Marshall in the Middle

Monday, September 15, 2014

Congressmen on Break to Get Back to Their Real Career

By Chuck Marshall

In case you didn't know it, Congress is on break right now.   The natural response from most Americans is of course, "I didn't know they ever came OFF break".  There's so much truth to that. They "have to take a break so they can go back home to get ready for mid-term elections"  is my understanding.  I do sympathize that they have a lot of schmoozing to do in order to get re-elected since the vast majority of them have no real leadership talent. They cannot run on accomplishment, that's for sure.  They are very good at politics but very bad at leading. What it boils down to is they're going back home to work on their true passion and talent;  kissing up to the people who give them  money.   Money to produce their horrible TV ads, newspaper ads, Internet pop ups,  obnoxious road signs,  etc.....  It is not an exercise in democracy so much as  a three ring circus culminating two years from now with the biggest clown act of them all;  The political Party Convention.

How repulsed must our ancestors be at what it's all become?   There is no dignity anymore.  There is no work for the good of the people and the country but only for the political parties so that they might "win" this time around and show how their respective philosophies are the best for everybody else.  It's us vs them., right vs. left, Republican vs Democrat.  Blah, blah, blah.  Small, little, baseless, hypocritical, mealy mouthed, selfish minded trolls that have wrested power from the American citizens by driving a wedge between all of us using  problems and challenges as weapons of division rather than opportunities to unite.

So now our Congressmen will slither back to their home districts.  They will make some deals and earn lots of dough so they can bore us with your inane advertisements.  One day, I hope and pray to see the day when the process of election no longer involves money at all.   When that happens we will lose the politicians and gain real leaders.

In my humble opinion......

Monday, September 8, 2014

Obama Presidency Example of Flawed Political Process

By Chuck Marshall

I don't write about the President too much.   The right is so hard on him I've always felt they were going too far  in their hysterical vitriol.  I also think their incessant criticism and nitpicking habits are disrespectful of the office.  I'm not saying don't criticize, but I am saying there should be some self control.  As far as the Fox News talk shows are concerned he can do nothing right.  It's excessive.  He has two important qualities in my mind;  His is a truly great orator and I believe his heart is usually in the right place.  He's doing what he thinks is the right thing to do.   A trait often missing in a lot of our leaders.   So, I've tried to reserve criticism lest I feel myself beating on a wounded dog.  All that being said, I must admit that I don't think he's a very good President.

The reasons are the reasons I think most thinking Americans have seen over the last 6 years.  He has not worked well with Congress.  I know nobody likes them, but it's his job to work with them and establish some sort of dialogue acting as the leader who bridges the gap.  He has failed at that.  He has allowed the Federal deficit to balloon by $10 Trillion since his election in 2008 when  part of his original platform was to stop the government from spending so much.  He has offered no ideas whatsoever to stop this fiscal bleeding.  He has demonstrated a lack of leadership on the world stage, allowing foreign dictators to spread their wings with no fear of consequence.  Mostly he has been "learning on the fly"  which is a big part of the problem.  The President should be ready to rule the first week he moves into the White House, not 6-7 years after.  Now he's nearing his "lame duck" stage of a failed Presidency and so we're back again to waiting for the next election for the next round of odd-ball candidates that each of the parties draws up for us hoping against hope that one of them is "the one"......a Presidential candidate we like !  

So, in my humble opinion, it's not all his fault.    It's also the fault of our political system.   I believe he's simply unqualified to be President and should have never made it to the primaries.  If we had a system in place to draw up the most talented leadership in our country this would have never happened.  Barack Obama made a great speech at the Democratic national convention in 2004, and suddenly he's the darling of the Democratic Party.  The man can make a speech., but he did not have the experience, 'nor does he have the talent to run our country.   Being a great speaker is only a part of the whole equation.  It was the flip side for George "W" Bush.  He made it through the primaries because he was the son of a President, definitely NOT from his speaking abilities.  I think most people figured that at least he could call his father if he runs into trouble.   That's what I was thinking when I voted for him holding my nose in 2000.  (The Bush presidency is a great example of the catastrophic consequences of the "good ole boy" network).    

How do we fix this ill advised system of electing the President and all of our leaders ?  See my blog titled  "Restoring American Democracy Part VI- The Elections" for my elaborate,  if somewhat wordy explanation of one idea.  To all you naysayers, "I know, I know" it would be a futile to change "the way we've always done things"  but just to discuss the fact that what we have now is not working would be a step in the right direction, right?!

In my humble opinion......

Monday, September 1, 2014

Closed Primaries are Not Democracy

By Chuck Marshall

I write this blog as an addendum to my Oct. 11, 2013 blog on closed primaries.
 ( )
 I was reading an article in today's Orlando Sentinel regarding the situation in Hong Kong as it relates to the Chinese mainland and their (the Communists) efforts to contain any real choices to the citizens of Hong Kong.   It struck me how similar this was to our situation here in the USA when a state mandates closed primaries (such as my state, Florida) ... so of course I had to write the paper about it.  I don't know if they'll print it, but I figured I'd go ahead and post it.  I'll let you know, loyal readers if it is printed.  If it is, I believe this makes letter number 30 printed in the Orlando Sentinel since 2006.

