On Hillary Clinton’s health

There’s been a lot of comment and claims – especially from the Donald Trump camp, about the health of Hillary Clinton. She has recently had obvious problems with her voice and coughing.

She left a 911 event abruptly (overnight NZ time) and that ramped up the speculation.

Here is the official medical explanation.csgnqnvxeaauvsi

That’s feasible but it won’t stop the speculation and claims of conspiracies, like: BREAKING: Hillary Clinton unable to stand, media cover-up started.

It’s a no holds barred, anything goes campaign when the US presidency and supposedly the most powerful job in the world is at stake – and mega billions of dollars are potentially at stake for vested interests.

Campaigns can be physically extremely demanding, even for fit young people.

It’s shaping up to be a contest of the maddest versus the crookest – multiple meanings deliberately intended (crookest and crookedest are interchangeable). Pick for yourself who which applies to.

People who think Trump will win

Toby Manhire at The Spinoff lists ten people who think that Donald Trump will win the US presidential election – Ten serious (mostly) people who think Donald Trump will win the presidency – and why

1. Michael Moore

“I’m sorry to be the buzzkill… but I think Trump is gonna … Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. The total votes of [Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania ] make 64. All he has to do is win those four states …”

2. Jake Novak of CNBC

“Trump WILL be the next president … What Trump and his advisers clearly realized a long time ago was that it would have to really disrupt the hardened ‘red/blue’ divide to win.

3. Canada’s former ambassador to the US, Derek H Burney

“Donald Trump understands the angry mood of America better than his Washington-based Republicans, which is why he is the last man standing.”

4. Author Anis Shivani

“It will be easy if he keeps the libertine and destructive aspects of himself in perfect balance, seesawing from one to the other, as he has so far, appealing to an elemental fear in the country, torn apart by the abstraction of the market, to which Clinton has not the faintest hope of responding.”

5. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh

“My instinctive feeling right now is that Trump is going to win, beat Hillary badly, that it could be landslide proportions.”

6. Conservative writer David Horowitz

“The reason Trump will win in November is that national security is at the top of voter concerns and Trump has been a strong advocate on this front.”

(ISIS and terrorist attacks are playing into Trump’s hands, perhaps deliberately).

7. Canadian newspaper proprietor, British peer and convicted fraudster Conrad Black

“Hillary Clinton is carrying more baggage than the Queen Mary and Trump will carpet-bomb the country in September and October with a billion dollars of reminders … In taking over a major US political party from the outside, (Trump) has done something that has never been done before, and he should win.

8. Trump’s ousted political director Rick Wiley

Trump will capitalize on his crossover appeal with non-Republican voters and win battlegrounds ‘where everyone says he can’t,’ Wiley said. ‘The unwritten story is the enthusiasm gap,’ he said.”

9. Megaupload founder sought by US for extradition Kim Dotcom

“After watching Donald Trumps speech at the Republican Convention I’m sure that he will be the next President of the United States.”

(Dotcom was sure his Internet party would hold the balance of power in New Zealand so his political nous is perhaps a bit questionable)

10. Televangelist Pat Robertson

“The way things are going, from what I have seen, from past elections, it looks like it is going to be a blow out for Trump …”

More in Ten serious (mostly) people who think Donald Trump will win the presidency – and why

Trumps speech and more lies

I think everyone knows that Donald Trump blatantly lies.  Some people don’t care and want him anyway, others care a lot and do want him anywhere near the White House.

I’ve mostly avoided his convention acceptance speech, it’s a highly orchestrated even and should be a carefully written teleprompted speech.

The Herald has Donald Trump’s full speech to the GOP convention (video)

Politico has the pre-leaked script: Full text: Donald Trump 2016 RNC draft speech transcript
(I have no idea whether the leak was ineptness or more orchestration).

And fact checkers have been quick off the mark: Eleven lies Donald Trump told in his Republican National Convention speech (only eleven?)

Despite promising “the truth, and nothing else” in his convention speech, Donald Trump presented the nation with a series of previously debunked claims – and some new ones – today.

He even brazenly lies about telling the truth. Unless he actually believes his own bullshit.

1. TRUMP: “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 per cent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years.”

THE FACTS: A rollback? President Barack Obama has actually achieved some big increases in spending for state and local law enforcement, including billions in grants provided through the 2009 stimulus.

2. TRUMP: “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.”

THE FACTS: The pace of releasing immigrants is driven not by the Obama administration, but by a court ruling. A federal judge ruled last year that the government couldn’t hold parents and children in jail for more than 20 days. Trump is right that the number in this budget year has already exceeded last year’s total. But it’s down from 2014.

3. TRUMP: “When a secretary of state illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.”

THE FACTS: Clinton’s use of a private server to store her emails was not illegal under federal law. Her actions were not established as a crime. FBI Director James Comey declined to refer the case for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department, instead accusing Clinton of extreme carelessness. As for Trump’s claim that Clinton faces no consequence, that may be true in a legal sense. But the matter has been a distraction to her campaign and fed into public perceptions that she can’t be trusted.

