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Friday, July 31, 2015

Ebola Vaccine - anti-vaccine zealots are clueless


Thank you to Norway:  Børge Brende foreign minister of Norway.

“This new vaccine, if the results hold up, may be the silver bullet against Ebola, helping to bring the current outbreak to zero and to control future outbreaks of this kind..."

For thousands and thousands of years (in other words for eons), civilization had no idea what caused infectious diseases. Now, because of microbiological research, we know what causes diseases and, oftentimes, how to prevent them from become epidemics. Many infectious diseaes are prventable, because of vaccines. So, why is it that anti-vaxxers want to create fear in the public about an intervention that's proven to prevent deadly diseases? These crazy zealots want to stop Americans from being immunized! Millenniums of civilizations would've given anything to've accessed preventive vaccines. Now, we have these vaccines, while groups of crazy zealots are trying to scare us away from using them. But, now, entering from Africa, is the deadly Ebola virus.

As a professional registered nurse, it's impossible for me to understand how people can object to the proven preventive value  of vaccines. Polio, measles, chicken pox, shingles, pneumonia,  whooping cough, diphtheria and other vaccine preventable diseases are almost unheard of today, because of the ability to prevent them with immunizations.  

Now, we have to add Ebola to this infectious list.

It's probable,  there's now a vaccine to help prevent the deadly Ebola virus from causing the world wide pandemic panic we experienced, when the deadly outbreak was sweeping western Africa. Many dedicated caregivers contracted the deadly virus, including several American medical professionals.

Americans "freaked out" when some of the Ebola infected medical professionals were transported home to US medical facilities, for treatment. 

Yet, taking care of these caregivers, in modern medical centers, protected by infection control procedures, was the absolute right thing to do. Most of the victims,who were cared for in the US, survived, as a result.

If the Ebola vaccine, currently in process of being approved, is available, I suspect all people going to Africa, regardless of their purposes, will be required to have the immunization. There will be no question about whether or not the Ebola vaccines are safe, because even the remote chance of contracting Ebola will be more of a risk than worrying about the safety of the preventive vaccine.

Ebola vaccine trial proves 100% successful in Guinea

Rapid development and testing of drug may bring current epidemic in west Africa to an end and control future outbreaks, experts say.
A vaccine against Ebola has been shown to be 100% successful in trials conducted during the outbreak in Guinea, and is likely to bring the west African epidemic to an end, experts say.

“This new vaccine, if the results hold up, may be the silver bullet against Ebola, helping to bring the current outbreak to zero and to control future outbreaks of this kind. I would like to thank all partners who have contributed to achieve this sensational result, due to an extraordinary and rapid collaborative effort,” he said on Friday.

There have been a total of 27,748 cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone up to 26 July, with 11,279 reported deaths, although the outcome of many cases is unknown and the toll will be significantly higher. In the week ending 26 July, there were just four new cases in Guinea and three in Sierra Leone.

Because of the diminishing number of Ebola cases in west Africa and the shifting nature of the epidemic, with many sudden small outbreaks occurring across the region, researchers hit on a novel design for the trial.

The “gold standard” approach would be to take a population at risk of Ebola and vaccinate half of them while giving the other half a placebo. Instead, the researchers used a “ring” design, similar to that which helped prove the smallpox vaccine worked in the 1970s.

When Ebola flared up in a village, researchers vaccinated all the contacts of the sick person who were willing – the family, friends and neighbours – and their immediate contacts. Children, adolescents and pregnant women were excluded because of an absence of safety data for them. In practice about 50% of people in these clusters were vaccinated.

The results of the trials involving 4,000 people are remarkable because of the unprecedented speed with which the development of the vaccine and the testing were carried out.

Scientists, doctors, donors and drug companies collaborated to race the vaccine through a process that usually takes more than a decade in just 12 months.

“Having seen the devastating effects of Ebola on communities and even whole countries, this news is very encouraging," said Børge Brende, the foreign minister of Norway, which helped fund the trial.


I sincerely hope whoever supported the funding of an Ebola vaccine will become the recipient of a Nobel Prize for protecting world health.  Thank you.

Anti-vaxxers, on the other hand, are clearly clueless zealots.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Governor Paul LePage - two BDN points of view

A letter writer complains to the Bangor Daily News (BDN) about unfair press treatment of Maine's Governor LePage. Although the author of the letter points fingers at Maine media, the writer doesn't take into account the national coverage.  As a matter of fact, it's not just the Maine media who're labeling Governor LePage with uncomplimentary adjectives.  Unfortunately, the author of this defense letter about the Governor doesn't explain how it's somehow unfair for the media to ignore comments like telling the NAACP to "kiss my ass", because he didn't want to attend the Martin Luther King breakfast in Portland; or to tell a legislator how he'd "given it to the people without vasoline", because Senator Troy Jackson didn't support his tax plan. In fact, this is what the governor said, later in the same interview: LePage said, “Dammit, that comment (i.e. 'without Vasoline') is not politically correct. But we’ve got to understand who this man (i.e. Jackson) is. This man is a bad person. He not only doesn’t have a brain, he has a black heart. And so does the leadership” in the Legislature.


So, to dear writer Jane Newcomb of Owls Head Maine - "what goes around comes around". Your defense of Governor LePage is truly without merit. There simply is not enough evidence to support your point of view.


Meanwhile, in the same letters to the editor feature, another writer complains about Governor LePage acting, more or less, like a dictator, because he'll oppose his own Republican party legislative candidates, unless they support his plan to eliminate the state's income tax.


Here's the defense position, from Jane Newcomb, who writes in the BDN:

Unfair to LePage

I like what Gov. Paul LePage is doing in Augusta. All I read is a litany of disparaging remarks from the BDN, the “liberal” Courier Gazette and the Portland Press Herald. Media have been bullying LePage insidiously and outwardly for years, the latest being the unfair accusation that he has bashed his beloved French culture of which he is so proud.


For the media to jump on his off-hand attempt to be funny and self-effacing is silly, and to blow it way out of proportion and carry on about it, only to ruffle feathers and stir up trouble, is mean spirited.
How about a more balanced approach from the press? Perhaps tell about some of the wonderful things he’s done for our state?
I learned long ago not to believe anything, except from the horse’s mouth; no gossip, no hearsay or secondhand stories. I challenge the press to attempt to hear LePage speak, perhaps at a meeting or on the radio.


I understand his heart, and he cares for the whole state. LePage has the ability to get things done, looks to the future of Maine and keeps plugging away, despite the constant barrage of negative comments from the media.


Our so-called “wild and out of control governor” is so much more than we read about. I challenge the press to get the whole story.
Jane Newcomb
Owls Head

And here's another point of view from Steven Calhoun, from Addison:

LePage’s mistaken policy


Unfortunately, it is apparent to me Gov. Paul LePage is mistaken on one central point of his administration’s public policy. Just one.


According to news reports, LePage has made it clear he would not support members of his own party in their re-election bid if they do not support his position on eliminating state income taxes. What a devastating loss. The good governor seems to say, in effect, it’s my way or the highway.