It Reads;

I found the article on Democracy in Hong Kong vaguely familiar.  It states that these pro-democracy citizens of Hong Kong are outraged because the Chinese government is allowing  "free voting" such that the people are "free"  to choose among the candidates that they (the Chinese government) pre-selected for them.   The article goes on to explain the position of the activists, stating  "One person one vote will be meaningless if candidates all have to be approved by a nominating committee they see as beholden to Beijing's interests".    This sounds a lot like the closed primary system we have right here in Florida where our candidates are first "pre-selected" for us by the government subsidized political parties.  The comparison is not so outrageous when you consider the Chinese government is mainly motivated to hold on to power and so are  Democrats and Republicans.   An open primary system would allow one election in which all citizens including those with no party affiliation can nominate candidates.  This process would allow all of us to fully participate in selecting our leaders not just those motivated to keep their party in power. 

In  my humble opinion.......

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Evangelicals Finally Doing the "Right" Thing on Environment

By Chuck Marshall

     I was delighted to read an article yesterday morning in our local “bugle”, The Orlando Sentinel elaborating on a trend coming from the evangelicals to encourage our governor and the government to start taking climate change seriously.   It has always bothered how so many religious people are so ambivalent towards the environment.   Aren't they the ones that believe all the earth's bounty and life was designed and created by the Lord himself ?   Why would He then be OK with them to be so reckless about it by turning it into a part of our crass and never ending political debate ?   I have always been a bit of a tree-hugger as anyone who reads this blog is well aware.  (Lest the reader question my claim to always veer towards the middle.   The fact of the matter is I don't see protecting the environment as right or left….... I see it as common sense).  As I understand it this is and will be the only planet at our disposal for the foreseeable future.  Right?  Why test that fact  and risk  punching a hole in our lifeboat when any agreeable landfall is centuries away in technology?   Indeed, the Republican reluctance to address issues regarding the environment is the reason I left that party.  This is nothing to do with corporations or labor or democrats or republicans it's to do with the air we breath and the fresh water that will be available for our kids and their kids in the next century.  Finally,  yes, it has to do with our planet getting hotter because of our actions.  Global Warming, the much maligned moniker that the far right has had so much fun impugning is fast becoming an accepted fact much as the debate for the flatness of the world 500 years ago was overwhelmed by the reality that it is....... round.  

So, I was pleased to see others of my faith (I am a non-denominational Christian) stand up and move forward in defense of our planet despite the custom of fighting all things "left".   The Bible is very clear that mankind is responsible for the well being of our planet.  One thing that is never clarified is  any particular political persuasion we should all be choosing.   The hypocrisy and contradiction that comes from many "so called" Christians within the right leaning ranks of society is offensive.  Like so many other issues, these self proclaimed Christians are often the ones that least practice what Jesus taught us to do. They  judge, they're hypocrites, they covet money, they're materialistic and they neglect the poor.  So, I am pleasantly encouraged by this movement to start acting like real Christians in the battle to preserve our planet for all of mankind.   That's a lot of poor people we're helping by protecting the environment…… in fact if you think about it, it's ALL the poor people.... and the rich and the middle class and all the plants and all the animals., etc....

In Genesis from the lips of God, it's announced  this way:   "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven". 

His opinion of it is put this way;  "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good".

To me this holds much more water in the grand scheme of things than any other argument such as granting the corporations more levity in doing as they please to make a profit and bestow us with their low paying jobs.  In the end, all of God's creation is dependent on us to do the right thing here.  All religious affiliations from Muslim to Hindu to Buddhist should stop fighting one another and do God real honor by banding together to tackle all threats to our planet.  

In my humble opinion…..

Monday, August 11, 2014

ISIS Modern Day Nazis

Nazis 1940's Europe 

                                                                  ISIS 2014 Iraq

By Chuck Marshall

There is a lot of talk this week as the United States commences to bomb the terrorists that have overtaken large chunks of Iraq and Syria.  As the years have gone by, my opinions on the needs of the United States to be involved in foreign affairs have evolved.  I use to be of the mindset that we should not be involved in the affairs of foreign countries unless there are American lives at risk.  Today, after this tactic has been essentially engaged by our sitting President., I am coming to see the consequence of no strong leadership against evil in the world.  This group of murderers, known as "ISIS" (their goal of uniting Islamic extremists in a nation state is a non-issue in this particular blog) may as well be a group of SS Gestapo troops banging down the doors of Jews in Nazi occupied Poland or Russia., ready to mow down all human beings whether they be elderly or children or pregnant women.  They kill simply because these people are NOT THEM.  There is no greater evil, and that they invoke the name of God or Allah in their endeavors makes it that much worse.  Even the Nazis didn't pretend they were doing God's work..   Who will stop these butchers other than the USA.?  Nobody.  We must face up this group with great force and in whatever way is necessary simply because there is nobody else to do it.  The Russians ?  Read my previous blog about the Russians... Putin would join ISIS if  he thought it would benefit him a whit.  The European Union ?   They are splintered and bickering and weak in their resolve.    China?  There is no money in stopping evil and it certainly does not serve to help the communist leadership stay on their thrones of control and oppression.

      So...just as in WWII, it comes down to us and perhaps our allies in England and Canada to stand up to this modern group of Nazis before they grow any stronger.   I hearken back to the courage of England at the beginning of the war in the words of King George VI as he addressed the people of  the United Kingdom through radio telecast as he referred to Nazism and its inherent danger;

"It is the principle .....which sanctions the use of force,
or threat of force, against the sovereignty and independence of other states.
Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine
that might is right; and if this principle were established throughout the world,
the freedom of our own country and of the whole British Commonwealth of
Nations would be in danger. But far more than this - the peoples of the world
would be kept in the bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and of
the security of justice and liberty among nations would be ended."

Now, that's putting it all in perspective... In My Humble Opinion.