Trump Should Cancel the Debates

Trump Should Cancel the Debates

Trump should cancel the debates, since he has nothing to gain and could lose face and followers. Trump has gotten much more free time on cable networks than any candidate past or future. Usually, debates help lesser noticed candidates get some national attention. This is not necessary for Trump. If anything, Clinton’s rallies have gotten little coverage, and she does not hold press conferences or give interviews.

Trump has made dozens of odd statements, which he is never questioned about in his rallies. The interviewers or Clinton could ask him to explain those, or challenge the misrepresentation that he gas given. Among these are his disrespect of veterans, such as John McCain, and the Gold Star parents of a heroic soldier. Then there is his prejudice against Mexican immigrants and Muslims. He has made many new incredible statements since the Republican debates, and even since the Republican convention, which he has never been challenged about in a debate format.

There is also the question of Trump’s basing his campaign on Russian advisers and businessmen, starting with his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. He has also given away Crimea, claims that Putin has not invaded Ukraine, and indicated he may give away the Baltic states. He has severely upset our NATO commitments, and our commitments to South Korea and Japan. He has decided to renegotiate all of our trading agreements.

There is also the patriotism question of using illegal Russian email hacks of the DNC to attack the Clinton campaign. Oh yes, and urging Putin to publish any illegal hacks of Clinton’s emails, so Trump can exploit them.

While his rallies cheer his slanders of Clinton as “Crooked”, interviewers or Clinton can point out that she has been cleared of charges many times. Clinton also has a detailed knowledge of domestic and international issues and plans to deal with them. Trump is without the knowledge of issues or any details or analyses of any solutions to these.

Since polls show now that Trump is losing, having to face a one on one grilling like he never has before will not gain him anything, but can totally demolish his lies and cause him to lose much face in addition to his losing the election.

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Trump’s Trampling of the Constitution, Versus an Obama or Clinton Supreme Court Justice

Trump’s Disregard for Law and the Constitution, versus an Obama or Clinton Supreme Court Appointment

While conservatives and Republicans argue that even if you don’t like Trump, you should vote for him to get a conservative Supreme Court justice replacing Antonin Scalia and any future departures from the court. Some conservative law scholars have indicated that it is not worth the uncertainty of Trump’s behavior on all other issues to just get a conservative Justice.

But people who care about the Law, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution should be concerned that Trump does not know law or the Constitution, and violates them daily and in his proposed actions as President. Furthermore, even his campaign advisors and his army of lawyers don’t seem influential in teaching him about the law and the Constitution, or changing his behavior and his proposals.

People who watch the news know what these Trump policies are, and I don’t have enough memory, space, or knowledge of the law to list all of his violations. Focusing on Freedom of Speech, we have: his encouragement to assault and beat up protestors inside his rallies; stating that he will pay the legal fees of those who assault protesters; even removing protestors who are just quietly holding up signs; not stopping the audience from tearing the signs from them; and supporting his previous campaign manager Lewandowski for grabbing and bruising a female reporter.

Focusing on Freedom of the Press, we have: his ejection from a news conference of the head of Univision (the Spanish news channel); banning of all reporters of the Washington Post (the main Federal coverage newspaper), even to just attend public rallies; boycotting a debate because it was on Fox News; attacking Megan Kelly of Fox News; promising to change libel laws to make it easier for him to sue people who report things that he doesn’t like; constantly criticizing any press as the “mainstream press”; and even denying things which he said on camera; claiming that the press are always distorting his ridiculous comments. Trump is a real money maker for TV networks, and there is no doubt that they pander to get him on. Witness CNN hiring the supposedly fired Lewandowski, who spends all of his time defending Trump. Under violation of the freedoms of speech and the press is Trump’s demands of employees and previous employees that they keep completely silent about their boss, under threat of penalties and suits.

I have already written about the reckless violation of Due Process for encouraging the audience to chant that Clinton should be prosecuted and jailed, even for charges on emails and Benghazi, for which she has already been cleared.

Trump has violated the concept of Privacy from government monitoring, usually so dear to conservatives and liberals alike, in the following instances: demanding that Apple create a back door so the government can open any cell phone; asking the Russians to hack Clinton’s computer and publish it on Wikileaks; exploiting the hacks of DNC computers that were published on Wikileaks; and not denouncing the Russian and Wikileaks intrusions on the US elections.
It usually takes four years for cases of executive orders or unconstitutional laws to reach the Supreme Court. Add in the appointment to the Supreme Court of Republican politically involved judges who put party loyalty first, or a Justice committed to supporting Trump. This means that voters who respect and value the Constitution and our Freedoms should be more concerned about Trump’s trampling of the Constitution, than about the appointment of the rather neutral and well qualified Chief Judge Merrrick Garland nomination of President Obama.

