Tuesday, October 25, 2016

No favors to companies that send jobs overseas

By George Templeton
Gazette Columnist
We thought we could help the world without hurting ourselves.  Markets grow when competition replaces poverty, but sometimes profit becomes more important than value.  To create or consume, that is the question.
It was 35 years ago.  We had a new president, Ronald Reagan.  It would be 12 years before the election of Bill Clinton, the man that Republicans incorrectly blame for lost jobs.  It would be 27 years before irrational over-exuberance and banking deregulation led to the Bush Administration’s financial disaster and 8 more years until Donald Trump blamed it all on the Carrier Corporation.
I was on the opposite side of the earth, moving manufacturing to Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.  It seemed distant in those days because there were no cell phones or internet.  A telephone connection to America was like contacting Mars by ham radio.  Communications used a TWX machine.  You placed your message into a discarded bathtub to be sent.  It overflowed with hundreds of messages and new messages, on top and ever coming, would be sent ahead of yours.
It was like that at the grocery store.  Lines were a novelty.  You could not stand there waiting for your turn because it would never come.  Instead, you had to behave like everyone else, elbow yourself to the front, and along with half a dozen other people wave your money at the cashier.  When she grabbed your cash, you were next.  You bought fresh chicken alive.  You did not pay for refrigeration or worry about out-of-date meat.  There was only a single can of beer in shoppers’ grocery carts because it did not come in six packs.  There was a shocked look on the cashier’s face when I bought the beer for the company party.  She thought she had met Satan incarnate.
Colonel Sanders chicken was just like in the USA, but waiters, fancy tablecloths, silverware, beer, and a quart bottle of sweet hot sauce to be slavered over everything in copious quantities were features not found in America’s fast food version.
Natives took their left-over dinner to the roadside and sold it cheaply without license or regulation.  It eliminated the problem of hunger and built community, but page two of the newspaper was an ad for worm medicine.  In America we could eliminate food stamps this way.
Malaysian cooking was a delight, lacking the overemphasis on red meat so common to the American diet.  A chicken dinner at a restaurant was a drumstick and a large plate of coconut rice.  When you ordered satay, the fiery hot sauce was served separately in a tiny bowl.  In America we have chili cook-offs, but we are missing the amazing pallet of curries.
Our plant was air conditioned but birds lived within the air conditioning ducts.  Their nesting materials, gathered from the company cafeteria, hung from never cleaned vents.  Bird watching and song was our reward for sharing our table and a grain of rice from our plate with them.  Lunch choices included expensive American sodas and potato chips instead of much cheaper papaya, mango, pineapple, and fruit juices.  
Streets crossing modern high-speed freeways created huge traffic jams that tied up the police.  Because of that, drivers could run red lights, straddle the center line, and go off-road or on the wrong side of the road without apprehension.  You could get where you were going without expensive overpasses. 
Hollywood movies led the envious to believe that Americans were wealthy.  Natives could not afford air conditioning in their petite homes.  The limp newspaper did not rustle when its pages were turned.  It kept the electricity bill low.
A television set on display at the department store drew crowds who gazed through the window to take in what they had never seen before.  It was showing Grizzly Adams, an American TV show, but government censored the bear.  Malaysians were spared the sex, guns, and violence of banal American TV.
As I walked around town, I looked for a garbage can so I could throw candy wrappers away, but there was none.  Political correctness called for it to be thrown on the ground.  It was swept up and raked into large piles where monkeys played.  These were set on fire every weekend eliminating the need for waste disposal.
The Malaysian “Superman”, a creation of their own film industry, must have weighed 105 pounds but otherwise was just like America’s 1952 version.  When I rode the train to Butterworth and took the ferry to Penang Island my 140 pound body barely fit in the frugal quarters. 
In the jungle, daytime temperatures reach 110 F with near 100% humidity.  Temperatures rarely go below 85 F.  I waited in the steamy night at eight pm to catch a taxi to Kuala Lumpur.  The lights at the guard shack attracted clouds of hungry jungle bugs that were periodically fended off with cans of insect spray.  As I waited there, I noticed that the telephones were not politically correct.   Their ring was constant, annoying, lacking cadence, and persisted until the phone was answered.  There were thunder-storms every day.  Unregulated taxi drivers picked up soaked riders before servicing your call.  The wait to catch a cab was hours.
In the guard shack there was a painting of a snow-covered cabin in the Alps.  The workers knew what snow was, but did they really?  In a world where everyone drives on the “wrong” side of the road, did I really understand what culture was?
A power transistor that cost twenty dollars in 1965 now costs twenty cents.  It leads to slim profit margins and low cost electronics for American consumers.  Big companies need more profit than bank interest to convince them to take a risk.  Sunset products are preferred by some users, but grow incompatible with new manufacturing technology.  They provide the stepping stone for countries to modernize and develop a middle class that can afford to buy American products.  A USA head count reduction is part of the justification for relocation programs, but when companies make more profit they can afford to invest in new jobs in America.