Even if we disregard this blatant attempt to widen the political gulf among Maine voters, we must ask ourselves what it is that motivates a legislator’s votes — that is, is it his or her personal belief, his or her constituents’ wishes or blind adherence to party doctrine?


There can be no doubt that representatives in Augusta are more in touch with how the constituents in their districts feel, so their votes ought to reflect their conscience, which is a manner of their neighbors’ faith in them. That is the basic nature of democracy.
Maine is not a dictatorship in which the man at the top tells everyone not only how they must act and vote but what they should believe, the will of the people be damned.
Steve Colhoun
Addison


Maine Writer cannot find any credibility in Jane Newcomb's letter. Indeed, if Jane knows the Governor's heart, she needs to provide more evidence of his sincerity, to help all Maine people, than what we've seen from his management style including firing people and name calling others.


As for Steve Colhoun, it seems to me a leader who acts in the style of a dictator, is insecure. 


Regardless of how some people continue to (try to) support Governor LePage's bursts of unpredictability, the fact is, his unorthodox behaviors have brought more unfavorable publicity to Maine than any other politician has, in recent history.


And worse. There's been no apologies. Therefore, the Governor has failed as a role model for civil behavior and polite discourse.











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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Donald Trump "the chump" and Ambition 101

Politicians are driven by passion and ambition. 

Otherwise, their egos would be unable to defend them against the inevitable personal attacks they can expect as they pursue their goals of winning elections and serving their constituency - of course, assuming they really care about their constituents.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump, the multi billionaire "chump" who's trying to win the Republican nomination for president of the United States, is positively consumed by ego. I believe "Trump the Chump" has an ego bigger than the planet Jupiter. As a result, he's blinded by his ego and simply can't conceptualize his vision for America or how he intends to govern (assuming Americans are sucked into his sphere of gravity and votes for him).

Americans were diligent about watching William Jefferson Clinton for mistakes of passion. Imagine what the White House will become if "Trump the Chump" happens to be elected to live there. In my opinion, the Playboy Mansion might be considered G rated if Trump the Chump takes over residence of the White House.
Talk about a real estate mogul? Trump the Chump, as (God forbid) chief executive of the government, can declare his personal residence to be a condo or a haunted house on Halloween. After all, it would be his house.

Donald Trump the Chump can't run for president with just his name recognition and inflated ego. Although he'll have ample money to self fund his ambitious campaign, his limited energy will eventually wear down and he'll have to collapse under the weight of his own ego. Remember, Mr. Trump the Chump, you can't delegate the job of running for president of the United States. You have to show up.

Unfortunately, Trump the Chump seems to focus his ambition; he's apparently more strategic right now than his "clown car" of competitors, who are vying for the nomination he's seeking. 

Scott Walker is like Howdy Doody without Buffalo Bob; Jeb! the Bushy-Boy is acting like the retired Phillips Exeter Academy development director - just show him the moneeeee! Huckabee-wannabee is preaching like an Old Testament Prophet - the ones nobody ever listened to. Rand Paul has become too myopic to see where his political campaign is going. Perry is like the rodeo clown, trying to draw attention away from the charging bulls to save himself. Yawn...are we having fun yet?  (Wait! This political show doesn't end until the last lady sings.....) Yet, the audience is getting agitated and Donald Trump the Chump is, at least, entertaining the crowds. Unfortunately, Trump's one man comedy act isn't raising any money for the Grumpy Old Party faithful but he's getting all the laughs.

Therefore, maybe Donald Trump the Chump may have all it takes to win the Republican nomination. He has the money, the ambition, the name recognition and a natural ability to do stand up comedy.

Yet, in "ambition 101" class, Trump the Chump's ego doesn't seem to need any education. Of course, when it comes to political substance, we'll see Trump the Chump asking himself all the policy questions, so he can answer only what he chooses.  

Unfortunately, none of Trump the Chump's competitors have egos the size of Jupiter (maybe Mars, but not Jupiter); nor do they have the money needed to independently fuel their political ambition. 

As a result, Trump the Chump is a dangerous politician who has aced the ambition 101 class and, worse, has the capacity to give a failing grade to all of his competitors.

Unless, of course, Americans stop laughing and start paying attention to the dangers of a Donald Trump the Chump potential (gulp) administration. Our White House might as well consider what color of red or purple it will become if, God Forbid, we see a Donald Trump the Chump as.....well, as....an occupant.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Dear "Jeb!"- "Don't Touch our Medicare!"

Americans must stop Bushy-Boy from promoting "coupon medicine" by advocating for a Medicare voucher system.

It's impossible to understand how "Jeb!" i.e., "Bushy-Boy", could gain political traction, in his struggling attempt to build a campaign voters can identity with, by criticizing Medicare as being "unsustainable".  



Dear "Bushy-Boy", your brother's failed Operation Iraqi Freedom was an unsustainable war, but we're still pouring money into this decade long struggle. There's always "sustainable" funds found someplace for war and defense contracts. Therefore, there must be enough money to care for Americans who have contributed to Medicare and deserve the insurance coverage they've paid into.

Moreover, Americans also deserve "Medicare for All". In other words, when a worker has paid 40 quarters into the program, the beneficiary should be able to access and receive the coverage.

(CNN- reports) On July 30, 1965, 50 years ago this coming Thursday, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, creating some of the biggest changes in social programs in America's history.

The politics surrounding Medicare and Medicaid remain contentious. Several red states are still refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), claiming it constitutes yet another excessive expansion of government. (Meanwhile, deserving Americans are denied coverage available under the ACA but their states are blocking their access!)


While Republicans backed away from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to radically overhaul Medicare, GOP candidate Jeb Bush just brought the issue right back into the campaign by telling a Koch brothers event in New Hampshire that Congress should phase out the program. What Bushy-Boy is calling for is "coupon medicine", in other words, "vouchers".


"We need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits," he said, "that are receiving the benefits. But we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they're not going to have anything."

Faced with an immediate backlash that he was veering far right, Bush backed off and said his statement was taken out of context.

Well, Bushy-Boy should never go there.  It didn't work for Congressman Ryan and it sure won't work for Busy-Boy, either.

Bushy-Boy was picking up on Ryan's claim that Medicare won't have enough money to pay for benefits by 2026, which ignores the fact that adjustments can be made to the revenue stream of the program that would keep it solvent (there have been many times since 1965 when projections indicated a shortfall and Congress and the president resolved the problem through adjustments to taxes and benefits, such as when Ronald Reagan was president in 1983).

It also ignores the fact that the recent report by trustees of Medicare includes much more favorable projections than the one on which Bush and Ryan are relying. Whereas in 2005 they projected that spending on Medicare would increase to 13% of gross domestic product by 2080, now, as a result of a number of factors including Obamacare, the projections are down to 6% of GDP in 2090.

On the anniversary, Americans should take this moment to look at some lessons from the history of those policies.

Fifty years ago, liberals were optimistic the passage of Medicare and Medicaid would transform health care. The program's founders hoped to end one of the biggest policy problems of the post-World War II period: the fact that, as health care costs started to skyrocket for older Americans with advances in medicine and technology, a huge percentage of the elderly lacked access to adequate insurance.


