Memorial Day Reflections

As you know, Memorial Day is a national holiday to reflect on United States Military personnel who died defending our nation. The origins date back to the Civil War. Some speculate that the tradition dates back to Abraham Lincoln’s dedication to the Gettysburg National Cemetery which he gave his inspiring yet short “Gettysburg Address” on November 19, 1863, where he eloquently defined what the Civil War was truly about:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

In short, Lincoln was promoting a nation of, by and for the People where it was the sacred duty of such a government would ensure that all men, who are created equal would be treated equally. He honored the men who died for that basic proposition of our founders that was to a degree enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution:

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It was later when the 13th Amendment was ratified followed by the 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th that all men and women born or naturalized in this nation all shared the same rights regardless of race, creed, ethnicity etc. An interesting event occurred prior to the Gettysburg Address was first spoken which adds a certain, but little discussed context to Lincoln’s words.

As you know, this nation had Articles of Confederation prior to the Constitution being written and ratified in order to create a “more perfect Union”. The Articles of Confederation weren’t an actual Constitution, only the individual states had those. Instead it was essentially an agreement for the former colonies, now sovereign States to work together. However, it was weak, ineffective and the new nation was about to destroy itself for lack of a strong central Federal Government.

Flash forward to the Civil War. The States that seceded from the Union wanted a new Confederation. However, they didn’t want their central federal government to be as strong as in the United States. They wanted most of the power to remain in the sovereign individual States. They still wanted a central Government, but the individual States’ governments would have equal representation in the Central Government.

What is interesting is that the Confederate Constitution was almost a carbon copy of the Union’s Constitution, but with certain significant changes. As mention before, most of the power remain in the States and each state determined how the people in their states would be treated and what if any rights they would have. Instead of a two chamber Congress, a unicameral legislature was created with each State having one vote and the President being elected by that Congress to serve one six-year term.

Further, the Confederacy weakened the ability of the Courts to overrule anything from the States. Finally, certain wording from the original Constitution was omitted from the Confederate version. The “general welfare clauses” were removed. In effect, the States had power, but that power may or may not initially reside with the People of those States by popular consent. Regardless of how the State Governments were selected and maintained, that power structure dictated the Confederacy. It did not guarantee government of, by and for the people. Instead it was government of, by and for the power base of each state. Namely the plantation owners, people of property and wealth. The ordinary people of each State owed their allegiance only to the power base of each State with few if any recourse to address grievances.

So when Lincoln spoke of government “of, by and for the People” he was either intentionally or unintentionally contrasting our government to the limited rights of the People of the Confederacy, even the White folks who didn’t have wealth or property.

I am drawn to the words of Lincoln today because unlike the ongoing Civil War our nation was enduring in the 1860’s we are now engaged in for lack of a better term, Civil Cold War with certain elements of our nation who for several generations have worked to negate the ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union, limiting the power of the people to levels the Confederacy demanded. The plantation owners of the Civil War are now the multi-national billionaires and corporate CEO’s. Since the 1960’s they have slowly and successfully curtailed the rights of the governed ceding more control to the wealthy and ensuring government sees to their needs first and foremost.

In recent years it’s more obvious that the Republican Party (though shrinking in membership) still maintains enough power to thwart the needs and demands of the majority of this nation. We’re becoming “a nation of, by and for the People” to a nation “of, by and for Republican leadership.”

The Republicans have declared a cold war on the ordinary people of the United States, while using propaganda to say otherwise. Majorities of Americans support higher taxes on Corporations and the wealthy, the GOP cuts their taxes; majorities of Americans support voting rights, the GOP pushes gerrymandering and voter suppression; majorities of Americans support immigrations, the GOP wants to close the borders; majorities of Americans support Checks and Balances of the three branches of government, the GOP is enabling our current president to be held above the law with no oversight. The list continues. Our Constitutional Republic is under attack, and it’s being done behind the scenes, using unethical and immoral methodology, but within the law (though they bend the law like a pretzel).

On this Memorial Day where we’re all supposed to honor our military dead who sacrificed for a nation founded on the premise of government of, by and for the People. Per Lincoln, we are to dedicate ourselves to making sure their sacrifices were not in vain, that the principals of our government survives. Sadly, the Republican Party of today demeans and insults Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address each time they push legislation that denies rights and privileges of American Citizens to be represented, heard and obeyed by her Government. That our government is led by competent men and women dedicated to the nation and her people, not a party or a flawed and clearly incompetent accidental president installed by nefarious help from a foreign power dedicated to disrupting our influence in the World by destroying our government from inside.

The Civil War continues, will we survive it and will we as a people have a new birth of freedom or is it time to inscribe our epitaph? The battlefield is all around you, either fight back or give in and deny the honor our fallen deserve.


How to Proceed with Trump through 2020

It’s easy to hate Donald Trump. The average American has little love for what he represents and even less respect for how he lives his life and performs his presidential duties. Polling on this is clear. Recently E-Poll Marketing Research completed a study into the Marketability of Trump. This organization conducts such studies for marketing executives, television network stations and advertisers to determine which personalities draw the most positive business. The reports are generally not available to the public, but the New York Times were able to get a copy of Trump’s scores.

Trump was scored on over 40 personality and physical attributes in December. To summarize his scores:

48% found him aggressive

38% found him mean

He scored high on the attributes of Insincere, Confident and Creepy.

Only 0 to 4% scored him as Sexy, Impartial, Handsome and physically fit.

29% found him Overexposed.

Only 14% gave Trump Positive Appeal while 39% gave him negative appeal. Finally, the majority of his support comes from men over the age of 55.

As an average American my response was of course, “Duh!”

Of interest is the nagging problem that despite all the coverage of him, all the evidence produced against him, all the terrible things he says, tweets and does to those he consider not in him camp, he maintains around 42% support among the composite of all national polling. That number doesn’t budge. When he and his team (falsely mind you) claimed that the Mueller report exonerated him, his approvals didn’t budge at all. When the actual report came out showing that there are clear signs of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other misdeeds of his administration his numbers still don’t budge.

People often point to the 30 to 40% of what is called Cult45, those who stand by Donald Trump despite everything. Anything exposed about him in a negative light despite the evidence backing it up is immediately labeled as “Fake News” by Trump himself and his people parrot that response. Then they go on to give him credit for things he had nothing to do with as the evidence shows. Is this Cult behavior? Perhaps, after all, our nation still considers Scientology (created by a science fiction writer and con man) as a legitimate religion enjoying tax exempt status and we still have flat Earthers who are absolutely convinced the Earth is in fact flat, we’re at the center of the universe and there’s a huge conspiracy to say otherwise. Historically there will always be a significant segment of any population, at any point in history, in any locale that will hold on to the most bizarre and self-destructive beliefs despite reality and evidence presented. Hitler was still supported by a solid 40% of Germany while it laid in ruin and information came out about what his regime did in the Concentration camps and even today he is supported by 30% in Germany and by the same White Supremacists in this Country that fully support Donald Trump. It’s interesting and scary.

