I am somewhat hesitant to write this post. I want to make it clear that I do not endorse Donald Trump’s hateful remarks. The vast majority of people are here seeking to improve their lives. As with any group, there are a number of criminals.
No matter what your opinion is on the immigration issue, we all should agree that illegal immigrants that commit violent crimes shouldn’t be allowed to stay. Apparently the Obama administration doesn’t see it as a problem. Last year it released 19,723 convicted criminals that were convicted of 64,197 crimes. Among them were 8,234 convictions for violent crimes and 208 homicides. As expected, a number have gone on to commit more crimes.
Sometimes the country of origin won’t take them back. If someone has a spotless record except for a DUI or minor crime, I don’t have a problem with letting them go. We should never release someone convicted of a violent crime. If they cannot go elsewhere, they should stay in detention.
It is obvious that immigration reform is impossible as long as President Obama remains in office. His administration ignores current laws so they can’t be trusted to enforce new ones.
We face many serious challenges both at home and abroad. Who goes in what bathroom is not one of them.
Sexual reassignment surgery is nothing new. There was a huge splash in the 1950’s when a woman named Christine Jorgenson publicly acknowledged she had the surgery. There were more headlines when a woman wanted to play professional tennis. Now that a world famous athlete who is connected to the Kardashians has had the surgery, it is a story that will not go away.
This issue is best handled with a little common sense and compassion. There is no need for new laws or comments from presidential candidates. Nor is it necessary, as at least one university has done, to cancel The Vagina Monologues to avoid offending those that want one. Who goes in what restroom should be a matter of external appearance rather than internal plumbing. The one exception I would make would be in schools. I can understand girls being upset if someone they have known as a boy wants to share restrooms or showers.
Hopefully my next post will be on something more important.
We Americans are all too often arrogant and insensitive when we travel abroad. This gave rise to the term Ugly American. Recently an example of this boorish behavior has been in the news. Sadly, the Ugly American is President Obama.
England is one of our closest friends. It doesn’t need us telling them how to manage their internal affairs. Coming up later this year they will vote on whether or not to leave the European Union. Obama has not only repeatedly told them how to vote but threatened to punish them by going slow on a trade deal. Many are rightly indignant at this blatant intrusion. He should know better.
He began his presidency with the so-called apology tour. Maybe our next president can apologize for him.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump came out as big winners from Tuesday’s New York primary.
Clinton showed that she could beat Bernie Sanders where it really counted. She holds a commanding 1930 to 1189 lead in the delegate count. Democrats award delegates on a proportional basis so there is no way he could catch up even if he won all the remaining primaries. I find her approach quite interesting. Usually at this point the winner tries to bring the party together to prepare for the fall. Shouting and screaming throughout the last debate is not a good way to bring about party unity. Normally she would be in serious trouble but it looks like the Republicans are about to commit hari-kari.
The victory was even more important for Trump. It marked the first time he won the majority of votes in any state. New York is certainly not Ted Cruz territory. He badly hurt himself with his “New York values” quip. People get a little testy when you denigrate their state.
It still seems unlikely that he will get the 1,237 votes he needs to clinch the nomination. However, I do think he will come close enough that the party will not be able to deny him the nomination.
Nothing like the Trump phenomena has ever happened in our history. There are two occasions in my lifetime where an insurgency gained control of the party, Goldwater supporters in 1964 and McGovern supporters in 1972. Neither group tried to bring the party together. Goldwaterites openly booed Nelson Rockefeller. McGovernites gleefully threw the party bosses out. Given his boorish and bombastic nature, I imagine Trump will follow suit.
United Healthcare, the country’s largest health insurer, announced that it will pull out of all but a few state exchanges. It expects to lose $650 million this year alone on Obamacare business. Other companies are also losing money. A number of nonprofit cooperatives have already gone belly up.
The problem is simple. New people that are coming into the program are much sicker than the existing customer base.
In a larger sense the problem goes back to when the legislation was written. It is an enormously complex bill. Remember Nancy Pelosi saying they had to pass it to know what’s in it? Its entire focus was to increase the number of people insured. The only thing affordable about the Affordable Care Act was its name. The Obama administration showed total disrespect for the American people who were overwhelmingly against. President Obama repeatedly told a bald-faced lie by telling people they could keep their insurance or doctor. Congress resorted to special deals and parliamentary hocus-pocus to get it through.
So what should we do? Ideally it would be nice to scrap it and start over. Unfortunately that seems unlikely given the current political divide. Both parties should work together to reform it and make health care more affordable. There are no magic fixes but tort reform is the place to start. Not only do doctors have stratospheric malpractice premiums but it is estimated that 25% of all tests are ordered to protect them in the event of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, trial lawyer are Democratic cash cows.
