Economics of a Bully

This just in:  Trump’s tariffs have started a global trade war in which there are no winners.  Not unless you call the smug satisfaction Trump gets when he is bulling someone a “victory.”

Here is what tariffs do.  They are a tax on an imported good.  For example, if China once sold a cell phone in the United States for $400, then a 25% tariff would increase the cost of that phone to $500.  We put a tariff on China and Americans pay more for goods they buy from China.

To be clear…the tariff on imported goods is a tax on Americans.

If this is true, why would anyone implement tariffs?

Setting Trump aside for the moment, there are times that tariffs are practical.  For example, let’s suppose China has a huge technological and cost advantage when it comes to producing solar panels.  Let’s also assume that the United States would like to encourage the development and production of solar panels domestically.  Since China has such a huge advantage and can sell panels much cheaper than we can make them, any company in the United States that produces panels will not be able to compete.  Their panels will not be as advanced nor as cheap as those from China.

Enter the tariffs…

By putting tariffs on Chinese solar panels, their panels will now cost Americans more to buy.  In fact, the Chinese panels are now so expensive that we will buy American panels instead.  This allows a domestic industry to survive and grow.   Eventually, we will be on par with China and the tariffs, no longer needed, will go away.

So, the tariff increased the cost of solar panels but in exchange, we got a foothold in a huge global market for our domestic panels.

Let’s bring Trump back into the picture.

As president, he is allowed to unilaterally implement tariffs up to 25% if it is in the interest of national security.   For example, to protect an American industry that contributes to defense.

What Trump has done is to impose arbitrary tariffs on China, the E.U. and Canada without any clear rationale.  No one, including those in this cabinet, know what it is that he is actually trying to do.  No one can tell us what the “national security” issue is.

And what’s worse, those countries he is imposing tariffs on don’t know what he wants.  They don’t know what he is trying to negotiate for.  He says things like “China is treating us unfair” without clarification.  He puts tariffs on Canadian milk as if this will prevent a national security breach.  He puts a tariff on German cars and leaves the E.U. to scratch their collective heads in confusion.

Trump does all of this for two reasons.  The first being because he can.  The Republican Congress has indicated to Trump that they will not challenge any issue he wants to take on.

The main reason for tariffs is that Trump is a bully.  He puts tariffs on counties for the same reason the biggest kid in 3rd grade beats up on the other, smaller kids.  He is mean and insecure.  Being a bully is the best way he has come up to deal with this.

So, the world is entering a trade war because Trump basically needs a nap.

And as the result, Americans will pay more for many for the products they buy every day.

Vote in November and get the Republicans out of our house.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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Putin’s Spanking Room

This just in:  Trump is headed to Europe to meet with NATO, the UK and Putin.  I’d like to share a few thoughts and predictions about this.

But first, let’s look at Trump’s achievements while in office thus far.  Perhaps this will tell us how high or low to set the bar for this week’s expectations.

First of all, we must remember that he is an expert Deal Maker.  If you are not sure, just ask him.

Deals he has backed out of…

  1. The Trans Pacific Partnership whose purpose was to increase markets overseas for U.S products.
  2. NAFT whose purpose was to increase markets in Canada and Mexico for U.S. products.
  3. U.N. Human Rights Council whose purpose is to monitor and address Human Rights around the world.
  4. The Iran Nuclear deal whose purpose was to eliminate Iran’s ability to create a nuclear threat to the world.
  5. ON the verge of exiting the G-7 economic summit because they hurt his feelings.

Deals he has made…

  1. Under his congress, he passed a tax law that adds trillions to our national debt in exchange for…nothing other than millions of tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country.
  2. He claimed to have made a deal with North Korea and even announced that his 2-hour meeting with Kim -never missed a meal- Jong Un resulted in a complete end to the nuclear threat.  Notable is that North Korea seems to disagree with this completely.

