Tag Archives: America

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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WE NEED CHANGE.

I think the number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is about the same as in Britain. In the richest countries of the world, including the U.S. and Britain, it is immoral to have so many children living below the poverty line. In fact, I believe the child poverty stats indicate that rich countries like us are morally bankrupt! As the artist who created a nifty and instructive poster said, Zero children should be living in poverty. “We need change.”

Indeed. We as a society (and as an electorate) have both the means and the power to reduce child poverty nearly to zero. But do 51 percent of us want to really do that? Do 51 percent of us even care?

I’m afraid to say the answer.

(You can see the poster by clicking on the Abba1blog post below.)

— John Hayden

abba1blog

This started of as a little sketch of a table and chairs in a coffee shop, which evolved in to a mini poverty poster!

I have been reading so much lately about the hidden and unspoken inequality and hardship that goes on in Britain that no one speaks about, and most probably don’t even know about, for example these insane poverty statistics.I think when your’e eating a cinnamon swirl with a soy latte you realise how lucky you actually are? and that a cinnamon swirl probably isn’t a life necessity (no its definitely not). So all of us in that coffee shop that day who were spending too much money on cake, are lucky people to even be able to have that as a opportunity to us, and i completely recognize that.

The fact that 1 in 4 kids live in poverty I think is really really sad, as like…

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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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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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Bernie Sanders Is The Grandfather Figure Americans Will Vote For

Bernie Sanders

Meet Grandfather. His mind is sharp as a tack!

The question of the week: Is Bernie Sanders electable in a General Election???

The implied assumption is that a Democratic-Socialist from Vermont could not survive in real-world politics, with “real world” defined as the part of America outside New England. See an interesting discussion over at Clarissa’s Blog.

It is true that Bernie would have a hill to climb to persuade 51 percent of American voters to support him. But wait! Every presidential candidate must climb that hill. Would it be more, or less, difficult for Donald Trump to achieve 51 percent support in the General Election? How about Ted Cruz?

In Sanders vs. Trump OR Sanders vs. Cruz, both the Democratic and Republican nominees would be unconventional candidates. Maybe even strange candidates. In a normal election year, none of the three would stand a snowball’s chance of winning a major-party nomination.

The scenario is, we have a strange, unprecedented election in front of us. Totally unpredictable. But we can take a look at a number of obvious political factors. Continue reading

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Gaithersburg Is Most Diverse Small City In America, And Don’t Forget Silver Spring, Germantown and Rockville

How diverse is Gaithersburg?  Go ahead, take a guess.

MAP OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, SHOWS GERMANTOWN AT THE NORTH END OF A PROPOSED TRANSIT LINE, THEN, GOING SOUTH, GAITHERSBURG AND ROCKVILLE, AND SILVER SPRING, NEAR THE D.C. LINE.

MAP OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, SHOWS GERMANTOWN AT THE NORTH END OF A PROPOSED TRANSIT LINE (green line) AND GOING SOUTH, GAITHERSBURG AND ROCKVILLE. SILVER SPRING IS AT THE SOUTHCENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE MAP, NEAR THE D.C. LINE.

Gaithersburg is the most diverse small city in America. Number One in diversity out of more than 300 cities, according to Wallethub.com!   Continue reading

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Good News From Iran, Greece And Cuba

The demand for Good News far exceeds the supply. That’s the finding of an unscientific sampling of opinion from readers of this blog.

So I was surprised to see that newspapers and other mainstream media have recently reported several cases of honest-to-goodness, big-time, Good News among nations. Two Good News breakthroughs this week alone!

  1. After years and years of tedious negotiations, the U.S. and six other nations reached a historic agreement with Iran to prevent that country from developing a nuclear weapon. In return, the U.S. and other nations will lift economic sanctions against Iran, sanctions that have caused real hardship for the Iranian people.
  2. After months of brinkmanship, Greece has given in to a deal with Germany and the rest of Europe that will keep Greece in the Euro zone and avert immediate financial default and economic chaos in Greece. Europe’s largest economies will provide yet another billion-dollar rescue to keep Greece afloat. In return, Greece has agreed to fast-track a new round of painful tax increases, budget cuts, and other austerity measures.

And more good news right here in the Western hemisphere! President Barack Obama recently decided to normalize  relations with the island nation of Cuba. The U.S. and Cuba have been estranged from each other for nearly my entire lifetime (and I’m 67). Now, suddenly, unexpectedly, the two nations have reconciled, at least to the point of “normalizing relations.” They’re looking for embassy sites in Washington and Havana. Trade and tourism and family visits will be allowed, even encouraged. Economic benefits will flow to both countries, but most especially to Cuba.

To be sure, these breakthroughs have NOT been universally hailed as GOOD. It is quite possible that any of these forward movements could be knocked off the rails by opponents. Or they could have disastrous unintended consequences. There are no guarantees; only good reason for HOPE.

Recalcitrants and nay-sayers are everywhere; many have legitimate objections. But I’ll not enumerate them all because that might take the winds of Good New of out my sails. I believe that the great majority of the people in all nations involved see these world events as positive, qualifying to be cheered as Good News. It’s OK to have misgivings and still cheer for Good News. To accept Good News requires a measure of Hope and Trust.

In the case of these three steps forward among the family of nations, I confidently declare Good News based on a simple presumption. All the people of the world agree as follows:

PEACE = GOOD;  FRIENDSHIP = GOOD

WAR = BAD;  ENMITY = BAD

The agreements between U.S and Iran, Europe and Greece, U.S. and Cuba, all turn in the direction of friendship and peace. Some will disagree. Some will openly prefer enmity and even war. I will ignore them unless they present persuasive facts.

Case closed. Good news for Iran, Greece, Cuba. 

What do you think? I tolerate differing opinions.

— John Hayden

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