Thursday, November 26, 2015

Saints, Strangers, and Savages

“In the name of God Amen.” So it began, the Mayflower Compact, the first contract to which the Saints and Strangers came together and agreed upon. The year was 1620 and the Mayflower had arrived in the new world. They could not have known it then, but those few settlers who survived the treacherous storms as they sailed across the mighty Atlantic in their frail little ship were founding the greatest and mightiest nation the world would ever see. Its sheer size would one day rival and indeed surpass the greatest empires of history, and much of its acquisitions, although certainly not all, would be peaceful.
At that first “Thanksgiving,” there were three types of people: The Saints, or the Pilgrims, as we know them, who had fled England and its religious oppression. There were the Strangers, the sailors, the adventurers and other, rough and tumble types of folks that had joined the party, some of them more upright and steady than others of their number.
And of course there were the “Savages.” Of course, they weren’t all savages, and quite a few of them were peaceful, but in their war paint, lack of clothing, and strange tongue, to the bewildered and storm tossed Englishmen they must have seemed savage indeed in their primitive and uncivilized way.
Already, four hundred years ago, the themes and patterns that would come to be seen as distinctly American were already forming. There was a belief in God, and a belief that one should be free to worship in his or her own way. That was the ultimate reason that the Mayflower came to the new world at all, and indeed it was to God that the thanks was being given in the first place. That belief in a Divine Being would later be laid down further in the founding document of the nation in the Declaration, and the freedom to believe in Him or not was cemented in the Constitution. It has never left us, expanding in later years to the pledge of allegiance and the very currency with which we trade.
The second thing that showed itself early as our first founding fathers took their baby steps away from mother England was that of a fierce independence. Indeed, the very Mayflower Compact was created because many of the Strangers wanted to run into the woods and do their own thing. These were hardy folk, they’d travelled three thousand miles through uncharted waters to an unmapped land just to be free. It speaks of a people who later go against the mightiest nation in the world in war, and win, because that nation had dared to step on their liberty.
There was also the “Savages” acceptance of immigrants. It wasn’t necessarily out of the goodness of their hearts, many historians tell us, as the Indians were simply hoping to gain a new ally in the tribal warfare of the day, yet still, the Pilgrims were refugees, and the Indians did let them come, whatever the reason.
And then there was unity. Three groups of people, who for the most part worshiped in three different ways and spoke different languages, from different places, with different goals and ideas, were able to come together without warring with one another, to talk over their differences. That peace would last for over fifty years, until a true savage, “King Phillip,” an Indian chief, would break it.
Today, we are many millions of people, with scores of languages, scores of religious affiliations, and ideas as to how we should govern ourselves too many too count. And yet, as the other motto on our currency states, we are “out of many one.” We have come here not to be Englishmen or Saints or Strangers or Savages, we have come to be Americans. There are plenty of things to divide us, but we shouldn’t bother being such small people as to focus on those. We have one language, one flag, one currency and one people. The Pilgrims came here looking for unity amongst themselves and peace with the outside world. It’s a goal worth fighting for, and one we can be thankful they gave to us.

Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, November 20, 2015

Paris Attacks: One Hundred Dead, Ten Thousand Homeless

Appomattox, VA – It has often been stated that when a horrific event happens, 9/11, the death of John F. Kennedy, Pearl Harbor, you remember the very place you were. For me, on Friday the Thirteenth of November, I was about to watch Batman Begins again when I checked the news for one last time…and I never did end up watching the film that night.
The Paris Attacks, like a shock wave, have vibrated round the world. The responses from the Western World were quick, as all of us hastened to change our Facebook images to French flags and everywhere from DC to Chicago to London-the ancient enemy of France, hastened to light up its monuments in the red, white, and blue of the French tricolor.
In the world of the barbarians, sometimes called radical Islamic Terrorism, the response was one of jubilation almost bordering on euphoria because they had done something only an animal (and I apologize to rats for equating them with terrorists) would find any pleasure in.
But the question is, how should our continuing response be measured? Anonymous, the online hacking group has initiated cyber war on ISIS, shutting down twitter accounts and hacking their bank accounts, and Britain’s next Prime Minister, George Osborne, has promised to do the same. France has taken the wise step of closing its borders, and of course all the other European Countries should do the same.  For too long insufficient border controls and a fear of being seen as racist stopped many from speaking out about the unspeakable crime of open borders. But hopefully these horrific acts in Paris will stop this trend and open the eyes of the world that the next time terrorists come through open borders, either through Mexico or Luxemburg, and the target could be Chicago or Brussels.
In America, anyone who may have been oscillating in the old fashioned isolationist or leftist positions of not continuing the war on terror have now been silenced for a few more years at least, Politico underscoring this with its headline article “On Terrorism, we are all Right Wingers now.”
But of course, here in America the most important question is not only how we will close our southern border to keep members of ISIS, who have already threatened to attack DC and New York out, but also what will we do with the 10,000 refugees that our president has promised to bring in, in the first wave of a mass migration a quarter of a million strong. The vast majority would be Syrians, many of them young men, coming from a nation torn by civil war and rife with terrorists and extremist Muslim propaganda.
Some have said let none of them in, some have said let them all in. Some have said let a few in, as long as they are Christian. The last one is of course not an option. Not only would it be a knee jerk reaction to this crisis, and a poor reaction at that, in a practical sense it would be an impossible proposition. Who decides who is Christian? How do we know if they are lying? It’s all nonsense.
For the moment, this wave of ten thousand refugees are perhaps the ones the most affected by ISIS’s acts of terror outside of the immediate friends and family of those who were murdered of wounded, which is ironic, because supposedly Muslims and non-westerners are supposed to be the very ones they are supposed to be fighting to protect.
Over thirty governors have so far said they want no part of the refugees, while everyone from Mitt Romney to Ted Cruz, and even a few Democrats have said that the refugees must not be allowed in.
Whichever side one takes in this debate, it cannot be denied that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. These people should not be left in limbo. A yes or no answer needs to be returned very soon. Our leaders must think through this very carefully. If the answer is yes then stringent background checks must be put in place that are more searching than the test to become Caesar’s wife. If the answer is no, we must stand by that answer, and explain to the world that we would love to take in innocent refugees, but since there could very well be wolves amongst the sheep, we can’t take anyone. And if we do return that answer, we need to stand by it, all angry charity groups or the UN itself to the contrary.
And one last thing, the president needs to stop talking. So far his pronouncements on this subject have not been helpful or constructive. He is saying the first thing that comes to his mind, and most of it isn’t any good. His calling anyone who doesn’t want the refugees here “hysterical” is ridiculous, a hundred people just got killed, and one of the murderers was reportedly a refugee. And his mocking of those who don’t want them here as “afraid of little girls” is shameful. It wasn’t a little girl that blew herself up in Paris.
Pray for Paris, and for our president, that he would start using wisdom before he opens his mouth; honestly, what happened to all that bipartisan discretion he exercised in 2008 when he first ran for the presidency? At this rate he will be labeled the Democratic Donald Trump.
But all of that aside, the terrorist attacks have now left 10,000 people in limbo, and we need to come up with an answer. But whatever that answer is, it must not put our compassion ahead of our security.

Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

When Emperors Walk Naked

In the humorous and timeless story of Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes, the famously nude emperor parades himself throughout the town in a nonexistent suit, thinking, like all those about him that he had nothing at all on, but not saying anything for fear of being labeled "hopelessly stupid." But the brave and proverbial little boy shouts out "the emperor is naked!" All the town's people take up the cry, the two tailors are run out of town and the poor emperor goes and finds himself some pants to put on.

But herein lies the difference in this children's tale from reality. For in true tales, if a man or woman speaks up, exposes the lies, tells the truth, and shouts "the emperor is naked" the crowd will not take up the cry. They will gasp, turn, and then begin stoning the one that would dare, in his ignorant, unpopular, narrow-minded and unenlightened mind, think that he could say the emperor was naked, when goodness knows-everyone can see he's wearing very fine robes. The little boy would not have been a hero, he would have been the bigoted villain. In the real world those who tell the truth are rarely deified, they are more often crucified.

There are many ideas that must be challenged, many lies that need exposing, but as you do that, don't forget that those who discover the man behind the curtain are sometimes killed. If you take the glasses of the useful idiots mindlessly wandering around the city of OZ thinking it is made of emeralds, they probably won't thank you for it. More likely they'll despise the one who took away the illusion of great beauty, even though the only thing there was a lot of peeling green paint.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, November 16, 2015

How About them Dems?