Medicare works! Therefore, it's impossible to understand why rich Republicans like "Bushy-Boy" want to deny Americans their right to access a health insurance benefit they've paid into for 50 years!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cigna plus Aetna equals profits

Although Americans spend uncounted millions, probably billions, for health care coverage, we as a nation know very little about what we're paying for;  and it may get worse.  

In other words, we're paying for insurance to help us stay well while the companies who take our premiums want to be gatekeepers for the coverage we need when we're sick.

Health insurance profits are targeted towards to keeping people well, while collecting their (our) premiums. Contracts are signed with physicians and managed care groups who are given incentives for keeping "well" people among their beneficiaries. When people get sick, on the other hand, the plans kick in to case manage the care provided. As a result, many people who pay for wellness care find they're at a disadvantage when sickness care is needed and they're prevented from having access to high cost curative therapies. Did you ever see a health insurance advertisement featuring sick people speaking about how much they love their plans? Of course not.

On the other hand, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare subsidies will pay for people who are sick and enter the plans without regard for pre-existing conditions, like diabetes.  

Now, we see where Cigna and Aetna, two big for profit health insurers, want to merge to create even more profit from providing wellness care. In other words, the plans collect your premiums for keeping you well and parcel out the coverage when you get sick.

Here's my crystal ball prediction. People who have complained about Obamacare, because they wrongly see it as government run healthcare, haven't experienced the consequences of profit driven "Aetna plus Cigna equals profits" coverage.

When health insurance companies like Aetna and Cigna are controlling the market place of coverage provided, they will destroy their competition including those plans subsidized by the Obamacare plans.  Health insurance rates will increasingly be driven by profits, rather than by patient care needs, even more so than now.

What America needs is Medicare for All. At least, in Medicare plans, the beneficiaries are given access to government websites that given them a quality analysis of their medical providers. Medicare also has public data to show the trends in health care utilization. 

In other words, a Medicare beneficiary can find out what their premiums are paying for and about the comparative quality of their providers. On the other hand, Aetna and Cigna will report some data in retrospective time of their choosing and only using their sanitized data.

Americans have little knowledge about what their health insurance premiums are providing for their benefits.  Although it's nearly impossible to educate everybody about the fine print in our health insurance laws and the coverage provided, we can at least demand that mega mergers, like what's proposed by Aetna and Cigna, be stopped. What we want are the assurances of knowing there will be competition in the health insurance industry. Most important, we need to know that those who pay the providers for the coverage we receive are looking out for out best interests rather than profits.

Medicare for All - we pay for it, we deserve it.  Stop mega mergers by "Aetna plus Cigna equals profits".

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Maine Public Radio account by AJ Higgins ref World Acadian Congress

Yesterday, I posted a blog with news from the Bangor Daily News "Tipping Point" blog about how Governor LePage is reported to have leveraged the resignation of respected community leader Jason Parent, as the Maine chairman of the World Acadian Congress (Mondial), in 2013. He reportedly did this by threatening to withhold money from the festival.

Today, July 25, A.J. Higgins reported on this story on Maine Public Broadcasting Network radio's "Weekend Edition". 

LePage Accused of Threatening Group to Fire Director in 2013


Jason Parent

It's evident to me, the reticence of those involved in this report about the Governor threatening to withhold funds from the Congress unless Jason Parent was fired is related to their fear of political retribution. In fact, if the story had any misleading or erroneous information, those involved would've quickly challenged this report. There has been no challenge to the Bangor Daily News article, except from the office of Governor LePage, where the response was that the threat didn't happen.  

In fact, if Governor LePage had actually withheld money from the World Acadian Congress, this promised allocation would've made him look very bad with his colleagues, in New Brunswick and Quebec, that were the festival's partners in Canada. 

Nevertheless, those who know Jason Parent would unanimously testify to his extraordinary integrity. If the report about Governor LePage threatening to withhold World Acadian Congress monies were NOT true, I am confident Jason Parent, himself, would've already challenged with a public response to this story. He hasn't responded to my email query, either, and he has always done so in the past. Therefore, I firmly believe his reticence is an affirmation about the veracity of The Tipping Point blog in the Bangor Daily News (BDN).

If this story were an isolated incident, or if Jason Parent were other than a well known and respected leader, this story would never have been allowed to fester for two years.  It's because the information reports the leveraging of another high level resignation and the target was such a highly respected community leader, that's kept this story alive. It's another black ink blot to, unfortunately, tarnish Governor LePage's vengeful management style.

A.J. Higgins reports:

AUGUSTA, Maine — A threat allegedly made two years ago by Gov. Paul LePage to a group known as the World Acadian Congress is generating more scrutiny about the governor's use of power.

Several board members have confirmed to a political blogger that LePage threatened to withhold funding for their organization unless they fired their director.

The LePage administration says the accusation is false.

Some of the messages are mixed and some of the messengers are not exactly unbiased, but the revelations of yet another alleged threat by the governor to withhold state funding from an organization unless he got his way is raising eyebrows around the State House.

Former Democratic state Sen. Judy Paradis says she's not surprised that it took two years for word to leak out that LePage had threatened to withhold a $1 million payment to the World Acadian Congress unless its board agreed to fire its then director Jason Parent.

"They circled the wagons and they just said, 'Mums the word,' and there's a fall guy involved and — too bad," Paradis says. "It left a bad taste in everybody's mouth."

MPBN's efforts to reach the fall guy, Jason Parent, were unsuccessful, but Mike Tipping of the progressive Maine People's Alliance first announced in his Bangor Daily News blog that he had spoken with Parent.

Tipping says Parent confirmed that in the spring of 2013 a representative of the LePage administration had pressured the Acadian board to fire him as Maine president of the Congress or the state would withhold the first installment of a $1 million payment to the organization.

Anne Roy, a board member and director of the Acadian Village Museum in the Aroostook County town of Van Buren, says she was told LePage wanted Parent gone and that Parent ultimately resigned from the organization.

"That if we did not make Jason Parent step down, that we were going to lose our million dollars to be able to do the World Acadian Congress here in the St. John Valley," Roy says.

Maine's St. John Valley joined a partnership with New Brunswick and Quebec to host the 2014 World Acadian Congress, a two-week festival that unites Francos from Maritime Canada, Quebec, Maine, Louisiana and across the world.

The event, held every five years, brings together tens of thousands of Acadian descendants.

Roy says the reason LePage wanted Parent out of the Maine coordinating effort stems from a fairly innocuous event.

The group was selling World Acadian Congress vanity license plates back in 2013 to raise money for the celebration and had decided to present one of the plates to each of the state's top elected officials. Then-U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud happened to be in the area, so the group gave its first one to him.

Although Michaud had not yet announced a run for governor, Roy says LePage was insulted by the group's decision.

"Because Mike Michaud received the plates before the governor, the governor got all huffy and puffy and threatened to withhold our money if we didn't make Jason step down," Roy says.

Roy acknowledges that she never heard anyone from the LePage administration make that threat directly. She says the information was conveyed to her by other board members.

But in his blog, Tipping says unnamed members of the board had assured him the funding threat and firing order was delivered.

