San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick generated a lot of headlines when he refused to stand for the National Anthem. In his own words, he did not want to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color”.
Regardless of whether people agree or disagree with his action, they must recognize his constitutional right to do what he did. The First Amendment allows speech that many find repugnant. I applaud the 49ers’ for respecting his rights when doing otherwise would likely get broad support.
While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, I find it somewhat unusual. If this country is so oppressive, how did we manage to elect a black president? Utah, a state with very few blacks, sent a black woman to congress. A number of Fortune 500 companies are headed by blacks. We certainly have come a long way in the last fifty years.
Since whites have been the “oppressors” he must not like them very much. I wonder if his list of evil whites includes his birth mother, adoptive parents, coaches, teammates and an organization that gave him a $114 million contract.
I would understand if someone trying to survive in a ghetto talks about being oppressed. However, a rich, pampered athlete doesn’t get my sympathy.
The email scandal is rather confusing. The distinction between using private email and a private server may be lost on some. Hillary Clinton’s repeated lies have further clouded the issue. However, the Clinton Foundation scandal is easier to understand. It’s a lot more like scandals of the past. Harping on emails won’t change anyone’s mind but the appearance of corruption with the foundation can sway people.
We have known for some time that donations to the foundation by governments or other entities often coincided with State Department actions. What has become apparent is how closely they worked hand in hand. In a two-year period over half of Hillary Clinton’s non-governmental visitors were tied to groups that donated to the foundation. In that same period, her chief aide had almost 150 phone messages from a foundation executive. It’s starting to look like the State Department was functioning as the money raising arm of the foundation.
While many journalists have been openly biased in their coverage (some have admitted it and justified it because they hate Trump), I believe many will start to cover this. Talking about the foundation’s good works or saying that Republicans are making it up won’t resolve the situation. At the very least the Clinton campaign must show that conflicts of interest will not be a part of her presidency.
I still expect her to win but this could make things a lot closer, especially if Trump quits mouthing off.
Once again the Trump campaign has undergone a major shuffle. Paul Manfort is out due to a combination of falling polls and personal scandal. His pick for a replacement is truly bizarre. The new head, Stephen Bannon, has been an investment banker and news executive but has never run a campaign. Trump seems to think he can “wing it”. He would never allow such an inexperienced person to oversee a new building. A recent report shows that they currently have a staff of 84. The Clinton campaign has 703.
Trump clearly deserves credit for getting the nomination when almost nobody, including me, gave him much of a chance. He used the combination of billions in free media and positions that appealed to many Republicans. To win in November he must substantially expand his base. In the 2012 election only 32% identified themselves as Republicans (Democrats had 38% and independents 29%). Getting thousands to show up at a rally is good for his ego but is no indicator of success.
There is still time to recover before the election but time is running out. If they don’t get some adult supervision, it could be a blowout.
The term “death spiral” has a particular meaning in health insurance. Back in the days before Obamacare, policies didn’t cover pre-existing conditions. That meant you started with a pool of healthy people. Eventually some get sick so the costs go up. The healthy ones go elsewhere so only the unhealthy remain. Costs begin to rise rapidly. That’s a death spiral. I was aware of it from my experience in the health insurance industry but it was a lot more painful when it happened to me.
We are starting to see a death spiral in Obamacare. Those that were sick gladly signed up while many healthy, younger people decided it was cheaper to pay the fine. Insurers are bleeding red ink and premiums are skyrocketing. Aetna just announced it is pulling out of a number of states.
The future seems pretty clear. The individual health insurance market will dry up and many employers throw up their hands and quit covering employees. Millions will be left in the lurch. At that point there is no alternative but to go with a single payer system.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Everyone gets affordable health care. There is just one problem. This will explode the deficit and the government will have to cut costs. Reimbursements to doctors and hospitals will be slashed, forcing many out of the system. New restrictions on coverage will be issued. We will then have two health care systems; a high quality private one for the rich and a low quality public one for everyone else. I’ve seen this happen throughout the world.
Obamacare was designed for people like me. I have paid more in out of pocket medical expenses than I paid for my house. I am less concerned about the economic hit I’ve taken than facing the risk of being denied access to quality medical care in the future. Better to be poor than to be dead.
Right now both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are using the same campaign strategy. It is a combination of talking stridently to the core constituencies and attacking the other one. Pumping up the base and going negative have long been key components of any campaign. Since they are perhaps the most disliked presidential candidates in history, perhaps they should try to get people to like them.
Donald Trump seems to think that as long as he can attract crowds, he’s doing fine. The people that turn out are fiercely loyal to him. He doesn’t seem to realize that they are not the majority of the electorate. Recently I heard part of a speech he gave to a group of home builders. He gave a warm, moving talk about the challenges of the industry and some of the experiences of his father and him. That’s the guy who should be out campaigning. His attempts at humor are horrible. I can’t imagine how he thinks saying Obama and Clinton founded ISIS is funny. He ought to try some self-deprecating humor. There certainly is plenty of material to choose from.
The basic Clinton persona we see is someone who is cold as ice and can’t be trusted. I remember when she appeared before Congress early in the Clinton administration. She was very charming. Whatever happened to that person? She needs to find a way to relate to those of us who are not wealthy or powerful. She also needs to find a way to make her appear as a person of integrity. Every time she talks about the email scandal, she distorts the facts. The best thing she can do is say nothing. She also needs to find a way to show that she has a heart and a soul.
We’ve seen a lot yelling and trash talking. How about showing some humanity?
The Clintons made news by releasing their 2015 federal tax return and calling for Donald Trump to do the same.
I took a look at it. It’s basically page after page of boring numbers. We can learn about their income, charitable deductions, taxes paid, etc. In case you are interested, they own a Vanguard S&P 500 index fund.
Her campaign is calling for Donald Trump to release his returns. There is the implication that he might have something to hide. He claims he won’t do it because he is being audited.
Personally, I think all the fuss is a little silly. It might satisfy our curiosity but we get little of value. It’s all summarized data with no detail on business dealings, etc. I could write volumes about things that bother me about him but this isn’t one of them.
It is more important that we get a physician’s statement. Presidents in the past have withheld serious health problems. Clinton’s doctor gave a detailed, professional summary of her health. I can’t say the same for Trump. It stated that the results of a recent physical exam were all positive. That’s a little strange since doctors have a very different meaning of the word “positive”. It describes lab tests as “astonishingly excellent” without giving any details. What is truly bizarre is the statement that he would be the healthiest president in history. I really doubt that since he would be the oldest person ever to assume the office.
Let’s not worry about how much Trump earns or pays in taxes. To me, his unusual physician’s statement is of greater concern.
It’s tough to be a Moderate. You see both parties locked into a rigid ideology rather than trying to solve problems. Each side claims it is right and the other side is wrong. On many issues both sides are wrong. Job creation is a perfect example. The official unemployment figures mask the problem. The only reason it is so low is because many have given up looking. A lot of the jobs that are being created pay very low wages.
Many Democrats have an anti-business bias. Remember the famous Obama quote “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” when he said business success is due to government spending on infrastructure. Their solution is to increase taxes and regulations on businesses. Like it or not, jobs are created by businesses. Their approach will cost jobs, not add them.
Republicans are just as short-sighed. They want to slash taxes and regulations. Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts are said to cost $10 trillion over 10 years. Many businesses have plenty of cash (Apple has over $60 billion). They hang on to it because they don’t see attractive opportunities to expand. I’m all in favor of eliminating unnecessary regulations but many are needed. We saw in 2008 that deregulating financial institutions was a bad idea.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the oldest people to run for President. Unfortunately, many of their ideas are even older.
Now it is getting really tough to make predictions. At this point a coin flip might be as effective as all my analysis. Since my projection shows Clinton getting close to a win, I will start with the smaller states.
New Hampshire has four electoral votes. It was a Republican state for well over a century but Democrats have taken five out of the last six elections. Obama won by six points last time. I think Clinton will win but by a closer margin.
Wisconsin has ten electoral votes. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to win the Dairy State. Some may point to them electing Scott Walker but many states split tickets. I’ll give this one to Clinton.
That puts her over the top. I expect her to add Florida, Ohio and Virginia with Trump picking up North Carolina. That makes the final tally 332 to 206.
The election is three months away and a lot can happen. I’ll take another look in September.