Our overseas plants were competing with one another, so they needed to be productive.  They had to become self-sufficient.  That night the production crew was holding its weekly unpaid overtime Participative Management meetings.  It would extend their working day to 10 pm.  There were millions of dollars in complicated computer controlled systems that required workers to engage in dialog with the apparatus and make quick decisions.  Our broad customer base and small order size meant that there would be a change in process every fifteen minutes.  How does one know things are working correctly?  One machine can take the place of twenty workers, but it can also make costly mistakes twenty times as fast.
My first thought was that unpaid overtime would not go over very well in America; however this was compensated.  Our company fed its employees, provided transportation to and from Klang by bus, and set up the same number of holidays as in America, but that had a complication.  It was necessary to make a place inside the plant to allow religious celebration during normal working hours.  It contained idols, burning incense, and piles of broken coconuts that were used in religious observances.
Government conducted regular audits to guard against abuse.  They had to do this, because the newspaper published regular accounts of firefights with Communists who wanted to upset the apple cart.  I felt uneasy when we were stopped by what looked like 12 year olds armed with 30 caliber machine guns and hand grenades.
Our media televised how we made things in foreign sweat shops.  Our plant in Petaling Jaya ran the air conditioning at 80 degrees.  Americans found it hotter than the production crew who had grown accustomed to the year round heat.  Almost sixty years ago I had a summer job in an Arizona factory that lacked air conditioning.  I turned boxes that came lengthwise on a conveyor belt sideways so they would fit into a gluing machine.  We won’t make America great by bringing back jobs like that.
Some things were sent overseas that weren’t perfect, but when your operation on the opposite side of the earth supplies the entire world, you want equipment that works.  We had reconditioned everything.  Our apparatus was actually in worse condition when it was used in the states.
Malaysia is a melting pot of nationalities and religions, like what America is becoming.  It seemed that the Chinese ran the country, but the government discriminated against them.  The newspaper said, “Wanted, male Bumiputera between the ages of 21 and 30, must have a degree from Oxford”.  The dominant religion was Islam, but Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, Taoism, Christianity, and strands of ancient indigenous religion existed.  The plant was once shut down when a worker saw a ghost through a microscope.  That problem was cured by an exorcism.
Culture shock occurs when the past meets the future.  In Malaysia it was where modern skyscrapers abut old architecture.  It was fifty gallon barrels of giant N-Nitride bi-directional, tri-state integrated circuits, but the nearest 100 watt soldering iron had to be ordered from Singapore and would take a month to arrive.  In America, it is immigrants who have a dream to share with us.  It is discovering that we depend on the rest of the world.  We are only one of many players in the game.  They will become competitors as well as collaborators.  It is not winning or losing as Donald Trump seems to see it.  There are benefits from the game well played and rules that stimulate competition.
Economic Honesty
It is failure to understand complexity that makes Republicans see dishonesty.  What are open borders?  Are they travel, trade, immigration, or all of these?  How do we deal with agriculture versus manufacturing, big business versus the working man, competing communities, and personal reality instead of statistical abstraction?
Trade includes intellectual property, the environment, and health.  It can bring war or peace.  The 640 employee, 164 country World Trade Organization (WTO) writes trade rules that must be consistently applied.  They require consensus and government approval.  However, our president can issue orders to protect an industry, our economy, or national security. 
Will isolationist backlash increase American prosperity?  When Donald rambles that he would quit the WTO and impose a 35 percent tariff on Carrier products built in Mexico, he would replace Adam Smith’s unseen hand with his own.  That isn’t free enterprise.  It is a knee-jerk response to opportunities stereotyped as threats.  It appeals to justifiably angry people who remember the good old days when they purchased a new American car every year.
Trade grows our economy.  When the pie becomes bigger, it is not so important to worry about the size of our piece, but if we are starving we might need to grab a slice immediately.  The Peterson Institute for International Economics has warned that Trump’s promises would cause the US economy to lose more than 4 million jobs and plunge the world into a recession.  The pro-labor Economic Policy Institute claims that Trump’s proposed tariffs won’t help American workers or the economy.  Trump’s money will come from tax cuts for the wealthy and big business.  Republicans refer to the Laffer curve to argue this point, but it is not in college economics books.  That curve is like a hill where maximum revenue occurs at the high point.  At first, revenue increases with taxes, but as you pass the peak of the hill, revenue declines with further taxation.  The problem with this model is that the hill has many holes.  There are income taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, capital gains, dividends, carried interest, estate taxes, and corporate inversions.  Donald Trump and his economic team of wealthy financiers and billionaire friends don’t experience the same tax reality as we do.
A Solution  
Universities and big business have adapted to globalization, but blue collar workers lost their jobs because of outsourcing, automation, and union busting.  They have a stake in globalization.  Trade deals that prioritize creating over consuming, unions with apprenticeships, and vocational-technical education with a path to a PHD, will create American jobs.  We should not give favors to companies who send jobs overseas, ignoring the fate of communities and their workers.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Poll: Arizona voters still favor Prop 205 to legalize marijuana

