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96. One Month of Trump

24 Feb

It has been a month since Trump was inaugurated. This blog is concerned with various troubling statements, staff appointments, and other actions. It covers what I see as most significant at this time.

Information Leaks. If a government is doing its job ethically and effectively it has no great fear of leaks. It is leaders that employ tricky or unethical methods that obsess and rant about leaks, and also about the “lying” press. A good government only needs to keep secret certain operations such as diplomatic, intelligence, and military. Sometimes leaks are emphasized to avoid more important issues like a presidential involvement with a foreign country.

Fine-Tuned Government. I don’t think any government is a “fine-tuned” machine given the necessary variety of it’s officials, each with his own ideas and ideals. If everyone agrees and there is fine-tuning, it is likely an authoritarian group of yes-men. A good government needs a variety of opinions from knowledgeable advisors, and reaches a decision based on a consensus or on the best arguments.

Trump Inherited a Mess. Our brave President says that he “inherited a mess.” Hmmm, when he took office, the stock market was way up, the highest it’s ever been. So investors are dancing in the (Wall) streets. The unemployment rate is way down at about 4.8%. The outgoing President Obama has a very high rating, a good indication that there is no mess. There are messes in other parts of the world, but nothing serious here. Since 911, the number of terrorist attacks here have been small compared to other major countries. Perhaps the worst mess is our high prison population. Pres.Obama worked on this but had little cooperation from Republicans. Trump needs to invent messes so that he can heroically clean them up and win the adoration of his poorly educated throng.

A Confused Trump? I only say this in a constructive way, but he appears to be confused and inappropriate. A simple possibility is that he is sleep-deprived and may have a mild early Alzheimer’s disease. Another factor is that most of his life, he has been catered to because of his and his father’s wealth. In the world of business, making money is primary — ideas, ideals, and strict ethics are mostly ignored. Many types of coercion and manipulation are successful and practiced; but are not appropriate or effective for a USA President. His early training emphasized winning, and when confronted and confused, he often reverts back to a description of a winning event. He almost always tries to destroy critics, because he was able to do this in business and limit their effectiveness.

Environmental Protections. If you ask a majority of the people, whether environmental protections are needed for their health and reasonable comfort, most would say yes. Yet we now have an EPA director, Scott Pruitt, that has worked for years against the agency. Very rich folks can find ways to avoid environmental toxins, but millions of American citizens are vulnerable. The wealthy can live far away from industrial polluters where the air is clean, buy expensive water purifiers, have their houses inspected for asbestos, mold, lead, and other toxins. One would have to be very ruthless to allow such dangers.

Loyal Appointees. Having Trump appointees or Republican friends investigate his administration for questionable associations with Russia is like the fox guarding the henhouse.  A primary concern for him is loyal appointees, such as Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, because he needs protection from Congressional investigations.  That protection for Trump and staff was more important than Sessions’ character and bad reputation.

Admiration for Tyrants. Why would a president, who is working for the people, admire the control that certain tyrants (like Putin and Kim Jong-un) have over their citizens. He says they are bad, but praises the way they dominate. There is no value to freedom of expression, criticism, and argument in his mind. He wonders why the press is against him. What intelligent citizen would tolerate his lies/mistakes, his promotion of violence (during the campaign), his impossible promises, his ridiculous bragging, and his pathetic and obsessive attacks on critics.

Relation to Intelligence Units. Can a USA President really function without the support and aid of a fully functional and capable intelligence system? With very few exceptions, these agencies have served Presidents for decades with devotion, honesty and effectiveness. It is only a president that has something to hide, must be in total control, and hires radicals, that cannot work with the established intelligence agencies. (Note, very recently he is doing better with the intelligence units.)

Iran Nuclear Deal. The President would like to abolish the Iran Nuclear Deal, ignoring the fact that many major nations, including China, Russia, France, Germany, and the EU participated in the agreement. Without this deal, Iran would be free to build the bombs — what then? And would our allies still respect us? And who says that Trump could make a better deal. Does he have a long successful record (or any record) of making treaties with other countries? He can only brag and hope.

