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Monday, October 31, 2016

How to Select an American President: American democracy at stake

How to Select an American President: American democracy at stake: It is not an exaggeration to declare that the American political system has reached a point of entropy. The signs have been apparent for yea...

American democracy at stake

It is not an exaggeration to declare that the American political system has reached a point of entropy. The signs have been apparent for years. Consider recent history.

American foreign policy has been adrift since WWII. While the American spirit and values are to advance democracy wherever possible, the nation's capacity is constrained. It is easy to take on more than is possible to achieve. Prioritizing and making strategic decisions is required of responsible government.

Forms of governments that are misaligned with that of a pluralistic democratic republic such as America are defined as enemies and frenemies. That is, governments that declare war on America are overt enemies. Governments that coexist through trading partnerships may compromise for economic convenience and are called frenemies. On the one hand, governments in the Middle East that are the source of essential fossil fuels have been a strategic necessity. American presence there has been tolerated as Americans tolerate them. However, neither party wholly accepts the other because foundational conflicts remain.

In the late 1940s, with Elanor Roosevelt's leadership, the United Nations advanced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That declaration is intended to be a foundation upon which governments can declare their alignment. By signing the declaration, governments agree to protect individual human rights. Some signees have abridged or otherwise violated the resolution. However, enforcement or policing of abuses have but two consequences: 1. diplomatic, and 2. war. Economic sanctions are a part of the diplomatic tools. Implementing them requires universal discipline and compliance among all parties, and therein lies much complication.

Among American foreign policy shortcomings include (among others):
  • Russia
  • China
  • North Korea
  • Viet Nam
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Korea
  • Syria
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Israel
Iraq is one of the most visible American foreign policy disasters because attacking Iraq under false pretenses caused precipitous consequences:

  • Cost of war nearly destroyed the American economy and accrued debt
  • Simultaneous irresponsible tax policies exacerbated the debt and deficit problem

Those catastrophic failures were created by a Republican-led administration that was corrupted by influence from the military industrial complex whose leaders became members of the Bush administration, including Vice President, Dick Cheney.

With the nation on its financial knees at the start of the Obama administration, emergency action was necessary to restore stability. That happened with President Obama's leadership and a Democratic-led Congress.

Republican leaders in Congress declared war on the Obama administration. While voters elected Obama to two terms, they ousted the Democratic leadership in Congress. The consequence has been the dysfunctional government that has deteriorated in effectiveness ever since.

Political parties, whose processes of vetting and advancing candidates are woefully flawed, out of date and without standards, have produced inadequate and controversial candidates. If that were not enough, now a member of the executive branch has violated the Hatch Act to engage the politics with the intent to affect the outcome.

The present situation is a dire state.

America's enemies include state actors and terrorists which remain at large and active while the American political system is melting down with no resolution in sight. In fact, one might see insurrection on the horizon regardless of the outcome.




Sunday, October 30, 2016

How to Select an American President: America, can we call a mistrial?

How to Select an American President: America, can we call a mistrial?: Donald Trump alleged that the American political system is rigged. Now that the FBI is politically manipulating the process, maybe it is. Ca...

America, can we call a mistrial?

Donald Trump alleged that the American political system is rigged. Now that the FBI is politically manipulating the process, maybe it is. Can We the People call it a mistrial? It is surely a miscarriage of the election process.

No matter what happens, can citizens appeal to the US Supreme Court that this entire scheme that resulted in the production of flawed candidates is a "do-over?"

How can Americans restore more acceptable choices? Can we replace Clinton with Bernie or Joe? Can Trump be replaced with Mitt or Jeb? How do we get out of this mess before it becomes worse still?

There's a feeling in the country that there is anger in the land.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx-rW5XLOHg


FabilusMaximus Image


Friday, October 28, 2016

How to Select an American President: Vote for a functioning government

How to Select an American President: Vote for a functioning government: Members of the Republican Party continues to fight among themselves for leadership and direction. Their nominee for president is flawed in c...

Vote for a functioning government

Members of the Republican Party continue to fight among themselves for leadership and direction. Their nominee for president is flawed in character and has racked up sufficient evidence that indicates he is misaligned with Democratic principles. He was unvetted and is a dangerous choice.

As for Congress, it is imperative that voters elect qualified members of the House and Senate who are committed to supporting the leadership and direction of the President. If the choice for President is Mrs. Clinton, then, voters must produce a Congress that will render bipartisan support. If congressional candidates indicate that they will oppose the democratically elected President, then they should not be elected to office. The reason being that Congress will continue to perform with dysfunction in the absence of cohesive and supportive members.

Of the choices before the nation today, Democrats offer a more functioning alternative than do Republicans.

It can be argued that both parties have failed to produce the best possible candidates. However, Americans need continuity in governance and higher functionality. The best choice is Democrat.

Needed are representatives who are committed to the work of the people.

Michael Mann is an entrepreneur and instigator behind an initiative called the Better Government Party. The third-party may never take off, but the list of their ambitions and ideas is worthy of consideration.