Cronkite News 

PHOENIX – About half of Arizona voters still support Proposition 205, the ballot measure to relax legal restrictions on recreational marijuana use, but the percentage of those opposed increased by two percentage points in recent weeks, according to the most recent Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll.

The poll of registered Arizona voters taken Oct. 10-15 showed the percentage of respondents in favor of Prop 205 remained steady at about 50 percent, while the percentage of respondents who oppose the measure went from about 40 to nearly 42 percent since an August poll. The percentage of undecided voters decreased from 10 percent to 8 percent.

“Voters are responding to the message that taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana is a better way to go,” said Barrett Marson, spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy have released a series of “No on 205” political ads in the recent weeks. One video features two former Colorado politicians who say their state’s legalization of marijuana was a “terrible mistake” that Arizona should not repeat.

A spokesman for the group did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

Arizona residents give several reasons for their stance on Prop 205. Tina Hussain, of Coolidge, supports the measure. She writes in an email that marijuana is “safer than opioids” for pain management.

Others, such as Jason Hein of Seligman, support marijuana use but oppose Prop 205, saying it doesn’t do enough to decriminalize marijuana possession. Cornelius Murphy,  of Phoenix said he was undecided on what he called “a complex issue.”

Murphy, in an email, says he would like to see people allowed to use marijuana to relieve anxiety but feels there should be serious restrictions to prevent misuse.

In August 2012, a few months before Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 to legalize recreational marijuana, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing 47 percent of likely voters favored the amendment, according to Ballotpedia. Thirty-eight percent opposed it and 15 percent were undecided, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. That same year, Washington voters passed Initiative 502 to legalize recreational marijuana 10 months after an Elway Research poll found 48 percent of 411 likely voters polled supported the measure, Ballotpedia said.

Forty-five percent opposed it and 7 percent were undecided, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The Morrison Institute contracted with Behavior Research Center to conduct the Arizona poll from Oct. 10-15. Using up-to-date voter registration lists, almost 1,700 live land-line and cellphone calls were used to obtain an average of 800 valid responses from registered voters per question. The interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The margin of error fluctuates by question between +/- 2.3 to 4 percentage points.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Trump's refusal to accept results alarms scholars

Max Fisher
New York Times

Donald J. Trump’s suggestions that he might reject the results of the American election as illegitimate have unnerved scholars on democratic decline, who say his language echoes that of dictators who seize power by force and firebrand populists who weaken democracy for personal gain.

