Monday, November 28, 2016

Trump And Castro

As an old and experienced college and grad school protestor (always non-violent) I have been appalled at those violent protests against Mr. Trump.  This is not the way to make your point, and turns off people who might otherwise agree with you. It is impractical as well as hurtful.
 
Even worse, as a Portland, Oregon TV station reported, half the protestors arrested there had NOT voted.
 
A vote is your best protest.
 
And for you non-violent (and lazy) registered voters, all 46% of you who didn’t vote...shame on you.
 
That said, perhaps Mr. Trump, who always said the election was rigged, will decide not to accept the outcome of it. Fat chance!  About as fat as his tweets are factual. Now, citing no evidence, he says if it hadn’t been rigged, he would have won the popular vote, too.  Late returns, but STILL not all in!!!) show HRC over 2 million votes ahead...rigged, of course.
 
If you truly believe you won the popular vote, Mr. Trump, that’s a great argument for a constitutional amendment to end the Electoral College and just use that vote. I invited your support for such an amendment.
 
Now to Mr. Castro...
 
Few media stories I have seen so far point out that he overthrew a right-wing, military dictator, General Batista, backed by the US.  (Our country has an almost unblemished record for backing dictators thru out South America, when any even mildly liberal reformer rose against them.  I have never understood why---with our history.)
 
Castro was never the “agrarian reformer” he posed as at the start. But I am not convinced he would have gone as far left, into communism, as he did, had the US shown him any sort of recognition. You didn’t have to welcome Castro but we could have said of Batista “Good Riddance!”
 
But No...not in the administration of Ike and John Foster Dulles. No way.
 
There are lessons here..for the incoming President. He may not like Cuba now, but it is a far cry from the early days of Castro. Obama was right (as Nixon was) to begin an opening to improve relations with Cuba, as Nixon did with China. Perhaps Mr. Trump can draw that parallel..and just maybe his business dealings (and interests in more of the same) with both Communist nations will soften his campaign promise to undo what Obama has started.
 
American business is chomping at the bit to get back to Cuba; hopefully they can talk some sense into him.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 21, 2016

I SAY AGAIN

We must get rid of the electoral college.
 
Once again the person with the highest popular vote did not win. The last check I made showed HRC 1.2 MILLION   votes more than The Donald..but you know the result.
 
And whatever the reasons for the college 200 years ago, they are gone now.
 
Either one persons vote is as good, no more no less, than every other voter or it isn’t.  And under the College it isn’t.
 
There’s a move on to have a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case---allowing corporations, which the court majority held were “persons”—to put UN-limited money into campaigns, without having to account for it (even to stockholders apparently.) I support that, but what is more needed is an amendment ending the College and making one vote equal one vote.
 
A colleague says that would just mean 50 state challenges over “hanging chads.” I doubt it, but even if there were a few, they are worth it to allow the majority to feel it picked the chief executive, and were not bamboozled out of their choice by slick manipulations of key states.
 
This is not the first time  the majority winner didn’t become President, nor the 2nd, nor the 3rd. When will we get our democratic practices to match our democratic beliefs??
 
It’s way overdue, way overdue.  

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 14, 2016

THAT FLIPPIN’ HOUSE

Safe to say few Republicans (or Democrats for that matter) believed even if the Grand Old Party took over the Kentucky House—for the first time in 90 years—it would be by the huge majority it turned out to be.
 
How did they do it?
 
The “secret” seems to be to keep after local recruiting...to get the very best possible men and women to run locally.  Privately GOP leaders felt they had a few good local candidates last time (and they gained a few seats,) but this time they had more. The Donald’s coattails didn’t hurt...they helped...or at least the even more basic feeling “It’s time for a change!”
 
Add the anti-Washington feeling (a bit illogical since Republicans controlled Congress,) the (false) “war on coal” (and a lot of other false ads) millions poured into local races, for the first time, by out of state SuperPacs and it was going to be a hard time for Kentucky Democrats.
 
OK, the GOP now has its chance, controlling both house and the governor, so the ball---and responsibility—is in its court, and they should be held accountable in the future.
 
But, what do Kentucky Dems do?
 
