Saturday, February 27, 2016

From Arnold to Donald. A fair warning !

Euphoria among some voters over the Donald Trump presidential campaign should come as no surprise to anyone closely familiar with California politics. Schwarzenegger and Trump  have a lot of similar characteristics. How they both got / will get elected. You have to blame the political mob : the voter. Although Trump was born in the U.S. of German-Scottish heritage and (1)>>Schwarzenegger immigrated here from Austria at age 21, they share strikingly similar backgrounds, styles and outlooks. I guess people are tired of the same old political establishments  There are troubling "resemblances" between Donald and Arnold   .It was absurdly obvious we had forgotten outright. Donald Trump already happened in California. It was  way back , Oct. 7, 12 years ago that California made history. For the first time, voters in the state went to the polls in a special election to oust the sitting governor and replace him. Not for the first time, Californians chose a former Hollywood actor for that privilege. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to govern the state until January 2011.With the advent of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, a lot of comparisons have been made to 2003. If a celebrity like Arnold can upend the establishment, the thinking seems to go, why not Donald? So take some fair warning .That year, California's incumbent (2)>>Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, was pulled from office in a recall election. It was a time of disillusionment and cynicism toward the governor and government, amidst a poor economy and rising energy prices.Schwarzenegger had long held political aspirations. He was a wealthy man from his career as a bodybuilding celebrity, film star and businessman. He saw this as his opportunity and ran for the Republican nomination.He fell back on his movie persona as "The Terminator" to pitch California voters that, despite no political experience, he could go to Sacramento and kick "butts" and get the government in order.The ironic thing about Schwarzenegger's time in office is that he never bested any of the indicators Gray Davis was kicked out for. Every single metric Davis was criticized for, Schwarzenegger's numbers were worse. He blustered his way into office, and then failed to live up to his promises. (3)>> Darrell Issa, currently in Congress, used his personal fortune to bankroll the recall election in hopes of taking over as Governor. Unfortunately, Arnold stepped into the race at the last minute (actually making his decision and announcement on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show) and dominated the race almost all the way, even with numerous experienced and generally respected politicians running as well. Arnold skipped the first debate among the front-runners, but cleaned up in the second debate.Arnold had one thing the other candidates didn’t have – celebrity independent of politics. He had instant name recognition from the start, a popular persona generated by his movie roles, and often surprised his opponents (in politics and the media) by being relatively smart and well-versed in economics. Like Trump, Arnold had built a fortune in real estate, and was perceived as somewhat insulated from many of the normal lobbying pressures. He used a self-deprecating sense of humor to deflect many of the personal attacks launched on him by his more run-of-the-mill opponents. Gray Davis’ campaigns used a lot of negative advertising; this worked to some extent against similar politicians, but it boomeranged against Arnold.  So far, the analogy to Trump is similar .Mixing a blend of populism and hard-right scapegoating, Schwarzenegger as governor promoted moderate stands on the environment and gay marriage while savaging state employees with unpaid furloughs and threatening pay cuts in a failed effort to restore fiscal solvency and discipline. Trump, for his part, has sounded almost liberal when he has spoken about his early opposition to the Iraq War and his support for Social Security and Medicare, even as he has viciously targeted illegal immigration and Muslims as the cause of the country's many maladies.
How the Republican Party became the Party of NO.
The Arnold that Californian's elected later turned out to be thoroughly corrupt, I remember how Schwarzenegger would call the California  Democratic legislature "girly men"  , unlike the days when Davis was governor the state could not pass a budget on time , when Arnold came it just got worse . He wanted to solve problems by cutting, dismantling the California beaurcasy   It was like what you all see happening in Washington D.C. during the Obama years , the Republicans may have borrowed a line of obstructionism to the core to fight Obama , but the "tactic" originated here in California with Gov. Schwarzenegger . The term  "the party of No" was seeded here , was adopted .Now, Did Arnold’s business acumen transfer to being able to get political changes in California? No, but in truth, Arnold was up against a very large left wing force in California. Governance of the country will be easier for Trump than the job Arnold took on and failed in CA.The only comparison is the "celebrity" factor, whereas the pollsters can't truly gauge the turnout as there will likely be people voting who usually don't, and people crossing over from the Democrats to vote for someone like a Trump or a Schwarzenegger, who they already know outside of politics.The problem with Schwarzenegger is that he wasn't running on any sort of conservative platform, unlike Trump (i.e., fix the border once-and-for-all, temporarily halt Muslim immigration, fix waste and corruption, etc.) In other words, Trump ran on a Democrat-lite platform and couldn't implement it once in office, but Trump is running on a Republican base platform (cementing core support from the Republican Party base voters).But Schwarzenegger was able to get himself elected as a Republican in a state with 60%+ Democrat majority. Frankly speaking  ( my theory is ) that Schwarzenegger may have been in part because of his celebrity status part of a rigged election to get a republican elected in a state that in majority is Democrat . It worked. Political leadership is not like running a business. Business is a dictatorship. In government, even the president is limited in power. You can’t summon those who are not cooperating and say, “You’re fired.”Worse, Trump’s business record shows he loves to use government power to advance personal interests.  Mr. Schwarzenegger has primarily used the image (like Trump).  that he so carefully cultivated during his body-building career and movie career to demonstrate his bona fides as a tough guy and therefore prove his eligibility for an executive position (like governor).Comparisons of Trump  with Schwarzenegger are alarmingly similar. The latter brought California a hollow government, with little results. Trump’s less-than-optimistic style could similarly take us in the wrong direction, if not into a national disaster.His bullying style brings out divisiveness and hatred. He is a narcissist. He is vindictive. He appears to be emotionally insecure. He is all bark and no specifics. He is admired for his celebrity status and wealth, yet, we know money is a poor measuring stick for character. Remember that  Schwarzenegger said  he decided to run in part to change politics. But his party was in power nationally, and was never  receptive to change. 