Climate Change Hoax? The president says man-made climate change is a hoax and he promotes the use of fossil fuels that increase CO2 in the air. He ruthlessly supports industry with the excuse of promoting jobs. A better plan with long-term benefits is to promote alternate forms of energy, more research, and retraining workers that have lost their jobs. The cost is less than flooded cities, rapid changes in drought and rainy areas, and dealing with resulting massive migrations. We will also benefit from cleaner air with more use of electrical energy.

Insidious Corruption. A lot can be said about the past corruption of our government and institutions by Republicans; and Trump may be continuing this process. His cabinet now has several billionaires and major investment firm executives. He is trying to diminish government regulations that keep people safe. He is unlikely to promote the removal of tax loopholes and low tax rates for the very wealthy, which will be costly for the non-rich financially or in reduced benefits from social programs. These are just a few areas of corruption. I detail many other types in my past blogs, and these are also detailed in major newspapers.

Two Messages. When a different message is sent by Trump and one of his staff, who should we believe? One possibility is that Trump really wants to send two messages, one to his loyal supporters and one to world leaders and more intelligent U.S. citizens.  Depending on the current situation, he can refer back to either one: what he said or what, for example, what Mike Pence said. He knows that his original, poorly educated fans, only listen to him.  And I suspect that the best indicator of policy comes from his more reasonable staff. Currently, several of his appointees are knowledgeable and sensible so there is a slight hope for us.

94. Katy Tur Wins a Medal

15 Feb

As a political blogger, I listen to many news programs every day. I am disappointed with the vast majority of interviewers and interviews by a basically liberal or moderate newsman who misses the important points and is pathetic in allowing false statements to go unanswered.

Today (2/15/17), Katy Tur (MSNBC early afternoon) put all the others to shame in an interview with a republican Congressman. A major part of the interview was concerned with Michael Flynn and leaked news. She was not perfect (who is?) but was right on the mark 95% of the time. The Congressman was forced to pivot and was clearly beaten on the main points.

I invite Katy Tur to come over to my place for a medal presentation ceremony. I haven’t yet bought the medal, but if she agrees to come, I will find something metallic and shiny. Kidding aside, Katy is a hero, courageous, and an outstanding journalist. Our fearless President knows it and that is why she is a recipient of some of the worst attacks. Bravo!

When we see the Republican attacks on the U.S. press, the fourth component of our governmental system, we know that our democracy is fully functional.

85. We Need Change ?

17 Jan

Trump is the man who will make “change” and deliver us from big, bad government. He is not a politician, he needs no donors, ignore what he says because there is goodness in his heart, he is smarter than the generals (and just about everyone else), all past negotiations are pathetic, and he will rid us of ISIS in a month. He is never wrong and will make you suffer for any criticism. He almost never addresses the criticism itself, but instead attacks the person who made it (even the Pope).

He paints a picture of a failing nation with incompetent leaders and government workers, rampant crime, poor negotiation, widespread poverty, etc. — “things could not be worse.” Black people have not made any progress — an insult to the millions that are doing well and have even achieved the presidency. His motto is “make American great again” without any explanation of when, how, and the meaning of “great.”

.                 False, rigid beliefs interfere with common sense

The Trump movement shows how many people are prisoners of their false and rigid beliefs, and cannot see the obvious and exercise common sense. Sad to say, there are many who voted for Trump just as a protest or just to do something based on frustration. Those persons may be responsible for a new direction leading to our country’s decline. Impulsive superficial voting may be the end of our world leadership and all of the good things developed to date. Trump will make change, but change for the better is unlikely. Here are some possible changes that have been mentioned at least once (but may have been retracted and/or restored at some time):

1. Changed healthcare legislation will cause millions to lose their insurance and many will die.

2. NATO is obsolete. Our long-standing, beneficial, and powerful pact with many nations is under threat.

3. Instead of sanctioning Russia, we will support their authoritarianism, attacks on the press, and take- over of countries like Ukraine. We will ignore their meddling in our elections and their efforts to undermine many nations.