Major accomplishments…

  1. For no apparent reason, pushed for the separation of immigrant parents and their children as they sought to flee violence in their own countries.
  2. Refused to support a “Breast Feeding is Good” resolution at a World Health Assembly; stunning the rest of the world.  His rationale….”Baby food makers are people too.”  Never, ever underestimate the power of the Baby Food Lobby.
  3. Everything else he has done has been through Executive Order, including the tariffs that are set to cripple to Global economy.  He has also dismanted of nearly every regulation put in place to protect our environment.

Now….About his overseas trip that starts today…

He meets with NATO in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.  He has managed to alienate nearly every member in this organization. NATO is the single most successful peace organization in the history of the world.  Trump, on his very own, has created an atmosphere where they fear even meeting with him.  They know he is Putin’s boy and fear that any plans they make will be relayed to Putin when he and Trump meet a few days later.  My prediction:  Trump will continue to alienate NATO.  He will boast about how well everything went and then ignore it when other members claim he is a turd.

We have to remember that Trump lives in a world that exists only in his mind.  There is no “Better and Cheaper healthcare.”  There is no “Denuclearization of North Korea.”  There is no “Better Trade deal that is more fair.”  He’s claimed all of these and yet, all are demonstrably false.

After NATO, Trump goes to the UK where he is universally hated.  He will mostly avoid London where protesters will be filling the street.  There will be a giant balloon of Baby Trump flying over the city.  We have to remember, the U.K. is our biggest and closest ally…and they hate the president of the United States.  My prediction is that he will do whatever it takes to piss of the UK even more.  He can’t help himself.  Making others angry or fearful makes him feel strong.

This brings us to Putin…

Trump and Putin will meet in Helsinki a week from today.  Reportedly, Putin has set up a Spanking Room where he will administer whippings to a fat cheeto dressed in black leather.

Eventually, he and Trump will reach an agreement where Trump tells him everything he knows about NATO and Putin tells Trump how to behave on a wide range of issues going forward.

So, there you have it.

Trump’s experience tells me that my Expectations Bar needs to be set very low.  In fact, I think I’ll just lay it on the ground.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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Dogs, Dinner and Democracy…

This just in:  Another year brings another 4th of July to my desktop calendar.  I wonder how many people will hang a flag in front of their house and think, “There.  I’m a patriot.  Mission accomplished.”

I tend to think there is more to being patriotic than that.  Just like I think there is more to being a good person than going to church and then proclaiming myself a Christian.

But first…I have to tell you about something my dog did that I found extremely impressive.

My “small” dog is a Labrador.  Now, if you have ever had one of these, you know that they will not only eat anything that fits it their mouths, but they will do so with what I can only describe as Extreme Gusto.

So Echo, my dog, needs to take a pill.  Pills and pinecones are the only thing on her “Do Not Eat” list.  So, to get her to eat this pill, I put it in a handful of kibble and let her gobble this out of my hand.  As expected, she attacked this feast and gobbled everything down…then as she walked away…she stopped just long enough to spit out the pill.

I was impressed.

Now a bit about dinner.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.  We went to a fairly swanky restaurant.  We’d never been there before.  They had a small menu with about 7 or 8 items on it.  Of course…I went with the Pork Belly.

My wife wanted the Duck. The following conversation ensued…

Wife:  I’ll take the Duck

Waiter:  We don’t have Duck

Wife: But it’s on the menu.

Waiter:  I know but we don’t have any Duck.

Me:  When will you have Duck?  I’d like to know so we can get it next time.

Waiter:  We have Duck.

Me:  I don’t understand.

Waiter:  It’s on the menu.

Me: Okay…so my wife will take the Duck.

Waiter: We don’t have any Duck.

This is a true conversation.

My wife, Erika, ended up with some sort of eggplant thing.

And finally, my take on patriotism…

Keep in mind…this is just my opinion…

If you posted your flag and felt that you’d fulfilled your patriotic duty…then great.  However, if you did that and then went in and watched Fox News and cheered for Trump and the Republican Party…then I’m going to have to call “bullshit” on your claim to patriotism.

If you support Trump and the Republican Party, you are either a racist/evangelica (hate non-whites and/or non-Christians or your are intellectually lazy.  (You may have noticed that I have taken off my gloves.)