Atlanta, GA – On Saturday, Bernie Sanders, the Jr. Senator from Vermont left his hotel, owned by a capitalist. Got in his car built by a capitalist, and checked the news on his phone invented by a capitalist. When he got to his destination, a debate on a television station started by a capitalist, Sanders looked into a camera run by a capitalist, and screamed that capitalism is destroying America.
Such was the Democratic Debate in Iowa on CBSN.
Sanders, a man who has never started a business in his life or even held a job for a prolonged period of time, spent most of the debate bashing those who do create jobs and decrying the evils of being rich. (Sanders is himself rich.) The senator once again said that the way to fix the country is to tax millionaires more than they are already being taxed, even though CNN recently reported on a study which shows that taxing the millionaires and billionaires, even a lot more, would make little difference to the vast US budget.
There was Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland who is polling around 2% or less. His main job on stage is to stick around so that if Hillary gets indicted, the Democratic Party Elite will have another choice besides Bernie Sanders. He had a very good debate, all things considered. Although his style proves why he is not polling better, O’Malley was better than last time. His oddest moment of the night came when he claimed Donald Trump is an “immigrant bashing carnival barker.” He must have forgotten Trump is married to an immigrant and has thousands of them working for him in jobs he has created. O’Malley has created no jobs in his life.
As for Hillary Clinton, she had a night which was ok for her. She's already on the road to victory, and unless she suddenly breaks down and has a blowout moment where she admits everything the GOP has said about her is true, Clinton will sail to the nomination barring anyone else joining the race. Her foreign policy statements were well thought out, as was to be expected, and she managed not to run too far after Sanders to the left of the party, which, if she were to do, would cause her problems in the general election.
CBSN hosted a fine debate; John Dickerson handled the candidates very well, even without a buzzer. I may just be biased because I am a regular viewer of his Sunday show Face the Nation, but I thought with his focus on the issues and well thought out follow up questions, along with his “governor, your breaking the rules,” Dickerson set a high bar for future moderators of Democratic Debates this cycle.

Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Witch from Arkansas


Atlanta, GA – During the ongoing investigations of Hillary Clinton, being done by everyone from congress to the FBI, and about everything in her past from emails to her actions during Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton has taken to calling the investigations a “witch hunt.” She says it derogatorily, like those involved should blush and be ashamed of themselves. But she’s actually right, these investigations are witch hunts.
And she’s the witch.
In the midst of all the scandals surrounding Mrs. Clinton, it still seems at this point that she is unlikely to de indicted or prosecuted on any charge, and of course, one is innocent until proven guilty, even if one is a Clinton. However, there is a high court which no mortal can overrule; that of public opinion.
All the lack of evidence in the world cannot destroy the fact that to those on the outside looking in, Mrs. Clinton’s entire operation looks tainted. Her hidden connections with Blumenthal, her apparent disregard for rules in the handling of classified information, her equivocating and misleading statements to the public about her emails, her receipt of money from foreign governments, many of whom were and remain massive human rights violators. All of this looks to ordinary idiots like it just might be a bit shady.
But while Mrs. Clinton may have some technical jargon to help her get out of every predicament she has ever placed herself in, her final argument at the end generally becomes “well I was never convicted!” That’s true, but Al Capone was also never convicted of the Valentine’s Day Massacre, and anyone on the street would say “I saw the movie, he did it.”
The truth is that Mrs. Clinton has been a public figure who has a hard time staying away from the appearance of wrong doing, someone who looked to be playing with cards under the table, so to speak, for more than two decades.
Stretching back to Watergate, there has been a history of such things, such as when records that were important to the case went missing, and then suddenly turned up, in one of Mrs. Clinton’s aide’s offices. Mrs. Clinton claimed that the room was cluttered, (which was true) and the papers simply had been missed. (Some, including a Secret Service Agent claimed they were stolen from Foster’s office on the night of his suicide.)
Maybe what Mrs. Clinton said was true, but there was also the apparent hush money some friends of the Clintons, the billionaire Indonesian Riady family, played to another player in the 1990s, Clinton scandals. The Clintons claimed their relationship with the Riadys was purely social, even though there is a four-page, single-spaced letter from the patriarch of that family, Mochtar Riady, to President Bill Clinton, urging upon him certain actions on foreign policy. Maybe the fact that the Riadys may have paid hush money to someone who could have damaged the Clintons, and was then urging the president to normalize relations with Vietnam was coincidence, but it sounds much more like graft, nepotism, and corruption than innocence.
After each allegation is made, Mrs. Clinton generally comes up with a quite innocent sounding response, and maybe she is telling the truth each time. But when it happens again and again, it becomes harder and harder for the average person to believe her.
Hundreds of years ago, if little children got sick, if the crops were bad, or if lightning struck the church and burned it to the ground, the locals assumed that there was, somewhere in the dark woods, cackling over a pot full of bat ears and snake heads, a witch who was petting a black cat and holding an oversized broom. Maybe they were right. I doubt it, but you never know.
The important thing was that the woman was seen muttering strange things on the night of the storm. She was probably just senile, but it looked bad. And that was all the public needed. Did all of them really believe she was a witch? Of course not. Maybe some just didn’t like her. But she was projecting an image, and as everyone knows, perception is more important than reality.
These days, when documents that could do damage to someone go missing, and then suddenly appear right in their very house, when hush money appears to be paid, when an entire email server is wiped, when an American ambassador dies and no one, including the Secretary of State, helps him, and when money is received from foreign governments by the very person who is supposed to deal with those foreign governments in the interest of the United States, we might be led to assume that somewhere at the back of all this is someone who, if not quite a criminal, does not go to sleep at night with a conscience as clean as Mother Teresa’s.
Mrs. Clinton didn’t kill Vince Foster; she doesn’t ride a broom, although if you listen enough to Republican talk radio you might start to think she does. There was probably nothing she could have done to save the Americans at Benghazi, but she sure could have handled the situation better. And the fact that she keeps getting caught muttering things on the night of the storm looks bad.
She’s no witch, but she’s no genius at handling the public perceptions and the media, either. If anything she is so bad at it that it might show she is more inept than corrupt. But in the end, a politician lives or dies in the court of public opinion, and that court can still sentence people public burning at the stake. Mrs. Clinton will never face jail time for any of the things she has done. But even if she is, as she probably will be, exonerated on every charge in every scandal, it probably won’t be enough. Children will still hurry past her door for fear of being turned into toads and donors and voters will turn to other, less frightening options, if they can find them, or they might just do nothing at all this cycle.
And that will be the story of the witch from Arkansas; a woman who might well have been innocent, but just didn’t know how to make it look that way.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Ambulance Down in the Valley

Some would fix the world after its broken, rather than save it from collapse.

'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

"For the cliff is all right, if you're careful," they said,
"And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they're stopping."
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief," cried he,
"Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."

"Oh he's a fanatic," the others rejoined,
"Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?"

But the sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.

-- Joseph Malins (1895)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All About Business: The FOX Business Debate

Atlanta, GA - In the commercials before the debate on the FOX Business Network, FBN boasted “CNBC never asked the real questions, never covered the real issues. That's why on Nov. 10, the real debate about our economy and our future is only on Fox Business Network.”

They delivered. Except for one question to Carson about the controversies over his past, a question that was quite necessary, the journalists managed to make the entire debate the most substantive so far.
The venue was probably the most beautiful we’ve seen so far, although the crowd seemed divided, on the one hand-cheering Trump when he promised to uphold the laws passed by congress and signed by presidents that any and all illegal immigrants, wherever they are from, be shipped back, and that our border be secured. However, at the same time the crowd also cheered when Bush said that Trump was being ridiculous.
The biggest winners of the night were once again Cruz and Rubio, but this time Rubio pulled ahead of Cruz to be a clear winner, while the senator from Texas was left holding a lessor place. Rubio seemed completely at ease and prepared, and quite knowledgeable about every subject he was asked. It truly seems that Rubio must have a really fantastic team helping him with debate preparation, and one of the necessities for being president is the ability to pick a good team. A-plus, Marco.
Rubio also got in one of the best lines of the night in defense of the a workable, livable wage, a good deal below 15 dollars an hour, reminding everyone that such a high minimum wage would make humans more expensive than machines.
As for Cruz, he did well, his line about the bible and the tax code didn’t make me laugh, but I will remember it, so that’s something, I guess. His discourse on immigration was also quite powerful, especially when he talked about how if the illegal immigrants were journalists and were lowering the income of that profession, the media would care. And he wouldn't bail out the banks, so that's  another good thing.
Cruz continues to do something quite remarkable, that, rise in the polls despite his far right stances and his lack of Trump-like stupidity. We’ll keep watching this guy.
Speaking of Trump…really pal? Everybody was interrupting everybody, that’s why it’s called a debate, and he had to go after the woman. If Trump could have gone after anyone it would have been Kasich, who was by far the worst offender. Trump looked bored on the stage, although to be fair he has said he doesn’t really care about the debates that much. He continues to lead in the polls, nonetheless.
Trump lacked much substance on anything other than immigration, continuing to talk about how “America doesn’t win anymore.” He and Michael Cohen need to have a sit down to come up with some new sound bites. At this rate, Trump will get so old by Iowa that Carson will start to sound exciting.
Carson had his moments, but good and bad. His performance on the whole was mixed, although his response on ISIS sounded confused and unclear. He once again reminded us he has no foreign policy experience and apparently little knowledge of the field. At a time when we are facing such difficulties in foreign relations, and it is clear there can be no on the job training, it is doubtful that Carson’s foreign policy credentials will truly resonate with most voters.

