American-Flag1God, I hope not.  The Civil Rights Acts of 1965 are in-tact and segregation will never more be the law of the land, even in the Deep South.  But with the white police brutality resulting in the death of black youngsters in Ferguson, MI and Staten Island, NY leads me to believe a new Jim Crow is rising from the ashes of a horrible Phoenix that exists in the minds of ignorant, hateful people.  I am not referring to terrorists in hostile, foreign lands, but hateful bigoted Americans.  It is harder to deal with them than the terrorists because they too have rights under the Constitution.  They have the right to free speech, even if they speak ignorance and evil, and until action is taken, resulting in the aforementioned tragedies, little can be done.  Even after the fact, grand juries are powerless without physical evidence.  I fear evolution is regressing.

Jim Crow was a term used to refer to the segregated South between the reconstruction after The Civil War and 1965 when the Civil Rights laws were passed.  While segregation is all but a relic of a lesser evolved society, Jim Crow is a state of mind.  And when dealing with the human psyche, facts are negotiable, feelings are not.  You can change the laws and make even the most hateful bigoted people comply.  You can stop displaying WHITE ONLY and COLORED ONLY signs at public rest rooms, eateries, and the like; but you can’t change the way people feel on the inside.  And when the ego and superego take over the psyche, a person will show his or her true colors and it will affect how they became from that day forward.

Just before Thanksgiving, I saw the movie Forty-Two.  A movie-title reference to the uniform number 42 worn by Jackie Roosevelt Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers (the National League Team that has called Los Angeles, California home since 1958) when he integrated Major League Baseball.  One scene that caught my attention was when the Dodgers were hosting the Phillies (the team that plays in the city of brotherly love no less) and Phillies manager Ben Chapman comes out of the dugout when Robinson is at bat and screams nipple, nipple, nipple! Whose job are you taking over, Pee Wee’s?  Nipple, nipple, nipple!  (I think you know full well the real N word he said).  Listening to the man in 2014, almost seventy years after the integration, Ben Chapman sounds to me like an immature imbecile.  But a grown man talking that way was not scorned upon by all Americans back then.  And when Life magazine wanted to do a photo shoot with Chapman and Robinson shaking hands even though no differences were resolved, they had to but their hands on a baseball bat and stand close enough to each other for the photographer to get the shot, but Chapman refused to touch Robinson’s hands.  Chapman had to save his job as a big league manager and Robinson was prohibited from fighting back in his first season in 1947.  Chapman never came out of the dugout to mock Robinson with racial slurs in any future Dodgers-Phillies contests, but Chapman was no less a bigot, just a quieter one.

Today, we see the Jim Crow-esque mentality in our police officers empowered to enforce the laws.  There are good and bad in all races and colors, and the victims may have stolen goods from convenience stores and needed to be punished by law.  But shooting to kill and choking a man to death are not the way to do this.  In both the case of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, I find it hard to believe if the alleged thief were white as them they would have handled it the same way.  Jim Crow is a state of mind that will never disappear as long as Satan can teach us to hate.  We must choose God over Satan and we must elect Godly people to represent our government, or law-making, and our law-enforcing.  America must act soon or we will soon see a resurrection of a new type of Jim Crow that won’t be limited to the Deep South.  Feel free to be as Republican, Democrat, or independent, to be liberal or conservative in political philosophy, but whatever you do, please love thy neighbor.

SantaClaus1For all you young children, young at heart, and parents of young children who look forward to full stockings and well-wrapped boxes under the tree, I have the answer to an age old question about Santa’s journey that has been asked for years.  Old standards on vinyl, CD, I-Pod, or even Pandora, Sirius-XM, or those music stations cable TV providers offer play Christmas songs like Jolly Old St. Nicholas.  There is an implication that Santa visits every home at the stroke of Midnight.  Children age, and the demand for scientific proof increases; generally a positive thing, but a side-effect is it dampens Christmas spirit and become more reality junkies and less dreamers.  Can Santa Clause visit every home at exactly midnight?  The answer is YES.

The twenty-four time zones on planet Earth were arbitrarily created by man for convenience and standardization purposes.  Truth be told, every meridian is a time zone in itself.  New York City and Boston are both on the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, yet the sun does set approximately seventeen minutes earlier in Boston and on Jewish holidays, Boston Jews must light their Sabbath candles seventeen minutes earlier than New Yorkers of the persuasion.  Santa delivers his parcels to homes by using the chimney as an entry and exit point.  Every chimney on planet Earth resides on a different meridian and Santa comes down your chimney at the stroke of midnight with respect to the juxtaposition of your chimney.  Santa is from the North Pole if you build a clock powered by the movement of the Earth, it moves faster the closer you are to the equator and on the North Pole, it doesn’t move at all since all meridians of the world converge at the polar cap.  The clock in the dashboard on that big red sleigh he drives is a Relative Meridian Time (RTM) clock and it is programmed to detect when midnight arrives at each meridian where a chimney is present.  Works better than any GPS system ever invented or sold commercially and from centuries of experience, his reindeer are in tune with it the same way the old milk horses of the bygone era knew exactly where to stop.