If you cheer when Trump says, “The Democrats want MS-13 to come into our country,”  then are easily manipulated.

Here is a link to a study that shows Democracies around the world are on the decline.  The United States took the deepest dive over the last 2 years…the Trump years.

If the only thing you are doing to stop this decline is hanging a flag…then you are part of the problem.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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The insanity of Trump’s economics

This just in:  It has been said that economics is a “soft science” because the outcomes of certain actions are not always predictable.  In fact, there is an entire field of economics known as Behavioral Economics, that tries to find out why this is so.  This diversity of outcomes from a repeated experiment is why we find several economic opinions that all differ with regards to nearly any given topic.

But there are some things we can count on, either by observation or irrefutable logic.  On these types of issues, the economic world is in nearly unison with their recommendations.

One such issue is Trump’s fantasy world of economics.  Nationally and abroad, the absurdity of Trump’s actions are astounding anyone that is paying attention.

Let’s look at a broad view of what I mean.

I will lay this out in steps, trying to put order to something that is nearly random.

  1. Trump wants to deport millions of illegal aliens.  These are people that have raised families here.  They pay taxes.  They commit crimes at a much lower rate than others.  And, this is important, they are filling many of the jobs that most of us would not take due to the low pay.  Trump’s policy of deporting these people is, in large part, justified by “They are taking away jobs that belong to U.S. citizens.”  Somehow, Trump is saying that for every field hand we deport, a high paying job is Silicon Valley opens up.
  2. Trump, and the Republican Congress passed a tax bill that takes from the nation as a whole, and gives to the vastly rich.  There are two ideas behind this: (1) Rich people will hire us to mow their lawn if they have more money.  This is known as Trickle-Down economics and is the most widely disproven economic theory there is.  And (2) Corporations will use their tax breaks to raise wages.  This makes the assumption that corporations are benevolent.  Instead, companies exist to make a profit.  If they already have employees that come to work for $x per hour, why would they pay more?  In fact, they didn’t. Instead, they are in the process of buying back company stock which has the effect of enriching shareholders, not workers.
  3. Trump cut subsidies for Green Energy, one of the fastest growing industries in the world today.  Many of the jobs in this industry are good paying.  Instead, Trump is investing in coal and other fossil fuels; an industry that is rapidly shrinking.
  4. Trump dropped out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and is now threatening to drop out of the World Trade Organization.  There is no clear reason for doing this but the outcomes are certain.  These are the exact steps one would take if they wanted to reduce the amount of goods we sell overseas.  Confusingly, Trump complains about the Trade Deficit all the time.  He thinks its a bad thing (it’s not) and then he does the exact opposite of what it would take to increase exports.
  5. Trump is putting tariffs on everyone that pisses him off.  As president, he can levy a tariff as high as 25% if it is deemed necessary for national security.  So,  suddenly, Canadian cheese imports are a threat.  The result of this is two-fold.  First, is causes our trading partners to levy counter-tariffs against us.  These counter-tariffs raise the price of our goods overseas.  Harley Davidson is a good example of this.  Tariffs placed on their product means they will sell fewer of these  overseas…unless….they move the factories and jobs overseas…which is exactly what Harley Davidson is doing.  Secondly, we now pay more for good that are imported.  If we put a tax on imported steel, then everything that uses imported steel will cost us more.  Already we are seeing spikes in goods like automobiles.

In summary, Trump touts jobs and then does everything he can to eliminate them.  He claims he is putting more money into the hands of the middle class and yet, they small amount we all get from the tax cut is quickly eaten up by the higher prices we are paying for anything imported.

And here is the kicker.  Europe, China and the rest of the world want to make this stop.  they actually want to know what it will take to make Trump stop this Globally Destructive behavior.

The thing is, even Trump doesn’t know what he wants.  The conversation goes like this…

Trump:  Here are some tariffs on the rest of the world.

The World: What can we do to make you change your mind?

