Saturday, December 8, 2018

The marketing genius of Marlboro cigarettes

You would probably be surprised at the fact that Marlboro was originally introduced (in 1926) as a woman’s cigarette. The advertising theme for the cigarette was the less than inspiring “mild as May”campaign, and the brand faltered repeatedly for the next 30 years.

What saved the brand, ironically enough, was lung cancer.

During the early 1950’s, the first studies linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer were released. As a result, smokers started to switch from the favored brands of Camels, Lucky Strikes, and Chesterfields to the “safer” filtered cigarettes, like Marlboro.

Logic would tell you that an advertising agency would focus on these new-found health concerns, but the Leo Burnett agency took an entirely different approach, focusing instead on the
Masculine Image of the New Marlboro.

When the campaign started in 1954, Marlboro sales were $5 billion a year. Two years later, Marlboro sales were an astonishing $20 billion a year, an increase of 300%. As a result, the Marlboro Man advertising campaign is considered to be one of the most brilliant advertising campaigns of all time. Marlboro ads were used in America until 1999, but were used up until recently in both Germany and the Czech Republic.

Three of the men who portrayed the Marlboro Man (Wayne McLaren, David McLean, and Dick Hammer) all died from lung cancer. Strangely enough, their passing hasn’t put much of a dent in the popularity of smoking overseas.  China consumes about 40% of the world's cigarettes, predominantly by men. Overall, 54% of the adults in China smoke cigarettes, but the percentage in rural areas is even higher, at 64%.

Most of the cigarettes smoked in China are produced in the country. The People’s Republic of China (China) is the largest tobacco producer in the world. In 1999, production of leaf tobacco was about 2.4 million tons, or nearly one-third of world output. Most tobacco was processed into cigarettes for domestic consumption. In 1998, total output of cigarettes reached about 83 billion packs (20 pieces/pack), representing more than 30 percent of world cigarette production. It was estimated that over 320 million Chinese were smoking and nearly 500 million Chinese were second-hand or passive smokers, which made China the world largest cigarette consuming country and hence most vulnerable to smoking health hazards.

Cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has been reduced by more than half since 1964, yet remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Overall, cigarette smoking among U.S. adults (aged ≥18 years) declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016. Yet, nearly 38 million American adults smoked cigarettes (“every day” or “some days”) in 2016, according to data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since cigarette smoking is down in America, logic would tell you that the company would be hurt financially, but that is not the case at all. Marlboro has been the world's No. 1 cigarette brand since 1972. Altria holds the rights to the Marlboro brand in the U.S., while Philip Morris International handles the brand overseas. Marlboro commanded 43.3% of the U.S. cigarette market in 2017, bigger than the next 10 brands combined. Marlboro volume was down 5% in the U.S. in 2017 with an increased excise tax in California  impacting sales, but higher pricing pushed profits up. Volume was off 4% outside the U.S.

According to Forbes, Marlboro is one of the most valuable brands in America, with an estimated brand value of $26.6 billion – and it is about to get a lot bigger.

Earlier this year, recreational marijuana use was legalized in Canada As a result, the familiar maple leaf flag may need to be redesigned to look like this:

If didn’t take Marlboro long to capitalize on a new source of revenue. After Constellation Brands (the manufacturer of Corona and other beverages) spent $4 billion in August to acquire shares of Canopy Growth Corp, a Canadian pot producer, Altria (Marlboro’s domestic parent company) took a 45% share in Cronos Group, another Canadian medical and recreational marijuana producer. After the purchase, U.S. traded shares of Cronos jumped 22%.

Consumers are expected to spend $57 billion per year worldwide on legal cannabis by 2027, according to Arcview Market Research, a cannabis-focused investment firm. In North America, that spending is expected to grow from $9.2 billion in 2017 to $47.3 billion in 2027.

By now, most people have figured out that the “war on drugs” has been a disaster, since our prison population has exploded since the early 1980’s. The vast majority of the people in prison (46%) are there due to drug offenses. The next largest category (weapons) makes up 18% of those incarcerated.

As Michelle Alexander points out in her book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”, African-Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of all inmates. Although this group comprises 12% of regular drug users, they make up almost 40% of drug arrests. The vast majority of those arrested with a drug offense are not charged with serious offenses. In 2005, 4 out of 5 drug arrests were for possession, not sales.  

