Wednesday, October 19, 2016

It's official: we live in unprecedented times

Donald Trump Won’t Commit to Accepting the Election Results.

The Republican presidential nominee refuses to say that he will accept the outcome of the election. In other words, Trump doubts the electoral process here in America. People, we may never see this again in U.S. politics. Hopefully. 

Trump great at winning what he's already won

What a waste. Another debate and nothing likely to change in the polls. Fine with me, Hillary maintains her comfortable lead.

But in a larger sense, it further illustrates why Republicans will not win back the White House anytime soon.

Trump is down by 9%-11%. He needs to win over non-base voters, and yet he just says things that the far-right base loves. So he simply re-wins what he's already won. He makes no inroads. He's behind, she's not. It's just dumb.

And make no mistake, very smart Hillary knows this. She just needs to answer questions and run out the clock. Say nothing stupid. Don't pick nose.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Republicans are all for spreading lies about voter fraud -- until it could cost them

Just priceless:
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a former Oklahoma secretary of state, said he is worried about the alarm bells that Trump is ringing.
“I just don’t believe there is any risk of massive voter fraud in the elections,” Cole said. “. . . It does concern me, because you’ve got a national platform running for president, and you delegitimize the process by which presidents are chosen when you raise doubts.”
GOP leaders, who are fighting to preserve a fragile Senate majority and hold their wider advantage in the House, worry that Trump’s attacks could cast doubt on wins by other Republicans.
Where could Trump get this idea of a rigged election? Could it be from the likes of Tom Cole just a few years ago?

It's classic poetic justice when the nonsense they spread comes boomeranging back to bite them in the ass, then suddenly they frantically try to call off the dogs.  Love it when them chickens come home to roost.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

This was the final straw? Really?

As the list grew ever longer, causing one's jaw to drop even lower, it took this latest revelation to be the final straw for many remaining Trump supporters -- really?

Republicans should be collectively ashamed of themselves. To nominate a loutish, crude, ignorant bully was one thing, but then to stand by him this long -- despite the daily influx of rude remarks and new evidence all but making the iron-clad case for his lack of POTUS qualifications -- until a tape reveals he admits to groping women, with THAT (finally) crossing the line -- huh?!

From the start, the GOP has deserved Trump, a grotesque candidate who is the logical end result from years of embracing increasingly extreme and intolerant positions. It's priceless to witness Republicans act so shocked when they seemingly wake-up to finally realize what they've created. Trump is simply the product of a gradual (d)evolution, the punchline of a sick joke that has taken decades to tell.

So Republicans, please, spare us the sudden indignation and own your crazy. This man is what your political party is all about today, he's what your party has become, and to change that is going to take much more than condemning him when it's far too late.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Only Chumps Pay Taxes

Immediate follow-up question for both Kaine and Hillary in next debates: "Donald Trump said (and he did, on video) not paying income taxes made him smart. Does this mean all Americans who do pay income taxes are dumb?" This utterance by Trump needs to be drilled home to the TV audience, that Trump indeed said this, suggesting that all of us who pay taxes are chumps. 

Recall that the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley, once infamously said, "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." It's as if the ultra-wealthy all believe this notion, that paying taxes is just for the "little people," the common folk, the average Joe and Jane. Affluent plutocrats are above such a base and petty act. I mean, paying taxes, HAH!! Please. 

Much of this assumed belief is linked to the whole Ayn Rand Galt-Superman idea that people like Trump and Helmsley already do enough for the little people and commoners, building companies and providing jobs. We should just be thankful and grateful for their mere existence, given all the good they bring to the world. And to then expect them to pay taxes on top of this, really?! How galling!

The New York Times is out this morning with the revelation that Trump very likely has not paid income taxes for many years, even decades. Trump's retort to all of this will be that he was and is simply following tax law, resulting in no taxes paid. Perhaps true enough, but that's not really the point here, and Hillary and Kaine should not let him off the hook so easily. 

For one, Hillary/Kaine need to remind the public that the top 1% hardly ever pay the "advertised" top bracket tax rate. Just ask gazzillionaire Warren Buffett. He's at least honest enough to admit the reality of our tax code. In fact, at most companies, the mid- to lower-level employees are most likely paying a higher income tax rate than the upper-level management executives. It's one of America's dirty little secrets.

But more so, the real problem is Trump's tone and attitude when it comes to paying taxes. By saying aloud that he's "smart" to not pay taxes, it strongly infers that those who do are idiots. Nice. How patriotic. So who's left to fund schools, police and fire departments, the fixing of roads, libraries, etc.? Yup, the average citizen (read: not rich). 