4. We will pull out of the multi-nation “Iran Nuclear Deal”, allowing Iran to go back to making the bombs and delivery systems — prevented by the Deal. We will also pull out of climate-change treaties, which could prevent massive flooding (Florida, NY, etc) and catastrophic human migrations due to massive droughts.

5. Taxes for the very wealthy will be lowered by decreasing the tax rate and by allowing more loopholes. The rich will celebrate while the rest of us will either pay more tax or have reduced benefits — and/or our national debt will surge.

6. We will change trade policies and tariffs so that trade-wars will arise and prices for goods, everywhere, will increase. The chaos will affect our valuable relationships with long-standing allies.

7. Pres. Obama has at times been criticized for inaction, but Trump may impulsively engage us in wars, costing lives and greater national debt.

8. He may generate more terrorists by his abuse of Muslims, various other insults, and dangerous policies.

9. Our valuable press, which is required to keep our democracy honest, may be thrown out of the White House and attacked so viciously that it is ineffective. If Trump’s ideas are so laudable and clearly beneficial, why all the press criticism?

10. Is anyone suspicious of the fact that Trump’s cabinet is filled with extremely rich people and/or persons with questionable histories.

11. Trump would restore vicious torture and wants to keep Guantanamo prison. He also admires the strength of tyrants around the world. Are we setting a good example (under Trump) for the rest of the world? Traditionally the USA has been known for its might, and also its moral authority. Is Trump leading us in the right direction?

After Trump is in office for a while, the appreciation for the positive change that Pres. Obama caused will grow even more.  And the candidate, Hilary Clinton, that Obama so enthusiastically endorsed and was attacked so unmercifully by the GOP will be much more appreciated.  Ironically, she won the national vote count by almost three million.

Just added: I have been working on this blog for several days and at times almost scrapped it, because it may have been too negative. But after hearing Trump’s unnecessary and incorrect abuse of the civil-rights hero and self-sacrificing activist, Congressman John Lewis … well, here it is.

84. DJT Deviates from Norm

7 Jan

I am a behavioral scientist that has spent most of his adult life studying and describing human interactions . Our top government officials have a tradition of polite and respectful communication. But when I turn my attention to the President-Elect, I see features that fall well out of the range of normal adult behavior — and could be disastrous for a U.S. president.

For a long time, I have observed Trump’s bizarre actions and I am pleased to note that many others, such as Joe Biden, Keith Olbermann, Ken Burns, and major newspaper editors, have also made these observations. The possible dangers of a Trump presidency include: unnecessary wars, alienation of our allies, markedly increased national debt, suppression of the press, persecution of political enemies, corruption of elections, weakening of our intelligence agencies, loss of citizen rights, and radical citizen reactions, such as a national strike. Here is what I observed:

1. A common observation is that he is “childish”. Note the uncontrollable petty revenge, the nasty name calling, and “locker room talk.”

2. His rate of lying (or mistakes) is well beyond any normal range; about half of everything he says is either totally false or an extreme exaggeration. Many writers have fact-checked and documented the false statements, so I will not list them here. Whether Trump is actually lying or seriously mistaken, is not important; either way is unacceptable.

.          PERSONAL WINNING IS HIS MAIN GOAL AND BOAST
3. He states his admiration for various tyrants, such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi. These, of course, were not total endorsements, but in every case he admired how these tyrants were able to control their citizens. Their many abuses and torture of dissidents did not seem to trouble him, his interest was in their ability to win and succeed. Could any normal responsible person express this admiration of tyranny. Trump’s main goal is to “win the game”, not to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

4. His political candidate speeches mostly emphasize his wins and popularity, rather than his proposed ideas and policies. His proposals are mostly slogans, rather than detailed concrete plans. He knows more than the generals, the intelligence agencies, politicians, etc. Almost always, his main focus is on himself rather than national or global issues.

