Dazed and Confused

Hillary continues to blame everything under the sun for her election loss.

Can anyone actually put today’s politics into rational perspective? I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is all a bit too daunting. And perhaps sometimes others should do the talking. This is one of those times. On June 1, Peggy Noonan wrote “I don’t want to beat up on Hillary Clinton. She thought she’d win and she lost, embarrassingly, to a man she considered deeply unworthy. At the same time she won the popular vote by 2.9 million. It would take anyone time to absorb these things emotionally and psychologically.

But wow. Her public statements since defeat have been malignant little masterpieces of victimhood-claiming, blame-shifting and unhelpful accusation. They deserve censure.”

She then said “She lost because America is a hopelessly reactionary country in which dark forces fight a constant “rearguard action” to “turn back the clock.” She lost because Republicans are both technologically advanced and underhanded. Democrats, for instance, use data and analytics to target and rouse voters—“better messaging.” Republicans, on the other hand, use “content farms” and make “an enormous investment in falsehoods, fake news, call it what you will.” Democrats “did not engage in false content.” She lost because of the Russians: “Who were they coordinating with, or colluding with?”

She lost because of “voter suppression” and “unaccountable money flowing in against me.” She lost because the Democratic National Committee didn’t help her. “I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. I mean it was bankrupt. . . . Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.

She lost because FBI Director James Comey told Congress the investigation regarding her email server had been reopened. “So for whatever reason . . . and I can’t look inside the guy’s mind, you know, he dumps that on me on Oct. 28, and I immediately start falling.”

She lost because she was “swimming against a historic tide. It’s very difficult historically to succeed a two-term president of your own party.” She lost because she was “the victim of a very broad assumption that I was going to win.” She lost because the news media ignored her policy positions.

And then there was sexism. “It sort of bleeds into misogyny. And let’s just be honest, you know, people who have . . . a set of expectations about who should be president and what a president looks like, you know, they’re going to be much more skeptical and critical of somebody who doesn’t look like and talk like and sound like everybody else who’s been president. Any you know, President Obama broke that racial barrier, but you know, he’s a very attractive, good-looking man.”

Oh my goodness, how she thinks.”

I could go on (or Peggy could-and did) but you get the point. As a Republican, I can’t tell you how much I hope Hillary deludes herself into considering another run at the White House. As a reasonable human being, I can’t imagine that ever happening. But good Lord, I could never imagine so much of what happens every day ever happening!

To summarize, here is my note to Hillary. ‘Hillary, enough already. Stop looking for scapegoats. You ran a horrible campaign. You had no resonating message. You cannot succeed on the politics of envy if you make people squirm when you talk. Get over it, and do so now, for your sake, your family’s sake, and out of compassion for your country.”

Moving on, I want address an issue that has been raised by two good friends. One is a registered democrat, and the other (I believe) considers herself to be independent. In both cases, they have taken umbrage at my reference to the progressive left and “dimocrats” as too broad and sweeping a characterization, and insulting to those who feel unjustly swept up in the wide swath of my broom. In hindsight, I do tend to throw all democrats to the wolves when I refer to the imponderably inane policies promulgated by their spokespeople. And for that, I apologize. There are obviously myriad forms of democrats just as there are many factions in the GOP. It is not fair to throw all who voted for President Obama or Hillary into the same fruit basket. Some deserve an opportunity to repent! Suffice to say, I will attempt to be more prescriptive in my future diatribes.

Moving on. The President’s overseas trip was good. I love the fact that he restored relations with the Sunni leaders in the Middle East, reiterated his support for Israel as our staunchest ally in the region, and visited the Pope. It was well conceived, and well executed. His ensuing NATO message was clear. He supports NATO, but deadbeats need to pay their fair share. (NATO also believes he supports the organization. Click here to read more.) Look, I don’t like the way President Trump says and does a lot of things. He is abrasive and can act like a bully. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely right to take on those NATO allies who have drafted on the back of our economic engine for far too long.

The budget is outstanding. (Click here if you want to read about it.) If any semblance of this White House budget is passed, we will see economic growth and, ultimately, increased revenues to the Treasury. (Once and for all, let’s put this piece of democrat propaganda to rest once and for all. In spite of all protestations to the contrary, the Laffer curve works. It worked wonderfully after the Reagan tax cuts. Yes, the deficit increased, but that is because we were in an arms build-up war with the Soviet Union. The irrefutable truth is that revenues to the treasury increased during those years. Click here to read more on this topic.) Just as important, we will see curtailment of runaway Federal spending. Folks, I said it in 2008, 2012, and 2016. We cannot keep spending money we don’t have! Sure, it would be wonderful to throw money at every problem that comes our way. Allow me to ask you a question. Is that the way you handle things in your family? Well, a nation is no different. It has to make tough decisions, and those tough decisions have been deferred for decades. If President Trump can actually make the buck stop “here”, (nod to President Truman) all power to him.

The Russia thing. Yawn. The only part of this whole story that intrigues me is if, at the end of the day, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller ends up focusing on the Obama administration  surveillance activities before and after the election, and conscious decisions taken to “unmask” names of American citizens; names that may have surfaced during (possible illegal) covert intelligence operations. This, folks, is where it could get interesting. Of course, if Mr. Mueller’s investigations do head in that direction, you may rest assured the main stream media will quickly lose interest.

And so there you have it. Not too much happening, right? Are you dazed and confused? I am.

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WTF!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, lo and behold, it is! Look, let’s be clear; this President doesn’t do himself any favors. But let’s be equally clear; this media is out to get him. Full stop! Drastic times call for drastic measures! Perhaps the White House press room would be better off being restored as the indoor swimming pool it once was. (Click here for that little piece of history.) Alas, instead of a swimming pool, the media room has devolved into a cesspool. President Trump may rankle a tad, but the fervor and rancor of the leftist press is just plumb wrong! These people are simply out to destroy Donald Trump. They could care less about the cost to the country. They detest the man. They will stop at nothing.

There is not one scintilla of actual evidence that the President has done anything illegal; zip, nada, zero, nothing! There is innuendo. There is rumor. There is malicious gossip. There are plenty unnamed sources. There is enough fodder for left leaning journalists to write until their fingers fall off. But there is no smoking gun. Whether the issue is Trump campaign officials talking to Russian officials or the firing of Comey, while dozens of naysayers have alleged multiple sins, no one has proof that anything untoward has actually occurred. Houston Congressman Al Green actually took to the floor of the House this week and called for President Trump’s impeachment! If you don’t believe me, you can watch it here

Just so we are on the same page here, I will attempt to paraphrase what the left is saying. It goes something like this. “Fellow Americans, we detest the President. We dislike everything about him. He appalls us. We hate his politics, and we hate him. Our savior, the beloved Saint Hillary lost to him because he  cheated. He obviously colluded with the Russians and the Russians helped him steal the election. And then, when FBI Director Comey started getting uncomfortably close to discovering the truth of the shenanigans that allowed him to steal the election from her, Trump fired him. His administration is one big lie. He must be impeached!”

That, in a nutshell, is what the left thinks. They are flat out crazy. 

To be clear, as I have attempted to be from day one, I am not saying that President Trump hasn’t done anything wrong. I am saying I don’t know if he has or not, and neither do you or anyone else. The dim-ocrats know nothing more than you or I do. And that, folks, is why all this hue and cry in DC is just a large turd pile.

The talking heads and politicians on the left need to put their Saul Alinsky books on deflection and propaganda back on their shelves and (respectively) focus on reporting real news and governing once again. Enough is enough! But of course, it isn’t and I fear we have only witnessed the beginning of what will be an endless attack on President Trump. As Winston Churchill said, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It is merely the end of the beginning!”

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A Review of Trump’s Cabinet-Put Me Down as Pleasantly Surprised

General James Mad Dog MattisLet’s face it. No one knew exactly what would forthcoming from the Trumpster. I mean he is not exactly Mr. Predictable. But I have to say I am not just ok with the people he has chosen to help him lead our country, I am overwhelming supportive. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Director of the Office of Management and Budget–Mick Mulvaney–a fiscal conservative. This guy will not condone wasteful spending or increases in our deficit.

Secretary of the Interior–Ryan Zinke–a former Navy Seal and professed lover of our land; he will be a champion of our national treasures.