“To a political scientist who studies authoritarianism, it’s a shock,” said Steven Levitsky, a professor at Harvard. “This is the stuff that we see in Russia and Venezuela and Azerbaijan and Malawi and Bangladesh, and that we don’t see in stable democracies anywhere.”

Throughout October, Mr. Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the vote will be “rigged” and “taken away from us.” At the final presidential debate, he refused to say he would accept the election’s outcome, and later joked at a rally that he would accept the results “if I win.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Shocking proof of Trump's abuse of women

Donald Trump. (photo: AP)
Donald Trump. (photo: AP)

By Jane Mayer, The New Yorker

22 October 16
For his 1993 book, “The Lost Tycoon,” Harry Hurt III acquired Ivana’s divorce deposition, in which she stated that Trump raped her.

hen the news broke that Donald Trump had been caught on video in 2005 boasting that, as a celebrity, he feels free to “grab” women “by the pussy,” Harry Hurt III experienced a sense of vindication. In 1993, Hurt published “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” an unauthorized biography that has long been out of print. The day the tape surfaced, he was hitting golf balls at a driving range in Sagaponack, New York, when a text message arrived from a friend: “Donald is done!”

After Hurt watched the tape, he said, “I thought, Finally, this behavior is coming out.”

But he doubted that the revelation would do any real damage to Trump’s campaign. Researching his book, in the early nineties, Hurt discovered and documented more serious instances of Trump’s mistreatment of women, yet most news outlets had declined to report on them. Even during the current campaign, Hurt said, “I’ve been a voice in the wilderness.”

When “Lost Tycoon” was published, Kirkus Reviews credited Hurt, a former contributing editor at Texas Monthly, with having written “a slick, informed account.” The Times ignored it. Trump denounced it, and last year, in a tweet, he called Hurt a “dummy dope” who “wrote a failed book.”

The part of the book that caused the most controversy concerns Trump’s divorce from his first wife, Ivana. Hurt obtained a copy of her sworn divorce deposition, from 1990, in which she stated that, the previous year, her husband had raped her in a fit of rage. In Hurt’s account, Trump was furious that a “scalp reduction” operation he’d undergone to eliminate a bald spot had been unexpectedly painful. Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon. In retaliation, Hurt wrote, Trump yanked out a handful of his wife’s hair, and then forced himself on her sexually. Afterward, according to the book, she spent the night locked in a bedroom, crying; in the morning, Trump asked her, “with menacing casualness, ‘Does it hurt?’ ” Trump has denied both the rape allegation and the suggestion that he had a scalp-reduction procedure. Hurt said that the incident, which is detailed in Ivana’s deposition, was confirmed by two of her friends.

Hurt held on to his copy of Ivana’s sealed deposition for years. “It was sworn testimony,” he said. But eventually, when he was cleaning house during his own divorce, he said, “I threw it all out.” He went on, “The larger tragedy is that Trump might be elected President of the United States. I never imagined in my wildest nightmares that it would come to this.”

Before Hurt’s book came out, Trump’s lawyers pressured the publisher, W. W. Norton, to paste a clarifying statement from Ivana into the flyleaf of every copy. In it, she confirmed that she had said in a deposition that her husband had “raped” her, but added that she did not want those words to be interpreted in “a literal or criminal sense.” She also said, “As a woman, I felt violated.” Hurt said that he considers the note a non-denial denial, and believes that Ivana agreed to amend her words in order to secure the divorce settlement, in which she reportedly received fourteen million dollars in cash.

When the rape story resurfaced last summer, Ivana issued a statement saying that it was “without merit.” “She and Donald have raised three kids together. They’re picking their bedrooms in the White House,” Hurt said. “But she’s not saying it’s untrue, or that she didn’t swear to it under oath.”

Trump was deposed during the divorce, too. According to a report by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which examined the divorce records, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination approximately a hundred times when Ivana’s lawyers asked him about adulterous relations with other women.

“Lost Tycoon” didn’t sell well. It came out at a time when Trump’s businesses were faltering, and interest in him had waned. But this spring, when Trump was one of three Republican Presidential candidates still in the race, Hurt asked Norton to reissue the book. Word came back that the publisher’s lawyers had deemed the book “too dangerous to publish.” (Norton said it had made “a business decision.”)

