If pictures could talk….

I wonder what Melania was thinking when this pic was taken?

melaniathoughtballoon

Watch a Trump supporter get pwned on CBS News

Donald Trump supporters celebrate Trump's debate win over Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump supporters celebrate Trump’s debate win over Hillary Clinton.

Man, is this person shown in the video on this page — the attorney general of Arkansas, no less — just made to look rock dumb on national TV.

Good for old-time journalist Bob Schieffer. Don’t tell Leslie Rutledge she’s lying. Just point out the flaws in her logic. Because that’s what journalists (as opposed to stenographers) are allowed to do. Once Bob starts the ball rolling, the rest of them just pile on. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

Trump was doing OK with a lot of journalists who were phoning it in until he made them look stupid at a press conference billed as a statement on Obama’s birth certificate, but which turned out to be a commercial for Trump with a bunch of know-nothing geezers who obviously had no idea what they were talking about.

You can shift lanes back and forth on a highway, cutting off civilian cars with a cop following three cars back in the far lane from you. The cop may act like you’re not there. But cut off that cop car and your ass is smoked. 

Same theory goes for journalists. 

 

Protecting yourself from hospital infections

Graphic: CDC
Graphic: CDC

Sometimes the biggest danger in a hospital, nursing home or home care setting is not your or loved one’s original illness. It’s infections that can be transferred to you due to sloppy health care practices.

This tidbit appeared on ScienceBlogs.com regarding the nasty bug that is often found in long-term care situations, including hospitals and nursing homes: 

As the name implies, Clostrodium difficile (C. diff.) bacterial infections are difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance. The problem with C. diff is that these bacteria release toxins that cause inflammation and diarrhea. In fact, C. diff is the number one cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals as well as long-term care facilities. Studies have shown that probiotic yeast may help prevent C. diff infections. While these studies are exciting, much of this prior research has not looked at strains of C. diff that are commonly involved in outbreaks.

A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liverexamined whether a probiotic yeast (Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745) could be used to prevent common outbreak-associated C. diff infections or their complications. The research team found that administering live yeast 5 days prior to a C. diff infection reduced the toxic effects of the bacteria in the gut of hamsters. The authors concluded that probiotic yeast may therefore help prevent outbreaks of C. diff.

I was hospitalized recently for six weeks. I entered with septicemia from a blood infection — which they had under control until I came down with a case of C.diff. Soon my stay stretched past six weeks. And every time someone walked into my room they had to wear a gown and gloves.

So it is good news that they might have another way of treating C.diff or preventing the worst of its symptoms.

But I am using this as a stepping off point for a larger issue: infection control procedures in health care settings. 

I think most people who work in hospitals are appropriately cognizant of how important it is to wash their hands and take appropriate steps to avoid spreading infections from one patient to another.

Yet even the best ones can cut corners if they seem super busy or tired. And then there are the ones who don’t seem to take these infection control steps seriously at all. People on the night shift appear, from my experience, to be more careless than day shifters.

I finally reported to the night shift nurse one person who was particularly bad. Soon my complaint had gone up the chain of command to the head of the department where phlebotomists work. The next afternoon that supervisor came in and took a report. 

The next time that phlebotomist came in to draw blood a few days later, she was very good at her job. 

Then, when I first got home, I had a home health nurse who came to show me how to set up IV infusions at home. Yet he walked into my apartment and started handling all the IV equipment without even washing his hands or wearing gloves.

Who knows what was on his hands from the outside world? I called him on it (nicely) and although initially he was a little put off by my questioning him, he has been very good ever since.

The most important thing you need to remember is this: do not be afraid to nicely bring up these issues if you see someone being sloppy about infection control steps. Suggest that the person needs to wash their hands and wear gloves before handling anything this goes into body. Don’t let them place IV needles onto unsanitary surfaces before using. The ends of all IV equipment should be wiped with an alcohol pad once unsheathed and before being connected to any tubing or connectors.