In the so-called Blue Wave victories during the 2018 midterms, most Democratic candidates made a choice to focus mainly of policies of healthcare and the social safety net program rather than engage in a campaign against Donald Trump per se. In fact the only person who consistently said the midterms was a referendum on Trump was Donald Trump himself. He ran on that and false claims about illegal immigration. When it was done, the Dems took back the House in record numbers and while the Republicans took two seats in the Senate in a year where most of the Senate races were in solid Red States. In short, the Democrats avoided making this a race against Trump himself and fight the solid “cult base” and focused on policies most Americans agree upon. It’s interesting to note that these are policies Trump said he would work on as President during his campaign but has instead either done nothing to improve the situation or made the situation worse for things like Healthcare, the Trade deficit, Wealth disparity, Taxes, National debt, etc.

Now with the release of the Mueller Report and the coming 2020 elections cycle where not only is the House up for grabs again, so is the Senate and the White House, Democratic Leadership is hesitant in pushing for the impeachment of Donald Trump despite the clear case laid out for them and the nation in the report. Pundits point out that even though there is clearly enough evidence to show abuse of power and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors that would result in Articles of Impeachment being approved in the House, there is little chance of getting the required super majority vote in the GOP controlled Senate to convict and remove Trump from office. Some speculate that Democrats, looking to what happened during the Clinton Impeachment process where Bill came out more popular with the American people than he was prior to the House voting on articles impeachment, that Trump could end up becoming more popular with the American people and finally gain more than 42% approval.

I’m not so sure about this apples and oranges comparison. The American people clearly saw what happened to Clinton as a political hatchet job. Ken Starr was originally brought on to find criminality in the White Water case. When he found nothing he expanded his probe into other areas and came up with a cheating husband who during a GOP shutdown of the government got a blow job from a White House intern in the Oval Office and when questioned under oath, lied about it. The vast majority of the nation clearly saw this as a waste of time and money and sided with Clinton, warts and all. The Trump situation is different. Mueller was brought in to investigate on a clear mandate, was there Russian influence in the 2016 election, did members of the Trump campaign knowingly conspired with the Russian efforts and did Trump obstruct justice in the FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Russian meddling. During the course of the Mueller investigation other crimes were discovered and were forwarded to other DOJ offices for prosecution. Per the Mueller report, the Russians began a concerted effort to create discord and present disinformation to confuse and frustrate American voters beginning in 2014. However, when Trump announced, they saw him as an asset and Russian Intel did engage in a clear social media disinformation campaign to sway votes away from Clinton and assist Trump in winning. He also found incidents that could clearly show various forms of obstruction of justice. Unfortunately the powers of the Presidency itself as well as differentiating criminal intent with just plain stupidity made (in Mueller’s opinion) the likelihood of a conviction in a Court of Law doubtful. However as with Nixon and Clinton, a road map was clearly made to establish high crimes and misdemeanors against Trump for impeachment. Trump was not complete exonerated in any sense of the word.

In my opinion, despite the fact that due to the politics and make up in the Senate, a conviction in the Senate is doubtful, impeachment must proceed to educate the American people. Granted, that 40% who support Trump will continue to do so no matter what, the other 40% who despise the man will have more reason to want him and his party gone, the target audience are those remaining Americans who remain complacent and not engaged. They need to be educated and enraged over what Trump did with Russian help and impeachment in the House will provide the answers.

Now to address the concerns about making 2020 all about Trump, like in 2018 the Democrats must focus on the issues of Healthcare, Social Security, Wages, Voting Rights, Civil Rights all the issues the majority of Americans support and not be dragged into debating Trump in each and every House and Senate Campaign. More Republican Senate Seats are up in 2020 than Democratic Senate Seats. The Democrats can maintain control of the House if they run the same campaign as they did in 2018. They can also point out their bills to make the average American’s life better that were never voted on in the Senate or blocked by McConnell and Trump. Leave the race against Trump himself to the Democratic Candidate, whoever he or she is. However that candidate must not get into a twitter style insult war with Trump, the candidate must set the narrative on real issues and real solutions and hold Trump accountable to explaining what he’s done over those issues and how specifically he’ll address them. They can’t let him get away with “oh, we have a plan for great health insurance but you have to vote us in first before we’ll tell you what it is.”

Democratic candidate must demonstrate they can walk and chew gum at the same time, run on issues and how Trump and the GOP have made matter worse over those issues that Americans care about. They can also mention how corrupt and beholden Trump and the GOP is to Russia at the same time. Finally, they can’t let mainstream media set the tone of the race, when questioned, keep to the issues and not take the bait to go personal and Trumpian. Media helped Trump as much as the Russians did in 2016, don’t let them do it again.

Government imposition of Pro-Life Policies is Anti-American

Per Donald Trump and the Republican Party, in their efforts to keep support from the Evangelical Conservative Christian Bloc (who incidentally are a significantly smaller number than the 70% of Americans who support the Right to Choose) all abortions should be outlawed. What follows is a synopsis of their argument to ban all abortions and the problem their views present in a secular based nation where in theory all citizens have equal rights and responsibilities:

All life is sacred and life begins at conception. As such, contraception should also be banned because it prevents life. However they focus on only preventing women access to contraception, not men from buying rubbers. Further, they oppose sex education in school with the exception of abstinence only lectures that studies have shown have zero impact in preventing pregnancies.

So girls and women who become pregnant are fully responsible for becoming so and must submit to government restrictions regarding how they can address that pregnancy regardless of their ability to carry a pregnancy to full term, the health/viability of the fetus, the health of the woman or the ability of the woman to financially and emotionally care for the child after birth. However, no such government restrictions or demands are made of the male who impregnated the woman, whether consensually or otherwise. Even if rape is involved, nothing in criminal law exists or is proposed regarding what the male should do with their bodies or financially care for the health of the pregnant woman or rearing of the child. In fact some demand the opposite, specifically the male who raped the woman should be given custodial rights (if they choose) and claim that child as a tax exempt dependent. Women have no choice in the matter, but the man does.

So if a girl or woman becomes pregnant, they are legally required to carry that pregnancy to birth. Some demand criminal sanctions imposed on women who seek and/or obtain abortions for whatever reason as well as criminal sanctions on those who perform the abortion. The health of the mother or fetus doesn’t matter.

Finally, the only government proposed requirement and sanction regarding pregnant women is that they are to carry the pregnancy to birth. They do not propose or legislate any financial government assistance for healthcare during the pregnancy (but may investigate the mother for murder if the fetus miscarriages) offer no financial assistance to give birth, no financial assistance to provide healthcare for the child after birth, no assistance in feeding, housing, educating, rearing the child after birth. It’s all the responsibility of the mother who somehow got pregnant in a world where Evangelicals would deny them any contraception or education to prevent getting pregnant in the first place. Worst yet, there are some in the Evangelical world that demand that women must submit to their husbands to have sex and get pregnant (It’s not rape if it’s done by the husband defense). I wonder when legislation for that will be proposed by the GOP. It wouldn’t surprise me with the GOP quickly becoming the Christian Taliban imposing Christian Sharia law upon our secular nation based on obscure and misleading passages in the Bible that are often misinterpreted or clearly wrong.

So in keeping support of misguided, childish and simply idiotic Evangelicals, Donald Trump and his Republican party (who by the way have paid for their share of abortions) are saying by supporting outlawing the right to choose that Women are not as equal as their Male counterparts in this country and Religious influences in our Government can treat them as second class citizens in much the same way Muslim countries do. Christian Sharia Law.

