Trump represents ignorance/defiance, Bernie one issue, Clinton bought and paid for…

February 23, 2016

Apparently a segment of the population is divorced from reality and actually thinks so-called reality TV is reality and supports Donald Trump for president. That is how one pundit I heard put it.

There are a couple of schools of thought that may actually go together or could both be true: one is that a lot of people are just ignorant or bigoted and support Trump or that he appeals to the lower educated blue-collar worker, the other is that people are just supporting Trump in polls and actual voting as a way to stick it to the so-called establishment they see as out of touch and insulated from the population as a whole. In fact I am sure it has to be both.

The crazy thing about Trump is that he lies and admits it while he is doing it and changes his positions in mid sentence.

And of course Trump gets high marks in some quarters by saying outrageous things others dare not. Well, political correctness aside, there are reasons others do not. Try honesty and civility for a couple.

But right now I am watching the rise of Rubio, Marco Rubio that is. So far I hear and see nothing but an empty suit. I know he is trying to portray himself as something like JFK, a relatively young man who has served in the congress and ready to assume leadership from the old fogies. JFK in his early 40s replaced the older General Eisenhower, who served two terms as president.

Rubio is seen as much younger and fresher than, say also-rans John McCain or Mitt Romney, and much more establishment, though, than GOP troublemaker Ted Cruz or the wild man Trump.

But whereas JFK had spent some 14 years in congress, first in the House and then the Senate, and dealt with much legislation (seems like a lot of union stuff), Rubio has only been in the U.S. Senate for a little more than five years and before that served in the Florida legislature for a few years.

JFK was a war hero, notwithstanding any actual and forever unknown facts about the particulars of the PT 109 incident. But he did serve in World War II combat.

Rubio loves to talk war, but when did he serve in uniform? Oh, that’s right, he did not.

You of course are not required, and should not be, to have served in the military to be president. But I am forever in wonderment at how warrior-like the non warriors are.

But it does seem for now that young Rubio’s star is rising and that what is left of the so-called Republican establishment see him as their best hope to fend off the monster Trump.

All the millions of fat cat dollars and mama and daddy (ex-president) Bush and big brother, the ex-president (Bush 2), could not put Jeb Bush back together again after he came completely undone under the onslaught of his tormentor Trump.

Well good riddance Mr. Bush. If you couldn’t stand up to the lying Trump, you were not cut out to be president anyway — why did you waste everyone’s time and money?

I will say as a student of the Spanish language, I did admire your abilities in that regard. You speak better Spanish than the first-generation Cuban-Canadian/American Cruz, as I understand it — I guess Rubio is fluent (and I do admire that in him — good for relations with Latin America and Spain, although, of course Rubio detests the Castro brothers — and the feeling is no doubt mutual).

And now to the Democrats.

It’s like this for me: I really am not excited about Hillary but I see her less one-issue than the occupy Wall Street Bernie. But then again, you have to admire the old war protestor of the 60s and he has forced Hillary’s hand on the wrong doings of her friends on Wall Street who love her so much that they pay her thousands of dollars (adds up to millions) at a whack ($675,000 for three speeches to Goldman Sachs alone) just to hear her speak (and to of course protect them, to the extent she can and is willing to do. I mean deep down inside I imagine Hillary’s heart is good, but she likes living large, and besides, it’s easier to effect change inside the establishment than from without).

Can Hillary beat Trump? I think so, but maybe I don’t really know America.

Can Bernie beat Hillary? He’s giving it a good shot, and if he can get those young voters out, maybe.

Can Bernie beat Trump? I really don’t know at this point. I think both Trump and Bernie might try to go for the center a little in a race against each other. I mean Trump has already admitted that he would tone things down a bit if nominated. And Bernie, though an avowed socialist, would not want to have people think he aims to dismantle our whole system, one that he had dutifully worked in for many, many years.

One problem for Trump, though, is if he tones his message down (such as it is), I doubt he has much of anything left.

And I don’t discount Mr. Rubio in all of this. He would not be the first empty suit to be elected president. I would just hope that if he were to face off against Vladimir Putin or ISIS he would not go into robotic repeat mode and sweat himself to death (the man does sweat under pressure — but so did Dick Nixon.)

And can I just say this?

None of the candidates on either side measure up to JFK or Richard Nixon (even if the latter resigned in disgrace).

Those two guys faced off against each other during my formative years in political consciousness.

I say to all the present candidates:

I knew John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, they were like friends of mine, you sirs, and mam, are no Kennedy or Nixon.






Debates: how about less glitz, more substance; are direct primaries overrated?

