Category Archives: News

Donald Trump’s Complex Cabinet

Didn’t President Eisenhower warn us about this?

Eisenhower coined the term Military-Industrial Complex in his 1961 farewell address. In 2017, maybe the Military-Industrial Complex will rule America.

President-elect Donald Trump’s most notable Cabinet appointments so far divide about equally into military leaders and captains of industry and finance. Does a general outrank a captain of industry, or vice versa?

Gen. James Mattis nominated to head the Defense Department, and Gen. John Kelly for secretary of Homeland Security, to mention only two.

Steven Mnuchin, from Goldman Sachs, to be secretary of Treasury, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, for secretary of Commerce.

And surpassing all, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobile Corp., for Secretary of State.

Tillerson heads one of the world’s top-ten international corporations. President-elect Trump presides over one of the world’s largest privately held business empires. Business interests have a long history of influence over government foreign and military policy, particularly when you look at history through the lens of imperialism and colonization. Now, looks like international business interests and U.S. foreign policy will be one and the same.

When Eisenhower spoke of the Military-Industrial Complex, he was referring to the Armed Services and the Defense Industry. The Trump administration will feature a more modern and encompassing complex, not limited to defense.

So we have generals and admirals, of course, along with corporate CEOs and masters of finance. As Britain once ruled the waves, I suppose U.S. financiers, perhaps in an unholy alliance with bankers in London, Tokyo and other capitals, maybe even China, now aspire to rule the world of currency, investment and international trade. Kind of makes you wonder if national borders have any purpose at all, except for managing immigration.

I can’t help but wonder: With the best military leaders and the most successful CEOs firmly in control of government, will elections still be necessary? Don’t want to think about it. Shouldn’t even mention it.

Stop worrying about worst-case scenarios, I tell myself. At this writing, selection of the Cabinet is ongoing, and the nominees await Senate confirmation.

So let’s be fair. It’s far too early to judge the Trump administration. It hasn’t even taken office. I will continue to hope for the best.

— John Hayden

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Are we there yet?

The exceedingly strange election season of 2016 has left me uncharacteristically speechless.  Not to worry, I haven’t disappeared. Simply keeping a low profile on the blogosphere until the unpleasantness is over.

Early voting starts today in Maryland, and I plan to vote for Hillary Clinton tomorrow.

Maybe 2016 will fade quickly like a bad dream.  Maybe the storm will pass and American politics will regain some sanity and civility.  We can only hope.

— John Hayden

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Transparency And Truth In Charlotte

Wednesday evening, and into the wee hours of Thursday morning, I watched the news from Charlotte, mostly on MSNBC, occasionally clicking over to CNN.

A couple of criticisms of the cable TV news coverage come to mind:

— First, throughout the night, MSNBC covered the news on the street as it happened, in real time. However, the network replayed video of the most dramatic parts of the evening’s civil unrest many times as the hours passed. Showing the worst, most dramatic parts of the protest over and over had the effect of making brief incidents appear to be continuing throughout the evening. The news is bad enough, no need to make it look even worse. I’m not sure to what extent CNN also replayed video.

— Second, a major issue addressed by commentators and interviewees was transparency and truthfulness on the part of the Police Department. Much of the tragic shooting of a black citizen by a black police officer earlier in the week was recorded by body cameras or dashboard cameras. Perhaps there is also cell phone video.

Over and over it was stated that the video in possession of police and prosecutors should be released to the family of the shooting victim, and to the public. The stated assumption is that the video of the shooting will reveal the TRUTH about what really happened. News reporters and anchors failed to challenge the assumption.

It’s unclear how many body cameras and dashboard cameras recorded video. I suspect that police and prosecutors have video from many cameras. Each video will provide visuals from a particular point of view. Probably none of the cameras captured the event in its entirety, from start to finish.

If all the video is released, the public will see many parts of the incident from many different points of view. The video evidence will not be crystal clear or of high quality. Different people will draw different conclusions from all or  parts of the material. What an opportunity for confusion and misinterpretation of evidence.

Most people support “transparency.” But I think we need to give more thought to the most effective way to find the truth. Remember that parts of the video may appear — rightly or wrongly — to incriminate police officers, victims, or even bystanders.

Throughout American history, the acceptable process  for deciding truth, innocence and guilt has been a fair trial by a judge and a jury of peers.

We have a dilemma. Many people in America have lost confidence in the judicial system.  But are we confident that video evidence will enable the public to fairly bypass the judicial process?

Despite the above reservations, releasing the video would relieve some of the rightful anger in Charlotte and throughout America. It’s probably the prudent thing to do.

–John Hayden

 

 

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Tim Kaine Today Validated Hillary Clinton’s Good Judgment And Assured A Clinton Victory In November

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia has just removed all doubt about the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

I watched and listened to Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention Thursday night.  At the time, I thought Trump made a powerful case that America is in decline  and possibly on the verge of lawlessness.  Trump talked about everything that’s wrong with America. His speech resonated with the mob inside the Republican convention hall.