Take a leaf from the GOP playbook and recruit the best possible local candidates, put forth a program/platform for Kentucky’s future (something too long missing from both parties)---which would concisely let them point out its differences from the national party, study the demographics of this election and launch programs to woo back the disaffected, don’t be afraid to take unpopular (but correct) stands, especially on coal’s future..while continuing to work to improve the commonwealth in every way possible---jobs, education, roads, environment and so on.
 
I strongly believe in the two-party system (or even more.) It was unfair to keep Republicans out of the House for 90 years, no party should have control for that long, but it will take hard work, more than history, to end the present one-party situation in Frankfort.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

THE DONALD TRUMPS AMERICAN HISTORY

Turns out the story of the campaign was as old as our Republic, as old as Jefferson vs Hamilton, and if you have any doubts check the Kentucky map on the Herald-Leader’s front page.
 
2 counties went for HRC, Fayette and Jefferson, the rest, 118 counties,  are a sea of red. Yes, it was rural vs urban.
 
Of course there are other important demographics, but this was the big one. Yes, it reflects discontent with “Washington” tho the party that controls Congress didn’t seem to suffer much—and don’t they, too share the blame?
 
We had two candidates with the highest “unfavorable” ratings in history---but one of these
“unfavorables” had to win...and He did (surprising his own party and other GOP contenders who were already working on their race in 2020.)
 
And he won by campaigning against “the media” tho he is a product of the media...a tv reality show star and the beneficiary of more “free” media time thru news coverage than any candidate ever.
 
And, my colleagues in “the media” did a bad job.  CBS’ Major Garret pointing out (at last) all the clues reporters missed at those jammed Trump rallies.
 
As for “the polls” Ho Boy! Nate Silver was wrong, Larry Sabato was wrong, the Real Clear Politics survey of 20 polls turned up only one that had Trump winning. Alan Lichtman was right...an American university professor who uses various indexes of news events to predict the winner and has been right since ‘88, without relying on polls.
 
Is the system rigged? Only in the sense that we still use an 18th century device, the Electoral College, to determine winners, which is at great odds with democracy’s hope for “one person, one vote.”  (And, BTW, the latest national returns show HRC winning more popular votes than Trump---but not winning. When will we bring 21st Century Democracy up to its promise?)
 
The President-elect made a good acceptance speech, promising to try to heal our divisions, and to be the President for all the people. As HRC said...we need to give him time to do this, and all pray that he can do it, for the sake of America and all of our futures.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

AT LAST, PAUL DEBATES

Kentucky voters deserve more than just one debate between candidates for the important office of US Senator, but Republican Rand Paul has avoided all of them until the KET one last night.
 
And differences between Paul and Democrat Lexington Mayor Jim Gray surfaced with the first question..what’s the most important issue facing America. To Paul it’s our rising national debt; to Gray it’s job creation.
 
Later in the program both did stress national security so much one wondered just which issue was #1..and here disagreed also. Paul opposes parts of the Patriot Act, as interference in our liberties (and I agree) while Gray implied greater support. They disagreed on foreign aid—Paul would cut it, Gray was more favorable.  They disagreed on the terrorist threat, especially ISIS, but in their joint opposition, their strategy of opposition was quite different.
 
I have always thought Paul was very vulnerable on the facts of his campaign for President almost as soon as he reached Washington, and Gray has hit him heavily on this...as taking much time away from representing his home state. When Gray asked if Paul would run again for President, Paul didn’t answer, but pointed out, currently, Gray is the one seeking two offices.
 
Paul spent many months away campaigning, and raising millions on his ill-fated attempt..and what was the result? He got TWO votes at the GOP convention, lowest of any candidate.  Paul counters he still voted 96% of the time in the Senate, a claim I find suspicious or only possible because so few votes were held  due to partisan roadblocks.
 
Paul opposes a minimum wage hike, Gray supports it.
 
Paul hit Gray’s record as mayor, especially over our downtown “hole in the ground,” but Gray was a critic of that project when a council member.
 
Paul tried to link Gray to HRC and her anti-coal views, but Gray pointed out Paul did not vote to fund a vital coal project..paying for retired miners pensions.
 
