Seating their position

The PPP has been using certain phrases and prognostications to set the tone and interpretation of the November 4 elections. Here are a couple of examples of efforts by the PPP to seat public perception of what actually happens because of the election results.

“We should remember that in the past, two term presidents have experienced low approval numbers in the mid-term elections of their second term so this election is not a referendum on Obama’s performance and the mid-term results will not be a reflection on Obama’s legacy as President of the United States.” If the PPP seats this idea and the democrats lose the race for control of the senate theoretically it will not hurt the Obama image nor position him as a lam duck president for his remaining two years in office. Of course if the republicans sweep the senate races nothing will lessen the impact on Obama’s legacy.

“The performance by the administration in running the economy has been better than they are given credit for. Unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and inflation is under control, the eco system is greatly improved, aggressive education programs are in place and gas and oil harvesting is at all time high.” If the senate race is more even or possibly the democrats retain the control the PPP will point to the “performance” statement as proof that the party’s contention that things are being perceived as better than the conservative press have pictured the economy is correct. In any case this statement will be used by the PPP for seating the party’s position in the 2016 presidential race no matter which person the party selects to be its candidate.

“The senate and in some cases governor races are very close, too close to call.” This is an attempt to make the point that there is no republican wave or sweep of the elections. PPP wants to send the message that the nation is still very much split ideologically and that the large number of polls that indicate we are not on a positive track are not truly representative of the public’s feelings.

“The democrats expertise in getting out the vote will be put to the test this time and it is clear that the republicans are attempting to copy the democrat party’s methodology.” This is an effort by the PPP to give hope to the loyal party members and at the same time send the signal to work with the special interests groups to intensify their get out the vote efforts. The party is concerned that the Black vote is apathetic when Obama is not on the ballot and the Hispanic vote is suspect because the president didn’t deliver on the implied immigration promises. If the republicans have a successful mid-term election the democrats will be able to point to the “ground game” as having failed the party. The point is the losses will not be the result of a poor performance by the administration for five and a half years, the deeply unpopular Obamacare, nor will the IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, ISIS strategy, Ebola scandals be identified as the cause for the loses in the 2014 mid-term elections.

The PPP believes that if they are successful in repeating these simple concepts; Obama’s poll results are “traditional” for two term presidents in their second mid-term elections, races are too close to call so there is a ideological split that belays a sweep by republicans and finally the ground game failure will serve as an excuse for a loss without a reflection on Obama’s performance or acceptance by the voting public. And the PPP is of course the mainstream press, the liberal pundits and liberal politicians.

Did you ever read “Kinesen” by Swedish author Henning Mankell?

Kinesen is Swedish for Chinaman. The book in translation to English is “The Man from Beijing.” I’m not trying to tout this mystery novel from seven years ago but rather part of the premise of the story that is described in one review as “China’s recent chicanery in Africa, where the energy-hungry nation is exploiting a trove of natural resources.”

My point is that seven years ago when this novel was written the author, an experienced world traveler recognized China’s financial invasion of Africa with the objective of garnering large plots of land for growing food, crucial to the survival of an ever-growing population. The difference today is reports indicate while China is still quietly acquiring land in Africa they are moving their own citizens to that land to tend and grow food supplies.

My point in this message is that with 1,367,420,000 people and growing [only rivaled in growth by India] land is extremely important to China and that means locations such as Africa is more important to the entire world that ever before. The same can be said for South America where China is leading the way in stripping mineral resources and that is our next-door neighbor in the purest sense. What are we doing to protect the future interest of our citizens? What I see is that we are doing very little to protect our country’s interest in Africa and particularly in South America.

The porridge was just right

Goldilocks tried the three bowls of porridge, one was too hot, another too cold and the third was just right. It might be a good analogy for the battle between the left and right in today’s discussion of big government verses small government.

The turmoil in the press and around the water cooler about the Ebola issue and the ISIS threat and the government’s role in dealing with these two issues is fraught with emotion.

On the left pundits are saying that conservatives are two-faced because they say they are for small federal government yet they are expecting Herculean efforts by the feds to stop the Ebola threat and strong military action in the federal governments commitment to “stop and eventually destroy” the Islamic terrorist group ISIS.

The conservatives cry foul saying that the liberal elites are saying the federal government can’t possibly do what they need to do with ISIS and Ebola and the many other national issues on the administrations plate without more money. The conservative’s contention is that all federal projects cost more money and require even greater invasion of the public’s civil rights.

The truth is that both sides have somewhat valid arguments. Of course the conservatives are in favor of a small federal government and less invasion of the public’s private information. On the other hand the public and the conservative elements of our political system correctly expect the federal government to handle issues of a national nature that could affect huge segments of the population.

