Sunday, April 24, 2016


He didn’t do his homework.

Yes, in many ways, our electoral process for president is rigged. But the rules, procedures and calendar are known months, even years, ahead, and Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to know that.

Yes, many of these favor the party faithful...those who work between elections, doing the grunt work, going to precinct meetings, and state conventions, ringing doorbells and working their way up to responsible party positions.

Is that so bad???

In Kentucky, and in one way, yes. The recent state GOP convention in Lexington elected a lot of people to the national gathering. Many of these were familiar names, and long time party workers. Gov Bevin, Senators McConnell and Paul, etc. etc. etc.

They will cast the vote for all Kentucky Republicans in Cleveland for President…but almost all of these people won’t tell their fellow Republicans who they favor for  America’s top job.

That just doesn’t seem right or fair.  (Not that the Democrats are much different.)

That’s what the recent primary…ah, caucus…was about..and the GOP voted for Trump ahead of the on the first ballot it would seem fair…and the will of those who bothered to vote...that their choice be so reflected. (Most state and party rules allow delegates to be “free” after the first ballot…which Mr. Trump may not be aware of, either.)

So this “rigging" has been known and practiced for years. Doesn’t make it right (ah, correct) and I think the parties ought to offer their members slates committed to various candidates.

That would be fairer and more democratic (ah, republican.)

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, April 18, 2016


Checks and balances are an important part of our democracy---if our 3 branches of government operate effectively and as the Founding Fathers wanted.

But, once again, the House in Frankfort has lost the ability to consider the governor’s vetoes  (and he will do some vetoes!) by delaying budget agreement until the last minute. I blame the House more than the Senate, because its initial budget considerations and passage came very late in the session..and now the Democrats in control must pay the political penalty for not being able to override the Republican governor’s vetoes.

But, much more than this was the house failure to pass a constitutional amendment giving the legislature the right to call itself back into session. Now that power resides with the governor, and it is an unfair executive branch power over the legislative branch. It needs to be changed---soon.

BTW, if you saw “60 Minutes” Sunday and were incensed by the report showing how ALL  insurance firms are NOT paying death benefits as they promised…a bill to tighten requirements failed in the legislature.  I wonder why?

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, April 10, 2016


The Donovan Forum at UK made the mistake of asking me to talk to them about national party nomination conventions -  (I have reported on 14 of them.) The Forum, open to all, meets each Thursday at 2pm at the Senior Citizens Center at Alumni and Nicholasville, during the regular UK semesters.

Last week was my turn. And I held forth for about an hour (making at least 2 mistakes I am aware of for now.)  Let me summarize for you.

On who will win at the summer meetings, there are NO experts. Since candidates started announcing last summer, almost all major media stories, predictions (especially) have been wrong. So have the polls. All 13 polls in advance of the Iowa caucus were wrong! (I was asked the origin of “caucus” and said it meant meeting, which it does but with political overtones---and that it came from the Latin.  First mistake: it is actually a North American Indian word.)

While I did not count them, my estimate is that over our entire history from one third to one-half of these conventions have been “brokered” or “open.” The last one was the GOP event in 1976, and we have gotten used to one candidate arriving with enough votes to win. That simply has not been true over much of our history.

Will there be a brokered convention this year?

The 3 “experts” I trust the most---CBS’s Bob Schieffer and PBS NewsHour’s Brooks and Shield (not to be missed on Friday nights for you political junkies) now say "the odds favor it.” I agree.

As of this week there are  still 22 primaries and caucuses out there...with the big New York primary set to come in soon, followed by Pa. and California. We’ll have a better idea after these states vote.  And please remember, the national news media are giving different reports of the candidates’ total delegate count based on their ESTIMATE of how the “superdelegates” in each party MAY vote on the first ballot. Since they are free to vote for anyone, unless they announce their choice, we really won’t know til then.

Stay tuned…and fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

(My 2nd mistake was to say writers of the Constitution wrote in a section so Alexander Hamilton couldn’t run for President. He was not born in the colonies---our first “birther” controversy. Wrong, there is a section so he could. But of course, he was killed in a duel.)

I'm just sayin...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lessons From The Vietnam War

The VA has set aside March 29th as a day to “welcome home” vets of all wars, but especially the ‘Nam experience.  Good. We owe our vets a lot. (full disclosure: I am a Korean war vet, non-combat.) Of all our recent “wars” our Nam vets did not receive a proper welcome home---because many in America, properly, turned against the war as it dragged out over many years.  I agree, BUT the vets had nothing to do with US policy and should never have been blamed for it. They did a nasty job, patriotically, as their country asked them at the time to do.

But, have we learned this---and other lessons—from that war?

I doubt it..and IF I am right, 58000 died and 153,000 others suffered wounds, injuries, amputations, PTSD, etc..not in vain, but not wisely either.

To begin with, Congress, as the Constitution requires, never passed a declaration of war…and hasn’t since for most of our succeeding wars, tho there have been attempts at half-hearted legalities, NO war declaration has passed Congress since WW II.  That’s more than a shame, it’s a failure of our elected representatives to carry out their oaths…and in some cases has cost vets and their families dearly—as they were denied benefits only available if war was declared.

Suicides among active duty service members remain “disturbingly high” according to media reports and among vets even more so...something the VA must bring down.

Meanwhile, we need to remember them every day, not just on March 29th (tho at least the Central Kentucky Veterans Committee did observe that day at Camp Nelson, and more power to them.)

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to remember them, remember the lessons of 'Nam, insist that if we ever do go back to war Congress at least pass the required declaration, and look very skeptically on those candidates for high office who talk so glibly about more “boots on the ground” as a way of solving foreign affairs problems.

War is never the easy solution.

I'm just sayin'...