Do this for incapacitated loved ones, especially if they are in a nursing home facility where they might be afraid to speak up. If you ever see someone not follow infection control procedures you should speak up for your loved ones. If you do not get the impression that the facility takes this seriously, you might consider another placement if that is an option.

What else can be done? Look at the graphic below from the CDC for some ideas.

Source: CDC
Source: CDC

Beware tech journalists: many now become target of hackers

ddos

 

If you are a journalist/blogger who writes about computer security issues — or really any controversial topic in the human rights, international politics, or similar possibly sensitive arenas — you might start thinking now about what you might do if bad actors in the hacking community try to censor your writing by bringing down your web site.

How might they do that? It’s fairly easy from a technical standpoint, but you don’t even have to know computer code to do it. You can simply hire any number of companies around the world who specialize in DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

For a fee, these companies will marshal the power of computers around the world which they have hijacked any number of ways in order to have those servers overwhelm your web site servers as all those computer around the world send millions of hits to your site over and over again. 

Security expert Brian Krebs writes about these issues and some of his coverage has concentrated on these usually small operations which do this kind of thing for a fee. His writing most likely contributed to the arrests of two young Israeli hackers who ran a DDoS service-for-fee operation that turned out to be the source of a huge number of those attacks.

Good for Krebs. But bad for his internet service provider (ISP) , which had to deal with as yet unknown bad actors who set out to bring Krebs’s web site down

We pick up the story from Engadget — which, btw, also has excellent coverage of these issues:

Journalists are no stranger to making enemies bent on retaliation. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to survive that retaliation in internet era… just ask security writer Brian Krebs. An unknown party knocked his website offline last week with a massive distributed denial of service attack (620Gbps of non-stop data) as revenge for exposing two major cyberattack sellers who’ve since been arrested. He’s only back online after taking advantage of Google’s Project Shield, which protects journalists against censorship-oriented denial of service campaigns. His previous anti-DDoS provider, Akamai, had little choice but to drop him — the company tells the Boston Globe that a sustained attack on that level would have cost the company “millions.”

The campaign might not have required an elaborate effort, either. Krebs believes that the attackers took advantage of a botnet made up of hacked Internet of Things devices like DVRs, home internet routers and security cameras, many of which have poor or even unchangeable passwords. A larger attack recently played havoc with a French web host using similar tactics. There’s also the chance that the culprits used spoofing, which magnifies attacks by tricking machines into sending reply messages to the victim.

This might all seem like arcane geek speak to most people, but it is an increasing problem, not least because anyone can do it if they are willing to pay not huge sums of money to bring down web sites of business rivals, companies with whom someone is unhappy, or just that abortion service provider or non-profit agency whose web site and mission offend you. If you write anything controversial on a regular basis, you might be one of the next targets.

What can you do if it happens to you? 

First of all, be prepared to have your ISP cancel your account. Defense against these attacks can run into the six figures and you are most likely not that important to their overall business plan.

So you’d better have a backup plan, which includes redundant complete backups of your web sites and its assorted databases. Check with your hosting provider to see that this is done on a regular basis, but you should also consider having a third-party offsite backup of another sort.

You might also check into Google’s Project Shield — “protecting news from digital attacks” — a free security service for usually small sites with coverage of possibly controversial issues.  Project Shield took control of Kreb’s DNS servers and is now protecting him as best as they can with proprietary technology devised by Google. 

googleprojectshield

 

 

The internet has its way with a famous news photo

More here.

mo-bush-chloroform

Odds stacked against Laquan McDonald day he was born

michael-patton-tribune-violence

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is supposed to be the last line of defense for children from backgrounds of poverty and neglect.

Yet that agency is consistently underfunded, its employees overworked, and the community agencies with which it does business have had to fight to stay open thanks to GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s holding of the Illinois state budget hostage merely because he wants to stick it to unions and the state Legislature is resisting. That ongoing battle has brought about repeated funding crises at non-profits across the state and many of them have closed. 

It is this milieu into which children desperately scarred by drug-addicted parents and years of neglect through abuse both physical and emotional are thrust to very nearly, at times, fend for themselves.

