To the point

The petulant acting president has told his people to not share COVID-19 data with the staff appointed by the president-elect. We are talking about people’s lives and the president is still throwing a tantrum with unfounded claims of wide-spread fraud, claims which he has orchestrated and staged for several months.

Let me come right to the point. This is the first president to not put country first to facilitate an orderly transition. It matters not if the president is still contending the election with or without merit. You still plan ahead to help people. It is that simple.

But, let me be brutally frank. Watching this president over the years, during his first campaign, and during his presidency, his interests have invariably superseded those of the country’s. He cannot help himself as it is in his narcissistic nature. So, doing what is necessary to help people is not in his thought pattern.

As conservative pundit David Brooks said the past year, “the president does not have any empathy or sense of decency.” There are many negative metaphors to draw from, but to me, having pep rallies with his most ardent fans in February without warning them of the risk (after admitting to knowing of the dangers of the coronavirus), is beyond the pale. He put his most loyal followers in danger without their knowledge.

Yet, if that is too subtle, picture Trump tossing paper towels to Puerto Ricans ravaged by a hurricane following his relative disdain to helping them. It was condescending as if it were a king throwing food scraps to hungry people.

A recipe for election conspiracy

The following is a recipe for an election conspiracy that began earlier this year. It is being perpetrated and orchestrated by the president of the United States, not a vast contagion of complicit election officials, that would have to include many Republicans.

I mention this as Trump supporters are following the president’s lead saying this election is being stolen from him. Yet, Trump’s base and sycophants, whether aware or unaware, are part of his orchestrated conspiracy to defraud the American people. What he is doing now was predicted and predictable. The recipe is simple:

1) Recognize many people will vote by mail because of COVID-19
2) Understand the mission of the GOP over the last ten years to make it harder for the wrong people to vote (Google ALEC and Voter ID laws, Surgical gerrymandering)
3) Defame the mail-in process and raise questions
4) Hire a person to hobble the post office
5) Hire law firms with over 1,000 lawyers to prepare for a post-election battle if needed
6) Enlist as many GOP led state governments to restrict further mail-in votes
7) Encourage supportive voters to vote in person, knowing the in-person votes would be counted first
8) If needed, claim victory on election night while ahead and try to stop the counting
9) Claim the election is being stolen and sue

While some may feel this is farfetched, after reading about the attorneys being hired and the president’s words and actions, I wrote in September a piece called “Take it to the bank – the president will sue to avoid losing the election.” And, Senator Bernie Sanders eerily predicted on a TV talk show what Trump would do three weeks before he did it.

At the heart of all of this is a person who is known for lying, cutting corners, cheating, and being ego-maniacal, meaning he cannot stand to lose. As his niece said, her uncle will burn everything down to avoid losing. That appears to be so.

Keep calm and be patient

The election for president is still being determined, so anyone declaring victory at this point is premature. I was hoping to avoid a situation where the president did what he did early this morning – declare victory, insist the counting be stopped and crying foul in the process.

This is the worst outcome that could have occurred, giving a window to the corrupt and deceitful president to be, well, corrupt and deceitful. The people on the ground are trying to get it right, doing what the president fails to do – their job in a competent and honest fashion.

It should be noted Fox News host Chris Wallace and former Republican governor Chris Christie have both chastised Trump for his premature celebration. The outcome is still unknown, with Michigan and Pennsylvania having around 25% or more of their counts outstanding. Wisconsin is leaning narrowly Biden’s way, with absentee ballots in two Democrat leaning towns left to count.

Nevada is also leaning Biden’s way, but still has more counts left. In fact, if Biden carries Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan, that will put him at 270 votes, without counting Pennsylvania. I don’t know the hold-ups in North Carolina and Georgia, but those look like Trump wins.

Frankly, I was hoping to avoid this being so close. I am disappointed in my home state of North Carolina and surprised how Ohio and Florida went. Trump is doing what he was expected to do, even after lying and saying he would not until the votes are counted. His illicit actions over the last six months having been staging for this very moment.

So, if he ends up winning after the votes are all counted then he wins. Yet, we still are in the fourth quarter of this election, so we need to stay calm and be patient.

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.

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

A conversation between Garfield and Odie

The following conversation was spawned by a delightful post called “The Conversation” on Gigisrantsandtraves blog called Rethinking Life. A link is provided below. I caught wind of it by a reblog from Holly of House of Heart.

As Garfield said to Odie, “can you believe this guy is admitting to using the post office to win the election?” Odie nods yes. “Can you believe that senator guy from the cheese state admits that his committee’s investigation is designed to help Biden lose?” Odie nods yes. Garfield asks “Odie, are you nodding yes because you are not surprised they are cheating or they are telling us they are cheating?” Odie holds up a sign “Both, but the question is why is this not considered a problem anymore?”

