Say It Ain’t So…

The press is pussy-footing around with regard to the Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘thingy’ as if to set us up for a gentle letdown.  It is almost as if they, the press, are lobbying for FBI Director James Comey to be able to gracefully get out from under the 800 lb. Gorilla named Hillary Clinton.  They seem to be sending signals that they, the press, will not be too tough on Director Comey if this all ends up just a puff of innocent smoke blown away in the stiff breeze of the hyper-political season.

“Legal experts” are now being referred to in the latest AP writing by Michael Biesecker as saying that “it appears unlikely that Clinton would be charged with committing a crime.”  Does that sound like a ringing action statement or does it sound more like the press’ permission to the FBI Director to avoid charges with their assurance they won’t try to further embarrass him?

I am getting a very queasy feeling in my stomach that this is all going to have been nothing more than another potentially prosecutable ‘distraction’ that will have been swept under that giant rug the Clintons must have stashed somewhere.  This will simply get stacked on top of Benghazi, and the $100,000 gain in a couple of months of cattle futures trading just as ‘bimbo eruptions’ always seemed to have been pointed right back at the unfortunate bimbos who were victimized by another Clinton.

I so hope I am wrong with this gut feeling, but it sure seems this is being swept under that huge carpet the Clintons have somewhere that is already bulging from all the other occurrences that have been deposited there.

And that brings me to the realization that if my vote is the one that tilts the scale, Donald Trump will reside in the Oval Office since I simply cannot cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.  I doubt that I am in the minority of conservatives, either.  While it might be entertaining, I can’t vote for “the Bern” either, although I have very much enjoyed his playing the mouse to Hillary’s cat so deftly this election season.

Had this probable election outcome been prophesied by someone a year ago, that person would’ve risked being ridiculed or even institutionalized for his or her own good.  Once again, my breakfast with a young Marquette student a few weeks ago is back at the top of mind.  He told me this would ultimately be my choice…and he had a smile on his face when he said it.

Mr. Trump will get my vote…again as the lesser of the evils available to me, but he’ll get my vote nonetheless, and I hope he’ll be our next President.  My fingers almost cramped as I keyed that statement.

Do WI Democrats Need Financial Assistance?

Wisconsin Democrats will be holding their convention this year at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay, the same place they held it in 2009.  That might seem embarrassing to you or me given that they still owe some $5,807.34 to that same hotel for the convention held in 2009, and haven’t paid anything on that bill since January, 2011.

But that didn’t seem enough of a problem to keep them away this year.  Why the Radisson would take another shot at hosting this year’s event would be a bit of a question, but maybe they have made some kind of deal about which we know nothing. In any event, this didn’t get a lot of press coverage until Dan Bice made it public knowledge in his “No Quarter” piece in this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Maybe the Radisson reasons that the bar bills will be a significant offset to that old outstanding debt.  There could be a lot of Democrats crying in their beer.

I am trying to imagine just what would’ve happened if the state Republican party still owed money for its 2009 convention.  I wonder how many pieces would’ve been written about that over the intervening years?  Maybe a better question would be how long it would’ve taken the hotel not being paid to take the matter to a higher level, such as the public through the initiation of a formal collection process.

Of course, the DPW, not the Department of Public Works DPW but the Democratic Party of Wisconsin DPW, found it politically timely to highlight Governor Walkers’ delay of payment of WI debt, as has been regularly done by Governors in our past (Jim Doyle [D] did this 5 times during his reign), to try to escape the spotlight on the Democratic Party debt still outstanding.

What tangled webs the Democratic Party of Wisconsin weaves, but it seemingly bothers them little; maybe not even at all, since this debt has been on the books for years, and is blamed on the former leaders of the DPW who have made no attempts to defend their honor, so far at least.  Those who might have tried to defend would be Mike Tate and his successor Martha Laning who is chairing the Party this cycle.

By the way, the current spokesperson for the DPW, Brandon Weathersby, released his statement on this topic: “It’s surprising and hypocritical that GOP operatives would choose this week to raise such an issue.”

I don’t find it either ‘surprising’ or ‘hypocritical’.

 

Remember Lands End?

Once upon a time there was a wonderful start-up in Dodgeville, WI named Lands End. It produced great clothing items, many of which I confess still hang in my closet and get worn regularly.  That attests to the timeless style and to the wonderful quality that existed…once upon a time.

Then Lands End was acquired by a man named Edward Lambert who is Chairman of Sears Holding, and who was going to do great things with Lands End (although the spectre of K-Mart hangs in the air).  The Lands End sections in Sears stores was decidedly out-of-place given the much better quality that existed, at least initially. That didn’t work so well and the Lands End entity was finally able to negotiate a deal whereby it became more its own operation although still held in part by Sears Holding.  Mr. Lambert’s Sears organization is not doing so well either. The Sears stores look nice but there doesn’t seem much business being transacted when I visit a Sears store.  Nor does there seem to be an adequate staffing level; probably indicative of attempts to trim expense and create/improve profits.

