Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

The Presidential debates are over.

We can all sit back and breathe a sigh of relief — especially if you are a Hillary Clinton supporter. Hillary Clinton has come out on top in all three of the presidential debates.

Here is my view on how the electoral college looks as of right now.

Electoral Vote as of Oct. 21, 2016

And here is a link to the above map located at 270towin.com.

There are still two states that are so close that I consider them to be tossups: Arizona and Ohio. It is also clear that Hillary Clinton doesn’t need either of these states to win the election. Without either Arizona or Ohio, I project that Hillary Clinton will win 323 electoral votes. If that is accurate, that would give her 53 more electoral votes than necessary to win.
Continue reading Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, and Liane V music video that you must see

I love a good song. will.i.am featuring Apl.de.ap and Liane V have a video out that not only is fantastic music, but also offers a good message and sound advice. Take a few minutes to watch it. You won’t be disappointed. But please, don’t blame me if you end up humming the song for the rest of the day.

#ImWithHer – Hillary Clinton on Taxes

I don’t think most people realize just how out of balance taxes are in the United States of America. Income isn’t just slightly skewed; people that are in the top quintile have access to so much money that it actually unbalances the United States economy. It becomes even more skewed if you look at the top 3% or the top 1%.

Here is a chart from Inequality.org that shows how the pay has increased for the various income earners since 1979:

Difference in pay over time

And it isn’t because people aren’t working harder. We all need to give ourselves a break. We are more productive now than we have been at any time in the past, but our income hasn’t risen with our productivity.

Productivity vs income

So where has all that money gone? Here is a graph of the income increase before taxes:

Before taxes

And here is a graph of the income increase after taxes:

After taxes

The money is going to the very wealthiest people in the United States.

From the “issues” section on Hillary Clinton’s website, here is what Hillary Clinton proposes to do to help rectify this inequality:

Restore basic fairness to our tax code. Hillary Clinton wants to add a “fair share surcharge” and implement the “Buffett Rule”.

Close corporate and Wall Street tax loopholes and invest in America. Hillary Clinton would close corporate tax loopholes like “inversions” and add an “exit tax” so companies couldn’t move over seas to avoid taxes. She would also reward businesses that invest in good paying jobes in the United States.

Simplify and cut taxes for small businesses so they can hire and grow. Ensure that small businesses wouldn’t have to spend too much time or money to meet federal tax compliance.

Provide tax relief to working families from the rising costs they face. Provide tax breaks for excessive out of pocket medical expenses as well as caring for ill or elderly family members.

Pay for ambitious investments in a fiscally responsible way. Instead of raising taxes across the board, Hillary Clinton proposes to use the taxes from making the wealthiest pay their fair share to pay for the investment in the American future.

Clinton Campaign position: transgender rights

I must admit that I am getting frustrated with all the talk of Donald Trump while ignoring the positions of Hillary Clinton. It has been coming out recently that people would claim to know what Donald Trump’s position was on a subject, but they had no idea where Hillary Clinton stood on the issues. Sadly, the truth is that Hillary Clinton has a plethora of positions covering all types of policy while the few positions that Donald Trump has are trivial, ill-conceived, and ever-changing.

All a person has to do to find out where Hillary Clinton stands on various positions is to visit HillaryClinton.com and read the “issues” section. There are also other websites like Procon.org that have the major positions of all the candidates listed. Finally, if searching through the different websites for information isn’t your cup of tea, all you have to do is go to Google and type in Hillary Clinton Issues in the search field.

I know that there isn’t anything that I can do to help get these positions out there. The people who are interested in the positions will find them. The people who only want to use their lack of information as an excuse wouldn’t be satisfied if Hillary Clinton showed up personally a their house with a position paper. In light of that, I am going to focus on some of the issues that matter to me.

The first issue that I want to focus on is the rights of transgender people. Now that the United States has made such great strides with respect to gay rights, the religious right has picked a smaller, more vulnerable group at which to vent their spleen. It isn’t like transgender people are new to the scene. We have been here from the very beginning. We have been working, marrying, loving, raising children, shopping, and going to the bathroom as long as there have been people. It is only now that the religious right needs a new target that they seek to pass laws trying to limit our freedom.

North Carolina has recently passed a law that is still the talk of the transgender town. They have tried to make it illegal for us to use the bathroom without putting us in great danger. While the final outcome of the law has yet to be decided, we do know where Hillary Clinton stands on the issue.

On March 24, 2016 Hillary Clinton tweeted the following:

LGBT people should be protected from discrimination under the law—period. https://t.co/IMOyRZe5Gh -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2016

The “-H” in the tweet indicates that Hillary Clinton sent the tweet herself. It also seems to be a pretty unambiguous statement about support for LGBT rights. As for the link in her tweet, it directs to an Advocate article titled “North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections”.

The Advocate also has an article titled “Clinton, Sanders Slam North Carolina’s Transphobic Law” that covers the issue.

Knowing this information, I feel pretty secure in my belief that Hillary Clinton supports the LGBT and that I don’t have to worry about her as an ally.

How about you? Are there any Clinton positions that you are concerned with? Is there positions that she hasn’t made clear? What are your top priorities for the next President?

We need a better cyber war policy — later

It is quite possible — and highly likely in my opinion — that the DNC was attacked by the Russian government. Many  Internet security researchers agree. Dave Aitel, CEO of Immunity Inc., even goes so far as to use it as an example of cyber war. He indicates in a guest editorial on Ars Technica that the United States should respond.

The US government has a decision to make here. If it does not come out strongly against this action by the Russian intelligence services now, then when will it? How is our election system not to be considered “critical infrastructure” that foreign governments are forbidden to interfere with, unless they wish to trigger a serious confrontation with the US? If hacking a presidential campaign and dumping its strategy on the Web is not interference and disruption of a critical institution, then what is? Should we wait until foreign operatives interfere with the primary process? Is the red line only to be drawn around hacking actual voting machines and changing the results?

I tentatively agree with his point, but the timing is all wrong. Anything that the United States does now only serves to enhance the damage that was done by the hack. Any overt move by the government will be seen as the Democrats trying to protect their own and alter the natural outcome of the election.

We simply can’t do anything about it now except continue to play defense.

The next President will be able to do something about it. A new policy put forth by Republicans — or a bipartisan policy — would be the best solution, but as long as Donald Trump is the one to reap the rewards of the hack, it is unlikely there will be a call for any immediate new policies from the right.

The reason why it worked

While we are discussing new policy, let’s not forget that the reason why the attack actually worked was because there were things hidden in the DNC emails that many of us consider absolutely wrong.

The first attack (if they are connected) that just released all the opposition research that the Clinton campaign had wasn’t seen as much of a problem by the American public. And it is that kind of attack that we need to guard against most. That was an attack that could have altered the course of the Presidential election. That was the kind of attack that, in a different form, brought down the Nixon Whitehouse.

While the DNC emails were in the same realm as the previous attack, they showed a different problem that needs to be corrected. The cyber attack against the DNC was horrible, but it also shed light on practices that should have no part in politics. Anyone that can find a balance between that cyber attack and a solution to preventing corruption from growing in the dark corners of political parties deserves to be President.

Clinton vs Trump: May 16 – June 22, registered voters

It’s still too early to do any real number crunching on the United States general election. There aren’t a lot of polls out, and the ones that are out are subject to dramatic change as time goes by. With that in mind, the only thing I am looking at right now is the overall mood of the United States.

I have used the data available from Huffington Post Polster to compile a list of registered voters’ preferences. The best this chart can do is give a general feeling of the way people are thinking of voting right now. To make the data easier to interpret, I have included trend lines into the graph.

160625ClintonTrumpRegisteredVoters

While Hillary Clinton gets a larger percentage of the registered voters in virtually every poll, the numbers are still quite close. It should also be noted that because of the high initial polling at around 173 days until the election, the trend line could easily change directions for Donald Trump in the upcoming weeks when I update the date range.

The cakes are baked

Or the geese are cooked. Despite how you look at it, some kind of culinary metaphor seems fitting.

With Ted Cruz and John Kasich ending their bid to become the Republican nominee, the slight chance of Donald Trump losing the nomination have vanished. At the same time, the Democratic nomination has been finished for a while now.

The only thing left to be done on the Democratic side is for the news media to move on to a different story. It could take the media a while to find a story better than the Democratic nomination process. After all, the media has a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week schedule to fill and very little other news to generate the interest that is necessary to fill the dead air. That makes the Democratic “horse race” – even if it is as firmly decided as the Republican nominating race – the only game remaining in town.

It is still too early for the general election polling to have all that much value. Granted, it will give some indications of what each candidate will need to do between now and November, but these will be slow, plodding changes that won’t excite many people’s interest for several months now.

I am going to try to take advantage of this lull in the political storm to begin gathering the information necessary to complete my general election model.