Efforts by MPBN to reach some of the board members for comment were unsuccessful, but Roy says that since Tipping's blog post, the board members are now saying that Parent's resignation was sought for performance issues.

"I think it's just a way of covering up what took place, everybody is in some way tied to the governor in wages and jobs and they don't want to be involved," Roy says.

Tipping says that despite what the board members are saying now, he knows what they told him.

"All of the people I talked to in my notes and recordings confirmed that was the issue of discussion around Jason Parent's resignation," Tipping says.

In a written statement, Peter Steele, the governor's communications director, denies that the governor had ever sought any retribution against Parent or threatened anyone.

He says both Roy and Parent are Democratic operatives. He's also described Paradis in similar terms.

Instead of threatening to withhold funding for the organization, Steele says LePage actually rescued the $1 million in funding for the World Acadian Congress.


(Maine Writer says the funding of $1 million was likely in response to requests made to the Governor from his colleagues in New Brunswick and in Quebec, who had already put up quite a bit of provincial money to support this international event.)

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Governor LePage litany of "your fired!" and the French Acadian Congress

It's impossible to get through a news cycle in Maine this summer without hearing a cacophy of damaging information about Governor Paul LePage.

Jason Parent did not deny reports by the Bangor Daily News that he left his job at CMA because of funding threats by Governor LePage


Besides being called the nation's craziest governor and referred to as "tete du merde" by an Esquire.com blogger, the fact is, the governor doesn't stop causing negative news.

In addition to bringing the Maine legislature to the brink of launching impeachment proceedings against him, for conduct currently under investigation, he boldly led a litany of caustic personal actions. His list of "do it because I can"in your face actions are enough to make any reasonable person want to physically vomit from fear of wondering "what's next?".

There's no doubt about it, in case anyone happens to still be wondering. Maine's Governor LePage has an emotionally labile personality. He is subject to rapid, often. exaggerated changes in mood. When he gets riled up, he fires people without cause, which is often. Moreover, it's impossible to say when his mood swings will wane. Therefore, people in his circle of whatever we choose to call them, i.e., "colleagues" "appointments" "friends?" or "networks", are likely fearful for their professional lives about being next on the governor's list for revenge.

Nevertheless, the governor's colleagues received a bonus pay raise this summer, while many others were brutally fired.  

While cost of living adjustments for nearly all people who survive on Social Security or other retirement income is less than 3 percent, if that, the governor LePage "good" list received a 4 percent across the board increase in salary. 

Meanwhile, Governor LePage is against a minimum wage increase for ordinary people who sometimes work three jobs to make ends meet and he disapproves of a Medicaid expansion to help provide health care coverage for 70,000 uninsured Maine people. 

How selfish can one publicly elected person get?  For Governor LePage, it turns out, he is "very selfish". Unfortunately, the people who voted for Governor LePage are largely the same who're hardest hit by his selfish bully politics.  (I recall how the Governor's wife Ann LePage  told WCSH6 - TV news man Don Carrigan, in an interview, how her husband will always look out for the underdog. Is that so, Mrs. LePage? If minimum wage earners, who are deserving to receive a pay increase, aren't "underdogs", than who does qualify?)

As though the 4 percent pay increases to his cronies weren't enough controversy, it turned out yet another well respected Franco-American was revealed to be another victim of loosing his job because Governor LePage didn't happen to like something he did. Jason Parent left his job as president of the CMA, because he presented a French Acadian celebration license plate to Congressman Mike Michaud. OMG!

Here's the story from the Tipping Point, on the Bangor Daily News (BDN) news site:

Acadian Congress board members allege that Governor LePage forced (the CMA) - President’s resignation:



If there’s a charity event or service organization in Aroostook County, there’s a pretty good chance that Jason Parent has had a hand in running it.

He has served as president of the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Aroostook and the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. He has served on the board of directors of the Presque Isle Rotary Club, Momentum Aroostook and Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Development and has helped organize Aroostook Idol (now Northern Star) and the World Junior Biathlon Championship.

His day jobs, formerly at Northern Maine Community College and now at The Aroostook (Maine) Medical Center are also focused on community engagement and fundraising. Googling his name brings up a long list of awards and honors for successful civic pursuits.

In short, Jason Parent is known for getting things done for his community. (He's definitely not a quitter.)

Therefore, many were surprised (including Maine Writer) in April, 2013, when Parent announced he was stepping down as Maine International President and member of the board of the international governing organization of the 2014 World Acadian Congress. He cited “recent exciting changes and advancement in my professional career, and the realization that my young family is seeing less and less of me” as the reasons for his decision ina letter to friends and the local media.

The World Acadian Congress (commonly known by its French acronym, CMA) was a project that Parent was organizing and had been leading for four and a half years. In fact, the project had a huge number of moving parts. The massive celebration, which unites Acadian communities from Maritime Canada, Quebec, Maine, Louisiana and across the world, is held every five years and brings together tens of thousands of Acadian descendents dispersed by the British military during the Great Expulsion of 1755-1764.

Parent had been part of the organizing committee that helped win the hosting bid for Acadia of the Lands and Forests, a region including Northern Maine as well as parts of New Brunswick and Quebec. The two-week bash would eventually feature parades, concerts, traditional food and games and more than 120 family reunions. Everyone involved seems to agree that it provided a huge cultural and economic boost for the St. John Valley and Northern Maine.

Now that the Congress is in the rearview mirror, however, members of the Maine organizing board have begun to provide more context to Parent’s departure. They allege that Parent resigned not just because of the reasons in his letter, but primarily because of a threat by Maine Governor Paul LePage to withhold $500,000 in state funding for the Congress unless Parent was removed.

“What I was told is it was either get rid of Jason Parent or you lose your funding,” said Anne Roy, a board member and director of the Acadian Village Museum “He was a very good manager. There was no reason to bamboozle him the way he got bamboozled.”

According Roy and six other members of the board who confirmed her account, some only willing to speak on background, Governor LePage’s displeasure was the result of an incident involving the presentation of a CMA-branded license plate to then-Congressman Mike Michaud.

The plates were the product of a bill passed by the State Legislature to honor the Congress and provide a fundraising tool, with part of the proceeds from sales of the plates going to fund the CMA.

The plan, according to board members, was to publicly present the plates to all of Maine’s congressional delegation, as well as to Governor LePage, as a way of drawing attention to the fundraiser and the Congress.

LePage apparently felt that Michaud receiving his plate first and in a very public way (it took place on stage at the Northern Star singing competition) was a political affront. Michaud was not yet a declared candidate for governor, but it was rumored that he was likely to run against LePage. According to the board members, LePage’s displeasure was communicated through a member of his administration.

George [Dumond] and Lorraine [Pelletier] got the threat. It came through Danny Deveau, one of men who works for LePage. He’s the Maine-Canadian ombudsman,” said Roy.

Daniel Deveau was an early political ally of the governor. He made financial and in-kind contributions to LePage during both the primary and general election campaigns in 2010, while also running as the Republican candidate for the District 35 State Senate seat in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat incumbent Democrat Troy Jackson.

In 2012, LePage appointed Deveau as Maine-Canadian Trade Ombudsman, a position under the purview of the governor’s office that was first created in 2001, but had never before been filled. He was confirmed to the $60,000-a-year position by a 26 to 6, bi-partisan vote in the Maine Senate.