Vision 
Better Government Party is formed with independent consensus builders and Libertarians, with disenfranchised Republicans and Democrats adopted from congress.
It is a coalition meant to overthrow status quo of corruption, waste, and ineffectiveness.
  • Agrees to forget past political differences 
  • Fiercely anti government corruption 
  • Believes in healthcare for all US citizens
  •  Believes in the best education for all US citizens 
  •  Believes in very strong environmental protection
  •  Believes in an extremely simplistic tax structure like a flat tax or value added tax
  • Believes in free market economics
  • Believes in promoting pure American ideals globally – like human rights, political freedom, free speech, and environmentalism
  • Better Government Party believes in more and better intelligence infrastructure and more special forces, with less overt warfare
  • Better Government Party is fiercely antiterrorism (defined as any person or group who would support the death of noncombatant innocents – ie affiliated with any suicide bombing group for example – or most groups that define themselves as “jihadists”, “white supremacists”, “skinheads”, “racists”, etc.)
  • Better Government Party is highly Internet centric.
  • Believes in electronic government
  • Real time participatory community
  • Believes in propping up the poorest and weakest citizens
  • Believes government should promote nonprofit work and volunteerism
  • Does not believe in subsidies for special interest groups – other than considerations for charities helping the sick and poor, those which government has failed to provide
  • Believes in advancement only by merit
  • Does not believe in “pork” or “horsetrading”
  • Does not believe in educational quotas, affirmative action, or the 8a program
  • Believes in transparency in government
  • Embraces all relevant technology to evolve the political model
  • Believes in a line item veto
  • Does not believe in a nonmarket minimum wage
  • Believes in job training not welfare
  • Believes in teaching people to fish but not fishing for them, and believes the government should do same
  • Believes in fair trade
  • Believes in much higher standards for the press
  • Believes in much higher standards for Hollywood
  • Believes low taxes are good for rich and poor alike by encouraging additional investment of capital that will cycle through the economy – enhancing opportunity for all and perpetually raising the GDP, whereas raising taxes generally has the opposite effect
  • Believes in facts and statistics as opposed to political rhetoric
  • Believes teachers should be paid more than politicians or businesspeople if they live up to the highest standards
  • Believes companies who hire illegal aliens should be prosecuted for illegally harming the earnings power and security of American families
  • Better Government Party represents only common people; corporate interests just to the extent they reflect the interests of common people
  • All members stick to strict ethical guidelines as rolemodels and representatives of the common people
  • Concerned about the opinions of the average American taxpayers and encourages real time townhall and online townhall feedback.
  • The key is that Better Government Party constituency is Americans whose opinions count, and they are paying their fair share to support the success of the union.
  • The opinions of companies, lobbyists, and foreign countries or citizens do not count except to the extent it happens to align with the interests of average Americans.
  • Believes in “legal” immigration exclusively, for that matter everything else qualified as “legal” and nothing else “illegal” – do not support or condone the anarchy of illegal immigration
  • Believe immigration problems can be solved with government process reform (fix INS and ICE) and passage of new laws that enable more legal immigration and deal with existing illegals
  • Better Government Party specifically works against the interests of groups they identify as rich corrupt industries and lobbyists. While tobacco, alcohol, Hollywood, gun dealers, etc. may have legal products there is certainly nothing illegal about working against their interests in congress and in promotional arenas as First Amendment expression on behalf of the interests of common Americans
  • Better Government Party believes in international coalition building and evolving crosscultural communications







Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to Select an American President: Give and take, a national culture

How to Select an American President: Give and take, a national culture: Today's news discussion is about the Clinton Foundation and the relationship among fundraising for the non-profit and commercial benefit...

Give and take, a national culture

Today's news discussion is about the Clinton Foundation and the relationship among fundraising for the non-profit and commercial benefits from Clinton participation. It is about the appearance of impropriety and conflicts of interest.

Having devoted much of my career working for government contractors, in and around national politics, I can testify that the American Political System is one of giving and taking. In a capitalist economic society, profit is the driving incentive. Corporations are not in the business of social and environmental responsibility. They are about maximizing economic gain.

Of course, government exists to create an optimal environment in which individuals and their corporations can flourish. Government regulates that performance with constraints that force a degree of social and environmental responsibility. That is accomplished by laws and regulations.

Special interests that include the regulated entities, as well as constituents who benefit from constraints, influence elected representatives who make laws and regulations.  Representatives weigh considerations in the balance.

However, when representatives are dependent upon donations of money for their campaigns which come from those who are being regulated, there can be conflicts of interest.

Transparency is one way to mitigate the influence. Restricting donations is another way. As it stands, current practices among non-profits and for-profit corporations are inherent. Integrity and trust are a product of the persons involved.

"Memo reveals interplay between Clinton Foundation, personal business 
By Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley - 10/26/16 08:51 PM EDT" 
http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/303023-memo-reveals-interplay-between-clinton-foundation-personal-business


Getty and The Hill

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Problems and solutions to affordable healthcare

Where are the candidates on this important issue? Clinton has done her homework; Trump has not.