5. Without sufficient research and without actually being president, he meddles in international relations, such as his contact with Taiwan, which caused an angry response from China.

6. He refuses to comply with traditional presidential rules, such as making public his tax returns and creating a blind trust for his enterprises to avoid conflicts of interest.

7. He supports the torture of political prisoners, even beyond water-boarding. He would “murder” the families of terrorists, without cause or evidence.

I could mention other outlandish things, but I want to start an analysis of how these characteristics came about. The most striking thing about Trump’s development is his access to great wealth, continuously, starting in childhood. He was given huge amounts of money, but also had the ultimate backing of family wealth. I also suspect that his father and others encouraged him to be BOLD. He said almost anything that supported his agenda at the time — whether true or false. Having huge amounts of money caused opportunists to ignore the lies, and others, including the press, were intimidated by his reputation for revenge and his threats of law suits. Up until his recent candidacy there were few punishments for lies and much encouragement for his stated agendas. The very rich live in a different world, with yes-men and obsequious supporters.

He learned that aggressive threats of law suits tended to stop criticism. If he said something obviously wrong, he could say he was being sarcastic or was just joking. Even after he won the primaries, the press and others mostly overlooked the obvious falsehoods and impossible proposals, encouraging the bizarre ideas. After many years of living in this strange world of unrealistic support, he became more and more confident, engaged in bolder endeavors, and felt that his abilities were limitless.

In addition to the behavioral science factors discussed above, the role of inadequate sleep and Alzheimer’s disease should be considered.

83. People Now Believe Lies

30 Dec

People who are knowledgeable about current events and politics immediately recognize a blatant lie. On the other hand, less well-informed citizens believe anything said by a politician that they like, or just ignore anything obviously untrue. The bizarre post-election situation we are now facing is not unique in American history.  After WWII we had a similar (but not identical) period of despotic McCarthyism.   Today, we are faced with two problems:

1. Voters believing lies if told by a likable or admired candidate.
2. Ignoring a record of lies told by a candidate you like or believe in.

The first factor is mostly a result of an evolution in information dissemination. In the last few decades, the sources for info have greatly multiplied. If we look back, for example, at about 60 years ago, most people relied on established newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, and on TV/Radio news anchors, such as Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. Major news sources were more clearly defined and were led by trustworthy editors and managers.

Now there are hundreds of TV channels, a disappearing set of newspapers, an Internet with bogus news sites, and social media that can easily promote rumors. If you want to believe your hero, there is usually a source that will confirm his/her statements — right or wrong. So who is to blame for this situation? Individual news people cannot be blamed — it is a natural result of tech advances in a free society.

The second factor is natural for poorly-educated people. It is why we have an Electoral College in the USA. Our early leaders developed a constitution that they hoped would deal with this situation. People electing trusted representatives (Electoral College) probably worked better in earlier times, but is now obsolete.

Solutions: Here are some solutions, most of which will be difficult to implement, but are  well worth the attempt:

1. Abolish the Electoral College so that all U.S. citizens will have an equal vote.

2. All members of the press need to fight lies more aggressively. Many reporters and commentators appear to be afraid of certain politicians and this timid approach promotes them. I watch many news-programs on TV and I am often disappointed by the overly cautious and sometimes incorrect comments.*  Probably the primary reason is a fear that they will not be invited back, or could be some type of pressure by producers or managers.  Also, interviewers must not be too offensive, as the interviewees may not return.

3. We need to develop more unbiased fact-checking sources and results must be more available to all. Managers of social-media, such as Facebook, can try to do more to prevent the influence of bogus news sites. But, all this is difficult because we do not wish to affect our freedom of speech.