“I heard at the meeting that Governor LePage through Danny Deveau said he was not happy that Jason presented it to Mike,” said board member Linda Cyr, referring to a meeting of the board in April, 2013 at which Jason’s resignation was decided. “There was concern expressed about funding from the state.”

“Like all the others I was told so but I don’t know it for a fact,” said board member Don Levesque when asked if Deveau had expressed those concerns on behalf of the governor.

When first asked about the issue, Dumond and Pelletier both denied that they had spoken to Deveau or that such a threat was discussed by the board, but Deveau himself wasn’t quite as reticent.

“I expressed my concerns that the former president was acting without direction from the board and bringing his own personal politics into the World Acadian Congress,” wrote Deveau by email.

When asked by phone if he had threatened to withhold state funding for the Congress, Deveau refused to answer and abruptly ended the conversation. He also did not respond to further questions in writing.

Once Pelletier and Dumond knew that other members of the board and Deveau had spoken publicly about the issue, they acknowledged that the conversations had in fact taken place.

“There was of course a comment that was made [by Deveau] about an article that Jason put in the paper,” said Pelletier. “He said the governor wasn’t happy.”

“Danny Deveau did bring those issues to me, and I brought them to the board,” said Dumond. He declined to answer when asked to confirm that Deveau had made a specific threat about funding for the Congress.


According to Roy, the reticence by some board members to discuss the issue and the reason it hasn’t surfaced until now, two years later, is that the board as a group, including Parent, decided to keep the matter under wraps for the good of the Congress.

“It was kept quiet. There was no reason to wake up the dead. It’s a done deal.” said Roy. “George Dumond was a good leader and Lorraine was a good office person. I don’t think any of us was happy with what had taken place, but we didn’t have a choice. This was not pennies we were talking about, this was a million dollars.”

The state funding for the event, which LePage had promised to deliver during his 2010 election campaign, came through the Maine Office of Tourism, with some involvement by the Department of Economic Development. A bill to require the funding by statute submitted by Sen. Jackson was voted down by the Appropriations Committee in 2012, but it’s not clear what discretion LePage had over the funding that was eventually allocated. At that point in 2013, $500,000 had already been disbursed to the CMA.

The state’s million dollars, spread out over four years, was the major source of funding for the Maine section of the CMA, after a $1 million federal appropriation supported by Representative Michaud and Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe failed to make its way through the U.S. Congress.

“I can tell you that LePage was responsible for the only government funding we got. I can tell you that was much appreciated. We would not have been able to participate in the Congress without LePage’s support and you’re going to be hard pressed to find me, probably, wanting to talk bad about Governor LePage for any other reason,” said Dumond.

LePage was a prominent fixture at the Congress when it was held, the August before his 2014, re-election. He participated in ceremonies and events with other regional leaders and was featured in local and regional media coverage.(Unfortuantely, several other Democratic candidates running for Second District Congress and for Governor, did not participate in events.)  A candidate (at the time) Bruce Poliquin, did attend some of the CMA celebrations.

Jason Parent, for his part, hopes to put the whole issue behind him. He declined to give details of the events leading to his resignation on the record, saying he didn’t want to risk the matter further affecting his life and career.

When asked if the allegations that financial threats from Governor LePage forced him from his role as President were true, Parent said simply “I can confirm that is the case.”


LePage’s alleged actions with the CMA board seem to mirror other times that the governor has financially threatened independent organizations and bodies that don’t normally fall under the governor’s direct authority.

Earlier this year, LePage withheld funding from the Maine Human Rights Commission, over a ruling regarding religious discrimination with which he disagreed. 

In January, LePage forced the resignation of John Fitzsimmons, President of the Maine Community College System, through the use of financial threats, telling trustees that they would “feel the wrath” if they didn’t oust him. 

Last month, LePage forced Good Will-Hinckley to fire newly-hired House Speaker Mark Eves from a position as President there by threatening to withhold state funding meant for a school for at-risk children.

“What happened to Jason is the very same thing that happened to Eves,” said Roy. “It’s not right. It’s not the way America was meant to operate.”

One difference between Parent’s case and Eves’, aside from LePage having confirmed himself that he made financial threats to Good Will-Hinckley, is that the matter with the CMA seems to have turned on an issue of electoral politics, rather than policy or ideological disagreement.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Who O Why O does Governor Kasich want to leave Ohio?


Songstress Doris Day sang it beautifully.

It makes no sense for Governor John Kasich to want to be President of the United States. He entered the 2016 race too late and his message is too boring.  Nevertheless, it makes a lot of sense for  the Ohio governor to be a formidable Vice Presidential candidate. Therefore, I submit, its Kasich's intention to do just that. Let's hear it for John Kasich for Vice President! Why O Why O - not?  

Being second seems to be the best any of the clown car Republican candidates can do if Donald Trump the Chump continues his showmanship lead. Ohio's Governor Kasich is just as qualified as most of the others, too many to be named, who are competing for the Republican presidential nomination.

Interesting, Governor Kasich is among the best qualified of the Republicans who've announced their 2016 ambitions to occupy the White House. Unfortunately, Kasich hasn't shown much ambition by coming out so late after the growing number of his colleagues have already announced. 

Surely, Republicans understand the value of media sound bites. There's not enough air time available in any news cycle to include the daily reports for 17 Republican candidates

Likewise, there's hardly enough money in media outlets' payroll accounts to pay the costs of news coverage for so many politically ambitious people.

What would motivate Governor Kasich to want to leave Ohio for the presidential arena?  It beats me.

Who in their right mind would want to run as a Vice Presidential candidate with leading candidate Donald Trump the Chump?

Why-O-Why-O Kasich? Sounds like a Ouiji Board question to me.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Do we have a duty to die? Physician Assisted Suicide has no outcomes data

It makes no sense to me why people fall victim to physician assisted suicide at the end of life. There's's virtually no proof about how this method of ending life has any quality data about outcomes. In other words, has anybody who used physician assisted suicide to die ever returned to say it was a good idea, or not? 

Nevertheless, we know how hospice and palliative care creates quality of life to the end of life.

Therefore, it's tragic to see how the physician assisted suicide movement is taking top of the news headlines, when there's so much hope for life offered by palliative care and hospice.

People who fall victim to the promise of physician assisted suicide have given up on the hope provided by those who offer quality of life to the end of life from the compassionate care provided by palliative care and hospice.


Just consider this.  Twenty-five years ago, a terminal illness was considered to be cancer and acquired immune deficiency  syndrome (AIDS).  Now, of course, people are living for decades beyond these diagnoses.  

So, what is terminal illness, anyway?  We don't know and neither do you who are reading this blog. Therefore, don't risk physician assisted suicide when palliative care and hospice are the compassionate option to the finality to death by suicide.

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Making negative news again - Maine's Governor Paul LePage Titanic governing

"'Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine, puts it this way: 'This is no longer a partisan battle or one primarily over policy. He’s turned it into an institutional fight, a knock-down, drag-out fight between executive and legislative prerogative'.” Reports Woodard in Politico.com.


Maine Writer reports: I don't believe Governor Paul LePage knows just how deep he is into political quick sand - he's getting very close to being over his head with no way to climb out.  
(He's like the HMS Titanic)

In this Maine Writer blog, the "LePage" name comes up  repeatedly  as a search engine query. 



Moreover, although I haven't written prolifically about Maine's Governor and his serial faux pas behaviors, the several entries I have posted continue to receive multiple page hits. (In fact, LePage is driving "the page" in Maine Writer....sorry for poor pun, just couldn't resist it.)

In recent media reports, Governor LePage become a popular kicking ball when he called undue attention to himself for telling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to "kiss my ass" because he didn't want to attend a ceremonial Martin Luther King Day breakfast in Portland. 

In another obscene statement, he gave the news media his opinion of a Democratic state legislator, claiming the man had "given it to the (state's) legislature without using Vasoline".  (I think the Vasoline company, a trademark, might want to sue for liable here....)

And the list goes on. Nevertheless, until recently, the criticism of Governor LePage consisted primarily of hard knock political rhetoric, whereby people just rolled their eyes in frustration and moved on.  Until recently.

In an Esquire.com blog, the writer called Governor LePage "tete du merde", in other words, "shit head".  Whoa! That's certainly below political rhetoric.

More recently, momentum is growing among people who have openly whispered about Governor LePage's ability to govern.  

Colin Woodard just published a blog in Politico.com about Governor LePage, being America's craziest governor.

America's Craziest Governor Goes Off the Rails - Is Paul LePage overplaying his hand or no longer playing with a full deck?
By COLIN WOODARD

July 19, 2015
June and July might be the strangest months in memory at Maine’s State House, wrote Woodard. 

It all started with Gov. Paul LePage stepping out of his office to squeeze a squeaking rubber pig toy for the assembled press and call their attention to a tabletop Christmas tree decorated with ornaments bearing portraits of several of his erstwhile Republican legislative allies, including the president of the state senate, Senator Michael D. Thibodeau, who is a fellow Republican!

State lawmakers of both parties, he explained in the unusual June 17 appearance, had rejected his budget in favor a compromise package he alleged was filled with pork. (Maine Writer wonders how it was the LePage advisers didn't tell him to just suck-up this compromise.  After all, the legislators are also representing their constituents, they were NOT elected to rubber stamp the governor on all issues, especially about taxation.)

In response, LePage announced he had just issued some 200 line-item vetoes just to give lawmakers more work to do before the session could adjourn for Maine’s cherished, all-to-short summer. “For five months they wasted our time,” LePage explained. “This time I am going to waste a little bit of their time.”

“We need Mainers to understand our government is corrupt,” the chief executive of that government continued. “The Maine people have to demand better from our elected officials.”


One month later LePage—a pugnacious, hot-headed, sometimes vulgar Tea Party-style conservative—is facing a bipartisan investigation into potential abuse of power, a nascent impeachment effort by opponents in the lower State House chamber, and a federal lawsuit by the outgoing Democratic House speaker, who has accused the governor of blackmailing a non-profit school into revoking their job offer to him. 

Meanwhile, leaders of the Republican-controlled state Senate and many Republicans in the House have turned on the governor, helping overturn hundreds of his vetoes and line-item vetoes in lightning-paced voting sessions, sometimes at a rate of one every 25 seconds. His veto of the bipartisan budget was overturned, narrowly avoiding a state government shutdown. An aggressive attempt to appropriate wider veto authority for his office has been rebuffed by lawmakers and legal experts, but still threatens to plunge the state into a constitutional crisis.

“For whatever reason the governor chose to demonize the entire legislature and people in both parties who don’t always agree with him on everything,” says Sen. Roger Katz, a moderate Republican whose face adorned one of the ornaments on LePage’s Christmas tree. “There is so much he could get done if he chose to work with the legislature instead of against it.

Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine, puts it this way: “This is no longer a partisan battle or one primarily over policy. He’s turned it into an institutional fight, a knock-down, drag-out fight between executive and legislative prerogative.”

LePage won reelection in November by a five-point margin in a three-way race, surprising many outside the state who knew him as the guy who told the NAACP to “kiss my butt,” chastised a state senator for wanting to “give it to the people without Vaseline” and turned an obscure mural depicting U.S. labor history into a national cause célèbre by removing it from the state labor department because an anonymous constituent likened it to North Korean brainwashing. 

He’s perhaps the only governor in the country who could rib New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for being “a little bit shy” and only be half kidding.

Since his January re-inauguration, however, he’s brandished his slender electoral mandate as a club, verbally battering anyone who stands in the way of the will of the Maine people, now said to be synonymous with his own. He spent much of a volatile, hour-long May 29 press conference lambasting Democratic legislative leaders as “repugnant,” “disgraceful” and child-like before pledging to veto every bill with a Democratic sponsor regardless of merit until they agreed to back one of his top priorities, a constitutional referendum to eliminate the state’s income tax. Days later he turned on two longtime allies—Senate President Mike Thibodeau and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason—for engaging in budget talks with Democrats; his daughter, who heads his political organization Maine People Before Politics, recorded robocalls deployed in both the stalwart conservatives’ districts, erroneously accusing them of funding “welfare for illegal aliens.” 

Yet, instead of falling into line, the lawmakers steeled their resolve.

“I think he wants some primary challenges against Republicans in 2016, so he will have a more conservative legislature to work with,” says political scientist Jim Melcher of the University of Maine at Farmington. “But that’s hard to pull off and I think he’s overplayed his hand.”

LePage’s isolation increased substantially earlier this month after a bizarre episode in which he failed to veto 19 bills he opposed—including a hotly-contested measure to prevent 1,000 legal asylum seekers from having their welfare benefits cut off—and thus allowed the bills to become law. The blunder was based on a novel interpretation of the state constitution that conflated the legislature having gone into recess for a few days with having adjourned for the session, which would have allowed the governor more time to veto the bills. Despite his take being soundly rejected the state’s attorney general, the non-partisan staff of the legislature and Republican leaders in the senate, LePage defiantly doubled-down on it, refusing to veto another 51 bills, which also became law early this week and will remain so unless the courts intervene.

As Democrats celebrated this act of unintentional compromise, some prominent conservatives expressed concern. “The administration has absolutely no ground to stand on here,” fumed Republican operative Lance Dutson, former head of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, who this week launched a political organization for Republicans fed up with LePage. “All it has is rhetoric and intimidation, which unfortunately has been the story way too many times recently.” Mike Cianchette, the governor’s attorney until he was deployed to Afghanistan with the Navy Reserves in 2013, told the Bangor Daily News LePage had taken “a very aggressive legal position” on the latest vetoes that “may be a bridge too far for the courts.”

The courts may soon be considering charges against LePage himself over the strong-arm tactics he used to force Good Will-Hinckley—a school for troubled teens—to recently abandon the hiring of House Speaker Mark Eves as their new director. Eves, a family therapist by training, said the governor threatened to pull $530,000 in state funding, an accusation LePage has not denied. Eves says he is planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit, even as the legislature’s bipartisan watchdog committee unanimously voted to investigate. LePage, unbowed, has claimed his actions are somehow protected by the First Amendment and that the legislature’s investigative agency—which has subpoena power—lacks the authority to scrutinize his actions. As for the 70 new laws LePage meant to veto, the governor has said he won’t enforce them unless compelled to by Maine’s highest court, a threat that if carried out would throw state government into disarray.