Posted in 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Politics, Supreme Court | Leave a comment

Trump’s Homeownership Rate Graph on TV is Misleading

Trump’s Homeownership Rate Graph on TV Is Misleading

Donald Trump spoke today at the National Association of Home Builders meeting, and showed them a graph of US Homeownership Rate. He had this made up especially for their meeting. Actually, it is available to anybody just by googling US Homeownership Rate. The Home Builders actually have probably seen this a thousand times in their careers. It was meant for the public. But flashing it around, viewers could not see what I expected, that it had a suppressed zero on the vertical axis. That is, the left vertical axis actually started at 62%, and the peak was at about 69%. The recent peak was around 2004. The drop when President Obama took office was already down to 67.5%, and it is now down below 64%.

Here is one of such graphs below.


Since Trump did not mention the suppressed zero, a viewer would conclude that the rate under President George W. Bush had risen to 3.5 times the rate in the eighties. In actuality, it was only 5% higher in home ownership.  I couldn’t find on the web a version of this  graph that actually starts at zero.  Since the range of the axis shown is 8%, starting at 62%, to find the true zero, you would have to extend the axis down about 8 times its height.

We have to remember that when President Obama took office, there were many homes sold on so called “liars loans” to people who were encouraged to lie on their mortgage applications to obtain loans. The packaging and resale of these junk loans led to the economic collapse and the recession of 2009.

The years around 2005 were a housing bubble when it seemed that the prices were rising, so a number of people bought houses to flip them.  This shouldn’t be called real home ownership.

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Trump Misleadingly Forgets that the Senate Needs to Confirm Supreme Court Justices

Trump Misleadingly Forgets that the Senate Needs to Confirm Supreme Court Justices

In Trumps’ rally today, Trump said that if Clinton becomes President she will appoint the Supreme Court Justices. He neglected to say that the Senate must Advise and Consent first. He also ignored that for the Supreme Court appointments, there is still the Senate requirement of a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. The reason that the Supreme Court replacement of Conservative Antonin Scalia is even an issue, is that Republicans dominate the Senate. The Majority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has seemingly violated the Senate requirement to consider President Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland, and blocked advise and consent until the next administration.

Republicans now have 54 Senators. That would have to fall to 40 Republican Senators for the Democrats to have the 60 needed votes. That is not going to happen this election.

On the other foot, if Donald Trump becomes President, even the present 46 Democratic Senators could block an unreasonable Trump nominee.

The other misleading thing that Trump said, was the claim that a Clinton Presidency could take away people’s guns. Even with a liberal Clinton appointment to succeed Scalia, the current interpretation of the Second Amendment is a Supreme Court Precedent. The Republicans in the Senate would never approve a Justice that would alter this interpretation. Just remember, that the current interpretation includes the power for the Congress or States to impose reasonable gun controls. Presumably, that includes the power to extend the current screenings of gun purchasers to Internet and gun show purchases. If States have the right to require all voters to be approved by computer check with ID and registration, why can’t they require that of somewhat more dangerous gun purchases?

Trump doesn’t need proponents of the Second Amendment to in some vague way block Clinton’s hypothetical unfair appointments — that power already exists in the Senate confirmation process.

Posted in 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Guns, Politics, Supreme Court, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

Trump’s Energy Advisor on his Economic Team, Harold Hamm

Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm is the member of Trump’s new economics team in charge of energy policy. He is said to be under consideration for Secretary of Energy.  Harold Hamm is Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, an oil company, of which he owns 72%.  He is worth $12.9 billion, down from $19 billion, due to the drop in oil prices.  He is the richest man in Oklahoma.  He has a high school diploma.  I don’t doubt that he is an oil and natural gas expert, having spent his life as a leader in the field.  He is a leader in fracking North Dakota shale for oil and natural gas.  At the same time, he opposes state tax rebates for zero emissions wind energy, which now provides 17% of Oklahoma energy.

He was the only speaker at the Republican convention to mention climate change.  He said it is not our most important problem.  The Department of Energy (DOE) develops clean energy sources, and regulates clean nuclear energy.  It works for technological developments to battle climate change, and meet the Paris agreements.  The DOE is in charge of our nuclear weapons arsenal.  The DOE supports basic research in physics, biology, and mathematics.  An oil tycoon does not fit these roles.