Yes, boys and girls; Santa will arrive at exactly 12:00 AM RTM in synch with the meridian of which your house’s chimney resides.  And Santa is always on time; we adults can’t say that about Amtrak or our commuter railroad; now can we?  So be in bed on time on Christmas Eve.  He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.  He knows when midnight strikes the meridian of your chimney and he expects you to plan accordingly.

 

TurkeyHere are the thoughts I shared with my family this Thanksgiving, November 27, 2014.

 

On this twenty-seventh day in November of twenty-hundred and fourteen, we give thanks.  Thankful for a groaning board and thinking of those who are hungry.  Thankful for family and thinking of those from broken homes and those whose family has passed on.  And thankful for a free country and thinking of those living under tyranny.  My cousin in Michigan and my sister’s friend in Monroe, each raising two children in twenty-first century America, my thoughts and prayers are that they will have the same freedoms we twentieth century children had. As Reagan said:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from
extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the
bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected,
and handed down for them to do the same, or
one day, we will spend our sunset years telling our
children and our children’s children what it once was
like in the United States where [men] were free

Republican ElephantDid President Obama govern by fiat?  Was his announcement of his new amnesty policy that he declared effective immediately and without congressional a constitutionally-permitted action of the part of the President of the United States?  It is a peculiar precedent that no past president on record has done.  But why are Speaker Boehner and Senator Lee of Utah not taking it to the Supreme Court—the Chief Justice John Robberts was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush and would most-likely hear the case.

Technically, the answer is yes.  He used executive power without congressional approval therefore he performed the action of governing by fiat.  Executive power is however, a legitimate power all U.S. presidents possess. It has to be used sparingly, but it can be used.  The real question here is, Did he cross the line?

The President of the United States cannot use executive power to legislate or repeal laws enacted by Congress and either signed into law by the president or passed with a two-thirds majority or more such that vetoes can be overridden.  Executive orders are not permanent changes and this one expires on 01-20-2017 at 12:01 AM when the presidency changes hands.  But even temporary measures cannot override the law book, as it were.

Examples of legitimate executive orders include economic sanctions against a hostile nation as we have done on several occasions on Middle East nations as well as Cuba.  Also, if General Motors does not promptly recall a faulty ignition switch, the president can take executive action to mandate the recall to ensure the safety of the vehicles we drive.  But executive orders cannot alter the verbatim of an existing law in such a way that it drastically changes the meaning.  This is the gray area members in all three branches of government in Washington should investigate.

The first tell-tale sign is that President Obama has been asked to do this on several occasions during the first six years of his presidency.  He has repeatedly said as the leader of one of three branches of government (executive), that he did not have the authority to do so.  He has quoted the concept of checks and balances and even said to the media on one occasion I am PRESIDENT Barrack Obama, I am not EMPORER Obama.  Second, he is done campaigning.  He is a two-term president and according to the Twenty-Third Amendment, he cannot run for re-election regardless how the people feel about him during the Decision-16 events.  A popular quip used to describe such circumstances, if you have nothing, go ahead and risk everything; because you have nothing to lose.  Without a majority in either house of Congress and without cooperation from the opposition party, Barrack Hussein Obama is simply marking time for two years; even Democrats have to be concerned about a viable candidate in 2016; especially if Hilary decides not to run.

The timing was very bad and he did it after Senate Majority Leader Elect Mitch McConnell R-KY) agreed to work with him, ultimately shoving McConnell under the bus, making the opposition even stronger than Republican who got elected claiming the majority intended.  It raises the question if Obama did it for the benefit of the Latinos who would be separated from their families; to free America of its quasi-obligation to deport five million people which is a tall order logistically, or was it a lame duck president’s last hurrah?  Without this fiat, decree, executive order, or whatever you want to call it, it is unlikely five million Latinos would be deported anyway; just rounding them all up would take more years than Obama has left to be president.  He also did not grant them working papers.  This means some will go back to Mexico and other Central American countries because they cannot afford food.  Obama is worried about criminals and said criminals will be deported.  Putting them to work is the best way to prevent them from resorting to crime and lawlessness.  Sure, some were drug dealers and other types of outlaws before they crossed the borders, but most of them just want to earn an honest paycheck.