Hurt decided to scan the book and reissue it himself online. When a reporter for the Daily Beast began making calls about the rape allegation, Michael Cohen, a Trump lawyer, told him, “You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it and the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up . . . for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet.” After that, Hurt said, CNN booked him four times, but kept cancelling. The only TV host to have him on the air to talk about the rape allegation was Megyn Kelly, at Fox News.

Hurt finally made it onto CNN last week, after ten more women had come forward to accuse Trump of violating them. “I applaud their courage,” he said, “and thank them for telling the truth under what must be painful and embarrassing circumstances.” Recalling the second debate, in which Trump insisted that his “locker-room talk” was only talk and not action, Hurt said, “He was lying. I know full well he has done that. His own wife said so, under oath.”

Friday, October 21, 2016

This Is Not What Our Democracy Should Be

Dan Rather. (photo: Mark Sagliocco/Getty)
Dan Rather. (photo: Mark Sagliocco/Getty)

By Dan Rather, Dan Rather's Facebook Page
20 October 16
suspect the headline out of tonight may very well be Donald Trump’s refusal to guarantee that he will accept the decision of the voters on November 8. It is a horrifying and destabilizing betrayal of the norms of American politics. But it was just one part of the final debate in a campaign that seems to be firmly in the Twilight Zone.

This is not what our democracy should be, but it is where we are today. I wonder if many minds were changed. I doubt it.

Hillary Clinton has been judged the winner of the first two debates. Tonight, many felt Trump needed a knockout to get back in the race. But I think this was Clinton’s best performance - perhaps by far. I think she wanted this to be a preview of her presidency. Her tone was the most straightforward and direct I have yet seen. She didn’t try to run away from her policy expertise. She embraced it. It was as if she was saying, “I am here. I am smart. I am qualified. I will not be intimidated or silenced. And I am ready to be president.”

The format of tonight’s debate favored depth over breadth on the number of topics. This meant that a lot of important issues (climate change?) were left unquestioned, but the benefit was that the able moderator Chris Wallace could drill down to real policy with the most important quality of an interviewer - the follow up question. And he used it to good effect.

There has been a silly trope floating around the coverage of the Clinton campaign about "likeability". Many critics have claimed that the very notion is sexist. I agree.

Yet tonight, Clinton seemed to throw those worries aside. There were fewer anecdotal flights of storytelling about her interactions with "average families" that you often hear about on the stump. Clinton was steely, determined, forceful. I think this will be the tone of her presidential face, and I think it is one she wears well and naturally.

Clinton hit Trump hard on issue after issue with knowledge and facts - on Russia, the Supreme Court, nuclear weapons, immigration, and the list goes on. You could disagree with her on policy, but you can’t question whether she knows what she’s talking about. One big line that I think will play on was in the dust up over Russia.

Who would have thought that years after the end of the Cold War the specter of Russia would loom over an American presidential campaign? But there you have it.

When the discussion turned to Wikileaks and who was responsible for the hack, Trump, disagreeing with the assessment of the U.S. intelligence agencies, said we don’t know who is behind it. Clinton fired back - He would rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military professionals and intelligence officials. It’s a line you could expect from Ronald Reagan.

By contrast, Trump has been skating through the campaign on buzzwords and applause lines that fire up his base. Tonight the format asked for more substance and he struggled. He often left topics dangling, meandered through head-scratching sentences, and fumbled with thoughts that went nowhere - all lines of thoughts wavering in the wind. Often his most cogent statements were cheap shots. When he would stop talking, I sometimes had to ask myself what was he talking about?

Trump’s millions of eager followers will continue to cheer as the majority of Americans seem to be turning the page on this ugly campaign. They have seen all they need from Trump and they have had enough. There were many lines from this debate that could make for powerful Clinton campaign ads. But I am not sure she will need them.

Trump may not agree to abide by the results of the election. But hopefully the rest of the country can act with a bit more maturity and decency.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The System Is Rigged, but in Your Favor, Donald

Donald Trump. (photo: Getty)
Donald Trump. (photo: Getty)

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 October 16
here is no doubt that our election system is rigged. If you’re not running as a Democrat or Republican, the system is stacked against you. You’re right, Donald, the media is part of our rigged elections. They are giving you and Hillary Clinton all the coverage and just about ignoring every other candidate for president. So Donald, you should stop whining. You blew it even with an electoral system set up to give you an advantage.

