Elderly Bridge Denied Health Coverage

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A bridge badly in need of medical care recently received news that given its preexisting condition, it would no longer be covered under Trumpcare.  Distraught, the bridge called the Trumpcare hotline for help.  A transcript of the conversation has been obtained by the investigative unit of Ribbie’s Weblog and reads as follow:

Trumpcare: You’ve reached the Trumpcare hotline, how can I hurt help you?

Mr. Bridgey: Yes, I received a letter indicating that my preexisting condition will not be covered under Trumpcare.  That CAN’T be true.  Trump promised preexisting conditions would be covered.

Trumpcare: I’m awfully sorry, what he meant was that you would have access to health care in a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: But I can’t swim.

Trumpcare:  That’s why it’s a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: How much will my premium be?  It’s currently $1,700 a year.

Trumpcare: Well, that depends on your age, condition and salary.

Mr. Bridgey:  I’m 64 and earn $27,000 a year and I suffer from crumbling infrastructure.

Trumpcare: Let’s see, just a minute – ok, that would be $13,000 a year, assuming your state does not request a waiver of rules under Obamacare.  In some states, the rehabilitation services you may need will no longer be available.

Mr. Bridgey: That’s crazy, I can’t pay that and you are saying that even if I could, rehabilitation services might not be available at all.

Trumpcare: That’s right. However, if you live in Alaska, and you are a bridge to nowhere, you might just be in luck.

Mr. Bridgey: But I don’t understand.  I paid into medicare and social security dutifully my whole life. I have helped millions of commuters get to work over the span of my lifetime.  Whatever happened to the social contract?

Trumpcare: Sir, I’m afraid that’s been renegotiated.

Mr Bridgey: So this is it.  A death panel.

Trumpcare: Is there anything else I can hurt help you with?

Top 10 Reasons For Comey Firing

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Rod Rosenstein must be wondering how he got on the sinking ship, as did both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  Being forced to write a memo to justify Comey’s firing would not have been a pleasurable task for the career bureaucrat, that is unless he had chosen to have some fun with it.  And if he had chosen the later, he might have offered this top 10 list of the best reasons to can Comey.

10) As a Chemistry major, Comey believes in Science.

9) He’s friendly with former Univ. of Chicago classmate Dem. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

8) He promised to be truthful rather than loyal.

7) But her emails!

6) Comey called you “crazy” and “outside the realm of normal”; he may not even like steak well-done with ketchup – talk about crazy!

5) He likely wire tapped all the microwave ovens in the White House.

4) He’s said to be the most promising athlete to come out of the Yonkers/Queens area. But as you know Mr. President, YOU are the best baseball player ever to come out of New York.

3) No longer a registered Republican, he could be your chief presidential rival in 2020.

2) At 6’8″, Comey grandstands everyday.

And the NUMBER ONE reason to fire Director Comey:  He asked for a second scoop of vanilla ice-cream at your dinner meeting!

Trump as King Richard III and Don Quixote

 

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Dali’s Don Quixote from Rio exhibit

 

After reading Richard III, Shakespeare’s tragedy/history about a power hungry manipulative sociopath who plots his way to the throne of England, I cannot help but think of Donald Trump.  It’s as if Shakespeare modeled Richard Gloucester after Trump.  And while Trump has not actually murdered his adversaries as did Richard, he did destroy his political rivals on the campaign trail and as president has gone after his opponents and critics with a vengeance.  In the following post, I’ll explore the physical, personality, and historical similarities between President Trump (not my President) and King Richard III, the illigimate and brief ruler of England.

Physically, Richard Gloucester, later King Richard, aka Richard III, and Donald Trump share some attributes.  Both are unattractive.  The tall and portly Trump sports synthetic, free flowing, drug induced orange hair.  Richard had a withered arm and hunch back. Both are sensitive and testy about their physical flaws and Trump goes to great length to prove that his hands are above average and that his hair is real.

Psychologically, both men are extraordinarily needy and quite unaccustomed to hearing the word no.  They seem to have not been deeply loved as children and consequently developed inferiority complexes. At one point, Richard admits to hating himself. Trump on the other hand can admit no wrongs. One could argue that both are narcissistic, and incapable of feeling empathy or sympathy for others.  They personalize all events and interactions and value loyality above all else, and become paranoid and suspicious of their closest allies.