My conclusion is he stretched the Constitution as far as it could be stretched, the word fiat may be appropriate to describe his action, but no, he did not commit and unconstitutional act.  What he did do was set a very high precedent for future presidents of both powers and make us Americans who believe in the American Dream to think about our fundamental freedoms and what needs to be done to protect them in the future.  There is no American Dream if the United States of America cannot guarantee us the freedom to dream.

 

Republican ElephantThis Sunday (11-09-2014), the CBS program Face the Nation aired interviews with both current President Barrack Obama and former President George W. Bush.  Obama discussed the final leg of his presidency working with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and George W., aka Bush-43, discussed his book on his father, Bush-41, who we now prototype as George H, W. Bush (we just called him George Bush before his son got elected president in 2000).

One thing that struck a chord with me after listening to both interviews is the possibility, as America moves further into the twenty-first century is the prospect of the two-party system becoming a three party system.  The two interviews were very different with respect to details, but both men spoke about the difficulty of working with the opposition.  With face-to-face conversation going the way of high-button shoes and electronic devices and social media taking over, there is little to no accountability with respect to anything said about anyone; let alone in the political arena.  The analogy I use in many blog articles applies in Washington more and more today; Washington has become a broken clock and those empowered to repair it have permanently place the big hand on the twelve and the little hand on the five and have hung a sign below the clock face reading IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE.  Both affiliated and unaffiliated voters want the clock working again, not humored or insulted by those we elected to uphold the Constitution and ensure America keeps on ticking! 

The broken clock and the loss of faith voters have in both parties is the perfect breeding ground for the establishment of a third party.  I am not referring to the temporary coalitions that allowed John Anderson to run in 1980 and H. Ross Perot to run in 1992, I am talking about a new party brand with a full ballot of candidates on election days to come.  Neither Anderson nor Perot had congressional candidates on Row C, as it were.  The last man to get elected President without the backing of any major party was Millard Fillmore; a benevolent soul, but ineffective as nobody in Congress could coattail with him and still maintain their loyalty and commitments to their respective parties.  What is coming is far bigger than Anderson, Perot, or even Fillmore.  We will see a ballot with rows A, B, and C, all with unique names in all columns, not just the first column.  An alternative to the two-party system for registered voters.

This may seem like a breath of fresh air based on the rhetoric alone, but I fear at the end of the day, many Americans sold on the concept are going to exclaim careful what you wish for.  The two-party system was established to ensure majority rule, and not plurality rule; a term that doesn’t even exist in either the Federalist Papers or the Constitution.  But with three in the race, the dividing line is moved from 50% to 33 1/3% paving the way for a victories for both candidates and bills with only 34%.  We push the worry button when our President’s approval rating hits that 40% figure; imagine what we can expect if the starting line is moved to 34.  The legislative machine in Washington now turning at a snail’s pace may turn at the speed of light, but less than half of Americans will be satisfied with what it will produce; not to mention, it could produce items that are destructive to American Democracy harder to check and balance if it can pass with only 34%.

What kind of party would this new party be?  It could only start one way; a hybrid party liberal on some things and conservative on others.  There is no other way it could get started.  Regardless whether a nation has one, two, or more parties, an issue (or a bill) can only have two sides, aye or nay.  If Party-1 is aye and Party-2 is nay, Party-3 has to be aye or nay, putting them in solidarity with one or the other.  They cannot begin as a shadow of either the Republican or Democrat party because the justification for their existence is to be an alternative for Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters disgusted with the whole damn system!  But they could morph into a shadow of one or the other the longer they exist in America.

What is the best way average Americans can survive a three-party system?  The best thing America can to either prevent it or keep the gears of democracy turning properly is to create a generation of High Information Voters.  Talk show pundit Rush Limbaugh, a true spokesperson for the conservative agenda in America, loves to talk about how Low Information Voters are ruining America and that getting to young people just about to turn eighteen and re-educate older voters and have the presidency and other important offices decided by High Information Voters.  How social media and technology can be a good thing once we learn to use it properly.  The seed of criticism stems from the fact that he does own his own broadcast network, therefore, can’t fire himself, and there is only minimal checking on the correctness of the information he provides and his sources and referrals.  The difference in a three-party America with Low Information Voters and with High Information Voters is astronomical.