           CRITICS ALMOST NEVER STATE A BETTER CHOICE

Finally, I want to give one example of the feckless press. The moderator of the TV show MTP, stated that Pres. Obama was responsible for the dismal situation in Syria, because he failed to enforce his “red-line” edict about chemical weapons. But the moderator miserably failed to point out what actually happened. After the red-line violation, Pres. Obama went to Congress for approval of an intervention, but approval was not received. His efforts, however, did result in the eventual destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons. In general, Pres. Obama is often blamed for his inactivity in many occasions. But the critics almost never say what the better choice would be. Should we have another war with numerous lives lost and 10 years of occupation? I want a President that is thoughtful and does not act when there is no clear benefit from any U.S. action. Foreign policy is very complicated and cannot be led by amateurs.
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*As I am writing this, I see Rachel Maddow aggressively interviewing KellyAnne Conway, bravo!  Trump is afraid to give news conferences.

81. All Complex Systems are Corruptible

18 Dec

I research medical matters, politics, science, economics, artificial intelligence, manufacturing, and many other topics — mostly because I just enjoy learning. As a result, I see our world as a fascinating collection of complex systems, some natural and some man-made. But in the last few years, I have been impressed by the fact that corruption is everywhere. An interesting and symbolic illustration is contained in a TV series, Life After People showing the deterioration of buildings and other man-made structures — if humans suddenly disappeared. We see how nature insidiously destroys our prized cities, buildings, roads, bridges, etc. Our world is a combination of new amazing structures like the International Space Station, and, all too often, tragic deterioration like the devastation of Aleppo.

Challenge: Name one large complex system without some corruption

Here is my brief list of important corrupted complex-systems:
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1. Life. Almost all living species have corruptive elements. Everyone is familiar with the effects on life of viruses, harmful bacteria, and human mismanagement.
Anti-corruption forces: doctors, other healthcare providers, and the people, themselves.
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2. Computers. At an early stage, computers and their attackers began to evolve together. They are attacked by a variety of viruses which function very similarly to animal viruses. In both cases, viruses modify existing control elements (DNA for life and circuit logic for computers) to reproduce themselves, and to destroy what they have infected.
Anti-corruption forces: numerous anti-virus commercial programs and government and private agencies.
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3. Internet. There are hackers that steal and alter private information, web-sites that promote false political information, various scams, utility disruption, etc. Like the computer topic above, corruption evolved as the Internet evolved.
Anti-corruption forces: specific government agencies, police units, and some commercial and private operatives.

.        Worldwide, governmental systems are replete with corruption

4. Governments. Worldwide governmental systems are replete with minor and major corruption. Aggressive and often ruthless people are able to become presidents, prime ministers, congressmen, agency directors, tribal chiefs, etc. It is a natural process for such people to gradually take more and more for themselves and provide less for the people. In most nations, a greedy royalty class” emerges that is devoted to increased power and wealth. In many of my previous blogs I have discussed various details of this type of corruption. Very rich people find ways to increase their riches by corrupting officials. Corrupted leaders often lie about things that concern them and re-write history according to their agendas. They often discourage public education, education in general, and attack the press.
Anti-corruption forces: The responsible press, bloggers, ethical politicians, and informed voters.
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5. Businesses. These have several types of corruption. Within a business, competition for advanced positions can be ruthless, and in order to increase profits, faulty or even poisonous products can be sold. Business leaders often corrupt congressmen to benefit themselves and their organizations. Many lobbyists are the vehicle for corruption. Anti-trust laws, first developed in 1890 and 1914 illustrate ongoing USA private enterprise exploitation. The Enron Corp. disaster of 2001 is a lesson in corruption.
Anti-corruption forces: special police units, ethical businesses and politicians, informed citizens, whistle-blower employees, etc.
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6. Sports. A wonderful example of a corrupted complex system is organized sports. Gamblers have bribed athletes to promote their betting. Athletes take potentially harmful drugs to promote their performance. Even governments have participated in this type of inappropriate drug activity. Olympic Game officials have been prosecuted for illegal practices.
Anti-corruption forces: the press, governmental units, police, informed citizens, etc.

