US Elections: Winners & Losers

In a mainly 2 horse race it is hardly surprising that Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Especially given the other unusual events that’s happened in 2016 such as BREXIT and the Chicago Cubs.

To me here are some of the winners and losers from this US election marathon.

Winners

Kelly Anne Conway

Took over in the final months as Trump’s campaign manager and reined in his crazy utterances – mostly. She even took on The View and held her own.

Donald Trump

Blew up the rule book on effective communications on political campaigning. Mastered twitter to make his own headlines. Is this the start of a Trump dynasty in the White House?

Wikileaks

Gave an insight into the real Democratic Party campaign machine and Obama’s inner circle. Made unpleasant reading for some Bernie supporters.

Fox New

Coverage was the most balanced (can’t believe I am saying this) of all the major news outlets – except Sean Hannity and Eric Bolling. Ironically back in the spring Andrea Tantaros was sidelined by her employers at Fox because of her staunch support for Trump.

John Bolton

I fear Bolton more than I do of Trump. If he becomes a top foreign affairs adviser to Trump then be very afraid. The UN and EU could be in for some challenging times.

Israel

The idea of a 2 state solution with the Palestinians looks dead.

Mike Pence

If Trump bungles his presidency then vice president-elect Pence could be commander-in-chief. Conservatives in the US & UK are never scared to unceremoniously dump their own leaders.

US Comedians on TV

They all hate Trump but their TV shows are likely to receive a spike in audience figures which must lead to bumper salaries. Will Jon Stewart come out of retirement?

Neera Tanden

A Hillary insider whose frankness in her emails was spot on over the private server, David “batshit” Brock etc. The kind of straight talking email friend we all need!

The DNC needs to listen her blunt analysis and views going forward.

Michelle Obama

The class act of the DNC campaign.

Losers

Hillary Clinton

Hampered over trust and judgement issues especially relating to the private server & Clinton Foundation.

Hillary should have chosen Bernie as the VP given how he defeated her in 22 states during the primaries. Some of those same states that she then lost out to Trump.

DNC -Democratic National Committee

The leadership of DNC under Debbie Wassermann-Schultz and Donna Brazile was unprofessional and too devious at times. Both did their best to support Hillary during the primaries and block the chances of any other strong Democratic candidates.

Some Democrats wished they had the Republican chair Reince Priebus (another big winner) in charge of their party.

CNN, BBC, ABC, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, NBC, CNBC

The media’s anti Trump stance in the final months backfired big time. Given that they enhanced his reputation for the past 2 decades.

NBC kept him on The Apprentice long after the birther slander against Obama. CBS chairman Les Moonves remarked in February on Trump’s campaign. “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,”

Oops!!! – by September it was too late for the mainstream media to stop the Trump machine.

Big fan of Rachel Maddow but some of her programmes against the Republicans were just as outlandish as Hannity’s take on Democrats.

CNN lost all credibility with their coverage.

Media folks such as Donna Brazile, Roland Martin and John Harwood were caught out using their privilege positions to covertly push Hillary’s agenda.

Barack Obama

Trump as Obama’s successor must feel like the ultimate humiliation of his presidency.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden

Both must look in the mirror and say ‘Donald Trump is President, I could have beaten him but those bloody Hillaristas….?’

Was Joe got at by his own party in order not to challenge Hillary?

Elizabeth Warren

Despite having similar views to Bernie her failure to back him in the primaries upset the DNC left. Warren’s eventual support for Hillary following her nomination sounded so fake, given her years of disdain for Mrs Clinton.

Other News Items 

With the non stop coverage of the election campaign other important news items were simply ignored or reduced to brief bulletins. Look how quickly the news on Haiti’s hurricane disaster vanished from our screens.

The UK’s Channel 4 News (1 hour) last Wednesday gave 55 minutes to the US elections. They barely made time to mention that – also on Wednesday – 7 passengers died in Croydon, London following a tram derailment.

Gary Johnson

” Aleppo ? What is Aleppo?”

 

 

 

 

 

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Matthew’s Haiti vs 1 Horse – No Contest

Today much has been reported of the Ruler of Dubai – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum – providing up to £300,000 worth of aid to the people of Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.

A few days earlier Sheikh Mohammed spent £2.73 million on a foal at an auction in England.