A few moments ago, I watched and listened to Tim Kaine’s  speech in Florida introducing himself as Hillary Clinton’s choice to be the Democratic nominee for vice president.

No contest. It’s all over.

Tim Kaine talked —  with moral conviction — about everything that’s right with America.  His speech will resonate with Americans from Atlantic to Pacific, from the Midwest to the Great Plains.

Tim Kaine just cemented Hillary Clinton’s victory over Donald Trump in the November presidential election.  Write it down, take it to the bank. The election is over for Trump.

Hillary Clinton, it now appears,  won the the electoral votes of the Commonwealth of Virginia on Friday evening when she selected Kaine to be her running mate.

And on Saturday,  Clinton and Kaine, appearing  together in Miami for the first time as the Democratic ticket, effectively won the  electoral votes of Florida. Kaine’s deft inclusion of a few sentences in Spanish were warmly received.

Ohio suddenly seems almost irrelevant.

However, if Clinton and Kaine can win Virginia and Florida, their  positive and optimistic vision for America’s future might just as easily sweep Ohio and all the Midwest states, including Indiana.

People think the vice presidential candidates don’t make a difference? This year looks like an exception.

We might be looking at an electoral vote landslide for Clinton and Kaine in November.

—  Bernard John Hayden

 

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Bernie Sanders Wants To Change The Democratic Party

Give Justice A Chance

Bernie Sanders made it clear last night in California that he’s no longer running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against Trump.

But more importantly, Bernie continues to run because he hopes to imprint his values and issues indelibly on American politics.

Bernie wants to establish a left-of-center political movement that will live on long after the 2016 primary season is over.

As Bernie said last night, he wants to see a political party embrace the values of economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and he added environmental justice.  He wants the Democratic Party to open its arms and clearly, wholeheartedly, embrace those values. Is that too much to ask?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.

It appears that Bernie’s justice values, which have their roots in Dr. Martin Luther King’s  civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, are the values of the American political future in the 21st-century.  That’s the conclusion I draw from the apparent fact that the younger generation of voters has enthusiastically embraced Bernie’s program.  Those voters are the future of democracy in America.

All Bernie is asking, is that the Democratic Party open its doors wide and welcome the young voters and the working-class voters who have supported him so enthusiastically.

He’s asking that the Democratic Party make clear that it is the party of social and economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.  He’s asking that the Democratic Party make it clear that it is the party of the working class, not the party of the privileged elite. It would be a tragic failure if the Democratic party concedes the working class vote to the Republicans, he said.

All he is saying is, “Give justice a chance.”

To an old baby boomer, that seems to echo the memorable chant:

“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”

— John Hayden

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How Far The Republican Party Has Fallen

Let’s try to apply a little historical perspective to the 2016 election.

When Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York, ran for the Republican nomination in 1964, his divorce and remarriage were considered to be disqualifying, in the eyes of many voters, especially Republican women.

Today, the presumptive Republican nominee for the highest office in the land is . . . Donald Trump? How many times has he been divorced? I forget. It doesn’t matter.

How America has changed in half a century! We were an intolerant society with overly rigid standards. We’ve become a society with no standards at all. We tolerate anything.

For Donald Trump, the charismatic chameleon, no standards apply. Nothing is too crude or too reckless. There are no limits to what the crowds will cheer for.

I wonder, what would President Eisenhower think of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief?

— John Hayden

 

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The Establishment, Including Cable TV, Wants To Prevent Bernie Sanders From Winning

Bernie Sanders said at the outset of the campaign that the Big-Money Establishment (my words) would resist his “political revolution” with all its power.

And now that Bernie has gained “the big M” — Momentum — with primary and caucus wins in Western states to match Hillary Clinton’s wins in the South, the pitched battle may be at hand.

I think the Establishment had assumed, until Bernie’s sweep of three western states last Saturday, that Hillary had a lock on the Democratic nomination.

This week, I believe, The Establishment is taking Bernie Sanders seriously. No one expected that voters would embrace Sanders with such enthusiasm and in such numbers.

The Big-Money Establishment certainly did not expect the little-money people to send in enough $27 donations to enable the Sanders “revolution” to outspend the Establishment-financed candidate at this point in the election.

Pundits on MSNBC “the place for politics” began to complain last night that Bernie Sanders might be able to “BUY” a big victory in Wisconsin. Imagine the nerve of the little people!

I do believe The Big-Money Establishment is beginning to panic. Just my opinion.

Buckle up and hang on tight. It might be a long, harrowing ride through Wisconsin and then the Eastern states.

Hillary won the South, Bernie won the West, the nominee is yet to be decided. If Bernie wins Wisconsin, by even one percentage point, the nomination will be decided in the East.

And in California.

— John Hayden

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Bernie Sanders Is Winning The Contest For The Democratic Nomination

News flash: Bernie Sanders is winning!

Why does the mainstream media report over and over that Hillary Clinton is almost certain to be the Democratic nominee?

The presumption of a Hillary Clinton nomination is based on a dwindling lead of fewer than 300 pledged delegates, with 18 states yet to vote.

Hillary’s lead is based entirely on Democratic primary victories in the former Confederate states of the Deep South, from South Carolina to Texas. Is the Democratic nominee going to win any of the Deep South states in November? Highly unlikely. We are conceding the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton based a handful of Southern states? I think this is wishful thinking put out by the vast Democratic Party establishment, and repeated by cable TV pundits as if they were parrots.

Since the contest moved on to other parts of the country, Bernie Sanders has reversed the momentum. Sanders shocked the Clinton campaign by winning the Michigan Democratic primary. Michigan, unlike the South, is a state the Democratic party can win in November. Clinton held off Sanders in two other important states, Illinois and Ohio. But Sanders won Minnesota. It looks like Wisconsin will be the tiebreaker in the big Midwestern states.

(Full disclosure: I’ve donated more than $200 but less than $300 to the Sanders campaign in recent weeks, mostly in $27 increments. I am a confirmed Sanders supporter.)

This past weekend, Sanders won all three contests. He won by margins of 70 percent or more in Washington State, which may be a bellwether for the West, and in Alaska and Hawaii. And still the mainstream media anoints Hillary as the winner? Sanders has also won a slew of other Western states, such as Colorado. 

Of the states that have held Democratic primaries or caucuses to date, Hillary Clinton has won 18, and Bernie Sanders has won 14, if my arithmetic is correct. Several of the largest and most Democratic states have yet to vote.

An epidemic of blindness, delusion and denial is sweeping the U.S. establishment, in both Democratic and Republican parties. Just my opinion.

Next up, Wisconsin and New York.

I had this email message today from Jeff Weaver, who is Sanders campaign manager:

“For the past several years, Wisconsin has been ground zero for worker’s rights, women’s rights, and voting rights. Those people cannot afford to wait for incremental change — they need a president who will think big about the transformational change required of this moment.”

Do you think there might be a big turnout in Wisconsin?

Both Sanders and Clinton are campaigning hard in Wisconsin. But only Hillary is dodging Erin Burnett on CNN.

Earlier this evening, I watched Erin Burnett’s live interview with Sanders in Milwaukee. He answered all her questions, and none of them were softballs.

At the end of the interview, Burnett turned to the camera and said to the viewers: “I want you to know. . .”

What she said next is this:

Hillary Clinton, who is in Wisconsin, was also invited for a live interview with Erin Burnett on CNN. Sanders accepted the interview. Clinton demurred.

Sanders is seeking a debate in New York before that state’s primary. Hillary is dodging that request.

To sum up, we’re coming up on big primaries in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and other states, including Maryland. I wonder what the primary results will be in California.

Remember, you heard it here first. Bernie Sanders is winning.

— John Hayden

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Walk No. 362: The Learning Curve

This post from The Green Study is a “helpful” meditation for Super Tuesday. Most of the political vitriol that passes for news on “Cable News” channels in election year 2016 is not helpful.

Thanks to Michellle for a post that will help us keep our sanity for the balance of the election year.

The Green Study

canstockphoto3085947It was a mild day for February in Minnesota yesterday. The sun was out and the birds were already doing their territorial and mating songs. After skimming the news for the day, I needed a walk. My mood was dark, as it usually is after taking in the shootings, the bloviating politicians, the wars and violations of human rights around the globe. As someone prone to depression, I have to fight the sense of desolation.

An alarm often goes off in my brain. Do something! Do something! I have that mentality of trying to fix, mediate, improve, or intervene, which leaves me a paralyzed, impotent ball of anger in the face of overwhelming and constant bad news. I thought about writing letters to Congress, refusing to buy certain products, running for local office, donating money to this cause or that. Bandages for my ego and drops in a bucket.

I…

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Snowzilla In The Rearview Mirror

Amazing, isn’t it, how quickly the first snowfall of winter loses its appeal as an exciting adventure? Even if it’s a blizzard?

Saturday evening, it was so deep that even the plows could hardly move. And snow continued to fall, at a rate of one-half inch an hour or more!

We were all in this together. Hopelessly, helplessly, stuck. When the blizzard finally tapered off Saturday night, the world was quiet and at peace. It was perfectly cozy, being snowed in.

That didn’t last long.

By Sunday afternoon, eager beavers were digging cars out. (Hey everybody, what’s the big rush?) Little green machines — miniature bulldozers — were doing what the big snowplows could not. Busily hauling snow away, one scoop at a time. The green machines didn’t care that they were destroying my excuse for hibernating in place.

Monday, even though everything important in Maryland remained closed — all the schools, the federal government, most businesses — people were impatient to be out and about. Even with no place to go. Turns out, there are places to go. The Giant is open, and McDonald’s.

And so, this afternoon, I have no choice but to put on boots, venture out and see about the damn car. Personally, I think  it’s too soon to declare that Snowzilla, the Great Blizzard of 2016, is over. My rearview mirrors, at least, are still covered with snow.

I hate to think about Tuesday. 

— John Hayden

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