TRUMP- Christie Presidency ? .
There are lots of consperacy theories about the latest fiasco in our government politics . Indeed, Donald Trump seems eager to alienate sane voters by embracing conspiracy theories wherever he can find them.  Christie's announcement took many by surprise. Christie's former presidential campaign finance director, Ray Washburne, simply told Politico, " I am shocked." Taken aback by Christie's support, people are grappling to explain why the New Jersey governor is giving a stamp of approval to Trump as prominent members of his party have stepped up efforts to rally the troops around Sen. Marco Rubio in time for Super Tuesday. This endorsement is a slap in the face of the mainstream GOP .Just a few weeks ago, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), raised a bizarre conspiracy theory. As the Miami congressman told a local radio show, maybe Donald Trump’s entire presidential campaign is an elaborate scheme – cooked up by Democrats – to make Republicans look ridiculous and undermine the GOP. I am not surprised that in reality the Republican "party" is secretly endorsing Trump At this stage of the primary campaign, the Republican Party’s interest lies in weeding out the weak candidates and testing the strong ones to see who can stand up to tough questions,So for the next eight or nine months until Republicans have their nominee. In the longer term, Christie's support equips Trump with a powerful and outspoken surrogate who can match the former reality star's tart tongue and, like him, can inflame a media narrative critical of his opponents.Trump accompanied his rollout of Christie with a stream of invective against Rubio, reflecting the raised stakes ahead of Super Tuesday and the scorched-earth duel now raging between them.

So why are you Crazy for TRUMP ,  rejected MITT ROMNEY ?
Will Mitt Romney soon endorse Trump?
Look American's Trump is a billionaire , a lot less "poorer" ( yet still wealthy though) remember Mitt Romney? We had the 99% er's against the 1% er's way back in 2012 . The Occupy movement was certainly motived against Wall Street , and against Mitt Romney .Trump won't necessarily fix the GOP's image as the party of the rich. The public opinion has changed. Romney was (4)>>shy about his wealth, which made the media very curious. Everywhere Romney campaigned, journalists wanted to know: How could he relate to the everyday Americans whose votes he sought? Let's not forget, Trump endorsed Romney early on in the last nominating cycle (early February 2012 after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina).  Its vary strange to me that comparing Mitt's wealth margin was a big deal , while Trump is clean slate with the avverge Joe. Romney could have done wonders for this country but he refused to be outspoken like Trump. The obvious answer, of course, is that Trump appears to connect with regular people very well. The evidence is even quantifiable: Americans without college degrees and those earning less than $50,000 per year help form the foundation of his campaign. He does much better with them than with rich and more-educated people like himself.Romney, on the other hand, fared better on the higher ends of the income and education scales — from the earliest days of the campaign to the first primary states and all the way to the general election. There’s plenty of anecdotal proof, too. Just look at the enthusiastic crowds Trump gets in working-class communities; Romney never connected with this demographic.Something about Trump seems to make people say, “Hey, if I struck it rich, I’d be a lot like him.” Romney never possessed that quality. As polling has shown consistently, Donald Trump tends to do better among voters with lower incomes than he does among those with higher incomes. This is true of education as well: In the New Hampshire primary, Trump won 23 percent of the votes of those with a post-graduate degree, but 46 percent of those with only a high school degree or less. He's the closest thing the GOP has found to a candidate of the common man in a long time. Romney wants to keep his toe in the tub to keep testing the waters. And after doing this, Mitt fumbled around on the national stage and lost the most winnable election of modern times... even though the GOP leadership and the media told us Romney was the "most electable".
(1)>>Schwarzenegger.  Arnold's legacy , The Cato Institute, which issues a bi-annual Fiscal Report Card on America's governors, grading them A to F on their fiscal performances, awarded Schwarzenegger a D in his final years as California's governor.Here's Cato's summary of Schwarzenegger's governorship: "Schwarzenegger has made some reforms to California government, but he will be handing over a giant economic and fiscal mess to the next governor. State unemployment is over 12 percent, the state's pension system has massive funding gaps, and the state's bond debt has exploded. According to Moody's, California's state debt soared from 2.5 percent of state income when Schwarzenegger came to office in 2003 to 4.4 percent in 2009. The rising debt is a looming threat to state taxpayers, yet California's personal, corporate, and capital gains tax rates are already some of the highest in the nation." (2)>>Gov. Gray Davis. Gray Davis was touted as “perhaps the best-trained governor-in-waiting California has ever produced.”, due to his position for years as Jerry Brown’s Chief of Staff (during Jerry’s first and second terms in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s), and his subsequent positions in state government (Legislature, Controller, Lt. Governor). He easily won election over Atty.Gen. Dan Lungren in 1998, and almost as easily over William Simon Jr. in 2002. During his first term, he benefited from a state budget surplus which he used to greatly expand various social programs. However, his second-term campaign was marred by the end of the dot-com boom and by the electricity crisis (which only later brought down Enron), which was exacerbated by his agreement to unwise long-term energy contracts. Having spent the temporary state surplus on ongoing programs, his later years saw the state facing large deficits as tax receipts fell. He was known as a policy wonk, whose personal charisma was reputed to reflect his name. He also reportedly engaged in “pay for play” practices, which often favored behind-the-scenes donors. He was perceived as corrupt, even if not prosecutable. (3)>>Darrell Issa. In 2003, Issa led the effort to recall California Governor Gray Davis. (Davis was undone by the energy crisis which crippled the Golden State thanks in large part to market manipulation by Enron.)  But part two of the Issa plan - to capture the Governor's office himself - abruptly ran aground when Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to get in the race.  Darrell Issa helped the  election of Schwarzenegger to replace Davis sent shock waves through the political establishment. A recall of a sitting governor had only happened once in the country’s history (1921 in North Dakota).Even though Schwarzenegger had mixed success building on his early popularity and some of his programs alienated conservative supporters, those behind the original recall say they have no regrets. (4)>>shy about his wealthSo how much are we talking about?Trump was 153rd on the Forbes magazine's list last year of the richest people in America, with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Most of his money comes from real estate.Romney, former CEO of Bain & Co., was worth between $190 million and $250 million, based on a personal financial disclosure form he filled out in advance of the 2008 presidential campaign. In that race, Romney spent $45 million of his own money. On Fox News Channel on Wednesday, Romney raised an issue with which he is well-acquainted, calling on Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to release their back taxes. Though Romney gave lip service to the other Republican candidates, it became clear that Trump was the intended target of Romney’s remarks:“We have good reason to believe there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes […] Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay, or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”Romney makes for a strange messenger on this issue, having steadfastly declined similar calls to release his own tax returns during his 2012 presidential bid. (Romney eventually did release his returns.)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Let's REALLY (REALLY!) end the War on Drugs.

Let's REALLY (REALLY!)  end the War on Drugs.

Candidates running on both sides have expressed minimal responses on the current wave of legalization of Marijuana across several  States , yes it's legal in Washington DC . It's always puzzled me for a while after hearing Hillary R Clinton , Jeb Bush in two recent interviews on their perceptions of legalization . (1)>>They are both on the same hard line. So here is an analysis of both of them.  First, make no mistake: Jeb is a drug warrior."Some try to make the drug epidemic just a criminal justice issue, and some try to make it just a health care issue. These singular approaches oversimplify this complex challenge," the campaign said in a statement outlining the plan. "Governor Jeb Bush believes we need a multi-faceted strategy that: prevents drug abuse and addiction; strengthens criminal justice; secures the border to stop the flow of illicit drugs; and improves treatment and recovery programs." He said at a Town-hall meeting recently . By some accounts, he was one of the “best drug warriors in town” during his eight year stint as Florida’s governor. While there he took on the cocaine cartels and oversaw a slight reduction in drug-fueled violence. That’s the shiny part of his governorship; the rest was much more bleak. A vast majority of Governor Bush’s policy stances were indicative of and inspired by the larger failed trends in the war on drugs: He successfully lobbied against a ballot initiative that would have treated nonviolent drug offenders instead of jailing them, he cut funding to treatment centers and drug-courts, he increased mandatory minimum jail sentences for drug-related crimes, and, in 2014, stepped out of term limit-imposed retirement to urge Floridians to vote against an ultimately doomed medical marijuana bill that had, at one point, enjoyed nearly 90% support. The Democratic side has always supported the same stance on Drugs . 
The Clinton Crusade outcomes.
(1.2)>>Hillary Clinton wants to run for president as an economic populist, as a humane progressive interested in bolstering the fortunes of poor and middle class Americans. But before liberals enthusiastically sign up for Team Hillary, they should remember this: In the late 1990s, Bill Clinton played in instrumental role in creating the world’s largest prison system — one that has devastated our inner cities, made a mockery of American idealism abroad, and continues to inflict needless suffering on millions of people. And he did it with his wife’s support. The explosion of the prison system under Bill Clinton’s version of the “War on Drugs” is impossible to dispute. The total prison population rose by 673,000 people under Clinton’s tenure — or by 235,000 more than it did under President Ronald Reagan, according to a study by the Justice Policy Institute. “Under President Bill Clinton, the number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled, and grew more than it did under the previous 12-years of Republican rule,combined,” states the JPI report (italics theirs). The federal incarceration rate in 1999, the last year of the Democrat’s term, was 42 per 100,000 — more than double the federal incarceration rate at the end of President Reagan’s term (17 per 100,000), and 61 percent higher than at the end of President George Bush’s term (25 per 100,000), according to JPI. In her speech at Columbia University on last year , Clinton called for an end to mass incarceration and recommended that police departments have officers wear body cameras.“Earlier today, Hillary Clinton proposed various criminal justice reform ideas in an attempt to undo some of Bill Clinton’s work — the same work she cheerfully supported as first lady,” a statement from the Kentucky senator’s campaign reads.The release cites an April 13 Salon article titled “The Clinton dynasty’s horrific legacy: How ‘tough-on-crime’ politics built the world’s largest prison system.”
World Wide implications of American war on Drugs.