Both rose to power by deceit, threat, bluster, and the brutal takedown of opponents. Richard had them all killed while Trump cut them down with viscious verbal attacks. Like Richard, Trump is spectacularly unfit and unqualfied to govern and has surrounded himself with loyal but incompetent and enabling men and women.  And it is yet to be seen who among his loyalists will become suspect and driven out.  Will it be KellyAnne Conway or Sean Spicer who draws the figurative fate of Buckingham? Could Steve Bannon be secretly plotting with the Russians to use Trump and then claim the throne for himself as did Richmond through Lord Stanley?  Will Trump’s reign of terror end as abrubtly as did Richard’s brief tenure on the throne?  The writing may already be on the wall.  Toward the end, Richard became positively unhinged, to the point of flailing wildly with a sword on the battlefield after being unhorsed, not unlike Trump’s incoherent tantrums on Twitter lashing out recklessly in ALL CAPS at ALL critics real or imagined like Don Quixote.

Top 10 Plurals for Goldman Sachs

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Rachel Maddow issued a challenge for viewers to come up with an appropriate plural designation when speaking of Trump’s Goldman Sachs (GS) hires.  You know, like a group of Sachs or a bag of Goldman Sachs or a school of Sachs and so on.  You will recall that Trump has named, hired, or appointed something like 6 from the Wall Street firm.  Interestingly, and some would say hypocritically so, he brutally criticized Hillary Clinton for being “totally controlled by Goldman Sachs.” Well, it looks like he was secretly winking at her when saying this because it appears that it is he, not she who will be controlled by Goldman Sachs.  So how do we refer to a group of GS Trump advisers? Here is my list of top ten possibilities with brief explanations:

  1. A coalition of GS, as in a coalition of cheetah, or perhaps even more appropriate, a coalition of GS Cheetos.
  2. A tribe of GS, as in a tribe of goats.  Maybe they will say things Trump doesn’t like and in doing so get his goat.
  3. A bloat of GS, as in a bloat of hippos. Hippos, as one knows, are potentially dangerous to people and so too might a bloat of GS be if financial regulations are relaxed.
  4. A romp of GS, as in a romp of otters who are slick to the touch and like to playfully romp around in rough waters. Let’s just hope the romp of GS advisers doesn’t romp around with our investments.
  5. A wake of GS, as in a wake of buzzards. Now, this sounds bleak and terrifying, to be honest.
  6. A wreck of GS, as in a wreck of seabirds is not much better. An unregulated Wall Street could wreck the economy again and your retirement account along with it.
  7. A murmuration of GS, as in a murmuration of starlings. Can’t you see them all flying in formation? What a spectacle it would be.
  8. A descent of GS, like a descent of woodpeckers pecking away at your life savings until there is nothing left.
  9. A plague of GS, like a plague of insects I think speaks for itself.
  10. A scourge of GS like a scourge of blood sucking mosquitoes – not a pretty image.

In all fairness, I am not against Goldman Sachs or any other investment firm or big bank as long as they play by the rules and behave responsibly.  It just seems so hypocritical for Trump to have derided Clinton for her connections to Wall Street when it is clear that his administration is going to BE Wall Street.  Well, he did say he was going to buld a wall, I just didn’t expect it to be made of Goldman Sachs.

Trump’s Terrible 21 SCOTUS Picks

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I’m still having a hard time accepting and digesting that Donald J. Trump is the president-elect of these United States.  What makes it painful is knowing that Clinton won the popular by more than 2 million votes and that but for voting irregularities including Russian tampering – breaking into DNC computers and the Wiki-Leaks, all apparently with the knowledge and encouragement of the Trump campaign – and GOP voter suppression in key battleground states, she would have won the electoral college and the election as well.  Donald Trump was right – the election was rigged – he and the GOP made sure of it. Now I am in the camp that argues Clinton should demand a recount and mount a challenge where irregularities were found. Unfortunately, she has indicated that she would not and has already conceded and what’s more, President Obama has already, for all intents and purposes, handed him the keys.  I still cling to the possibility that some bombshell will drop that disqualifies both Trump and Pence or that the electors will come to their senses and nominate Clinton instead and then the House follow suit.  I know I am dreaming.  Which brings me to the topic of this post.  The Supreme Court.

In a move of extreme dereliction of duty and disrespect to the President and the Constitution, the GOP has refused to even allow hearings on President Obama’s supreme court pick after Justice Scalia’s death in February.  They argued that the people should decide when choosing the next president.  It was a risky strategy that worked. Ted Cruz and others no doubt argued that 8 justices were all we needed suggesting that even if Clinton were elected, they would not allow any of her picks to move forward. So I say now to the Democrats, game on. Chuck Schumer has indicated that the Dems would use the filibuster if Trump nominates an extreme candidate and there is every indication that he will.

The National Review, a right wing rag, is positively giddy at the prospect of Trump naming William Pryor or Diane Sykes, the later considered an “originalist” that is, she and others being considered view the constitution as a fixed and dead document that the rich, white and privileged male framers might have recognized.  These two and 9 others comprised Trump’s orignal 11 picks.  He has since added 10 more to the list. Talk about turning the clock back.  Both Pryor and Sykes, indubitably, would overturn Roe v. Wade, and specifically Sykes has made statements and rulings that are hostile to LGBTQ rights.  Sykes, the more likely pick is even to the right of Scalia on the ideological spectrum; Pryor ever so slightly to the left of him. See Wapo chart.   I am reminded of the song, “Stuck in the Middle with You.”

Trump’s list of 21 including the aforementioned joker and clown consists of people who want to turn the clock back to a time when women had no reproductive rights and LGBTQ members could not openly and safely even come out.  On this list, you will find judges and even the most ideologically extreme Senator on the Hill, whose views are hostile to immigrants, women, blacks, the middle class, the LGBTQ community, the environment, and unions.  Many are candidates who do not resepct the separation of church and state, and do not favor gun safety measures. You can bet that they would protect the Citizens United ruling, to ensure that American elections can be bought by the highest bidders for generations to come. And if Trump is lucky, and God help us all if he is, he might get as many as three picks during his tenure.  People, Dems, if we don’t apply pressure on our elected officals to block these nominations, we are doomed!

Are there any on the list who would be acceptable?  No.  But if you look at the ideological spectrum chart from the Washington Post article above, those who are the farthest to the left of Scalia would be better than ones closer to his views and preferable to those extreme ideologues to his right. Unfortunately, the article only examined candidates from the federal bench, which I think only includes 9 of the 21. The most dangerous ones, the so-called “originalists” are Gorsuch, Kethledge, Sykes and the Lee brothers.

About all I can conclude here is that Trump’s picks are pretty bad.  There isn’t one that I feel the least bit comfortable with as a progressive.  I like the idea of diversity and ideally, I would like to see another Hispanic or Black or the first Asian or Native American on the court. But as we know, diversity of background does not always make the court more ideologically diverse.  If only the President would make a lame duck appointment and install Merrick Garland.  But that’s not likely to happen.  Best case is for Dems to filibuster the most extreme of the 21.  And if that means blocking all his picks, so be it.  In the words of the GOP, slightly paraphrased, Americans should have the right to say who their next SCOTUS justice will be. I agree. Americans elected Barak Obama and are still waiting for the Senate to hold hearings on his pick.  And don’t forget that Clinton won the popular by more than 2 million votes.  Americans have spoken twice now and deserve to be heard.

Thank You President Obama

Whether you supported President Obama or not, you should be thankful to him for his service.  And while it has been a tumultuous 8 years in which the GOP did all they could to to derail his presidency, unsuccessfully I might add, his accomplishments are many and all the more impressive.  As you evaluate the next presidency, keep President Obama’s achievements in mind.   Then decide if you and the country are better off in 4 years.

Terrorism: No ISIS or Al-Queda terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The attacks in San Bernadino, Orlando and the Boston Marathon bombings were perpetrated by lone actors.

Unemployment: 4.9% as of October 2016. President Obama took office after the finanical markets crashed and a recession set in.  He injected a stimulus plan, bailed out the U.S. auto industry, and stabilized the economy. As a result, he’s presided over 6 straight years of declining unemployment.  Since 1920, only the Clinton adminstration can boast a better record of straight years of unemployment decline, at 7.

Gas Prices: I just filled my tank for $20 at $2.11 a gallon.  Yes, I have a small car with a small gas tank but still, 20 bucks! In 2012, Trump said that because of a deal the President made with the Saudis, that after the 2012 election, gas and oil prices would “go through the roof, like never before…” Wrong. Gas prices actually fell through the roof since Trump’s comment and are at their lowest levels, factoring in adjutments for inflation, since 2003 when gas prices begin to sharply increase during W’s adminsitration.

Immigration: For the record, I’d like a more welcoming policy.  That said, more undocumented immigrants settled in the U.S. during the W. Bush adminstration than during the Obama administration.  And among those, more overstayed a visa, than crossed the border, which calls into question the need for an expensive wall that U.S. taxpayers would be required to purchase.  Mexico isn’t paying for a wall and even Newt Gingrich confessed that Trump’s promise was nothing more than a rhetorical device a/k/a a blustering lie.

The Markets: If you have a 401k plan, thank Obama for your gains.  The markets respond favorably to calm and stability.  The Dow Jones has increased steadily and reached historic highs since the market crash of 2008.

Health Care: Say what you want about the Affordable Health Care Act, but more than 20 million previously uninsured citizens now have health care coverage. And while health insurance premiums are on the rise, fewer people are dying for lack of care. Were Obama care repealed and not replaced, (and the GOP does not have a detailed workable replacement plan) an estimated 15 million people would lose their insurance.  Folks, guaranteed heath care should be a human right in a wealthy country and part of our social contract. Actually, one of the main reasons premiums are going up is because not enough of the uninsured have enrolled in Obamacare.  Some people are willfully and defiantly paying the penalty to avoid having to buy health insurance at all, some, admittedly for financial reasons, but some purely on principle.  Nothwithstanding the reasons, the  insured are forced to absorb the costs through increased premiums.  And were those who have opted out to get seriously sick or have a costly medical emergency, who do you think would foot the bill if they can’t?

LGBTQ protections:  Human rights matter, including support for marriage equality, and anti-discriminatory laws to protect federal workers and students.

DACA: Immigrant rights matter. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival protects the children of undocumented immimgrants  who meet certain conditions from being deported.  Also, he supported the Dream Act which would have allowed certain undocumented youth who were pursuing education or were in the military and had been in the country for a certain length of time the possibility to earn citizenship.  Though it unfortunately did not pass Congress, the Dreamers’ plight could be addressed in an immigration reform bill which the President had hoped would be taken up before the end of his term in office.

The Supreme Court:  Diversity matters.  President Obama nominated two women to the high court and the first Latina in Sonia Sotomayor. Prior to Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, there had only been 2 other women ever to serve on the court.  He also nominated 171 women for federal judicial vacancies, more than any other President.

Diplomacy:  Just that, as a starting point.  I happen to think the Iran nuclear deal is in the best interest of humanity. They stop tying to weaponize their nuclear program and the world becomes a safer place.  Additionally, we’ve normalized our relations with Cuba after many years of failed sanctions that only hurt the Cuban people and did nothing to bring about political change there. I’ve always thought that the minute we lifted sanctions, the Castro regime would weaken. And it has in some ways such that soon, for better or worse, Havana will become the world’s playground again and hopefully, the Cuban people will benefit from the economic boom.

Climate change:  Our President believes in science and has joined with the rest of the world to try to do something about it.  As a father, he cares about what kind of planet his daughters inherit.

This is not an exhaustive list.  And I could publish a part II.  And while I disagree with some of Obama’s policies, it must be said that he was an exceedingly thoughtful and effective President who was graceful under fire and took the high road when gratuitously attacked.  I will miss him.

Top 10 Reasons to Vote Against Trump

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10.  Trump is a serial liar.  I’m not even sure he knows he lies as much as he does.  It’s as if he only has a short-term memory and a very tiny and selective long-term memory.  He seems to remember only slights and compliments.  He said he was against the Iraq war but is on record as saying he was for it.  He says he never met the disabled journalist he mocked at one of his rallies and yet the said journalist had interviewed him multiple times.  He said he respects women but is on record as saying he doesn’t and his actions and comments suggest otherwise.  He said his taxes are under audit, but has provided no proof that they are.  He and his surrogates have said he has given hundreds of thousands of his own money to his foundation but there is no proof that this is true.  He said Hillary Clinton is under investigation by the FBI and she technically is not. He said she is going to lock her up when he is elected and he can’t.  This is something done by Fascist regimes, not in a Democracy. He said he’s going to bring back jobs to America but leaves out that his own businesses manufacture outside the U.S. and buy products made in other countries that are also made in the U.S.  He said he met Putin, then said he doesn’t know Putin.  He has told so many lies and distorted the truth so many times about Hillary Clinton’s record that I’ve lost count.  Fact checkers reveal that Trump routinely lied during the debates and continues to do so at his rallies.  Trump says he is a great businessman, yet his companies have filed bankruptcy papers 6 times.  And amid fraud claims, Trump University folded.

9.  Trump might govern as an authoritarian dictator. He was inspired by a quote from a notable fascist, Benito Mussolini  which reads, “better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep,” and has praised Vladimir Putin repeatedly for being a strong man and for complimenting him for being “brilliant” which turned out to be a bad translation.  Putin himself clarified that he meant Trump is colorful or flamboyant, not brilliant.  Putin salivates at the prospects of using Trump as a puppet, which he seems to be doing to influence U.S. elections. Trump even went so far as to encourage the Russians to hack the missing 33,000 emails. This is outrageous – encouraging a foreign country to commit espionage on the U.S. and some would consider treasonous. Trump prides himself on being a strong man, with large hands and once bragged of being the best baseball player to come out of New York.  His masculine pride notwithstanding, Trump has shown a shocking lack of understanding and respect for democratic principles.

8.  Trump disrepects women.  He is on record as saying he likes to kiss them and grab them because he can get away with it.  A number of women have alleged that he sexually assaulted them.  His response has been that he doesn’t know the women and that after the election he is going to sue them all.  He is also on record as saying that women who obtain abortions should be punished.

7.  Tump has made racist and bigotted comments, calling Mexicans rapists, and denouncing a Mexican American judge as being biased in a case against Trump “University.” He was slow to denounce David Duke, a former KKK grand wizard who endorsed him.  He called for a ban on Muslims entering the country and even suggested the need to close down mosques.  He has essentially blamed the entire Muslim American community in the U.S. for not rooting out the terrorists among them – as if it were their sole responsibiltiy. He has shown very little concern for the humanitarian plight of Syrian refugees and argued that the U.S. should not accept any until we establish a vetting process, which we already have.  Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement, has insisted that blacks live in hell, which many blacks take issue with, and has called for more policing.  He called for the death penalty for the black men who were wrongly convicted and subsequently exonerated for the rape of a central park jogger. And his father’s company, of which Donald was an employee, repeatedly discriminated against blacks in their housing properties and was fined by the Justice Department for doing so. Trump has appealed to white nationalists who blame immigrants for the ills of the country by promising to build a wall that Mexico will pay for to keep them out. Additionally, white supremcists groups including the KKK have endorsed Trump because they identify with his values. And now he is calling for people to go to the inner cities and watch (code for intimidate) for voter fraud in clear violation of the consent decree that the GOP was hit with in the 80’s for committing voter intimidation in New Jersey. One of the more egregious racist actions he has taken was questioning Obama’s citizenship and thus his right to be President. Then Trump tried to partially walk it back by suggesting that it was the Clinton camp in 2008 who started it all.  He tried to suggest that the many years he pushed this crazy birther conspiracy was somehow excusable because the story may not have begun with him.  And to top it off, he’s floated other consipiracy theories about whether Obama even attended Ivy schools demanding that he submit transcripts to prove he did.  This from a man who won’t even release his tax returns.

6. The Trump Foundation appears to be a fraud.  Apparently, people have contributed to the foundation and Trump has used some of this money to settle law suits and to buy a life-size portrait of himself. “Billionaire” Trump has said that he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Foundation, but there is no evidence of this.  See David Fahrenthold’s reporting.  Not only is the Foundation fraudulent, but his business practices are suspect as evidence by the multiple contractors and small businesses who claim they were not paid for work done for Trump.  That coupled with his anti-union practices make Trump unfit to make anything about America or Americans great again.

5.  Trump refuses to release his tax returns that almost every presidential candidate in modern times has done before him, even his own running mate. He says he’s under audit and will release them after.  Nixon once released his while under audit.  There is nothing in the IRS code that prevents Trump from releasing tax returns while under audit if in fact he really is under audit.  He is obviously hiding something.  Could it be that he isn’t a billionaire?  Could it be that he has never given the charitable contributions that he said he has? Could it be that he does not pay taxes at all?  Actually, the one leaked release indicates that he did not and Trump subsequently said in a debate that the fact that he doesn’t pay taxes makes him smart.  A man who doesn’t pay taxes not because he’s poor but wealthy and privileged is a shameful man who is NOT a patriot.  Tax dollars fund education, defense, roads, entitlements, to name a few.  He is ok with YOU paying for these services and thanks YOU for paying them for him.

4.  Trump claims he is religious but is not, and apparently knows very little about religion.  Not that that religion is a test I use for a candidate, but he has shamelessly pandered to evangelicals suggesting that the Bible is his favorite book.  He does not seem to hold or practice ANY Christian values that I can detect raising doubts in my mind as to whether he has even read the Bible.

3. Trump seems to want to begin a nuclear arms raceHe has said that South Korea and Japan should have their own nuclear weapons.  He doesn’t understand why we have them if we can’t use them and has not ruled out their use in the future.  He is also on record saying that he likes war. What’s more, he has taken a pro-Russian position against NATO calling it ineffective and expensive and intimating that we should break our alliances in Europe. This is what I mean about Trump being Putin’s puppet – his Petrushka.

2.  Trump has no interest in governing.  He had even said that he would leave the buisness of governing to his running mate and simply go around the country making America great again, presumably by holding pep rallies. This is code for promoting his business brand which his children will continue to operate if he became president in an obvious conflict of interest.  He doesn’t seem to get how governing works and that he can’t just rule by decree.  He has repeatedly said that he will appoint supreme court justices without any mention of the senate’s role in the advise and consent process. Actually, the president can only nominate and there is no guarantee that the nomination will be confirmed by the senate or even get a hearing by the judiciary committee.  President Obama’s nominee, Garland, has yet to get a hearing and it has been nearly a year since Justice Antonin Scalia died leaving a vacancy on the court.

1.  His policies would simply be disatrous.  He calls for tax breaks for the rich.  He would end regulations that ensure safe food, water, drugs and air quality.  He would invest in practices that contribute to global warming which he denies is caused by humans.  He would end Obamacare resulting in millions losing health insurance. He might enact protectionist policies and start a trade war with China and Mexico.  The markets would respond disastrously and we would all lose our retirement savings and Social Security which Trump will probably have privatized.  If we are not wiped out by a nuclear war or swept away by rising ocean levels first, his policies will create a depression so deep it will make your head spin.

New Hampshire 2016

I was last in the granite state in 2008 as I recall and remember seeing lots of political signs for various candidates including then Senator Barak Obama and many more for the maverick senator John McCain in towns like Conway and Warner. As a democrat, I worried that New Hampshire was in the bag for the GOP. As it turned out, my fears were unfounded and Obama won New Hampshire in 2008 and again in 2012. 

In 2016, I am seeing a dusturbingly “bigly” level of support for Trump/Pence as evidenced by signage just as I did in 2008 for McCain. As I drove through Nashua, I even saw a display of Trump signs encircling an impressive and omnious show of civil war canons. This certainly puts a new light on what Trump may mean by “Make America Great Again.” Some of his supporters have actually begun talking about a revolution, an armed one I presume, because Trump along with the NRA controlled GOP, have low information voters, to put it politely, convinced, wrongly, that HRC will take their guns away, a claim they also made against Obama which turned out to be huuugely false. 

Trump now claims the election will be rigged, casting doubt on our democratic institution, as a conspiracy theorist and authoritarian fascist would. It’s not only Trump, however, but also GOP leaders who have been using this voter fraud angle to justify voter suppression laws which have made it harder for people, particularly students, blacks, latinos and the elderly to vote. By the way, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, an inconvenient fact, so this strategy is clearly designed to keep a reliable democratic base from turning out, or voting. The only frightening signal of voter tampering appears to be some sort of Russian hack into electronic voting machines in several states. Given Trump’s unwavering praise for Putin, his announcement that the election will be rigged is alarmingly suspicious. If a large scale hack  crippled voting machines, Trump could then appeal the election results. If HRC does win, Trump will argue that her presidency is illegitimate, not unlike his birther foolishness to delegitamize Obama. 

New Hampshire is an odd place. I am not certain HRC can win here with its predominately white voter base that has an independent streak. And the polls show a virtual deadlock between Trump and Clinton. I’ve seen as many Gary Johnson signs as I have ones for HRC while passing through towns in search of fall foliage, which is in short supply in the mountains but has been plentiful near the lakes region. This may have something to do with climate change, which Trump denies. He’ll instead promise to bring back brilliant fall foliage to the state of New Hampshire as part of his campaign to make America great again, “colors that will make your head spin, believe me.”

Trump’s Wall And All

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If you thought Trump was softening on immigration, think again.  And you would have good reason to think he had softened his stand if you had heard his speech in Mexico alongside the Mexican President.  But no.  The following evening after his morning meeting with Mexican President Pena Nieto, Trump gave his immigration policy speech in Phoenix and there was no sign of the softening that his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, had promised.  She even said she doubted that he’d say anything about a deportation force.  But she was wrong – he did.  In fact, he doubled down on the tough rhetoric, but there really wasn’t much by way of new policy in his immigration plan.  Even mass deportation isn’t new; President Obama has deported more immigrants that any other President.  Much of what he calls his immigration plan is a promise to enforce or expand existing laws and resources.

He plans to build a wall like we have never seen before, a beautiful, impenetrable wall with sensors above and below ground.  And Mexico will pay for it, even though Pena Nieto said emphatically in their private meeting that he would not.  The wall concept is actually not a new idea.  In 2006, legislators approved the building of 700 miles of fencing between the 2,000 mile U.S. Mexican border  at an initial cost of more than a billion.  Fencing is nothing new.  While a barrier concept is nothing new, walling is and would be much more expensive than fencing. As usual, Trump gave no specifics.  Will he tear down the old fence or wall it in? How much will it cost?  Has he even gotten an estimate? The 700-mile fence cost upwards of 6 billion in 2006.  A 2000 mile modern high tech wall would easily cost 200 billion or more.  200 billion would be better spent on domestic infrastructure projects. You could repair a lot of bridges with that and still have money left over to invest in clean energy projects AND upgrade the power grid. But seriously folks, how can he force the Mexicans to pay for it?  He can’t.  Now he could start a trade war with the Mexicans, but that would hurt both countries.  And they can’t pay for it anyway.  Half of Mexico’s population lives in poverty.  And while border security is an issue, the wall isn’t even necessary. Some border patrol officers think the existing fence and the other assets in place now are sufficient to deal with illegal border crossings which are at HISTORIC lows.

He plans to block funding for sanctuary cities that are, incidentally, within their constitutional rights not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  And how would he cut off funding to them? He can’t without Congress.  The GOP tried in late October of 2015, but fell short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate.  Sanctuary cities are not hotbeds for crime.  In fact, the murder rate in San Francisco, one of some 300 odd sanctuary cities is much lower than in the non-sanctuary cities of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Columbus and Jacksonville.  Studies show that immigrants on the balance commit fewer crimes than the native population.

Mass deportation.  Well, President Obama has done a pretty good job of that in his 8 years in office.  So that would not be something new.  But the President is practical and reasonable.  He knows he can’t deport 11 million people.  First, it would be impossible even if he wanted to as Trump has called for.  Second, it would be inhumane to do so, to break up families and to send individuals back to their home countries who have nothing to do with crime and who have been working, law-abiding residents contributing to their communities and paying taxes.  Yes, paying sale tax, property taxes, tolls, and fees just like American citizens and in many cases ALSO paying income taxes, which the IRS allows them to do with a tax identification number.

Trump’s entire campaign is based on fear mongering and race baiting.  He wants Americans to believe that to make America great again, we have to get rid of immigrants, ban an entire religion, refuse to help war-torn refugees resettle, break away from our European alliances, not rule out the use of nuclear weapons, ban the press, privatize American schools and turn them into businesses, run the country like the business it is not, align with hate groups, and snuggle up to a Russian despot.  This is a plan to divide the United States, and to make it a frightening place. It will be exceptional, but not in a good way, one in which people will say that they’ll visit any place except the U.S. Lady Liberty would be ashamed.

Trump Leading in Louisiana Purchase States

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And this just might be his strategy, but it’s a risky one and provides the narrowest path to a victory or a tie.  Drumpf needs to win all 15 of the states that were part of the original  Louisiana purchase: Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  Currently, he’s winning in 11 of the 14, trailing only in Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico, but trailing pretty badly in the last 3. Even if he were to win all 15, which is highly unlikely, he’d only get 125 electoral votes.  To get to a tie, he’d have to win PA and OH, AND the ENTIRE south, less VA, including, significantly, Florida and North Carolina where he’s behind and that ONLY gets him to 269.  To win outright, he’d have to flip a blue state and I think ME is the only realistic possibility.  If he’s as rich as he says, he might even try to purchase ME, but we won’t know just how wealthy he is until he releases his tax returns, and that ain’t happening.  But never mind ME, for Trump, a tie is as good as a win. If he has 269, so too would Hillary and the election would be decided by the House where the Republicans have an edge. As Napoleon might have said, se la vie.