Sarah Kliff at Vox presents a cogent description for which problems and solutions can be readily identified? The headline remains: 'Health care costs are out of control and on the rise.'

According to the Kliff story, the reason is that insurers underestimated the number of very sick people who were without insurance. When they signed into the system, that created a financial burden that the actuaries did not anticipate.

Here is an important question, why are insurers taking risks about an audience they didn't research to understand? President Obama and his tram have argued that private company insurers should not be in business to outguess the health of its audience. Rather, their profit should come from the profit made on services provided. The services provided by insurance companies is administration and not healthcare.

Remove the risk from the equation to lower costs, should be the aim.

Knowing the wellness of the population is a fact from which healthcare providers can plan and on which they can focus their professional services.

Public policy can address part of the problem. For instance, too many Americans eat improperly and in excess. They fail to get proper exercise. Part of the plan to reduce cost is to focus on prevention.

Solving the problem requires addressing the associated business models and to distinguish between administrative costs and professional healthcare delivery costs.

Read her full report.

"Obamacare's double-digit rate hike explained in 400 wordsUpdated by Sarah Kliff  sarah@vox.com Oct 24, 2016, 5:35p

Obamacare premiums are on track to rise faster than ever before in 2017.
The Obama administration released data Monday showing that premiums for midlevel plans will rise, on average, 22 percent between 2016 and 2017. 
Yes, that is a huge increase. Last year premiums went up by 7.5 percent. 
Premiums are rising on the Obamacare marketplaces largely because the people who signed up for coverage were sicker than the insurance companies expected. This led some health insurers (like Aetna and UnitedHealth) to leave the marketplace. The insurance companies that stayed behind realized they’d have to charge higher premiums to cover their members’ medical bills." 
http://www.vox.com/2016/10/24/13394258/obamacare-premiums-hike-explained


Image from Vox article

How to Select an American President: Trump's war on pollsters

How to Select an American President: Trump's war on pollsters: Trump's war on pollsters is just another distraction from his losing the election. A variety of sponsors or hosts conducts polls. Object...

Trump's war on pollsters

Trump's war on pollsters is just another distraction from his losing the election. A variety of sponsors or hosts conducts polls. Objectivity in the process comes from academic standards for the method. Fairness and accuracy come from how the audience is selected. That is, is the sample representative of the entire voting population, in this instance? Are the questions presented in a neutral manner? Is the instrument designed without any bias?

News media report results. News channels reflect the inherent bias of their owners. Professional journalists who work for news media companies are expected to follow standards. However, everyone has a bias, and it is human nature for that the occur.

Some news channels are blatantly biased. For instance, Fox News, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch is conservatively biased. While their creed is "Fair and Balanced," Fox is anything but that.

NBC, as another instance, is supposed to protect objectivity. However, it is clearly liberal.

Public Broadcasting is expected to toe the line as being most objective. Their reports often aggregate polls and broadcast the average.

Donald Trump declared that all polls are being manipulated to defeat him. That is simply impossible.



How to Select an American President: Healthcare in America

How to Select an American President: Healthcare in America: If we had a proper presidential debate, time would have been given to addressing the need, problems, and solutions for affordable healthcare...

Healthcare in America

If we had a proper presidential debate, time would have been given to addressing the need, problems, and solutions for affordable healthcare.

The Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare is in full swing and is now up for a review. The current law addresses the need to cover all citizens with "affordable" healthcare. The law is intended to reduce costs while ensuring the uninsured.

Republicans in Congress who did not like the law did nothing to fix it. The reason begins with their idea that people who are uninsured are just out of luck. They ignored the fact that uninsured individuals loaded the emergency rooms and drove up the cost of hospital care for everyone.

Republicans wanted the "private" system to take care of the problem, but it didn't. That is because "for profit" enterprises are not in business to address social responsibility without intervention by the government.

Getting past the first hurdle requires electing representatives to Congress who are not corrupted by capitalism.

Next, addressing the problem of excessively high healthcare costs requires removing excess profit-takers from the system. That is, health insurance providers are paid to insure customers by charging fees for administration plus a profit.

Government solutions aim at reducing or eliminating the profit on administration. Private sector advocates believe that commercial firms can manage more efficiently and for lower costs. That is most debatable.

Healthcare costs in America are too high by international standards. The problem must be addressed by competent elected representatives who are devoted to all constituents. Ignoring the problem without producing a solution is unacceptable.

"Obamacare rates will rise by 25% in 2017, US government says 
The law known as Obamacare is a key part of the president's legacy 
The cost of healthcare insurance in the US under the Affordable Care Act is expected to rise by an average of 25% in 2017, according to the government.
About one in five consumers will also only be able to pick plans from a single insurer, it said. 
But it said federal subsidies would also rise, and about 70% of people will find plans for less than $75 (£61) a month. 
The healthcare law known as Obamacare is a major part of President Barack Obama's legacy. 
The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 mandated that every American had to purchase private insurance and prohibited insurers from turning away the sick. It also provided subsidies. 
But Republicans want to repeal it. 
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37758742


Image from the National Review

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How to Select an American President: Trump's allegiance to the nation in question

How to Select an American President: Trump's allegiance to the nation in question: Donald Trump's allegiance to the American Political System is questionable. He said that he holds acceptance of the Election 2016 vote o...