February 17, 2016

I understand that the televised debates in this 2016 presidential election campaign are getting unusually high ratings for such affairs. I suppose that is good. But I am dismayed that such a serious thing as a debate for the electing of a president has been turned into something tawdry or glitzy like a circus or maybe an NFL game, or a pro-wrestling match.

You have the pre-game show, running commentary even as the so-called debate progresses, and of course the post game show too.

And in the Republican debates we have had so many people on the stage that it is some kind of crazy free-for-all with each one vying for attention, sometimes resorting to name calling. And the crazy rule that if you mention one candidate the other one gets to chime in next — so why does anyone mention anyone else’s name? I wonder.

In this melee very little substance can come out. And it’s too bad that those day-after-the-debate fact checking stories cannot run on the screen as the debate progresses. Now that would be a good use of modern technology (but who checks the fact checkers?).

But really these affairs are not formal debates. Some people call them forums. They look like something that ought to be held in the Forum — the Roman Forum, complete with gladiators being eaten by hungry lions.

The Democratic debates have been less chaotic and little more substantive with three people and now only two. But even in them I wished they had a more formal debate — and that leads me to a complaint that the moderators and/or professional media questioners seem to be determining the issues by being able to come up with the questions and phrasing them in such a way that sometimes almost sounds prejudicial. And I am no media basher. I once worked in the field of journalism — hey, don’t shoot the messenger and we are just trying to draw out information politicians might want to hide.

I would prefer the questions be formulated by some independent panel (whatever happened to the League of Women Voters anyway?). Drawing out questions from social media (as is done sometimes) is good too. But the emphasis should be on the candidates themselves. I would like to see actual formal debates where the candidate has to present a case complete with evidence and make a persuasive argument and then be able to rebut his or her opponent’s presentation. Of course this requires just two people at a time I think.

And maybe the primary system is not what it is cracked up to be. Political parties serve a purpose or should. They allow people who generally share concepts but not necessarily specifics to coalesce their divergent approaches into coherent policy proposals and come up with candidates to represent the party. Maybe those parties should choose their candidates and then present them to the voters and then the candidates of the parties (pretty much either Republican or Democrat in the U.S.) can debate formally one on one.

It had seemed it would be more democratic (small d) to turn the nomination system over to the general public as we have for the most part in our modern, albeit long-drawn out, direct primary elections, but I am not sure of that. With each candidate having to run his or her own show, the candidate must raise millions of dollars and in the process can become beholden to special interests, not to mention so much time wasted dialing for dollars.

I was watching a video of one of the Kennedy-Nixon debates. The set was so spartan, and the media people so unglamorous. I guess that would not get high ratings today.

But then again, I would prefer only serious people take part in the voting. Those who must have glitz or bells and whistles to attract them may not really understand the issues anyway, and it is a danger that they would vote.

There is a danger we might get a buffoon for president who promises the make America great again (I did not know it was not).


Or an extremely narrow-minded man might “cruz” to a victory (I just read the latest South Carolina primary poll, Ted Cruz, 28 percent of Republican voters, Donald Trump 26 (NBC/Wall Street Journal).

Okay, to be fair, for that matter Bernie Sanders could get elected and try to turn us into communists or at least European democratic socialists.





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Bush trumps Trump, the Donald faces seemingly hostile crowd…

February 14, 2016

I’m going to say Donald Trump actually made some good points in his sometimes simplistic, sometimes crude way, and using his broken syntax, but he was apparently before a hostile crowd — were there planted hecklers or is this just South Carolina?

But I think overall he was marginalized for once in a television Republican primary debate in that state Saturday evening, sponsored by CBS.

The bully Trump’s usual whipping boy came out on top, besting is tormentor, at least I thought so. That is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who calmly (for the most part) but at the same time forcefully defended himself and his family against insults from Trump who seemed a little too off the rails at times (even for Trump I thought). Maybe mother Bush told her son to man up. Maybe brother W suggested he get a little swagger, but I’m not sure he is into that.

Well, Bush did get a little spirited a couple of times and it looked like a school yard fight. There was also a few dust ups between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio concerning who was for or against amnesty for undocumented aliens, with both accusing each other of misrepresenting the other’s positions.


I’ll just interject here. Controlling illegal workers coming across the border is a hot issue because some people see them as competition for jobs (and fear them as a crime source) and others see them as cheaper labor and a way of keeping the American workforce at bay. Also many of us have compassion. Of course there are special visas for workers, also useful for keeping our workforce at bay.


Actually, Ohio Governor John Kasich, runner-up in New Hampshire to Trump, came off well.

I took a lot of notes but I have to work Sunday but mostly what I can say is that Bush sounds like someone a moderate could live with and maybe even enjoy. Kasich sounds like a wise man. Rubio sounds like an upstart not quite ready for prime time. He gets a little wound up with righteous indignation on the subjects of God, one woman one man, abortion and so on — but it seems a little scripted at times. And didn’t Mike Huckabee try that? You see where he is. Out of the race for president.

Cruz and Rubio are literal interpretation fans — the Bible, the Constitution.

And Rubio stated flat out: “the Constitution is not a living and breathing document” subject to change. I will just say there has to be limits but to suggest that society today lives by the same norms and lifestyle of the 18th Century seems at odds with reality.

Dr. Ben Carson was as always over his head on public policy issues. The hands of a surgeon do not necessarily equate to politics or even actual leadership on public policy issues.

Trump does make a good appeal to working people losing their jobs to foreign competition — the news today that Carrier, maker of refrigeration equipment, is moving production to Mexico and putting thousands of workers out of a job. And he appeals to fears about our lackluster response against ISIS. But somehow the man seems unhinged at times and not so well versed in language or foreign policy or public policy issues. He also comes across in his pubic statements out on the hustings and on Twitter as a racist and he has a history of poor behavior toward women.

I’m beginning to see the possibility of Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton and I think that would be close. I could see Kasich as a VP pick, if he would accept it.

We’ll see what the polling reaction and pundit reaction is, but I think Jeb might have finally found himself and has decided to be in the race.

Of course a big story for today was the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was the leading conservative on the high court and now President Obama has the opportunity to choose someone who would be more liberal or progressive but will face strong opposition from the GOP-controlled senate. To a man, the candidates rather self-servingly called for Obama to let the next president choose. But what if it is Hillary Clinton or  Bernie Sanders? They are taking a chance, especially if it were Sanders.

While most of the candidates said it would be wrong for the president to appoint another justice during an election, at least Trump admitted flat-out that if he were president he would but also said he would rather the appointment be delayed. Obama has indeed announced that he will in due course make a selection for a nominee to fill the late Scalia’s spot.


Oh, Jeb was trying to portray Trump as a liberal for his past positions. Trump’s basic response was one grows older, circumstances change, you have to be flexible. That is hard to argue with.





Much of Sanders/Clinton debate boring, a re-run…

February 12, 2016

Maybe I’m just tired, being I’m on the road, at work — on my rest break — but this debate is getting boring.

Oh, but good, finally Gwen Ifill, a black news anchor, asks about the plight of poor white people. Well that is a little more interesting. I was thinking of turning it off and catching the news in the morning, and still may, but finally a good question. I have always wondered why we pretend that only so-called minorities suffer from poverty. And in some cases whites suffer reverse discrimination.

Bernie Sanders says the problem is that jobs have moved overseas and wages are falling behind.

Well anyway, we certainly have a major social problem in this nation, of which racial strife is only one problem, not to diminish it in any way.

Sanders is talking about a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Oh, good, more folks to add to the labor pool to keep wages down. But, by the way, I have sympathy for undocumented workers if they are honest workers trying to earn a living for their families. We should fix our immigration system but that is too much for this post right now.

We can’t deport the estimated 12 million people. But we need to somehow control our borders but not with the absurd idea of the Great Wall of Trump.

Maybe we need to put out information in other parts of the world that you are not to come here unless you follow the rules and that you will be subject to deportation.

People already here who somehow come into contact with authorities might be required to take some steps toward citizenship or some kind of permit and the requirements might be made somewhat difficult to discourage others from sneaking in. I mean the word would get out. Also we should offer amnesty — and I know that was done before and led to even more coming. It is a difficult problem for sure.

One thing that bothers me about Sanders is that I see higher taxes. I don’t think simply “taxing the rich” will do the job and I also think we would see higher taxes for all working people under Sanders. Sanders likes Scandinavian socialism. Well those folks pay a lot of taxes. Americans are not so much into that. We do of course have to pay for things. That is another thing about Sanders. He talks about free college. Two things: who pays for the “free college” and is it not true that free things are often worth what you pay for them?

Hillary Clinton talks about taxing the wealthiest too. Sure that is not going to hurt me directly, but somewhere down the line it may hurt all of us.

Not sure I will be able to stay with this debate. But I hope to follow up on it in a future post. I mean whether I watch it all or not, I can catch the after-debate news reports.

It’ an hour into the debate and so far if one was trying to determine a winner, I would say it is a tie. They seem to agree on most things. Hillary would go for the more traditional methods, while Sanders wants more of a revolutionary approach — a move to European socialism, my words, not his.

The European Union is having a rough time and is in danger of falling apart from reports I have read. Life is not perfect anywhere.

They are talking about defense now.

Sanders’ main claim to competency in the defense area is that he voted against the war in Iraq and Clinton voted for it.

Also, he says we can get rid of dictators everywhere but then the nations become unstable and our troubles begin. “Unintended consequences” he says.

Clinton for her part says a vote years ago is not a plan for defense now (I guess that could go two ways).

It’s getting duplicative here from the last debate — actually this whole debate is a repeat so far.

Whoops! A biggie! Sanders just slammed Henry Kissinger and said he was the “worst secretary of state” ever. He noted that Clinton said she consulted him in the past. For her part she said she consults a wide range of people and noted Sanders has yet to name defense consultants.

Sanders once again acknowledged Clinton’s experience as secretary of state but questioned her judgment.

Well I watched it all after all.

I’ll just call it a tie.






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We need a president who can bridge the gap of the partisan divide…

February 9, 2016

As the voters of New Hampshire go to the polls in this 2016 presidential primary I have no idea what they are looking for. In fact, I have little idea of what voters anywhere in the U.S. are looking for.

And it does not help that I live in an almost political vacuum. I mean I get my politics off the internet, primarily on trusted, established news sites, and I keep track of national and world events but where I live politics seems not much discussed — well I do not socialize all that much, so maybe I cannot rightfully describe that, but I can say that where I live it seems to be assumed that you are Republican, conservative, and a gun rights advocate, and are against welfare bums. But not necessarily against unemployment benefits or disability benefits or social security.

But this assumption thing. I was at my dentist office, and possibly I misconstrued a comment, but I don’t think so. The dental assistant made some off-hand remark about someone being “an Obama lover” and that is all she said. But her tone told me it was left unsaid, but to be understood, that to be such was bad. I mean she might as well have said whoever this was loved Adolf Hitler or maybe Joseph Stalin. But then again, judging by her age, I imagine she never heard anything of or much about either.

For the record, I am neither an Obama lover or hater. I do think he did not come through with the things he said he would — but then again, is that not par for the course in politics regardless of political party?

But like I say, I don’t know what people want.

I for one would not mind seeing some of the Wall Street villains go to jail, but that won’t happen and it would not make my life any better, and it is not top on my priorities anyway — but I wouldn’t mind seeing it.

Actually I have few complaints. Like I said in a previous post, it’s been my history through life (now at 66 and counting) that my situation does not necessarily follow that of the traditional narrative of good times and bad. That is to say my good times and bad did not always follow that of the nation in general.

I am concerned about the fact that our government for whatever reason seems to promote an economy that offers fewer and fewer secure and good-paying jobs, and that manufacturing continues to go elsewhere.

And I am definitely concerned about the threat of terrorism and ISIS in particular.

In addition I am not a climate change disbeliever. I realize at times some predictions of doom might be overstated for two reasons: one, we just don’t always know the complete answer when it comes to mother nature, and two, sometimes some environmentalists may think you have to exaggerate to get action. But I will believe the majority of the scientific community before I believe right-wing politicians who cannot see beyond the next election or financial investment.

I am concerned about racial strife, and police brutality, and city officials in Flint, Mich. and elsewhere who would knowingly or carelessly or both allow a public water system to poison people, who just happened to be mostly black or minority.

Also I am concerned about a congress that cannot compromise on prudent budgeting so it has to come up with a plan whereby no one takes the blame if the defense budget is cut. With all of the world problems and we are cutting back on our military? that seems preposterous. But both Republicans and Democrats are to blame.

But you know? It’s all about people. The economy and jobs is really what it is all about. While I do not have a major problem with all that on a personal level, I am concerned for the nation.

We need a president who can bridge the partisan divide, put the security of the nation ahead of special interests, and who will look out for the interests of minorities, and who is not scientific adverse, and who believes that government must stay out of religion. It neither should promote it or deny it.

We need someone who is level-headed, able to get past the confines of rigid ideology and solve problems.

No we don’t want to be like the rest of the world. We want to be better.

I do think there are limits to what the government should and can do when it comes to social problems. Certainly we have to have a secure safety net. And the people through their elected representatives have a right to come up with a some form of cooperative health care protection, that is to say a safety net for those who can’t afford their own health insurance and regulations in the marketplace that don’t allow people to be excluded or to be gouged by unreasonable premiums.

Most modern industrialized nations have some form of socialized medicine or government-funded health care. But the U.S. is different in the way that the concept of health insurance has evolved. We could copy other nations but we have not. It seems some form of open market is preferred here. But health coverage is really a necessity, not something you just buy as a luxury or pass up if you cannot afford it. And it costs everyone if legions of people do not have it because sick and injured wind up in emergency rooms and the rates and the overload on the system is costly, so we must have coverage for aIl.

I don’t know who to believe about Obamacare, of which I do not seem to be directly affected, but to hear the common man on the street and of course GOP politicians, it is the greatest disaster since the plague. But I have yet to see the evidence. Problems can be corrected I am sure. I am suspicious because the GOP had plenty of opportunity to come up with a plan of its own and did not. Now many of the candidates claim to have their own proposed plans. It was bad enough people thought Obamacare was interfering with their insurance, now the GOP wants to destroy that and start all over. Watch the premiums go up then.

On gun control: I get it. People want to retain their right to own guns for self-protection from criminals who by definition would not obey gun control laws and of course hunters want guns to hunt and then there is the notion that we need to maintain a citizen arsenal to protect us from the tyranny of government. And I can see the point that once the camel gets its nose under the tent, that is to say once you go very far down the road to gun restrictions, it’s too easy to lose all your rights — gun confiscation in the name of public safety. But somehow I don’t think it is prudent to have automatic assault rifles so easy to obtain by crazies in our society, and furthermore why do people need them anyway? I could point out or argue that the Second Amendment is not really clear as to whether the right to keep and bear arms is within the context of a well-regulated militia (and does that mean a state-run militia? I would think or hope so) or simply on an individual basis — but I won’t get anywhere with that when discussing the matter with the gun rights advocates. I wish there was more clarity on all that. But this is not a major issue for me at this time.

I think the economy and jobs are the most important, and now that I have touched on it, I think having someone who could bridge the partisan divide and actually solve problems is the most important.




So Chris Christie comes on strong, ‘Marcus Rubias’ comes off weak…

February 7, 2016

I’ve begun writing this as the debate (Saturday evening) is in progress but I note that Donald Trump started out strong and then devolved into bad behavior and then maybe came back to some civility again. He is coming across better than usual I think.

Well, it is over now, the ABC Republican presidential candidate debate just ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, so I can go to the past tense:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came off as the most enthusiastic, toughest, and prepared. I give him the win.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio without any doubt was the night’s loser, undergoing a withering attack, by Christie primarily.  Rubio was a stuck record giving stock answers to any question, in fact the same answer over and over again, almost always having nothing to do with the question.

(Somewhere in my brain I think of Rubio as “Marcus Rubias”.)

Actually Donald Trump scored almost right off the bat when he commented that Texas Senator Ted Cruz failed to directly answer a question.

Cruz, for his part held his own, though.

Ohio governor John Kasich did well.

For some reason former Florida Governor Jeb Bush seemed to have to depend upon the moderators bringing him in, but he gave good answers.

Dr. Ben Carson as usual was on a different planet. He appeared to screw up the opening of the program by failing to take the stage when called and just waiting in the wings, even holding back when a stage hand prompted him to go forward. All of this caught on live TV.

(I am not saying it was his fault — it was all on live TV, very confusing — possibly miscues or too  much noise.)

Bottom line, big loser Rubio. Big winner Christie.

Trump can’t really be compared, he being in a different orbit or some parallel universe where normal rules don’t seem to apply, but he seemed a little more measured or a little more thorough in many of is responses. More like a conventional candidate.

Back to Kasich. Really he always comes off as the most reasonable and moderate and probably the most appealing to voters across the spectrum or party affiliations. It seems, though, he is more likely to find himself on the ticket as a vice presidential candidate, if at all.

In his favor he sounds like someone who really is a “compassionate conservative” (as George W.  Bush liked to call himself), again mentioning the need to look out for the less fortunate while maintaining conservative government and capitalist economic policies.

And please be aware, just because I call someone a winner does not mean I support him. I am just guessing he made the best points and had the best chance of influencing potential voters. And for that of course I already tagged Christie as the winner. Of course the candidates are looking to the Tuesday New Hampshire primary most immediately — but potential voters heard them throughout the nation.

Strange answer from my winner Christie, though. He said he was anti-abortion, anti killing unborn babies, but would make an exception in the cases of rape and incest.

His position is not unusual but seems in conflict. If abortion is murder, then how does it make a difference how or under what circumstances the life or beginning life was brought about? The poor baby had nothing to do with it.

Rubio said he understood the conflict if a mother’s life was in danger — spare the mother or the child. He said he would sign a bill that had exceptions — I was left uncertain exactly which life he thought more important.

My own opinion is it is a private medical decision the government should stay away from. It is akin, although not quite the same, as allowing old people to die with dignity. Even though it is illegal in most jurisdictions for terminally ill people to be given an overdose of morphine to speed their end for their own comfort, the authorities turn a blind eye. There are other things to enforce.

Even though I know people have genuine passions on the subject of abortion, the reality is it is used as a political wedge issue to distract from other subjects.

I don’t see that Trump ended up saying much of anything of substance. He had the last word in closing. “We as a country don’t win anymore. When I am a president we will win, win, and win”. He does not even give a hint as to how, other than to say he has a history of making good deals. He also has a history of bankruptcy and questionable ethics and poor behavior. And yet he was on better behavior than previously. A little better.


For the most part I did not tackle the issues here. Sometimes the horse race is of the most immediate importance and interest.

Oh, and I don’t want to neglect saying that ABC’s David Muir and Martha Raddatz did a superb job of grilling the candidates and were calm but brooked no nonsense from the candidates.



Hillary the Wall Street call girl???

February 6, 2016

I have mixed emotions about Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. On the one hand it might be helpful because probably the best chance to reform the system is within the system, so if she is in with the in crowd while Bernie Sanders shuns them, in fact says Wall Street is predicated “on fraud”, then it would seem Hillary has a better chance of changing what is wrong. I mean love ‘m or hate’m, the Wall Streeters wield major power.

On the other hand, defending the millions of dollars she has personally taken in speaking fees by simply saying: “because that is what they offered”,  to me sounds no more noble than what a high-priced call girl might say when questioned about her morals.

Or, would a prostitute accept money and then be shocked at what the client had in mind?

But I think it was CNBC financial personality Larry Kudlow I heard comment that Wall Street while preferring a Republican wins the White House would be more comfortable with Mrs. Clinton than Sanders.

Her husband Bill Clinton supported the repeal of the so-called Glass-Steagall Act when he was president. The shorthand is that Glass-Steagall among other things prohibited the combining of commercial banks with investment banks, and that the result was that mergers took place or commercial banks otherwise got involved in risky investments, most notably the bundling of home mortgages to sell as securities (mortgage derivatives), and that it ultimately resulted in the burst of a speculative bubble that had been based on worthless loans to people who had no credit.

Not everyone would agree with all that, but I think that narrative is pretty much assumed as accurate by most. What there is no doubt about is that there were some big banks that were “too big to fail” so the federal government (read  taxpayers) had to bail them out. And how honest capitalists would see that as right or practical I don’t know. I mean individuals and even corporations have to go through bankruptcy. Uncle Sam does not bail you or them out.

Sanders would like to see the return of Glass-Steagall.  Mrs. Clinton thinks the current Dodd-Frank law, put into effect after the financial calamity of 2008, the Great Recession, can be enforced in order to control the big banks and such.

I use the term Wall Street in generic terms sometimes. The Clintons have received millions of dollars from the investment community. Some of that money is funneled into a non-profit foundation they run that is supposed to be doing good works around the world. I confess, I know next to nothing about the details of it. But of course the Clintons benefit financially big time from the special interests. They sell influence.

Interestingly, although they are Democrats and the Bush family are of course Republicans, both families share this profession — influence peddlers.

Mrs. Clinton grew indignant during the last debate, saying that Sanders was implying that she took money and made decisions accordingly while in public office. She declared that she never based a decision on a money donation.

(Maybe not solely, but you cannot ignore the source of money.)

But at any rate, in my opinion, Sanders took himself out of the race (polls notwithstanding) both when he declared he would raise taxes and when he conceded basically that he is weak on foreign policy and that foreign policy is a strong point for Mrs. Clinton.

The president does not raise taxes (by himself), but even if we know he would have to we also know that history shows you don’t win an election by promising to raise taxes. Just ask Walter Mondale — well his ghost.

And in an interview for the job of president of the United States, the world’s super power, you don’t look good saying you are weak on foreign policy.

I’m not convinced Mrs. Clinton’s idea of foreign policy is much different from Sanders’ however.

And when either one of them promises not to commit U.S. troops (save special forces) to the Middle East, or anywhere, I just shake my head. You just cannot do that. Two things: you cannot predict the future and you send a signal to any enemy that we are weak and reluctant to defend our interests. You still might in the end not decide not to commit troops. That is a tactical decision. But you do not need to telegraph intentions to the enemy. It is the same as promising to pull out of a conflict at a date certain. A smart adversary will just wait.

Personally, I am not a war hawk and would just as soon we not be in this costly endless war situation in the Middle East or anywhere. But I think the candidates would do better to state careful and general positions on defense. And you never want to lock yourself into a position on these things. Stuff happens and things change (just ask President Obama).

While there are far too many candidates on the Republican side, somehow there seems not enough on the Democratic side.

And before I forget, the Clinton email thing:

So far all I see is maybe bad judgment or maybe just someone who like me is having to use all the nice new technology and on the one hand is glad to have it but on the other hand does not grasp the implications of all of it.

1.She should not have been using a private server for government business. But as far as I have read, she did not break any laws outright. She may have violated policy that was not written at the time, but understood, and written policy may have been adopted later.

2. So far, all reports I have read (aside from Republican or Clinton-hater propaganda) say that none of the material on her private server was classified at the time. Some of it was classified after the fact. In addition, we all know that the government is classify crazy. Some things that are already well known and some things that are innocuous are stamped classified. We often hide more stuff from the general public than the enemy.

3. What the email controversy points out so far is that the government needs to get a handle on the whole mess and make sure it is not over classifying and make sure that when it does have a legitimate secret it stays that way. And there need to be clear laws and regulations.  It has now been reported that what is now regarded a classified material has been discovered among the private email of former secretary of state Colin Powell and of the aides of former secretary of state and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice. Both of course are Republicans. And everybody is doing it may not be te best defense, but it is certainly a mitigating factor.

Looks more like Hillary the progressive could win, but Bernie looks to the revolution…

February 6, 2016

I want to write more later when I have time, but my initial reaction to the MSNBC Democratic Party debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is that Mrs. Clinton came off as a more realistic president.

But Sanders is serious about wanting to create a revolution (non-violent I am sure) in which citizens take a more active role in government.

I’m not sure how far you can go with that in a representative democracy and more importantly in the U.S.

And where I live socialism, and Sanders calls it  “democratic socialism” (small d), is just not popular at all, even though, granted, many people don’t understand the concept, or perhaps they do and that is the problem. They tend to see socialism as giving your hard-earned money to someone else who could have but chose not to earn it.

Mrs. Clinton is a progressive. Sanders is a socialist, the two are not always interchangeable.

I’ll give the win to Hillary, but that is more subjective, than anything else. I will say, though, she seems more believable as president, or maybe I mean electable, no I mean believable too.

Even Sanders said there is no dispute that she knows more about foreign policy.


I’ll have more in a later post, hopefully by Sunday, if not sooner.

Gotta earn money to pay the rent, you know.


Hillary scorched (or ‘berned’?), Cruz clouts Trump, Rubio declares victory, voter revolt…

February 1, 2016

While I don’t think Iowa is necessarily representative of the nation — it’s quirky — the caucus results, in the first indication of what voters really might do in this process to elect a new president, surprise or no surprise, if Hillary Clinton escaped feeling the full “Bern” from her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, she did get scorched badly — they virtually tied, with Clinton only in the lead technically by a fraction — or actually the CNN report I am looking at now, the morning after, has them tied evenly, so okay, maybe Hillary did FEEL THE full BERN!

While it is useless for me to speculate, I would still at this point put my money (figuratively) on Hillary, as the one most electable — but she has email and likability problems, and voters on the left and right are in a restive mood.

As much as I cannot stand Ted Cruz, the holier-than-thou Canadian from Texas, I was gleeful to see him take down that dangerous clown Donald Trump, relegating the invincible to second place. I still don’t know what the attraction of Marco Rubio is, but as we know, he placed third and is being described as the “establishment” candidate, which this year might not help him, unless enough GOP voters decide they don’t want extremists, to the extent Rubio is not one himself. But Rubio basically declared himself the victor last night, in a speech to supporters.

I’ve updated the lead on this post and will not bother to list numbers of votes or delegates from the caucus, since anyone can readily get that.

I see that Martin O’Malley on the Democratic side has finally seen the light and quit. Why he wanted to waste time and money I have no idea. Ego is a strange thing. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee on the Republican side has suspended his campaign. I never could see him as president of the U.S., too intolerant of non-evangelical Christians and of course non-believers. Sorry Mike, we have both freedom of religion and freedom from it.

And now I leave attached my original tome on what might be causing tumult in the electorate and what led up to it. I wrote it stream-of-consciousness style, like I write most things, but sometimes that is the most accurate and sincere way to do things:

The great recession that occurred during the term of our first MBA president is over, unemployment figures seem more favorable these days, at least on a national scale, and we even have a form of national health care. So what has people so bugged that they might buck the establishment, the security of the known versus uncharted waters?

I’ve been thinking about this:

I have noticed that my individual fortunes (I don’t mean money fortunes) did not necessarily coincide with the state of the economy depicted in the news. When things were great they were not necessarily great for me and when we were supposed to be in recession I did not necessarily feel the pain.

I have always felt that the economy, though, is usually the overriding factor in presidential elections — usually I say. It did seem strange that after a pretty good run with Bill Clinton’s two terms the country turned a little right (although Bill was only left of center) and elected George W. Bush (who turned out to be only a little right of center I think). Oh, yeah, I always forget, Clinton’s VP Al Gore won the popular vote and had it all stolen from him by a questionable Supreme Court ruling.

But elections may not be so much about statistics, unemployment figures, gross national product and so on, they are about feelings.

John Kennedy is said to have won (and it was close of course) because the electorate felt we had stagnated as a nation and that the Russians were pulling ahead of us (not really but that was the thought).

Okay, so now I’ll get down to it:

I watched a Pearl Harbor documentary the other night. I had seen it before, but I got to thinking — it just does not turn out that way anymore.