When Garfield looks surprised at the astute observation, Odie holds up another sign that said “When Kevin McCarthy admitted in an interview in 2015 the continual Benghazi hearings were to help Hillary lose, he was asked to step down from consideration as Speaker of the House. Apparently, lying and cheating are now a new sport.”

Author’s note, while Garfield and Odie are fictional characters, the subject of the stories and conclusion are sadly real. Please read the inventive post by Gigisrantsandraves. This conversation would not have been written without her marvelous post.

https://gigisrantsandraves.wordpress.com/2020/08/15/the-convrsation/

Shortcuts

While I was walking a path cut through the woods earlier this week, I noticed more than a few shortcuts that would save several steps. Since I am out for a nice walk, who is served by taking the shortcuts? In fact, I would be cheating myself.

It reminded of golfers who mentally shave strokes off their score. If alone, they are only cheating themselves. If playing an opponent, they are cheating an opposition and harming their reputation, as your opponent is not blind and can count.

I have written about good bosses, but one of the worst bosses I have ever had took credit for almost every success and distanced himself from failures. Not surprisingly, he was a notorious cheater at golf.

Does this boss sound like anyone in the public domain? Cheating at golf is not the worst of the US president’s attributes. But, like my boss, it is not surprising he does.

Shortcuts are good when someone needs to shave time or avoid heavy traffic. Shortcuts are great for busy cooks at home to cut a few steps and not sacrifice too much quality. Pre-preparing rice or sauces for the week with Sunday night’s dinner is a Sandra Lee suggestion, whose “Semi-homemade” cooking show was devoted to easier quality cooking.

Yet, some shortcuts are more harmful than good. Not vetting candidates or possible solutions with others will result in poor choices. This especially true if the shortcutter is known for his impatience as that cheating golfer is. Think my doctor is a good choice to run the VA, even though he has no managerial experience, e.g.

The devil is in the details. We must do our best to do our homework and only take shortcuts that will serve us without suffering quality.

A plea for progressive Democrat voters

The following plea is made by an Independent voter who has been a member of both parties. I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive. I am an advocate for the disenfranchised, environment and debt education. What all this means is I believe in helping people climb ladders, equal opportunity and rights, protecting our environment, but recognizing we have to pay for things.

My plea for progressive Democrat voters is as follows: If someone

  • cares about our global reputation and trade,
  • cares about good healthcare options,
  • cares about fighting climate change,
  • cares about protecting the environment and bee pollinators,
  • cares about our growing debt problem made worse by this president,
  • cares about civil rights and liberties for all,
  • cares about common decency,
  • cares about data-driven analysis, and
  • knows that our economy has been growing for over 120 months, only 30 of which have been under this president,

then please vote for Donald Trump’s opponent.

But. you must vote and not phone it in. Trump won in 2016 because he got people who were not crazy about Hillary to stay home or vote for Jill Flynn.

As for the Democrats – beating Trump truly is the major consideration. He is a clear and present danger to our democracy, our planet and even his own party. Please do not nominate a candidate that will not appeal to moderate Dems and Independents. Trump should not win this election if Dems do this. He can win if he continues to resonate with his race baiting and fear mongering of perceived evils of socialism and Dems nominate a George McGovern or Walter Mondale like candidate (please research how they did in the general election).

I am writing this to any progressive readers. We cannot be stupid about this election. Trump is beatable, but he can also win. Watergate was all about making sure Nixon ran against McGovern and not Edmund Muskie and getting dirt on McGovern once they got Muskie to drop out of the race (please research Nixon’s dirty tricks and Muskie’s tears of anger). Trump is more corrupt than Nixon, per conservative writer George Will – I agree. He will do everything in his power to lie, cheat and bully. Take that to the bank.

Finally, a note to all Democrat candidates – get every fact you can correct. Trump uses facts and truth as commodities – sparingly and only when they help him. But, even then he is prone to embellish his own role in good news. Fact-checkers have reported all candidates fudge the truth, but they also show no one comes close to Trump’s rate of lying. Do not be like that. Argue facts, diplomatically and forcefully. And, if anyone or group promotes violence in reaction to the hateful rhetoric, be quick to condemn it. Violence has no place in political discourse.

Oh, what a week after many before

It seems to be a consistent pattern. Pundits reflect on the week that was for the President saying it was a horrible week for him. They have said these same words week after week.

More than a few people are simply fatigued by this man and his actions. I know I am. The relentless lying, bullying, cheating and even criminal activity wear me out. Other than a few timing issues, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen did not offer up anything surprising. Americans need to heed his words that defined his former boss as a racist, con man and cheat.