(Sometimes) 4 legs good 2 legs bad – Animal Farm

 

 

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WADA & Their Excuses for TUEs

When news broke that sports stars took banned substances with the blessing of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), I was not that surprised. As back in 2014 I saw a report from Kent Universty highlighted that…

70% of top UK swimmers and third of Team Sky cyclists suffer from some form of condition, especially exercise-induced asthma’

What has surprised me is how WADA has tried to defend their hypocritical process.

Giving some athletes a free pass to take banned substances under the therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) system is just unfair to other athletes who do not take such substances.

The Russians through the Fancy Bears website have been slammed for hacking the WADA database in releasing the data. Fancy Bears has done sports fans a service to show up the hypocrisy of WADA’s confusing anti doping programme.

It just shows how wrong it was to blanket ban Russian athletes for Rio 2016.

WADA and sport governing bodies should understand that  athletes have a right to know if their rivals are taking banned substances under TUEs. So too fans and sponsors. If not the TUE system smells of deception.

WADA should release the names of Russian sportsmen and women who also have had TUE passes.

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What WADA should have done is introduce some penalty to handicap those athletes who desire TUEs to take banned substances.

So if athletes were approved to take banned substances in Rio then there should have been at least a 3 place penalty – ensuring the athletes cannot win a medal. With the public fully aware.

WADA can learn from Formula 1 motor racing. If a racing team makes major changes to the car there are grid penalties and sometimes the driver has to start the race from the back of queue. Yet these fans are kept aware of such developments prior to and during the race.

In Britain the TUE fallout is beginning to gather momentum following the recent explanations by cycling multi gold medalist Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins was allowed to take a banned substance for his asthma ahead of major events such as the Tour de France.

Ironically some British former athletes who are normally vocal in calling for life bans – on those who take banned substances – have said little.

But British sprint hurdler William Sherman is one of the few to speak out:  ‘I think #TUE’s are the biggest load of BOLLO-NY. If you can’t compete for a medical reason then that’s all part of the natural challenge’

Fancy Bears has been attacked by many in the media for disclosing the medical details of these sports stars. The US has quickly ignored the story given some of their major stars were also named.

WADA and sports governing bodies need to respect the public and not take them for granted in the future. As fans will lose faith and interest in those sports if the use of banned substances is still quietly endorsed by WADA.

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Airtight excuses? Wiggins speaking to BBCs Andrew Marr

 

 

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Bolt is a Jamaican National Hero in my Book

Since the Rio Olympics one of the ongoing debates in Jamaica is how should Usain Bolt be honoured for his continued success and global impact.

For me Bolt should be made a Jamaican National Hero. Once he retires.

Today the top 4  Jamaican national awards in order are

  1. Order of National Hero – for distinguished service
  2. Order of the Nation – for Jamaican Prime Ministers and Governor Generals
  3. Order of Excellence – for foreign heads of state or government
  4. Order of Merit – any citizen of Jamaica who has achieved eminent international distinction in the fields of science, the arts, literature or any other endeavou

Bolt has done more in his 30 years that surpasses the level of Order of Merit and that of any Prime Minister/Governor General who automatically receive the Order of the Nation.

The only black men who have attained the Order of the National Hero status were men who were admonished by a colonial Jamaican establishment during their lifetime. I speak of Samuel Sharpe & Paul Bogle (both hanged) & Marcus Garvey who left Jamaica in 1935 disappointed at his treatment.

Public opinion says Bolt is simply too young to become an official National Hero. I disagree. Bolt has been a global phenomenon for 8 years now. In an ever changing world that alone is some achievement.

I would be happy to even see a town or even parish named in his honour. Bolt is from the parish of Trelawny which was named after a former governor of Jamaica. [Most towns and parishes are named after the British establishment folks & towns from the colonial days.]

I would also be happy to see the other distinguished Jamaicans such as Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Dennis Brown, Leonie Forbes, Trevor Rhone etc appearing on currency notes, stamps, highways, towns etc.

For years the National Hero status has been a head scratcher of mine.

  • How is it that Jamaica’s highest award – that reflects its history from 17th century onwards – has just one woman on the list – Nanny?
  • Why is it that the 2 post independent (1962) National Heroes – Norman Manley & Alexander Bustamante – are solely political figures?

One of the dangers in restricting the current number of national heroes to 7, since 1982, is that when National Heroes Day comes around annually the media and schools tends to focus on just those 7. When we know that there will be other Jamaicans worthy of inclusion and discussion during that special week in October.

Fortunately in post independent Jamaica, the island has not been that involved in wars and therefore their distinguished achievers (heroes) are likely to come from the field of drama, art, sports, literature, music, business, medicine, engineering  and not just politics.

