Hillary should have heeded Arnold Palmer’s Example

Today, unless thirty-seven electoral college members decide not to vote for the President-elect, Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. We will likely never know officially the extent of the influence of the Russian hacking on the election results, but it had to have some impact at least in my opinion. But, to me there was a key failure by the Democrat candidate that should be noted – Hillary Clinton wanted to win big and took her precious time away from where it was needed most and tried to run up the score.

Arnold Palmer, who passed away this year, could have told her not to follow his example back in 1966, when he was well-positioned to win his second US Open and eighth major golf championship. Palmer is remembered as one of the greatest golfers in history, but also for his go-for-broke style. Because of this style, while he won often, he also fell short when playing it smart would have been the better course of action.

In 1966, at the Olympic golf course in San Francisco, Palmer came to the back nine of the final day of the US Open with a seven shot lead. That number is correct. Standing on the tee, he decided to go for a record victory and continued to go-for-broke. Now, if you do not follow golf, note that rough off the fairway is grown higher than normal for the US Open, so it is very unforgiving if your ball misses the shorter fairway grass. I have actually played this course and can attest it is not an easy one to play, but even more difficult from the rough.

So, Palmer’s swashbuckling style caused him to bleed strokes off his lead at the same time one of the most underrated players ever, Billy Casper started making a few birdies. By the end of the nine holes, Palmer had lost all of his lead and ended the day tied with Casper. The next day Casper was able to be beat Palmer in a playoff denying the latter another crowning achievement.

Why do I bring this up? Clinton decided she had a slim chance to win Arizona and decided to spend more time there than she should have. Where she should have spent her time was in states she should have won, but lost – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She did not visit Wisconsin at all after the convention, while many snickered at Trump going there. Flying to Arizona is a long flight, so she lost at least a day each time she went, a day that could have been invested in states nearer to each other.

Truth be told, she had a good story to tell for helping the middle class get jobs, a well thought at plan which included investing in our infrastructure and renewable energy industries which are growing at a fast pace. But, she was not there to tell it. So, she gave the mike to Trump, who knows what to do in front of people wanting to be told what they want to hear.

People talk about what a flawed candidate she was and is, but she still won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. She just did not have enough of those votes in states where it mattered to the electoral college. I feel that she could have run a better campaign from the get go. I realize it is easy to say that now, but many said that before the election was long over. The drip-drip-drip of the constant email leaks did not help her at all, as it distracted us from issues and her opponents spotty business record and poor treatment of others along the way. Yet, half of success is showing up and she missed a few places to tell her story.

I am also quite perturbed by those who on November 9th saw that not voting at all and voting for a third-party candidate did a disservice to her efforts to give us some rational governance. Jill Stein’s voters wanted clean energy, so by voting for her instead of a candidate who could have moved us further down the path, we will have a new President whose cabinet is filled with fossil fuel protagonists. As I have said before, if you did not vote or voted for someone else, your voice is less compelling to complain about Trump winning.

So, unless something significant happens in the next 24 hours, we will have a President who will scare the hell out of most of the citizens on our planet and in our country. I hope he does some good, because I anticipate many things that will lead us down the wrong paths. Arnie could have told you Hillary – you should have played it smart.

 

If you believe this, you may want to check your source

In our new post-truth environment, where people have made election decisions off information they believed to be true, but was not, it is time to do a few litmus tests. If you believe the following, then you may want to check your sources of information.

  • If you believe the unemployment rate in the US is around 40% rather than beneath 5% per the Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), you may want to check your source.
  • If you still believe President Obama is either born in Kenya, a Muslim and/ or the anti-Christ, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe we are the most taxed country in the world, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Hillary Clinton had a Lesbian affair with Yoko Ono or has staffers running a child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor in DC, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe that climate change is still a hoax and that 97% of scientists and every major science organization on the planet are wrong, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe President Obama caused a hurricane to hit President-elect Trump’s development and home in South Florida, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Trump did not use his Foundation’s money for his own benefit, then you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Hillary and Bill Clinton had staffer and friend Vince Foster killed when he actually committed suicide, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Donald Trump did not sexually assault and/ or harass women and has not had multiple affairs, you may want to check your source. There is a reason he won’t bring suit against these women, as he is their best witness.

The sad part of the above examples is I could go on. News sources are not all created equal nor are some sources even news based. Too many sites offer fake news designed to confuse the public. And, they do so at a price as there is an industry around fake news creation.

Please verify unusual stories and sources of information. It is more than OK to tell a Facebook friend that his or her source is sketchy or you do not believe that to be true.

Something interesting is going on

Several of my well respected blogging friends have done a lion’s share of work around the need to audit the 2016 Presidential election results. There have been countless concerns expressed in academia that the very surprising result should be verified. Plus, there has been enough noise around hacking threats following the alleged Russian involvement in the email hacking, that verification is essential.

Well, thanks to Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, there will be a review of the election results in three key battleground states that surprisingly went to Donald Trump, the President-elect – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has notified the states that she will have legal representation during the process given its importance.

This news does not sit well with the President-elect, nor does the news that he has lost the popular election by over 2 million votes. He has claimed that the general election result includes millions of undocumented aliens offering no evidence. One of the conservative websites that is long on wind, but short on substance, has said something similar, so in Trump’s mind it must be true if it is on the internet. But, this claim has been noted as unproven.

Yet, what is interesting is Trump is now claiming that there is voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, again without evidence. Why would he do that? The simplest explanation is distraction, a technique which he used throughout the campaign. If a news items looks, feels or could be bad, distract the audience with a sleight of hand. In other words, if there are problems here, then they should look over there and why isn’t anyone reporting on it, as if it is a conspiracy?

If he feels there is a problem in those three states, he can file a claim to have the votes recounted. To me, he fears there maybe some bad news in the three states in which Stein has raised an issue, where the vote differences are less than 120,000 votes in total. I would welcome any recounts, where concerns exist.

I am not here to say there is definitely a problem, but I do feel the results should be audited. My reason is the Russians have influenced other elections and went to great trouble to hack two separate email systems releasing the emails to the public through WikiLeaks. And, per a news report from several security experts on PBS Newshour a few months ago, they firmly believe the Russians would alter some emails, as well before release.

These security analysts also reported that some entity has been probing various voting machines over the past many months, mostly unsuccessfully. Yet, while one source could not change every machine, due to the distributive nature of the process, an entity could affect select voting machines. So, my thesis is why would the Russians be satisfied with just hacking and changing emails?

Will this change the outcome of the election? I don’t know. But, I do think the American people are owed a clean and fair election, regardless of the outcome. So, I support an audit, as should any candidate. Yet, I do think it is interesting that the so-called winner is using his distraction techniques at this juncture, as if he suspects something is amiss himself. To be frank, nothing seems to surprise me about this election, as everything has been surprising. This could be just one more thing.

 

 

Not voting diminishes your right to protest

In the days following the Brexit vote, many young adults took to the streets in protest. They said if we had known this might occur, we would have voted. On his comedy news show “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver chastised his former countrymen. This is how it works. You don’t get a do over.

Fast forward to the US Presidential election. Young adults have taken to the streets in protest over Donald Trump’s victory. Following Oliver’s cue, this is why we have votes.

So, if any protestors did not vote, go home. Your abstinence from the voting process was a vote for the negative outcome you are now protesting.

If you made a protest vote for a third party candidate or wrote in a name, your vote may make you feel better, but likely got Trump elected. Everyone who voted for Jill Stein, I want you to tell me how you feel when Trump makes due on a promise and tears up the Paris Climate Change Accord and guts the EPA.

Most of Stein’s votes likely came from frustrated Democrats and Independents who wanted Bernie. I understand, but allowing Trump to get elected is an insult to Bernie who seeks the truth. Bernie heavily influenced the Democrat platform,

I am disappointed in this outcome and worry about our country and planet. I will support our new President and pray he has success. But, I will be doing my part to civilly and rationally push back when he is taking us down a wrong path. That is how it works. We vote and we advocate.

A disappointing end, but we must come together

The outcome of the Presidential election is highly disappointing and somewhat surprising. Donald Trump should be congratulated for speaking to an America that felt neglected. They voiced their votes in a rather loud way.

We should come together around what binds us, not what divides us. There will be plenty of time to digest what went wrong in the Hillary Clinton campaign. I will leave that for future posts and offer comments where I can.

For now, we should wish our new President in January well and encourage him to be a President for all Americans. And, as we would do with any President, let’s civilly speak our mind, as that is what makes our country great, the right to question our leaders.

Republicans on Clinton when she is not running for office

When Hillary Clinton is doing her job, she gets high praise even from Republicans. Yet, when she runs for office, the Republicans trot out the piñata they have created over time filled with some truth and much innuendo, so they must beat her down, like kids do at a birthday party when the piñata is put before them.

Here are a few quotes from senior Republican officials from an article in The Daily Beast, before her latest run for Presidency. The italicized items are from the article whose link is below.

Senator John McCain: In 2011, at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, McCain praised Clinton as “an international star” who has done “a tremendous job” as secretary of state. He also later told to CBS News, “I respect Secretary/Senator Clinton; I respect her views.”

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice: In 2010, she told Bill O’Reilly,Hillary Clinton is someone I’ve known for a long, long time. She’s a patriot. I think she’s doing a lot of the right things.” Rice then added, “She’s very tough… and she’s got the right instincts.”

Senator Orrin Hatch: In 2010, when Clinton was being floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee and Hatch was the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Utah senator said of his former colleague: “I happen to like Hillary Clinton; I think she’s done a good job for the… secretary of state’s position, and I have high respect for her and think a great deal of her.”

Former CEO and Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina: “Having started as a secretary and eventually become a chief executive officer, I not only have great admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton and her candidacy and her leadership, but I also have great empathy, I must tell you, for what she went through.”

Senator Lindsey Graham: Perhaps no Republican has spoken more highly of Hillary Clinton than the South Carolina senator and prominent foreign-policy hawk, who went so far as to describe the then-secretary of state as “a good role model, one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I have known in my lifetime” in May 2012. The Republican also went out of his way to praise Clinton to The New York Times three months later saying “She is extremely well-respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way, and has a work ethic second to none.”

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Cheney told host Chris Wallace of Clinton: “I have a sense that she is one of the more competent members of the current administration, and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president.” Cheney also suggested that, if elected, Clinton might be easier for Republicans to work with than Obama.

Now that she is running for President her opponent and many Republicans have impugned this woman saying what a horrible job she did as Secretary of State and as Senator. Please take the time to re-read these quotes and find them in the attached article. This imperfect woman has taken a lot of crap, but is still standing. Most people, including her opponent, would have wilted under pressure by now.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/01/remember-when-republicans-loved-hillary-clinton.html

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.