Monday, November 30, 2015

Selecting the Presidential Candidates- My personal Take

The field of 2016 presidential candidates includes 16 Republicans and five Democrats. (AP)

By Chuck Marshall

 Since the Presidential primaries are brewing "good and hot" right now, it seems appropriate that I entertain who I think would be the best selection from each party.

     For the Democrats,  I choose Hillary Clinton.  The only other choice is Bernie Sanders whom I believe is totally unqualified and is really not to be taken seriously.  A self-described socialist ?    I'm sure he means well and yes, we all want to see the "fat cats" get what they deserve but trying to make our country prosperous by taxing the wealthiest among us simply doesn't work.  It has been tried many, many times and in many, many different ways.  As Margaret Thatcher put it  "the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money".

     For the Republicans.  I have narrowed my choices down to three candidates.  Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ben Carson.   (Carly Fiorina is my "also ran", but I decided I needed to get it down to three)

Marco Rubio-  He's sharp as a tack.  He's young and energetic.   I have never seen a person answer questions from the press  with such brevity and effectiveness.  I've never seen someone so quick with comebacks during debates.  He knows his stuff and he has thought everything through.  He seems sincere and he seems to want the best for our country.  He speaks Spanish which I think means something as our country has become more diverse.   Marco is from the middle class and understands the American middle class.  He knows the challenges we face every day.  I really like Marco !

Ben Carson-  Ben is very smart but more measured than Marco.  I like that he holds onto his faith at a time when I'm sure "handlers" have advised against bringing it up.  After all, he might  offend someone or challenge the people to consider their own faith or lack there of.    Ben is a self-made  man who rose from the bottom of society to the top.  This impresses me immensely.   Some people say he "doesn't know foreign policy", but I've been impressed by his determination to learn all he can and offer intelligent answers to questions.  In other words, he saw the problem and admitted it and is working on it- he didn't just lie about it like Donald Trump.    He is sincere and has a very good understanding of the constitution which is, in my humble opinion,  the most important thing a candidate should know. (President Obama is unfamiliar).  I really like Ben !

Jeb Bush-  Again, very smart.  Jeb has suffered badly due to his poor debating skills.  I agree he is bland like a bowl of oatmeal, but oatmeal will stick to your ribs and sometimes it's just much better for you.  The thing about Jeb is he knows his stuff., he has thoughtful answers to complex questions.  Above all, he has the experience.  None of the other top candidates  has served in an executive  position (as in governing, not executive of a real estate interest that declared bankruptcy 4 times).  Jeb was a successful governor here in Florida.  He proved himself and understands how it all works, there will be no "learning curve".  (Obama is still in the learning curve !)   He was an EXCELLENT governor !  He's genuinely nice guy ( Donald Trump is genuinely NOT a nice guy.)  I really like Jeb !
Oh, and by the way.... I really don't like Donald Trump.  In case the reader was wondering.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Dungeon of Historic Ineptitude

Because King Obama Wishes It !

By Chuck Marshall

     The President seems especially lost recently after the attacks in Paris.   His answers are even more rambling and lost than ever.  Without his teleprompters he is normally awkward, but lately he's really off his pace.   In addition, the mainstream media is not cooperating as his usual lapdog.  Little Rover is nipping back at his excellency !   Why?  I can only theorize a few things;  the attacks in Paris have made  journalists briefly consider that they and their family may be in more danger with this President as compared to previous presidents.   His approach to "ISIL" (I absolutely loathe  how he calls ISIS-- ISIL)  just  doesn't seem to be working.  Also, I think the mainstream media is a little self-conscious since the Republican debates.  The candidates did an effective  job of exposing the media's tendency to toss softball questions to the more liberal politicians and especially the President., er "His Excellency".  Let's just say they're not all getting "shivers up their leg" anymore, that's for sure.

     So, as is often the case in life and in the world.... I'm not sure he's doing anything really wrong in his approach to combat ISIS,  I think it's more in the way he does it.  As Charles Kruthammer put it in his column this week "the only time he has shown any passion (since the murders in Paris) has been when he's attacking Republicans for their hardheartedness towards Muslim refugees".  As it is often implied in his comments and speeches, it's really OUR fault that all this is happening.  We have to bend over backwards not to offend Islam because that will make them even angrier and we'll get even more blow-back !  That's why the eagerness to welcome refugees even when he knew  it would cause a problem back home (He's over-seas at this writing, telling the world how awful the Republicans are).  In fact,  he's eager  not to anger the Muslims but he has no problem angering the Republicans which is by far the bigger problem in his administration.  In addition, it would be the easiest to fix if he set his mind to it.

     As he rounds up his final year in the White House,  it must be such a disappointment that the job didn't turn out the way he wanted.  He thought he would be the King of America.  In his mind  he doesn't need to "lead" the country because that would be crass and un-"king" like.  Kings don't lead, they sit on a thrown and are groomed and we all  do as they beckon.   He is the Louis the 16th of the 21st century.  The  peasants are overwhelming his guards at the palace walls and ultimately he will be removed and placed into the dungeon of historic ineptitude.   "But the jihadists will lose power if we just stop offending their religion ! "  he'll cry as he's dragged away.   Mr. President,  they will always want to kill  us, our families, and our children.  Refusing to call them "Islamic terrorists" for fear of offending the rest of Islam is oddly condescending and in my humble opinion, your approach makes more Muslims hate us not fewer.   