You do not have to support Abortion yourself, but in a free society that proclaims all are equal you cannot force women to take on the full responsibility of an act that requires a man to be a part of. Further, if all life is sacred and government must impose itself to maintain that pregnancy, then government must also provide all needed assistance for the child after birth. The issue of abortion doesn’t even come into being unless a man impregnates a woman, often against her choice. To take her choice away again by denying her the ability to even consider terminating that condition isn’t the job of government.

This whole debate spawns from an interpretation in a Book that many believe is the word of God. Well even if there is a God, isn’t the outcome of a woman dealing with her pregnancy between her and that Deity? Government should stay out of it as our founders intended.


A Proposed Update and Modernization to our Declaration of Independence.

With all due respect to the words of Thomas Jefferson and the intentions of our founding fathers. Please forgive me for plagiarizing much of this.

On Social Media, January 5, 2019

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for the people to resist the political bands which have connected them with a reality TV personality and to assume among the powers of the earth, the freedom and rights to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the resistance.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, Universal Healthcare, Civil and Voting Rights and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, not Corporations, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any leader or Party of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right and Responsibility of the People to alter it, and to institute new Progressive leadership, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety, Rights, Autonomy and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that leadership established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that ordinary Americans are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the new norms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses, lies, corruption, insanity and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same narcissism evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such leadership, and to provide new Custodians for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of the American people; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter leadership in the Senate and the White House. The history of the President of the United States is a history of repeated injuries, lies, corruption, insanity and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the country. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden Democrats to pass Laws or investigate matters of immediate and pressing importance to address voter rights, civil rights, climate change, corruption, foreign interference.

He has refused to acknowledge the laws and people in States under Democratic control nor work in good faith with Democrats in Congress opting instead to only accept his own counsel and demanding total loyalty from Republicans in Congress and his cabinet over the Constitution of the United States.

He has refused to work with Congress to re-open the government unless he is given five billion dollars for a southern border wall the majority of the nation opposes, to address a crisis that doesn’t exist.

He has insulted, threatened, attacked and belittled anyone not kissing his ass and ignoring the rights and needs of the majority of the American people.

He has demonstrated for a long time, a delusional view of his own abilities and his popularity with the nation ignoring sound and reasonable advice of others for how to address needs and dangers facing the nation.

He has endeavored to prevent the Justice Department to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible conspiracy of his campaign with them, obstructing the Law to do so.

He has vilified immigrants and foreigners; refusing to abide by immigration law and laws governing those seeking asylum making false claims about the threat these people pose to our nation and economy.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by abusing his powers via termination without cause and coercing witnesses to not cooperate with a legal and constitutional investigation into foreign influence before and after he’s taken office.

He has made nominated Judges, Justices and Department of Justice personnel dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices.

He has failed to nominate a multitude of government officials required to meet the requirements of the government of the United States and State Department.

He has affected to render the Military merely props for photo ops and failed to heed the experience, expertise and advice of Generals who served the nation in War while he himself was a draft dodger.

He has conspired with others to subject us to Russian influences to permit them to meddle in the affairs of other nations via espionage and propaganda.

He has imposed reckless Tariffs (taxes upon the American people for buying foreign goods) claiming national security.

He has passed an untenable tax cut favoring by 87% corporations and the wealthiest 1% of the nation resulting in less revenue to operate our government despite higher military costs for which he pushed, a higher tax burden on the poorest and record high budget deficits while cutting funding necessary for the well-being of the American people like Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid.

He has plundered our treasury, violated the emoluments clause, ravaged our environmental laws, and destroyed the institutions of our people.

He has excited White Nationalists amongst us, and has endeavored to permit and excuse violence against minorities, women, Muslims, Jews, Latinos, and immigrants.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A President, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our Republican brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their president to extend untenable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our concerns. We have appealed to their justice and patriotism, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our progression and national unity. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Resistance, and hold them complicit with Trump and Putin and therefore enemies of the Constitution and American Democracy.

We, therefore, the citizens of the United States of America, on social media, assembled, appealing to the better angels of human nature for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good People of this nation, solemnly publish and declare, that we citizens are, and of right ought to be Free of Donald J. Trump and his complicit traitors to the American dream, that he should be removed from office through either the 25th Amendment, Impeachment or Criminal Indictment leading to. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of sanity and patriotism, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

A Trump Christmas Poem


Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the White House,

Creatures were stirring, led by an orange louse;

The CR was negotiated in Congress with care,

But Donald Trump demanded a wasteful wall should be there;


Unpaid federal employees questioned how to pay for housing and meds,

While Mnuchin, Kudlow, Ross and Mulvaney still slept snug in their beds;

And Melania in her Dolce and Gabbana, and Spanky oblivious to his trap,

Had just settled down for a long term national mishap,


When out on the portico there arose such clatter,

That the secret service responded to see what was the matter,

Away to the door Spanky waddled through McDonald’s trash,

Face all covered in a smudged orange rash,


U.S. Marshals entered the entrance below

Armed with subpoenas and warrants to show,

Rudy Guiliani met them with a sneer,

But soon that gave way and he showed his fear,


The Marshal’s weren’t giving in to Rudy’s shtick,

They all stared at him and said in unison, “what a dick!”

As they entered attempts to stop them were in vain,

They whistled and shouted and called out without shame;


“We have a search warrant signed by a federal magistrate!

We’re looking for records and documents and we have no time to wait!

From the West Wing to the East Wing and the residence above!

We’re going to gather them and process them so let’s not get rough!”


Donald had dry heaves over the events that were nigh,

Despite his obstacles and obstruction, Justice came down from on high,

So in the House the Feds were moving through,

With bags and boxes of evidence gathered too,


And then, in a twinkling, was heard down below,

Drawers and cabinets opening and closing giving MAGAts woe,

Off in the corner of an office where no POTUS can hide,

Was the hero of this action, who no sane man could deride,


Mueller was well dressed and professional from his head to his foot,

His clothes were neatly pressed and clean, free of any soot;

A bundle of court orders he had in his briefcase hung over his back,

He remained calm, professional and serious as he unpacked.


Our eyes—how they twinkled! Our hopes became merry!

Our cheeks were like roses, our noses like cherries!

Trump drooled from his mouth, a scowl formed on his face,

He knew like with every civil and criminal action against him, he hasn’t a case;


As the events unfurled Trump took to Twitter,

Lies, all caps and misspellings betrayed how he was bitter;

He grimaced on his thrown, I-phone in hand,

He crapped and he tooted and had Melanie help him to stand.


Trump is morbidly obese and foul, tweeting like a right-wing troll,

The nation shutters when they read them, despite knowing he’s just droll;

The white patches around his eyes, the yellow mop on his head,

We knew early on, he’s someone to dread;


But we can all rejoice to know someday our nation will mend,

With Dems in the House, his cover-ups and obstructions will hopefully end;

But there’s still work to be done, battles to be fought,

The sabotage of our institutions, reputation and honor has been a lot;


With Mueller closing in and the Democrats taking control,

Our two year nightmare may soon come to a close,

So be hopeful and of good cheer,

When it’s done, I’m buying the beer.

Trump’s Written Response to Mueller


On April 30, 2018 word leaked that the Trump defense team had in fact received written questions for Donald Trump regarding the Mueller investigation. Some suspected that Rudy Giuliani was the one who leaked the questions, but nobody is sure who did or even if these were the questions.