The idea of getting unbiased energy analysis from an oil tycoon is ridiculous, whether on the advisory committee, or as Secretary of Energy. For contrast, President Obama had appointed Nobel Laureate physicist Steven Chu of UC Berkeley, and now MIT Physics Professor Ernest Moniz, as his energy Secretaries. Prof. Moniz helped achieve the Iranian nuclear disarmament treaty. Trump is obviously not shooting for unbiased advice that will benefit the nation, but for simply pleasing the oil donors.


Posted in 2016 Election, Climate Change, Donald Trump, Electric Power, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Natural Gas, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Politics, Wind Energy | Leave a comment

Republican Fix on Climate Science Denial and Oil Industry Funding

Republican Fix on Climate Science Denial and Oil Industry Funding

Donald Trump complains that the election is fixed, but he is completing the fix on climate science denial in order to receive oil industry contributions.

Republicans candidates and office holders are clearly required to deny climate science and climate change in order to get at least a billion dollars of oil and coal industry contributions. The Koch brothers have a PAC that is putting $750 million dollars into Republican races to obtain climate science denial.

According to open, in 2012, oil and gas interests contributed $80 million.  So far in 2016, they are at $64 million.  Lobbying totals yearly have been about $144 million.  Most of the contributions are to Republicans.  The average House member gets about $70,000.  The average Senator gets over $100,000 from oil and gas interests.  Since most of the funding goes to Republican congressmen, the average per Republican is about double the average over all congressmen.

In 2015-16, Koch Industries leads the oil and gas contributors with $8.4 million.  Chevron is next with $4.1 million, and Stewart and Stevenson, an equipment source for the oil and gas industry, are third with $3.8 million.

One of the main reason to deny climate science and global warming is that there is so much fossil fuel remaining, including vast recent tar sands and shale oil discoveries, that to avoid disastrous global warming and climate effects, much of the fuels must remain in the ground.  Clean renewable and nuclear energy must eventually replace CO2 producing fossil fuels.  This leaves trillions of dollars of fossil fuel resources untouchable.

The suit against Exxon was that it knew about climate change for decades and used it for company planning, at the same time hiding it from investors by funding climate science denial sources.  If investors knew that much oil would remain entrapped forever, the value of the company would decline.

American Congressmen are not dumb. Most have college educations and many have law degrees. They did not graduate college without taking science courses. They did not get into law schools without getting good grades, especially in science courses that require reasoning with laws. Their denial of any science, such as climate science, is essentially an enforced choice.

Trump’s economic advisors, who are hedge fund and even oil company billionaires, are running or investing in many companies whose operations are based on science. They have a wealth of scientific advice available to them. The Koch brothers even have degrees in chemical engineering from MIT. Exxon Mobil was caught with its emails down as having planned for global warming to allow drilling and oil transport in the Arctic. The so-called scientists who oppose climate science are often bought and paid for by the oil companies. It is a travesty of public trust by the oil billionaires and fossil fuel companies to entrap the public and the Republican legislators into professing denial of climate science.

Posted in 2016 Election, Climate Change, Coal, Donald Trump, Economies, Electric Power, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Oil, Politics | Leave a comment

Republican Election Fix on Energy Independence

Republican Election Fix on Energy Independence

Trump complains the election is fixed, but he is fixing the US on the expensive idea of Energy Independence.

Another part of the energy billionaire fix is the emphasis on the idea of Energy Independence. We are no longer in a world war, where enemies torpedo boats carrying commerce on the Atlantic or Pacific. Even terrorist attacks cannot make a dent in the thousands of oil wells in the Middle East. The first Gulf War was to liberate Kuwait from being ruled by the invader Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and it was relatively easy. We now have oil exports from Iran as well to add to the global oil market.

The idea of energy independence appeals to Trump and to his supporters who seem to favor isolationism, xenophobia, and Trump’s foreign policy of “America First”.

The Energy Independence movement by industry is to force US consumers to develop and buy the more expensive US shale oil for gasoline, and more expensive energy from coal, rather than cheaper natural gas. Drilled liquid oil used to be produced in the US for $20 per barrel. It is produced in the Middle East for a few dollars per barrel. Saudi Arabia contains a majority of the cheaply drilled oil reserves. Europe does not have shale oil reserves, and is dependent on Middle East oil or Russian oil. Hence, we must defend Middle East oil countries into the future.