Donald, it wasn’t the media or the rigged system we have in the United States that offended a majority of American voters. The system didn’t call Mexicans rapists. The system didn’t say a judge couldn’t be impartial because he was a Latino. The system didn’t say it just starts kissing women because they let the rich do it. The system didn’t say it could just grab a woman’s genitals. The system didn’t say John McCain was not a hero because he was captured and was a prisoner of war. The system didn’t offend Gold Star Mothers.

Donald, Donald, Donald…. You have the nomination of the Republican Party. Your political convention was covered gavel to gavel by the media. Hundreds of reporters were denied access to your nomination because of the huge demand. There was no demand for credentials at the Green Party or Libertarian conventions.

Donald, you were guaranteed a spot in our nation’s nationally televised debates. You didn’t need to get to 15% in the polls; the Republican nomination guarantees 30% for you. Most political experts would say it guarantees 40% for you, but I believe that number is dropping.

Donald, while you have a guaranteed spot on the ballot in all 50 states, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson had to waste organizational resources in most states to just qualify to get on the ballot. You have run a campaign that has relied on free media and the spin from your rallies. I wonder how many state ballots you could have qualified for if you had had to rely on your campaign organization to get the signatures needed in each state.

One has to wonder how far you could have gotten if you’d run as a third party candidate. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC wouldn’t have had all their cameras pointed at an empty podium when you told the American people you did us a great service when you forced President Obama to show us his birth certificate.

Okay, so the Republican Party machine is not 100% behind you anymore. Whose fault is that? Candidates you called “lying Ted” and “little Marco” ended up endorsing you.

Even the guy you said wasn’t a hero because he got caught endorsed you. You blew it. They hate Hillary Clinton and to keep her from becoming president they were willing to overlook everything you did. You couldn’t hold on for a few months and hope that more voters would vote against Hillary Clinton than against you. That is what this election has become, a race to the bottom.

We have a two party system that is rigged in favor of the Democrats and Republicans. We do need political reform in this country. That reform needs to level the playing field for candidates that are not Republican or Democrat. We don’t need to change the system to make it fairer for a billionaire who can self-fund and win the Republican party nomination. So once again Donald, you’re right, the system is rigged. But Donald, it’s rigged in your favor, and you still blew it. Now if you really want to un-rig the system in the future, encourage your supporters to support reforming the electoral system for future elections.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sen. McCain Says Republicans Will Block All Court Nominations if Clinton Wins

Senator John McCain speaks to the media, March 16, shortly after President Barack Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court. McCain said that the confirmation of the next Justice should occur after the election. Now he vows to block Hillary Clinton's choice if she wins the election. (photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
Senator John McCain speaks to the media, March 16, shortly after President Barack Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court. McCain said that the confirmation of the next Justice should occur after the election. Now he vows to block Hillary Clinton's choice if she wins the election. (photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Do we really want to re-elect this guy?

By Nina Totenberg, NPR
18 October 16
en. John McCain (R-Ariz) said Monday that if Hillary Clinton is elected, Republicans will unite to block anyone she nominates to the Supreme Court.

Speaking on WPHT-AM radio's "Dom Giordano Program" in Philadelphia, McCain pledged to obstruct any Clinton Supreme Court nomination for the current or any future vacancy.

"I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up," he declared.

McCain said that's why it is so important that Republicans retain control of the Senate.

Given that two of the sitting justices are 80 or older, and another is 78, there is a strong possibility that the next president will have more than one high court opening to fill.

The current court has been operating with just eight members since last February when Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly. Republicans have refused since then to confirm President Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, on grounds that filling the slot should be left to the next president.

In his comments on WPHT, McCain seems to have upped the ante, suggesting that if Hillary Clinton is elected, Republicans would block any Supreme Court nomination she would make.

McCain spokesperson Rachael Dean later said that McCain "believes you can only judge people by their record, and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees."

She went on to add that McCain "will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications."