Monday, September 26, 2016


First, let me say that I don't think of these televised spectacles in terms of winner and loser; the voters will decide that. Here is my very simple take on this first matchup:

1. Mrs. Clinton did what I assume her campaign wanted her to do. She showed her base that she is smart, tough, not easily rattled, very well prepared, and an excellent choice for POTUS. She did not change any minds in the Trump base; however, it is possible that thoughtful, open-minded, undecided voters might give her a closer look.
2. Mr. Trump stayed true to the Trump Way, which is what appeals to his base. He was arrogant, sometimes rude, loose with facts, not well prepared, and slippery. He did not change any minds, with the possible exception of people who were undecided, leaning his way, but also thoughtful and open minded who might question voting for him after seeing this performance.
3. Any candidate running against Trump populism, and who has been in government, has a serious problem that was very clear in this debate. Mr. Trump wants to make America great again. Mrs. Clinton consistently said that government/we need to do better, need to work on this and that, need to improve; this simply validates Mr. Trump's position that things are not good, and need to be fixed, and that the reason things are the way they are is because politicians and political hacks have screwed it up. "You've been in government for almost 30 years and you haven't fix it" was the Trump refrain. 

In fact, there is some truth to the Trump assertions. Mass incarceration didn't just happen by itself, government made it happen, and therefore "we need to fix the justice system (Mrs. Clinton)." Poverty, the recession, gang violence, jobs going overseas, trade imbalances, national debt, and etc. didn't just happen, government made or allowed it to happen. Because he has never been in government, Mr. Trump can point the finger at any and every politician who has, and place the blame for every grievance people have with government. 

If nothing else, the first debate lived up to our expectations - Trump was Trump. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


This is an example of news reporting that, in my opinion (remember, that's what you're entitled to!) doesn't tell the complete story. And not telling the complete story leaves a news consumer like me without some important information.

Wells Fargo, one of the top three financial institutions in the USA, was found to have cheated it's customers by setting up accounts for them without the customers knowledge, and assessing fees for these accounts. 

The big story is that, not only did Wells Fargo get caught, but that they were fined a total of $185 million, including a $100 million penalty by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is the largest penalty imposed by the Bureau in it's 6 year history.

Wow! That's a big story, and that's a big fine! 

Unfortunately, here is the information that the news media, including NPR and the NY Times (from the reports I heard and read) leaves out.  

In 2015, Wells Fargo had a profit of 22.89 billion dollars. That's $22,890,000,000. Profit. 
In 2015, the Wells Fargo CEO compensation package was 19.3 million dollars. That's $19,300.000.

A fine of 185 million dollars ($185,000,000) is 0.78% of the 2015 profit made by Wells Fargo; that's less than 1 percent.

A fine of 185 million dollars is 9.3 years of the 2015 compensation of the Wells Fargo CEO; however, during the years that this consumer scam was going on in his company, the personal stock holdings in the company held by CEO John Stumpf increased by over $200 million!

So what do you think; is a fine of $185 million painful for Wells Fargo, or a footnote on their balance sheet? And as for the CEO, should he continue to have his job, and make over $9 million a year, and retain the value of the Wells Fargo stock he holds? 

This is the context missing from the news stories about the Wells Fargo fraud, and I think it is bad journalism.


Saturday, September 10, 2016


I seriously don't get it. Why do you support Donald Trump to be President of the United States? From what I've read, here are possible reasons, and my comments :

1. We need an outsider, someone who isn't part of the D.C. political establishment, to put this country back on track.

OK, I kind of get that. But wouldn't it be better to "hire" someone to be POTUS who actually has some experience governing and in politics? If you checked into the hospital for major surgery and as they wheeled you in they explained that a real estate developer was going to do your surgery, would that be OK? Folks, Trump doesn't have a clue about how government works.

2. We need someone, like Trump, who is going to look out for the interests of the middle and working classes instead of the wealthy elite.

Yeah, that's a good one, putting an alleged billionaire in charge to look out for the little people (the fox running the hen house)! Have you paid attention to all the news stories about how Trump has cheated small business contractors out of money he owed them for building his hotels and casinos? How about his exploitation of immigrants? How about his line of clothing that is all made in China? And on and on. This guy has absolutely no interest in the little people, he simply exploits them every chance he gets.

3. Trump represents my values.

I understand this, if you are a bigot, a misogynist, a narcissist, an egomaniac, a cheater, a liar, a bully, one who thinks your privileged status makes you so much better than everyone else. If the above doesn't describe you, then I don't get it.

4. I dislike Hilary Clinton.

You can dislike whomever you want, but do you love your country? Are you willing to put your country in the hands of a man like Donald Trump (see 1 through 3, above)? In a very crazy world like ours, with terrorism and climate change and economic instability and wars and waves of refugees.....does Trump really seem to be the person to out in charge? Really?

So, dear Trump supporters, explain this. Truly. I don't get it.