Democrats are predictably apoplectic, with state party Chair Phil Bartlett pronouncing LePage “unfit to govern.” State Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center, one of six lawmakers trying to start impeachment proceedings, called the governor’s actions “lower than low.” “We’re the laughingstock of the country,” she says. “He has made a mockery of Maine for too long,” House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe said last week. “As lawmakers, we must put an end to this outrageousness.”

Progressive political activist Ben Chin has worried aloud that the state no longer had a functional executive: “If there was to be a natural disaster or something like that, it’s impossible for me to imagine our governor in the current state that he’s in, for whatever reason, actually being able to effectively manage that.”

(The governor’s office didn’t respond to POLITICO’s request for an interview.)

What will happen next is anyone’s guess, but it’s hard not to conclude that at a minimum the governor has squandered the political capital he came away with in November’s election. 

“I really think he’s missed a real opportunity to get things done in a cooperative way,” says Katz, the moderate Republican state senator. “I worry the well is so poisoned that it’s gong to be difficult to get back to cooperation even if he chooses to do so.”

Maine Writer summary - In other words, Woodard is raising the salient issue. Is Governor LePage capable of governing, when he can't communicate with his own political party and demonizes a duly elected legislature? It's difficult to believe Governor LePage can endure the three more years of his administration, with this kind of acrimony constantly bringing Maine into the spotlight of negative publicity. Given his Titanic approach to governing, LePage will bring both the state and his Republican colleagues into the vortex of a political black hole.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/maine-lepage-america-craziest-governor-goes-off-the-rails-120320.html#ixzz3gM3x4pkw









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Saturday, July 18, 2015

T'was only a matter of time - Trump the chump goes over the top about Senator John McCain

Donald Trump "the chump", the self declared billionaire Republican presidential candidate, was always a ticking political time bomb. His labile personality was just waiting to explode his campaign into infamy. Perhaps, he's finally crossed the point of no return, even earlier in the campaign than I expected.  

Although Trump "the chump" was predictably incendiary about immigration, especially with his disgusting comments about hard working Mexicans, he's now crossed the point of no return.

There's absolutely no reason, whatsoever, for Donald Trump, the chump, to attack Senator and Navy Veteran, John McCain.

Trump rose to the top of the Republican polls because his vitriolic anti-immigration message resonated with right wing extremists. 

Nevertheless, Trump's massive wealth didn't protect him from his many political enemies. In fact, Trump "the chump" became angry at Senator John McCain for daring to criticize his renegade candidacy. To retaliate, Trump made the horrible choice to attack Senator John McCain's military record. Ohhhhh-ouch! Not a smart move by Trump. When Trump was at the top of the Republican clown car of candidates, he had no reason to attack a confirmed Navy Veteran and officer, who was a Vietnam prisoner of war.

Trump passed the point of no return with the public, as a result of his stupid anti-McCain criticism. 

Ironically, Trump collected support because of his harsh and unwarranted criticism of innocent Mexican immigrants; yet, he's now on the fence for his wrong minded criticism of Senator John McCain's Veteran's record. 

Trump the chump should never pick on any veterans, especially because he has no military experience.

Trump questions McCain's bravery, says 'he is not a war hero'

By Mark Preston and Eugene Scott, CNN
Washington (CNN)

Donald Trump ignited a political firestorm Saturday by questioning whether Sen. John McCain -- who spent over five years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War -- is a war hero.

By mid-afternoon, Trump tried to walk back his blunder on Twitter, saying "captured or not, all our soldiers are heroes!"

But his attempt at damage control seemed unlikely to diminish the anger his wrong minded remarks caused. 

Instead, they provoked an immediate outcry from his 2016, presidential rivals and the Republican National Committee (RNC), which expressed concern about the impact of his controversial remarks on immigration, on the GOP brand.

For Republicans, who are waiting to pounce on Trump and knock him from his position as the party's leading presidential candidate, the real estate mogul may have (??? hello?) handed them an opening. (Ya' think?)

Of course, Republicans were lurking around, waiting to knock Trump "the chump" off of his paid for leadership pedestal. Taking on Navy Veteran Senator John McCain was totally unnecessary for Trump, but his ego just wouldn't let go of his stupidity. 

Unfortunately, many of Trump's Republican opponents may have waited too long to challenge him, but perhaps it's better late than never.

All of which proves how the "Trumpisms", (his spontaneous rhetoric) spewed by Trump the Chump, demonstrates how he's truly unfit to be a wanna-be Leader of the Free World (LFW).

Now that Trump the Chump is likely political toast for 2016, who will be the next candidate to be voted off the Republican survival island?  My prediction is - the next one to go, will be Governor Chris Christie (sorry, Governor LePage of Maine and Governor Hogan, of Maryland)...unfortunately, your thin clouts endorsed the wrong guy - you shoulda' paid attention when your mothers said to watch who your friends are....)

Next up?  "Jeb!" i.e., "Bushy-boy". Who knew?  (But where's he been hiding?)  So, let's see how Bushy boy responds when he's asked why he waited so long to take out Trump the Chump? 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Hillary Clinton continues to gain support among Democrats while the Republicans, thankfully, are voting each other out of the presidential 2016, campaign.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Legitimate news is already looking beyond the Donald Trump "bump" ......

Interesting to read how The Huffington Post has already declared the Donald Trump (the "chump") billionaire's presidential campaign to be not news worthy.  In other words, Huffington Post, the popular on line news source, just won't acknowledge the "Trumpism" campaign, based on ostentatious showmanship. 


0717_donald_trump_huffington_post_tmz


Donald Trump is being boycotted again, but this one's bizarre ... Huffington Post is refusing to treat him as a serious Presidential candidate.

"After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we (Huffington) decided we won't report on Trump's campaign as part of The Huffington Post's political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section."

Weird stance for a media outlet to take, considering recent polls show Trump leading ALL Republican candidates ... winning 18% of GOP voters. (What really gets to  Maine Writer is how Trump the Chump, with 18 percent, is somehow a leading candidate.  If Mrs. Hillary Clinton were in this kind of situation, with all of her star power, we'd be calling on her to reconsider her aspirations to become our nation's first female president.  Trump's campaign is showing the media to be - who knew? - duplicitous.)

Huffington calls Trump's campaign a "sideshow," adding, "We won't take the bait." The website will cover Trump in its entertainment section, saying, "you'll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette."

Trump just responded, noting he's been the leading candidate in numerous polls and adding, "The only clown show in this scenario is the Huffington Post,  pretending to be a legitimate news source."

It will be interesting if Trump wins a primary ... will HuffPo lead with Kim K or New Hampshire?
Read more:
http://www.tmz.com/2015/07/17/donald-trump-huffington-post-presidential-candidacy-entertainment-section/#ixzz3gCUEpg29


Good point! ( says Maine Writer). See Who's on second? my blog of July 16th, i.e, the candidate in the New Hampshire primary who comes in second will be the real winner.


