To me the fact that Russia, and many others, meddled in our 2016 election is old news.  They have been doing it for many decades, but more successfully now because of the availability of social media.  But our elections are jaded from the start, and who jades them the most? We do!

Imagine a system where all political ads had to be reviewed by a fair election committee comprised of a mix of dems and republicans and independents.  No ad would be allowed to be disseminated unless the review by the committee found that it was “reasonably factual.” That would stop a lot of the meddling, because we hate the meddling when it is not true.  But we set it all up with our ridiculous political action committees who disseminate far more lies than Russia and China combined. We set up the system to be rigged because everyone needs to believe that the deck is stacked in their favor.  If we had a system where we had to be honest, no one else could meddle. But we have to really want fair elections and be willing to start with our house. It is not enough to say “my name is Harold Smith, and I approve this ad.” I want, “this message has been reviewed by the independent election committee, and we have found that it is largely factual.”  If you saw a message that did not contain those words, you would have good reason to disregard it. Of course, I realize that some on the far right and far left are so bizarre that nothing will make them pay attention. Usually it is the people in the middle that control elections, and it is those people that the PACs want—and so do the Russians and the Chinese.

Another country that meddles in other counties affairs by disseminating false information—America!  Right now, we are doing everything we can to oust the ruler of Venezuela and the country supporting the present leader is Russia.  Putin recently told Trump that they had no interest in Venezuela, but our intelligence says otherwise. Russia has no free press and it can and does lie all the time.  Russia has backed the Assad regime in Syria who has gassed his own people. If we backed a ruler who did that, we would go berserk and have our leader’s head. Think back a year when we separated children from parents on the border and the press got ahold of it.  I agree that we have a huge problem on that border, but America is never going to accept any system that hurts innocent children—and good for us. I will never forget the picture of the young Vietnamese girl running naked trying to get away from napalm. Because she was naked at first the press didn’t dare to run it but someone who knew better got it on every paper and journal in the free world.  That picture of the blisters and terror on that child’s face was the de facto end of the Vietnam War, for even hawks like me. It was too much to bear. That does not make us bad people—it makes us good.

What does make our system awful is giving leaders the right to be re-elected.  As soon as they are in office, they make every move to assure their re-election.  They don’t care about the well being of America, but rather if they can get a feed at the troth in two or six or four years.  There should be no re-elections. One and done, but I don’t care if it is six or even eight years, as long as the members are staggered to have their terms expire every two years.  With no re-election prospects they could do the right thing. If this were done, it would reduce the size of the House by at least half.

There are a lot of ads supporting the CMP proposal and it is sponsored by someone other than CMP.  One bothers me by promising that this venture would reduce the cost of electricity to Maine. Other than that ad, I have no information that that is the case.  It would be comforting to know that some independent group has reviewed the ad and assures me that it is factual. As far as meddling, we have set ourselves up.

No one has been more brazen about re-election than Donald Trump.  He began tooting that horn soon after he took the oath of office. Let’s get something straight.  The good economy has nothing to do with President Trump nor President Obama. Job growth was larger under Obama than Trump, but it was created by an incredibly accommodating Fed starting in 1999.  That accommodation was a result of a massive melt down of our economy in 2008. Historically, we should be nearing an end to that powerful business cycle, and bad moves by government can and will hasten the demise.  Recently, Trump said that China was going to pay for tariffs he imposed on Chinese goods. Does that sound familiar? He said the Mexico was going to pay for the wall, and so far, he’s used Pentagon money, and not a single peso has been forthcoming.  The only down-market year over year in the last ten was Donald Trump’s second year in office. Last year. The Government shutdown was an absolute waste of effort and Donald Trump went running with his tail between his legs and accomplished nothing except a burst in the stock market.  He made a huge mistake. He got out of the Iran deal which Obama had approved and the EU and others agreed to it. Now we have an aircraft carrier steaming through the strait of Hormuz which makes it vulnerable to anti- ship weapons which Iran has. True we have the Patriot missiles on board but recently they were about 75% effective in Israel when attacked by Hamas.  That won’t do it for an aircraft carrier. Trump’s assessment of tariffs on China is the ultimate high wire act without a net. The stock market has cratered, and there is no end in sight. His assessment that America won’t be hurt is crazy. His own economic advisers say otherwise. As do I.

For a man who wrote a book on “The Art of the Deal”, his seven known bankruptcies say otherwise.  He is running this country as if he can file chapter 11 and escape a mistake. There are times I like him, as when he agrees without blinking to meeting the North Korean leader.  But he is 0 for two in those meetings, so my love is waning. Still, he is the only president who has done anything with that problem.

He says we have to be patient with his tariffs, but he said that with the shutdown and that did not work and caused great harm.  This could be another folly. This powerful cycle will blink and I won’t blame the president.

What bothers me more than anything about our president is his belief that global warming is a hoax.  I am no scientist but all scientists agree that this is a real problem. I have read that we have twelve years to make serious changes or the planet will be in a death spiral.  I am very nervous about a real estate mogul proclaiming it a hoax. I doubt that he got through ninth grade science, and I struggled with any science too.

If you look back, I published an article that predicted divisiveness in America with this president.  I hate to be right but I was. Subpoenas are considered as invitations to a wedding and are disdained.  The attorney general is not the people’s lawyer, but clearly Trump’s lawyer. The head of the IRS did not produce Trump’s tax returns and did not even get a court order saying he did not have to.  Trump says he does not want to do anything voluntarily because he is trying to protect the future of the presidency. That is preposterous! Now stonewall and have court orders issued against your position does create precedent that others could follow later.  The constitution created an Oversight Committee to monitor other branches of government. Is it possible that it did not want to give this committee power to investigate?

This country is in deep trouble.  There is a belief spreading that the Presidency is a God and subject to no other scrutiny.  The constitution says otherwise but maybe we should scrap that.

MARKET REPORT

Bad report.  Lost a lot of value of late, and this is only the beginning.  Many companies depend on trade with China. Ford is cutting thousands of jobs and say the tariffs could cost it a billion dollars.  Apple got clobbered. Our farmers are in real trouble. Closer to home the lobster industry is hurting. Oh when it is over, things will be much better.  China is finding other sources for soybeans and lobster. They may not come back.


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