.    Corruption is a part of every large system — because it is profitable

There are so many susceptible systems that I cannot cover them all. A few more are healthcare practices, hospitals, schools, and religious organizations. Just added today, foreign interference in elections.

Conclusion. The several examples listed above suggest the universality of complex system corruption. An interesting development is “blockchain” which is a new way of recording and operating almost all financial interactions — and could be effective. It is touted as the ultimate international financial system and as being incorruptible. But history tells us that clever hackers will probably find a way in. It is clear to me that any system created and operated by humans, where it is advantageous to do so, will be negatively exploited. Why is corruption so ubiquitous? — because it is profitable.

After my final editing of this blog, I sense the excessive negativity that I have created. So I want to encourage the reader by saying that the world is also full of safe and enjoyable experiences that we can explore and must expand.

79. Heroes of Trump Attacks

8 Dec

I think we need a special medal, maybe called “The Peoples Medal of Honor”, for those who criticized Donald Trump and were personally attacked by him (or his associates).
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The latest of these is Union Chief Chuck Jones who corrected the number of Carrier Co. jobs not moved (saved) to Mexico. Trump simply makes up facts in attacking Jones: “He has done a terrible job representing workers …. no wonder companies flee country.” Both of these statements by Trump have absolutely no objective basis — just made-up ideas to suit his needs. If Trump has no facts to prove his point, he just makes them up.

.                                                         Truth  Matters
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Other heroes include: the Khan family (gold star parents of war hero), many major Republican leaders, members of the press, Hillary Clinton, Judge G. Curiel, news anchor Megyn Kelly, and numerous others. Megyn Kelly is a special hero for having endured endless inane attacks by Trump supporters. (I disliked Kelly for many years, simply because of her association with Fox, but now I like her and admire her bravery.) Remember, he even criticized John McCain, a POW war hero, for getting caught !!! How can Trump be trusted to deal with foreign leaders. NATO allies are already worried about his leadership.
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Just after Trump’s election, I was hopeful that he would become more responsible and cause only a minimal amount of damage to USA prestige and effectiveness. His meeting with Pres. Obama was encouraging. But gradually this optimism disappeared as I saw the continuation of his petty revenge actions, and as he gradually filled his administration positions with “yes-men” and bizarre misfits. He clearly is more concerned with loyalty and control rather than the good of our country, at least at this point. There is still some slight hope that when he actually becomes president, he will make mostly reasonable decisions.

  Let’s Fight Trump’s “THEATER” with our own more noble theater.
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But getting back to our heroes, I fantasize a special USA national organization for those attacked by Trump, with regular meetings for the presentation of “The Peoples Medal Of Honor.” All medal presentations would be delayed for six months to exclude victims who later become Trump “yes-men”. This of course is a fantasy, but I want to emphasize the importance of counteracting Trump using his own methods. Let’s fight Trump’s “theater” with our own more noble theater. We must find ways of supporting, publicizing, and rewarding our hero critics.