On November 16, 2018 Donald Trump stated emphatically that his lawyers didn’t write his response to the questions, that he wrote his own answers and hadn’t tweeted, er sent them yet. Below are the questions the New York Times indicated that the Mueller team wanted to ask Trump and his apparent responses, in 240 characters or less of course.

Questions related to Michael T. Flynn, the former national security advisor:

What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?

              #FAKENEWS, Flynn is an innocent fine young man who only did what he was supposed to do. It was legal, trust me, I’ll tell you, nothing to see here! #WitchHunt.

What was you reaction to news reports on Jan. 12, 2017, and Feb 8-9, 2017?

              @FOXandFriends are the only real news team with the truth. The failing New York Times and CNN are #FAKENEWS!!!

What did you know about Sally Yate’s meeting about Mr. Flynn?

              She’s only a four at best. I know beauty.

How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb 13, 2017?

              Flynn never had anything to do with my campaign, I barely ever met him. Can’t identify him if we were in the same room. He’s a nobody.

After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?

              Sheriff Joe is a true patriot being hounded by the angry democrats in the Justice Department. Who’s Flynn?

Questions related to James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director:

What was your opinion of Mr. Comey during the transition?

              I never met Lester Holt, that interview was fake, #FAKENEWS created by a 300 pound guy on a couch. Comey’s a lying Democrat who colluded with Russia. That’s what people are saying.

What did you think about Mr. Comey’s intelligence briefing on Jan. 6, 2017, about Russian election interference?

              Comey’s a low IQ guy for a non Black. Hillary colluded with Russia, no collusion here, none, trust me, you can believe me, no collusion #WitchHunt

What was your reaction to Mr. Comey’s briefing that day about other intelligence matters?

              Intelligence doesn’t matter, look at me!!!

What was the purpose of your Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with Mr. Comey, and what was said?

              They made the most beautiful chocolate cake. Comey wanted two scoops of ice cream. I don’t him only I get two scoops, he has to settle for one. That was a beautiful cake.

What was the purpose of your Feb 14, 2017, meeting with Mr. Comey, and what was said?

              Would you be my valentine and give me complete loyalty? No? You’re Fired!!!

What did you know about the F.B.I.’s investigation into Mr. Flynn and Russia in the days leading up to Mr. Comey’s testimony on March 20, 2017?

              The F.B.I. are a disorganized group of angry Democrats working for Hillary covering up her collusion with Putin. Putin loves Hillary. I’m the toughest president against Putin, ask Sean Hannity!!!

What did you do in reaction to the March 20 testimony? Describe your contacts with intelligence officials.

              I don’t wear contacts, Obama wears contacts but not me. I have 20/20 vision, unless it’s fine print then I need readers.

What did you think and do in reaction to the news that the special counsel was speaking to Mr. Rogers, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Coats?

              That’s spelled council. Isn’t Mr. Rogers dead?

What was the purpose of your calls to Mr. Comey on March 30 and April 11, 2017?

              They were prank calls. He answered and I asked him if his refrigerator was running. Comey said yes. I told him to go chase it before it got away. I’m the funniest president since Lincoln.

What was the purpose of your April 11, 2017, statement to Maria Bartiromo?

              Fox Business needed more propaganda so I delivered.

What did you think and do about Mr. Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony?

              Comey lied, I know, I know all about lies and liars. I’m an expert on lying!!!

Regarding the decision to fire Mr. Comey: When was it made? Why? Who played a role?

              That’s spelled roll. There was no good time to fire Comey but you know this fake Rusher thing… wait, does Lester Holt work for you?

What did you mean when you told Russian diplomats on May 10, 2017, that firing Mr. Comey had taken the pressure off?

              I was telling them that now I can really get tough with Putin now that Comey wasn’t blocking me from getting the FBI to finish investigating the emails.

What did you mean in your interview with Lester Holt about Mr. Comey and Russia?

              It’s Rusher.

What was the purpose of your May 12, 2017, tweet?

              I tweet to keep America informed and great again. I have the best words on Twitter and I have more followers than Obama. #MAGA

What did you think about Mr. Comey’s June 8, 2017, testimony regarding Mr. Flynn, and what did you do about it?

              Comey lied and I tweet.

What was the purpose of the September and October 2017 statements, including tweets, regarding an investigation of Mr. Comey?

              Comey is a secret Democrat and Russian hacker working for Hillary. People tell me that so I was going to prove it to the world.

What is the reason for your continued criticism of Mr. Comey and his former deputy, Andrew G. McCabe?

              They started it!!!! #MAGA

Questions related to Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

What did you think and do regarding the recusal of Mr. Sessions?

              If he had told me he would do the right thing and recuse himself I wouldn’t have hired him. I want loyal people, not honest people doing their jobs. Glad I have Whitaker now. #MAGA!!!

What efforts did you make to try to get him to change his mind?

              Into what?

Did you discuss whether Mr. Sessions would protect you, and reference past attorneys general?

              He’s my Attorney General and it’s my Justice Department, Mine Mine, Mine!!!

What did you think and what did you do in reaction to the news of the appointment of the special counsel?

              I told you before, that’s council. All those angry Democrats. So I tweeted.

Why did you hold Mr. Session’s resignation until May 31, 2017, and with whom did you discuss it?

              I only discuss things with myself. I have a great mind. I was being nice to that little Keebler elfish low IQ back stabbing ingrate!!!

What discussion did you have with Reince Priebus in July 2017 about obtaining the Sessions resignation? With whom did you discuss it?

              Reince Priebus? Who’s that? I run my own White House and I only discuss things with the greatest mind in the White House, mine.

What discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel, and what did you do when that consideration was reported in January 2018?

              We’ll see Robert.

What was the purpose of your July 2017 criticism of Mr. Sessions?

              He’s too easy to criticize. I was just being me.

Campaign Coordination With Russia:

When did you become aware of the Trump Tower meeting?

              When Melania told me we couldn’t adopt any more children from Russia to give Eric and Donald Jr. a little brother. Barron kind of freaks me out.

What involvement did you have in the communication strategy, including the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails?

              Junior’s emails being released, that’s the real crime of the Clinton administration.

During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationship did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?

              We discussed going into a business venture supplying Trump resorts, the best resorts on the planet with rubber sheets and special maid service. I came away with this plan after how I was treated in Moscow.

What communication did you have with Michael D. Cohen, Felix Sater and others, including foreign nationals, about Russian real estate developments during the campaign?

              That’s all #FAKENEWS everybody knows it. There’s no collusion, NO COLLUSION!!!!!

What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding any meeting with Mr. Putin? Did you discuss it with others?

              I wasn’t asked to help Mr. Putin with his campaign. Besides, he was too busy helping me with mine. #MAGA

What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding Russian sanctions?

              The sanctions lifted against Trump Tower Moscow? We’re still working on that.

What involvement did you have concerning platform changes regarding arming Ukraine?

              That was all Obama’s and Hillary’s fault that Ukraine got armed. I had to explain that to Putin.

During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media or other acts aimed at the campaign?

              All hacking and social media acts were done by a 350 pound fat guy on a couch. Heard he’s kind of orange and has a bad hairstyle.

What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?

              Everybody knows Manafort, who’s a wonderful guy, had nothing to do with my campaign for the six months he ran it. #MAGA #WitchHunt No Collusion!!!