Secretary of Energy–Rick Perry–former Texas Governor–I am no Perry supporter, but for a government agency we seek to downsize and simultaneously install someone who is not hostile to hydrocarbons, Perry is as good a choice as any.

Secretary of State–Rex Tillerson–ExxonMobil CEO–borderline genius move. Tillerson has met and negotiated with most leaders of rogue nations across the globe. Remember, God did not put oil and gas in very many nice places (Texas aside), and Tillerson earned his way to the top spot at ExxonMobil by demonstrating negotiating brilliance and a calm demeanor. I love this choice.

Secretary of Labor–Andrew Puzder–CEO of CKE Restaurants–a smart guy, and one who has experienced first-hand the negative impact of excessive regulation and the long arm of federal government over-reach. He is a great choice.

EPA Administrator–Scott Pruitt–Oklahome Attorney General–he can’t stand Federal Government intervention in matters that should be up to the states to decide, and he is openly pro hydrocarbon. After 8 years of an administration living on some cloud wherein they thought we could flip a switch and continue to drive planes, trains, automobiles, and industry on power generated by wind and solar, Pruitt will be a refreshing anti-regulatory new face at the EPA.

Administrator of the Small Business Administration–Linda McMahon–former CEO of the WWE–what an inspired choice. She understands what it takes to build a business, and she knows how destructive over-regulation can be.

Secretary of Homeland Security–General John Kelly–former Marine General–nuff said.

Ambassador to China–Iowas Governor Terry Branstad–he has been a China expert for decades and immediately received the plaudits of former President George H W Bush. Branstad is the real deal.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development–Dr.Ben Carson–can anyone actually say they dislike this guy? I mean, he is the personification of the American success story. Good for Trump for giving him a meaningful position where his philosophy around self-sufficiency can make a difference.

Secretary of Defense–General James “Mad Dog” Mattis–This guy is amazing. Smart, literate, a thinker, and most importantly, someone his troops always wanted to follow. This is another inspired choice.

Commerce Secretary–Wilbur Ross–Find a person who has worked with this man who does not respect him. I dare you. He is widely respected and will champion American business interests.

Treasury Secretary–Steve Mnuchin–former Goldman Sachs banker. Apparently that drives the liberals nuts, notwithstanding how many former bankers have run the Treasury Department for democrat presidents. But more importantly, since when does being an outstanding banker preclude one from being considered for running our top Treasury post? I suppose the left would prefer someone with no financial background?

Transportation Secretary–Elaine Chao–a seasoned expert who served George W Bush for 8 years. She will run the Transportation Department ably.

Health and Human Services Secretary–Tom Price–Congressman from Georgia–a great pick as we know it means the President will focus on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a market based program that actually works for the American people and does not lead inevitably toward a single payer system, run by the government, for the government and of the government.

White House Counsel–Don McGahn– a lawyer who has long championed conservative causes, this is another pick that silences those who feared Trump may be a democrat in Republican clothing.

Education Secretary–Betsy DeVos–a dedicated advocate for school choice, charter schools, and the voucher system. Ms. DeVos is a great pick and the polar opposite of what Hillary would have done on the education front. Those of you who follow this stuff will know that Hillary campaigned against all school choice, and like her buddy Bill de Blasio (NYC’s nutty mayor) she advocated the elimination of charter schools.

US Ambassador to the United Nations–Nikki Haley–South Caroline Governor–amazing that when an accomplished woman such as Nikki Haley is nominated for an important position the democrats find ways to criticize her. If the Republicans were to be so small, they would be accused of being woman hating bigots. Nikki Haley will serve us well in the UN.

CIA Director–Mike Pompeo–Congressman from Kansas–he has been outspoken in the matters ranging from Benghazi to the Iran nuclear deal. He is a no nonsense guy and that is what we need at the CIA.

Attorney General–Jeff Sessions–US Senator from Alabama–has outstanding credentials. The left is concocting rubbish about his allegedly racist past. Hogwash. The progressives will never quit.

National Security Advisor–General Michael Flynn–no nonsense straight talker who isn’t afraid to associate Islam with terror attacks around the world.

Senior Counselor to the President–Steve Bannon–former Breitbart Executive Chairman–a hardass, yes. but to listen to the left, you would think this guy is the devil incarnate. Simply not true. And no, contrary to current progressive speak, he is not anti-zionist.

Chief of Staff–Reince Priebus–former head of the RNC—we’ll see how Reince does. I think he earned the job. 

Bottom line? These are good picks. I am far more confident today than I was the day after the election. I actually think we can get some amazing things done in year one. Time will tell, but put me down as pleasantly surprised!

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Chicken Littles!

leaders-leadIf one were to believe the leftist media (yes, I know, that is redundant in respect of almost every media outlet in the United States) one would be seriously concerned about the fate of our country.

Contrary to the 8 year grace period granted President Obama, (I mean, really, he has been given a hall pass from the day he was elected until now, and there is no reason to believe it will ever change) President-elect Trump has been under fire from the minute the unbearable, gut-wrenching reality hit home election night; that moment in time when the mainstream media had no choice but to admit their candidate was not going to win. They are relentless. Their skies really have fallen and they are putting chicken little to shame!

On that election night, one would have thought CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was going to break down and cry. MSNBC almost had to shut down; no one on the air could control their emotions! Bill Clinton’s old press secretary, George Stephanopoulos, led the ABC coverage. Viewers watched his face contort in agony as reality set in.

By 7 AM, the main-streamers had regained their composure and the attacks began.

Let’s just review a few post-election events, and let’s never forget Saul Alinsky’s golden rule. I paraphrase, but in effect, if you want to destroy someone, attack him or her ruthlessly, frequently, and never, ever, let truth stand in the way! No entity in the history of the body politic has more effectively embraced Alinsky’s strategy than today’s progressive left, and since the main stream media is a de facto mouthpiece for the left, they are leading the charge.

From day one of the transition, Trump has been accused of furthering the causes of racism and sexism. All he apparently had to do was wake up and put on his suit to engender those charges.

The left has “gone borneo” on the appointment of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon. I’ve followed Bannon. He says some provocative things. But he clearly is not a racist, nor is he anti-Jewish.  The left are unloading both Alinsky barrels on him. The point is, there is no way they are going to support any conservative choices for anything! If you want to know more about Steve, read this article in the WSJ. It is objective, and lifts the fog of democrat propaganda. Click here for the article. 

They say the transition is in utter disarray.

They cannot stand the fact that Trump tweets in the middle of the night. It is undignified; unbecoming of a world leader.

They say all his advisors are grumpy white guys; by definition that must make them losers, misogynists, and racists, right?

Elizabeth Warren is attacking Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General. Click here to see what she is saying. There is just one problem. The left is once again not letting truth stand in the way!

They can’t find enough Prilosec OTC when pondering the possibility of Giuliani being given a cabinet post.

They abhor what they see as his xenophobic approach toward Muslims and immigrants in general. (Have they actually bothered to read this team’s white papers?)

And the list goes on. Here is what you, good reader, need to know. It will never end. The left will never, ever give Trump a break. Do not hold your breath for it will not happen.

So what is happening? Well, it actually isn’t that complicated. They lost, and they cannot believe it when people they detest are given jobs. I guess they thought Trump might ask Hillary and Bernie if they wanted seats at the table. Wait, what, he isn’t going to offer top posts to liberals? Who does he think he is?

Heh, lefties, get over it! You lost. You hate everything that is happening now. You are lashing out. You are in shock. You can’t believe it. Well, get used to it. Tell your useless, grungy protestors, (40% of whom did not even bother to vote) to go back to their caves and save their energy for something other than looting, violence, and wasting law enforcement budget money. Tell your people that to protest is a right, but learn to protest with dignity. (And you might wish to tell them that if they actually bothered to vote, it might help your cause.)

I cannot bring this tome to a close without mentioning (once again) that while I voted for Donald Trump, I hardly find him to be an appealing human being. But guess what? That doesn’t trouble me in the slightest. He is going to be our President. We are going to have a better tax structure (more jobs!), stronger national energy plan, a Supreme Court nominee who believes in upholding the Constitution (in other words, he or she will not support the contention that what the Founding Fathers thought was important is no longer relevant in today’s world) and, (ready for this?) I actually think we stand a chance of a cogent immigration reform bill being passed by Congress and signed by the President. There, I said it. You don’t have to like the guy, but why on earth not root for his success?