As of March, 2018, there were 2.3 million people in state prisons, local jails, federal prisons, and youth detention centers. Roughly 400,000 of this total is for a variety of drug offenses, but 320,000 of the total is for simple possession of drugs (primarily marijuana).

In 2010, the annual cost to house an inmate in prison was $28, 284. If you do the math, our country is spending a touch over $9 billion a year on incarceration for drugs, which brings up an interesting idea.

In 2017, medical and recreational sales of marijuana in Colorado totaled $1.51 billion.

Tax revenue from marijuana for that year for the state was $247 million. If recreational and medicinal revenue was legalized nationwide, total tax revenue would be roughly $12,350,000,000.

If all of the people incarcerated for drug offenses were all released on January 1, 2019, and marijuana of all types were legalized at the same time, our country would be better off financially by more than $20 billion a year, which would be used for infrastructure repair or increases in funding for education or medical expenses.

So ..

The next time somebody buys a Marlboro product, the world could be a lot more mellower. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Those old Kentucky blues …

A wise man once said, “ When you don’t grow, you die. When you don’t learn, you forget. It is that simple. Therefore each day you don’t learn something new, is a wasted day”. The author could have been Aristotle or Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin, but the words were actually printed by a young blogger named Thomas Mondel. Here is “the rest of the story”:

One of the advantages of being a substitute teacher is that I frequently learn something new on most days of the week, which is how I learned about the blue people of Kentucky.

We’re all familiar with the green skin of Shrek and the Incredible Hulk, but there actually were people in Kentucky who had BLUE skin. Here’s the details:

Not long after the blue people first started appearing in Kentucky, a music genre called “the blues” started in the South, and its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves, and descendants of slave.

Numerous artists have played the blues in the last 100 years, but here is one of my favorite songs that fit into the mold:

If you would like something with a little more zip, you may want to consider, “They’re Red Hot”.

If you aren’t careful, though, you could get all tangled up in blue:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What a gas!

Like my peer group, I "came of age" in the 1960's. I remember that we all used some colorful slang back than. If you'd like to take another trip down memory lane, the link below will take you to 145 of them:

The first one on the list is "a gas", which meant you were having a lot of fun. "What a gas" was how you described an event that you had gone to, and it also makes for a fun title about an article that involves gas

Almost two years ago, I wrote an article about a company that had figured out a way to convert the “slurry” in hog containment ponds into asphalt. To give you an idea of how BIG these ponds are, just click on the link in the article below titled “one flew over the pop poo nest”.

In addition to oil and asphalt, the hog slurry (when treated) can be turned into natural gas and other fuels, and can also be used as fertilizer. In addition, the converted substance can also be used to generate electricity.

Today’s Washington Post had an article that detailed how the “pig slop” can be converted into natural gas. Since I have personally had a close encounter with a slurry pond, I can assure you that the little critters produce a LOT of natural gas.

The world’s largest pork producer is teaming up with a Virginia-based energy company to harness methane gas from thousands of malodorous hog lagoons to both heat homes and combat climate change.

Full details of the operation are contained in the link shown above, but here’s the short story:

The two companies will spend $250 million over the next 10 years for the project.

Agriculture emissions account for 9% of the nation’s greenhouse gasses.

Methane is 25 times more potent a gas than carbon dioxide.

Since 1990, there has been a 68% increase in emissions from livestock manure.

13 years ago, Smithfield (the hog producer) tried to convert hog manure to diesel. The process did not work, and the company lost nearly $30,000,000.

If you tried to find out how today’s hog production compares to 1998, you’ll likely stumble on the article shown below:

Unless you are a hog farmer, you probably have forgotten that 1998 was a disaster for hog farmers, since the market value for hogs literally went down to ZERO. Unfortunately, this fall there are two parallels to 1998. The first is that losses this fall could be among the largest since that last quarter of 1998. The second is that the U.S. government is making direct payments to pork producers.

A large part of the current problem is the tariffs that were “going to make American great again”. Both Mexico and China are big markets for our pork exports, and our newly-imposed tariffs on their products have greatly reduced our “outflow”. This year, our pork production is up 6% over last year. However, when we have record supplies of pork and limits on our ability to access some export markets, prices tumble and our efficient producers suffer.