4. TRUMP: “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 per cent compared to this point last year.”

THE FACTS: Not according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police fatalities daily. The group found that the number of police officers who died as of July 20 is up just slightly this year, at 67, compared with 62 through the same period last year. And overall, police are statistically safer on America’s streets now than at any time in recent decades.

5. TRUMP: “My opponent has called for a radical 550 per cent increase in Syrian (refugees). … She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.”

THE FACTS: Trump persists in making the bogus claim that the US doesn’t screen refugees. The administration both screens them and knows where they are from. The Department of Homeland Security leads the process, which involves rigorous background checks. Processing of a refugee can take 18 months to two years, and usually longer for those coming from Syria. Refugees are also subject to in-person interviews and fingerprint and other biometric screening.

6. TRUMP: “Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely. … President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.”

THE FACTS: Trump is playing with numbers to make the economy look worse than it actually is. The sluggish recovery over the past seven years has been frustrating. But with unemployment at 4.9 per cent, the situation isn’t as bleak as he suggests.

Trump’s figure of 14 million who’ve stopped working since Obama took office comes from the Labor Department’s measure of people not in the workforce. It’s misleading for three reasons: The US population has increased in that time; the country has aged and people have retired; and younger people are staying in school longer for college and advanced degrees, so they’re not in the labor force, either.

On national debt, economists say a more meaningful measure than dollars is the share of the overall economy taken up by the debt. By that measure, the debt rose 36 per cent under Obama (rather than doubling). That’s roughly the same as what occurred under Republican President George W. Bush.

The Hispanic population has risen since Obama while the poverty rate has fallen.

7. TRUMP: “After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis now threatens the West. … This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

THE FACTS: It’s an exaggeration to suggest Clinton, or any secretary of state, is to blame for the widespread instability and violence across the Middle East.

Clinton worked to impose sanctions that helped coax Tehran to a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers last year, a deal in which Iran rolled back its nuclear program to get relief from sanctions that were choking its economy.

She did not start the war in Libya.

Clinton had no role in military decisions made during the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

On Iraq, Clinton as a senator voted in 2002 to grant President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq, but has since said it was a “mistake”.

8. TRUMP: “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.”

THE FACTS: Trump continues to repeat this inaccuracy. The US tax burden is actually the fourth lowest among the 34 developed and large emerging-market economies that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Taxes made up 26 per cent of the total U.S. economy in 2014, according to the OECD. That’s far below Sweden’s tax burden of 42.7 per cent, Britain’s 32.6 per cent or Germany’s 36.1 per cent. Only three OECD members had a lower figure than the US: Chile, South Korea and Mexico.

9. TRUMP: “My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”

THE FACTS: Hillary Clinton has not proposed any revocation of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms. She does support a ban on certain military-style weapons, similar to the law President Bill Clinton signed in the 1990s. That ban expired after 10 years and was not renewed. Clinton also backs an expansion of existing criminal background checks to apply to weapons sales at gun shows. The checks now apply mainly to sales by federally licensed gun dealers.

But when one of the most powerful jobs in the world is at stake why worry about telling the truth?

Unfavourable view of US candidates

The most likely candidates to run off for the US presidency are getting seriously unfavourable ratings from voters:


That’s an awful look for Clinton, Cruz and Trump, and a terrible look for the quality of candidates for one of the most important and powerful positions in the world.

The looming Trump disaster…

Predictions of a Trump disaster were defied by polls and primary results for some time but there’s increasing indications that the wheels may fall off Trumpmobile.

Locally pollster David Farrar has been pointing to some worrying numbers for Trump supporters for a while. And yesterday he posted Best analysis of Trump’s women problem:

From 538:

micah: So Trump does really poorly with women — it hasn’t stopped him in the Republican primary, why will it stop him in the general?

natesilver: Because winning 51 percent of 100 percent is way harder than winning 35 percent of 35 percent?

Silver nails it.

Trump will lose them the presidency, the Supreme Court and quite possibly the Senate.

And The Plum Line at Washington Post posted: The looming Trump disaster, in three charts:

Veteran Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg just released a new national pollthat will put Republicans on high (or even higher) alert: It sheds new light on just how awful the gender gap could get if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee.

It also illustrates (again) a host of problems with Trump’s hopes of surfing into the White House on a wave of white working class anger.

The key head-to-head topline of the poll — of 900 likely 2016 voters nationally — is that Hillary Clinton is leading Trump by 53-40. The poll — which was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Women’s Voices, Women Vote Action Fund — shows that engagement in the election is rising substantially among key Democratic voter groups.

Chart: Hillary Clinton is beating Trump pretty badly among women


The 21-point gender gap is driven by an enormous, 52-point advantage that Clinton enjoys over Trump in particular among unmarried women, a key Dem voting bloc in national elections.