AS remarkable as it seems the Clinton era of American politics was also the period where  the United States took part in making and shaping international laws , poring in billions into other nations to set up drug laws that persecuted individuals in the harshest and  most inhumane methods available . The war on drug's policy spread to other nations creating human rights violations . For decades, Washington’s crusade against illegal drugs has destroyed lives, (2)>>destabilized civil society and generally wreaked havoc on Mexico and the countries of Central and South America.Since October, more than 50,000 children and adolescents (mainly from Central America) have successfully made the trek through Mexico to reach the United States. Others have perished at the hands of the drug gangs that control the trafficking routes. Extortion, kidnapping and rape are all-too-common along these routes. Traffickers frequently force refugees passing through Mexico to become drug mules — they’re forced to smuggle small shipments of drugs as they make their way to the United States.The refugees are fleeing not only grinding poverty but widespread carnage, inflicted mostly by powerful Mexican-based drug cartels and other criminal gangs. Honduran President Juan Hernandez blamed U.S. drug policy for sparking violence in Central American countries and driving a surge of migration to the United States, Hernandez, who took office in January after winning on a pledge to be tough on crime, said only a drop in violence would curb the wave of families and unaccompanied minors fleeing Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who have overwhelmed temporary detention facilities on the U.S. border."Honduras has been living in an emergency for a decade," Hernandez told Mexican daily newspaper Excelsior. "The root cause is that the United States and Colombia carried out big operations in the fight against drugs. Then Mexico did it." The evidence is overwhelming that American drug policies have also created dictatorships . Since the American stance on the drug war started since the 1970's the number of countries applying the death penalty for drugs offenses has increased. In 1979 there were 10 countries that executed drug offenders. By 1985, that number had increased to 22; by 2000, to 36 (although it declined to 33 in 2012). Some years have seen as many as 1,000 drug-related executions, many of them in Iran, Singapore and China, where precise figures are unavailable. Thousands of individuals are on death row in Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa for drug offenses. Indonesia offers a particularly gruesome example. In 2015, 14 prisoners there, mostly foreign nationals, were killed by firing squad.Worse off in Indonesia the government is corrupt enough that it's also trying to extort money from innocent  tourists by planting drugs on would be victims  Reports indicate hapless foreigners have paid up to US$45,000 in "bribes" to have the Balinese overlook their alleged / phony narcotics possession. What a nasty island Bali now is. Examples above is how America is seeding money to these countries to fight it's war on drugs , while at the same time corrupting them . The War on Drugs and the corruption it fosters in government, theirs and ours, is the problem, not the solution. Escalating the WOD will increase the profits for the bad guys on both sides, the cartels and their jackboot opponents, but the rest of society will suffer and pay the price as our rights are stripped away and are caught in the crossfire between organized crime syndicates, private and government. The WOD is a for-profit racket for all the cronies involved, replete with lobbyists in Washington DC. There’s the SWAT industry with all their expensive toys, the prison industry that make a profit housing all the mostly non-violent offenders, the trial-lawyer industry, pharmaceutical companies that don’t want cheaper, safer competition, to name a few of the players.
Just like freedom was the solution to the corruption and crime caused by alcohol prohibition, so to freedom is the solution to the WOD.

(1)>>They are both on the same hard line. Democrats & Republicans have in the most part in the last 40 years contributed to the strict mentality of the law on the drug war , it contributed to a disastrous course. Simply saying The American war on Drugs like it's war on Terror is costly . It's has also contributed to the national debt .   The Republican shift on weed comes as more and more Americans are starting to embrace the idea of legalization. Colorado and Washington residents can already get high whenever they want, and Alaska and Oregon will vote on similar measures to legalize recreational use this year. Recent surveys show that about half of Americans—including 58 percent in this January Gallup poll—now support legalization, up from about 30 percent in 2000. Those numbers are even greater among young people: According to a new Pew Research Center study on millennials, 68 percent of people ages 18 to 33 support legalizing weed, up from 34 percent just eight years ago.The issue has all of the makings of a culture-war blowout, pitting old-guard conservatives against a new cadre of young, more socially liberal conservatives. On one hand, the GOP is desperate to attract a younger crowd, a task the Pew report suggests is becoming increasingly difficult, as younger voters are overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage, tend to support abortion rights, and think the government should provide more services. That leaves marijuana legalization as one of the few issues where Republicans actually have a shot at appealing to voters under 30. On the other hand, the dwindling opposition to weed remains concentrated among older Republicans, the party’s most reliable voter base. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Democrats other lawmakers enacted a wave of tough-on-crime measures, driven by record spikes in violent crime and a crack epidemic that was ravaging major cities and poor and minority communities across the nation. Those laws, backed by both Democrats and Republicans, would lead to millions of people behind bars or dead, give rise to increasingly militarized police forces, and funnel billions of dollars into a global war on drugs. In 1988, Biden helped usher in harsher penalties for drug possession and create the Office of National Drug Control Policy, run by the "drug czar." The rhetoric of the first chief, William Bennett, recalled that of Harry Anslinger, the much-criticized first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a precursor to the modern-day Drug Enforcement Administration.Anslinger was the father of the war on marijuana and often used racial fears to gin up support for drug prohibition. For his part, Bennett once said he didn't have a problem with beheading drug dealers and was disappointed that those dealers, when arrested, could not be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. Bennett's hard line would define the drug czar's office for many years.Even today, the office is legally barred from supporting the legalization of any Schedule I substance. But the current drug czar, Michael Botticelli, has moved away from its tough-on-crime roots toward a more health-focused approach, favoring treatment over incarceration. (1.2)>>Hillary Clinton. In August 2015, an uncomfortable encounter between Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors and Hillary Clinton finally broke the silence of many mainstream press outlets on the Clintons’ shared responsibility for the disastrous policies of mass incarceration, and its catalyst, the War on Drugs. Although a number of prominent academics have written on the subject, little popular discussion of the racial impact of the Clintons’ crime and punishment policies emerged until the opening volleys of the 2016 presidential race. A true paradox lies at the heart of the Clinton legacy. Both Hillary and Bill continue to enjoy enormous popularity among African Americans despite the devastating legacy of a presidency that resulted in the impoverishment and incarceration of hundreds of thousands of poor and working-class black people. Most shockingly, the total numbers of state and federal inmates grew more rapidly under Bill Clinton than under any other president, including the notorious Republican drug warriors Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. (2)>>destabilized civil society. U.S. federal, state, and local governments now spend $50 billion per year trying to make America "drug free." State prison budgets top spending on public colleges and universities. The prison industrial complex is ever more powerful. Nevertheless, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit drugs are cheaper, purer, and easier to get than ever before.The same destruction has occurred in America. Millions of lives have been ruined through crime, murder, extortion, addiction, incarceration, etc. All because we didn't learn THE lesson of alcohol prohibition -- government cannot force people to avoid addictive substances through laws. We may as well try to outlaw smoking or sex. It doesn't work. Having said that, if there were no drug users, there wouldn't be a drug trade, so users massively contribute to the problem through demand for these products.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

An Easy way to nominate a Chief Justice......

The whole thing about nominating anyone for a post in the Supreme Court has often turned into a a Watergate inquisition . No matter which President we have , whatever his (her's) choice is , it's going to be a battleground . The death of (1)>>Justice Antonin Scalia sent shock waves through the political world, potentially upending the presidential race and possibly rendering governance in Washington even more challenging over the next year. Scalia's colleagues will mourn their longtime friend and fellow justice this week before resuming their work on a lineup of cases fraught with political implications. Their test will be whether they can reach decisions in cases involving abortion, labor unions, President Barack Obama's health care law, voting rights, immigration and other topics without reaching an inconclusive 4 to 4 vote. Democrats and Republicans are in a panic, Republicans seem so focused on the 2016 presidential election that they’ve forgotten Barack Obama won the 2012 election and is still, in fact, president  (1.2)>>most of all "conspiracy" theories are now abounding forth . Who determines who the best candidate is? A bunch of men? Everything should matter. What you think is the "best job" is more than likely not what I would consider all that great. Confirmation hearings should never have anything to do with politics, either, but they always do. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell almost immediately declared, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” AS of RECENTLY ( February 5th,2016 Chief Justice John Roberts says he is concerned that partisan political battles over Supreme Court nominations have led to a widespread misunderstanding about the role of the court. Roberts told an audience at New England Law School in Boston late Wednesday that the heated confirmation process — along with misleading attacks on the court’s opinions — lead the public to believe the court is just as politically motivated as other branches of government.One way for Obama to appoint himself is for the GOP to obstruct his nominee until 2017 and then have Hillary get elected in a landslide.The American people's disdain for Republican obstructionism will come to light in an election year and Hillary's coattails could be long enough to sweep in some key victories in the Senate.Then, she nominates Barack Obama and he gets confirmed.So it stands to reason that Republicans have very little incentive to even consider President Obama's suggestion for who should replace Justice Antonin Scalia,  There's some historical precedent for them to do just that. A hazy rule dating back decades that congressional experts say is really more of a tradition suggests senators can oppose some of the president's judicial nominations in the months before a presidential election. It's known as the (2)>>"Thurmond Rule," for reasons we'll get into, but there is widespread disagreement on what it even means and when it can be invoked. A long-serving and hard line conservative justice, Scalia's death has deprived conservatives of their majority on the court, and the fact that a Democratic president can nominate his replacement is obviously of great concern to the GOP. .If Senate Republicans hold fast to their vow not to confirm anyone Obama nominates, then the Supreme Court will operate with eight justices not just for the rest of this term, but for most of the next one as well. High court terms begin in October, and the 80 or so cases argued in the course of a term typically are decided by early summer. The irony is not lost on Americans that Senate conservatives are vowing to shirk their constitutional responsibility to replace a man they heralded as a “hero” for his strict and uncompromising adherence to the precise wording of the Constitution. Mr. Obama also dipped into the recent history of the Senate, noting the long history of each party opposing judicial nominees, and acknowledging his own opposition to Judge Alito. “I think what’s fair to say is that how judicial nominations have evolved over time is not historically the fault of any single party,”

(1)>>Justice Antonin Scalia. Was a hardliner , Scalia deserves his place among conservative icons that have helped shape modern conservatism. Appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, Scalia was a reliable conservative presence on the Court for three decades. He defended the rights of the unborn on a Court that largely did not. He opposed affirmative action as antithetical to the principles of equality under law. He defended the death penalty as legally permissible. At the core of these and many other rulings and opinions was a simple yet vastly critical concept: That the U.S. Constitution should be taken for what it says and what its authors intended—and nothing more or less. (1.2)>>most of all "conspiracy" theories . So when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead over the weekend, Jones' reaction was pretty predictable. He released an "emergency transmission"—shortwave radio-speak for "Facebook video"—on Saturday night with a title that suggested he was waiting for all the facts to come in: "Justice Scalia Murdered?" Alex Jones and InfoWars are right on the mark, have already diminitized your role as mainstream media, and covers the topics with more knowledge and researtch than your brain dead communications (propaganda) majors who spend more time with script than investigation. The minute a no autopsy and quick embalming was a announced, everyone should have seen the Red Flags. With a figure as important as a supreme court justice, I would think that an autopsy would be standard operating procedures. What it the President "didn't wake up" one morning ? Wouldn't we expect an autopsy to
find out why. (2)>>"Thurmond Rule," The Thurmond Rule is an informal and somewhat amorphous tendency in the United States Senate regarding confirmations of judicial nominees. While it originated with former segregationist Senator  Strom Thurmond's opposition to President Lyndon Johnson's nomination of Justice Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in June 1968, the specifics of the rule vary between sources. Thurmond himself said that no lifetime judicial appointments should move in the last six months or so of a lame-duck presidency. In the last year of George W. Bush's second term Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein suggested that nominees that are not confirmed by June of that year would not be confirmed at all, while Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy stated the rule as meaning "judicial nominations do not advance in the Senate in the latter part of a presidential election year without the support of Senate leaders and top lawmakers on the Judiciary committee."