Hopefully Democrats and Republicans can get together some day but I’m not holding my breath waiting.
Disclosure: I worked in the health insurance industry back in the 20th century.
We have seen a dramatic increase in Russian planes buzzing our planes and ships. Last week one of our ships was repeatedly buzzed by a plane flying so low that it created a wake. On one pass it came within thirty feet of the ship.
This is extremely dangerous. Flying in such an unsafe manner could easily have resulted in a crash. Even worse, it sends a clear message to those who wish to do us harm that our ships are sitting ducks. Someone wishing to bomb a ship knows they can fly right up to it without fear of being shot down. It also damages our foreign policy as further evidence our friends can’t depend on us and enemies need not fear us.
Once again we have seen nothing but talk from the Obama administration. We should have a clear policy of protecting our planes and ships from attack. Providing protection to those who serve should not be a political issue. Total passivity to such provocations should upset all Americans.
Politicians like to use wedge issues. They are designed to make people fearful or angry and further divide us. Trump and immigration is a very crude example but both parties do it. President Obama pledged to be a post-racial president but instead has been fanning the flames of racial discontent.
Equal pay for equal work has been in the news. Yesterday was “Equal Pay Day”, supposedly the day women earn what a man made last year. We have heard that women make 79% of what men earn. This misleading figure is taken by comparing the median pay for each gender. It does not factor in time women take off to care for family or differences in career choices.
I’m not sure what politicians want other than votes. Are they proposing women should be paid more so the statistics work out? Full time pay if women work part time? A company with a male CEO paying some female employee the same salary? Equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land for over fifty years. If there is any real discrimination, I hope the perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Rather than falling prey to politicians who seek to divide, let’s vote for ones that seek to unite.
If Donald Trump were to build a new building, I doubt we would see him show up onsite ready to operate a riveting machine. Instead he would put together a team of architects, site managers, attorneys and accountants to manage the project. Yet he decided to run for president with minimal staff.
I can see him not wanting to have someone around to censor every idiotic thing that comes out of his mouth. It’s harder to understand why he doesn’t want someone to help him with complex issues (his platform seems to be “I’ll be great”). But not hiring people who understand the complicated rules of delegate selection is downright stupid.
Ted Cruz has staff that know the rules forwards, backwards and sideways. They have been able to use this knowledge to secure more delegates. Trump is just starting to get up to speed. Meanwhile he is going around the country whining about being treated unfairly. What a crybaby!
Trump has given us many reasons why he’d be a very bad president. The haphazard way his campaign has been run gives us one more.
For generations the keys to economic improvement were hard work and education. Minimum wage jobs didn’t pay much but they allowed someone without marketable skills an entrée to the workplace. Now some believe that the combination of a high minimum wage and cradle to grave government programs should allow for a middle class lifestyle without hard work or education.
It takes someone smarter than me to determine where the minimum wage should be set. I do believe that the current federal rate is too low but that $15 is too high. Proponents say that raising the minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs. If that’s true, why not make it $100 an hour? It is a basic fact of economics that businesses increase hiring when they pay less than value that new employees create. They will have little incentive to pay a 16 year dropout with no skills $30,000 a year.
The only reason the unemployment rate is so low is because millions have left the workforce. I fear that a high minimum wage will result in more and more people never getting jobs. Rather than pricing them out of the market we should give them training so that they have marketable skills that allow them to receive higher wages.
It was not too surprising that Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz won in yesterday’s Wisconsin primary. However, I am surprised that they won so easily. So what does this mean to the front runners?
Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead and cannot be caught. The Democratic primaries award delegates on a proportional basis. Despite his big win, he only picked up ten more delegates than she did. Most of her lead comes from an overwhelming advantage among the party insiders or superdelegates. They know that Sanders can’t win in November so are unlikely to switch to him. Nonetheless, Clinton still has a huge problem mending fences with the Sanders supporters. There is no way she can afford to have them stay home in November yet anything she does to appease them will hurt her electability. Both Ford in 1976 and Carter in 1980 won the nomination after a bruising battle with a challenger. They both lost the general election. Clinton has to wonder how she can keep history from repeating itself.
We have heard a lot about Donald Trump’s bad week. Of all his missteps, the one that concerns me the most is his willingness to discuss nuclear proliferation, NATO and the use of nuclear weapons without really thinking about these issues. Clearly, he is not going away. However, it is now obvious that 30-40% of the vote is his ceiling not his floor. I think it virtually impossible that he will get enough delegates to clinch the nomination. In fact, it is possible that Cruz will get more than he does. I see no way to avoid a contested convention (more on that later).
Better fasten your seat belts. We’re in for a bumpy ride.