Trump: I have no idea.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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The Good, the Bad and the Orange

This just in:  A quick shout-out to all my peeps that missed me on Facebook while I was away.  I missed them too.

Now for the good….

In Thailand, 12 youth soccer kids and their coach were exploring in a cave when it started to rain.  The rain flooded the cave which is apparently several miles long.  For 9 days, people searched for the group hoping that they found some sort of “bubble” to hold out in until rescue came.  Today, they a were found.  All of them are alive.

As for the Bad…

I went to see the Beach Boys at the Marin County Fair.  I should not have done that.  Yes, I can now say that I saw the Beach Boys sing California Girl.  The music, while familiar, was sung by voices that should have retired a long time ago.  I feel bad saying that but hey, if you want to stay in the game…then stay in the game.  Don’t fade away into the sunset on stage in front of a few thousand fans.

I must admit, part of my frustration with the Beach Boys had nothing to do with the music.  Someone in front of me had a plate-sized cinnamon bun topped with ice cream.  It had to be about 10,000 calories.  I thought about reaching over and grabbing a handful…then blaming my wife, but there were too many witnesses….all of whom were also eyeing this delicacy.  So, I stood there drooling as the Beach Boys struggled to remember the words or even the day of the week.

Now for the Orange…

The two biggest “How is Trump Failing Today?” stories are: (1) His lawyer, Michael Cohen is apparently flipping and will now spill the cheetos on Trump and (2) Trump is now thinking of getting out of the World Trade Organization because the rest of the world agrees with every educated person in the United States that “Trump’s Tariffs are going to ruin the global economy.”

There is a ton of news on Trump.  None of its good.  Here is a link to Reddit.  If you follow this link, it will take you to hundreds of stories from hundreds of sources, all of which say something like “Trump is the worst at everything.”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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A Return to Facebook

This just in:  I left Facebook on May 1st and took the next 2 months off.  I seemed to have survived just fine.

My plan was to come back and start all over.  I would “friend” very few people; mostly those of a like mind.  Instead, Facebook hooked me up with everyone that I left behind.  This is a bit of a problem since one of the reasons I left was that I got tired of reading one Russian produced meme after another.  A surprising number of people I grew up with will believe just about anything.  In many cases…it’s the Dunning-Kruger effect on steroids.

I intend to be blocked and to block in abundance.

I’m still not into conspiracy theories.

I still think “Thoughts and Prayers” have zero impact on gun control.

I still believe that science is a real thing.

And I’m certain that Donald Trump is a corrupt con man.

So, not much has changed in the last 2 months.

So…what’s on my mind today?  I know that may not be important to you but it’s why I blog in the first place…to put it down on paper so my head won’t explode.

On Netflix, the SciFi show “The Expanse” has to be one of the best things out there.  I read where the SciFi channel had to drop it because, even though it was popular, the production costs were just too high.  In steps Jeff Bezos (Amazon owner).  He is a big fan of the series and is now footing the bill for season 4.

Pork Bellies are good with anything.

Radiatore pasta is the best pasta to eat when covered with chili and cheese.

On the Trump is an idiot page….(yes, I still do this)

Two weeks ago he met with Kim-Jong-Haircut of North Korea and announced that he’d solved the nuclear crisis.  Last week he said North Korea has already sent home the remains of 200 MIA from the Korean War.  Now, it looks like North Korea is actually accelerating its nuclear program AND….no, it turns out North Korea has not returned any remains.

Trump has managed to take the immigration issue and make it worse.  I won’t go into all the details because it has be blanketed by the news already.

Trump’s genius economic mind, the one that caused him to declare bankruptcy over and over again until Russian banks bailed him out, came up with the idea of tariffs.  For no apparent reason, he has started a trade war that will raise costs and cost jobs…around the fucking world!

For no reason at all…

Trump’s economic advisor went on television and bragged about how well the new tax plan is working.  It’s causing record economic growth and shrinking the deficit.  When the entire world pointed out that this was false, he changed his story to “Well, we think it will happen in the future.”

Meanwhile…common wisdom says that when a new president takes over, the economy still belongs to the previous president for one year.  The reason for this is that economies don’t change overnight.  So, the stock market continued to grow and unemployment continued to drop during Trump’s first year.  This should rightfully be put on Obama’s record. However, after 1 year, starting in 2018, the stock market has had its worst year since 2010.  Economists around the world are starting to talk about the recession that will come.  They blame 2 things for this: (1) The Republican Tax cuts for the rich and (2) Trump’s trade war.

Watch this bit on Trump by Jon Stewart.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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You just might be a Republican if…

This just in:  I was a Republican once…from the age of 18 to about the age of 45.  When Bush made up stuff so we would go to war, I realized that the GOP had changed.  The truth didn’t matter any more.

Today, there are no “Republicans” as I once knew them to be.  Instead, there are people that support Donald Trump.  That’s it.  You either vote Republican and thus, support someone that will support Trump, or you vote against them.

Since the GOP has been in such a great state of flux over the last 15 years, I thought I might point out some traits that, if they apply to you, may mean that you are a Republican (or Trumplican if you wish).

You just might be a Republican if you think it was okay for Mitch McConnell to not allow Obama to pick a Supreme Court Justice and wait until the next election AND you think it’s NOT okay to keep Trump from picking a Supreme Court Justice so we can wait until the next election.

You just might be a Republican if you think we should lower the national debt AND approve the latest TAX bill which is sending the debt into the stratosphere.

You just might be a Republican if you think we should outlaw abortion but not provide family planning services to young women or food stamps to children born into poverty.

You just might be a Republican if you think our allies should be Russia, North Korea and Turkey instead of the E.U., Canada, Briton and just about everyone else in the free world.

You just might be a Republican if you think tariffs are not going to raise prices in the United States while costing jobs.

You just might be a Republican if you think climate change is a hoax.

You just might be a Republican if you think it’s okay to separate mothers from their children at the border and think “If they don’t want to lose their kids, they shouldn’t try to enter our country.”

You just might be a Republican if you think America should be a White and Christian nation.

You just might be a Republican if you are an evangelica that believes God just told your favorite TV minister that he needs a new jet.

You just might be a Republican if you live in rural American, depend on government assistance and vote against your own best interests in that regard.

You just might be a Republican if you think coal and steel are growing industries in the United States while Green Energy is just a passing fad.

You just might be a Republican if you think most media outlets knowingly propagate fake and misleading news (92% of Republicans think this)

You just might be a Republican if you think the rest of the world has greater respect for the United States now that Donald Trump is in charge.

You just might be a Republican if you think Trump understands Healthcare, Taxes, Diplomacy, Warfare, Trade, Economics, Alliances or Science.

You just might be a Republican if you think deporting illegal aliens will help you get a better, high paying job.

You just might be a Republican if you think Donald Trump having a 2-hour meeting with Kim Jong Un solved the North Korean nuclear threat.

You just might be a Republican if you are evangelical or a white supremacist.

You just might be a Republican if you think the investigation into Russian interference in our elections is a witch hunt.

You just might be a Republican if you think giving tax cuts to corporations will cause them to give raises to their employees.

You just might be a Republican if you think giving tax cuts to billionaires will cause them to create more high paying jobs.

You just might be a Republican if you think we should end environmental regulations intended to protect our environment.

You just might be a Republican if you think China isn’t playing Trump like a fiddle.

You just might be a Republican if you think corporations should be allowed to make unlimited campaign contributions and hide the fact that they do this.

So…I am not a Republican.  I believe in facts, science, history and experts.

I like limited money in politics and clarity as to the sources of money.

I like honesty.

I like thoughtful government that works towards the betterment of ALL Americans.

But hey…that’s just me.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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Longing for yesteryear…

This just in:  Trump’s “Make America White Again” crusade has grabbed the world’s attention.

In Iran, they don’t post signs saying “Death to America.”  Instead, they just post pictures of the United States imprisoning 4-year-old kids taken from their parents at the border.

Fox News sides with the president saying that many of these kids will grow up to be gang members.