And so it went. They are sharply opposed candidates,
 
You don’t have to vote for either The Donald or HRC, but you should vote in our Senate race.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

AT LAST, A TRUTHFUL POLITICIAN

‘Course she isn’t much of a politician, this being her first run for office, but the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper at last has dared to touch “the 3rd rail of Kentucky politics”: coal.
 
On her tv ads and in her recent KET debate with incumbent Republican Andy Barr, she has said that Coal, as we have known it, is over. And it is. It will never again employ hundreds of thousands (or even tens of thousands) of miners in Kentucky...and the sooner this state faces up to that and starts finding new jobs for unemployed miners the better.
 
(There is enuff guilt here to go around..natural gas competition, Wyoming, “clean coal” projects never supported by operators or the unions, etcetcetc)---but the industry, unions, et al keep denying the current state, and especially the future of King Coal instead of working on solutions that will re-employ miners.
 
And politicians, at every level and party, keep denying this and delaying solutions.
 
Ms. Kemper does not...she is not anti-coal, she is not a soldier in the  “war on coal,” she instead feels much more deeply for the miners and their families, and offers solutions.
 
Now, lest you think the debate was one-sided and she won, it wasn’t, and she didn’t. Barr, a lawyer, was the more skilled debater and made his points more clearly and more often.  But he also often accepted some of the foolish “facts” put out by the RNC. Ms. Kemper also made the debate a re-run of  the national Presidential debate, but also stated some independent positions at odds with her party. Nor did she hesitate to compliment Barr on some of his presentations, where he is knowledgeable after 2 terms in Congress.
 
He would overturn the Iran nuclear agreement, she would not.  He opposes raising the minimum wage, she is for raising it.  He would repeal Obamacare, she would amend it.  You get the differences.
 
So take your choice in this race, a microcosm of the national one.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ON TO NOVEMBER 8

The third debate between HRC and The Donald is now history. Moderator Chris Wallace (Mike’s son) of Fox News did the best job yet, but even struggling mightily, it occasionally got out of hand. Wallace had specific areas he wanted them to discuss.
 
For about 30 minutes Trump behaved, then started interrupting and talking over Wallace, which made it difficult, if not impossible for the audience to understand
 
Viewers heard largely restatements of views well known, including Trump favors repeal of Roe v Wade, HRC does not.
 
A supposed discussion of immigration soon descended into views on Putin. during which Trump said he was NOT in favor of more nuclear nations, which may be a change in position.
 
On the economy both had tax plans which different groups of economists say are better.  And Clinton said her tax plan would not add one penny to the national debt which I very seriously doubt.
 
Trump laid into HRC for how the Clinton Foundation operated, a “pay for play” when she was Sec. of State, and she fired back about its many global good works, and that several probes had found no proof of his charges.
 
The BIG event of this brawl, according to most analysts was The Donald saying he would not promise to accept the results until election night...while VP Pence has said the opposite. Frankly, I'm
with Trump on this. He should wait. In 1886 we DID HAVE a rigged election, in 1960 there is evidence that skullduggery in Illinois, if caught, would have elected Nixon, but he chose not to challenge.  (AS for Bush v Gore, we wuz robbed!)
 
On foreign hot spots, the moderator's next topic, Trump claimed ISIS fighters have left Mosul, because the Obama government told them ahead of time we would attack that city, and that “Aleppo has fallen." HRC disagreed.
 
On entitlements, Trump would change much in the present plan (as Sen. Paul would have through privatization) while Clinton promised not to change benefits.  Take your choice,
 
Wallace said no closing statements had been agreed on, and asked each to say why they should be elected. HRC said her election would make us “stronger together”, and Trump said his would “Make America great again. Uh huh.
 
So the debates end for another season...and I hope the Committee on Presidential Debates has taken note of a lot of changes that need to be made. Frankly, one moderator seems best, maybe 2, and I would let them control the mike switches on both—that should end the incessant interruptions!
 
To paraphrase Gilbert & Sullivan, "These debates have been long; ditto ditto this song; but thank goodness they're both of them over!”
 
I'm just sayin'