Chart: white working class voters:


Trump is actually performing just below Romney’s 2012 totals among non-college whites. He does get a better margin than Romney among white non-college men, but that’s offset by the fact that he’s running behind Romney’s margin among white non-college women.

Trump’s hopes of running up huge margins among blue collar whites might be complicated if he alienates white non-college women.

Meanwhile, as noted above,  engagement is rising substantially among white non-college women (a potential problem for Trump) and among college women (who seem even more likely to be alienated by him), perhaps partly due to the seeming omnipresence of Trump’s sexism. Engagement is also rising substantially among nonwhites (if Trump under-performs among them, he’d have to drive his white vote margins even higher). And nearly half of Republican women (per Gallup) view him unfavorably.

Conservatives who see Trump as a looming disaster agree with all this.

…nominating Trump could mean a big Republican loss andcould further set back the party’s image among nonwhites, women, and young voters (whereas nominating, say, Marco Rubio might have begun to repair that image even if he lost). This has long been entirely predictable.

Indeed, GOP strategists predicted it.

Trump’s political demise has been predicted for a while.

Will it be before or after the GOP select’s it’s presidential candidate? Or not at all.


GOP heading for crisis?

The Republican primary took a major lurch yesterday, with the party looking in disarray due to to increasing support of Donald Trump.

First the Republican presidential candidate from 2012, Mitt Romney, launched a blistering attack on Trump, and Trump attacked back.

Then Fox news ran a two hour candidate debate that did little but highlight dysfunction in the party.

Washington Post had a few critical articles on it.

Ferocious sparring as Trump goes on the defensive
Hours after Mitt Romney delivered a point-by-point indictment of Donald Trump, the billionaire’s three rivals took up similar attacks at a debate in which the ferocious sparring and name-calling revolved almost entirely around the front-runner.

Fox News moderator schools Trump on Trump U., and his contradictions
Megyn Kelly leaves the GOP front-runner sputtering to defend himself at debate.

For the Republicans, a not so grand old party
The 11th debate of the Republican campaign tested the patience of viewers. It was tedious and repetitious. No new information was imparted, no truly new arguments advanced. Even the insults were tiresome.

One clear loser in Thursday’s debate: the Grand Old Party
It’s highly questionable whether anyone emerged as the winner in Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Detroit, though the candidates’ spinmeisters would all quibble with that. There was one clear loser: the Grand Old Party.

And Chris Cillizza picks Winners and losers from the 11th Republican presidential debate


* Ted Cruz: The Texas senator picked a nice moment to have his best debate of the primary season…Cruz also benefited from the fact that Trump and Marco Rubio went after each other hammer and tongs for the first hour of the debate, a brawl that allowed him to look like he was above the fray and magnanimous.

* John Kasich: The narrowing of the presidential field quite clearly helped the Ohio governor on Thursday night. Sure, it often felt as if he was participating in an entirely different debate than the other three candidates. But, when he got a chance to talk, Kasich’s uplifting and positive message made for a welcome relief from the name-calling, interrupting and general rudeness that dominated most of the conversation on stage in Detroit.  Did he do enough to boost him into the top tier? No. But that simply isn’t possible for Kasich, given the delegate math. Still, he deserves credit for putting his best foot forward.

Best doesn’t seem to equal results in this contest.


* Donald Trump: Trump totally dominated the debate in terms of speaking time and the broader conversation. There were times where it felt more like an interview with Trump than a debate with three candidates not named Trump on stage. As is usually the case with Trump in a debate setting, the more he talks, the less positive the outcome is for him.

From a more substantive perspective, Trump took real body blows — especially from Cruz — regarding Trump University and the comments he made in an off-the-record session with the New York Times. Trump, as he has in nearly every debate, showed a wafer-thin understanding of policy and, when pressed about that lack of knowledge, reverted to name-calling.

His behaviour, and lack of solid policies (and a few frightening policy ideas), hasn’t hurt him yet but it may make it hard to get over the primary line let alone into the presidency.

* Marco Rubio: The Florida senator seemed to have resigned himself to a kamikaze mission against Trump during this debate. He jabbed at and with Trump over and over again in the debate’s first 60 minutes, turning every question — and answer — into an attack on Trump. It hurt Trump but hurt Rubio, too, as he struggled to get back to his more positive “new American century” message.

It’s hard to see how this debate changes the dynamic set in place on Tuesday night: Trump as the favorite, Cruz with the next best chance of being the nominee, Rubio as Trump spoiler.

Has Rubio deliberately set himself as the Trump killer knowing it rules him out of contention, taking one for the GOP team?

* The Republican Party: The first hour of the debate was an absolute disaster for Republicans hoping to rebrand their party heading into the 2016 general election. It looked more like a high school cafeteria food fight than an even semi-serious conversation about issues.

There’s another loser that Cillizza didn’t mention – US democracy.

The beacon of hope on the fool is looking more and more like the fools on the hill.