77. Reflections Post-Elections

10 Nov
I am mostly concerned here with reasons for the Democrat losses.
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There is a tendency to blame the president for everything that happens to the country. Hillary was viewed by many as an extension of Pres. Obama, who was wrongly blamed for a lack of progress, even though it was mostly GOP obstructionism that was at fault.
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It is hard to prove, but the Democrat loss could be the result of FBI Director Comey pronouncements at critical times.  The first problem was his assessment of Hillary as “extremely careless.”  He has no baseline for comparison.  Maybe if other leaders were examined in detail, they would have been worse.  The next problem was his announcement of additional email investigation, 11 days before the election — violating agency rules.  The election was very close, and without Comey’s electioneering Hillary might have won.  Comey and many FBI officials are Republicans.  It is well established that there were FBI-agent leaks and excessive investigative actions.
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I really like Hillary, but I felt from the beginning that she was not the best choice in the primaries.  Hillary is a popular person, has a good organization, and would make a good president, but subjectively, does not fit the picture that most people have of a powerful leader.  The primary process does not always work in the best way, and we need to figure out how to improve it.
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It is not her fault, but an old woman is going to appear weak compared to an old man.  Leaders just have to look strong.  Her husband once said that it is better to be strong than right.  I really think she could have done better, 20 years younger.
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Another factor is that Hillary is a good speaker, but not a great one like her husband and Pres. Obama.  Her answers about emails and other issues were OK but could have been  better.
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Hillary may have spent too much time criticizing Trump and not enough time detailing her plans for America.  She could have presented charts comparing herself with Trump on major points.
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Republicans were very clever in repeating investigations and negative characterizations almost continuously for the entire time of her presidential candidacy.  If a large group of people keep saying that you are bad, even if not true, it can have an effect.
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Many people have rigid beliefs that interfere with good judgment.  They often start with a simple belief that Republicans are good and Democrats are bad.  Then if you want change, you are stuck with Trump as the only Republican that really promotes new ways.
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The press, in their efforts to make money, tend to cover exciting people like Trump, more that reliable people like Hillary.  There also seemed to be a fear factor: reporters often avoided asking Trump the really important questions and instead focused on insults and revenge.  Really challenging Trump could banish you from certain types of coverage, and/or you could suffer other effects of infamous vengeance.
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It is sad to say, most people everywhere, here and abroad, do not have the ability to tell truth from fiction, do not really research candidates, and rely on biased sources of info, such as Fox News.  Only a small percentage of the population has the ability to process election facts and info, and to draw the best conclusions.
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I am not going to add much on problems going forward with Trump’s leadership.  But one thing really stands out in my mind, and that is the re-writing of history.  If Trump or his administration makes a mistake, he will simply deny or change the facts to make it look like someone else’s fault (judging from past strategies).  Or he will intimidate agencies to alter their data and/or analyses.  This could keep him and destructive governmental leaders  in power indefinitely.  Rich donors and leaders (our USA royalty class) are firmly entrenched in our society, now, and probably well into the future.