Yet, somehow, Huffington will have to report on Trump the Chump, if he, in fact, wins the popular vote.  


Of course, it's entirely possible "Trumpisms" (as Governor Rick Perry has called him) will peak by the time the voters go to the primary polls.....and if that happens, and Trump the Chump doesn't win the primary, then Huffington Post will likely win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism bravery.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Hampshire presidential primary retail politics- who's on second?

Unless a person lives or works in New Hampshire, it's difficult to imagine how up close and personal all the presidential candidates are with the state's voters.  

I doubt any other place on earth is like New Hampshire's retail political process. It's a state where the electorate and the candidates, who want to lead the free world, can intensely interact, like they're sitting at the old fashioned "kitchen table".  Sometimes, in fact, the candidates, really, are sitting at a kitchen table. 

At this point, in the retail Republican political "name recognition contest",  the 17 or so (I've sincerely lost count) candidates are competing to stay on the proverbial island, like they're in a survival television show. I'll bet some New Hampshire citizens, right now, are seeking out detours as ways of avoiding these candidates, who are likely appearing everywhere, like an inverse Where's Waldo game, except they're impossible to avoid because they're everywhere you look.  

Political followers can see the likes of "Why-O-Why-O" Governor John Kasich of Ohio, kissing babies in Newmarket New Hampshire, a place where the birth rate has been pretty flat in recent years. 

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

Kissing babies is as old as politics itself. And in New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary, many of the traditions still hold – visits to Robie’s Country Store in Hooksett, drinking lemonade with voters in backyards and living rooms, voters who have to meet each candidate at least twice before deciding whom to back, midnight returns from Dixville Notch.

Consequently, it's imperative for Republican candidates to meet as many New Hampshire voters as possible, as the time to enter the political debates season approaches.  

In other words, if voters don't know the candidates, they aren't going to vote for them in the primary. 

There's three chances, to either win, place or show, in these races.
There's no second chance for these candidates.  Just like any horse race, there's always the chance an outlying candidate will come in third. If that happens, it's almost like, unexpectedly, picking the trifecta, making the candidate seem worthy of the high cost of entering the race.  Of course, Donald Trump (nickname "the chump") probably jumps out of the gate with a huge lead because of his extraordinary name recognition; therefore, there may only be the place and show slots left on the race card, for the dozen or more other candidates.

Of course, I'm not any political expert about New Hampshire voting; but I can give my assessment about how the state's retail primary will go. It's pretty likely, given the name recognition and political good timing of the Trump-the-chump campaign, well..let's just give him the New Hampshire primary. Okay, Donald? Here, it's yours, bought and paid for.  The honest to goodness winner of the New Hampshire primary, after Trump, will be the candidate who comes in second.  What I'm saying is, the second place candidate, after the Donald "Trump's" the others with his flamboyant campaign, will be the real winner of the New Hampshire Republican primary election.

It's anybody's guess who the second place will go to, but while "Trump the Chump" is flying his helicopter around, with his logo boldly painted on the body of the aircraft, the fact is "Jeb!" or nickname "Bushy-boy", is in Miami (probably raising money).   Not smart. John Kasich, on the other hand, is kissing babies in Newmarket, NH.  Maybe Kasich will be the outlying candidate who "shows" his ability to win votes. In New Hampshire, money alone won't place a candidate on the national political stage. 

I've come to the opinion that political debates don't really count anymore. Republicans will make or break their ability to relate to voters based on the television ads they can afford to buy and on the quality of their retail campaigns. So, just because Fox News doesn't want all the Republican candidates on the same debate stage, at the same time, won't change many voters opinions. Frankly, there's not enough votes to split between the "place" and "show" candidates to make much difference, especially when the Republican electorate is split up between a dozen people who're running for the nomination.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Hillary Clinton is doing fine with her retail campaigning. Although she's been criticized for not making herself available to the press, she has nothing to gain by exposing herself to "gotcha" journalism by pundits.  People know Hillary Clinton and she doesn't need to be re-introduced to the electorate. Her name is her brand. She also owns three political strengths, i.e., name recognition, political "positives" and party support.  

Moreover, Hillary Clinton isn't loosing ground to anyone, at this time, although she's reported to be weak with white male voters. Nevertheless, her husband, Bill, is strong with white male voters. Obviously, Bill needs to retail campaign with Clinton's white male skeptics.

So, the retail voter campaign is Hillary's to loose for the Democrats.
For Republicans, the retail winner will be the person who comes in second. In GOP retail, the second winner is the one to watch, as the party will systematically take down Trump the Chump, after New Hampshire, and put their jockey on the two candidates who "place" and "show". That's my roulette wheel prediction and I'm sticking with my political bets.  

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Nicknames in the Republican clown car

I've decided to index my Republican 2016 clown car candidates with nicknames.  After all, a good team of clowns needs nicknames.

It seems like the joker candidates have defied the rules of matter by filling space, as their numbers grow inside the Republican circus scooter.  Here's my nickname list:



Governor Chris Christie -   Humpty-Dumpty Christie

Governor Scott Walker -    Howdy-Doody with a hair dye

Carly Fiorina-                     Fiorina-lie-orina 
(she misrepresented her leadership of Hewlett-Packard)

Governor Mike Huckabee   Huckabee-wannabee

Governor Bobby Jindal       Stupid Party Jindal-Jandal

Governor George Pataki      Spanky-Panky

Senator Ted Cruz                 Elmer Gantry of the Senate
                                             (also known as "Cruz to loose")

Donald Trump                     Trump  the Chump



Dr. Ben Carson                    Carving Carson (he's a surgeon)

Governor Jeb Bush              Bushy-boy Jeb!

Senator Lindsey Graham     Grampsie

Senator Rand Paul                Myopic-Madhatter
(he's an ophthalmologist)

Governor Rick Perry            Sarah Palin's lost twin

Senator Marco Rubio           Blinky Bottle Baby
(needed his "blinky bottle" during his response to State
of the Union addess see YouTube 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19ZxJVnM5Gs)

Senator Rick Santorum        Little Ricky

Governor John Kasich         Why-O-Why-O 
(Governor of Ohio)

What do all of the above have in common?

They all have campaign money in common.  

How in the world these list of clown car passengers can sustain a presidential campaign, is beyond me. Certainly, no circus I know of should have so much money.  Does this list of candidates know how serious their responsibility will be, if they're nominated? I submit they do not know.  To them, being a candidate is more like taking money from babies.

They're in a clown card full of unqualified presidential candidates. They have no message, whatsoever, except to take as much money as they can grab from donors before fading into political oblivion.

Perhaps Bushy-boy "Jeb!"will be the clown car's driver, but by the time he shows some presidential leadership, the electorate will have fallen asleep.  

Republican clown car candidates must make a strategic plan. At the top of the list of their goals should be finding somebody who will re-brand Republicans as viable presidential leaders. None of the above show anything but entertainment value.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Hillary Clinton is, fortunately, retail campaigning. She's meeting real people while getting her message out to voters, regardless of how mesmerized the news media has been on the Republican circus clowns. 

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