Trump's allegiance to the nation in question

Donald Trump's allegiance to the American Political System is questionable. He said that he holds acceptance of the Election 2016 vote outcome in reserve as if he is the process and the law, which he is not. Such grandstanding is par for the course. His behavior has real consequences.

Trump's arrogance and recklessness in the world give pause. It begs the question about his fitness for office. While his renegade followers may worship his actions, the nation as whole shudders at the thought.

Evaluate what the Republican Party has done by failing to vet and delivering such an unprepared and unacceptable candidate. He is a showman, putting on a very bad performance.

Now, it will be up to American's to express their choice for the future. It will be refreshing if they choose continuity, stability, and maturity to attend to the serious business of governing.


Image from Addicting Information

'You are a puppet.'



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to Select an American President: Trump's indictable offense

How to Select an American President: Trump's indictable offense: Donald Trump is the master of stirring fears and stoking it with lies and innuendos. In the final throws of Election 2016, Trump is saying t...

Trump's indictable offense

Donald Trump is the master of stirring fears and stoking it with lies and innuendos. In the final throws of Election 2016, Trump is saying that the process is rigged. He says that voter fraud is a big problem. Trump calls for his supporters to show up en mass at polling places to "monitor" the process.

All of this boils down to inviting voter intimidation by Trump supporters. Some have already been loitering around voter registration sites where they are packing pistols and other arms, just because they can.

"Warning darkly of a stolen election, Donald J. Trump has called on supporters to turn out in droves on Election Day to monitor polling places, telling them they need to be vigilant against widespread voter fraud and a rigged outcome.

'Voter fraud is all too common, and then they criticize us for saying that,' he said at a rally Tuesday in Colorado Springs. 'But take a look at Philadelphia, what’s been going on, take a look at Chicago, take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at some of these cities, where you see things happening that are horrendous.'" 
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/us/politics/donald-trump-voting-election-rigging.html

Trump's latest antics are more evidence that he is an unfit candidate. Furthermore, he is an unfit citizen. When this election is over, there will be time to consider all of his campaign behavior, alongside other legal actions already underway by the IRS and State Governments. Donald Trump has broken laws and regulations and just because he ran for President will not excuse him from future prosecution.


New York Daily News photo

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How to Select an American President: Republicans failed to vet Trump

How to Select an American President: Republicans failed to vet Trump: Bristle all that you want, but the GOP failed Americans as a political party. I am presenting the entire case in a new book next year. It w...

Republicans failed to vet Trump

Bristle all that you want, but the GOP failed Americans as a political party. I am presenting the entire case in a new book next year. It will include an indictment of both leading American political parties because they perform without a standard. Their members and constituents at large have not audited their processes nor the results. 

Vetting of American political candidates is done by the people and their party organizations from the grass roots upward. However, that process is grossly corrupted by the influence of top-down oligarchs and big money.

Donald Trump is an instance in which his resume and background were not fully vetted. He stole the show by sidestepping the process in the name of independence. Being aligned with a well-defined political party platform should be a requirement for bearing the party name. Trump's allegiance to the party and to the nation is in question.

"Republicans bristle at notion they failed to vet Trump 
By Jonathan Swan - 10/18/16 03:48 PM EDT." 
http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/301616-republicans-bristle-at-notion-they-failed-to-vet-trump


The Northwest Daily Marker

How to Select an American President: Flaming Donald Trump

How to Select an American President: Flaming Donald Trump: The polls indicate that Donald Trump is losing Election 2016. Now, is not a time to gloat. He claims that the process and outcome are rigged...

Flaming Donald Trump

The polls indicate that Donald Trump is losing Election 2016. Now, is not a time to gloat. He claims that the process and outcome are rigged.  No, the process and rules are not rigged. That is patently false.

He claims that illegal immigrants contribute to vast voter fraud. That is proven untrue. In fact, his and the Republican Party allegations that the system is rampant with voter fraud is proven untrue, time and again.

When a candidate and a party persist in telling things that are untrue with intent to undermine the American Political System, that might be treason. It is a betrayal of the process that is governed by the US Constitution.

The party that has claimed the high ground for moral values has stooped well below that in advancing Donald Trump for president.

Trump says that he wants to make America great again. Well, it was great before Trump arrived. It was great before an all-Republican Congress was elected. It turned the corner when Republicans were driven out from the executive branch.

Greatness can be even greater when Trump and Republicans stop trashing the system. Republicans need to focus on substance and new leadership. Trump needs to focus on his legal troubles that are amassing "while he was out."


Angry Trump in Flames, YouTube Image

Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Select an American President: Mega change in store for political parties

How to Select an American President: Mega change in store for political parties: The news today is about the "civil war" inside the Republican Party that may lead to not only failing to deliver a President but a...