And yet many of Trump's supporters are exactly the people he looks down upon and scoffs at for paying taxes. He has successfully brainwashed (too) many that he is an "outsider" and that he is one of them, a "plain talker" who tells it like it is. 

Yawn. To paraphrase H.L Mencken, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary won the debate. But by default.

Well, it's over. Hillary won. Whew.

But based on past winning presidential debate performances, it's not as if Hillary knocked it out of the park last night. Yes, she won. But given her opposition, especially the version of Trump that showed up, which even by his standards was weird and incoherent, did she truly dazzle us and clean his clock? I think not. And that's fine, by all means.

Last night, she simply needed to not screw-up, to avoid any unforced errors, and let Trump lose the debate on his own. She did just that, with perfect execution, saying enough taunting remarks to get under his skin, doing so without coming off as a pretentious or prodding, and successfully inciting him to be his true self -- an oafish, thin-skinned blowhard.

Yet it was not an A or even A- performance by Hillary. Sure, she knows her stuff, her answers are very credible and she is and remains poised. But she's certainly not her husband in his prime. Then again, who is or has been? Almost not a fair comparison.

But watching her performance last night made me reappraise Obama's debate performances. He's had his duds and he often could come off has stilted and even wooden, yet he's turned in many more impressive debate performances than not. And coming back against Romney, after losing the first debate, to then just smoke'em in the next two, was something to behold -- and not necessarily expected. We were scratching our heads after the first debate, wondering what was wrong with Obama, what just happened? Was he doing rope-a-dope? Not to worry, it quickly became game over, done.

We know debating is not Hillary's strong suit, I get it. And I'm not saying she was disappointing last night, not at all. In fact, she could've have screwed up with such a volatile foe and allowed him to back into a win (it's inconceivable at this point, but I suppose possible). She played great defense, not offense, but so did the 1985 Chicago Bears, worked for them.

Considering she's a weak debater, and her campaign is not particularly where it could be, perhaps we should be thankful she's up against a wealthy, bloviating Alfred E. Neuman.

But then again, it is difficult to hold onto an eel. P. T. Barnum did much with very little. If Hillary were facing a more conventional Republican opponent, one emphasizing policies and tempering the non-stop lies, she may conceivably be much farther ahead in the polls at this point.

All of that aside, the strategy for the next two debates is a no-brainer. Hillary, don't change a thing. You won this one, handily, and Trump does not know how to change. It's not as if he'll come out more muted or actually informed (!). His handlers must realize this and are simply cashing paychecks at this point. As in the OJ trial, Hillary, do NOT make him try on the glove.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump (finally) says, "“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period."

Trump finally admits Obama was born in the U.S. But what about that team of investigators Trump sent to Hawaii a few years ago, who were supposedly hot on the trail, are we to just assume they found nothing? To help refresh your memory:
"I have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding," Trump said an interview that aired Thursday Morning. Asked if he has assigned people specifically to search in Hawaii, Trump said, "Absolutely."
Of course we can assume there never was a team sent to Hawaii. It's like nearly everything Trump utters, fictional hot air.

But this is another instance where the media needs to follow up and ask him about these investigators, whether or not they found anything. If Trump is allowed to continue lying with no follow-up by the media, then how is the public expected to realize that he's lying? People are busy, with work and family, sure they should be better informed, but unfortunately many (most?) are not. That's why the media is so important, it's their job to get at the truth because the public does not have the time to do the necessary digging.

That will be a disturbing legacy from this election, regardless of who wins, the way the media has dropped the ball when covering a candidate like Trump. We've seen false equivalence in the past, but this is getting to be absurd.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

GW/Cheney kept us safe (well, except that one time....)

Today marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a day that remains as one of the most tragic in our nation's history.

And yet it's as if many Republicans have completely forgotten about this horrific act of terror against the United States. The video below includes just a small sample of the convenient amnesia that has befallen many notable Republicans.

Needless to say, if 9/11 occurred with a Democrat in the White House, we would have never heard the end of it, never. Republicans in conjunction with the far-right screech machine would have been reminding us of who was president then 24/7, non-stop, to this day and into the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Placing The Blame

Incredible. Trump continues to publicly state his preference for Putin over our own US president. Recall when GW was commander in chief and many Democrats questioned going to war in Iraq, how they were regarded as being unpatriotic. And yet we have Trump embracing and praising Putin over Obama -- where is the Republican outrage over this blatant unpatriotic act?! 