 What did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange or WikiLeaks?

              I LOVE WIKILEAKS!!!!

What did you know during the transition about an attempt to establish back-channel communication to Russia, and Jared Kushner’s efforts?

              #FAKENEWS the 12 angry Democrats can’t find any collusion, not collusion. Only Hillary colluded with Rusher. Comey lied. #MAGA

What do you know about a 2017 meeting in Seychelles involving Erik Prince?

              Where’s Seychelles? Do they have a Trump Tower there?

What do you know about a Ukrainian peace proposal provided to Mr. Cohen in 2017?

I don’t know Cohen, never met him, he never did any work for me, none at all. No Collusion.

Three Simple Fixes for our Elections

It seems like every year lately where we have a major election, the same problems, complaints and suggestions come up. People complain about no paper backup for electronic voting, people using their elected office (especially if they’re Secretary of State) to influence the election for another office they run for and finally third party candidates influencing the outcome where possibly the worst option ends up winning. I won’t go into the issue of voter suppression (though it is part of those using their elected office to influence elections for their party’s benefit) but the three I mention impact everyone who truly cares about the integrity of the election process and the power of their vote.

The problems listed above play a major role in why voter turnout is lower than most Democratic nations. People believe their votes don’t count or it’s too hard to vote. Well here are some simple fixes already used around the world and in many parts of our nation that could improve matters for everyone regardless of party who’s interested in fair and transparent elections being held where those who are truly supported by the majority wins.

In the United States there are no national standards for how local States and communities gather and count votes. There’s a mishmash of jurisdictions that are completely paper ballots that are hand counted and others that are completely electronic with no paper trail that can be used to challenge the electronic tabulation. Even Donald Trump is on record saying there should be a paper trail for elections. In my State and County we use paper ballots that feed into electronic counting machines to tabulate votes. The paper ballots are then collected and stored for a period of time. In fact in Arizona 75% of all our votes in the last election were mail-in paper ballots. After they were confirmed as legitimate via signature comparison on the envelopes for which they are sent, it turned out that Kyrsten Sinema has (as of this writing) a growing lead over Martha McSally. In fact due to the way the voting is done, verified and tabulated even the Republican Governor and McSally herself are acknowledging that Sinema is in the lead and could win based on the concept that every vote should be counted. Nothing prevents a similar war of accepting, verifying and tabulating votes like this from being done throughout the entire nation. Nothing except election officials not interested in using a simple, economical and accurate means to collect votes from using this method in their jurisdictions. Perhaps national standards should be considered via legislation that Trump is already on record supporting. Check his twitter feed.

In Georgia we have the ongoing drama of the Secretary of State (who controls the election) using his office to suppress votes in areas of the State that would benefit his democratic opponent. This was also the case in Kansas. Now Kemp is claiming victory and only after the election resigned his office while Abrams has refused to concede and the vote remains close (as of this writing). Kemp certainly did some unsavory and suspicious things as Secretary of State as did Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Now fortunately in Kansas, Kobach lost decisively as many Republicans found his actions unpalatable. In Arizona if an elected official wishes to run for another elected office in the State, they are required by law to resign that office. However, this doesn’t apply to State office holders running for Federal office. Well the fix is obvious, anyone holding office should be required to resign that office if they choose to run for a different office regardless if it’s local, State or Federal. That eliminates any perception of abuse of power to influence the vote. Besides, if you want to go on to another office, why keep the one you already have?

Now for the big one (in my opinion) third party candidates. We as a nation always complain that we are a two party system that prevents third party or independent candidates from ever winning office. Well there are some independents who have won office, but go on to caucus with one or the other major party (Bernie Sanders for one), but this complaint is essentially true. In 2000 Ralph Nader ran as a third party candidate and although he had no chance of winning was able to draw off enough votes away from Al Gore to give George W. Bush the election via the Electoral College (despite losing the popular vote). In 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was able to draw off enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to permit Donald Trump to win via the Electoral College (despite losing the popular vote), and finally in 1992 Ross Perot drew off enough votes from Bush to permit Bill Clinton to win (but he did win the popular vote). Some argue that there shouldn’t be third or fourth party candidates since our system is built to only accommodate two major parties. Many disagree with that proposal as unfair to the wishes of those who don’t want to vote for any Republican or Democrat they don’t like or support for whatever reason. So how to resolve this issue?

One already exists. Instant Runoff Voting. It’s used in Democratic nations around the world and even in certain offices in the State of Maine. Essentially if you have more than two candidates for an office, you just don’t select one, you rank the candidates in order of your preference. If your primary candidate doesn’t collect enough votes to overtake the top two candidates, your second choice is then selected as your choice. Too often voters complain that although they don’t like their Republican or Democratic candidate they’re not going to waste a vote on a third party candidate and hold their nose and vote for someone they really don’t like. Or they don’t like either candidate then vote for the one that has no chance of collecting enough votes to overtake the other two, thus possibly giving the election over to the greater of two evils. With Instant Runoff Voting people would feel more at ease voting for who they really want and if that person doesn’t get enough vote, their second choice gets their vote. Every vote counts and the candidate with the most overall support wins. It actually helps third party candidates get a greater chance of possibly winning since voters know they can choose who they really want first, but have a backup just in case.

Seems to me that Republicans, Democrats, Third Party and Independents would all like this option unless the candidate wants to dilute the vote from the populous hoping to eke out a win like LePage or Abbot who never get anywhere near a majority vote when they ran for office against multiple candidates. This option is economic too since some jurisdictions require that if no single candidate gets over 50% of the vote and second election is held for the top two vote getters. Why hold a second election when you can resolve in in one?

Ideally there should be national standards for our elections and better yet, a constitutional guaranteed right to vote in our country. Some say we already have that via the 15th Amendment. In reality we don’t since as long as voting suppression measures can be shown to impact people beyond their race or ethnicity, it’s permissible. For example, everyone needs to get Voter ID. Now theoretically this applies to Whites and Minorities (despite the reality that most minorities can’t afford or obtain what’s needed for the ID). Voting suppression laws remain legal if you can’t prove the measure was designed specifically to suppress certain minorities from voting. So a simple “Every citizen has a right to vote” clause in the 15th Amendment would resolve the problem instead of the current wording of “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” As long as they can say the provision isn’t denying the vote because of race or color, it’s constitutional. The 15th Amendment needs to be amended.

In the meantime, until fixes are made, continue to vote the entire ballot in all races. It’s the best we can do in the meantime to make sure our voices are heard.

Serf’s Up!!!

Between the 9th and 15th Centuries in Europe Feudalism was the societal norm. Merriam-Webster defines Feudalism as “the system of political organization prevailing in Europe from the 9th to about the 15th centuries having as its basis the relation of lord to vassal with all land held in fee and as chief characteristics homage, the service of tenants under arms and in court, wardship and forfeiture.”

