It pains me to say it, but I’m voting for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

There is a significant chance that the nomination was stolen from Bernie Sanders and from us, and if so, then Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party deserve to be punished for it. I also think the best chance we have to take back our government is to elect Hillary Clinton, so we can avoid Donald Trump and continue the fight.

I don’t think she is going to be a good president. I expect she will continue selling much of her power to the highest bidder, and not do much at all about climate change or many other issues vital to progressives. But it will not be as bad as a Trump presidency: legitimized hate, fantastically bad Supreme Court justices, and a snake oil salesman in the White House.

One important caveat is if she allows the Trans-Pacific Partnership to pass, because that would bring consequences far worse than a Trump presidency (and dramatically lessen the impact of bad Supreme Court nominees), and these consequences will linger for decades. Regardless of her words, there is a distinct possibility she may let this terrible so-called trade deal pass. She never said “I will do everything in my power to kill this bill.” What she said was the very weasely-worded, “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it”.

This is not the time for a protest vote, in terms of a presidential campaign. I ran as a third-party candidate. I’m the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress. And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.

— Bernie Sanders, from a Facebook post on 9/17/2016

I disagree that voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is a protest vote. If you vote third party in order to punish Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party–or don’t vote, or write in Bernie Sanders, who is no longer a candidate–then yes, I disagree with you. If you honestly think a third-party candidate would be the best president for the country, then you are voting your conscience and I support you.

(See my article on Bernie or Bust.)

I must admit: I do believe voting third party does make it more likely that Trump will become president. However, if he indeed becomes president, this is the fault of no one except Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Beyond being “not as bad as Trump,” and the couple of concessions Bernie Sanders pushed her for (the healthcare public option and college affordability), they have not done much of anything to earn our vote.

It pains me to say it, but I’m voting for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

Update 9/23: This article sparked a lot of discussion











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Our Turn NJ: Manipulative ad campaign promoting northern NJ gaming expansion ballot initiative–I say vote NO

For the excessively manipulative tone of the Our Turn NJ ad campaign alone, I recommend that my northern neighbors vote “no” on this November’s gaming expansion ballot initiative, which seeks to build two new casinos in northern New Jersey.

Instead of objectively presenting all information, Our Turn NJ strongly suggests that voting against building these casinos, is somehow equivalent to “robbing” and “stealing” money right out of gramom’s hands, using a picture of an anguished senior citizen to drive the point home. (“Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll just sit here and suffer.”)

According to the website’s main video-commercial, had these two casinos existed since 2006, $15 billion total in revenues could have been raised, with up to $1.8 billion that would have gone to fund critical programs, such as those depended on by low-income seniors and the disabled.

$15 billion total – $1.8 billion to programs = $13.2 billion

That’s $13.2 billion that does not go to these “critical programs.” Divided over the past 11 years, 2006-2016

$13.2 billion / 11 years = $1.2 billion each year

$1.8 billion / 11 years = $164 million each year

$1.2 billion every year in revenue would go to two casinos, while about one seventh of that amount, $164 million, would be shared among every low-income senior and disabled person in the state.

$1.2 billion / $164 million = 7.32

This would only exacerbate the scourge of income inequality, especially considering that these figures are self-reported and likely overly optimistic.

According to the seniors in the video, if you don’t vote for these new casinos:

  • “They [seniors] would be lost.”
  • “I would go broke.”
  • “The seniors would be out on the streets”
  • “Where would they get the money to fund places like this, if it didn’t come from casinos and gaming?” (Gaming is the one and only way to fund these programs? In the entire world?)

In another commercial: “If I didn’t have this program, I would be handicapped myself.” This is the same video that ends with “They took care of us, now it’s our turn to take care of them.”

Instead of overwhelming voters with guilt, Our Turn NJ should be supplying them with answers:

Regarding the $164 million allotted to special programs each year: How much of this is guaranteed, and how much is tied to performance or other metrics, or subject to arbitrary decisions by casino owners?

Regarding the $1.2 billion each year that does not go to critical-programs: According to The Press of Atlantic City, “[N]o more than one-third of the tax revenue annually collected from the new casinos would go toward helping Atlantic City,” and according to NJ.com, “Two percent would go to New Jersey’s struggling horse racing industry and to municipalities and counties where the new casinos are located.”

What about the casino executives? How much do they get?

What is the benefit of this initiative to all of those people listed on the Our Turn NJ’s support page?

Again from The Press of Atlantic City: “Other unknowns include the specific locations of the gambling halls, the tax rate they will pay on their gaming revenue, and who will run the non-profit charged with revitalizing Atlantic City.”

Some things, however, are clear.

Since the locations will be determined by the state legislature only after the initiative passes, proper studies on the impact on surrounding communities (such as land, water, utilities, crime, addiction, suicide, divorce, and bankruptcy) are not possible before November.

Worst of all, by postponing the determination of the locations until after the election, the input of the residents and businesses in and near those ultimately-decided-upon areas can largely be ignored. And why not? By that point, the voters will have already decided on the casinos, and therefore on also giving the legislature the final say on locations.

(And we haven’t even mentioned the fundamental negative of the casino industry, which is to entertain the many by taking terrible advantage of the few.)

Unsurprisingly, according to a study commissioned by an Atlantic City casino and supported by No North Jersey Casinos, expanding gaming into northern New Jersey would cause “Atlantic City’s casino industry [to] contract significantly…”, including the likelihood of casino closures, tens of thousands of lost jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues in expressway tolls, to businesses on the boardwalk, and in state taxes.

Also unsurprisingly, according to New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney, the topmost public official on Our Turn NJ’s support page, gaming in North Jersey is “inevitable” because “competition is going to be in New York shortly.” Also, New Jersey residents are starting to choose gaming options closer to home, in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland–alluding to the most prominent line in the Our Turn NJ campaign:

New York and Pennsylvania have stolen BILLIONS of our gaming revenue, robbing our seniors of funding for critical programs.

(Emphasis from original.)

It should be noted that it is not a foregone conclusion that this initiative will pass. According to a June Monmouth University poll, most New Jersey seniors are, ironically, against gaming expansion, and overall support and opposition to the idea is tied at 48%. At the time, Steve Sweeney’s reaction was, “I really think [the initiative is] in trouble.”

So if we are to believe the Our Turn NJ campaign, we would not be voting against two casinos, we are instead actively hurting low-income seniors and the disabled. More than that, we are being complicit in a crime against this vulnerable population.

If hiding facts behind such blatant manipulation is the only way Our Turn NJ believes they can get votes, then I am skeptical of what those facts have to say. I recommend voting no on the North Jersey gaming expansion ballot initiative.

Update 9/23: Our Turn NJ suspends media campaign

According to the Press of Atlantic City:

Our Turn NJ announced Thursday it was suspending its paid media campaign, citing poor polling data among the factors.

“The current political climate in New Jersey and voters’ concerns about the lack of details relating to the effort have proved overwhelming,” Paul Fireman and Jeff Gural, supporters of expanding casino gaming beyond Atlantic City, said in a statement. […]

“Although Our Turn NJ signaled they will suspend their media campaign, we will continue to fight any and all efforts to siphon dollars and jobs out of South Jersey,” said Debra P. DiLorenzo, chairwoman of the No North Jersey Casinos Coalition.

Charles Ortel: 40 days, 40 pieces of evidence that “the Clinton Foundation is not just a fraud, it’s a massive fraud”

(Apologies on the missing final seconds.)

Charles Ortel is a whistleblower who, during the financial meltdown of 2008, researched and revealed fraud by General Electric to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. As described in one of his earliest articles on the subject, in March of 2015, he became suspicious of the Clinton Foundation and turned his full time attention to investigating it. Starting on September 6, 2016, and for 40 days, Charles will be releasing a series of one article per day on the Clinton Foundation, on his website.

While open about his disdain towards the Clintons (and to a lesser extent, the Bushes), he asserts the evidence in his research is comprehensive, objective, and well sourced. “This is not simply a fraud–which it is–it’s a massive fraud. And it’s a massive fraud that people in both parties, inside this country and in numerous countries around the world, have either willingly or unwillingly overlooked for almost 20 years… [In these 40 daily reports, we will be] revealing billions and billions of dollars of corrupt practices… This is Tammany Hall on steroids. This is not just confined to New York, it’s [global].” Beyond wanting to bring justice to the Clintons, Ortel is also motivated by the majority of those who donate to charities, who are not wealthy.

If none of the scandals associated to the Clintons over the years have brought them down, why does Ortel believe that this one can? Because in corporate fraud, it is required to prove intent, implying that the onus is on prosecutors to prove a crime was committed. This is not true with charity fraud, where it is the charity’s responsibility to prove that there is no fraud, implying that their paperwork must always be comprehensive, up-to-date, and publicly accessible. In other words, if someone at a charity commits fraud, they can go to jail even if they didn’t mean it. “And these rules are crystal-clear… It’s not like they’re buried in thousands of pages. They are crystal-clear.”

“Bill Clinton wrote a book in 2007 called ‘Giving‘ [for which he was paid $6.3 million]. I will be taking that book, which is in the public domain, and using it to indict him. In the first person, he declares crime after crime after crime… When you get involved in a charity and you don’t bother to know all the rules that apply to charities, [since intent is not required,] you can commit charity fraud.” He also points to the case of Hillary Clinton superdelegate and Democratic Florida congresswoman, Corrine Brown, who was indicted last month by the Obama administration’s Justice Department for $800,000 in charity fraud, and is facing the possibility of hundreds of years in prison.

People who commit fraud, “they have no moral compass, but they tend to be brilliant… They’re tough people to catch.” Regarding the Clintons, “we’re not talking about uneducated rubes. We’re talking about a Rhodes scholar, we’re talking about a Yale Law school graduate, and with Chelsea were talking about someone with a PhD and two other degrees. These are smart people. If they wanted to reveal the truth…they would’ve done it.”

“One of the oldest questions in the book is, who’s regulating the regulators? [Ratings agencies such as] Charity Watch and Charity Navigator are both very small enterprises. [They have minimal revenue, budget, and staff, and] are not equipped to evaluate the Clinton Foundation.” Although not accused of anything illegal, this is not unlike the influence and corruption of ratings agencies in the 2008 crash, from which GE, at the time it’s massive fraud was revealed, had a AAA rating. (I also can’t help but be reminded of this.)

As a former computer professional, I was interested in a potential and very specific technical issue. Some critical sources in Ortel’s research refer to information on websites that he does not control. I asked if it was a concern that perhaps some of these documents may be removed or altered, therefore invalidating or compromising his work. He pointed out that the Clinton Foundation’s website itself “is already gamed”. Documents have been removed in an alleged effort to suppress incriminating information (which is in itself an illegal act). That said, despite some required documents not being on the Clinton Foundation website, they are indeed available on the websites of other organizations, states, and countries. “I have what I need.”

A post script from Mr. Ortel: “For you and for your audience, I’m going to be so bold as to give you all an assignment.” He suggests reading Thomas Jefferson’s only book from 1787, where he predicted the current “political convulsion”, which is an inevitable reaction to rapidly growing corruption, derived from money and “growing lazy”. (In my interpretation, the laziness is the vegetative state people have taken in front of the so-called news and their personal electronic devices.) Ortel paraphrases: “There will come a time when there will be a convulsion. [Where] the chains that are tearing us down will be thrown off and we will enter a new era…or we will basically disappear.”

(Shout out to Kitty Snyder, a fellow Bernie Sanders super-volunteer and DNC delegate who I worked with throughout the 2016 Democratic primaries. Kitty is also a copy editor for the Thompson Timeline, through which she met Charles. To me, Kitty is the visual symbol representing the struggle of the Bernie delegates at the Democratic National convention.)