Mega change in store for political parties

The news today is about the "civil war" inside the Republican Party that may lead to not only failing to deliver a President but also failing to sustain its control of Congress. Democrats should not gloat.

First, American voters should act to change the current government. Given that President Obama has pleased 55% of the people most of the time, that is a point of stability. A period of stability is good for the markets as it is for most people. America needs a breather.

If American voters act with a measure of collective wisdom, they will make their Congress work again by voting for Democrats in most places.  The combination of a sound bureaucratic executive that is checked by a Congress that has the backing of most of the electorate will restore much-needed function.

On that note, true change must begin inside the political parties. While the Republican Party will likely rock among extremes, Democrats are likely to catch the fever too.

Both political parties need a major performance audit. Some might call for outright deforestation and make it a do-over. That will be the course of discussion for many more articles.


Illustration from The Economist



Sunday, October 16, 2016

How to Select an American President: National persuasion, propensity, or bias?

How to Select an American President: National persuasion, propensity, or bias?: Donald Trump and Republicans were crying foul today on new shows. They don't like the way that the election polling is trending. Instead...

National persuasion, propensity, or bias?

Donald Trump and Republicans were crying foul today on new shows. They don't like the way that the election polling is trending. Instead of assuming responsibility for the results, they seek to blame others including "the media."

First of all, it would be a national disgrace for the American people to continue to support a bigot and sex perv for president. As President Obama aptly pointed out, the qualities and values expressed in the words and deeds of Donald Trump are not aligned with family values, religious beliefs or most any other standard. In point of fact, Donald Trump has divided his already divided party into more pieces. All of that contributed to the dysfunctional government that Americans have experienced since the GOP took over Congress.

They call for change and are right about that. Congress should not host incumbents.

As for accusing the media of bias, journalists report the fact. The facts may be manipulated to various degrees. Some news organizations are owned by persons who are aligned with Donald Trump and Republican ideology. Some of them cross the line from objectivity into the realm of propaganda.

This analyst believes that the nation's propensity is more toward progressive ideas and less toward conservatism.

It is up to voters to determine fact, fiction and folklore along the way. As a nation, we can only hope that voters are becoming more intelligent about their choices.

Stories about Donald Trump's treatment of women include his own words. That is hard to deny, but he still tries.


Liberal America.org Image

How to Select an American President: Donald requests debate topics

How to Select an American President: Donald requests debate topics: Donald Trump solicited input for the next debate in an email sent this morning. He wants to know how to clobber Hillary with something that ...

Donald requests debate topics

Donald Trump solicited input for the next debate in an email sent this morning. He wants to know how to clobber Hillary with something that his audience will love.

Anticipated from this analyst is that his audience will want him to pound her for pay-to-play, quid pro quo access to government via the Clinton Foundation. Or, maybe he can hit her one more time about 33,000 deleted emails. Ouch, ouch.

What will she do?

Hillary might want to play to the entire audience of US voters and not just to her loyal followers. Her theme is accomplishing things together, united and not divided. She should commit loyalty and devotion to the American Middle Class and poor. "Let's do this, together," she might appeal.

Then again, the entire mess might end up with allegations that Donald Trump is unfit and his actions are ugly. Then, Trump shouts, "You are fat and ugly too." And Hillary exclaims the truth, "We both are."

"Friend, 
When you watched the last debate, was there one single moment that you loved?

Is there something you want me to say when I face Hillary for the last time in just 3 days?

I’m asking you to provide your input as I prepare for the FINAL debate with Hillary Clinton.

Please take the Final TRUMP Debate Preparation to have a say in our campaign’s debate preparation.

You can weigh in on what you thought worked during this last debate and what we still need to do win over the hearts of undecided voters during this final stretch of our campaign.

This is your chance to have a voice in the most critical election of our lifetime.

After this debate, there will be no turning back.

We only have this one last night to make the case to America that we are ready to lead our country back to greatness.

I want to be sure we hit every single important point. And I need your help weighing in to ensure that NOTHING is left out of our debate preparation.

Please take the Final TRUMP Debate Preparation Survey immediately.

Thank you,

Donald J. Trump" 
Via email


Image Credit: Very Angry Bird

How to Select an American President: Partisan ideological divide

How to Select an American President: Partisan ideological divide: One scholarly paper explains that the ideological divide in American that inhibits collaboration and consensus can be breached when "p...

Partisan ideological divide

One scholarly paper explains that the ideological divide in America that inhibits collaboration and consensus can be breached when "partisan identity and identity-related convictions are made salient." Otherwise, leaders must place greater emphasis on achieving desired outcomes and addressing priority needs than upon their particular political identity. 

What about "identity-related convictions"? Such beliefs are manifest in party platforms and politicians' manifestos.

Ability to move forward following the outcome of Election 2016 depends on upon which political party and winning candidate can demonstrate the most flexibility, adaptability, and agility. The most rigid of choices will not be the best for American progress.