The Feudal lords and monarchs were the wealthy landowners of the time. All the wealth of Europe were in their families’ hands and were passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The Monarchs controlled the Church who controlled the people by claiming they spoke for God himself and it was heresy to deny their authority. The Monarchs in turn permitted the noble families, the land owners status and power in exchange for their allegiance to the crown and military assistance when demanded. The Feudal lords had control of the population living on their lands. They were known as villeins or Serfs. They were permitted to live on the Feudal lords’ family land in exchange for their homage to the Lords, labor, a share of what they produced and military service when called upon. Serfs had no rights, were not allowed to organize, and were required to pay homage and a share of their wealth to the Lords as well as risk their lives in the Lord’s defense. They weren’t slaves in the traditional sense, but if they were to live on the land owned by the Feudal Lords, they had to work the land and give the Lords a share of what they produced. They were totally beholden to the Lords for their lives.

Feudalism effectively ended around 1500 due to numerous causes such as the Black Death which curtailed the nobilities control of the serfs due to the numerous deaths, the creation of professional armies for the Crown as opposed to armies of the Nobles and their serfs, and the banding together of the serfs in various regions of Europe over the next 300 years. They organized, demanded rights and forced the Monarchy and Feudal Lords to abide. It wasn’t abolished in France until the French Revolution in 1789. The last remnants of Feudalism ended in Russia in 1861 when the Tsar officially ended Serfdom. When Serfdom ended, the people were able to own their land, if they could. Former Serfs were able to work for their own identity and existence. Most couldn’t, but a growing number of the people did over the Centuries when they weren’t totally beholden as a matter of law to the wealthy landowners and Church.

In the years following the collapse of Feudalism and Serfdom, the power of the Monarchs and wealthy elite began to give way to the power of the people. Those with the initiative, drive and luck were able to progress up the ladder to wealth and power themselves. A middle class came into being. Many don’t realize that although some of the founders were wealthy men in the colonies, most were actually what was considered the middle-class of the time. Our founding was among many things creating a government free from influence of the wealthiest people and church. Although it was true that you had to be a male property owner to be part of the political process during this time, becoming a property owner was achievable for many of the colonists.

By the latter part of the 19th century in America, the families of those who made fortunes began to secure power and began to flex it. Although called the Gilded Age, it was essentially a revival of a mine feudalistic society where the working class worked for slave wages, in company owned housing, shopping at company owned stores and were in reality the new Serfs. Although the wealthy class fought it with armed thugs, the union movement began in America and by demanding and getting rights for labor, along with the help of some States like Wisconsin, the lives and rights of labor improved and they became a powerful political force. After World War II, following imposition of a progressive tax code to pay for the war, pay for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and the power of the unions, the size, wealth and political strength of the American middle-class became the envy of the world. Europe began to adopt the same institutions and policies as we had here. With the exception of minorities due to continued racism, the lives of all Americans improved immensely.

By the 1960’s the civil rights movement began. It wasn’t the wealthy elite who pushed this through, it was the growing middle-class using their political power to push those in the various States and Washington DC to provide for the workers. Not all labor groups were pro-civil rights, but enough were to make a difference. After imposition of the civil and voting rights acts of the 1960’s, the Democratic Southern base peeled away from Democratic Leadership. Wealthy Republicans fearful of losing power and influence in the nation saw this opportunity to win over Southern Democrats to their side. The infamous Southern Strategy was formed. In the 50 plus years that have followed, the Dixiecrats became the Tea Party and the Tea Party recently became the MAGAts (Make American Great Again trolls). It’s easy to say that this is at its heart a racism issue for political power, but it’s not that simple.

Since Reagan, the Republican Party under the financial support of the billionaires in this country, those whose families made it rich in fossil fuels, the military industrial complex, casino gambling and real estate used their money to guide Republican henchmen like Newt Gingrich and Lee Atwater to get GOP party leaders to push agendas that weakened the labor movement. Since Americans had become complacent due to how well they were living, few saw the problem over the many years this was underway. By a combination of the wealthy taking over media, using religion to bring God back into the equation as it was during the feudal years, weakening the labor movement, the wealthy elite in this nation have successfully created a narrative that God has blessed these wealthy family, they deserve the power over the working class and the working class is dependent upon the continued growing wealth of the top 1% and corporations for their own person success. Government is now in debt thanks to what the wealthy elite have pushed through government and as a result, they’re justifying to the people that those programs that helped create and sustained the middle and working class since FDR, through Ike and later LBJ (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, Social Safety Net) are too expensive and must be cut or eliminated so the wealthy can get richer and that wealth will “trickle-down.

Where has that left us? Donald Trump, a man who owes his wealth to his real estate father is now President working to help his kind get richer with the financial assistance of other Billionaires like the Mercers, Prince, DeVos, Wynn, Adelson, and the most notorious and successful Neo-Feudal Lords, Charles and David Koch, who also owe their wealth to their father. When I say Neo Feudal I’m referring to families who have handed down wealth and influence to their children for multiple generations, control the workings of government, insert religion to justify their actions and in effect control the lives of millions of Americans who are now dependent upon them. We are become a new Serfdom if this is allowed to continue.

The only antidote to prevent this disaster is to regain what the wealthy have paid the Republicans to take away. Labor rights, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Healthcare Rights and the only way to do this is to be as active as the Labor movement was before and after the Great Depression. We must take control of government away from the wealthy elite few and give it back to the majority. There are three possible outcomes to our current political state, re-imposition of a feudal state after it ended hundreds of years ago, a fascist state ala what Hitler, Mussolini and Franco imposed in Europe (many believe we’re already there) or re-imposition of government of the people, by the people and for the people that Lincoln spoke of where government works for us and provides for us because we the people control it, not the Neo-Feudal Lords.

It’s only our Democratic Republic that’s at stake.

My Personal 2018 Midterm Voting Guide

I reside in Arizona’s Congressional District #06 and Arizona Legislative District #15. I’m filling out my Early Ballot and thought I would give any of you who are interested my votes for these ballot races and my reasoning behind them. Your ballots and mileage may vary.

First race is for Arizona U.S. Senator to replace Jeff Flake. The choices are Martha McSally (R), Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Angela Green (Green Party no joke). I’m voting for Sinema. Her voting record in both the Arizona State House and recently in the U.S. House of representatives has been essentially conservative. However she does support maintaining and fully funding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and keeping all the protections in place under the Affordable Care Act. McSally has voted to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and other provisions of the ACA. She also voted to extend the GOP tax cut to permanent status although 88% of those cuts went to the wealthiest and the corporations and what she recently voted for would add trillions more to the annual deficit on top of what they already have resulting in cuts to social programs. That vote was of course a dog and pony show as the Republican Control Senate has already said that legislation is dead on arrival as fiscally irresponsible. Finally a vote for Angela Green and any other Green is in reality a vote to keep a Republican in office.

Second race is for U.S. Representative in District #06. The choices are David Schweikert (R) and Anita Malik (D). I’m voting for Malik. She’s a business professional with an impressive record of success. She advocates for fiscal responsibility as well as protections for ordinary Americans regarding their Social Security, employment and most importantly healthcare. Schweikert has been and continues to be Missing in Action in our district. He won’t meet with constituents from this district and won’t hold town hall meetings. He voted to gut the ACA and wants to provide what he and his GOP handlers call cheaper better healthcare. In reality he’s pushing for the “junk plans” that have low premiums but extremely high deductibles and no coverage for those things most Americans need coverage for. In effect, those plans essentially have you paying little in and getting nothing in return while the insurance company cashes in all your checks. Schweikert only votes as he is told to. Again, he won’t listen to his constituents, only his big money donors and bosses in the GOP.