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Whoops!

Trump Acceptance Speech

What to say other than “I was wrong again!” I need to take this moment to acknowledge to Doug Holmes and Roger Sahni (two unrelenting Trumpsters) that they were right!

The United States has had its own Brexit moment. Virtually every pollster in the country was wrong. Pierce Wire was wrong. The main stream media is in a state of apoplexy. The sky is falling!

I have friends who think the world has just ended, and all that is left is for us to mop up the debris.

OK, people, slow down!

We have a Republican Congress and Donald Trump. We have two years (at least) to implement meaningful tax reform (which, if done properly, will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs here in the U.S.) and to repeal and replace Obamacare. And yes (to all those nattering nabobs who say the Republicans do not have a viable health care plan) we do have a great way forward. Click here to see it. 

Let there be no end of celebration in acknowledgement of the fact that we have just staved off a liberal bias to the Supreme Court that would have discarded the Constitution to the dustbin of relevance had Hillary won this election.

Will there be a new wall and will Mexico pay? I doubt it, but frankly, in the overall scheme of things, it makes for amusing theater. Trump expresses himself horribly. But if one really listens, he will stand by people of all races, colors, and creeds. All they need to do is be in the United States legally. Sounds like a fair trade to me.

Will we abandon our commitments to our allies? No.

Will Donald Trump start a nuclear war? I mean, are there people who actually believe that nonsense?

Will Trump endeavor to be a President to all Americans, as he said he would do in his victory speech? He is a narcissist, but I actually take him at his word on that front.

Will we finally have a President who will call Islamic Terrorism by its name? Thank God, yes.

Will he keep saying things that make you cringe? Probably.

Will he really tear up our trade agreements? I don’t know. I suspect he will instruct our trade negotiators to obtain concessions that he can point to as having fulfilled some kind of promise. Time will tell.

Will he work with Congress to address the deficit? I believe he will.

Will we be in a “better place” two years from January? I believe we will.

Will he delegate? Yes. VP elect Pence will probably have a really interesting job; one worth more than a warm bucket of spit.

Will Giuliani, Christie, Gingrich, Dr. Ben Carson, and other loyalists end up in D.C.? Yes.

I was disappointed in Hillary not giving a speech last night, but both she and the President took the high road today. Let’s see if it lasts.

I hope the democrats behave with grace. The President has been most un-presidential of late. He played the race card on Trump. Now, on January 20, he has to stand with him and be part of a peaceful transition of power. It is the quintessential American moment, made all the more striking by this strange election year.

Who knows, maybe Trump will lean over and ask him if he has his birth certificate with him!

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The Fat Lady Sang Nearly a Year Ago

fat ladyPlease don’t tell me you believe the recent spate of polls showing this Presidential race tightening. Folks, the fat lady sang, and she sang nearly a year ago. Seriously, most of the remnants of the Big Tent that was the Republican Party have been deluding themselves for at least a year. We live in strange times. The Democrats have nominated the most flawed, dishonest, disingenuous, elitist candidate possible, and yet their nominee will win. The election was over the day it became clear Donald Trump was going to wipe the Republican slate clean during the long, convoluted, mindlessly self-defeating primary process. Indeed, we have met the enemy and he is us.

Readers of Pierce Wire will know I am no fan of Donald Trump. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am voting for him. On the issues of taxes and the Supreme Court alone, he gets my vote. She (whom I cannot call by name without summoning bile) is simply so bad it defies the imagination that she will be our next President. Alas, barring a cataclysmic event, she will be our next President.

It could be so bad that we actually cede the Senate back to the socialists; whoops, I mean democrats. Even the House of Representatives may drop to a single digit majority. Woe are we. The ultimate woe would be losing the House too. Then even Katy won’t be able to bar the door. The horses will be out of the stable and you can kiss what we grew up knowing as “American Capitalism” goodbye. I’m not kidding. You’ll need to buckle your seat belts and get ready to take a ride on the redistribution express. She would make the O-man look like a novice.

