Clinton is no criminal, just extremely careless.

FBI Director, James Comey, has declared it, Clinton isn’t a criminal, just extremely careless.

The FBI recommended Tuesday that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges over her use of private e-mail as secretary of state, even though she and aides were “extremely careless” in handling classified information.

Source: FBI: Clinton faces no charges over e-mail, but acted ‘carelessly’

I’m not sure which is worse for a presidential candidate, being a criminal or being careless.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, United States of America. You don’t look bad for being 240 years old. Okay, you are a little crochety but your heart seems to still be in the right place. You are a country founded on the idea that government is there to serve the people and not the other way around.

For the most part you’ve lived up to that idea. Oh, you had the rocky start of not really understanding that the idea of all men are created equal as being ALL men but you worked that out, eventually. You also had trouble understanding that the term “men” when used in an all encompassing manner is gender neutral. You’ve figured that out too.

And while there are still those trying their best to use you to shut out contrary opinions you still are pretty much siding with intellectual freedom, including freedom of religion.

Now if we could just get you to understand that economic freedom needs to be a part of the mixture.

Why This Sanders Supporter is Now Supporting The Libertarian

Most of you know that I have been a Bernie Sanders supporter. Most of you didn’t know I was also a John Kasich and Gary Johnson supporter. We have been in the primary season where we look at the crop of candidates among all parties and develop our list of who we would like to see run against each other for the presidency.

While we can only vote in one party’s primary that doesn’t prevent us from favoring candidates in the other parties to win that party’s nomination. Some will favor the weakest candidate in the opposing parties. I favor whoever I think would be the best president in each party.

Had Bernie Sanders won the Democratic nomination I was ready to support him all the way to the White House. I would have supported John Kasich had Bernie Sanders lost but he won. Neither happened so I’m supporting Gov. Gary Johnson.

I know it is hard for some of you to understand how I could go from supporting a democratic socialist to supporting a libertarian but aside from economics they are really very similar. Both support civil liberties, both support civil rights, both support reproduction rights, both support gun rights and both support staying out of wars, including deploying our military to places we have no business deploying and the so-called war on drugs. Both also support reasonable and compassionate immigration policies. All of that is important to me.

Economics? We have proof that both democratic socialism and capitalism work and they also work in mixed systems. Sanders wanted to see free college. Johnson wants to see an end to government backed student loans. Both plans will lower the cost of education to the students and drastically reduce student debt on graduation.

Sanders wants to see free medical care paid for by the government. Johnson wants to see less regulation on insurance companies to allow them to offer policies at lower cost with higher coverage which will allow more people to be insured.

This year, 2016, I have racked up around $100,000 in medical care. I’m insured and my out of pocket cost was $4,000. While free health care would have been great so was having insurance. I don’t care which system we use as long as it goes toward reducing money coming out of my pocket.

I love the idea of a lower tax burden on me but if I’m going to pay taxes I want it to be for services to me and others in the middle and lower classes. I don’t want my tax dollars going to bail out huge banks, oil companies or any other large corporation. Both Johnson and Sanders address that concern I have from different but workable directions.

Economics? There are numerous ways to level the economic playing field and I’m not really concerned with how we get to a fairer economic system as long as we get there. I am concerned about civil liberties just as Sanders and Johnson have both shown to be as concerned with as me.

Check out both Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld. I think if your concerns are with civil liberties you will like what they are saying. They are both incredibly experienced in successfully administering government.

Handing Trump The Election

I know a lot of people who are scared to death of a Trump presidency and who think Sanders should bow out of the race before the convention. Many wanted him to bow out before the California primaries. I suspect a few of these people just didn’t want the competition for Clinton or think that Sanders is damaging Clinton’s campaign to the point that Trump will win.

To that last point as long as Bernie isn’t lying about Hillary he’s not the one damaging her campaign. She is.

But there is a very good reason for Sanders to stay in the race until the convention. As T.A. Frank points out in this Vanity Fair article:

Every increase in delegates gives Bernie a stronger claim to being heard and appeased when it comes to what happens at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He has already been granted the privilege of selecting five of the 15 members on the national convention drafting committee (not that it’s mollifying anyone at the moment).