It is also within DCFS where Laquan McDonald, the angry, developmentally disabled young man shot by now-indicted Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Van Dyke, was languishing on the day he was shot on Oct. 20, 2014. 

Laquan McDonald in his graduation photo.
Laquan McDonald in his graduation photo.

Video released by  the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel more than a year after the shooting — and then only after a judge ordered it — show that McDonald was shot 16 times by Officer Van Dyke despite the fact that McDonald was holding only a small folding knife as he was walking away from Van Dyke.

The backstory to Laquan McDonald’s life is one of abuse and neglect and failed chances to help turn his troubled life around. He was angry and lost. On a questionnaire administered to him by social services officials he answered “bad” when asked to describe the world in one word.

He was asked to do the same thing — one word — in response to the question: Most children get _______? Normally children answer “toys” or “food” or “love” or some positive aspect of their lives. McDonald said “punched.”

Yet Laquan McDonald was one of 11 children in DCFS care who have been killed by the gunfire of Chicago’s streets over a two-year period. (These 11 were the ones uncovered who were wards of the state, and this number does not include those who might have been involved with DCFS yet still with their families.)

Their stories are often sadly similar. Drug addicted parents. Born with drugs in their blood. Suffering from developmentally disabling amounts of lead in their blood, a problem not rectified in the decades officials have known about the devastating effect it has on developing brains of babies and young children.

People ask why desperately poor kids turn to gangs, guns and selling drugs. The answer is terribly complicated and varies in many aspects from child to child. But sometimes it’s as simple as having disabilities from being born to drug-addicted mothers — disabilities that confound them in underfunded school programs. Then they drift aimlessly and turn to gangs to belong somewhere — anywhere — but their loveless, dysfunctional home lives.

Take the case of 14-year-old Rashad Oliver, who was shot in the head on Jan. 25, 2015, minutes after leaving a friend’s home in south Riverdale. The Chicago Tribune article says, “The friend told police Oliver was rushing to make an 8 p.m. curfew set by his foster mom. It was his fifth foster home in less than five years.”

The Trib goes on to note: 

The boy had a long history of physical abuse, including being burned and hit with belts and extension cords, the inspector general said. His family at times lived in homeless shelters as his parents dealt with substance abuse problems, the report said.

In August 2010, the state took the children into protective custody after police found them living in an abandoned house in Maywood without working utilities or running water and with maggots, roaches and mold. The goal was for the family to be reunited once the parents completed treatment and could provide better care, but when that didn’t happen, the children remained in the system.

Oliver moved between three foster homes that first month because of his aggressive behavior and unwillingness to follow directions. He found stability away from his siblings in a new foster home in South Holland, but due to an undisclosed licensing issue, workers removed him after six months.

“This move was described (by Oliver) as upsetting and traumatic,” the report said.

He did well during his final placement in Riverdale. But the foster mother whom he had forged a bond with since April 2013 was moving to Tennessee. He was scheduled to move in with another foster family — his sixth — the week after he died.

I grew up in foster and group homes. By the end of it I was so angry I had dysfunctional relationships with just about everyone in my life. But I was a white kid who, after I was removed from my parents’ care, spent time in upper middle class communities where I nonetheless bounced from foster home to foster home and all manner of institutions in-between.

Even with those advantages I spent much of my life being unable to fully connect with people and turning to drugs to combat my demons. It was only through the love and determination of some very dedicated and loving friends that I was able to overcome these chains I carried for so long.

But let’s be clear about this because it is very important: I was not in a poverty-stricken neighborhood where drugs, gangs and guns were common. I cannot imagine being faced with being a foster child, in addition to the burden of those extra, difficult-to-surmount, hurdles.

Something has to change if we are to save Chicago’s poor South Side neighborhoods and all poor neighborhoods around the country. These kids do not deserve these sad, short violent lives merely by having the bad luck to have been born into the wrong social strata in the richest country in the world.