Mrs. Fiorina did a very good job last night, as opposed to her lackluster performance last time around. She was focused and feisty, at times almost sounding like the Iron Lady. Her foreign policy ideas were well worded and thought out. I liked it. If she doesn’t win this thing, (and that looks like a good possibility) she would make an excellent secretary of state.
Jeb Bush’s campaign is like a man who has fallen and bleeding. Last night Bush stopped the bleeding, but the man still has not picked himself up off the ground. It was an okay performance for a man who has showed us he is not a good debater. For those who agreed with him, (and that is not that many GOP primary voters) his answers on immigration were good, but later Bush often came across as some sort of nerd who was in the back of the class crashing the party.
Rand Paul did not win the debate last night, but he finally, finally, came out of his shell. Maybe he fired his last debate prep team and hired a new one, but whatever he did, Paul at last came out swinging. No punches pulled, just him in his comfort zone, real, hard, policy debating. He went after Rubio, calling him “not a conservative” and bashing everyone on the stage for not living in the modern world and becoming a fiscal hardliner. It was his best debate by far and away, and this comes at a time when he is experiencing a small surge in the polls. Who knows, maybe he’ll make it to January.
And now for the big loser of the night. John Kasich. Um…why was there a child throwing a temper tantrum up there? Kasich is supposed to be a governor, not a six year old who didn’t get the cereal she wanted. Kasich kept interrupting, kept getting off topic and being confusing, and in the end got a well-deserved chorus of boos for saying he would bail out the banks again. I certainly hope by the time next debate rolls around Christi, (who by the way won the undercard debate, although Jindal did well) has returned to the big stage and Kasich has left it forever.
The only disappointment for me last night was that Trump turned his sexism on and went after Mrs. Fiorina. I was really hoping he would go after Kasich and expose him for the whining thumb sucker he is. Oh well, maybe next time.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, November 9, 2015

