Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Hindsight 2020: August 2019 edition

We are living in an era of malevolence tempered by incompetence. In eight years of Obama's presidency, one cabinet member resigned due to a scandal. In three years of the Trump's presidency, we have had seven already. Rick Perry apparently has plans to leave soon as well. Trump has had more turn over in his cabinet than the last four president's first terms combined. Anyone of Trump's scandals would have devastated other presidents, yet his supporters don't care. Ripping off tax payers for personal gain apparently doesn't bother them. I wonder what does. We haven't found out yet.

While I believe Biden will get the nomination, I am not looking forward to a debate between these two men. Neither one of them are fast on their feet and it would be an embarrassment to all Americans. Both Warren and Harris would eviscerate Trump in a debate. I would love to see this. Mayor Pete would do well but he'd be more polite about it.

Of the 25 candidates in our field, we have eight candidates whose last public office was/is a Senator and seven Representatives. That is more than half coming from Congress and from recent years, we have not seen a lot of success of Congress people running for President (Obama being the exception). We also have three Governors, three Mayors, three private citizens, one Vice President and one ex-cabinet member (who was once a Mayor). Since nominating conventions were adopted in the 1832 election, major parties have nominated 21 candidates who most recently served as a governor, 15 who most recently served in a Senate, six from the House of Representatives, 27 who were incumbent presidents and eight vice presidents. Like Castro, only five candidates most recently served in the Cabinet. Four were ambassadors, one was a state judge, one Supreme Court Justice and seven with no prior political experience. Of the 21 governors nominated, only ten won the presidential election. The state with the most governors who won a presidential nomination was New York with seven. The only New York governors to win election as president were Democrats, Grover Cleveland (1884) and FDR (1932).  Of the 21 candidates who had most recently served in Congress (15 in the Senate and six in the House), a third of them (seven), won election as president. The success rate is the same for members of both chambers; five out of 15 Senators and two out of six Representatives were successful in presidential races. Only two of the last five VPs have won the presidency but unlike Biden, they ran immediately after their president last office. Biden might have won if he ran in 2016.

Our field is diverse in many other ways. We have six women, one gay man, several black candidates and two from Asian descent. They range from age 37 to 77. We have mostly Protestants and Catholics in our field but we also have a Jewish and a Hindi candidate. The field is still mostly white men, but they are still the most diverse field ever, perhaps anywhere. I am still waiting for my atheist candidate.

The most recent debate has been discussed ad nauseam, so I won't spend a lot of time of it. The only thing I want to point out is that the formats don't bode well for some candidates. Beto O'Rourke is a great candidate, but like Obama, he does well when he has a lot of time to speak. He is a great orator. You have to wonder how Obama would have fared in these formats with so many candidates on the stage. I hope no one is rejecting O'Rourke purely on this debate performance. These are not really debates anyway. They seem more like sound byte opportunities than anything else.

Announcing:
Tom Steyers, another billionaire is trying to buy his way into the presidency. He is a hedge fund manager from NYC and philanthropic support of many leftist causes. I think it is great that he wants to run for public office. He should start with governor or mayor, not with president. I am not going to take him seriously.

Our Field:
Michael Bennet appeared on Pod Save America and The View. He was also on  Slate's The Gist, one of my favorite Podcasts.  No weekday morning is complete without Mike Pesca.




Tim Ryan released his education plan that concentrated on getting young children ready for school. He also introduced a plan to stimulate manufacturing.

Cory Booker released his immigration plan and a long term care policy that would expand Medicaid. He is also the only candidate to have visited Comic Con in San Diego, trying very hard to get the geek vote.  He was on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He wrote an Op Ed for CNN about agri-business and anti-trust law.


Steve Bullock was interviewed on Bloomberg news. He also wrote an Op Ed in the Sioux City Journal on Social Security and Medicare.

Pete Buttigieg released a nation service plan. He is polling very low with voters of color. He's got a problem there. He explained his plan for racial equity on NPR, the radio network mostly listened to by white people. He also appeared on Recode Decode. He released a plan for workers.


Julian Castro appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and on Democracy Now.




Tulsi Gabbard seems to be campaigning for VP. She appeared on CBS News. 




Andrew Yang proposes an act to save our dying malls with over 200 of them expected to go under in the next three years. He appeared on The Daily Show.



Elizabeth Warren reintroduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, introduced an act that would assist low income college student buy food and a student load relief act.   She also released her trade plan. Yes, there will still be trade in a Warren administration. 

Kamala Harris proposed spending $1 billion to end the rape kit backlog nationwide. She also introduced a program to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and released her Medicare For All Plan.

Joe Biden released his health care plan that builds on the ACA and his plan for to assist rural America

Amy Klubuchar says that appointing judges will be a top priority for her which is really important to me and it should be for you as well.  She released a plan for housing

Seth Moulton was on NPR's Here and Now. He also introduce the Automatic Listening and Exploitation Act that would penalize companies that have smart devices that listen without our permission. He wrote an Op Ed for Fortune calling for the impeachment of Trump. 

Beto O'Rourke announced a Social Security policy that would give credits to care givers. He appeared on The View with his wife, Amy.



John Hickenlooper was on WMUR's Conversation with the Candidate. He also wrote an Op Ed on CNN about gun safety and released a plan to increase rural broadband access





Joe Sestak wrote an Op Ed about Iran in the Des Moines Register.

Bill de Blasio introduced a plan for a worker's bill of rights

Jay Inslee released his plan for workers and unions

John Delaney released a plan for mandatory national service

Bernie Sanders was on Pod Save America and he really rocked.



Power Rankings:
With Swalwell out and Steyers in we still have 25 candidates. If I had to rank the Democrats in order of my personal preference, I would do so in the following manner: 

Biden
Warren
Buttigieg
Booker
Sanders
Inslee
Hickenlooper
Klobuchar
Harris
Castro
O'Rourke
Gabbard
Bennet
Delaney
de Blasio
Ryan
Bullock
Yang
Moulton
Messam
Sestak
(I probably won't vote if the people below get the nomination)
Steyers
Gillibrand
Gravel
Williamson

I expect this to change.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Killer Rock n' Roll Running List

I went for my annual medical exam recently and when they weighed me, I was 29 pounds lighter than last year's weigh in. This was great news for me. I did a lot in that time period to help cut my weight. I cut pasta out of my diet, I cut down on bread, I changed my weekday breakfast from oatmeal or cereal, to yogurt and fruit. Most of my snacks are fruit now. I also played tennis all winter, almost every weekend, my wife and I played a set or two. But the thing I am most proud of is that I am now running about three miles every other day now. I couldn't have done this without a killer playlist.

I used to be a runner. In high school I ran track and by my senior year I was quite good.  I made the regional all-star team and ran in state championships for middle distances like 400 meters and 300 meter low hurdles.  I was truly awful at the beginning of my track career, as a freshman. I always had problems with my arms. When I got tired, I would hold them against my chest. My coach would yell at me to "move your arms!" I would listen only for a minute or so and then go back to holding my arms back up against my chest. He had me run with weights in my hands which really helped. I used to run on average about seven miles a day back then.

Once college started, my first semester was spent on campus at the University of Rhode Island and I started running on campus. But once the cold set in, the wind blowing off the ocean and classes etc., I stopped running. I consumed lots of beer and pizza, hence gained a lot of weight. I didn't start running again until  recently. That is about a 30 year stint away from running. 30 years went by without having a killer play list. That's what I needed, really!

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a couch potato that whole time. I lived in Boston for ten years and I didn't have a car most of the time. I biked a lot. My longest trips were across Rhode Island, from Westerly to Woonsocket (two days) and across Massachusetts, from Lee in the Berkshires to Brighton in Boston (three days). I loved biking. I'd do more of it now if I didn't live at the top of a huge hill.

A few things had to happen for me to return to running. First off, I don't run in the winter. It isn't just the cold here in Northern Vermont but the ice on my street in deadly. The days are so short that I have a very short window of when I can run and I am nowhere near an indoor running track. Once I realized that I was fair weather, I could live with that. The most important thing that needed to happen is that I needed a killer running list. It has to be so good that I look forward to running. I've heard other people's choices for running lists. They seem to think you have sacrifice quality for a good beat.  No, you don't have to go over to the dark side and have crappy music on your playlist. There are some really great rock and roll songs that are good for running.

A few other things are needed, like a good app on my phone. I am using the Dog Walk which tells you when you hit a mile and gives you your time. Currently, I am running a mile in 16 minutes. Yes, I am very slow. But a lot of that is hills and I have to stop to pick up dog poop at least once a run.

Oh ya, the dog. Hazel is awesome on a run. She is extremely happy running. She is steady and doesn't stop often.  She is the perfect running dog.

I have 108 songs on my running list now. I am not going to go over all of them, just the favorites. What makes a song upbeat?  If the beat of the song is faster than your heartbeat, you perceive it as fast. This is why sometimes you think a song is fast, but then you go running and it doesn't seem that fast. This is because your heart is beating faster hence your perception changes.

Here are the songs:

Classics:
I defined classic as anything that came out 1983 or before. Why? Because I graduated high school in 1983.  That's right, it is all about me.

The Who: These wily Brits have a lot of great upbeat songs, but Slip Kid from the By Numbers album has always been one of my favorites.  Sometimes I accidentally start singing out loud when I am running and you may hear me say, or even yell, "There's no easy way to be free!" at the top of my lunges. This is a great rocking song.

David Bowie: Most Bowie is not upbeat, but Queen Bitch is. The song is a tribute to the Velvet Underground and sounds just like a Lou Reed song, but better. It is off his Hunky Dory album, an underrated album.  The Scary Monsters album actually has three great running songs: Up the Hill Backwards, Ashes to Ashes and Fashion.

Bob Dylan: You know I can't blog about music without bringing up Dylan. Most of his songs are not rocking but these two tracks from Slow Train Coming, Gotta Serve Somebody and When You Gonna Wake Up are For newer Dylan songs, try Political World and Everything in Broken both off the Oh Mercy album.

Sly and the Family Stone: Dance To the Music is rocking from the very first notes, a trumpet blasting, and it just gets better from there. The bass is truly magical on this song.

Haircut 100: I fear I might have flashback from college while running to Love Plus One, but this is 80's rock that I stand by.

Pet Shop Boys: Are they old enough be classic?  I am not sure, but West End Girls has such a driving beat that I am tapping my feet just thinking about this song.

Sweet: Ballroom Blitz is a song that really brings me back. Glam Rock at its best.

Contemporary:
Keller Williams: If you listen to jam bands at all, you are familiar with Keller who is one of the greatest banjo players around. He has a song called Mantra that is the perfect song to start your workout. Set the play list to shuffle and click on Mantra to start off running.  It starts off slow with an acoustic guitar riff and slowly builds. This is an incredibly creative song about how the mind wanders during meditation. It is light and somewhat comical. Perfect for running.

Phish: As a Vermonter, I am required by law to promote Phish.Trey's guitar and Page's piano on Chalkdust Torture from A Picture of Nectar are truly sick.

Modest Mouse: I love this band. Two of my favorite songs, Float On and Missed the Boat are both great for running.

Mood Ruff:: Mood Ruff is a Canadian rapper so technically this is may not be rock n' roll, officially, but the song Rocketship rocks.

Spoon: Almost everything by Spoon is good to run to, but try The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine which from the first guitar note will have your leg tapping or Got Nuffin which does the same but with the drums.

Parquet Courts: This is a very dark New York City band. Check out Dust and One Man No City off of their "Human Performance" album. The rhythm guitar is what drives these songs.

Cake: About half of what this band does is good for a running list.  Right now, I only have Love You Madly on my running list. I need to add more. I have everything this band has done. I wish they put out more.

Cage the Elephant: I love this song: Ain't No Rest For the Wicked. Is it rock? Is it rap?  Who cares really!  A great upbeat song.

Courtney Barnett: Australia's best newish song writer can also rock. Check out Pedestrian At Best. She can write and she can jam.

Gnarls Barkley: I just discovered recently that CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse are Gnarls Barkley. I had no idea. I know both of these guys and I know Gnarls Barkley. I had no idea that they were one and the same. Crazy is great to run to.

The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is one of my favorite albums of the last 20 years. Fight Test is probably the only running song on it.

Fela's Egypt 80 and & Seun Kuti: I am sure there are several hundred songs from this Nigerian family, the Kuti's, that are good running songs. I am just telling you about the one that I know of. The horns in Think Afrika are to die for.

SUGARCULT: Los Angeles is a great song to run especially when it is very hot.

Dessa: Technically this is rap but man Fire Drills is such an awesome song. Nothing like an angry feminist to get your adrenalin pumping. Probably the best song to come out last year.

alt-J: Left Hand Free is a strange song, but I love it. It gets me moving.

The Kills: Future Stars Slow and Cheap and Cheerful are both great for running. This band really has rhythm.

Frances Dunnery: Too Much Saturn is still the most entertaining and witty song I've ever heard and it is also great to run to.

Chumbawmba: Come on now! Every running list has to have Tubthumping on it.  If not, then something is very wrong.

G. Love & Special Sauce: G. Love with Jack Johnson on guitar. Rodeo Clown is one of my favorite songs. How could it not be?

Metallica: What can I say? I like an occasional heavy metal song. Enter Sandman is great to run to.

New Order: I've been listening to Love Vigilantes for years. It wasn't until I added it to my running list that I actually listened to the lyrics. It is about a ghost returning home from war watching his widow open the telegram about his death. Depressing but a great running song nonetheless.

Simple Kid: Staring At the Sun is the only song I know by this band, but I love the guitar riff. The change in tempo throughout the song doesn't bother the running. I am not sure why.

Obscure:
I don't know what is obscure really. Perhaps these bands are household names. I just don't know if anyone else I know are familiar with these bands.

Brad Sucks: This is a great name for a band. I know nothing about them. They aren't even on Wikipedia. Check out Dirtbag.

David Kirton: Green Camouflage is a reggae song about peace. What else do you need to know? Add it to your list now.

Plants and Animals: These guys are from Montreal & Halifax. I can say only one thing about The Mama Papa: More cowbell!

Mother Mother: Another Canadian band, Let's Fall in Love and Touch Up are fantastic.

Pigeon John: Money Back Guarantee is about meeting a woman in a bar and not knowing what to say to her. It is very witty and fun to run to.

Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband:  Yes, another banjo song, Banjo Boy. It is self referential and endearing.

Noah & The Whale: L*I*F*E*G*O*E*S*O*N will have you spelling out loud on your run.

The Speech Writers LLC: I heard this song, Chbb, on Pandora about a decade ago and I immediately bought it. I don't understand the song title but it is a great upbeat song.

Now you have no excuse not to go running.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hindsight 2020: July 2019 edition

It is easy to say that a lot of these candidates should drop out if they are still only at 1 or 2% in polls at this point in the race, but it is still early. In 1991, Paul Tsongas wasn't even at 1% at this point and he went on to win New Hampshire and won five of the first 15 primaries/caucuses. He ended up losing to Bill Clinton who was also polling below 2% at this point in 1991. Jimmy Carter was only at .75% at this point in 1975. I realize we live in a very different era now, but a long shot still has a chance at this point. I am not predicting a surge for Michael Bennet or Tim Ryan, but I am not ruling anything out either.

On all the polling I see, five candidates stand out: Biden, Sanders, Harris, Warren and Buttigieg. Biden is always first and sometimes with a double digit lead. Polling is imperfect and it is still early. Most Americans don't pay as close attention to this as I do. Most voters pay attention to the election like I do the Super Bowl. The day before the game, I ask who's playing. Those of us paying attention pick the candidate for the rest of them. We need to pick someone who can beat Trump.

I found the debates very interesting and entertaining. I hate having raise-your-hand type of questions in a debate but with this many candidates on the stage, I can't see how we could avoid it. These debates were much better than usual. Some real discussions, disagreements and arguments happened. We can argue policy all we want, but no one is going to beat Trump because of great policies. That might serve them well in the primary but not in the general. If voters voted based on who had the best policies, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore would have won in landslides. Voting is more primal and emotional.

I thought Castro, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Delaney, Booker, Buttigieg, Swalwell and Hickenlooper, all did well at the debates. O'Rourke, Biden and Gabbard, not so. Both Harris and Warren are surging since, Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg are falling.

I am torn because I like what some of the people on the left have to say. Warren and Sanders appeal to my sense of wanting to tear the whole shit house down and rebuild from ground up. But it is this very thing that is going to scare the heck out of the moderate voters in the general election. If it is Warren/Sanders against Trump in the general election, the moderates will have no place to go again. They will split their votes or vote third party or just not show up ... just like they did in 2016. This is why I am drawn to a moderate like Joe Biden who is ahead in the polls right now. I have no love for Joe Biden. I think he, like all of these candidates, is flawed. But in the general election, if the moderates have a choice between Biden and Trump, they will flock to Joe. In 2016, a ton of Obama voters voted for Trump. Was this because they loved Trump? Of course not. It was because they hated the alternative, Hillary. We need an alternative that is at least palatable to the moderate. Trump will try to make Biden seem as unlikable as Hillary in the next few months, but I don't think he'll succeed. I know some Republicans that hate Trump as well. Some of them even voted for Hillary but most did not. Most of them will NOT vote for Sanders or Warren but they would for Biden, Klobuchar, Hickenlooper or Delaney. The goal here is to defeat Trump. Remember: Perfection is the enemy of progress. If you are waiting for the perfect candidate to vote for, you could be waiting a very long time.

Trump has a steady base of support but after that, his support is slim. We need to go after these slim supporters. To do this, Democrats need stop talking about the minimum wage. The people that are hurting the most now are people that used to have $30 to $40 an hour manufacturing or mining jobs. A $15.00 minimum wage just makes them shutter. Democrats used to do well with this crowd. How do you attract them without lying to them? Be honest and tell them that their old jobs aren't coming back. Tell them about the new jobs they will get in the Green Economy. Trump attracts them by lying to them and demonizing immigrants. The higher ground of the truth is a winner here.

Announcing:
Joe Sestak is a Congressman from Pennsylvania. He is ex-Navy and a Persia Gulf War vet. I am sure he is a great guy but we don't need anymore candidates.

Our Field:
Joe Biden rolled out a climate change plan much of it may be plagiarized.

Pete Buttigieg said he wants to depoliticize the Supreme Court by expanding it to 15 judges, 5 Dems, 5 Reps and 5 chosen by a bi-partisan group. He is having difficulty on the home front with a police shooting in South Bend. His honesty about it, during the debate, was refreshing.

Julian Castro announced a policy on policing. He wants federal oversight, standards and demilitarization. He held a town hall on Fox News. He says he supports a Marshall Plan to address problems in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.



Bernie Sanders wrote an Op Ed in the New York Times about his financial struggles and income inequality. He announced a bill in the Senate that would cancel all student loan debt. This would really work for me if it were retroactive.

Cory Booker released his housing plan that includes tax breaks for renters.