Sunday, February 14, 2016


The Goddess of
Liberty has been
Hijacked so many times in
200 years.
Our nation has "evolved" somewhat over the 236 odd ball years . BUT do we have the most perfect government , as envisioned by our Founding Fathers ? Obviously we never did . (1)>>Our nation had to struggle with Slavery , and equal rights for women . I guess that our nation's makers feared that one day we will head into a oligarchic form of government. In the last decade we have entered a new phase of (1.1)>>anarchy in our system. We may have indeed have a two forms of"governments" that claim to represent or "values"  . Our two party system is made of  a party of (2)>>oligarchic's  & Plutarch's . If you bare in mind the Democratic Party and Republican PartyMany Americans think they live within a Liberal Democracy which favors the freedom of the citizens of the state. Every 2-4 years we have the freedom to elect new officials whose purpose it is to serve their constituents. These elected officials do not serve us they serve the corporations lining their pockets more than the people. I would like everyone to sit back and ponder this. Do you feel you live in such a nation? An oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a (3)>>small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, or military control. These states are often controlled bypolitically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy. In this country we do not have royalty, but we do have great wealth that controls most of this country. ( Examples : The Clinton's , Bush's and soon the Trump Dynasty )  I am sure the children of these wealthy people are groomed to take over when they pass. I wonder if the ruling rich can be considered royalty. More and more Americans today argue that corporations now control the US government. The US political system operates within a corporate cage. If you want to run for office, you have to take corporate cash – and so you have to serve corporate interests. Corporate control of government is also defined as fascism. As the Godfather of Fascism, Benito Mussolini once summed it up: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”The Electoral College, gerrymandering, photo IDs and other voter suppression tactics are just some of the practices that keep America from being a democracy. In Bush vs. Gore, the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush even though Gore received more than a half million more popular votes. When the person receiving the most votes isn't the winner of the election, then that country is not a democracy. There is a study called  “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” The researchers examined an exhaustive array of data and legislation covering the period of U.S. policy from 1981 to 2002. Their conclusion is that the economic elite, sometimes referred to as the ‘investment class,’ dominates and steers the direction of the broad expanse of government policy.  It’s authors encapsulate their findings in this statement:“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” says the peer-reviewed study.Some will balk at this report and reflexively read into it glimmers of ‘class envy’. But that would be dismissing the report’s conclusions too lightly. There are numerous every day examples to support the findings of the report. We are, of course, a democracy, but not in Plato’s (Athenian) sense of a state in which all major decisions are made by majority vote of all citizens.  Such pure democracy would be possible for us today, with people voting on everything via, say, cell phones.  But we rightly don’t trust ourselves this far —IF THE most famous philosopher of all were alive today, he might find America remarkably similar to his own Athens of the fifth century BC. Socrates would witness a vibrant and proud democracy, and disdain it as an indulgence of the benighted, unphilosophical “herd”. He would interrogate America's politicians, talk-radio and cable-television pundits in search of honest discussions that lead to truth, and thereby expose their confusion, contradictions and ignorance. He would avail himself of America's as of Athens's freedom of speech, and simultaneously be horrified by the speciousness of the speech that Americans choose to make. And he would challenge America just as he had provoked Athens, and possibly be prosecuted and condemned for it a second time.
Plato's Connection to our Americanism .
Plato in his ancient
writings warns against
a " democratic"
government , he was
right as I explain .
In Philadelphia some 2,000 years after Plato and Aristotle’s time, a group of men was trying to write a constitution. George Washington, James Madison, and the other framers of the Constitution were dedicated to constructing a just government. Americans had overthrown what they considered a tyrannous British government. The framers wanted to create a national government free of tyranny, governed by the rule of law.The new American nation was quite different from the ancient Greek city-states. Still, many of the framers at Philadelphia had studied and understood Plato’s and Aristotle’s political philosophies. And they were grappling with many of the same political questions.In Plato’s Republic, leaders commune with the gods and find meaning in nature’s movements that are invisible to the vast backwash of humanity. When the rulers speak, the ruled listen and obey without hesitation. All know their place in Plato’s society. The USA is ripe for such a system and those who rule know it. Americans believe what they are told to believe. For example, fully 80 percent of the Americans believed George Bush II when he stated that pre-invasion Iraq had scores of unmanned aerial vehicles armed with biological weapons ready to rain death on the continental USA, and that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks in New York City and Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2001. Thomas Jefferson’s quaint statement about the American public being "intelligent" was wildly off the mark. Of course, then again, he was not referring to the public but to his well-to-do peers.Plato had it right for he knew that the endgame of all governing and profit/war-making classes has always been to entertain each other on the domestic and foreign stage. He also knew that those who rule need the masses as they serve as both pawns and audience for the powerful. But like most elites, Plato feared anarchy and democracy as too untidy. The Greek Philosopher Plato also believed that aristocracies would devolve into timocracy (rule by property owners) when less superior people are admitted to the aristocratic class.  