Following the November 27th protest march down Michigan Ave (Magnificent Mile) for Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times & killed by a Chicago Police Officer who has since been charged. Protests erupted after video of the incident was released to the public.  (Photo: nixerKG/Flickr)
Following the November 27th protest march down Michigan Ave (Magnificent Mile) for Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times & killed by a Chicago Police Officer who has since been charged. Protests erupted after video of the incident was released to the public. (Photo: niXerKG/Flickr)

 

Are white supremacists getting jobs in law enforcement?

One redacted page from a 2006 report on white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement.
One redacted page from a 2006 report on white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement.

As far back as 2006 (and before) federal officials have been warning of efforts by white supremacists to infiltrate law enforcement, either through having their followers apply for jobs or by recruiting among the ranks of those who are already in the field — from cops at the street level, to sworn law enforcement jobs in the U.S. government.

One of the key issues highlighted in the report is the possibility that a person who secretly shared views with white supremacists or any number of right-wing homegrown U.S. domestic terrorist groups might someday infiltrate into a position where they are called upon to protect, for example, a federal elected official. 

Say, perhaps, the country’s first black or woman president or their families?

Or perhap a white supremacist on the inside could keep right-wing terrorist groups informed of efforts by law enforcement to keep tabs on them.

If it was considered enough of a problem back then, it’s likely safe to assume that it’s only gotten worse considering both the meteoric rise of right-wing hate groups in the U.S., and the emboldenment their followers must feel with the rise of Donald Trump.

After all, the largest police organization in the country just endorsed Trump. the most blatant racist to run for president since George Wallace. 

Just imagine that one day in the not-too-distant past this all would have been fantastical thinking out of a thriller novel. 

In the 1960's the Klan had infiltrated law enforcement so heavily that federal officials often had to step in to enforce civil rights laws since local police were so filled with KKK rot on the inside.
In the 1960’s the Klan had infiltrated law enforcement so heavily that federal officials often had to step in to enforce civil rights laws since local police were so filled with KKK rot on the inside.

 

Taxpayers also pay when drug companies price gouge

epipen

Even as the cost of EpiPens dramatically rose, so too did the number of prescriptions written for patients in Medicare, sending spending by the program skyrocketing nearly 1,100 percent from 2007 to 2014, a new report shows.

During the same period, the total number of Medicare beneficiaries using EpiPens climbed 164 percent, from nearly 80,000 users in 2007 to more than 211,000 in 2014, according to the analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. While the report does not delve into what’s behind the increase, factors could include increased awareness among people with allergies, marketing efforts and access to insurance coverage.

The abrupt rise is notable because many people think that life-threatening allergies are less common among the elderly. In addition, epinephrine — the active ingredient in EpiPens — can pose greater risks to older adults. Food and Drug Administration labeling urges caution when prescribing to this age group.

“That level of increase gives me pause,” said Martha Twaddle, senior medical officer for Illinois at Aspire Health, which provides home-based supportive care for people with serious illness.  She did not work on the study. Epinephrine — the active ingredient in EpiPens — can cause side effects including chest pain, rapid increase in blood pressure or irregular heart rhythms, which could be fatal, for people with certain medical conditions, including heart disease.

The foundation study comes amid ongoing scrutiny — including congressional testimony Wednesday by Mylan CEO Heather Bresch — over EpiPen price increases. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Foundation.)

EpiPens are used in cases of severe allergic reactions. Costs for a two-pack of the pens has gone from about $94 in January 2007 to $609 in May of this year. In response to criticism of its price increase, Mylan announced in late August that it would make a generic version and price it at half of its current brand name price.

The new numbers from Medicare could add fuel to the debate over these price increases and voters’ demands that Congress take action to roll back the cost of the popular medication.

The health insurance program for senior citizens and disabled people spent about $6.4 million on the devices in 2007, but spent $75.3 million in 2014, with sharp price hikes by the manufacturer driving much of the increase. Those figures reduce the amount spent based on estimates of how much Medicare saved in rebates from manufacturers, although the agency would not disclose the exact amounts.