It IS encouraging that some creative people have devised methods to change a waste product into other uses. However, it will likely be a LONG time before somebody figures out how to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The marching band refused to yield …

Sometimes, art imitates life. At other times, life imitates art, and today marks the anniversary of an event that illustrates the latter.
Before I explain the specifics of those phenomena, though, we need to travel back in time, all the way to 1971.
In November of 1971, American singer/songwriter Don McLean released the American Pie album. The single with the same title was the number 1 hit for 4 weeks in 1972, and also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
The repeatedly mentioned phrase "the day the music died" refers to the plane crash in 1959 which killed early rock and roll performers Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. The meaning of the other lyrics has long been debated, and for decades, McLean declined to explain the symbolism behind the many characters and events mentioned. However, the overall theme of the song is the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation as symbolized by the plane crash which claimed the lives of three of its heroes and Ritchie Valens.
In February 2015, McLean announced he would reveal the meaning of the lyrics to the song when the original manuscript went for auction in New York City, in April 2015. The lyrics and notes were auctioned on April 7, and sold for $1.2 million.
One of the phrases in the album is the line “ and the marching band refused to yield ”, which happens to be the link to “life imitating art”.
On this day in 1982, the Cal football team wins an improbable last-second victory over Stanford when they complete five lateral passes around members of the Cardinals’ marching band, who had wandered onto the field a bit early to celebrate the upset they were sure their team had won, and score a touchdown. After catching the last pass of the series, Cal’s Kevin Moen careened through the confused horn section and made it safely to the end zone. Then he slammed into trombone player Gary Tyrell. (A photograph from theOakland Tribune of the jubilant Moen and the terrified Tyrell in the moment just before the collision is still displayed triumphantly all over Berkeley.)

Prior to that last touchdown, Cal was leading 19-17. Stanford quarterback John Elway was able to bring his team into field goal range, and Mark Harmon kicked a field goal to give Stanford a lead of 20-19.
The Cardinals flooded the field to celebrate, and the ref ushered them back to the bench and slapped them with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. As a result, Harmon had to kick off from the 25 with four seconds to play.
Harmon squibbed the kick, and Cal’s Moen scrambled to retrieve it at the Cal 46-yard-line to play. At that point , the Cal team used 5 separate lateral passes to move down the field, and Kevin Moen took it into the end zone.
Meanwhile, Stanford’s band, confident that their team had won the game, had already gathered at the end of the field. Apparently without noticing that 22 football players were hurtling toward them, they began to play Free’s “All Right Now.” Before the band really knew what was happening, Moen crashed triumphantly into the end zone–and into trombonist Tyrell. The touchdown counted, and the Bears won the game 25-20. “The Play,” as it became known remains one of the most famous in college football history.
If you would like to revisit the song, the link below (with lyrics) will take you there:
And, if you REALLY want to know what the lyrics mean, the video below will help you:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Why does a burger joint have a Filet-O-Fish sandwich on its menu?

The item below popped up on my MSN news feed this morning:

If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, here’s a slightly different version:

In 1962, Cincinnati, Ohio-based McDonald’s franchisee Lou Groen had a problem. His local clientele was close to 90% Roman Catholic, which was causing his restaurant to founder mightily on Fridays and during Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter during which Roman Catholics abstain from eating meat.

In those days, when your McDonald’s franchise was struggling, you didn’t noodle around with middle management. You got on the phone with Ray Kroc himself. Sympathetic to the struggles at Groen’s store, Kroc rather famously came up with a proposition. They would, as Groen had asked, begin testing a new fish sandwich to help the store get through those Friday rough patches. Kroc also insisted, however, that the restaurant also test his solution. Kroc thought the answer was to feed Catholics his “Hula Burger,” a slice of grilled pineapple with cheese on a cold bun, and demanded that both items be placed on the menu. Whichever sandwich sold best would be rolled out to the nationwide menu, and would become the first non-hamburger addition to the McDonald’s menu. 

Lou Groen’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich won in a landslide, saved his struggling franchise, and McDonald’s went on to sell approximately 300 million of the sandwiches per year.

The prohibition of eating meat on Fridays actually dates back to the early days of the Catholic church. The complete story is VERY complicated, and can be found at the link below:

The short version, though is this:

The Second Vatican Council, which ran from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965, relaxed, but did not eliminate, the requirement to abstain from meat. However, the media and much of the laity interpreted these actions as abolishing the Church's requirement that the faithful abstain from meat on Fridays during the year and on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent.