Lands End is still in business, it is still held in part by Sears Holdings but it is suffering under significant errors in executive staffing.  It’s sales are off.  It’s classic Lands End approach to clothing has been, in my mind, perverted into something it never was and never should have been.

High-flying executives have been brought in to square this away and have failed; the current CEO, Federica Marchionni, made it known she wouldn’t dream of moving to the Dodgeville area so there was an executive office created in New York City for her and her support team. This seems to have had little, if any, favorable impact on the issues experienced at Lands End.  High flying people who were thought to be the solution have come and have made virtually no difference.  So, we now learn that a former Radio Shack CEO has been hired.  That seems counter-intuitive since there don’t seem to be many Radio Shacks around any more.

Maybe this will all eventually get sorted out, but there seems not much forward momentum today.  In the meantime, a great brand has been tarnished, maybe to the point that it’ll never fully recover.  A community, Dodgeville, WI which was fully invested in the original Land’s End, rides a precarious roller coaster since it is largely driven by the ebbs and flows of this company, its largest employer by far.

Some things are better left as they were but the “chase the dollar” mentality of some people who think they can do anything prevents that from occurring.  I wonder where Lands End would be today had it never been taken over by a professional financier. Maybe a bit smaller although that isn’t necessarily true.  Maybe a bit truer to its original founder’s plan?  I suspect that would be true.  Maybe it would be doing better given the millenials huge impact on virtually everything…but they demand quality and I fear that has slipped a bit under this reign of never-ending saviors that seem to have forgotten how to save the companies they migrate to every couple of years or so.

Will Lands End ever get back to being what it was?  I don’t see how that will ever occur. Will Dodgeville, WI ever be able to withstand a Lands End down-turn of major size?  I fear what the answer to that question might be.

Remember Lands End?

TSA Gets Blame, But…

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is getting all the blame for long, long, long lines of people waiting to pass through the screening process in major airports across the country.  Pictures shows oceans of people in long queues.

Congress is getting virtually no blame, and the members of Congress probably don’t think they deserve any of the blame, EXCEPT those are the people who cut the TSA’s budget numbers so more screeners could not be hired and trained to overcome the problem.

300+ people recently spent the night in O’Hare’s hallways since they couldn’t make their flights because they weren’t able to get through the TSA screening process in time. Congressmen and women now howl that TSA needs to hire more screeners, etc., etc., etc., and they suggest that people can help if they will just check their bags thus speeding the screening process, obviously ignoring the cost implications of checked baggage since they fly on taxpayer money.

Most of us pay a price for our poor decisions in one way or another and yet that doesn’t seem to bite too many members of Congress in the fanny too often.  Members of Congress apparently are able to have their cake and eat it as well.  They cut the budget and they escape any blame that results from their decision.  And, we tend to re-elect our members of Congress time after time.

It has seemed to me that a TSA agent is in an often thankless position.  We travelers are not always in good humor.  The TSA agents are simply doing their jobs as best they can while abiding by all the travel rules and restrictions imposed on those who travel by air.

We know these rules are necessary especially when we hear the news of another airliner going down apparently as the result of an explosion, a suspected terrorist action.  Too often, it seems, there are Congressional decisions made that fly in the face of the reality that you and I share.

Would there not have been another source or more sources for the budget cuts that Congress felt necessary rather than to go after the TSA budget?  Is there some latent animosity toward Congress’ own creation of which we’re unaware?  Has the TSA head honcho stepped on one too many Congressional toes?  Or is it that our Congressmen are accorded different treatment as they fly back and forth from home to Washington, D.C. and back again.

It doesn’t seem they feel the same pain they inflict on others by these budget reductions, but we make them special by re-electing them time after time after time. There are times when I think we should have term limts on most elected positions. Maybe this would be one of those triggering occurrences were I flying as I once did for business.

Blog Lust Compelling

I have missed blogging for the past few days since my system suffered some kind of router and/or laptop problem, and since it takes a week to get the Geek Squad people scheduled for a visit.  Why, I wonder, does  Best Buy not recruit more ‘geeks’ and add to their billing volume?  I did note my Word Press login info, fortunately, and am now hogging my wife’s computer and am already feeling a sense of relief.

It is difficult to think there is so much to say and to have again temporarily lost the forum employed to say it.  That loss first occurred when the Milwaukee Journal Company was purchased by US Today and my blogging on their former GermantownNow site was terminated along with the thousands of blogs lost forever since they claimed not to have the technology available to be able to provide me with that body of work.

We are closing in on that inevitable Battle Royale between Hillary and Donald and yet Bernie refuses to give up…and might pose a bit of an embarrassment during the Democrat’s Convention.  Mr. Trump seems to have gotten into a slightly improved zone where he doesn’t try to kill his chances nearly so often as he tried in the past.

We, some of us anyway, continue to await the Hillary bubble being burst by the FBI making the announcement we have felt to be inevitable.  There seems little, to my way of thinking, that indicates she is innocent of having Secret and/or Top Secret information in a basically unprotected personal computer e-mail system that was easily hackable by any number of foreign powers who thrive on breaking into our government’s systems.  The “there was nothing marked Secret or Top Secret” gambit is not likely to impress the FBI; at least I can hope that to be the case.

That ought be a significantly more black and white issue than the carefully muddied waters of Benghazi.  It is a shame that she will likely never be held to account for what I believe is her complicity in the whole Benghazi debacle.  I will continue to hold out hope and pray that the families to which she lied will be somehow able to move on even though they will feel betrayed for the rest of their lives.

What will be the outcome of the next Presidential race?  None of us know, obviously, but we have to realistically understand that there could be another Clinton sitting in the Oval Office.  Maybe Donald Trump will be able to get out of his own way and give her a real battle.  But, there is something about the Clinton’s, something akin to a teflon coating, that defies belief.

And I am a person who felt he could never cast a ballot for Donald Trump.  It’s that old ‘lesser of evils’ thing that keeps on biting my backside.

Another Trump-Related Irritant

There is another irritant that is troubling for me.  It has no reflection on Donald Trump, however.  I refer to the drumbeat now occurring as to whom Mr. Trump might look as his favored VP candidate.  Almost every person who had been running for the presidential nomination as the Republican hopeful can probably be counted as one of those who would entertain being the VP on a Trump team.  That would exclude those who were outrightly antagonistic toward the idea of a President Donald Trump while they were in  the hunt.

How does one answer a member of the national press when asked the question “Would you be interested in running for Vice President if asked?”  The recipient of the question would naturally be pleased to be the recipient of the question.  Drooling a reply would not be appropriate but it seemed Newt Gingrich came close to that yesterday in response to that very question.

I can understand that it is very empowering just to be thought of as a possible VP but there needs to be some semblance of maturity displayed when answering.  A cute little smile, such as that on Newt’s face when he responded to that very question yesterday simply is not appropriate.

Then there are the also-rans almost anyone of which would probably be thankful to be asked.  There is always that nearness to being the President if, God forbid, something should happen to the President.  There has to be a ‘rush’ even to be thought of as a VP candidate.

Every person who was in the Republican race should be well-practiced with his or her response to that nearly inevitable question.  Newt may have practiced but his response, in my estimation, left me feeling like he wasn’t the guy…and that comes from a Newt fan in earlier times.

The response I’d desire is simply a straight-into-the-camera look with the statement “yes, I would be honored to even be thought of as a possible Vice President.”  I believe that Donald Trump needs give very close attention to his partner on the ticket, and I am quite sure he is doing that.  That selection should be a person who can offset Trump’s lack of political experience although that hasn’t seemed to have slowed his quest at all up to this point.

We are in the final days before the Republican nominee and the Democrat nominee square off for the final run-for-the-gold.  Unless there is a cataclysmic occurrence, that race will be between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  A visit from the FBI could be seen as a cataclysmic occurrence, I guess. But, there I go dreaming again!

Republicans Still Can’t Believe It

Listening to the radio talk shows and watching the national television news talk shows and reading the national press simply reaffirms that the national media have great difficulty in believing that Donald Trump might actually become the Republican candidate for President of the United States.  They transfer that to the people whom they interview and still seem to be baffled when they get the response that this is what the people want.

What don’t they see?  Do they not see the popularity of Donald Trump with Joe and Jane Lunchbucket?  Do they simply have an “I can’t believe this is true” issue of believability? Do they really think they can bring someone out from under wraps and place his or her name in the nomination bucket?  That effort has been underway and is driven in part by Mr. Romney who didn’t fare so well in prior national elections as I recall.

As it stands today, there will be a Republican party convention and Donald Trump will win the nomination on the first ballot unless something is rigged.  If that were not to occur, the Republican party will self-destruct simply because the Joe and Jane Lunchbuckets will no longer trust that party. The Republican nameplate would be virtually worthless overnight and I think that probably would be appropriate, even if I am not a 100% died-in-wool supporter of Donald Trump.

Is it possible that people in this country have become fed up with politics as usual?  Would it be that difficult to understand this to be the case?  Could we not see where the people up and down Main street might say that a guy plays by the rules, even if he is a rich fond-of-self and bombastic kind of guy, amasses the necessary votes and then gets the shaft?  The guys and gals up and down Main street understand that this happens to people, and they resent that happening even to rich people.  It is not what they see as fair no matter how much or how little money one has.

I do not believe that Reince Priebus, the Chair of the Republican National Committee would allow that to happen on his watch.  I do not believe that the Joe and Jane Lunchbuckets would permit that to happen. They’d bolt in an instant and support Trump in a party that Trump set-up overnight…and that would be entirely appropriate.

We are in the midst of something historic politically.  This may well be written about in the future as the turning point in modern politics.  It might well lead to a complete change in our political structures in the U.S.  This is not what Donald Trump set out to do, but it is something he’d probably love to have his name tied to for posterity.

Republicans had better come to grips with this new reality if they wish to continue as a viable part of the national political landscape.  Time will tell.