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Free Speech in Paris and at Yale

by Chuck Marshall

       First and foremost let me express my deepest condolences to the French people and to any and all victims of terrorism.  There is something about murder due to a difference of opinion regarding an entire society that cuts especially deep because it clarifies that another group of people wants you dead for no reason other than what you think.   The terrorist attacks in Paris got me to thinking about free speech here in the United States.   We have the opposite approach to disagreeing with people who don't see our opinion - free societies respect differences of opinion while the philosophy of  "jihadists" reach out to bomb it.   This is probably the most important difference between us- all else pivots from this thought.  .

     In a free and open society we are able to disagree with other people as we see fit.  Most reasonable Americans understand that not everyone is going to agree with them and that is part of life.   I am reminded of a famous quote by the French (nice coincidence!) philosopher and writer  "Voltaire" who said ; " I may disagree with what you say but I will fight to the death your right to say it".  That's the kind of Liberty we fight for and what our ancestors fought and died for going all the way back to the birth of our republic.   That is what we are all about.  That is Liberty.

     All this brings me to the outrage expressed by the students at various Universities such as Yale where free speech is being challenged.   Free speech is being challenged by the students themselves !   We all know that a college campus is a "bubble" in the lives of young Americans,  but the rule of law still must be enforced and free speech protected.   Somewhere in their short lives, these kids  have been given the impression that the government should have the power to protect  them from any and every circumstance and that if there are just enough laws regarding behavior and "mean" speech then all the bad stuff and people will go away.   But where do you draw the line between "free speech" and "hate speech" as they refer to it ?   There is something frightening in that idea to stop people from saying what they think because that person has thoughts that could be construed as "bad" in my mind.  I have the freedom to get up and leave the conversation.  The act of hurting someone is the violation, but speaking your opinion should never be "outlawed" (perhaps restricted in limited and/or unusual circumstances and even then only temporarily).

     All this brings me back to Paris.  What happened in Paris was the most extreme version of restricting what other people think.  In this case with the jihadists -at the core of their belief- is that the French and all citizens of open societies of the world are infidels for "what they think" and so they must die.  That is why I am so alarmed by restrictions to speech that expresses ideas that may be contrary to "the going way of thinking".  The authorities and/or administrators at our Universities and colleges must be rock-solid in their refusal to yield to this mob mentality coming from students.  The students are there to learn, so teach them that  liberty means sometimes hearing and relating to things that you don't agree with.  Teach them that the strength of our society, despite all its drawbacks and flaws, is that the individual is guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness even when those choices don't necessarily join in joyful concert with your own  ideas of what that entails.  


Friday, November 6, 2015

L'âge de l' incompétence; Part Deux

The Age of Incompetence: Part Two

By Chuck Marshall

     The media has outdone themselves today and they look more asinine than they did on CNBC for the last Republican debate.  Who knew they could top themselves so quickly !   Politico- the political web site for those of you unfamiliar-  came out with a story stating that Ben Carson had "fabricated" his experience as a high school senior while in the Detroit ROTC where he was in a position of high leadership (this is not the fact being questioned- that would be the case in a NORMAL story questioning a potential leader).   In his book, they explained,  he wrote that he was complimented  by General Westmoreland himself at a banquet and he was encouraged to apply to West Point and "was offered a scholarship".   Carson turned him down because he wanted to be a Doctor.  This is, of course, what happened and would seem to be the key fact here.    Politico was elaborate in commenting that he "couldn't have been offered a scholarship because West Point doesn't offer scholarships".  The headlines were then all over the Internet  "Carson lied about being offered a scholarship to West Point".   Carson later explained that he was offered a "position" to come to West Point in conversation, ie "Your performance  at the Detroit ROTC has been exemplary, I think you would have no problem getting into West Point, or being offered a position to go there".   In other words, he didn't clarify but there really is no word for "getting a position" at West Point and even their marketing uses the word "scholarship" as the reader can see in the image above.  The real story;  Carson exaggerated the details of his offer to apply to West Point.  

      Politico also attacked Carson for even claiming any admission to West Point because "West Point has no record of him applying".  In his book Carson never claimed to apply to West Point, he was simply making a point that he had risen to the enviable position of being offered a likely position at the prestigious academy.   Why would he apply to West Point if he had already said he wanted to be a Doctor ?   Later today it was discovered that West Point doesn't keep any record of who did or did not apply that far back so ...... the conclusion?   Politico lied about checking the details of Carson applying at West Point.   To sum it up., Politico got caught doing what they were accusing Carson of doing., and that's not an exaggeration it's slander.

     All at the same time., our friends at  CNN "discovered" that Ben Carson may have "fabricated" the "narrative" in his book regarding details of himself as a 13 year old while growing up in a Detroit ghetto.   My first thought is;  "everybody did weird things when they were 13 years old, but what was he hiding?  What did he fabricate?"   He fabricated that he threatened a friend with a knife and he fabricated that he threatened his mother with a hammer over a pair of pants.   Keep in mind he didn't say he never did those things, he lied by saying he DID do those things.   Huh?  So, he was lying about tending towards violence in his youth... when really he was NOT violent ?   He was  being dishonest because he was actually a mellow, law abiding citizen as a 13 year old.   I've heard a lot of bizarre stories in my 52 years but this is one of the most bizarre.  Les médias est plus incompétent que je l'imaginais !  

If this is all they can find on Ben Carson then he has got my vote friends....

* Why is this title in French ?  Click the link to L'age de l'incompetence - Part 1" under the heading "Popular Posts"  to  the right of this page to find out.  Have a good day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Donald Trump and His Mysterious Attraction to Republicans

"I Don't Get It"

By Chuck Marshall  

     I get that Donald Trump is an outsider and that he "says what's on his mind"., but I am still very confused why the Republican party still supports him in pretty large numbers, especially here in Florida.   It defies reason.  I try to keep in mind that reason and the Republican party have not had much in common for a while, but this love affair with Donald Trump sends me off the rails.   Fox news fawns over him.  Nobody gets more attention than him from all the networks, and he abuses them !   To use one of his eloquent lines "I don't get it"

Consider this short and brief listing of a few of his shortcomings- and I will keep this brief;

     He is a bully.. a "name calling" politician of the lowest form and speaks mostly in terms of why his opponents are "no good".    "They lack energy, they have strange religions, they have an ugly face, they can't control their personal spending, they can't talk to the Russians".   Not even good criticism. Silly criticism. ....... He's pathological towards anyone who criticizes him or asks a tough question or both........He has declared bankruptcy twice and then has the nerve to criticize Rubio for bad personal finances........He was  born into money and has no idea what middle class Americans go through. How can he help fix America when he has no real understanding of the problems the common man faces?.....Historically he has been "pro-choice" until the last year or so since he decided to run for office as a Republican.........Hillary Clinton  came to his wedding- they are chums......He is very much a part of the power elite that I thought the right wing despised?.........He makes comments like "I'm going to build a wall, you're not going to believe this wall"........Any questions for specifics get a response like "Yeah., we're  looking into that".  

     The Republican party members need to start using their brain and consider how "The Donald" will do against Hillary.  Polls show he would lose to her.  He has zero support among Hispanics.  He is so bad and such a cancer to the Republican party that I wouldn't be surprised to hear he purposely ran in the race to make them look even more inept in the nations eyes, ie, he's a closet Democrat !   Whatever it is, I am sorely disappointed that such a  man is seen as acceptable in the eyes of so many of my countrymen.   Things really are bad this year but we should never be so angry and frustrated as to nominate  an indecent and crass man to the position of candidate for President.  We're better than this.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chuck Marshall's Humble Opinion: Presidential Debates


By Chuck Marshall

     The Republican presidential candidates are demanding a new format for future debates.  I think anyone who watched the debacle on CNBC last week could understand that sentiment.  I have never seen anything worse - on the national stage- than what I witnessed last Wednesday.   The lack of order and the entire platform was so  combative that the  event quickly ran out of control.   Shockingly, the ingratiating Ted Cruz is my hero for calling  out the moderators for their biased questions.  Every single one of their questions were designed as a "gotcha" question.  It was as if the moderators were debating the candidates.   Along with Ted Cruz there was Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio all managing a counter-attack on the dopey moderators making them look even more ridiculous than their incompetence had already accomplished.  It was like watching a middle school newspaper interrogate the high school principal and his staff;  "That's just as likely to happen as for you to grow wings and fly off that stage" one of them chirped in a blithering comparison to Trump's tax plan.  Huh ?    The entire thing was even more shocking in that it was common knowledge the public wanted to see less arguing and more explanations in these debates.  So.....they did the EXACT opposite.  

       So, now the Republican candidates are putting their heads together and they are demanding a new format.  I don't know the details of what they're demanding, but since this is another episode of "Chuck Marshall's Humble Opinion" of course I have a solution.   Why don't they invite ALL the media outlets to converge at a public University in a mutually agreed upon state.  Most schools have debate teams., so have these people act as moderators and let them "run the show".... so to speak.  That way you have people who are use to running a debate and not a group of confused yellow journalists sputtering out useless questions.  In addition, all the media- even the far left MSNBC can relax and sit on the sidelines while the professionals do their job.  Today's journalists are  trained to dig for facts, and create a controversy between the parties out of said facts.  Since most journalists tend to be Democrats- there is a natural friction between the moderator and the Republican candidate. Let's stop this lunacy and have intelligent questions from non-partisan moderators looking to help the viewer understand each candidate and his ideas and philosophies as they compare to the other candidates.   All journalists are welcome to watch and cover-- from the back of the auditorium.  Now, wouldn't that be nice....  In my humble opinion.