"Bridging the partisan divide: Self-affirmation reduces ideological closed-mindedness and inflexibility in negotiation. 
Cohen, Geoffrey L.; Sherman, David K.; Bastardi, Anthony; Hsu, Lillian; McGoey, Michelle; Ross, Lee 
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 93(3), Sep 2007, 415-430. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.93.3.415 
Abstract 
Three studies link resistance to probative information and intransigence in negotiation to concerns of identity maintenance. Each shows that affirmations of personal integrity (vs. non-affirmation or threat) can reduce resistance and intransigence but that this effect occurs only when individuals' partisan identity and identity-related convictions are made salient. Affirmation made participants' assessment of a report critical of U.S. foreign policy less dependent on their political views, but only when the identity relevance of the issue rather than the goal of rationality was salient (Study 1). Affirmation is increased concession making in a negotiation over abortion policy, but again this effect was moderated by identity salience (Studies 2 and 3). Indeed, although affirmed negotiators proved relatively more open to compromise when either the salience of their true convictions or the importance of remaining faithful to those convictions was heightened, the reverse was true when the salient goal was to compromise. The theoretical and applied significance of these findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)" 
(With copy edits from J. George) 
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/93/3/415/

An old story illustrates that the fix is not yet in.

“Post-Partisan: Fixing our ideological divide 
By Jonathan Soros    October 28, 2013

As Americans examine the astounding dysfunction of their government, gerrymandering is usually cited as the prime culprit. This narrative offers a compelling villain: venal politicians who draw district boundaries for partisan advantage or to protect their own incumbency. 
On the surface, it makes sense that manipulating district lines could be responsible for the increase in non-competitive, non-diverse congressional seats and the rise of ideologues who take radical positions without fear of voter retribution. But this ignores evidence that gerrymandering is only partly responsible for the current partisanship — and that eliminating it will not address the calamity we are witnessing. 
No one disputes that congressional districts have become less competitive. During the last government shutdown in 1995, 79 of the 236 House Republicans represented districts that supported President Bill Clinton in his 1992 election. Today, only 17 of the 232 House Republicans represent districts that backed President Barack Obama — demonstrating more partisan consistency at the district level.” 
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/10/27/post-partisan-fixing-our-ideological-divide/ 


Reuters Image

Saturday, October 15, 2016

How to Select an American President: Could the UN have prevented Aleppo?

How to Select an American President: Could the UN have prevented Aleppo?: Critics of the UN, including Donald Trump and his supporters, question the value of the United Nations at every turn. They wonder why the US...

Could the UN have prevented Aleppo?

Critics of the UN, including Donald Trump and his supporters, question the value of the United Nations at every turn. They wonder why the US is host to the organization, and why we fund the institution.

The organization is all about advancing human rights, deterring war, and helping people who are in desperate need of assistance.

Of course, its operations are political. The rules that are intended to ensure equality may also undermine attaining explicit goals. When that happens, and the organization becomes dysfunctional, world leaders must advance to tip the balance to keep progress advancing.

"The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945.  It is currently made up of 193 Member States.  The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.
Preamble
WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS
Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations. 
http://www.un.org/en/sections/about-un/overview/index.html

"Syrian government preventing aid from reaching Aleppo, U.N. official says" 
Washington Post
The Syrian government is the problem and the UN must address it.

Could the Aleppo disaster have been prevented? The answer is a resounding yes. Member states failed in their responsibilities and should be called out for that.



How to Select an American President: Enough talking about Russia

How to Select an American President: Enough talking about Russia: It is probably necessary to explain that Russia and WikiLeaks have teamed to interfere in US elections. That is cyber warfare and an attack...

Enough talking about Russia

It is probably necessary to explain that Russia and WikiLeaks have teamed to interfere in US elections. That is cyber warfare and an attack worthy of a significant response. Moreover, there are other foreign policy issues regarding Russia:


  1. Russia successfully invaded and captured the Crimean from the Ukraine.
  2. Russia attacked the Ukraine and continues to pose a military threat there.
  3. Russia threatens other former Soviet states.
  4. Russia is on the wrong side in Syria.
  5. Russia is on the wrong side with Iran.


Now, with verbal support from Donald Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks have attacked the United States by hacking and releasing private information. The hacking and release of private information are a crime that is worthy of prosecution.  However, unless there is a named person or persons, they cannot be brought to trial.

Declaring the Russian attack as an act of war, which it is, the US is considering alternative responses, covert and overt. A story today by NBC News says that the White House is deciding the nature of the reply. There is too much public talk about it now.

Exposing Vladimir Putin and his colleague's finances for the Russian public to see is a logical step. One may wonder what difference that would make in Russia today?

Interfering with Russian assets such as petroleum would impact the Russian economy. Doing that covertly with physical effect on the infrastructure would be an act of war from which retaliation might be expected. That is a slippery slope.

Combatting the Russians in Syria by letting them hold the bag might be a very good idea. It is tricky, but the US military and CIA might have some ideas about that.

Let's see some action.

CIA Prepping for Possible Cyber Strike Against Russia
by WILLIAM M. ARKIN, KEN DILANIAN and ROBERT WINDREM 
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/cia-prepping-possible-cyber-strike-against-russia-n666636


Putin says the US is being provocative while Russians are hacking and leaking.


Obama has responded firmly and promises action.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

State of the Union, October 2016

What should topics be in a State of the Union report to the American people? A state of the union message by a president can be delivered anytime, and the contents are free-form, presumably driven by immediacy as determined by the President.

Task 1: Planning, staffing, organizing, and scheduling Presidential work and government functions

  • Subtask 1.1: Recruit and staff the cabinet and department and agency appointments
  • Subtask 1.2: Conduct cabinet meetings to develop and implement strategies and policies for accomplishing the nation’s workload and issues 
  • Subtask 1.3: Define the nation’s outcomes and priorities for each major department and agency to produce the nation’s strategic plan 


Priorities today include water and land resource development policies, carbon footprint from curbing the use of fossil fuels and protecting our outdoor resources for future generations.

However, a complete list of American's priorities might look like this one:


  1. Nation secured economically - 100%
  2. Nation has a sustainable economy - 100%
  3. Nation secured militarily - 100%
  4. Homeland secured from terrorists - 100%
  5. Employment opportunities for all who can work - 100%
  6. Upward mobility for all who are prepared commensurate with ability - 100%
  7. All persons provided minimal sustainment as a baseline to start - 100%
  8. Social security assured for all persons - 100%
  9. Clean air and water - 100%
  10. Best education in the world - #1
  11. Freest nation in the world - #1 
  12. Lowest crime rate in the world - #1 in the least crime per capita


Of course, the actual "state" of these elements are far from perfect. Here is a crucial omission.

The American political system is under siege in all directions. First, the two-party system has fallen into disarray because both political parties have failed to improve their performance and have degraded to such an extent as being unable to produce highly qualified and superior candidates for offices at all levels in the system.

A principal reason for this is that American voters and party members have failed to produce standards for political party performance. There are not clearly stated purposes and tasks with associated performance outcomes. There are no standards for candidates competing for elected offices. Surely, there are party rules for doing certain things. Political party performance requires an independent audit.

The nation is in a dire state because the system is broken.


Broken state needs repairing 


How to Select an American President: Mosul: Why not pick a winner?

How to Select an American President: Mosul: Why not pick a winner?: Allied forces are amassed today to kick the Islamic State out of Mosel. Look at the regional map. Observe the prominence of the Kurds. Know...

Mosul: Why not pick a winner?

Allied forces are amassed today to kick the Islamic State out of Mosel. Look at the regional map. Observe the prominence of the Kurds. Know that the Kurds have been the most loyal and effective ally to the US in the region. The Kurds want to secure their nation state and to defend it. They are opposed to Iran that borders them. Iran is a US enemy, therefore backing them would be helpful. 

The Kurds have stood their ground against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Turkey has a beef with the Kurds because Turkey opposes them having a state on its border.

To this analyst, it seems that US foreign policy should support the Kurds in establishing their independent state. That would require a lot of work:

1. Negotiating with the Iraq government to permit the Kurds to develop an independent state.

2. Negotiating the same thing with Turkey.

3. Shoring up the Kurds with sufficient arms to combat potential Iranian insurgency, in addition to protecting against remnants of ISIS, al Qaeda, and other morphing terrorists.

4. Negotiating with other tribal groups in Iraq to secure representation in the Iraq government.

The story in Iraq is about how the fight for Mosul will be messy in the aftermath. Being clearer about US policy with the Kurds would help clarify the future and enable a way forward.

"Battle to banish Islamic State from Mosul could become a mess

Pro-government forces drive in military vehicles in Iraq's eastern Salahuddin province, south of Hawijah, on Oct. 10 as they clear the area ahead of the push to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (Mahmoud Al-Samarrai/AFP/Getty Images) 
By Loveday Morris October 12 at 3:00 AM  
IRBIL, Iraq — The battle plans to oust the Islamic State from the city of Mosul are in place, but an uneasy mix of forces fighting against the militants could delay the fight or ignite separate conflicts. 
Washington Post


Image from Jane's via the Washington Post

Monday, October 10, 2016

How to Select an American President: What it takes to govern

How to Select an American President: What it takes to govern: In the pluralistic democracy, that is the United States of America; the President must unite partisan forces into cohesive action that is th...

What it takes to govern

In the pluralistic democracy, that is the United States of America; the President must unite partisan forces into cohesive action that is the result of collaboration and building a consensus. A candidate, such as Donald Trump has divided his political party, and the segment of the population that still follows him is aligned with bigotry and misogyny. How can Trump lead and manage under these circumstances? The answer is that he cannot.

A candidate such as Hillary Clinton has devoted a lifetime to public service. As a professional politician, she has had to compromise many times. When she chose to work behind the scenes, being less that transparent, it didn't work. She learned from that experience to become an effective US Senator and federal government executive as Secretary of State.

Nothing is easy in federal governance. Experience matters because the system is complex. Where Donald Trump scammed the tax code and developed property that includes many failed casinos, Hillary Clinton worked for the common good. That is the difference.

Hillary Clinton has flaws, but Donald Trump's character deficiencies delve into hate and mean-spirit, greed and exploitation that is beyond forgiveness. He is most unfit.


Mean spirited
Screen capture from YouTube

Saturday, October 8, 2016

How to Select an American President: No apology for despicable behavior

How to Select an American President: No apology for despicable behavior: Despicable behavior that is inherent should eliminate a candidate for president. It is far too late for Donald Trump to apologize for the ...

No apology for despicable behavior

Despicable behavior that is inherent should eliminate a candidate for president.

It is far too late for Donald Trump to apologize for the endless list of hateful remarks and legacy of behavior that makes him the person that he is. Donald Trump's history of bad acts and deeds makes him an unfit person for the highest office.

American voters have sufficient knowledge about the candidate and his history to discern from a right or wrong choice in the election.

A convenient, albeit late apology, is unacceptable. If you follow Trump, you have stained your legacy. Be careful with that.

Voters should examine the list of candidates who have endorsed him and erase them from office.


I am not a groper


Erase that





Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How to Select an American President: Pence 'happy to defend [Trump]'

How to Select an American President: Pence 'happy to defend [Trump]': In the debate, Mike Pence was polished. However, his product that is the GOP presidential nominee is grossly flawed. Being "happy"...

Pence 'happy to defend [Trump]'

In the debate, Mike Pence was polished. However, his product that is the GOP presidential nominee is grossly flawed. Being "happy" with a bigot and a candidate who conflicts on American values will sink any prospect of his future as a presidential candidate.

One cannot have it both ways. Either acknowledge and defend Trump's words or don't. Pence tried to have it his way by making up things that he wished Trump had said while ignoring what he did say.

In fact, the Republican Party is struggling with the problem of having a flawed candidate that is counter to the values and approach of many party members.

Trump stands with the "deplorables" in his party, but not all Republicans are deplorable. This analyst will stand by that label when defined as follows:

  • Candidates who campaign on a platform of hate are deplorable.
  • Candidates who treat women unequally, and worse, abuse them are deplorable.
  • Candidates who praise dictators like Vladimir Putin are deplorable.
  • Candidates who don't come clean with their tax filings and who evade paying taxes are deplorable.
  • Candidates who exploit bigotry are deplorable.
  • People who follow candidates like that and who try to defend them are deplorable.


Image from thepolitcalinsider


How to Select an American President: No Defense for Donald Trump

How to Select an American President: No Defense for Donald Trump: Pundit, Frida Ghitis says "Pence gave a smooth, but can't defend Trump." That sums up the essence of the debate last night. P...

No Defense for Donald Trump

Pundit, Frida Ghitis says "Pence gave a smooth, but can't defend Trump." That sums up the essence of the debate last night. Pence won on style, while Kaine won on substance. Both defended their candidates, and in the end, there is much more substance from Kaine to consider than from Pence.

Trump and Pence are bumper sticker candidates while the nation needs plans, programs, and actions in a troubled world. That is, their pop phrases sound good, but as Pence mimicked Ronald Reagan, "There they go again, and again."

In another description by pundit, Sally Kohn: "Mike Pence is living on an alternate planet." Pence makes stuff up while failing to address what Donald Trump says.

"Who won the vice presidential debate?
Updated 2:07 AM ET, Wed October 5, 2016 
What Mike Pence thinks vs. What Donald Trump says 
Pence: You whipped out that Mexican thing again Mike Pence and Tim Kaine arrive for the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on October 4, 2016. 
Pence: We'd never punish women for getting an abortion Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks as Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and debate moderator Elaine Quijano listen during the Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University on Tuesday, October 4 in Farmville, Virginia.   
Reality check: Kaine claims Trump, Pence praised Putin 
A full minute of Kaine and Pence talking over each other Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence (R) speak during the US vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia on October 4, 2016." 
http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/05/opinions/pence-kaine-debate-reaction-roundup/

There they go again.

CNN Screen scan 

Monday, October 3, 2016

How to Select an American President: Be the first candidate to surrender?

How to Select an American President: Be the first candidate to surrender?: Trump cannot be the first presidential candidate to surrender because that dishonor belongs to H. Ross Perot who dropped out in 1992. Perot ...

Be the first candidate to surrender?

Trump cannot be the first presidential candidate to surrender because that dishonor belongs to H. Ross Perot who dropped out in 1992. Perot may have dropped out resulting from the apparent weakness of his vice presidential pick, Thomas Eagleton who may have been losing his mental capacity.

Vice presidential picks matter and voters will soon see Micke Pence and Tim Kaine go at it in a debate. However, there is this logical fact:

Loser Trump + Loser Pence = Losers

Loser Trump + Winner Pence = Hard Loss

Winner Clinton + Loser Kaine = Soft Loss

Winner Clinton + Winner Kaine = Solid Win

Vice presidential candidates must appeal to all Americans with much compassion. Mike Pence has never been one for compassion. Tim Kaine is full on for that characteristic.


Running away or on trial?