Steve Bullock wrote an Op Ed for the Des Moines Register about defeating Citizens United.

Eric Swalwell appeared on The View. He released his gun control plan.


Elizabeth Warren introduced her Green Energy Economy Plan. She appeared on The Ezra Klein Show podcast. She also announced another plan, this one to eliminate private prisons

Andrew Yang was on Real Time with Bill Maher and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.





Amy Klobuchar was on Face the Nation. She has stated that she plans to give mental health a top priority. 



John Delaney was on The View. It is too bad he is not polling higher. I think he would make a fine President. He is the only candidate to admit that he supports the Trans Pacific Partnership. 



Kamala Harris released an immigration plan. She was on Face the Nation.



John Hickenlooper released his climate change plan. He supports the Green New Deal but not the job guarantee component. He also wants to give all people who are here illegally, a 10 year visa.

Tim Ryan was on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Morning Joe.



Michael Bennet was profiled by Yahoo! Finance focusing on his health care plan. He also introduced (along with some other Senators) the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 which attempts flexibility in providing for hungry children.

Tulsi Gabbard was on Real Time with Bill Maher. She had made it clear, ending wasteful wars is her top priority. She is a combat veteran and brings this experience to the job.

Jay Inslee announced his fourth climate change plan, the Freedom from Fossil Fuels Plan

Power Rankings:

We have 25 candidates. If I had to rank the Democrats in order of my personal preference, I would do so in the following manner: 

Warren
Biden
Buttigieg
Booker
Sanders
Inslee
Klobuchar
Swalwell
Harris
Delaney
Hickenlooper
Castro
O'Rourke
Gabbard
de Blasio
Ryan
Bennet
Bullock
Moulton
Messam
Yang
Sestak
(I probably won't vote if the people below get the nomination)
Gillibrand
Gravel
Williamson

I expect this to change.



Friday, June 21, 2019

To Impeach or Not To Impeach ... That Is the Question

Trump deserves to be impeached, that is not in question. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about a blow job, so the bar is pretty low. Trump reached that threshold very early in his tenure as President. Some say he should have been impeached the moment he took the oath of office under the Emoluments Clause since he never liquidated his assets or put them in a blind trust. That is irrelevant now. The Mueller report hit it home in regards to whether he should be impeached with its list of ten cases of obstruction of justice. This isn't even the question anymore. The question is whether to do it or not. To impeach or not to impeach ... that is the question!

America has a very strong Constitution, but the writers of the document assumed that the enforcers of our checks and balances would be acting in good faith. They are often not. Trump is a criminal and they are doing nothing about it.

We have impeached two presidents in our short history. Andrew Johnson was impeachment mostly because he was unpopular. After Lincoln's death, he became president and he was as a Southern. The Northerners disliked and distrusted him for that. He was loyal to the North during the war, so the Southerners despised him. He was a truly awful president. If Lincoln or Grant were in charge during the early Reconstruction, we'd be a very different country now. Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act of 1867 for the sole purpose of preventing Edwin Stanton from becoming the Secretary of War.  Johnson appointed him anyway and they used this as an excuse for getting rid of him. He was impeached in the House of Representative, but the Senate voted to not remove him from office.  He beat it by one vote.He had no Vice President so the Presidency would have gone to the Speaker of the House.

Clinton is a lot more recent and I am assuming most people reading this, remember it. A lot of people don't realize that he was impeached because he wasn't removed from office. The House does the impeaching, the Senate does the removal. This was purely political. The era of hyper-partisanship in American politics was in its infancy and it has gotten much worse. Clinton was unpopular with Republicans, so impeaching him was popular with their base. Two thirds of American voters, throughout the ordeal and afterward, were against the impeachment. This didn't stop them. He was impeached in the House, and like Johnson, was not convicted in the Senate. He beat it by 17 votes. Clinton's popularity sky rocketed afterward. This is one of the reasons politicians like to steer clear of impeachment, but the voters disliked this impeachment because it was unjustified and purely political. They would respond differently to an impeachment that was justified like a Trump impeachment.

If  Richard Nixon didn't resign, he probably would have been removed from office which is why he resigned. John Dean recently testified before Congress and he highlighted six parallels between Watergate and what we are going through now:
  • attempts to shut down the investigations
  • the firing of FBI Director James Comey and "the Saturday Night Massacre
  • Dean's and former White House counsel Don McGahn's refusals to carry out the president's orders 
  • efforts to exert control over the investigations
  • attempts to limit the disclosure of evidence
  • dangling pardons to influence witness testimony.

Any one of these is impeachment worthy ... certainly more impeachable than a blow job.

Cons:
The arguments against impeaching him are fairly simple. The first one listed has been my opinion up until recently. I have changed my mind. All of these are valid concerns, even though I pro-impeachment now.

Why impeach if you can't remove him from office? We can probably muster enough votes in the House to impeach but the Senate is nowhere close to impeaching. The Republicans control the Senate and they have their guy's back regardless of what he does. The argument against this is that their minds may be changed by the impeachment process. When the Watergate scandal broke, it took months for public opinion to change. In the era of stratified media coverage of Fox News and MS-NBC, it is difficult to tell how much of the bubble will be burst by impeachment hearings. People are living in their own private media silos ... this is not the late 60's media landscape.

Impeaching and failing to remove him from office could be catastrophic politically. Some may see the Democrats as petty and will retaliate at the polls in November 2020 if impeachment fails. That could mean four more years of this monstrous presidency. The retaliation could go further. If we succeed in removing him from office, the Republicans will probably do their best to do the same the next time the Democrats have a president in office. They tried hard to find something impeachable against squeaky-clean Obama. The next Dem president may not be so clean. We already know they will impeach for stupid reasons. The argument against this is that the Republicans are going act this way anyway so we might as well do the right thing and impeach.

Pence will become President. Mike Pence may be better than Trump, but not a lot. Him being sworn into the presidency means that he can run as an incumbent in 2020 and he would probably be more difficult to beat than Trump

Pence can pardon Trump of any Federal charges. Since Ford pardoned Nixon, we know this is always a possibility.  Pence cannot pardon state charges. This is why the charges against Trump in New York State are so important. Once he is out of office, hopefully in 2021, the state can go after him without any fear that he will be pardoned.