75. Reflections on the Elections

3 Nov
The following are some of my election concerns that have not been included or were not appropriate for recent blogs.  Frankly, in my entire long life, I have never seen such a bizarre and uncivil election process.  Here are the concerns:
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(Just added)  The utility industry is sabotaging solar panel usage, costing tax payers money, promoting pollution, eliminating panel jobs, and thwarting clean-energy progress.  A good source of info on this is Forbes.com, search: sabotage of solar panel usage.  Nevada and Florida are some areas affected. Please vote for candidates like Clinton that recognize the importance of clean energy.
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Many of us are concerned that the election process is too long, too expensive, and there is not enough effort to discuss issues of real importance, and in sufficient detail.  I totally support the press, but sometimes they contribute to election problems by emphasizing trivia and neglecting substance. There is also a justified fear in asking tough questions of certain macho male candidates.  It is also a sad fact that reporters make too many mistakes and report unsubstantiated info as if facts.  But any solution to this problem may affect their freedom, and we definitely need them.
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The original writers of the constitution were aware that many citizens do not have the intelligence to make good voting decisions.  Unfortunately this is still true today.  So they developed the electoral college so that more substantial citizens could make the final decisions.  But the current procedure no longer works well and is maintained by those who find it advantageous.
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Traditional “debating” is a contest with simple rules designed to determine a winner.  But for elections, we need something much more constructive. The current rules of debates are not adequate for really explaining positions and their basis; and inadequate to immediately evaluate the veracity of a statement.  Use of brief video clips to prove a point could help.  In this remarkable age of the Internet, why are the participants and moderator unable to flash a quote and its source on a screen.  A plan, such as a budget,  could be summarized on a screen and the debaters could reference the screen in their discussion.
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The greatest voter error stems from the belief that one political party is always right and candidates must be affiliated with that party.   Many Republicans chose Trump as the great “changer” when the ideas of Bernie Sanders were most applicable.
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Pres. Obama has done a remarkable job in improving our country. Republicans by their own admission have done everything they could to destroy his effectiveness in office.  In spite of this, when he took charge, unemployment was about 10% and has decreased to about 5%.  The markets are now way up. Although “ObamaCare” is not perfect, 15 million more people now have insurance coverage.  Much more positive info is discussed in my previous blogs.  Also see:  http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/obamas-numbers-july-2016-update/
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Given the incredible amount of scrutiny that Hillary was subjected to, it is amazing how little of negative substance was found.  She is much less flawed than other politicians.  Everything negative is either political only, untrue, trivial, or simply the kind of mistake that an ordinary person would make.
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Hillary has been very successful at making money.  So what?  Most intelligent people are successful in that way.  There is absolutely no proof that any paid endeavor has affected her policy decisions.  She has been transparent and released her income tax returns for many years.
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When Republican FBI director Comey said that Hillary was “extremely careless”, what baseline was used? What population was she compared to.  Was anyone else in a similar position, ever scrutinized to the extent of Hillary ??  Three minor email errors out of more than 30,000 may actually be a very good performance.  Also note, the emails in question were missing the classification banner at top of page. There is no evidence that there was hacking of her emails.  The recent letter by Dir. Comey to Congress regarding Hillary email investigation, just a few days before the election, certainly is highly inappropriate and possibly illegal under the Hatch Act.  The excuse is that the investigation would have been leaked anyway.  NOT a good argument, because an official letter is taken much more seriously than a rumor, and can be much more damaging.
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For those who think Hillary will not be progressive enough, if she is elected, I am sure that she will be consulting with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pres. and Mrs Obama, and many others.  She will provide a reasonable government and, if possible, effective changes.
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Trump accused Hillary of 30 years of no progress in any area.  Apparently, he is unaware that almost all major military decisions are made by the President, and that almost all domestic issues are legislated by the Congress.  The Secretary of State provides information and opinions, is in charge of embassies and related, but does not make important national  decisions.  Trump also seems unaware that while Hillary was a Senator, she only had one vote.  Also see web site:
http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feed/seven-hillary-clintons-biggest-accomplishments/
and others sites.

69. The “Deplorable” Fans of Trump

13 Sep

The Google definition of “deplorable” is: “Disgraceful, shameful, dishonorable, unworthy, inexcusable, unpardonable, unforgivable”. Hillary stated: “half of Trump’s supporters belong in the basket of deplorables.” I applaud her for her courage. Most of the press seems to be afraid to really challenge him.

Trump’s response is that she called American voters deplorable. NO! only HIS supporters, and not all of them (at first “half” and then “some”). My speculation is that his original core membership was the deplorables, then later, others joined in simply to get on the bandwagon.

She clarified: They are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.” David Duke, former KKK Grand Wizard is a Trump supporter, and well qualified to be called deplorable.

How can it be wrong to say that if a candidate, like Trump, has established deplorable characteristics, then at least many of his supporters have the same traits — and he does give them encouragement (see rally speeches).

Is Trump deplorable? Examine these facts, which are supported by words in his speeches. He has insulted women, Mexicans, NATO allies, Muslim nation allies, many Republican leaders, disabled people, our military, and others. His emphasis is on revenge rather than on making productive alliances. He believes in violence and torture more extreme that water-boarding. Regarding “terrorists, you have to take out their families.” All his plans for the country are vague and most are either obvious or impossible. As for military plans, he will to consult with the generals — a brilliant idea that no previous president has thought of.

Recent polls on Trump supporters show that a third or more of them believe that whites are superior to blacks, in many different ways.

Nothing above is an exaggeration. Of course Trump, after reviewing all of his gaffs, backed off a little from the worst, but NEVER apologized for any. In fact, he has changed his mind on so many issues that it is amazing that anyone who reads could support him. On the other hand, Hillary has gone overboard to apologize for several remarks — a sign of her better attitude and effort to be responsible.