Still, when patients show up in emergency rooms with life-threatening allergic reactions, epinephrine is a first line of defense, said Robert Glatter, emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Those whose allergic reaction isn’t immediately life threatening would more likely get a mix of steroids and antihistamines, he said.

All patients with suspected severe allergic reactions — even the elderly — are given either a prescription or an actual epinephrine auto injector upon discharge, he said.

“We tell them to have it and use it if they have a lip or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, a skin rash [or other symptoms] of a problem,” said Glatter, adding that adults tend to become more susceptible to food allergies as they age.

Increased awareness among doctors and patients about the importance of epinephrine could account for some of the increase seen in the study, said Richard Lockey, a past president of both the World Allergy Organization and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

“Most people survive an allergic reaction … the people who don’t survive are those who don’t get epinephrine or don’t get it soon enough,” said Lockey, who says it is necessary to balance this idea with the possible risks epinephrine poses for older patients. “It’s a matter of clinical judgment.”

Although Medicare is generally thought of as the government health program for older people, about 16 percent — or 9.1 million beneficiaries — are younger than 65. They are generally disabled or have kidney problems requiring dialysis. According to foundation researchers, although the majority of users were older than 65, a disproportionate share – 35 percent — of the EpiPen users were younger than 65. Additionally, 26 percent were between 65 and 69. Use fell off with age, with only 15 percent of the users being between ages 75-85.

“You can come up with a ton of reasons why the under-65 population might see an increase in EpiPen use,” said James Goodwin, an expert in geriatric medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He did not work on the study.

As for the overall increase, Goodwin said there are likely many factors and it isn’t necessarily evidence of overutilization. Still, Goodwin says he specializes in patients older than age 80 and has never prescribed an EpiPen, nor had three of his colleagues, who work with slightly younger elderly patients.

One geriatrician said he has patients who are on it with prescriptions from their allergists, who weigh the pros and cons of having the drug. Those physicians “are the ones to say your allergy is serious enough to potentially become life threatening.”

At the American Geriatrics Society, epinephrine is not included on the organization’s list of potentially inappropriate medicines, said Nicole Brandt, a professor at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland.

“When you look at in context of someone having a severe anaphylactic reaction, which is life threatening, you want access to treatment,” said Brandt. She said doctors should caution patients about the appropriate use of the devices and encourage them to seek additional medical attention if they experience side effects.

She suggested the increase in Medicare prescriptions seen in the study reflects access to insurance more than overuse.

Since Medicare drug plans cover part of enrollees’ total drug costs, beneficiaries in prescription drug plans pay less that the full retail price. But beneficiaries still paid significantly more of their own money for EpiPens during the seven-year period studied in the report. Average out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries with Medicare drug coverage nearly doubled for each EpiPen, from $30 to $56. The report does not include price increases beyond 2014.

Still, those costs are far less than what some people with private insurance might pay, particularly those with high deductibles. As a result, at least one doctor — geriatrician David Barile from Princeton, New Jersey — who did not work on the study, speculated that the rise in Medicare use of EpiPens might simply be older people getting them for their grandchildren.

Mylan's embattled CEO Heather Bresch is shown here (right) speaking at Fortune Magazine's at a meeting for Wall's Street's most powerful women.
Mylan’s embattled CEO Heather Bresch is shown here (right) speaking at a Fortune Magazine meeting for Wall’s Street’s most powerful women.

Liz Szabo contributed to this report.

KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Could Calif. become the first stage for the public option?

Public Option

With major insurers retreating from the federal health law’s marketplaces, California’s insurance commissioner said he supports a public option at the state level that could bolster competition and potentially serve as a test for the idea nationwide.

“I think we should strongly consider a public option in California,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a recent interview with California Healthline. “It will require a lot of careful thought and work, but I think it’s something that ought to be on the table because we continue to see this consolidation in an already consolidated health insurance market.”

Nationally, President Barack Obama and other prominent Democrats have revived the idea of the public option in response to insurers such as Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. pulling back from the individual insurance market and many consumers facing double-digit rate hikes.