The confusion surrounding the relaxing of the abstinence rule led the vast majority of Catholics in the U.S. and elsewhere to stop abstaining from meat on Fridays. In recent years the Church in the U.S. has managed to get many practicing Catholics to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent.
Lou Groen’s story illustrates why it is important to pay attention to LOCAL conditions. Although the area where his restaurant is located was 90% Catholic, Cincinnati itself is a lot less, at 21%. Due to the fact that they all have a heavily Irish population, Boston, New York City, and Pittsburgh are all tied (at 36%) of their population who are Catholic.

The complete list, of which cities are the most Catholic, is posted below:

All 4 of the major cities that I have lived in have populations that are more than 25% Catholic, which is why I went to a Catholic grade school and a Catholic high school. Evan if you aren’t Catholic, chances are pretty good that you would still enjoy a fish sandwich. Due to  the fact that NUMEROUS outlets offer fish sandwiches, how do you know which one is best?

To find out, I reviewed 7 different websites to find out the winner.

The Catholic News agency liked the fish sandwich at Chick-Fil-A, which is available only during Lent -

Consumer Affairs liked the version by Wendy’s –

Business Insider also liked the version by Wendy’s –

The Focus Team picked Wendy’s -

Takeout liked McDonald’s –

Mealhack liked Arby’s -

Mlive liked Wendy’s -

You probably have your own preferences, but if I were looking for a good fish sandwich, I’d buy it at a Wendy’s. However, apart from the fact that Wendy’s was the winner in 4 out of 7 surveys, there is another reason that I would go to Wendy’s, and that is Dave Thomas himself. The longer version of this story is posted at the link below, but here are a few highlights:

Thomas was born on July 2, 1932 in Atlantic City, New Jersey to a young unmarried woman he never knew. He was adopted at six weeks by Rex and Auleva Thomas, and as an adult became a well-known advocate for adoption, founding the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. After his adoptive mother's death when he was 5, his father moved around the country seeking work.

At age 12, he got his first job at Regas Restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. At the age of 15, he was working at the Hobby Horse Restaurant in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Not long after he moved to Ft. Wayne, he dropped out of high school, and it took him until 1993 to obtain his GED, at the age of 61. He subsequently became an education advocate and founded the Dave Thomas Education Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, which offers GED classes to young adults.

In the 1950’s, the family that owned the Hobby Horse also opened a KFC restaurant. Not long after that, Thomas began to provide business advice to Col. Harlan Sanders, and eventually became a regional director for KFC. He later became part of an investment group that started Arthur Treacher’s, and less than a year later (On November 15, 1969), he opened the first Wendy’s restaurant in  Columbus, Ohio.

In 1982, Thomas resigned from day-to-day operations at Wendy’s – and sales started to slip. In 1989, company management asked him to become a TV spokesman for the company. Although his initial ads were not successful, revised ads in the early 1990’s were EXTREMELY successful, and Thomas eventually made more than 800 commercials, more than any other company founder in television history. At the time of his death in 2002, there were  more than 6000 Wendy’s operating in North America, and his net worth was $4.2 billion.

If you’re a big fan of fish sandwiches, give thanks to your Catholic friends, who created the demand, but don’t forget to thank Dave Thomas, who created the best sandwich.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Forty years later, history repeats itself

Forty years ago next Monday, James Warren Jones died of a self- inflicted gunshot wound in the jungles of Guyana, shortly after 918 of his followers (including 304 children) died after drinking Flavor Aid that had been laced with cyanide. In addition, Congressman Leo Ryan and some of his team were murdered by followers of Jones when they attempted to board their return flight to San Francisco.

Jones started the Peoples Temple in Indiana during the 1950s. He was officially ordained in 1956 by the Independent Assemblies of God and in 1964 by the Disciples of Christ. He moved the Temple to California in 1965 and gained notoriety with its activities in San Francisco in the early 1970's. He then relocated to Guyana. In 1978, media reports surfaced that human rights abuses were taking place in the Peoples Temple in Jonestown.

Early in his career as a preacher, Jones was active in the civil rights movement, and was appointed the director of the Human Rights Commission by Indianapolis mayor Charles Boswell in 1960. Jones and his wife even went so far as to adopt several children who were partly non-Caucasian in order to create a “rainbow family”.

In 1962, Jones and his family moved to Brazil because he had read it would be a safe place in the event of a nuclear war. On the way to Brazil, he briefly stopped in Guyana, which was then still a British colony.