FOX Business Debate: Its Coming

Atlanta, GA – FOX Business, the network people only watch if they are a nerd, a billionaire, or lost in the underworld that is cable television. But tomorrow night the eyes of all political junkies, reporters, pundits and pollsters will be on it, as well as those of a few normal human beings just trying to figure out which of the crowded field of Republicans they actually want to support.
There will only be eight candidates in the fourth GOP Debate as we are now less than ninety days from the time of the first Republican Caucus in Iowa. Despite some polls showing Ben Carson in the lead, Donald Trump remains ahead by 0.8 % in the RealClearPolitics Average. He will remain at the center podium. So far his debate skills have not been killing anyone, but he also hasn’t destroyed himself. Once again expect some choice, newly rolled out Trump sound bites, somebody will be a “loser,” an “idiot” and “very low energy.”
Ben Carson, struggling to do damage control as questions are being raised about his past, needs to have a breakout performance to prove he deserves the spot he has in the polls and also to allay fears that he can’t do the job of a real candidate. But that is hardly to be expected. While Dr. Carson has had a few great lines in the past, he has been weak and almost pathetic looking on the stage in the past.
Marco Rubio, who along with Ted Cruz won the debate the last time, is busy answering questions about his money issues, which Trump has been attacking him on. He can be expected to answer those tomorrow, as well as continue to try and gain traction from his great performances on the stage. So far, even though he was once considered a TEA Party darling, he has been viewed with distrust as a tainted “establishment candidate” by many on the far right. And it is well known that the Far Right is desperately needed if someone wants to win the GOP Nomination.
Ted Cruz, while lingering below the others in the polls, is currently in a very unique place. With Trump being an obvious non-starter to anyone who has serious intentions about the presidency, and Carson being not much more than a kindly grandfather in the eyes of many, and with Rubio’s money issues, Cruz is positioning himself as the man to whom the party mantel could fall.
It is still far too early to tell, but Cruz is known not only as a great speaker and intelligent politician, but Cruz is the man who won the bloody backroom battle for support among the Texas hard right, and is now laying a ground campaign across the South. He has laid off of Trump so far, and when that balloon eventually bursts, all his followers might easily run helter-skelter into Cruz’s arms. That is still a ways off, but it’s never too early to start reading the tea leaves.
Jeb Bush remains a candidate who is damaged goods. Not saying he can’t win, we all recall how John McCain was pronounced dead and then rose to walk again. So the others need to keep bashing on the son of our former president if they want him to stay in the coffin, but unless lightning strikes, I don’t foresee any Lazarus moments for Mr. Bush.
As for Carly Fiorina, she is not doing so well these days, hovering around only 3% support. While her stellar debating in the past has moved her from the undercard debates to the main stage, where she still remains, she has failed to offer anything that has been appealing enough to lift her out of the crowd.
And then there is Rand Paul. A man who at one time looked to be a truly serious contender, the real surprise is that he has not yet been relegated to the undercard debate. And yet, for all that, even though he is in seventh place, Rand Paul is currently doing better than he has been. In fact, in a recent poll he was within the margin of error to tie for third in Iowa. While many have already buried the doctor turned senator, Rand Paul seems to be screaming out from beyond the grave. It’s still too early to tell, however, if he will be able to split the earth and rise again.
And then there’s John Kasich…that’s pretty much all there is to be said at this moment. He has little or no chance, at this point, of becoming president. One can only hope he withdraws before he wastes too much money.
We don’t know what will happen when the lights go on tomorrow night, who will shine, who will flop, who will forget their own name in their nervousness of being on stage in front of millions. But we do know it will be fun. And what’s the use of politics, if it can’t at least be that?

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, November 5, 2015

That election you forgot about

Matt Bevin

Backwoods of Tennessee, – It was that election you probably didn’t even know was happening, or if you did, you were more concerned about college football than whether a straight talking rich, conservative guy who some say can’t regulate his mouth was doing well in the polls. His name wasn’t Donald Trump, it was Matt Bevin.
It is the year of the outsider, we already know that. From Donald Trump’s wild words to Ben Carson’s softer, although no less controversial comments. And Bernie Sander’s pronouncements that women want to be raped and the government should own the media, those who open their mouth and say what they believe, and those who are outside the system, are doing well in the opinion polls. But in Kentucky, in an election where the seat was up for grabs, Matt Bevin, a straight talking outsider who won the Republican Party Nomination by less than fifty votes rode in to win the governorship, proving that in Kentucky at least, people aren’t just willing to shout that they like Donald Trump, but when the rubber meets the road, they are actually willing to go out and vote for outsiders.
Bevin took the governorship from the Democrats, becoming Kentucky’s second Republican governor in four decades. Elsewhere, Republicans were victorious across the country, the governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi easily won reelection for the GOP. In Houston, the city rejected a balloted ordinance that would have established “nondiscrimination protections” for gay and transgender people in the city, and Ohio voters rejected an initiative that sought to legalize the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.
Some might say that of course the Republicans won across the country; there is no big election going on right now, no national referendum, and conservatives care more about local stuff than liberals do. And while that may be true, this was a referendum of sorts, when it comes to ideas, as Americans, (not just Republicans) once again consistently rejected non-capitalistic non-progressively conservative ideas, and decided instead to continue to long march to the right that is necessary if our country is to continue on its course of being the greatest nation our world has ever seen.
With the Democrats continuing to be a fractious group with no leader other than Hillary Clinton, who is under five government investigations, the nation seems to be growing tired of the last seven years under Barack Obama and the dysfunctional Democrats. With 364 days remaining before we choose the next president of the United States, there are still many mile markers to go before we reach that election. But this mile marker anyway, bodes well for the Republicans.

Andrew C. Abbott