You know the story. We picked ourselves up and after four years of heavy fighting and sacrifice we vanquished the axis powers and became the leading nation in the world.

In the decades that followed we greatly expanded our middle class and built a standard of living that was the envy of the world.

There were moments of doubt. A recession in the late 1950s is said to have propelled a change from a Republican status quo administration in the White House to the election of Democrat John Kennedy, who called for bold moves into the future, expansion of civil rights, and exploration of space, and promised to “fight any foe” who would stand in the way of our freedom.

But as the years progressed, something changed. We could not win a war any more. Korea (pre-Kennedy) had ended in stalemate, a sort of victory, but had it been done in WWII-style we would not be putting up with the nut-case of a dictator In North Korea, who threatens to lob a nuclear bomb at us while we stand by seemingly impotent.

And I recall the arguments back in the early 1960s when Vietnam came into our consciousness. We did not want to get involved in another land war in Asia, but on the other hand it was taken for granted if we did we could certainly win and relatively quick with our overwhelming military might.

But we ended up quitting Vietnam after ten long bloody years and lost by default.

And then we had what was called our second Pearl Harbor — the 9/11 attack.

But it has not played out like the first one:

Our retaliation, or whatever it was (is) a Vietnam-style quagmire. We don’t do victory anymore. Oh, it looked as if we had one with the first Gulf War (pre-9/11), but we failed to demand total surrender by the belligerent.

The point here is not whether we should have fought any of these wars, it is  the fact we have lost our way and have no determination to win. We don’t even know what our goals are.

And there is more:

We are not the same country we were when I was born (1949). That can be good and that can be bad, depending upon who you are.

We were Norman Rockwell white, we were Leave it to Beaver with mom in the kitchen and dad coming home from work and plopping himself into his easy chair, and the kids playing in the yard or down the street. Today kids often stay locked up in their homes for fear of the outside world and parents arrange “play dates” for them to visit friends, for which of course they have to provide transportation.

I’m talking white people of course, because I am one, and I talk of what I know.

Back in the day we all knew that minorities were often at the lower end of the scale and did not completely share in the benefits of society and we did not necessarily feel good about it, but what could we as individuals do about long-entrenched social customs? that is those of us who cared.

Besides, when things are booming, even minorities benefit. As an example, blacks found lucrative employment in the ship yards during World War II.

And in the 50s and 60s the civil rights movement got under way in earnest. That seemed positive to many at first, right up until it went from peaceful to burning neighborhoods down and rioting (instead of demonstrating).

The civil rights rioting and burning and the anti-war demonstrations, primarily by white college students, in the 60s and early 70s, caused social upheaval, that pitted what was called the silent (white) majority of the content, with those non-content.

Ever since World War II and the discovery that women could replace men in the work force, more women were getting out of the home and into the work world. By the late 60s the idea of a stay-at-home mom almost seemed passe.

And this helped propel the women’s rights movement. That and the introduction of the birth control pill changed society forever.

But as the world had recovered from the world war, manufacturing moved overseas where labor was cheaper and safety and pollution regulations all but non-existent.

A combination of economics and political pressure pushed us into a service economy with a minority working at the top in technical fields and the rest working at the bottom in lower-paid endeavors, including fast food.

Also, with all of that the makeup of our society changed. We expanded way beyond the European type as the majority in charge, and minorities gained rights (right they were supposed to have all along).

I still think the economy has a lot to do with it.

Back when we knew where we stood and when the employment picture was relatively good for the many, there was not so much turmoil and the political class just went on its merry way, elect tweedledum or tweedledee.

But now there is great uncertainty. People don’t know where they stand, whether they will get work, or how long it will last. They don’t know whether they will have adequate pay and chance for advancement or whether there is any future for their children. Not everyone can be a computer programmer or stock trader or even entrepreneur.

And it is not at all an exaggeration to say that technology now has gone past making life easier — in fact in some sense it makes it much more complicated, and it threatens to put virtually everyone out of work, whether you work with your hands or brain or a combination of both.

And when it comes to foreign affairs, there seems to be no consensus.

And back to the political class: leadership is lacking. Also lacking is a willingness to compromise and get things accomplished. And compromise is not a dirty word. How could we have a democracy with people allowed to have different ideas and not have a need to compromise to get things done?

So we will see where this election goes and if the electorate really wants change and whether it will get change and whether it will like it if it does.


Sure I left a lot out here. For one, I did not address sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. I’ll leave out the music part, but the change in sexual mores has had a profound effect on society — both good and bad. Drugs, well they have been around in some form forever and probably always will be, but most people who have constructive things to do and are content with life stay fairly clear of them (for the most part).