Then we have Trump stating that he could tell by the body language of intelligence officials that they were displeased with Obama's policies. Again, incredible. An egregiously false assertion that is beyond the pale. Intelligence briefers are career professionals who's primary role is to deliver intel in a neutral fashion. 

Look, as much as we continue to be shocked by Trump (just when you think it was no longer possible!), the fact that needs to be continuously stressed is there is no Trump without his GOP supporters.  Who is truly to blame here? Yes, Trump is an ignorant and dangerous sociopath, but he would be that same person high up in a tower in NYC and NOT a presidential candidate if not for his supporters. Republicans put him where he is (and I'm convinced Trump never expected to be the nominee) so they are the real problem.

If someone brought a skunk into a room, are you going to blame the skunk for the stench? The skunk didn't just saunter into the room!

This fact always comes to mind whenever I hear a Republican friend admit wholeheartedly that Trump is a nut and they will not vote for him. They say it as if they want me, the liberal Democrat, to congratulate them or pat them on the head, as if they're proudly making it known, "see, I'm not one of those crazy Republicans!"

But what they fail to say or recognize is that their own party spawned this mess. Trump hatched from their party. They act as if Trump is some kind of one-off mistake, an outlier event that certainly won't happen again in their party. Huh?! Why not? 

The only way to prevent another Trump from happening is for the Republican Party to undergo a massive transformation, top to bottom. Short of that occurring, at the very least they need to find a way to lock up their crazies in the basement. 

Reagan was very good at pretending to hear the extremists, and then ultimately ignoring most of them. But as we know, the insane are now running the asylum.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Current state of the GOP: expecting a pile of manure to not attract flies

Good article.

But can't ignore one fact: Trump won the nomination of his party fair and square. All Republicans can't bemoan this fact as if a bad dream. It's not as if it happened magically. It's like a crystal meth user, abusing his body for years, looks in mirror and sees horrible face, no teeth, deep wrinkles, and wonders why?

Trump's rise is not by accident. Someone like this guy should never be the popular winner of the party -- and yet he is. 

It's time for serious introspection and change for the GOP. It's not enough for "sane" Republicans to condemn him as it will only repeat. Before Trump there were the nutball Tea Party folks, leading up to Trump. Who next? David Duke? It's been a gradual devolution. 

Current (delusional) state of the GOP: expecting a pile of manure to not attract flies. 

Why the fuss now about EpiPen?

I have a serious question: why is everyone making such a fuss about the recent price hike of the EpiPen? It's not as if Mylan raised the price overnight by 500%. No, it took the company the last nine years to do that, as depicted in this chart:

In this time, inflation was just under 20% in total, FYI.

I ask: why is it when Mylan jacked up the price of EpiPen to $200 in 2012, or by 100% since 2007, nothing was said? Or when the price doubled again to $400 by 2015, the same, crickets, no blaring headlines or public outcry. But when it hit $600 this month, suddenly bedlam, outrage, and the Mylan CEO quickly becomes the face of what's wrong in this country.

The price of EpiPen went from $100 to $600, a 500% increase in nine years, and it was only the recent hike from $530 to $609 that went too far? Huh??

There's ample blame to go around for the health care cost fiasco, but I suspect some of it has been due to a combination of understandable public ignorance and the lack of a boogeyperson to target. The public ignorance of these egregious price hikes is due to a lack of media coverage. It's really only since last year, thanks to Martin Shkreli, that the media decided to focus on this long-standing problem. Shkreli instantly became the "bad boy" (to quote George in a Seinfeld episode), easily embodying a sinister poster boy for all that was wrong with this practice and the health care industry in general.

No, I don't blame the public for the delayed outrage but rather the media, which was asleep at the wheel and needed a John-McEnroe-of-pharma figure to finally kindle their interest.

And now they have Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to demonize.

Yet recall the Enron scandal, truly a despicable episode in corporate America history, but it really only kicked into a new gear when the media attached faces to it, namely Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, i.e. boogeymen. The fact is Enron was outrageous and scornful enough in and of itself, which should not have required "evil" humans as proverbial pinatas to incite our condemnation.

I'm afraid that's what has occurred here. These exorbitant price increases have been taking place for many years, contributing to runaway health care costs, but there's been little to no public outcry, and no politicians promising to look into it further. Until the media finally found a convenient scapegoat in Shkreli.

It's really a sad statement all around, about much more than just price gouging.