Jones became plagued by guilt for leaving behind the Indiana civil rights struggle and possibly losing what he had tried to build there . When Jones' associate preachers in Indiana told him that the Temple was about to collapse without him, he returned from Brazil in December 1963. He told his Indiana congregation that the world would be engulfed by nuclear war on July 15, 1967, and that would then create a new socialist Eden on Earth. As a result, the Temple had to move to Northern California for safety. Accordingly, the Temple began moving to Redwood Valley, California, near the city of Ukiah. 

By the early 1970s, Jones began deriding traditional Christianity as "fly away religion", rejecting the Bible as being a tool to oppress women and non-whites, and denouncing a "Sky God" who was no God at all. Jones wrote a booklet titled "The Letter Killeth", criticizing the King James Bible. Jones also began preaching that he was the reincarnation of Gandhi, Father Divine, Jesus, Gautama Buddha, and Vladimir Lenin. Former Temple member Hue Fortson, Jr. quoted Jones as saying, "What you need to believe in is what you can see ... If you see me as your friend, I'll be your friend. As you see me as your father, I'll be your father, for those of you that don't have a father ... If you see me as your savior, I'll be your savior. If you see me as your God, I'll be your God."

Within five years of moving to California, the Temple experienced a period of exponential growth and opened branches in cities including San Fernando, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. By the early 1970's, Jones began shifting his focus to major cities because of limited expansion opportunities in Ukiah. He eventually moved the Temple's headquarters to San Francisco, which was a major center for radical protest movements at the time. 

The move led Jones and the Temple to become politically influential in San Francisco politics, culminating in the Temple's instrumental role in the mayoral election victory of George Moscone in 1975. Moscone subsequently appointed Jones as the chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission.

Unlike most cult leaders, Jones was able to gain public support and contact with prominent politicians at the local and national level. For example, Jones and Moscone met privately with vice presidential candidate Walter Mondale on his campaign plane days before the 1976 election, leading Mondale to publicly praise the Temple. [First Lady Rosalynn Carter also personally met with Jones on multiple occasions, corresponded with him about Cuba, and spoke with him at the grand opening of the San Francisco headquarters, where he received louder applause than Mrs. Carter.

While Jones forged alliances with key columnists and others at the San Francisco Chronicle and other press outlets, the move to San Francisco also brought increasing media scrutiny. After Chronicle reporter Marshall Kilduff encountered resistance to publishing an exposé, he brought his story to New West magazine. In the summer of 1977, Jones and several hundred Temple members abruptly decided to move to the Temple's compound in Guyana after they learned of the contents of an article by Kilduff about to be published, which included allegations by former Temple members that they were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Jones named the settlement "Jonestown" after himself.

Religious scholar Mary McCormick Maaga argues that Jones' authority decreased after he moved to the isolated commune, because he was not needed for recruitment and he could not hide his drug addiction from rank and file members. In spite of the allegations prior to Jones' departure, the leader was still respected by some for setting up a racially mixed church which helped the disadvantaged ⁠ ⁠68 percent of Jonestown's residents were black. Jonestown was where Jones started propagating his belief in what he called "Translation", where he and his followers would all die together and move to another planet and live blissfully.

In the autumn of 1977, Tim Stoen and other Temple defectors with relatives in Jonestown formed a "Concerned Relatives" group. Stoen traveled to Washington, D.C. in January 1978 to visit with State Department officials and members of Congress, and wrote a white paper detailing his grievances against Jones and the Temple. Stoen's efforts aroused the curiosity of California Congressman Leo Ryan, who wrote a letter on Stoen's behalf to Guyanese Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. The Concerned Relatives also began a legal battle with the Temple over the custody of Stoen's son John.