OPEC had driven the price up to over $100 per barrel by limiting production. As US and Canadian tar sands and shale oil began to sell for $50 per barrel, Saudi Arabia increased production to lower the price of oil to the current $40 per barrel, and put the new US oil developments out of business. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni country, also may have been opposing Iran’s Shia intervention in Iraq and Syria. A large part of Iran’s budget comes from oil sales.

Right now, forcing the US to become energy independent would raise the current price of a barrel of oil by the order of 25%. It doesn’t matter if OPEC raises the price high again, because even US oil is sold on a world market, and the oil tycoons are not going to sell US oil cheap to the US out of patriotism.

Since there are not many oil pipelines to California from the rest of the US, California relies on its own oil and imports from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Smog prevention gasoline blends already raise the cost of California gasoline well above the US cost of gasoline. Requiring us to buy expensive US produced oil would further penalize us.

In Republican support for restored coal production, raising the US price of electrical energy to pay for the higher cost of coal instead of natural gas will also increase pollution and the US contribution to global warming. Using US produced natural gas makes us just as energy independent in electrical energy as using polluting coal. Also, US wind and solar energy again makes us more energy independent.

Posted in 2016 Election, Climate Change, Coal, Donald Trump, Economies, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Natural Gas, Oil, Politics | Leave a comment

Ways the Republicans Have Fixed the Election

Ways the Republicans Have “Fixed” The Election

1. When Trump says that the election is fixed, he’s right! It’s fixed in his favor!

2. We recall that the Republican primaries were also fixed in his favor, since 80% of the delegates were chosen in Winner Take All or Winner Take Most states.

3. Republican red states are often small states where the two senatorial electoral college votes are counted that do not represent a sector of population like the house electoral college votes do. In a blue state, like California, almost all of the electoral college votes represent a segment of the population.

4. The Republicans have the Citizens United ruling which allows businesses or PACS to be considered as people, and have unlimited free speech rights.  People can give an unlimited amount to PACS to run ads and perform other partisan election actions. Witness the $750 million Koch brothers super PAC.

5. The Republicans have intimidated the IRS and its individual workers from removing the tax exemption of PACS that are not 50% educational in nature.

6. The Republicans have passed voter restrictions in many states, such as voter ID laws, that on their surface have been established by courts to have the purpose of discriminating against poor people and minorities. This is a result of the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act that required such changes to be reviewed first in states with a history of discrimination. Congress has not acted to reinstate a list of states to be covered by the act.

7. Seventeen states enacted voter restriction laws, but so far, only five have had them declared unconstitutional.

8. The claims that voter fraud is a necessary reason for voter ID laws has been shown several times to be false, since there are only minor violations. The punishment of 5 to 10 years in jail plus fines of $5,000 to $10,000 is enough to discourage any sane person from committing intentional voter fraud.

9. Republicans have gerrymandered red states so that Republicans can dominate state legislatures and congressional districts. While Democrats do this too, progressive states like California have adopted non-partisan commissions to allocate districts in a fair way.  The gerrymandering leads to legislatures that pass voter restriction laws, and to local districts that restrict the number and location of polling booths.

10. The exclusion of felons from voting after having served their time has been abused by the important swing state of Florida, which bans more than 23% of black men, according to the Sentencing Project.  Virginia bans 20% of black men, and Kentucky bans 22%.  Disenfranchised felons total about 6 million Americans.  In 38 states, most felons get voting rights back after completing their sentences.  California is one of these states, after parole and/or probation.

11. Republican states or counties often cut the number of polling places in poor or minority districts, resulting in lines at polling places taking hours of waiting.

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The Presidential Election Looks Like a Hard Fought Contest

The Presidential Election Looks Like a Hard Fought Contest

Donald Trump claims that the Presidential election is fixed. As we pointed out before, the Republican primary was highly fixed in his favor, with 80% of the delegates obtained in Winner Take All or Winner Take Most primaries.

Updates:  we are updating this article for new state polls as of August 8, using New York Times recent time averages.  The leads for Clinton are much smaller than the Huffington Post’s (HP) most recent poll quotes.  This is partly a post Demcratic convention gain and a very bad week or two for Trump.

The National Polling Average now has Clinton with a large lead of 7%, giving Clinton with 46% and Trump with 39%.  However, among the very important swing states, the largest lead is only 7%.  The large lead for Clinton may mostly be from the already Democratic states having more congressional districts and electoral college votes.