Third race is for Arizona Governor. The choices are Doug Ducey (R), David Garcia (D), and Angel Torres (Grn). I’m voting for Garcia. Like me, Garcia is a fourth generation Arizonan. He served in the infantry. He also graduated from Arizona State University but then went on to the University of Chicago and is recognized nationally as an expert in education research and policy. His strengths include legislative experience, serving as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate and leading the Arizona Department of Education as Associate Superintendent.  Ducey prior to being our Governor was our State Treasurer and prior to that he sold Ice Cream. Ducey has slashed our State’s budget resulting in funding cuts to important programs such as Education and AHCCCS (our version of Medicaid). Many State departments have lost funding to effectively do their jobs. Arizona teachers are ranked 49th out of 50 states in terms of funding. Ducey was unresponsive to providing a living wage to those who see to our children’s education. He provided very little after the teachers went on strike and is working to take back what was given. He’s fiscally irresponsible. Torres is in the Green Party and has zero chance of winning so a vote for him is a vote for Ducey.

Fourth race is for State Senator in District 15. The choices are Heather Carter (R) and Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko (D). I’m voting for Dybvig-Pawelko. She’s an Arizona State University and Cornell graduate with a specialty in Education. She was president of the PTO. She’s committed to providing the best public education to our children as well as affordable college education. She has administrative experience. Carter has been in the State House for years and has been a rubber stamp for all GOP tax cutting and program slashing agenda to the detriment of our citizens’ healthcare, education, law-enforcement and court system. A little side story, a few years back as a registered Republican I ended up on her email list and was inundated with campaign emails from her touting her experience and love for the people of this district. I found some of her claims to be shall we say exaggerated and not supported by the facts. I asked her to remove me from her email list. The next day I began to get spam emails from all sorts of nasty people. Was she responsible? Can’t say but the timing was suspicious.

Fifth race is for State Representative for District 15. Here you can select two representatives. The choices are Nancy Barto (R), John Allen (R), Jennifer Samuels (D) and Julie Gunnigle (D). I’m voting for Samuels and Gunnigle. Gunnigle was raised in this district and is a former prosecutor who specialized in prosecuting politicians. She’s a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. Samuels is another Arizona native. She’s a teacher at a school I’ve often substituted at and is on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Federal Credit Union. Both are extremely intelligent, experienced and represent more of what we need in our State House, independent thinking Democratic Women. Barto is in my opinion a disingenuous fraud. She’s the only candidate I’ve actually met. Several years ago I went with a delegation of Diabetics to the State House to advocate for the American Diabetes Association. I had a few minutes with her trying to give her our talking points regarding research and insurance reform. I never had her attention and of course she did nothing after that meeting. His current ads talk about her plan to end ACA in Arizona and replace it with the same “Junk Policies” I spoke of above. She opposes affordable universal healthcare but supports cheap plans with high deductibles and no coverage. Allen is another GOP rubber stamp.

Sixth race is for Secretary of State. As you know in addition to controlling the voting system in our state, the Secretary is also next in line for Governor should the current office holder leaves. The choices are Steve Gaynor (R) and Katie Hobbs (D). I’m voting for Hobbs. She’s been in the State House as both a Representative and Senator. She’s been among the few there to actually draft and pass legislation that benefitted ordinary Arizonans to include Medicaid expansion, victim rights for victims of sexual and domestic violence and most importantly for this office, voter rights in Arizona. She has been and continues to be an advocate for the citizens, not the big money donors. Gaynor has opposed laws to protect LGBTQ from employment discrimination. He spent his own money to defeat our current Secretary of State using the old “she’s not conservative enough” argument for the bigoted GOP base. He’s a mean, bigoted man who would like many Republican Secretary of States before him from all across the nation, rig the elections against anyone not Republican White Male via voter suppression and other scams.

Seventh race is for Attorney General. The two choices are Mark Brnovich (R) and January Contreras (D). I’m voting for Contreras. Contreras has served in both the County Attorney and Attorney Generals’ office. Her history has been one of using the law to not only prosecute offenders, but advocate for the victims. She’s established a nonprofit assistance group for victims of human trafficking. She’s experienced and balanced in her approach. Brnovich is the incumbent who’s literally done little to nothing since taking office. He claims in his ads to go after both Democrats and Republicans for victimizing people. An interesting claim that isn’t supported by any data to clarify or validate that claim. He had issues as a deputy county attorney prior to taking office.

Eighth race is for State Treasurer. The two choices are Kimberly Yee (R) and Mark Manoil (D). This is an interesting office considering our current State legislature does more to cut incoming revenues than raise them so Arizona can pay her bills. Hopefully our next legislature will fix that problem. I’m voting for Manoil. Manoil is another fourth generation Arizonan like me. He’s another Arizona State University graduate in both business and law and is a small business owner. He committed to go after tax cheats that Republican treasures have traditionally given a wink and a nod to. He’s interested in establishing a local community banking system that is free from Wall Street Influence and corruption. This could be of some importance in Arizona should we experience another 2008 (which we will). Now interestingly enough, Yee (who was appointed by Ducey as current Treasurer) agrees with many of Manoil’s positions especially opposition to two of Ducey’s and GOP ballot initiatives that would limit local communities ability to tax for services and moving State Land Trust fund away from public education to private schools. However, as a legislator, Yee has voted to cut taxes for those who make the most placing a higher burden on those who don’t.

Ninth race is for State Mine Inspector. The two choices are Joe Hart (R) and William “Bill” Pierce (D). This office always gives me a chuckle because I went to High School with the son of the Republican State Mine Inspector at the time. He held that office for many terms and I saw him constantly throughout my time in High School and college when I visited my friend. I can honestly say that this office does nothing. A trained chimp can be elected to it and nothing will change. The man I knew in office was actually worse than a trained chimp for a trained chimp had talent and did things. He just collected a check. In reality the State Legislature does everything involving the mines and the career staff in the office follows through with the Legislature’s instructions. That being said and in keeping with the trend, I’m still voting for Pierce the Democrat. Maybe he could do something but honestly this shouldn’t be an elected office, it should be an appointed position.

Tenth race is for Corporation Commission. You can vote for any two of the candidates. They are Rodney Glassman (R), Justin Olson (R), Sandra Kennedy (D) and Kiana Maria Sears (D). Now this is the office that oversees the corporations and regulates them to include APS and the Salt River Project. Let’s be honest, Republicans see corporations as people who deserve more than the people they’re supposed to cater to while Democrats want corporations regulated to see to the needs and protection of the consumers. So this is a no brainer, I’m voting for Kennedy and Sears.

Eleventh race is Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court. As a former 30 year employee of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department I worked with the Superior Court closely and I’m very familiar of the needs this position requires. The two choices are Jeff Fine (R) and Roberta Miller (D). Both are actually qualified and would do well in a job that is entirely administrative record keeping. So again, in keeping with the trend, I’m voting for the Democrat Miller.

Twelve race is for the Justice of the Peace for the McDowell Mountain Court. There’s only one candidate running, Michael Reagan (R) so Michael will be a republican vote from me because I have no choice and a write in ballot serves no purpose in this case.

Eleventh race is Constable for the McDowell Mountain Court. Again, there’s only one candidate running David Lester (R) and for the same reason as above, I’m voting for him.

The following races are “nonpartisan” so the party affiliation isn’t listed and there’s little to no available information on any of the candidates.

Central AZ Water Conservation District: You can vote for up to five of the following candidates: Alan Dulaney, Kerry Giangobbe, Terry Goddard, Jim Iannuzo, Heather Macre, Jennifer Martin, April Pinger, Daniel Schweiker, Ronald Sereny, Rory Vanpoucke, Chris Will, Frank Archer, Lisa Atkins and Jim Ballinger. I’m voting for Goddard who is an old time Democrat who was once our Attorney General. I’m also voting for Heather Macre, Jennifer Martin, April Pinger and Lisa Atkins for my own reasons. See if you can guess.

Maricopa County Community College At-Large is between Roc Arnett and Kathleen Winn. I’m voting for Winn because of her history with the Community College district.

Maricopa County Community College District 3 is between Debi Vandenboom, Sherman Elliott and Marie Sullivan. I’m voting for Sullivan because of her history with the Community College district.

Paradise Valley Unified School District is between Julie Bacon and Susan Matura. Although I substitute in this district I honestly don’t know anything substantive of either candidate so sadly on a coin toss I’m voting for Bacon (I always go for bacon).

Phoenix Mayor is between Kate Gallego, Moses Sanchez, Nicholas Sarwark and Daniel Valenzuela. Phoenix Mayor is a nonpartisan office. Kate Gallego comes with the best resume in my opinion so she has my vote.

Proposition 419 is an initiative for the City of Phoenix requiring any person trying influence the results of a city election to disclose where the money is coming from. I’m voting yes because we need to follow the money to see whose behind these initiatives and candidates to gauge their legitimacy.

Proposition 125 is an initiative that would allow the State to adjust benefits in the CORP Pension plan used by Corrections Officers, Probation Officers and State Legislators that includes tying cost of living adjustments to inflation. I’m having mixed feelings on this proposition. I’m not collecting my pension through CORP but through the larger, better ran and more financially sound ASRS system. However, many of my former coworkers are in the CORP system and on its face, this seems like a good idea. However, State Legislators who don’t work the years correction and probation officers do get the same benefits they do. Giving them carte blanche ability to change the governing rules could present problems for anyone in the system who isn’t a politician. I’m voting No on this one.

Proposition 126 is an initiative that would prohibit local governments from imposing service taxes should they see a need for it in the future due to cuts in funding from say the State Legislature. This is short sighted considering local governments need to collect money to pay the bills if they fall short of their revenues. Both candidates for State Treasurer oppose this proposition and so do I.

Proposition 127 is an initiative that would essentially expand the development and use of renewable energy in Arizona like Solar. APS is opposed to it saying it would raise utility bills which is an interesting argument since they would be the ones getting more money if that were true. In fact it would reduce the need of the energy sources APS and the Salt River Project are invested in thus cutting their revenues and saving the consumer money by getting solar power. My bills have been much lower since switching to solar to supplement my APS power usage so I’m voting Yes.

Proposition 305 is an initiative that would essentially rob from the Public Schools to give money to for profit private schools. Both candidates for the State Treasurer oppose this bill as do I. I’m voting No.

Proposition 306 is an initiative that would prohibit candidates in Arizona who receive funding from the publicly funded Citizens Clean Election Commission from transferring any of those funds to a political party or PAC. I think this is a no brainer. I’m voting Yes.

Finally there are the Justices and Judges of the Supreme and Superior Courts. These people are either retained or removed from the bench. I’ve worked with or know of most of these Judges and Justices and all deserve to keep their seats.

That’s all I have. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m not asking any of you to vote as I did. Your vote is your own business. However, please vote the entire ballot based on what’s best for you, the state and nation. Place State and Nation above party and remember, all elections have consequences as we’ve seen the past two years. A blue wave in my personal opinion would help mend the State and Nation.


Polling versus Balloting: The Two Are Not the Same

We’ve all heard the line, “the only important poll is the one on election day.” That is true, but too many Americans and media personalities place too much emphases on polling as the indicator about how the race is going to end up, despite the fact that more and more over the last several election cycles, the polls did not predict exactly what the outcome was. People don’t understand that scientific polling and balloting are by design two different things and the only actual accurate measurement is the results of the ballot box tabulation (computer hacking, suppression, cheating and fraud not withstanding). Polling involves asking a fraction of the number of people who may or may not vote and predicting what the outcome would be. However, it’s not as simple as you would think.

              Representative sample doesn’t mean that the answer everyone gives is counted equally to the others asked. In true scientific polling, the demographics of the person asked are subjected to historic voting trends. Those demographic measures taken, applied to a complex algorithm and each participant’s answer is weighted differently. Some think that if 25% of 100 people asked said they would vote Democratic then 25 of the 100 people asked said they would vote Democratic. That’s not how it works. Demographics coupled with historic trends give each respondent a different statistical weight.

              The demographics measured include party affiliation, sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, voting history, etc. and those demographics are measured and weighted to determine the likelihood of that person actually voting the way they said they would or even at all. Demographics and historic voting trends are measured and placed in an ever changing algorithm of data to determine the relevant statistical weight of the response given, compared to the statistical weight of the response from people with different demographics. The outcome of the weighted results is what you see when polls say 25% of the people in a certain region support John Smith over Alice Jones.

              The problem in today’s scientific polling results reliability is that not only are the demographic factors changing, resulting in the algorithms needing change for an accurate result, they’re changing faster that the pollsters can keep up with. As a result, they may keep a certain statistical trend in the algorithm that no longer applies to today’s world. You will note that the say that Democrats are far less likely to vote in midterms of special elections and as a result, Republican voters who are polled get a higher statistical weight in the algorithm. However, recent election results have shown higher Democratic support than the polling indicated. Why? Because there is record enthusiasm for Democrats and Independents to vote in this cycle, more so than ever before and the algorithms haven’t kept up with that changing dynamic so Democratic responses are weighted lower than Conservative Republican results.

              Another constant trend that’s changing and Pollsters haven’t been able to compensate for is how the data is collected. Traditionally polls are done by phone. Only recently have pollsters gone from landlines for polling to cellphones. Elderly people tend to be regular reliable voters and often have no problem responding to polls. Younger people use mostly cellphones and are not likely to vote or answer polls. However, there’s indication that younger people are energized to vote this midterm, more so than ever before but that’s not to say they are so willing to answer pollsters calling them on their cellphones. Younger voters, millennials do not have a high historic trend of voting so their results aren’t weighted as high as elderly folks with landlines. If in fact that’s no longer the case, polling results will be undercounting pro Democratic responses. So in short, today’s “representative samples” used by pollsters to present results to the public may not be as representative as they were last year since the demographics are changing and the algorithms used are outdated.

              Now I like to look at poll results as much as the next guy, but I don’t take them as Gospel, never have and never will. For any voter out there the only opinion that you should rely upon for voting is your own, regardless of what other people may or may not believe. If you want your views to be taken seriously, to be acted upon and passed by your government you have to register and demand your right to vote in each and every election regardless of whether the polls are going your way or against. Even if polling was 100% accurate, those results are only opinions of a sample representation of people taken regarding an issue or issues. They mean nothing if the voters don’t come out and vote their views.

              Take polls, good or bad with a grain of salt and vote. Your views and our democracy depend on it and you.