So damaging Clinton or not Sanders needs to stay in until the convention or his “revolution” is still-born. And whether or not Sanders supporters turn their support to Clinton should Sanders lose the nomination isn’t something that is Sanders’ responsibility, it’s Clinton’s. No one is going to support someone they feel is unsupportable and many Sanders supports see Clinton as unsupportable.

Frank continues to point out:

This has created a curious state of play in which more centrist Hillary supporters seem to fear Trump a good deal more than the more leftist Bernie supporters do. Some of them probably feel like Susan Sarandon—that the status quo is so unacceptable that a Trump blowup has its merits. Others just resent having Trump held over the head like a stick, threatening to beat them into pro-Clinton solidarity.

Don’t assume that just because you see Clinton as a far less evil than Trump that Sanders supporters feel the same way. Heck, I don’t feel that way and if those two are the only choice I have no reason to vote because between the two, I don’t care!

Clinton predicted to beat Trump…because of economics

It’s probably right but I don’t think for the reason they think.

The reason a Democrat will win isn’t about polling or personalities, it’s about economics, says Moody’s. The economy is the top issue in just about every election. When the economy is doing well, the party currently in office usually wins again. When the economy is tanking, Americans vote for change.

Source: Clinton predicted to beat Trump…because of economics | Q13 FOX News

The economy is doing very well but the American middle class isn’t. It doesn’t matter how well our economy is doing in reality when the people can be convinced that it is awful.

Sacrificial Lamb?

She must have seen it coming. Bernie Sanders has declared war on Debbie Wasserman Schultz by backing her opponent in her congressional race and declaring that if he is declared the Democratic candidate for president he will strip DWS of her chairmanship.

It seems like he has convinced some establishment Democrats that removing her chairmanship is the only move to be made for party unity.

“There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” said one pro-Clinton Democratic senator.

Source: Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz | TheHill

Surely she would know that her openly antagonistic actions toward the Sanders campaign would produce an enormous amount of blowback that would be all over her. Surely she would understand that the huge support Sanders was getting would translate into political klout.

One can only surmise that she is now the sacrificial lamb.

Hillary Clinton Thinks Successful Business People Could Make a Suitable Running Mate

Sec. Clinton has announced that she will include those outside of politics for a running mate.

In choosing a running mate, Mrs. Clinton said she would seek, above all, someone prepared to be president and “someone you can work with — someone you believe will be a good partner.”

Source: Hillary Clinton Warns Against Treating Donald Trump as ‘Normal’ Candidate – The New York Times

Someone like Lloyd Blankfein, perhaps?

Sanders isn’t a Democrat; What’s in Party Unity for him?

There is absolutely no reason for Sanders to sacrifice his goals to Democratic party unity, he isn’t a Democrat. I think he knew coming into this campaign that he would either become president or he would retire.

Leading Democrats are growing increasingly vocal in their concerns about the White House hopeful’s continued candidacy, and whether he and his legions of enthusiastic supporters ultimately will unite behind Hillary Clinton in a general election against Donald Trump.   For his part, Sanders has sharpened his critique of the party. He says it would be “sad and tragic” if Democrats don’t stop relying on big money, and he is assailing Clinton for her dependence on wealthy donors.

Source: Some fear Sanders won’t exit gracefully

So, what do they have to negotiate with? This is the only way they are going to have their peaceful convention, by coming to terms with Sanders’ terms. That’s the only way they are going to be able to keep the Sanders supporters in their corner is through negotiation. Loyalty will not come into play here.

The End of Bad Paying Jobs

For years my job was automating manufacturing systems. During that time I saw very few people lose their jobs because of projects I was involved in but I saw a lot of people reassigned and retrained. Most of them saw an increase in pay, the rest of them retired. None of them were replaced and attrition dropped the payroll of the site.

These jobs that faded away were decent paying manufacturing jobs but they were some of the most tedious jobs I’ve ever witnessed. Automating those jobs was an expensive investment but one that paid for itself within five years.

In high school I worked in a McDonald’s. I can not think of a more tedious job than the one I held there. And even though it was a minimum wage job it was stressful. I would have nightmares about working in that store that was the result of the stress.

Automation has also been arriving on the scene at McDonald’s but not to the extent it has in manufacturing. I’ve seen stores go from 15+ employees on a shift down to 5 over the years. However, this hasn’t seemed to affect the employees on the counter much.

It looks like that is changing:

McDonald’s (MCD) has been testing self-service kiosks. But Wendy’s, which has been vocal about embracing labor-saving technology, is launching the biggest potential expansion.

Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10% of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5% to 6%, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage “to access good labor.”

Source: Wendy’s Serves Up Kiosks As Wages Rise, Hits Fast-Food Group | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis – IBD

A 33% increase in labor costs suddenly gives an incentive to automate that wasn’t there before.

The problem I see here is that there is not many places to reassign a fast food worker to and not much of a reason to retrain them. And while these are crappy jobs they are jobs. You can’t raise a family on what they pay but when they were part-time jobs for teenagers who were being supported by parents they were great places to get work experience. Now that will be gone and I’m not sure where teenagers will turn to get that experience.

There is a very good reason for Sanders to remain in the race until the end.

I like this article. It does a very good job of explaining the Super-delegates purpose and why they should not be counted until the convention. Their vote is suppose to be fluid. It also explains the scenarios by which it would make sense for the Super-delegates to get on the Sanders’ bandwagon.

What makes 2016 very different from 2008 is that the following items are presently true:

  • Sanders has dramatically higher favorable ratings than Clinton, despite months of attacks from his Democratic opponent and Trump and GOP super-PACs generally laying off both Sanders and Clinton;
  • Sanders beats Donald Trump nationally by much more than does Clinton (12 points, as opposed to 6 for Clinton, in an average of all national polls);
  • Sanders beats Donald Trump in every battleground state by more than does Clinton; and
  • Sanders beats Trump by 22 points among independents, while Clinton loses independents to Trump by 2 points.

As we sit here today, the Clinton-Trump match-up in the three biggest battleground states — Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, the loss of all three of which would lose the Democrats the general election — is a dead heat.

Source: Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination — No, Seriously

I do not have a lot of confidence in Sanders becoming the Democratic nominee. I also don’t have a lot of confidence in Clinton being able to beat Trump in the general election. It seems that the DNC has signed a suicide pact with Clinton.

Trump The Moderate?

This article asks a great question:

If Trump continues tacking towards the economic center, how will Clinton react to distinguish herself? Especially if she’s trying to please both her party’s urban professional vote, while trying to woo anti-Trump Republican voters at the same time?

Source: Why Clinton vs. Trump could bring out Democrats’ worst instincts on economics

Trump has been all over the place with his positions in the primaries and hasn’t been afraid to contradict himself. If he beats Clinton back to the center where does she go to differentiate her policy from his?

Of course she could just forget all of that and run on the “I’m not Trump” platform.

Cycling Means Business

Jason Walker, a Chattanooga radio personality,  vented his frustration with people riding bicycles in the street and with Chattanooga investing in bicycle infrastructure specifically along Frazier Avenue in this Facebook post.  He immediately had a whole host of his followers agreeing with him and going beyond in his comments.

A lot of people in the comments seem to have a huge misunderstanding of the economics of bicycling. If you add bicycle infrastructure to an area, even at the expense of parking spaces for cars, the businesses along the route experience an increase in sales.

Many critics argue that sacrificing on-street parking in order to build bike lanes would hurt local businesses.  However, several studies, including a 2009 study by the Clean Air Partnership in Toronto, show that shoppers who walk or cycle to a business are more likely to return and spend more money in the area than people who drive there.  The Toronto study predicted that instead of harming local businesses, bike lanes would increase commercial activity on the street.[ix]

Source: Bikeonomics: The Economics of Riding Your Bike | lasesana

This is exactly the opposite of effect of what people who view cars as the only legitimate means of transportation expect because they are in cars. People on bicycles see more of the businesses on their route and have less of a problem finding places to park so they are more likely to stop and shop along their way.

From an economic standpoint businesses win when bicycling infrastructure is added to their community.

California Raising Smoking Age to 21 – The New York Times

I open up the paper this morning and I see this:

LOS ANGELES — California will become the second state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21 and will begin regulating electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

Source: California Raising Smoking Age to 21 – The New York Times

I guess California can’t trust its eighteen year olds to decide for themselves whether or not to smoke just like they can’t trust them to drink alcohol. They need another three years of maturing before they can make those types of decisions for themselves.

Which has me wondering why eighteen year olds can be trusted to vote, or join the military. How can we trust them with their own credit accounts? We allow them to put cars and houses in their names and accept the liability that ownership of those entails but we won’t allow them to drink or smoke.

Why is that?