The general election, which is focused on swing states, can appear to give Trump an advantage, and he is focusing on the largest swing states. The largest swing state in electoral congress delegates is Florida, with 29. Trump has several resorts and golf courses there, and goes there as his second home. He is a key employer and host in the state, which must engender him much positive publicity. Currently, Clinton is only leading him there by 2.3%, possibly of the same order as the sampling error. (HP has 6%).

The other two leading swing states are Pennsylvania with 20, and Ohio with 18. Both of these are rust belt states, where employment has been declining for decades in steel, autos, and related industries. Yes, these jobs have been going overseas. The center of Trump’s campaign is to appeal to these blue collar workers to restore jobs to America by cancelling free trade agreements, by establishing tariffs, and by fining companies that take jobs abroad with tariffs. Trump’s choice of Vice President, Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, also can bring sympathetic rust belt state voters, and conservative religious voters.

Currently, according to the NY Times, Clinton is leading in Ohio by only 0.2%, which is not significant. Clinton is now leading in Pennsylvania by 5.0%. Some of this could be a Democratic convention bounce, since the Democrats just held a successful convention in Philadelphia.

The next largest electoral vote swing states are Michigan and Georgia, each with 16, and North Carolina with 15. Clinton is leading Michigan, another rust belt state, by 6.4%. Trump is leading Georgia by only 1.0% (HP has Clinton leading by 4%).  Clinton is leading North Carolina by 2.3%.

Six states have had their voter restriction laws ruled overturned by the courts, and that should help poor and minority voters in those states to vote for Clinton. Yet, they may already be counted in the polls. The states are Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Kansas. Four of these are listed as swing states. May we expect more?

Strong Democratic states by a 10% or higher lead in 2012 for Obama count for 191 votes. Strong Republican states by a 10% or higher lead in 2012 for Romney count for 154 votes. The winning number of votes needed is 270. Clearly, Trump has a 37 vote deficit that he has to make up in swing states. To win, Clinton needs 79 more votes, and Trump needs 116.

The sum of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio is 67 votes. The sum of Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina is 47 votes. The sum of these top 6 swing states is 114.

If we want to cut the list down to states which are swing states by less than 7%, we eliminate Wisconsin with 10 votes going to Clinton with a 7.0% lead, and Missouri with 10 votes going to Trump with an 8.2% lead, which balance out in votes. After the 7.0% lead, the next largest lead is 6.4% in Michigan, for Clinton.  So it may be the swing states with less than 7% leads that decide the outcome.

Adding the 10 votes each, Clinton needs 69 more votes, and Trump needs 106. If Clinton wins the big three swing states totaling 67, she essentially has it made. Some sources say that if Trump wins the three largest swing states, he has it made. It is exactly the opposite. Even if Trump wins the big three, he still needs 39 more votes.

Left in the recently polled swing states is Virginia with 13 votes led by Clinton by 5.3%, Iowa with 6 votes led by Clinton by 1.8%, New Hampshire, with 4 votes led by Clinton by 2.8%, and Arizona with 11 votes, led by Trump by 1.4%.

Three swing states lacking recent polling total 25 votes, and are Colorado, Minnesota, and Nevada.

The focus of three months of campaigning on mainly three or six swing states is reminiscent of the February primaries where months of campaigning are focused on only four states. Only a radical constitutional amendment to switch to a nationwide popular vote system can change this.

From a solidly Democratic California perspective, we only expect to see candidates when they fly in to use the California automatic teller funding, at private fund raisers. We expect to see no rallies or campaign ads, either. Maybe that is all for the better.


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The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Trumpless Days of Summer

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Trumpless Days of Summer

Now is our time to tune out the Trump in our lives. Whatever craziness and haziness he shows will just be a reanimation of his general craziness and haziness. We deserve a break, and it might as well be until January 20th. If Trump wins, we will have to struggle with that for four to eight years. If Clinton wins, she will struggle with a split Congress if Democrats win the Senate, or a remaining totally Republican Congress shutting down all progress, as we now have.

It is still beach time and sightseeing time. Take as much vacation as you can. Sleep in as much as you can before school starts. Be as lazy as you want.

The Olympics start on August 8. Professional football preseason is about to begin. Summer concerts still abound. In September college football and pro football season starts up. School starts. At Lifelong Learning, classes start up. The University with talks and seminars start up at the end of September. The weather finally cools down.

With any luck, we can forget about Trump for the rest of our lives. If not, pity us.

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