In November 1978, Leo Ryan led a fact-finding mission to Jonestown to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. His delegation included relatives of Temple members, an NBC camera crew, and reporters for various newspapers. The group arrived in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown on November 15. Two days later, they traveled by airplane to Port Kaituma, and then were transported to the Jonestown encampment in a limousine. Jones hosted a reception for the Ryan delegation that evening at the central pavilion in Jonestown.
The delegation left hurriedly the afternoon of November 18 after Temple member Don Sly attacked Ryan with a knife. The attack was thwarted, bringing the visit to an abrupt end. Ryan and his delegation managed to take along fifteen Temple members who had expressed a wish to leave. At that time, Jones made no attempt to prevent their departure.
As members of the delegation boarded two planes at the airstrip, Jones' armed guards, called the "Red Brigade," arrived on a tractor and trailer and began shooting at them. The gunmen killed Ryan and four others near a Guyana Airways Twin Otter aircraft.
The five killed at the airstrip were Ryan, NBC reporter Don Harris, NBC cameraman Bob Brown, San Francisco Examiner photographer Greg Robinson, and Temple member Patricia Parks. Surviving the attack were future Congresswoman Jackie Speier, then a staff member for Ryan, Richard Dwyer, the Deputy Chief of Mission from the U.S. Embassy at Georgetown, Bob Flick, a producer for NBC, Steve Sung, an NBC sound engineer, Tim Reiterman, a San Francisco Examiner reporter, Ron Javers, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Charles Krause, a Washington Post reporter, and several defecting Temple members .
Later that same day, 909 inhabitants of Jonestown. 304 of them children, died of apparent cyanide poisoning, mostly in and around the settlement's main pavilion. This resulted in the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until the September 11 attacks. The FBI later recovered a 45-minute audio recording of the suicide in progress. 
Although the tragedy of Jonestown lies in the distant past, there is a cult leader in America today who is far more dangerous than Jim Jones. He is pictured below:

Early in his presidency, Trump sent 59 missiles into Syria on a whim, and he also authorized the use of “the mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan – and then it got worse. Almost exactly a year after the first missile strike in April of 2017, he sent 118 more into the country. Each Tomahawk missile costs $1.4 million. If you do a little quick math, you'll discover that the cost of the two missile strikes was $250 million, slightly more than the $220 million that our country is spending to stop a non-existent threat from a caravan of asylum seekers heading north from dangerous Central American countries. 

Golf trips to Trump properties have cost $72 million since his inauguration.

The massive "tax scam" that was passed in the spring will cause the budget deficit this year to hit $1 trillion. 

If you can pronounce "emolument", you probably suspect that foreign governments have spent a LOT of money at Trump properties since his inauguration, but it will take someone smarter than me to find out the exact amount. (Are you listening, Mr. Mueller?)

If that doesn't make you shake your head, this will:

In the summer of 2017, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. "Three times [Trump] asked, if we had them, why can’t we use them.”
 Despite the fact that every major newspaper in America (including some that had never before endorsed a Democratic candidate) felt that Donald Trump was not fit for the office of the president, he still received more than 62 million votes. The people that voted for Trump either (1) felt that he was going to stop abortion or (2) felt fearful of the number of immigrants entering our country or (3) felt anxious about the good paying blue collar jobs they had lost, that weren’t coming back or (4) they believed the nonsense about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Most disturbing of all, though, is the fact that millions of people believe that Trump was chosen by God to “save America” , which is why he received 80% of the evangelical vote.

Trump supporters either don’t know, or don’t care, that the vast majority of the red hats that read “Make America Great Again” are actually made in Chine. They are also oblivious of the fact that the tariffs that Trump recently made against China will cause their favorite hat to double in price:

Due to the fact that Trump managed a razor thin majority of the votes in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (largely due to voter suppression tactics by the GOP), he earned enough electoral votes to win the presidency – even though he had lost the popular vote by more than 3 million votes.

The day after the election, my wife as so upset that she was unable to eat, and there were MANY other people who experienced the same symptoms.

On a recent trip to the library, I picked up a copy of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”, by noted Clinical Professor Bandy Lee. The book is actually a compilation of thoughts by 27 well educated psychiatrists and behavioral experts. Due to the Goldwater rule of 1964, psychiatrists are not allowed to publish opinions of pubic figures they have not interviewed personally. However, the Yale Conference of 2017 allowed mental health professionals to voice their opinion if a subject was a danger to himself or others. As a result, every single author in the book had come to the conclusion that Donald Trump was dangerously mentally ill.

Fortunately, the Democratic Party recently regained control of the House of Representatives, which will provide a much needed restraint on Trumps’ worst excesses. Although it IS possible that impeachment proceedings could start after January 20, I am of the opinion that the Democrats will use other methods to control Trump.

Last week, protesters around the country protested the appointment of Matthew Whitaker due to his obvious conflict of interests vis a vis the Mueller investigation. If you are still in the mood for protesting, I would recommend buying the t-shirt posted below: