Category Archives: Politics

The Best Tool

Surprisingly, even here in polarized Northern Virginia where I live, there are still folks who haven’t made up their minds.

I’m doing all I can to help.  I’m making calls, I’ve donated money.  I fill out Donald Trumps surveys suggesting that he call Hillary “fat” and ask his followers why she isn’t home in the kitchen.

But the best tool I’ve found is this one:

i-voted

People are asking me who I voted for.  And they really want to know.  And I don’t hesitate to let them know why I voted for Hillary.

To the guys in the gas station and the convenience store, I emphasized Hillary’s commitment to raising the minimum wage and the fact that the billionaire has never done anything except cheat working people out of the money they earned.

To the folks in the medical lab, I referred to Hillary’s commitment to science, to healthcare for everybody.  Since they have such long working hours, I looked up where they too could vote early and encouraged them to do so.

To the affluent-looking folks in the grocery store, I emphasized the way the market react by falling through the floor whenever there is a hint that Trump is gaining.  “Do you want his finger on the nuclear button — we live at Ground Zero — DC (and Northern Virginia) lives under one big target …

Wear your sticker.  Talk it up.  Don’t pick fights.  Use humor however you can.

But everybody with an ounce of sense can help make sure that Wednesday is not the beginning of a long, terrible nightmare.

ELECTIONS MATTER

SO DOES YOUR VOICE

clinton-kaine-2016-blue-bumper-sticker

 

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Scarier than Any Ghost

What’s scarier than a slasher?  Things that go bump in the night?  A monster under the bed?

The possibility that these two will live in the White House.  At 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

halloween

From my friend Father Kane at The Last of the Milleniums.

 

There is an answer, though.

hillary2

Google.  Oh and Hillary.

 

And this is pretty damn important too.

VOTE FOR  DEMOCRATS FOR THE HOUSE AND SENATE

Because they’re already planning to oppose anything she tries to do as President.

turn-america-blue

 

But since I love you all, I’ll give you a break.  You can watch this.

Happy Halloween!

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Call Me “Rigger” on Election Day

So you thought I was a more or less law abiding citizen, except for when I bribe French government officials.  In fact, reality is far worse.

Because on Election Day, November 8, 2016, I will be in an undisclosed polling booth, watching.  And I’ve even been trained for this nefarious activity.  In fact, I’m one of the folks Donald Trump is so concerned will “rig” the election.

It’s true.  A coordinated effort has been made by the Democratic Party.  You see, on Saturday, I went to a class where my fellow instigators and I learned what to do.  And “fixing” an election is as easy as taking candy from a baby.

What did we learn?

Well, you may have to cover your ears/eyes/heart.  Because it is evil unbridled.

  1. Study the Virginia voting regulations.   They include information on acceptable forms of ID, what to do if a voter’s name on ID doesn’t match the one on the roll (if a woman got married, for instance, or if there is a slight misspelling), or the voter has moved, etc.  The regs say what is legal and what is not.
  2. Arrive at undisclosed polling precinct obscenely early (5-f’ing:15).
  3. Bring baked goods.
  4. Observe the non-partisans set up the voting machines.
  5. Check that all voting machines register “0” prior to the doors opening to voters at 6.
  6. Share baked goods.
  7. Watch as they open the doors promptly at 6.
  8. Monitor that voters are not hindered from voting.
  9. Assist the election official (the “Chief”) in instances where the voter has a problem — incorrect ID, came to the wrong precinct, not registered, name or address doesn’t match the voter list.  We learned how to ensure that the Chief follows the regulations.  As legal folks, we understand how to read the regs.
  10. When appropriate, let the Chief and/or voter know what alternate IDs are valid.
  11. If necessary and there is no legitimate way for the voter to cast a regular vote, have him/her cast a provisional ballot.
  12. Make sure nobody who has cast an absentee ballot votes again.
  13. Monitor the length of the line, let Dem HQ know if there are problems.
  14. Ensure the voting machines are working.  Let Dem HQ know if there are problems.
  15. Enjoy baked goods, lunch, coffee and bathroom breaks when possible.
  16. Repeat.

Nefarious, no?  Downright wicked.  The evil continues all day until the polls close at 7 p.m.  Then comes the fun stuff.

  1. Make sure that anyone in line at closing time is allowed to vote.  That’s the rule.
  2. Ensure that the officials close and lock the door once everybody in line has voted.
  3. Verify that the number of voters who checked in = the number of votes cast (adjust for provisional ballots cast, naturally).
  4. Ensure that the Chief contacts the Secretary of State and reports the correct number of ballots cast for each candidate and the tally for any ballot initiatives voted on.  Presidential.  Congressional, local, ballot initiatives.
  5. Collect personal items.
  6. Go home.

Try to stay awake long enough to learn who won the election.

rigger-2

My badge from last time with my friend, Rigger.

I should tell you that when I did this in 2012, there was one incident. I’m sure you’ll agree it was obviously voter fraud.

An 86 year old woman came in to vote, but had already voted absentee.  She forgot she’d voted already.  She had trouble walking and had been dropped off at the voting station by her daughter.  “Oh, I guess you’re right,” she said when told she had voted already.  “I forget things sometimes.”  I called her daughter for her on my cell phone, and the woman and I chatted as she waited, eating baked goods.

*****

There are poll observers from both parties at many polling stations across the country.  It is one of the ways that our system ensures the integrity of the vote.  As a man I respect and admire said earlier today:

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Tuesday that Donald J. Trump should “stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.”

Speaking at a Rose Garden news conference with Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, Mr. Obama also called it “unprecedented” for any presidential candidate to “discredit the elections” before any votes were even cast, as Mr. Trump has done repeatedly in recent days.

“One of the great things about America’s democracy is we have a vigorous, sometimes bitter political contest, and when it’s done, historically, regardless of party, the person who loses the election congratulates the winner, reaffirms our democracy and we move forward,” Mr. Obama said.

Speaking of the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power after presidential elections, Mr. Obama said, “That’s how democracy survives.”

“I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s unprecedented. It happens to be based on no facts.”

Elections Matter. 

Vote on November 8

Make sure you know where to vote and have appropriate ID in states where ID is required.

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Mike Who?

A public service announcement brought to you by FiftyFourAndAHalf (courtesy of Dailykos.com)

Who is Mike Pence?

I mean besides Donald Trump’s VP candidate who gets almost no coverage in the press.

He’s the guy who decided to defund Planned Parenthood!

 

 

So tonight, when (if) you watch the VP Debate being held here in Virginia, remember that misogyny comes in quieter forms too.  Like from those gentlemen who simply want to make sure that women have lots of babies and no access to healthcare screening for breast and ovarian or for sexually transmitted diseases.

It’s a health issue.

It’s an economic issue.

It’s common sense — keep public funding of organizations who serve the public.

pp

Google Image

Elections Matter.  Vote on November 8.  And not for Pence!

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A serious political piece.

Isn’t it funny how when you’re procrastinating about doing something, you get just the right push from behind to do it.  Or maybe in this case, the push came more from the Right.  Regardless.  It’s time.

I need to do a serious political post.

Earlier today, I got a comment on an old-ish post I wrote about Trump — It’s Just Not Funny Any More.   Zen Hiker wrote:

I have been amazed at all of the people who say they would never vote for Trump (for whatever reason) still rabidly follow and will vote for Hillary. And this is after everything that she has done, beginning with demonizing the women who accused her husband of sexual improprieties. Now I know that some of you on the left will start with the “He’s a sexist” etc. nonsense, but if you are truly honest with yourselves, you will admit that Hillary is no better than Trump and to continue the attack that he is running a hate filled campaign is just intellectually dishonest. Also, to say that Trump followers are uniformed and blindly follow him, what about (some) Hillary supporters? The bottom line is this-both sides are filled with people who blindly follow their candidate. Both sides have supporters who are not truly informed. And to those of you on the left and extreme left-Please get the idea that just because people don’t agree with every word you say it doesn’t make them a sexist, homophobe, islamaphobe etc. People just disagree with you. That is the beauty of the 1st amendment. I don’t have to agree with you. BTW-I am pretty much a Libertarian these days based on the fact that both of the candidates are not worth my vote.

There are two parts to the answer.  Why I’m voting FOR Hillary, and Why I would NEVER, EVER, EVER vote for Trump.

Why I’m voting FOR Hillary

I will admit, I came about my regard for Hillary slowly.  Still, I have never truly understood the hatred so many people feel towards her.  I disagree with some of the positions she’s taken (Iraq, for example).  But she is smart, thoughtful, and she can change her mind.

She’s a Democrat, as am I.  We both believe in using government for public purposes.  That folks shouldn’t be left just on their own.  That we as a society has responsibilities to children, to the poor, to the disabled.  That a civilized society takes care of the less fortunate among us.

Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime studying law and government, and public service has truly been her life.  She has brokered international agreements — fostered peace.  Brought different sides together across the world, and across the aisle as a Senator.  She is the type of public servant, in fact, that makes me hearken back to the old days, before Ronald Reagan created the scorn for government service with his “The Government IS the Problem” comment.  We need thoughtful, smart people to work in government as a calling.  Hillary Clinton has met that call admirably.  I have no doubt she will continue to do so.

She is imperfect.  She makes mistakes.  But she is strong, thinks problems through, makes decisions based on facts; she doesn’t shoot from the hip.  Government decisions can be made over a long process, or they can be required in an instant.  She is suited to making decisions either way — in part because she has spent a lifetime learning.

I am someone who understands government — I’ve worked with it and watched just how difficult it is to pass legislation (and how an ability to compromise is vital).  I know how complex  the regulation of the hundreds of industries that do business in the US is — regulations that keep all of us every single day of our lives whether by the standards set for food, safety standards for machinery in factories, or standards for airplanes and trains.

I want somebody as president who is smart and understands how to examine a problem, analyze it, look at options and come up with solutions based on reality.  Someone who makes decisions based on science, or engineering, or whatever is necessary for that particular problem.

I recently discovered the blog of an old friend of mine, where she was challenged to find the reasons to vote FOR Hillary, instead of just voting AGAINST Trump.  She started a blog and lists one reason she’s FOR Hillary every day.

 

As I scrolled through her blog, I realized that my old friend had made this post significantly easier, since Karen listed many of the same reasons I am supporting Hillary.

Karen has various post that illustrate and provide references for other reasons she has for voting FOR Hillary.  They include post elaborating on how Hillary Clinton has worked hard and effectively for her beliefs — particularly those geared toward children.  She has unceasingly promoted healthcare and education for children, particularly those in need due to poverty and/or disability.  She has an even temperament — it’s highly unlikely that foreign sailors flipping the bird at US sailors would result in a war, for example.  She has shown grace under pressure — whether that be sexism, political harassment (can you say Benghazi?) or what I believe is a lack of balance in comparing anything Hillary does to anything someone else does (the discrepancy in the way the Clinton and Trump Foundations are viewed makes me wonder how I have any hair left on my head).

The list of Hillary Clinton’s admirable traits is long.  It’s just that few of us bother to re-familiarize ourselves with them.  And we keep hearing nothing but the negative in the press.

I was originally against Hillary Clinton for the simple (and prescient) reason that I didn’t want to rehash the same damn scandals all over again, not because I didn’t like her or her policies.  I just had to re-look at her policies, and how she decided upon them.  I’ve been doing that for a year now.

Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate, for sure.  But which candidate isn’t?  Certainly no one running today.

Why I would NEVER, EVER, EVER vote for Trump

In the late 1980s, the news that Trump was stiffing contractors at his NJ casinos hit the news just as my friend Elizabeth was visiting John and I.  It turned out that Elizabeth’s father was one of the cheated contractors.  He had worked at the casino nearly exclusively for more than a year.  I learned early on that “trust” was unlikely to be a word I’d use in connection with a man who would do that.

I could recite a litany of the horrible, dishonorable things that Donald Trump has done.  In fact, I’ve written dozens of posts about him.

Even if I didn’t think he was:

  • A bigot (I do think he’s a bigot),
  • A liar (I do think he’s a liar)
  • A cheat (ditto)
  • A fraud (uh huh)
  • A sexist (as sure as he breathes)
  • Willing to say anything that pops into his little head (ditto)
  • A coward and a bully (oh yeah, he is that alright)
  • A con man (no doubt in my mind)
  • A crook who feeds on people who can least afford to believe him (hey, get your degree at Trump University!
  • So thin skinned that a slight by a foreign leader or even a foreign sailor might mean a war .

Even if I liked his “ideas” (can they really be called ideas if there is no meat on the bones?), even if I agreed with everything he claims to believe, I would be against Donald Trump.

Trump hasn’t got a single iota of experience in government or public service.  Not a shred.  I don’t believe that one should get their feet wet with government experience by running the country.

Trump’s knowledge and understanding of laws and government and regulation consists entirely of circumventing it.  We are a nation of laws.  Anybody who thinks this con-man is going to follow our laws and the constitution (which I believe, like Mr. Khan that he hasn’t read or at least hasn’t understood), is a fool.

Electing Donald Trump would beg the question:  If we are not following our laws and our constitution, are we still Americans?

Moreover, Trump has no interest in learning anything.  He doesn’t think he needs to learn any more — doesn’t need to listen to the generals, for example.  Well, you know what?  Donald Trump is not an expert in anything.  If, god help us, he becomes president, he cannot do everything alone.  He needs to understand the importance and value of the experts who have spent their lives studying their specialties.

What about 3rd Party Candidates?

I voted for John Anderson in 1980.  I’m responsible for inflicting Ronald Reagan on all of us.  I will be sorry until I die, believe me.

carter-anderson-reagan

Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Sorry world.  Very sorry.  (Google Image, of course)

Ask anybody who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States in 2016.  If you look at history, you can see that third party candidates don’t get elected.  Ever.  There is ZERO chance that Gary Johnson or Jill Stein will get elected.  Sorry, but it’s a combination of history and math and common sense.  Ain’t gonna happen, no matter how many stars you wish upon.

Maybe some day, a third party candidate will have a chance.  But this is not the election where that will happen.  More importantly, votes for either will count towards Donald Trump.

Elections Matter.  Choose wisely.

choose-wisely

If you don’t know where this image came from, you are an alien and Donald Trump will have somebody eat your intestines.

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Shout About The Clinton Foundation From the Rooftops!

From 1999 to 2002, I was saving the world.

That’s how I described my job at the World Health Organization, anyway.  And while it was modestly said tongue in cheek, I honestly did/do feel like that’s exactly what I was doing.  Saving the World.  And it made me proud.  I’m still proud, even though most of what I did was email folks who were actually saving the world.

In the early 2000s, Africa was a public health nightmare .  HIV/AIDs was spreading and with it the ancient scourge of Tuberculosis, which was hoped to be contained and ultimately was instead increasing.  That’s because about 40% of HIV patients have latent TB, which develops into full blown TB, a highly contagious airborne infection.  One that since my day has become more drug resistant.

Drugs for HIV — anti-retrovirals, were expensive.  Prohibitively so for the people who needed them most.  The infrastructure for getting the drugs where they were most needed often didn’t exist.  People were dying.  Lots of people were dying because of disease and the inability to get and/or afford medicine.

I left WHO just as the Clinton Foundation started saving that part of the world.

The Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) worked with existing groups including the WHO and the U.N.  But it brought clout to a field that was mired in bureaucracy.  It cut to the chase.  And it solved many of the problems of drug affordability and delivery.  They negotiated incredible price deals.  They worked on getting drugs to the people who needed it most, beginning with HIV-positive mothers because 90% of them transmitted HIV to their newborn babies.

The Clinton Foundation is everything American outreach should be.  It should not be shuttered.  We Americans should be shouting about the Clinton Foundation as a beacon of light.  Exactly the way we all want the US to be viewed in the world.  We Americans do good work.  Good Works.

The Clinton Foundation is saving the world.

What is President Bill Clinton’s successor doing?

 

Google Image

Google Image

 

George W Bush sure as hell ain’t saving the world.

 

 

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Relax! It’ll all work out just fine.

Really.  I just read that you don’t have to worry about the Orange Peril* having the nuclear codes!

Honest!

Long-Term Health Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs Not as Dire as Public Perceives

The detonation of atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 resulted in horrific casualties and devastation. The long-term effects of radiation exposure also increased cancer rates in the survivors. But public perception of the rates of cancer and birth defects among survivors and their children is in fact greatly exaggerated when compared to the reality revealed by comprehensive follow-up studies. The reasons for this mismatch and its implications are discussed in a Perspectives review of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivor studies published in the August issue of the journal GENETICS, a publication of the Genetics Society of America. [My bad and my bold.]

I mean you and I will probably die, and our surviving children and grandchildren will have high rates of cancer and birth defects, but not nearly as bad as we thought, though.

You’re welcome.

 

*Credit for the perfect Trumpian moniker goes to Barb Taub.

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