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a Republican leaning organization, is forcing its outlets to air pro-Trump propaganda with regards to taking kids from their parent.

Trump called the immigrants and “infestation.”

But it was not always like this.

I grew up in a world where one of the main lessons of World History was that the United States is made up of immigrants.  It was something to be proud of.

On the Statue of Liberty is says,

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

Yesterday, Trump wanted to only let in the elite.

In other words, it looks like we are no longer taking in “huddled masses yearning to be free.”  We only want college educated people that can code.

Now, when I say, “Look at what we have become,” I am really saying, “About 25% of all Americans are white supremacists and Trump has made this okay.”

It’s not only Trump, the Republican Party backs him completely.

So remember, when you vote this November, if you vote for a Republican, you are voting for Donald Trump.  You are voting for racism.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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Disastrous week for Trump…and it’s only Tuesday

This just in:  Every day now, for over a year, I keep asking myself, “Can Trump’s American get any worse?”

The answer is always, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Let’s look at the leading stories today…

Trump is abusing children as leverage to get a wall that will be a monument to himself.  Meanwhile, Fox News calls the crying children “actors” and “future gang members” that should be separated from their parents.  Keep in mind, we are talking about 4-year old kids.

Trump has sold over $100,000,000 in properties to Russians who paid in cash.  Paying is cash, while not illegal, is a Big Red Flag for law enforcement looking at money laundering.

Republican owners (aka the Koch Brothers) are squashing public transportation projects across the country because they, the Koch Brothers, are heavily invested in gas consumption and asphalt (used to make roads).  In other words, they will have fewer billions if people get out of their cars.

The United States has 4% of the world’s population and 40% of the firearms.  However, we are way, way ahead of everyone else when it comes to “thoughts and prayers.”

Trump claims immigrants are “infesting” our country.

Today, the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Trump has involved the United States in a trade war; us against everyone else in the world.  It’s not clear why he is doing this other than he has no idea how economics works.  So far, the trade war has wiped away all the gains of 2018.

Trump is in potentially big trouble for using his Charitable Foundation as his own personal piggy bank.  Trump often claims to donate to charities but many that have researched this have yet to find any instance of such behavior.

And for the biggest news: As Trump trashes American morality, as Trump trashes international relations, as Trump trashes our economy…the Republican Party acts as if nothing if going on.

Vote these anti-Americans out of office.

Help to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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There is no Republican Party. There is only Trump

This just in:  It has been demonstrated that if you are a Republican and Trump does not like you, he will trash-talk you in the primaries and a different Republican will take your place.

This is why Republicans fear Trump.  His base is devoted to him and if he tells them to pick a different Republican…they will without question.

Now…pay attention to the next statement very carefully.

The next time you vote for someone with an (R) by their name, you are not voting for a Republican.  You are voting for someone that will blindly support Trump.

The Republican Party has left the room.  The old-school Republicans that favored balanced budgets went bye-bye with the tax cut that is adding trillions to our national debt.  The Republicans that wanted to improve healthcare instead have created a healthcare system that is rated last place among industrialized nations.

The Republican Party that pretended they favor family values has been exposed as they support Trump’s ripping children from families that are seeking a better life.

There is no Republican Party.  Trump took the name and made it his own.  If you are a Republican, then you are Trump.

Speaking of The Man Who Would Be King…

Our fearless leader had a 2-hour meeting with one of the nastiest killers alive in the world today.  After the meeting, Trump had nothing but praise for this killer and announced that he, Trump, has just solved the North Korean Nuclear Crisis.

Of course he didn’t but he thinks he did.

Our fearless leader is right this very moment, allowing children to be taken from their parents and used as a political lever to get Congress to build him a wall.  A wall no one other than Trump wants.  He doesn’t care that a wall won’t work. He only cares about a 2,000 mile long memorial to his reign.

I think this guy is one of the worst human beings the world has ever seen.  If he had his way, we’d live in a country where I would be shot for even thinking that previous sentence.

If you vote Republican…then you are voting to keep this person in power.

Just so you know…

Up, up and away…

Jim

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