump happening within the GOP,” the following few paragraphs reveal a few more Republican voices are speaking out. The full article can be linked to below.

“The latest sign came Sunday, when former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge penned an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer making clear his intent to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in November.

‘He lacks the empathy, integrity, intellect and maturity to lead,’ Ridge, who also served as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, wrote of Trump.

Ridge joins fellow Bush Cabinet secretaries Christine Todd Whitman (EPA), Ann Veneman (Agriculture), Carlos Gutierrez (Commerce) and Colin Powell (State) as Biden endorsers. Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, and Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska Republican senator, both of whom served in the Obama Cabinet, have also backed Biden.

And that’s just Republicans who served in a presidential Cabinet! There are a slew of other prominent GOP elected officials — from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich to former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman to 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina to former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder — who are on record as either planning to vote for Biden or leaning in that direction.

Then there are the staffers. That group includes the former chiefs of staff at the Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration! More than 70 national security officials from various Republican administrations are backing Biden. As are more than 150 alums of the George W. Bush White House.”

The incumbent and his supporters downplay these Republican voices. The president, of course, labels these critics as “losers” a favorite name calling rebuttal. I read a piece from a Trump supporting pundit who dismissed these folks as being played up by Democrats.

Yet, neither the president or pundit have addressed why these folks are risking backlash from a vindictive person. The same “why” question can be asked of the president’s firing or transferring of the inspectors general who were critical and folks who testified under oath over concerns about the president’s actions

Why indeed?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/there-s-a-historic-insurrection-against-donald-trump-happening-within-the-gop/ar-BB19vw1b?ocid=msedgdhp

Take it to the bank – Trump will sue to prevent losing the election

In a Politico article by Anita Kumar called “Trump readies thousands of attorneys for election fight,” it documents what many fear the US president will do to avoid losing an election. The first four paragraphs tell you all you need to know, but the whole article can be linked to below.

“A year before President Donald Trump alarmed Americans with talk of disputing elections last week, his team started building a massive legal network to do just that.

Dozens of lawyers from three major law firms have been hired. Thousands of volunteer attorneys and poll watchers across the country have been recruited. Republicans are preparing pre-written legal pleadings that can be hurried to the courthouse the day after the election, as wrangling begins over close results and a crush of mail-in ballots. Attorneys from non-battleground states, including California, New York and Illinois, are being dispatched to more competitive areas and trained on local election laws.

A 20-person team of lawyers oversees the strategy, which is mainly focused on the election process in the 17 key states the Trump campaign is targeting, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In total, it means the Republican Party will have thousands of people on hand to shape every element of voting — both on Election Day and in the days after.”

Let me be frank. Donald Trump has known for some time he is trailing in the election. When the Democrats nominated Joe Biden, that was his worst fear. He knows he is underwater on public satisfaction with his job, so he has to game the system. His modus operandi is to use whatever means necessary to win. And, do not be surprised by anything he does to try to win, because his fragile ego cannot handle criticism or losing.

So, Trump began an unheard of and unsupported effort to claim mail-in votes would be fraudulent, even though Republicans have disagreed with him on that point. Yet, I have noticed Republicans who are in tough campaigns are echoing some of the president’s rhetoric on this. That is shameful. My educated guess is he will get some of his base to make it look like fraud is occurring (or they may just do it on their own, as winning is everything).

So, if he is ahead election night with many uncounted mail-in votes, he will sue to stop or disrupt the count. Or maybe he will just drag it out to make it look like something fishy is going on. The impact on other elections is very secondary to his winning. The impact on our country’s democratic process is irrelevant. He has already shown that process does not matter.

If this sounds cynical, let me add that Donald Trump, per his biographers, was mentored by famous attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn was an advisor to Senator Joseph McCarthy, of the communist witch hunt fame, so we know truth is not a valued attribute of his. Cohn advised the young Trump of two major themes – never apologize and sue everyone. By the time of the 2016 election, Trump was measured as having over 4,000 lawsuits, which averages out to about 1 1/2 per week of his adult life. Litigious does not do justice to describing Trump’s modus operandi. He would sue big and little people and businesses to avoid paying them for services.

So, take it to the bank, Trump will sue to avoid losing. The Democrats need to be prepared for this, but there is one way to make the plan fail. Go to the polls en masse and vote this most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime out of office. Trump needs to be soundly defeated to make it not worth his while. People in all of the battleground states need to vote to oust him. And, we all need to make sure he goes away come January.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-has-spent-a-year-building-a-legal-network-to-fight-the-election/ar-BB19te2n?ocid=uxbndlbing

Letter to editor – health care actions speak loudly

I have written longer posts on the actions of Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Republicans to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. What many do not know, after the election, a court case will decide its fate, brazenly brought forward by several Republican state AGs after Congress stripped away the coverage mandate during a budget vote. The following is a brief letter I sent to my newspaper.

The truth matters. Actions matter. Four years ago, Trump said we had to wait and see his healthcare plan. None existed and still does not. Three years ago Trump cut payments to insurers to fund their payment of co-pays and deductibles for ACA members making less than 2 1/2 x the poverty rate and then lied about its impact – it actually increased premiums and the deficit per the CBO.

After the election, SCOTUS will be hearing a case to rule on the constitutionality of the ACA premium subsidy after Republicans stripped away the coverage mandate, which would severely hamper the law and may lead to its end. The White House chose not to defend the law. The ACA impacts both exchange and employer benefits, three key provisions of which are allowing pre-existing conditions, requiring guaranteed renewability and requiring wellness doctor visits not be subject to deductibles.

Sadly, beyond the nay-saying, there has been more sabotage of the ACA which increased premiums (Google Marco Rubio and risk corridors), repeal and replace efforts which were fortunately defeated, and fourteen states (including NC and SC) who still have not expanded Medicaid, a key part to help people in poverty. Health care coverage access is a major issue this coming election so says this retired benefits consultant, benefits manager and former actuary.

Eliminating the ACA which which may impact over 200 million Americans  (including the ACA requirements on employer plans) is unwise in my view, in general. But, doing so in the middle of a poorly handled pandemic by the White House with over 200,000 and growing American deaths, is plain asinine and mean-spirited.

Please feel free to adapt and use. Actions speak louder than words and my former party, the GOP, has purposefully sabotaged the right for Americans to have access to health care coverage. This is why your vote matters.