Usain Bolt is indeed a Jamaican National Hero. So too Bob Marley, Louise Bennett- Coverley, Mary Seacole, Joel Augustus Rogers, Una Marson, Claude McKay, Rose Leon and others. All worthy of being in the conversation.

The Jamaican government should at least ask Bolt if he would be willing to accept such an important award and take on the expectations and responsibilities the honour carries.

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Seven plus more?

There is no force like success, and that is why the individual makes all effort to surround himself throughout life with the evidence of it; as of the individual, so should it be of the nation. – Marcus Garvey 

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Rio 2016 – Gone in 21 Days

Rio Olympics withdrawal syndrome is creeping in. But before I forget everything – following QPR can do that – here are some of my favourite moments (excl. Bolt,  Phelps, Minxia Wu) and low points.

FAVOURITE MOMENTS

Diving: Tania Cagnotto (Italy) winning her first medals (bronze and silver ) given Rio was her 5th Games.

Athletics: Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) in the women’s 200m. Gritted her teeth when she felt Schippers coming up to her.

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Water polo: The winning  US women team handing their gold medals to their coach.

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Tennis: The men’s singles semifinal match between Rafael Nadal & Juan Martin Del Potro was dramatic and the spectators added to the atmosphere.

Athletics: Michelle ‘ShotDiva’ Carter (USA) winning with the shot put final with her last throw.

Table Tennis: Men’s semifinal match between Long Ma (China) & Jun Mizutani (Japan). Classic.

Gymnastics: Simon Biles on the floor. Time seems to stand still when you watched her routine.

         Natasha Hastings winning gold in the women’s 4×400 relay👏🏿

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LOW POINTS 

Athletics: Kenya coach who posed as an athlete to provide a urine sample and was expelled.

Athletics: Lynsey Sharp’s (GB) sour grapes reaction to running SIXTH in the Women’s 800m to South Africa’s Caster Semenya.

[sprinter Nigel Levine (GB) supporting Sharp with his prat-induced tweetHappy for Lynsey Sharp for coming 3rd in women’s 800m.’]

Football: Hope Solo’s reaction after losing to Sweden describing them as a ‘bunch of cowards’.

Judo: Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby who refused to shake hands with Israel’s Or Sasson because of the latter’s nationality. [Which is strange giving judo is all about touching]

Gymnastics: Gabby Douglas forgetting her moves half way through her uneven bars exercise. She literally just stopped for seconds before continuing.

Roll on Paralympics.

 

 

 

 

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Are Labour Party Women Just for Window Dressing?

Labour MP Caroline Flint’s exact quote back in 2009,  before resigning from Gordon Brown’s government was..

“Several of the women attending cabinet – myself included – have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing,” she wrote. “I am not willing to attend cabinet in a peripheral capacity any longer.”

Recently week Flint supported Angela Eagle who challenged Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the Labour Party.

Eagle proclaimed “It’s time Labour had a woman leader”. But within days Eagle had a change of vision said “I am supporting Owen (Smith) with all my enthusiasm & might” for leader.

With another Tory female -Theresa May – Prime Minister in Downing Street:

  • Does Labour have a problem recruiting and developing dynamic female leaders to represent the party?
  • Does Labour have a problem attracting and showcasing effective leaders male or female?
  • Is the Labour parliamentary group filled with too many activists and very few with leadership qualities?

When Ed Miliband resigned as Labour leader in 2015, there was a chance for a female leader to come to the fore. Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Mary Creagh all stepped forward but none could convince enough Labour members to support their respective campaigns leaving Corbyn the easy victor.

Given Corbyn’s initial leadership aspirations were half-hearted before winning; what does that say about Labour’s leadership philosophy over the past 20 years?

Harriet Harman – who for 8 years – was deputy leader under Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown has never run for leader. In the deputy leadership race last year Flint, Stella Creasy decided to go just for the deputy leader post and lost out to Tom Watson.

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A lost generation?  1997 – Tony Blair & 101 Labour Female MPs.

Labour were in government between 1997 and 2010. You would think during that period of continuous power PMs Tony Blair and Brown would develop their ministers’ leadership credentials.

But the stranglehold that Blair and Brown had on their male and female ministers restricted most of them to cameo appearances with departments.

When you look at the background of Blair’s Iraq War push, were there any senior female Labour politicians really involved in the decision making?

Last week, Tory MP Theresa May moved seamlessly from Home Secretary to Prime Minister. Which makes sense since being in one of the most important cabinet post should be an ideal platform for national leadership.