The notion of a publicly run health plan competing against private insurers in government exchanges was hotly debated but ultimately dropped from the Affordable Care Act when it passed in 2010.

Health insurers have long opposed the idea, and other critics fear it would lead to a full government-run system.

Most of the discussion surrounding a public option, however, has focused on a nationwide plan, not one emanating from a state. In July, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she would “pursue efforts to give Americans in every state in the country the choice of a public-option insurance plan.”

Jones offered few specifics on what a public option might look like in the Golden State.

“I don’t want to begin to prejudge it,” said Jones, an elected Democrat serving his second term as head of the state Department of Insurance, one of two insurance regulators in California. “I don’t know whether you would start in certain areas of the state and expand from there. I think there would be significant reservations about the state running it. There would be a wide variety of governance models you could come up with.”

Politically, the proposal may gain more traction in Sacramento than Washington with Democrats firmly in control of the state Legislature and many lawmakers eager to go beyond the boundaries of the federal health law. Depending on what form it took, a public option would require state legislation, some type of federal approval and some source of funding.

The idea of a California-style public option drew mixed reaction. Some consumer groups say they welcome another run at the public option after a disappointing outcome in 2010.

“We’re certainly very interested,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. “This is something we advocated for in its most ambitious form during the debate over health reform and there are elements of the proposal that could be adapted for California.”

Some health-policy experts questioned whether the proposal would backfire, ultimately reducing competition.

“I don’t know what would compel other insurers to stay in the market, so the public option could quickly become the only option,” said Katherine Hempstead, who directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s work on health insurance coverage. “I think that is only a clear win when the alternative is nothing.”

State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said a public option could make sense in some underserved areas. But he said it may not address the problem of large health systems dictating high prices, and it could interfere with the progress made by the Covered California insurance exchange.

Covered California said 7.4 percent of its 1.4 million enrollees will only have two health plans to choose from for 2017. The state’s biggest markets of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County all feature six to seven insurers.

“I don’t know if a public option will create a lower price [for] the consumer,” Hernandez said. “Covered California has done a good job of keeping rates fairly stable and it has enough plans.”

Health insurers agreed. “Covered California has arguably one of the strongest and most stable exchanges in the country. There is robust consumer choice so we don’t think we need to mess with something that isn’t broken,” said Nicole Evans, a spokeswoman for the California Association of Health Plans, a trade group.

 

For years, Jones has criticized the lack of competition in Covered California, and more recently he has opposed the mergers proposed by industry giants Anthem Inc. and Aetna Inc., saying they’re anticompetitive.

Anthem wants to acquire Cigna, while Aetna is trying to merge with Humana, but the U.S. Justice Department has sued to block both deals.

Covered California has fared better than many states in terms of insurer competition. Eleven health plans are participating in the state-run exchange for 2017, but UnitedHealth is dropping out after just one year in California’s individual market.

Consumer advocates had hoped UnitedHealth would become a strong rival to the state’s four largest insurers. Anthem, Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and Health Net (now a unit of Centene) account for 90 percent of the state’s exchange enrollment.

After modest 4 percent rate increases in 2015 and 2016, Covered California premiums are set to climb by 13.2 percent on average next year.

Jones said he anticipates that critics will cite the failure of numerous co-ops across the country as evidence a public option won’t work. But he said that criticism is unjustified because the Republican-led Congress eliminated crucial funding that many of the co-ops were depending on.

The co-ops are nonprofit insurers backed with federal loans and designed as an alternative to commercial health plans.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Trump’s stalker tendencies toward women are scary

People across America shared millions of time the video of autistic boy Jason Mcelwain shooting his heart-stopping last-minute baskets at the end of a basketball game. Yet many of them can see video of Trump the presidential candidate mocking a disabled man and not be angry.
People across America shared millions of times the video of autistic boy Jason Mcelwain shooting his heart-stopping last-minute baskets at the end of a basketball game. Yet many of them can see video of Trump the presidential candidate mocking a disabled man and not be angry.

A British TV personality recounts her years-long battle with Trump’s stalker behavior that she stopped only by threatening legal action.

I get why some Republicans support the GOP nominee no matter what. With Trump they are putting party before country, a decision that I do not fully understand. But the decision to do so hardly makes people who do it special. Elections by their very nature are hyper-partisan, so complaining about electoral partisanship in an election is a bit like complaining that rainstorms are wet. It is the nature of the thing.

What I do not understand is anyone who is a parent — especially a parent of young girls and women — who can look upon stories like this first-hand account from January of this year and not know deep in your soul that you wouldn’t want this man near your daughters, much less in the White House:

I know. I’ve been there. My 60-minute documentary exposed how through bluff, bombast and braggadocio, he had convinced the American business community he was far richer than he was, and that while the rest of his rivals were ‘losers’, he knew how to make the US great.

This ability to blag people into believing he was a commercial genius was most vividly illustrated in a helicopter ride we took over New York. Pointing to the Empire State Building, he told me he owned it.

‘What all of it?’ I asked.

‘Yes, 100 per cent,’ he replied.

Later, forgetting he had told me he wholly owned the building, he said he only owned 50 per cent of it which he then considerably reduced. It was the same story with the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City.

‘It’s wholly owned by me,’ he said. ‘Are you sure?’ I asked. ‘Well maybe 80 per cent,’ he demurred. ‘Are you quite sure?’ I pressed. He replied: ‘Well it’s actually 50 per cent…’

I showed both assertions in my film with many other inconsistencies with the telling soundtrack It Ain’t Necessarily So.

Trump went ballistic. Over many years he sent me a series of intimidating letters branding me ‘sleazy, unattractive, obnoxious and boring.’ He said I was ‘totally uptight’, and that I had begged him for a date. In his dreams!

This vicious tirade was often accompanied by fanzine newspaper cuttings which purported to show how much money he was making. 

He scrawled across the top: ‘Selina you are a major loser.’ Another letter declared: ‘Dear Selina, I hear your career is going terribly. 

In the meantime I have had the best year of my entire career. Fitting justice? Yours truly, Donald Trump.’

This went on for years until the author threatened to sue him. All for merely pointing out the obvious: he lies with such frequency that it is second nature to him. And when he is caught in those lies by a woman — or, the worst sin of all, she turns down his ham-handed sexual advances while he is married — he goes after those women with behavior that would mark a less wealthy man for a restraining order. 

This type of thing has been so abundant over the time Trump has bamboozled all of New York City, a city whose residents crow with regularity about how clear-eyed they are about everything, that you have to wonder if Trump has been spiking the city’s drinking water with some hallucinatory substance all these years. This is the man who, after Princess Diana was killed in the tragic car accident, opined off-handedly about he could have “bagged” her if he had wanted to do so. This is the man who mused about the sexiness of his baby daughter’s breasts not long after she was born. He has said a wife working outside the home is a dangerous thing — which is not only ridiculous on its face, it proves how little he understands the plight of the average family where mom has to work just to keep the family in food and clothes.

Trump is a man who mocked a disabled reporter from the podium at a public rally while running for the highest office in the land.  If you saw some guy you didn’t know do the same thing to a disabled person in line at the supermarket, you’d likely want to deck him on the spot. And then you would would wonder, rightfully so, if he had mental health issues. I mean, WHO DOES THAT as an adult in today’s America?

People across America shared millions of times the video of autistic boy Jason Mcelwain shooting his heart-stopping last-minute baskets at the end of a basketball game. Yet many of them can see video of Trump the presidential candidate mocking a disabled man and not be angry. I don’t get it. Is America’s compassion for the disabled that limited?

Trump is more than a cad toward women. We’ve had cads in the White House; John Kennedy and Bill Clinton come to mind. Trump is mentally unstable in his interactions with others, especially women.

So, fine, you’re a partisan Republican who supports Trump because you think having any Republican in the White House is better than having a Democrat. I get it.

But how can anyone be a parent, who cares about the world they leave for their daughters, and possibly not look at this man and think, “I wouldn’t let him near my kids, much less the Oval Office.”

 

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