Pros:
Lets stop the crime wave. This is the best reason to impeach this scum bag. He is committing a presidential crime wave. Lets leave the possible collusion with Russia out of this for simplicity sake. Here is a list of the crimes he has committed so far:

  • the President’s debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election 
  • the President’s lack of compliance with financial disclosure requirements and lying to the FCC
  • the President’s lack of compliance with campaign finance laws 
  • the President’s lack of compliance with tax laws 
  • rampant conflicts of interest in the President’s business practices
  • the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. 
  • potentially fraudulent or inappropriate practices by the Trump Foundation
  • public efforts by the President and his attorney to intimidate Michael Cohen or others not to testify

With him gone, these would stop and he could face prosecution on state and federal levels.

More people will get exposed to his crime wave. As stated earlier, most people live in a bubble these days. They get their news from a few sources, often with an ideological bent with which they are comfortable. The people who watch Fox News exclusively are not being exposed to the Trump crime wave. If you watch Fox News exclusive, it is quite possible that you think the Mueller Report exonerated him as opposed to the opposite. If impeachment hearings started, they may tune into C-SPAN and get exposed to life outside the bubble. Public opinion could change. This is wishful thinking but it is what happened with Nixon, but that was long before C-SPAN, social media and the 24 hour news cycle.

Not impeaching sets a precedent for the future. Not impeaching him sends a message to future presidents. You can do what you want and you won't get impeached. As long as you keep a base of vocal minions happy, then the rest of the elected officials will be afraid to confront you and hold you accountable. This is very dangerous. We all should be very concerned about this.

In the mid-term election, the Democrats were elected as a check on Trump. We all know why there was a blue wave in 2018 mid-term elections. The Democrats campaigned on holding Trump accountable. Well? When are you going to do that?  Now would be nice. 

I have changed my mind and I not only support impeachment, I think it is imperative that we impeach. Even if we don't remove him from office, we need to acknowledge that his behavior is unacceptable and that there are consequences of his actions.

I am about to call my Congressman and my two Senators. I suggested you do the same. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Hindsight 2020: June 2019

I keep seeing memes and posts on social media blaming men for the upsurge in anti-abortion laws popping up all over the country. Such post say more about the people sharing them than they do about the actual issue. When it comes to a woman's right to choose, men and women are fairly close on this issue. All the polling I see say that 65% of American women support abortion rights while 61% of men do. Yet, this doesn't stop people from posting some very nasty posts about men while a huge chunk of the anti-choice people are women. The issue isn't men. The issue is Republicans / Conservatives and we should be doing whatever we can to prevent every single one of them from getting elected.

All this shows me is that the left still hasn't learned their lesson. However much I despises the right wing of American politics, I have to admire their ability to plan, conquer and stay on message. They came up with a 30 year plan to get conservative judges on the courts. They have manipulated districts, prevented minorities and the poor from voting and elected stooges to do their bidding. One of the more effective thing they have done is they have divided their opponents. Divide and conquer, right?  They convinced people on the left that Al Gore is as bad as George W. Bush so you better vote for Nader. They convinced people that Hillary Clinton is as bad as Trump, so you might as well vote for Jill Stein. And you might as well blame men for the anti-abortion laws when it is Republicans you need to blame (both the men and the women Republicans). So when you share some bullshit on Facebook about men taking away your rights, you are only showing that you are easily manipulated, you don't think or research before you share and you are a man-hater (aka bigot). You are only aiding the opposition is dividing us. This is how we got here.

I am not a socialist, but I believe that the socialism can be a good part of the mix. I think the people on the left don't give markets enough credits and don't account for how unaccountable government can be. Socialized medicine sounds like a good idea, mostly because I work in the health care industry and I have seen government be a force for positive change. But my support for me socialization might stop there. This probably puts me in the moderate range of Democrat.

Joe Biden has a double digit lead in all the polls. Bernie is usually in second and Harris in third with Mayor Pete and Warren flip flopping on fourth and fifth. I am leaning toward Warren and Pete these days.


Qualifying for the debates this month:
All 20 spots have been filled for the first debates at the end of June. Williamson, de Blasio and Swalwell  received the last three spots.

Announcing:
Montana Governor Steve Bullock: He is originally from Montana and both his parents were educators. He is a two term Democratic governor in a a mostly Republican state. Some see this as a strength and that he may have an ability to cross the aisle more effectively than others, but Montanans don't have strong party affiliation. It is difficult to see that this would translate well in DC. He is considered a moderate but most of his stances are on the left with the exception of his support for the coal industry which is big in Montana. Here is a list of bills he vetoed while he is was Governor.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: He was born in Manhattan but at the age of five, his family relocated to Cambridge MA. When Bill was 18 years of age, his father committed suicide. Bill succeeded Bloomberg as mayor of NYC on a theme of inequality. His signature achievement as mayor has been the implementation of universal pre-K in the city giving a boost to the children of poor neighborhoods. So far he only seems interested in bringing Biden down.

Still considering:

Stacy Abrams is probably not running for President but is in strong consideration for VP by many candidates which she says she is not interested in. She said she still might run.

Mark Cuban is considering an independent run. Please ignore him.

Our Field:
Jay Inslee just signed into law the country's first universal health care bill. Washington State with have a public option by 2021. Green Peace released their grades of the candidate climate change records and Jay scored the highest with Biden getting the lowest with a D-. He was on Bill Maher's Real Time.  It is a good video to show what he is all about.



Bernie Sanders spoke at a Green New Deal rally earlier this month. Matt Taibbi wrote a profile of his campaign in Rolling Stone that is worth reading. He is doing something that none of these other candidates dare ... he is courting Trump voters. The New York Times also profiled his time as mayor of Burlington, VT.

Cory Booker released a plan to decrease gun suicides.

Julian Castro released his education plan that include universal pre-K and free tuition to state colleges and technical schools.

Tim Ryan introduced the Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2019 that would give HUD the power to give grants to states to tackle urban blight. He was on Bill Maher's Real Time. He also wants to create a Chief Manufacturing Office for the federal government which just sounds like more bureaucracy.



Amy Klobuchar did a Conversation with the Candidate forum on WMUR. She also likes to talk about being a mom a lot which is nice but since she is running for President and not for the PTA board, she should really stop. She was quite good on Pod Save America.


John Hickenlooper release his gun safety plan.

Tulsi Gabbard was interviewed by Glen Greenwald at The Intercept.

Eric Swalwell appeared on Pod Save America. The more I hear him talk, the more I like him.


Seth Moulton rolled a national service corp program that would engage young people in fighting climate change.

Michael Bennet release a climate change policy that focuses on farming and conservation. He also introduced the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act that would hold the executives of opioid manufacturers accountable.

Joe Biden suggests that Congress should codify access to abortion in law. Politico wrote a scathing review of his career on drug enforcement. He released his first policy since announcing his candidacy focusing on education.

Kamala Harris reintroduced the CARE act which attempts to tackle our national crisis involving maternal care.

Pete Buttigieg is interviewed by the NY Times' podcast The Argument.

John Delaney released an infrastructure plan which invest $2 trillion in public schools and renewable energy.

Beto O'Rourke released his plan for immigration reform.

Elizabeth Warren appeared on The View.


Power Rankings:
We have 24 candidates. If I had to rank the Democrats in order of my personal preference, I would do so in the following manner:
Warren
Buttigieg
Booker
Sanders
Biden
Inslee
Swalwell
Harris
Klobuchar
O'Rourke
Hickenlooper
Delaney
Castro
de Blasio
Gabbard
Moulton
Messam
Ryan
Bennet
Bullock
Yang
(I probably won't vote if the people below get the nomination)
Gravel
Gillibrand
Williamson

This is expected to change. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hindsight 2020 - May 2019 Edition

Can we agree, you and I, that whomever gets the Democratic nomination, will have our support? We will not support a third party candidate whether they are a Green, Libertarian or Independent. The goal is to not have Trump as the president. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will not be perfect. They will have something in their past that we don't like. They will have a stance that we disagree with.  We know this. The key thing we have to keep reminding ourselves is that on their worst day, they are still better than Trump on his best day. In the 2000 election in Florida, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes in Florida (and Pat Buchanan and Harry Browne received 17,484 and 16,415 respectively), which led to claims that Nader was responsible for Gore's defeat. Same thing happened in 2016 in state like Michigan, Ohio and Penn. If you are in a solidly blue state like California or Vermont, vote third party all you want. But if you are in a red or purple state (a swing state), you better go with the Democrat. If you don't, then you are voting for Trump by not voting for his only viable opponent ... plain and simple.

The books are closed on fundraising in the first quarter of the year. Trump leads the pack with over $30 million in his coffers.  Sanders, Warren and Harris have $20.7 million, $16.5 milli0n and $13.2 million, respectively. Don't dismay. This makes sense. The Democrats have a very competitive primary while Trump is an incumbent. Once the Dems are down to one candidate, there are many people like me, who will then donate. We have 22 candidates fighting for the same pool of money right now.

All but five candidates have qualified for the first Democratic debate Mike Gravel, Wayne Messam, Seth Moulton, Michael Bennet and Marianne Williamson. The first set will be on June 26th and 27th in Miami. A candidate will need to either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states.

It is too bad we couldn't have all of these candidates as president and have them concentrate on their expertise. Inslee would be the environmental president, Booker would be the gun violence candidate, etc. We are very lucky to have such a great field of candidates. They are the most diverse group of candidates ever assembled. Why shouldn't they be?  We are America. We are a nation of immigrants and the candidates should reflect that. Not only in race and gender but in sexual orientation, religion, experience and age.  I love it. This is truly a big tent and a political junkie's dream. 

Announcing:

Ex-VP Joe Biden: He enters the race as a behemoth and on the top of the polls, but this is only because of his name recognition. Once the general public get to the know the other candidates, he will plateau. Once Joe starts opening his mouth and making those gaffs that we know him for, his numbers will drop. We've seen this before, Biden running for President, it is not a pleasant sight. Biden is from Delaware (born in Scranton, PA), was a US Senator for 36 years and Vice President under a very popular president Obama. In 1972, shortly after first being elected Senator, both his wife Neilla and daughter Naomi died in a car crash while Christmas shopping, Biden has a lot of baggage, particularly for liberal voters. The two big ones (1) his treatment of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings and (2) his support for mass incarceration. He might have peaked already. I don't think we'll have a Joe Biden presidency.

US Rep. from California, Eric Swalwell: He was born in Iowa where his father was Chief of Police in a smallish town, Algona. His family moved to California when Eric was young. He's been in Congress since 2013. He has probably been the most outspoken anti-Trump voice in Congress. That is the only reason I have heard of him. Five Thirty Eight published a story of how he could win. He pledged to ask a woman to be VP on his ticket. He recently wrote an Op Ed for US Today about gun control and the NRA.

US Rep. from Massachusetts, Seth Moulton: He was born in Salem, MA to a secretary and real-estate attorney. He went to Harvard for undergrad (physics) and grad school (business and public policy). He is an ex-marine officer and lead one of the first platoons that entered Baghdad in 2003. Here is where he stands on five issues. Does it surprise you that the ex-marine wants to increase funding to the State Department?  If Gabbard is the dove candidate, then Moulton is the hawk.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: He was born in New Delhi, India while his father (who is from NJ) was working at the Indian embassy. His mother is a Polish Jew who survived the Warsaw Ghetto and is a school librarian. His family has political roots. His father worked for VP Hubert Humphrey and his grandfather for FDR. He's been a Senator since 2009. Before that he was the Denver Superintendent of Schools and the Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor Hickenlooper (who is also running for President). He is also the brother of NY Times editorial page editor James Bennet, who has recuse himself from editorializing on the campaign.

Drop-outs and not-running:
Ex-governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, is not running for President. He is going to focus on helping Virginia Democrats.

Our Field:
We have a field of 22 now.

Booker has raised over $5 million in the first quarter of 2019 and 80% of the contributions are from first time contributors. That usually means he is attracting the young and/or tapping into something that everyone else is missing. He also introduced the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act that would require a bond hearing for all detained immigrants.

Klobuchar has raised over $5 million as well with 85% of it coming from donors giving $100 or less. She reintroduced the Americans Giving Care to Elders Act (AGE) to give relief to people supporting elderly members of the families.

Mayor Pete got some bad press when Buzz Feed published a story about gentrification in South Bend. He appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He does seem to be tapping into the hope and change phenomenon that none of these other folks are.

Bernie released Medicare For All bill. According to 538, he is doing better this time around in regards to media coverage, polling, fund raising and endorsements. Not having the spectre of Hillary in the race might explain that. He is calling for the reduction in defense spending to help pay for his programs which I love to hear. 

Warren raised $6 million in the first quarter with the average donation being $28.  Impressive! She also has the largest campaign staff among the 22 candidates.She released a Corporate Tax Plan and a plan to eliminate student debt.

Delaney announced a National Service and Climate Corp Plan for young people that has four tracts: 1) military service, 2) community service, 3) infrastructure and 4) climate corp.Also, he wants to create a Department for Cybersecurity lead by a cabinet level Secretary. He recently revealed his platform on mental health.

Harris is concentrating on California and the South rather than the traditional NH and IA.She reintroduced the Rent Relief Act to help renters recoup some of their expenses, if their rent is over 30% of our income.

Messam appeared on NPR's On Point and on an independent podcast called The Trail.

O'Rourke: Two of his top advisers left his campaign once he hired Jen O'Malley Dillon, Obama's old campaign chair, to run his campaign. He seems to be fizzling. Other than standing on tables and counter tops, he hasn't really done a lot.

Inslee appeared on Pod Save America for an interview (see below). He seems like a great candidate, but I am not sure how his "climate change is the #1 issue" goes over in middle America. I agree with him but I don't think he can beat Trump with this message. He also participated in the March for Science.




Castro says that he will create a department within the Department of Justice, just to investigate racial discrimination by police. He probably won't win the endorsement of the policemen's union.

Hickenlooper wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, apparently stating that he opposes both massive regulation and socialism. He said, “I’m running to save capitalism.” If he is looking for more exposure, perhaps he should write for publications that aren't entirely behind a pay wall. He did appear on Pod Save America. He kinda looks like a used car salesman.


Ryan introduced a bill that would require the Department of Justice to train law enforcement  in de-escalation.

Gabbard was recently called the best Democratic candidate by former Rep Ron Paul. He said she was "the best chance to bring about peace." His endorsement may be a good enough reason to move her down in my rankings.

Yang: To demonstrate Universal Basic Income (UBI), he is going to give two families in NH and IA $1,000 a month to show how it works.  I volunteer my family if he expands this to Vermont. 

Gravel doesn't really want to be President. He wants to qualify for the debates and push the debate to the left. Check out this Vice report. He's kind of a nut. He's a 9/11 truther. He should probably be ignored.

Power Rankings:
We have 22 candidates, soon to be 23 with Mayor de Blasio soon to declare that he is running. If I had to rank the Democrats in order of my personal preference, I would do so in the following manner:
Warren
Harris
Booker
Buttigieg
Sanders
Biden
Inslee
O'Rourke
Hickenlooper
Klobuchar
Delaney
Swalwell
Castro
Gabbard
Moulton
Messam
Ryan
Bennet
Yang
(I probably won't vote if the people below get the nomination)
Gravel
Gillibrand
Williamson

This is expected to change. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Hindsight 2020 - April Edition

With the Mueller Reporting coming out this week and it being a big disappointment, it is time to reflect on the 2016 election. We must go forward with the assumption that the only way to get rid of our corrupt and disgusting President, is by voting against him. We have a lot of things going for us: (1) he is perhaps the worst president ever, except for the army of morons that approve of him regardless of what he does, there are a lot of votes that are up for grabs, (2) we have a great field of candidates and (3) we have a lot of time with another 19 months until the election. In 2016, the Democrats had a problematic candidate who was so intensely disliked by so many people that they would vote for a reality TV star/corruption businessman/man-child over someone with 30 years of public service. It does boggle the mind that there are so many Americans out there that thought Trump would be a good president. Now, it is downright scary that some of them still support him, even though he has done nothing but screw them over since he's been in office.This is our challenge.We have an imperfect political system, we have a fascistic President with the backing of state television (aka Fox News) and we have an electorate that is perfectly satisfied with voting against their self interests. We also have a recovering economy, not because of Trump, but despite him. We are up for the challenge.

The people running the DNC (Democratic National Committee) seem to have learned their lesson from 2016; for the most part, they are not picking favorites in the 2020 race. They announced in March that they were rejecting Fox News for the debates. I understand why they did this but I can't say I agree with their decision.While, yes, Fox News seems to become a state TV network for Trump, much like RT (Russia Today) is for Putin. It is more of a propaganda network than it is a news network, but it is still the most popular "news" network in the country. Some people who watch that network may still be reachable. Having one debate in hostile territory may be a good idea. It might even be the only debate worth watching since the rest of them are so useless, unwatchable and not even debates. They are political pageantry without intrigue and seem scripted. Regardless of how bad they are, I will not only drop everything to watch them but I will be twittering away the evening with pithy comments ... how proud I am with my own wit.

Before I talk about the Democrats, lets spend some time talking about Bill Weld. He is running in the Republican primaries against Donald Trump. Since the goal is to remove Trump from office, a Weld candidacy is a good thing. He is a moderate Republican which is a rare breed these days. He also ran for VP on the Libertarian ticket in 2016. I lived in Massachusetts when he was governor. I liked him for some things and really hated him for others. He is a fiscal hawk and he was pro-gay marriage long before most people even knew it was a thing. He is smart politician who recognized how conservative the gay population of Boston was and capitalized on it. One of my worst memories of his Governorship was seeing him talking about how he reduced tuition to state colleges. Which he had done, but only by shifting the cost of education from tuition to fees. State colleges still costed the same. Under Weld tuition went down but fees went up. This sucked for someone like me that was getting tuition reimbursement from my employer. My employer didn't cover fees, only tuition. This is where Weld's policies fell into the category of your typical Republican bullshit. But lets face it, he is still much better than Trump by about a million degrees. Vermont has an open primary so I might just vote in the Republican primary. Ousting Trump before the general election would be a great thing, but I wouldn't count on it. Maybe, just maybe, Weld can damage Trump enough to hurt him in the general election ... like Kennedy did to Carter.

Joe Biden is hugging inappropriately. The media is talking about this is like it is important while our president grabs women "by the pussy," admits to it and justifies it by saying that he can get away with it because he is rich. Yet, somehow, Biden, who isn't even running for anything officially, is being talked about like he is a sexual predator. This is the era we live in. Please be smart enough to realize that this is a distraction.

Entering the race this month:
Ex-Congressman Beto O'Rourke: Those of you who are unfamiliar with Beto, check out his speeches during his recent run for Senate. He is magnetic! He reminds me a lot of Obama when he was an unknown. Beto recently ran against Ted Cruz for Senate in Texas and lost. Some may ask why we should support a loser, but he came very close in a state that is heavily Republican. Closest is recent years. His popularity outside of Texas has been is a lot higher than inside, hence the presidential run. He is an exciting candidate. His real first name is Robert. He was given the nickname Beto when he was very young to distinguish him from his grandfather who was also Robert. He is from El Paso, a border town. His mother owned a furniture store while his father was a local politician. Beto is fluent is Spanish.

Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper: He is from Pennsylvania and was brought up by a single mom after his father passed away at an early age. He moved to Colorado to work as a geologist for an oil company. When he was laid off, he stayed in Colorado and opened a brewpub which is still in business. His records as Denver's Mayor and Governor of CO are both quite impressive.

Mayor of Miramar, Florida, Wayne Messam: I write this sentence on March 29th. Wayne announced his candidacy yesterday on the 28th. He is one of the few people running that I have never heard of before he announced. I've never even heard of the city of which he is the mayor. It is in South Florida on the Atlantic side and has a population of 122,000 which is still bigger than South Bend, Indiana. He is a first generation American with both his parents being from Jamaica.I am looking forward to learning more about him.

Congressman from Ohio, Tim Ryan: Ryan is most famous for challenging Nancy Pelosi, unsuccessfully, to be the new leader of the Democratic Party in 2016. I don't know a lot about him yet. He announced this week, the first week of April and today, the 6th, as I write this, he is having his first Presidential rally. He may do well in NH because he got his Doctorate from Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord and may know the state better than outsiders.

Alaskan Senator, Mike Gravel: Mike is from Springfield, MA and he is from French Canadian background (hey, like me). He is my people!  He moved to pre-state Alaska in 1956. He is a Unitarian and has Libertarian leanings. He ran for president as a Libertarian in 2008.

Not running:
Michael Bloomberg
Sharrod Brown

With Bloomberg out, the moderate lane is widening making it even more likely that Biden will enter the race.It would work just fine for me if the old guard of Biden and Sanders, just stepped out of this race. It is time for new younger blood. Sure, Biden might wipe the floor with Trump but I am willing to bet that Booker Warren and Harris and most of these other candidates would as well.

Our field:
Elizabeth Warren: She has really been impressing me.She has proposed a wealth tax that would be used to fund universal childcare. She has proposed a plan to break up big tech firms like Google, Amazon and Facebook much like we did in the 80's with the Bell Systems. She has also presented a plan to eliminate the electoral college. She is definitely the policy candidate.

Bernie Sanders: The spark that Bernie ignited in 2016 is not so bright in 2020 with 17 other, mostly great, candidates.  Now that he is sharing a stage with some other lefties that are younger and have basically, a lot of the same ideas as him, his popularity isn't quite so high. He's not the Johnny-Come-Lately anymore, but old news. I love Bernie, I will vote for him if he is the candidate, but I just don't think he will be. He is too old and too damaged.

His volunteers need to stop bothering me:


Zephyr, Christina and Rafeena need to chill.

Cory Booker: Booker has always been a fighter for the less privileged. His most recent proposal is baby bonds. Basically, each newborn gets a $1,000.00 bond at birth. They can't touch it until they turn 18, after it has been accumulating interest. The hope would be that they could pay for college, or at least assist them in the transition to adulthood. Somehow, I think we are looking at a boom in keg parties starting in 2038.

Kamala Harris: She wrote an opp ed in the Washington Post about teacher's salary. If you are, know and/or love a teacher, this might really hit a vein with you. Teacher's require the same level of education that doctors and lawyers do, yet are compensated at a much lower rate mostly because we fund their salaries with our property taxes. Harris proposes that the federal government get more involved in raising the bar a bit. When a state increases a teacher's pay by one dollar, the federal government will contribute three. This might put some fire under some people. There are a lot of teachers in this country and all of them are underpaid. As long as this isn't another one of those Federal mandates that aren't funded, I am all for it.

Jay Inslee: He is hitting me hard with email mostly asking for money. I understand, but delete you I must Mr. Inslee. I don't have a lot of money, so until I can see he can beat Trump, he isn't getting any of my money. He is getting a chilly response from New Hampshire Democrats mostly because of his poor support of Molly Kelly when he was the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

Pete Buttigieg: He continues to impress me. Maybe we need a millennial as our next president. He's very smart and extremely likable. Check out this interview he did on Pod Save America. He's on message and engaging for the entire hour. The fact that he is gay, is open and quite comfortable about it, does make him a stand-out. Every interview I have heard with him is like this one. He'd be a great president.

Julian Castro: He has released an immigration policy proposal that would give 11 million illegal immigrates a path to citizenship. He's also on Real Time with Bill Maher this week which should give him some exposure.

John Delaney: He released a plan to revitalize rural American called the "Heartland Fair Deal" which concentrated on assisting local businesses completing with large companies and fighting climate change. The rural vote is something that the Democrat Party has really failed with the past few decades. It is nice to see someone giving them attention.

Amy Klobuchar: She is the first candidate that I have seen give infrastructure a priority. She has release a plan to revamp our transportation infrastructure. I bitch about the roads a lot, so here it is, a candidate that should go to the top of my list. She is also focusing on "heartland economics" and is reported a really difficult person to work with. If she is elected, expect high turn-over ... ahem ... but nothing close to what we have now with Agent Orange in the White House.

Andrew Yang: This guy is still very intriguing. He has no chance to win but hearing him talk about the Universal Basic Income (UBI) is fascinating. Jobs are being lost now to automation, not to illegals, foreigners or trade deals. Artificial Intelligence is getting so good now that even skilled labor is being replaced. With self driving cars becoming viable, we may not need truckers within the next five or ten years. So what do you do when jobs just don't exist. UBI is basically a stipend, of $1k a month, to every American whether you have a job or not. Wild idea. If you are interested, check out Yang's appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. I don't expect this to go anywhere, but it is certainly a great though experiment.

Tulsi Gabbard: She has visited NH, IA, CA and PA in March, but hasn't released any major policy proposals. One has to wonder if she is just running for VP.  If a man gets the nomination for President, you would think that she would be in the running for VP.

We have 18 candidates running for the Democratic nomination with two running for the  Republican. If I had to rank the Democrats in order of my personal preference, I would do so in the following manner:
Warren
Harris
Booker
Buttigieg
O'Rourke
Sanders
Hickenlooper
Inslee
Klobuchar
Delaney
Castro
Gabbard
Messam
Gravel
Ryan
Yang
Gillibrand
Williamson

But this will change. I am not ready to open my pocket book yet.

We have some great candidates here. I hope they continue to do what they are doing ... stick to the issues. The big issues are healthcare and the environment. Hopefully they do not over-commit. If they are elected and cannot deliver, we will be back to another worthless Republican president in four years.