Jacqui Smith was Home Secretary (2007-09) in Gordon Brown’s government. Smith’s time there was not easy and close-up you realised quickly that she was never in total command of that portfolio. Gordon Brown was.

Smith in her own words

“When I became Home Secretary, I’d never run a major organisation. I hope I did a good job but if I did it was more by luck than by any kind of development”

Is the Labour Party recruiting the right cross section of people to be their representatives?

Over the years the recruitment trend new MPs has been study at Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxbridge, become a researcher or policy adviser for MPs or enter journalism then wait to be parachuted into a safe parliamentary seat. Being a union official can fast track an member to become as candidate for parliament.

If Corbyn wins then he and his senior members must put in programmes and initiatives to transfer MPs from just activists into leaders.

In March 2015 some former Labour female government ministers and MPs were asked to list some of their achievements. Below are 2 examples that show the little impact they really made as ministers despite their length of service.

Source

  • Dawn Primarolo,  (former Financial Secretary, Paymaster General, Minister of State for Public Heath and Minister of State Children and Young People)

“One thing that makes me smile and I know that, because of the work I did there, it may seem like a small thing, but it was the reduction of VAT on sanitary protection, followed by contraception. It was important to women and it was also symbolic.

  • Hazel Blears, (former Minister in Public Health, then Minister of State for Policing, Crime Reduction and Counter terrorism & Secretary of State Communities & Local Government)

“I was promoted to public health minister, and we did ‘five a day’, so people who get fed up with eating five a day, it is my fault. And we banned tobacco advertising too.”

I am disappointed that a leadership challenge has been mounted now by Labour MPs to get rid of Corbyn. But now that it’s out in the open I wanted to see which MPs would step up and seize the moment. Especially female MPs. Potential leaders that could appeal to all wings of the party.

Caroline Flint was critical of Gordon Brown’s leadership and she has been equally vocal about Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure. As a former minister of 5 different portfolios shouldn’t Flint be one of those to break Labour’s self inflicted glass ceiling and run for leader?

In the words of former PM John Major – when he had his own leadership issues – “put up or shut up”.

 

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Caroline Flint – Missed Opportunity? Again?

 

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Theresa May: The Revenging Feminist?

What we learnt from Prime Minister Theresa May’s first cabinet is that she is loyal yet revengeful, a pragmatic feminist who is not afraid to humiliate those she has little time for.

Loyal at Home

Damian Green, Karen Bradley and James Brokenshire all worked under May at the Home Office. All 3 have been promoted to the cabinet. Very unusual to see so many junior ministers promoted from 1 department. Especially from the Home Office.

Revengeful

Why did May sack Gove & Morgan?

As Home Secretary 2 of May’s bitterest bust ups were with (near neighbours) Education Secretaries Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan. Gove’s spat with May led to the resignation of her key adviser Fiona Hill. David Cameron supported Morgan in her tussle with May. Morgan had threatened to resign if Cameron had not done so.

(Fiona Hill is now one of May’s top 2 advisers in Downing St)

Ironically, in January this year Morgan said a woman should be the next Tory leader and that any leadership race should not be between “2 white men“. Morgan supported Michael Gove in the leadership race.

George Osborne’s sacking as Chancellor was predictable given the massive austerity spending cuts he imposed on May’s Home Office since 2010. Given the pressures on crime, counter terrorism and policing forced cuts of up to 22% by Osborne was deemed too harsh in Home Office circles.

The Humiliator

How does Priti Patel really feel about her appointment?

Priti Patel is the new cabinet minister for Department for International Development (DfID). In 2013 Patel said

“A long-term strategic assessment is required, including the consideration to replace DfID with a Department for International Trade and Development in order to enable the UK to focus on enhancing trade”

Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary is a humiliating appointment. Since 1997 the Foreign Secretary is no longer the grand cabinet position. Just ask Jack Straw or William Hague. May knows that Boris will have little impact thanks to his history of insulting other nations & cultures and may not last.

Pragmatic Feminist

Not long after May took over the Home Office, Helen Ghosh was appointed her top civil servant. The first woman ever in that position at the Home Office. In 2012 Ghosh complained of the old Etonian clique amongst Cameron and his inner circle and constantly felt ignored. May must have been aware of this clique as well.

With 8 women now in the cabinet has the old boys Etonian network been smashed by May?

In appointing Amber Rudd as Home Secretary is May lining up Rudd as a potential successor?

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Theresa May: Austerity’s Grim Reaper?

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