2016 Debate I

BY RICH GALEN
SEP 26 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

The pre-Debate questions more-or-less came down to these:
Will Hillary Clinton come across like someone who regular people can feel comfortable with?
Will Donald Trump come across like a person who could be President?

As the debate opened – with Hillary Clinton getting the first question via coin toss – she began by thanking Hofstra University and welcomed Donald Trump. She talked like someone who had read her briefing books and was comfortable with the material – jobs, and trade. “We are five percent of the world’s population and we have to trade with the other 95 percent. Continue reading

One Day to Celebrate the Constitution…Or Not

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  SEP 20

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble to the Constitution, adopted  September 17, 1787

Last Saturday the nation celebrated the signing of the US Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia 229 years ago.

There were parades and fireworks, great speeches and events all across the country.

Actually, there weren’t. The anniversary went by mostly unnoticed, unlike that for the Declaration of Independence, last July 4.

In fairness what is Constitution and Citizenship Day is a relatively new observance, dating back to 2004 and legislation sponsored by the late West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, although there have been observances of citizenship dating back nearly 100 years. Continue reading

McCain: Primaries, Pundits, and the Press

BY RICH GALEN
SEP 1 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

I was in Phoenix to spend some time watching a non-Presidential campaign. In this case it was Senator John McCain’s campaign for U.S. Senate. I picked this campaign because it’s just about the end of the primary election season and I’ve known – or at least known of – McCain since he was a freshman Member of Congress in 1983 and I was doing my first turn at the National Republican Congressional Committee which is the political arm of Republicans in the House.

I had forgotten what a race for U.S. Senate, even a big-time race like this one, was like.

McCain’s primary was Tuesday night. On Monday, I stopped in to watch the Professional Firefighters Union endorse McCain at Fire Station #30 in Phoenix. Continue reading

Nation Off to the Races

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  AUG 29

Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

No, Hillary retorts. Trump is a racist.

Trump charges Hillary with exploiting blacks.

Hillary claims Trump is white supremacist, who blows a dog whistle for neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

Trump says Hillary is crooked and should be arrested.

Hillary says Trump is profoundly dangerous.

And, so, after another day on the dusty campaign trail, the two candidates ride off into the sunset. If only there were another time zone so their performances could go on even longer. Wait. What about Guam and American Samoa? Continue reading

Two Screenplays

BY RICH GALEN
AUG 22 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

I think the whole full-court press to protect Hillary Clinton’s emails has little to do with Hillary Clinton. I think it has to do with keeping Bill Clinton – former President of the United States Bill Clinton – from being indicted for conspiracy to sell access to Hillary’s State Department.

But first …

On Friday, former top dog of the Donald Trump campaign, Paul Manafort resigned. This was about two days after the top dog his own self, Donald Trump, hired Stephen Bannon who, like Trump, has never been in a major political campaign before, to be the new top dog. Continue reading

Random Thoughts

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  AUG 22

DAY OF FINANCIAL RECKONING

It is getting closer to the end of the month and my nerves are on edge. I’ve done everything I can to prepare. I’ve filled out the forms; I’ve talked to my financial adviser, Sean Joyce, and I’ve made calculations for all contingencies. Waiting is the worst. It gets worse as you get older.

The only step I didn’t take was to make a purchase. It could have been a fatal mistake, but we’ll see.

The day of reckoning, August 31st, is the announcement date for the winners of the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. If you’re an old geezer, who grew up in the 60s, and weren’t exactly on the doorstep to the middle class, the Sweepstakes was a quick and easy way to get up and out; one of the least labor intensive paths to the American Dream. (see footnote below)* This was before they invented the lottery. Continue reading

Lessons From Ryan Election

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  AUG 11

“I’m not happy with him and some of the things he’s done, but you have to look at the big picture and you have to look down the road.”

A pearl of political wisdom from a Wisconsin teacher named Kim, after voting for her Congressman, Paul Ryan, in the Republican primary August 9, 2016.

There are other little pearls to be extracted from the Ryan landslide over a slick-talking, biker-businessman who the national media tried hard to mold into a credible candidate for public office when he was not. Continue reading

Dem Convention 2

BY RICH GALEN
JUL 28 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

I was wrong. I thought that Michelle Obama’s speech on Monday night would retire the trophy as best speech of this, or any other, year.

Then came Joe Biden. First of all, he called the First Lady of the United States “kid” and got away with it. Then he called the President of the United States “Barack” which, as it happens is his name, but it was jarring to hear the Veep call his boss by his first name.

Biden got off the best line of the night – not a gigantic cheer line, but an important one: “When the middle class does well, the rich do very well and the poor have hope; they have a way out.” Continue reading

Fast From Presidential Politics: Let Mikey Do It

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JUL 19

I find it very uncomfortable writing in the first person and reading the work of those who do.  After the sixth or seventh personal pronoun, I often just quit reading.

This, on the other hand, is all about me so I just can’t avoid talking about me.

This week it will have been a month since I suggested to the half dozen or so good friends who read my stuff that I feared the entire country was hyperventilating over presidential politics and that we should take a month off from Don and Hil, breathe into a brown paper bag, and adjust our attitudes and our behavior.

My editor said I ought to take my own advice, so I did. So here is my report. Continue reading

The Conflicts of Race, Reality, and Resolution: Part 1

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JUL 18

John Korsmo, Lincoln NE, said it pretty well on Facebook after the killing of police in Dallas:

“There isn’t enough room on people’s timelines to address all of the ridiculous things people are doing. I may be wrong but it seems like there is more unrest than I can ever remember in my lifetime. May just be how prevalent social media is too but just this last couple months has been very disheartening.”

I don’t know John. I don’t know if he can be called “an average American” but he expresses a bewilderment and frustration that most Americans must feel about events and behavior over which we have no control but have a profound effect on our lives. Continue reading

The Conflicts of Race, Reality, and Resolution: Part 2

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JUL 18

A year ago, after the Charleston killings, I wrote:

“I don’t know how we ever get to that national conversation about race that for some reason is the ultimate, if unachievable goal of so many. My friend, the late Bill Gavin, told me years ago that there is no good outcome from a conversation in which two sides do not trust the motivation of the other. And regrettably, those individuals usually thought to be the best to conduct a conversation about race—activists, politicians, academics—are those who seem to question each others’ motivation the most often. They usually cannot extract the politics and prejudice, the suspicion and ulterior motives from their own discourse.”

I write about much that does not stand the test of time, but this does. One year later, we are no closer to honest discourse. Continue reading

The Conflicts of Race, Reality, and Resolution: Part 3

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JUL 18

Much of the racial conflict in America cannot be resolved by politicians or in a political arena, especially a presidential campaign, already awash in racial hypocrisy. Voters should not tolerate the exploitation of race and class warfare in any campaign. Something has to change as well in the formulation of public policy.

When it comes to race there is some serious sorting out required, starting with the distinction between civil rights and human rights.

Many of the gross inequities in our system of criminal justice, public education, in our economy, and in the distribution of health care, even in transportation, can be traced to the imprisoning effects of poverty, not racism. Continue reading

Trump is Not the Only GOP Heretic on Free Trade

BY JOHN FEEHERY
JUN 29
  |  Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

Originally published in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank

The headlines blared breathlessly. “Trump Breaks With Party on Trade.” “Defying GOP orthodoxy, Trump trashes trade deals.” And so forth. As somebody who worked for House Republican leaders for 15 years, I can tell you that if Donald Trump is a heretic when it comes to free-trade orthodoxy, he is not alone in that heresy.

Indeed, over those years, I witnessed first hand as Congress — under Republican control and under Democratic control, with two presidents with the last name of Bush and one president with the last name of Clinton — either try to pass or successfully pass major trade legislation that has set the table for our modern economy and face significant GOP opposition each time. Continue reading

Brexit! How To Respond

BY THELMA ASKEY  |  JUN 29

When the shock and emotional reaction to the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union wears off, perhaps a more thoughtful and analytical view will emerge. For that, look at the heart of the problem. Look to Brussels.

Fifty-two percent of the British population are not ignorant, uneducated, white (now almost an epithet) isolationists with fear-mongering in their hearts and with buyer’s remorse in the aftermath. One needs to consider with a clear head what democracy has wrought. Most voters, as was intended, went to the polls guided by the perspective of their own life experiences; what they thought was best for themselves, their fellow citizens, and their country. For many, it was a very tough choice. It was a choice primarily for accountability, patriotism, AND stability. Voters were not leaping INTO the chaotic, great unknown outside the warmth of the EU; they were leaping OUT…they were saying NO to what they see as a disintegrating reality and an unpalatable, impalpable future. Continue reading

Silly Sit In

BY RICH GALEN
JUN 23 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

House Democrats not only took to the House Floor yesterday, they took over the House Floor. They staged a sit-in to protest the lack of votes on gun control measures.

It will be unproductive.

I’m not suggesting that the issue of gun control – or at least more complete background checks – is silly. I am suggesting that a childish demonstration such as the Democrats pulled yesterday will not move a single vote – on or off the House Floor.

It would – should – horrify the House Democrats to realize they are following in the footsteps of Newt Gingrich who was the first to employ modern guerilla tactics on the House floor. Continue reading

Change in America is Everywhere; To What End?

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JUN 22

The single-story wood frame house needs a paint job. The foundation is cracked. Windows are broken and the roof leaks.

Oh, yes, it is also on fire.

Research guru David Winston has been using a picture of this house for years, to make a powerful point: Too often in politics we miss the big picture. We replace the windows and fix the roof, but don’t put out the fire, which in Winston’s analogy is a bad economy. Fixing the economy has been the number one priority of Americans in nearly all of the years Winston has been presenting his burning house. But government has done little, while concern has turned to fear and fear to anger and anger to despair. And, once again economic doom and gloom loom are on the horizon. There is talk of recession. Continue reading

Underwater

BY RICH GALEN
JUN 20 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are “underwater” as it pertains to their favorable/unfavorable ratings.

The percentage of people who have a negative image of Clinton is in the mid-50s. Those who have similarly chilly feelings toward Trump are in the mid-to-high 60s, although in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released last week Trump’s unfavorable hit an unheared of level of 70 percent.

Clinton has been a major figure in American politics since the election of 1992 – probably two years before that when Gov. Bill Clinton broke onto the national scene. Let’s look at that. Someone eligible to vote (having achieved the age of 18) would have had to been born in 1974 or earlier. Continue reading

They Came For Me

BY RICH GALEN
JUN 13 | Reprinted from Townhall.com

My first thought when I turned on my TV Sunday morning and found that the Orlando shooting had occurred in a gay nightclub was: They’re dead because they were gay.

I have a lot of gay friends. I tried to come up with words that would express my feelings for what they must have been going through.

I couldn’t.

I assume they were going through the same feelings I had – and will have again, I fear – when Jews are attacked in shops and restaurants. Those attacks occurred not because they were in the wrong random place at the wrong random time, but because they were in a place that Jews were known to frequent. Continue reading

Orlando Exposes Threat to First Amendment

BY JOHN FEEHERY
JUN 13
  |  Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

America’s First Amendment to the Constitution is unique.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

No other country goes out of its way to protect the right of everybody to practice whatever religion they want.

The attack in Orlando shows the limits of that protection. Continue reading

Press Conference Protocol

BY RICH GALEN
JUN 2 | Reprinted from Mullings.com

Donald Trump’s press conference to announce his donations to veterans’ groups was a jaw dropper. The amount of money he announced having donated (about $5.6 million) is a long, long way from small change even if you measure your total wealth in the billions.

But, if the Trump campaign thought its candidate making good on a promise made months ago was going to lead every newscast in the near Galaxy, they were wrong.

What led, of course, was Trump’s excoriation of the press in general, the political press corps in particular, and three specific reporters in laser focus. Continue reading