Applying the laws of logic to the truth tables needed to explain political phenomena in this century, we cannot change the fact that even with three parties, there are still only two possibilities, true of false in exact sciences and mathematics; aye or nay in social and inexact sciences like politics.  Ultimately, this means at least two of three have to be on the same side with respect to any issue and the third party could very well be the bridge that makes American Democracy once again, the government of the people, by the people, for the people.  But with Low Information Voters, formal logic collapses and a warped three-way logic, or better worded, pseudo-logic will evolve.

Until the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA Championship Series, or the Stanley Cup Championship Series with only two team remaining in competition, sports leagues from the majors right on down to that small town community little league, have a lot more than two teams.  As fans, we don’t (or shouldn’t) pick our sports teams the same way we decide which political party to affiliate with, if either [any].  We can become fans of New York teams just because we grew up in the tri-state area, or become Yankee fans because they are the most storied franchise in the history of the world (the two factors combined has a lot to do with why I chose the Mets), or become a Giants fan because of Willie Mays, a Braves fan because of Hank Aaron, or a Red Sox fan because of Carl Yastrzemski.  If we are loyal fans, we stick with our favorite team win or lose.  We stand behind a uniform, a city, a tradition.  Sports is art imitating life.  It is a way to show our competitive spirit, but for fans like me who were never professional athletes, sports is a retreat from reality and or sets of problems, a way to relax and put our troubles aside for three hours or so.  Therefore, formal logic is not required when deciding what sports teams for which we choose to be fans and prefer.  Politics, on the other hand, is not a spectator sport.  Democracy is the serious business of America.  A three-party system in an arena composed with mostly Low Information Voters will result in people picking one of the three parties and being loyal to that party just because they are one’s personal home team, and you play to win the game! 

The same three-party arena with High Information Voters gives it a fighting chance.  The one drawback to the two-party system is it forces us to accept the platform of the candidate and party we choose in-total.  Not only myself, but a majority of voters, and for that matter, the candidate  may agree with 85% of the Republican platform and disagree with 15%; yet as voters in a representative democracy voting for people, not bills, we the voters are not empowered to line item veto, as it were, the party platform on election day.  This Johnny Come Lately party could potentially address that 15% discrepancy and either sway [Republican] voters to their side or cajole the chief engineer of the Republican platform as well as the candidate to adjust and make our party candidate more palatable.  Pluralities could be converted to majorities as elected officials on all three sides apply the Platonian dialectic method (thesis + antithesis = synthesis) until equilibrium is reached just as our Founding Fathers intended government to work.

With Hilary Clinton, the most flawed person either party could conjure, testing deeper and deeper waters and most-likely will be the Democrat party nominee, the Republicans lacking a superstar that cannot only ensure victory over Mrs. Clinton, but could sell Republican ideals lost at the marketplace for the last six years; and grass-roots G.O.P. Republicans standing in the conservative limelight, yet still intimidated by the cast of characters in the Tea Party, I am making an early prediction two years into the future that the Tea Party will break away from the G.O.P. and establish themselves as a party of their own and not only a three-person race for the presidency, but congressional Tea Party candidates as well, will compose the 2016 election.  The best way for America to work and play in that arena is to become High Information Voters.

American-Flag1

 

It’s the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom or religion.

It’s the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It’s the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It’s the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It’s the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It’s the VETERAN, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.

It’s the VETERAN,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD,
AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE ON THEM.

November 11, 2014.  Salute a VETERAN today.

American-Flag1I did not call the governor’s race in Connecticut right—incumbent Dannel Malloy gets second term—close as they come, 50% to 49%.  Republicans get majority in Senate—53-47 and it may grow as some states have runoffs.  Did not get the 60-senator filibuster-proof senate and without 67 senators, cannot override Obama’s vetoes.

At first, I thought it was a wave election.  I thought the majorities in each house would flip-flop based on the anti-incumbent sentiment.  But although both majorities are small, Republicans have majority in both houses; just not enough in either to break gridlock and override vetoes.  Barring the runoffs result in enlarging the majority, Washington will most-likely be stuck in neutral for the next two years.  The election was a referendum on Obama’s policies over the last six years and the majority spoke out against Obama policy.

At the federal level, it is time to look ahead to 2016; a presidential election where there will be no incumbent.  Democrats will be focusing on Hilary and Republicans will be looking at their now two-faction party; the grass roots Republicans and the Tea Party.  If a tea-bagger is not the nominee, I fear a three-man race with a Tea Party Third Party candidate.  The far right voting for that candidate will effectively be voting for Hilary as the Republican vote will be split in half allowing Hilary to get elected president with as little as 34% of the vote.  The Republicans will need a superstar to get back The White House in 2016.  Meanwhile, the legislative and executive branches must find a way to effectively govern.

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