That would further lead to oligarchy (rule by a few) where the rich rule over the poor.  That would lead to democracy (rule by the many), which would inevitably reduce itself to tyranny (rule by one) when someone has to take power. Yet Plato seems to describe America today, much less the opposite of what can be conceived as a nation  .We know much about Plato's teachings, because he wrote dialogues between Socrates and others that would explore philosophical issues. These dialogues would be used in his school as starting points for discussion; these discussions and Plato's final word on the dialogues have all been lost to us. The Platonic dialogues consist of Socrates asking questions of another and proving, through these questions, that the other person has the wrong idea on the subject. Initially, Plato seems to have carried on the philosophy of Socrates, concentrating on the dialectical examination of basic ethical issues: what is friendship? what is virtue? can virtue be taught? In these early Platonic dialogues, Socrates questions another person and proves, through these questions, that the other person has the wrong idea on the subject. These dialogues never answer the questions they begin with.The most famous of Plato's dialogues is an immense dialogue called The Republic , and, next to his account of Socrates's trial, The Apology The Republic is one of the single most influential works in Western philosophy. Essentially, it deals with the central problem of how to live a good life; this inquiry is shaped into the parallel questions (a) what is justice in the State, or what would an ideal State be like, and (b) what is a just individual?Naturally these questions also encompass many others, such as how the citizens of a state should be educated, what kinds of arts should be encouraged, what form its government should take, who should do the governing and for what rewards, what is the nature of the soul, and finally what (if any) divine sanctions and afterlife should be thought to exist. The dialogue, then, covers just about every aspect of Plato's thought. There are several central aspects to the dialogue that sum up Platonic thought extremely well: a.) what the nature of justice is; b.) the nature of an ideal republic; and c.) the allegory of the cave and the divided line, both of which explain Plato's theory of forms. The democrats & republicans  make laws in support of  OUR democracy; the aristocrats  influence , make laws that support their government of the well-born; the propertied make laws that protect their status and keep their businesses going; and so on. This belief implies, firstly, that justice is not a universal moral value but a notion relative to expediency of the dominant status quo group; secondly, that justice is in the exclusive interest of the dominant group; thirdly, that justice is used as a means of oppression and thus is harmful to the powerless; fourthly, that there is neither any common good nor harmony of interests between those who are in a position of power and those who are not. All there is, is a domination by the powerful and privileged over the powerless. The moral language of justice is used merely instrumentally to conceal the interests of the dominant group and to make these interests appear universal. The powerful “declare what they have made - what is to their own advantage - to be just” It is generally believed today that democracy, “government of the people by the people and for the people,” is the best and only fully justifiable political system. The distinct features of democracy are freedom and equality. Democracy can be described as the rule of the free people who govern themselves, either directly or though their representatives, in their own interest. Why does Plato not consider democracy the best form of government? In the Republic he criticizes the direct and unchecked democracy of his time precisely because of its leading features (557a-564a). Firstly, although freedom is for Plato a true value, democracy involves the danger of excessive freedom, of doing as one likes, which leads to anarchy. Secondly, equality, related to the belief that everyone has the right and equal capacity to rule, brings to politics all kinds of power-seeking individuals, motivated by personal gain rather than public good. Democracy is thus highly corruptible. It opens gates to demagogues, potential dictators, and can thus lead to tyranny. Hence, although it may not be applicable to modern liberal democracies, Plato’s main charge against the democracy he knows from the ancient Greek political practice is that it is unstable, leading from anarchy to tyranny, and that it lacks leaders with proper skill and morals. Democracy depends on chance and must be mixed with competent leadership (501b). Without able and virtuous leaders, such as Solon or Pericles, who come and go by chance, it is not a good form of government. But even Pericles, who as Socrates says made people “wilder” rather than more virtuous, is considered not to be the best leader (Gorgias, 516c). If ruling a state is a craft, indeed statecraft, Plato argues, then politics needs expert rulers, and they cannot come to it merely by accident, but must be carefully selected and prepared in the course of extensive training. Making political decisions requires good judgment. Politics needs competence, at least in the form of today’s civil servants. Who then should the experts be and why? Why does Plato in the Republic decide to hand the steering wheel of the state to philosophers? The less obvious example of “accepted tyranny” one could argue is that, under present-day systems, states such as Great Britain suffer some degree of elective dictatorship – a lack of necessary scrutiny on the executive branch of government. Whilst in power with a large enough majority to make internal party revolt a non-issue, virtually unlimited power is granted to the Prime Minister and his government – essentially fitting the Platonic definition of tyranny – where insufficient checks and balances are in place to prevent centralisation of power and abuse of that power. Elections are held “at least” once every five years, but in a constantly changing world it is not hard to claim that this alone is a rather inadequate way for the public to express support or non-confidence in their government.

No King's to RULE in America.

For 200 years American  "Democracy"
has been dominated by
the all seeing EYE.
In Common Sense (January 1776) Thomas Paine reminded the American colonists that in a free republic “ the law is king” and that if a day were to be set aside to celebrate the republic’s achievements then it should not be focused on a single man but on the law itself. The definition of democracy is key in understanding Plato’s argument for rule by philosophers. Nowadays, most modern states are democratic, in the sense that people have a say in the running of the state. Since Plato’s time there has been a debate regarding what democracy is: whether it is the idea of majority rule, or what has come to be known as the ‘Madisonian view’ that democracy involves the protection of minorities. To Plato, it all boils down to what democracy means, literally. Democracy is ‘the rule by the demos’, where ‘demos’ can be understood as ‘the people’, and as “‘the mob’…the unfit” (Wolff; 2006, 67). As Wolff argues, “Making political decisions requires judgement and skill. It should, Plato urges, be left to the experts.” (Wolff; 2006, 67). To further emphasize this, Plato uses the ‘craft analogy’, drawing on the allegory of the ship. Plato and his contemporaries had a strong distrust of the common man, since people tend to act on emotion instead of reasonable rational thought. Centuries later The Age of Enlightenment brought an emphasis on rejecting the hierarchical structure of the past in favor of power coming from the governed, not the government. The idea of a democracy for the people and of the people was revisited through many writing during this period, often, and ironically, inspired by the ancient Greeks, even Plato's critiques of democracy. These critiques were acknowledged and confronted in Federalist Paper No. 49, in which James Madison writes that the Constitution will solve some of the problems Plato raises:
"As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory, to recur to the same original authority, not only whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of the government, but also whenever any one of the departments may commit encroachments on the chartered authorities of the others...If it be true that all governments rest on opinion, it is no less true that the strength of opinion in each individual, and its practical influence on his conduct, depend much on the number which he supposes to have entertained the same opinion. The reason of man, like man himself, is timid and cautious when left alone, and acquires firmness and confidence in proportion to the number with which it is associated. When the examples which fortify opinion are ANCIENT as well as NUMEROUS, they are known to have a double effect. In a nation of philosophers, this consideration ought to be disregarded. A reverence for the laws would be sufficiently inculcated by the voice of an enlightened reason. But a nation of philosophers is as little to be expected as the philosophical race of kings wished for by Plato. And in every other nation, the most rational government will not find it a superfluous advantage to have the prejudices of the community on its side."
 But if the philosopher rules for his own sake, why is he better than any other politician? Plato’s answer is that the pursuit of wisdom is itself a necessary component of ruling well; we need to know what it is we’re aiming at before we can try to reach it. True ruling is the art of enabling one’s subjects to be as excellent as possible, to live the best lives they can, given their various abilities. But what constitutes the best life? This question is rarely discussed by politicians, but it is the fundamental concern of philosophy. Only on the basis of philosophical reflections on the good life can a ruler design institutions to facilitate lives that are as stable and rewarding as possible. So non-philosophers—The super rich have control over the political process, ensuring that the government and its officials no longer act in the interests of the general will, but rather of the particular wills of wealthy persons. Those affluent individuals are most often guilty of ignoring their social responsibilities in favor of widening their own hegemony. The rich place themselves above the people, above the government, and above the law, asserting their dominance through coercion, intimidation, brainwashing, bribery, blackmail, and propaganda. Plutocrats hijack the nation’s education system, enabling themselves to sway public intellectual debate in their favor. Let us repeat what  Plato, in his still provocative “Republic,” proposed that there are five types of government: aristocracy (rule by the “best”, that is, by experts specially trained at governance), timarchy (rule by those guided by their courage and sense of honor), oligarchy (rule by a wealthy minority), democracy (rule by the people as a whole—a “mob” as Plato saw it), and tyranny (rule by a despot answerable to no one but himself).  Plato’s categorization is a good starting point for thinking about the nature of our government.  Although we don’t fit precisely any one of these type, each seems to express an element of our political system. In the United States in 200 years we have had all five.


(1)>>anarchy The USA has begun its flirtation with anarchy. But anarchy, like democracy, is anathema to the ruling classes and can’t be tolerated for any length of time. As a result, the ruling classes will create a crisis and will attempt to implement a society as described in Plato’s Republic—an alternative to representative government. The USA will transition from anarchy to a Platonic tyranny sometime during the second term (2004-2008) of George Bush II. (2)>>oligarchic's  & Plutarch's .The vast wealth that has accumulated at the top of the American economy is not itself the problem. The problem is that political power tends to rise to where the money is. And this combination of great wealth with political power leads to greater and greater accumulations and concentrations of both — tilting the playing field in favor of the Kochs & Trump's  and their ilk, and against the rest of us. Yet the ruling elite by far is of the wealthier citizens , who hold the power in Congress .America is not yet an oligarchy, but that’s where the Kochs and a few other billionaires are taking us. (3)>>small segment of society .On Nov. 16, 2011, USA Today revealed that 57 members of Congress, republicans and democrats alike, are amongst the wealthiest top 1% of Americans. According to the article, “Congress also has 250 millionaires, the data shows. The median net worth: $891,506, almost nine times the typical household.” And in whose interests have these government officials been acting over the last decade? The answer is overwhelmingly in favour of the 1%, who now take 40% of the national income per year — that’s 18% more than a decade ago!. (1)>>Our nation had to struggle with Slavery , and equal rights for women . Our "more perfect government" for 200 years lagged behind , debated . The question of slavery had provoked the consciousness of the Founding Fathers  , it was a moral issue . Yet if we think hard , America should have banned slavery down right from 1789 . We have to thank greed , and the wealthy stakeholders that prevented slavery from ending . It took a Civil War , bloodshed , yet even with emancipation , it took another 100 years till Dr. Martin Luther King to end the struggle . As I write this , for African- Americans the struggle is still on going . The Question of women's rights and the right to vote was as much linked to the question of slavery . Our Constitutional framers thought that "all men are created equal..." . In their mindset women basically had a inferior role . Rich White women were basically for the rich white man a "chattel" , their was another  question like with the notion that  black slaves had no souls ,  if women had souls ? In essence society of that time dehumanized other races  . Women did not make the list for Constitutional rights because of a mere religious view.  Yet the struggle for women to have equality as much now debated issue of same sex legality of the use of the word "marriage" has brought out the table . For the right to vote women won out their cause in American politics , still if we want to give equality a measure a more humbled America , people of all races , genders may have no reason to struggle , for the lawmakers who made laws in 200 years may have created so much unnecessary suffering .