From the ashes we will have to determine whether we want to rebuild the fire that was the Republican Party. We will have to figure out whether there are enough people “out there” who care about:

–celebrating traditional values,

–policies that help people lift themselves up,

–the notion that hard work should be rewarded, not taxed into oblivion,

–consistency and strength abroad, and, perhaps with tongue slight pressed into cheek,

–calling Islamic terror what it is without worrying about PC recriminations!

In short, we need to ascertain whether or not we can coalesce around the notion that we are the party that cares most about those who have been left behind, and it is the Republican economic platform (not Donald Trump’s inwardly focused deception) that will provide our great population with more chances to succeed.

We’ll need a new generation of leaders. Tom Cotton from Arkansas comes to mind. Click here to learn more about him.  It will take smart, dedicated public servants with an ability to connect with every day folk for the Republicans to emerge from the depths of the swamp into which they have willingly hurled themselves.

The tryouts for the opera and the opera itself were one and the same. Our chances of victory began and ended in the primaries. The fat lady sang months and months ago. It’s over.

Have I cheered you up?

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The Scary Silly Season

Trump and Hillary 1This is a very scary silly season. It should be the season to be jolly, and I am committed to that notion. But I think most Americans are nervous, worried and maybe downright fearful. Of likely GOP primary voters, some 35-40%  seem to think Donald Trump may be the person to calm those nerves, and allay those worries and fears. Indeed, it is a very scary silly season.

I’m pretty good at this stuff. Really. When I think back over the last thirty years, I have made two mistakes when predicting the outcome of Presidential elections. I refused to believe America would vote for Bill Clinton over George H. W. Bush, and I was convinced Romney would defeat Obama. In the 1992 election, I simply misjudged the Perot effect. Let’s not forget that Clinton won that election with 38% of the vote. More ironically, he inherited a raging economy that Bush created when he signed the tax reform bill that would simultaneously become his political death warrant. In 2012, I flat-out could not believe that notwithstanding the polling data, Americans would not rally to the cause of common sense! Alas, they didn’t and we have been saddled now with seven years of arrogant incompetence of epic proportions. The United States is so challenged on so many fronts yet the President continues to fiddle whilst his allegorical Rome burns.

This current political theater (circus) has me completely perplexed. I did not see Mr. Trump occupying center stage as long as he has. I wake up every day in disbelief. I mean, yes, people are mad. Republicans are mad. Independents are mad, and so too are Democrats. And it seems Mr. Trump has tapped into that anger. But even that does not explain the inexplicable. The man is a thin-skinned sixth grade schoolyard bully. When his credentials are questioned he attacks. When his contradictions are mentioned he attacks. When his policies (such as they are) are condemned, he attacks. And even the attacks themselves are shallow. (Click here for a good video clip of just how upside down today’s GOP is.)

Have the stakes ever been higher? Our economy remains stagnant; trapped in regressive regulations and high taxes. Our deficit continues to grow. In the 1960’s, our entitlements represented roughly 30% of our annual budget. Today they are more than 60%. Our spending is unsustainable. We have lost the respect of our friends and our enemies just laugh. Our military has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. We lack any sense whatsoever of a national purpose. Leadership starts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We are leaderless. We are, in short, a mess.

This is a huge election. It is not too late to turn things around. But if we lose the White House for another 8 years, the horses will not only be out of the barn, but they will be running free on the range. Confronted by the seriousness of our predicament, the GOP appears to be leaning toward a reality tv star who inherited a real estate empire, and the Democrats are defaulting to 8 more years of Obama. You can’t make this stuff up.

History tells us the polls leading up to Iowa and New Hampshire are rubbish. Only after the primaries move south (March) do polls begin to matter. History also tell us that someone like Donald Trump should have burnt himself on the stake of incompetence by now. I would be ok if history bats one for two. I know some of you are intrigued by “The Donald” and are tired of the mainstreamers bashing him. I get it. I also get this. If somehow, someway he ends up as the GOP nominee, Hillary will win in a landslide. And the Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves. 

We have several qualified public servants running for President. We can only hope that one of them surfaces from the gumbo of this quagmire and goes on to lay out a vision for America that the majority of voters will respect and support. I continue to remain (guardedly) optimistic that a viable candidate will emerge. Time will tell. 

In the meantime, here’s wishing you and yours the very Merriest of Christmases and a wonderful new year!

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