Marshall in the Middle

Friday, October 17, 2014

Open Primaries- A Good Start

As I write this blog, my endeavor is always to propose new ways of doing things.  I did a series blog last year called "Renewing American Democracy"   that elaborated on some ideas-  one topic at a time.  Each blog is attempting  to adopt these ways  of thinking so that maybe we can get our crazy government back on to planet earth.   I know sometimes I come across a little harsh  but it is always with the intent to do some good.  

In addition to this blog,   as most of you  know,  I write a lot of letters to our local newspaper (over 30 published and 3 guest columns- but who's counting ?! )  the illustrious Orlando Sentinel.  For most of you who aren't from Central Florida,  you should know the Orlando Sentinel is a very good paper (in my humble opinion) with a circulation of 150k weekdays and 250k on Sundays.   Compared to most newspapers they're downright conservative- but predictably my Republican friends and family think quite the opposite.   Heed this though, in the last election they endorsed Mitt Romney for President.   Anyway, my point is I like to write and elaborate on new ideas in this blog and also in the print media when they're kind enough to print my ramblings.  The Orlando Sentinel is the perfect paper to vent my ideas because they really are politically moderate, ie, in the "middle" as I think all media should be.    A lot of times I don't have time write my blog,  so I just copy my letter that was published in the paper.  So it is today.  Since most of you aren't from the Orlando area it's still new to you !  My letter to the editor was printed this past Sunday, October 12, 2014 in the main opinion page of the Orlando Sentinel.  

Before you read, you should be aware this was in response to a "point-counter point" article in a prior editorial regarding open primaries in our fair state of Florida.  To briefly explain to those uninitiated;    An open primary is basically where you have the primary elections for both parties (and anyone who wants to run for an office) on the same day and where voting is open to ALL registered voters.  The top two winners would then go on to the general election.  As it exists the Democrats and Republicans have closed primaries here in Florida (and in the majority of states) where only registered Dems or Republicans can vote.  Everyone else is excluded from the primary voting.  You can imagine what this opinionated Independent thinks of that !  

So., here it is.  

 Open primaries are elixir for elections  (their title, not mine !) 
 Regarding Friday’s “The Front Burner” topic of open vs. closed primary elections: A big part of the argument seems to be whether open primaries would succeed in creating a more moderate and cooperative government. While that is probably true, it isn’t the point. The parties are subsidized by the government — us — and unless they are willing to argue they don’t need that, then opening the primaries to all voters should be mandatory.
Another argument to maintain closed primaries was that an open primary would violate each party’s First Amendment right to “associate.” With a top-two primary process, I argue that they have a greater opportunity to “associate” since the idea is for the “top two” candidates out of one primary election. If two of their party candidates are liked by the public, they could have both candidates be from their party.  That decision would be rightfully made by all registered voters — not just Democratic or Republican voters.

I am sick and tired of only being allowed to vote for candidates “pre-chosen” for me by the parties.
Charles E. “Chuck” Marshall

In my humble opinion... ! - I savor any feedback ! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another One Bites the Dust

By Chuck Marshall

     It seems the US federal government has revealed itself to be as good at protecting our "so called" leaders, as our "so called" leaders are at running the country.  In other words, not good at all.  The breech with the White House intruder a few weeks ago has exposed how weak and ineffective the secret service has become.   I think we've all considered that if a wacko like Omar Gonzalez  (the army veteran/White House intruder)  can crawl over the fence (in broad daylight !)  and get all the way into the depths of the White House, then it is not a stretch of the imagination to consider any terrorist  organization doing something similar to a much more devastating consequence.  

     For now, the Obama administration is offering  up the head of the secret service, Julia Pierson for the unforgivable sin of answering  questions without clarity and/or confidence. It's probably true that she's not  qualified for the job but that should not be of any surprise, neither is the one that appointed her.  The " stink rolls downhill ", and here is the most current example of that cliche.  I only saw a few minutes of Ms. Pierson's interrogation by Congress but I must say it didn't look good.  Her expression is that of a Basset Hound that just peed on the living room carpet.   Since my flavor of today is Cliche's I must say  "The pot is calling the kettle black"  as Congress interrogated her for her incompetence.   Watching "congressional inquiries"  always makes me think of the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witch trials, where the sins of the one accused  are far outweighed by the sins of the accusers.  The congressmen that speak the loudest and with the most vitriol are also probably the ones most guilty of leveraging their own position for personal gain.  I see a future lobbyist in those faces.   

"So we beat on, boats against the current....borne back ceaselessly into the past".  That quote by F.Scott Fitzgerald seems somehow appropriate as we examine another symptom of our broken government and its never ending cycle of incompetence.  I sigh with great frustration.  When  does it all end?  "Gatsby believed in that green light, that orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us.  It eluded us then, but that's no matter... tomorrow we'll run faster, reach our arms out further......"    We're on a political treadmill of frustration and incompetence.   A wise and intelligent government seems as elusive as ever... as tragic as The Great Gatsby.  We seem always to strive but never reach that high plateau of governing that America deserves.  

In my humble opinion.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is It ISIS or ISIL ?

By Chuck Marshall

Is it ISIS or ISIL?  For several weeks now, I've been confounded by the fact that the President and a few other people are referring to our new war as being against ISIL., which I just found out stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.  Levant is the area of the eastern Mediterranean stretching from Egypt to Turkey.  Now, don't we all  know that and refer to the Levant on a daily basis ?  No ! I have never heard of this term 'nor have I heard of that part of the world referred to as Levant.  But there it is on Wikipedia .  The other acronym, ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.   As it turns out, the Democrats are typically referring to them as ISIL and the Republicans are referring to them as ISIS.  Our leaders cannot even come to an agreement as to what our enemy is to be called.  Now THAT is an "Epic Fail".

I'm going to have to side with the Republicans on this one though, folks.  ISIS is easier to say, and it refers to the names of countries with which we're all familiar.  Levant is obscure and pretentious. The President needs to come down off his high horse and stop using a reference with which few people are familiar.   Every time he says it, the name sounds wrong as if he misread the teleprompter.  Even the media seems content to call them ISIS.

In conclusion, I would have to say if I was Muslim I would be extremely upset that anyone is referring to this group as Islamic.  Why not just refer to them as what they really are ?  Seepage of Humanity., or the SOH.   This effectively refers to their true nature; an oozing slow moving foul smelling drip,  IE "sourced"  from the worst that humanity has to offer.  It also effectively refers to their bodies after our bombs fall and what remains of them puddles into a ball of  goo on the desert sand.  SOH long dogs !

SOH it is... In My Humble Opinion.....

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......