Just last night a report that said Trump ordered that Jared Kushner be given a security clearance over the written objections of the intelligence community and Chief of Staff. Unsurprisingly, the President denies this. It should be noted after getting this clearance, months later, money came from a Saudi source to pay off a $1.2 billion loan balloon payment that was of concern to Kushner. Why?

The President is in a death spiral and it is starting to get faster. The spiral slowly started when he fired James Comey. But, the resignation of James Mattis and Trump’s reneging on a deal with the Senate which led to the shutdown sped it up some more. More farmers going bankrupt due to tariffs and the economy showing signs of age will hasten it further.

Plus, the President’s inability to pay attention to detail, listen to experts, or be more patient has cost him and our country yet again. He should not have gone to Vietnam without all the ducks in a row. This follows numerous other examples – the disastrous initial travel ban, the transgender military ban, the ill-devised tariffs, announcing pulling out of Syria etc. – that were done against the advice of experts, without proper vetting and without communicating with interested parties.

As I type this I am watching a rerun of “The American President,” with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening, that I caught by channel-surfing. Everything this movie highlights as an ideal President, seems at odds with our current real one.

It is time for our Republican legislators to find their backbone. The ones who attended the Cohen testimony did exactly what Cohen had done for ten years, defend a man who is not worth defending. As he added, it will not end well for them. The GOP will deserve every bit of criticism they get, as none of this is news. They can help the country and party if they change their ways.

A good sign is Senator Lamar Alexander pushing back on Trump’s emergency declaration. He has the backing of others. This is a trend that has started. What I don’t understand is many GOP legislators know Trump is everything Cohen said he was, yet they don’t fear more that the past lies will come out and future ones will cause problems.

Folks, it is not going to get better. This President is a cornered animal and he will bite anyone to save himself. And, I mean anyone.

 

Sunday summaries

I hope your weekend is going well. Several topics have toyed with me writing a full post, so I will resort to a brief summary of a few. In no particular order:

The royal family of Saudi Arabia has done a pretty inept job of lying to the world about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. It is so unartful that even the US President, who is not known for truth and wants just to do transactions, is being forced to admit they must be lying. I applaud other world leaders and even more than a few US Senators for stepping up to cry foul. My guess is this will eventually lead to the fall of Crown Prince MSB as he is embarrassing the family and country and this is adds to a growing list of notorious screw-ups.

Heading north to Great Britain, there were an estimated 750,000 British folks that protested in the streets of London yesterday asking for a new Brexit vote with actual facts being disseminated. While I fully understand the rationale of those who want Brexit, from the outset, Brexit will be harmful financially to Great Britain. Many financial companies and EU headquarters have either moved or are planning to move to an EU site. Plus, Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to talk openly of votes to leave Great Britain should it occur. If that is not enough, it is believed that Vladimir Putin has had a hand in the disinformation as he did with the 2016 and current 2018 elections in the US.

Returning to the US, candidates of my old Republican Party are taking a lot of heat over their positions on healthcare over the years. They should. Not only has this party not tried to improve and stabilize the Affordable Care Act, they have sabotaged and made it worse. It should be noted politicians don’t seem to understand a lot about healthcare. Here is a letter I sent to my newspaper that will give you a sense of what has transpired.

It seems healthcare is a key issue this election. Surveys the last eighteen months have indicated the majority of Americans want the Affordable Care Act stabilized and improved. Yet, the GOP leadership has tried to repeal it and actually has sabotaged its success making premiums higher than they otherwise would have been. The Senate’s defunding by 89% of adverse selection payments to insurers, the President’s defunding of payments to insurers to help people in need with co-pays and deductibles and the fight in states like NC to not expand Medicaid have increased exchange premiums and driven more carriers out of markets. This retired actuary, benefits consultant and benefits manager believe these measures have harmed Americans and people should know this.

Finally, a story that should get even more airplay than it is relates to the voter suppression attempts by the Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp in his role as State Secretary. Whereas an ethical person would recuse himself from overseeing elections, Kemp has been pretty blatant in his efforts to make it harder to vote. I do not like the voter ID laws, gerrymandering districts and aggressive voter suppression tactics being done in my own and other GOP led states. These are Jim Crow-like. Yes, Democrats have done similar tactics, but what is being done the last eight years has been an orchestrated effort by a group called ALEC, funded by the Koch Brothers.

I am pretty tired of this the “ends justifies the means” rhetoric. I see what can happen when people cheat. They cheat to get elected and cheat once they are there. The US President is not only enriching people who donated to his efforts, he is enriching himself by using his position to make more money. This self-dealing is actually illegal. And, when people cheat, it devalues our country and state governance.