Liberals are also affected by the fact that our national administration has been less than forth coming with the truth on issues that have been recently published. For example when a member of the White House advance team visiting Columbia prior to a speech by our President was accused of hiring a prostitute. The White House apparently pulled out all the stops to prevent the press from covering the prostitution story because the 2012 election were about to occur and they didn’t want scandal in the papers at that moment in time.

On another front the CDC said in every interview and in press releases that Ebola was not a threat to the U.S. Public and protocols were in place to prevent the spread of the disease that is until today when we now know that this fine government agency didn’t have the correct protocols in place.

There are of course other recent examples of the administration’s failure to level with citizens of this country and that may explain Obama’s recent poll showing the public’s faith in his foreign policy at 32%. However I don’t believe the blame game is appropriate here.

What we need is clear understanding of what both liberals and conservatives want and need if our federal government is to function, something I think both sides would agree isn’t happening now.

In its’ simplest terms the public wants the federal government to keep it safe from ISIS and similar terrorist groups and prevent plagues like Ebola to sweep through the country. They also want the government to stay out of their e-mails, phone messages and medical files. Now the trick is to follow the law and at the same time ferret out the Islamic terrorist, track the communicable diseases and most of all have the administration level with us when it doesn’t prevent the feds from doing their job. Should be a snap. Then the political porridge, just like in the fable would be just right.

So I voted today

With the 2014 congressional election just three weeks away I can say in all honesty that I have no idea who is going to win control of the U.S. Senate. Suffice to say the democrats have an excellent ground game in many states, the administration has poor performance on some key governmental issues but all that adds up to little.

It is almost certain that whether the democrats retain control of the senate or not the government will for all practical purposes be paralyzed, at least for the next two years.

Maybe I’m getting old but I’m hoping that some leadership from both parties will seek what is best for the country as opposed to what is best for their respective parties. Of course I might just be a cockeyed optimist. One thing I do know is that short of riots in the street the only practical way for us to express our points of view is voting and so I urge supporters of all political beliefs to vote and if you’re in Illinois vote often.

Domestic violence

There has been a great deal of press coverage about NFL players involved in domestic violence. This is a complex problem that has been kicked about by professors, physiologist, politicians, preachers and “everyman” without any rational conclusions. I certainly don’t have the answers but I have a real life story that shows how complex dealing with this societal problem can be.

Friends of mine, a young couple, both in their late 20’s, university grads, married to each other and the parents of five children went out to dinner one night. Their youngest child was less than a year old and this was their first “get away” from the house and kids. They had invited the wife’s mother to baby sit and expected to enjoy a nice evening out. During dinner they had a couple of cocktails and a bottle of wine. On the way home they got into an argument and as it accelerated the wife demanded that the husband pull over and let her out of the car. The husband said that was a stupid request since they were only two blocks away from home. That made the wife even angrier and she insisted so he did stop and she got out of the car and he drove the two blocks home. When he walked into the house his mother law asked him where her daughter was and he explained they had an argument. By the way neither he nor his wife remembered a few day later what the argument was about.

When the wife walked in she was very angry and told her mother her husband was a no good bum and more. She said she was going to call the police because her husband was a brute and she didn’t want to be with him any more. The husband was holding the baby and when the wife grabbed the phone to call the police he grabbed her arm, she screamed he was hurting her and he immediately released her. She grabbed the phone again and called the police.

The police arrived and arrested the husband. In the state of Michigan when a charge has been made of domestic violence the accused must go to jail then and there. Of course in this case as many in the state of Michigan the wife “changed her mind” but the police said that under state law they had no option but to arrest her husband and prosecute him. The next day the wife called the police station and said she would not testify against her husband. Logically and in the cold light of day if her husband went to jail she would be responsible for raising five children without benefit of income for some period of time. It should be noted that the husband worked for a company that depended on his reputation for integrity and good character and he could have been fired for these charges.

When they went to court a few days later “a relative” allegedly familiar with the legal system suggested they plea no contest and throw themselves on the mercy of the court. The court explained that no contest was the same as guilty and sentenced the husband to six months in jail or be on parole for six months with limited driving to daylight hours and no alcohol for one year and take three “educational” courses paid for by the defendant. One course was a series of eight meetings on alcohol abuse, another on driver education, and a third, 6 classes on spousal abuse. The policy of the state [at least at that time] was to force the convicted person to pay for these courses provided by the state through independent outside services. This was a substantial cost to the convicted felon.

The one that was most interesting was the spousal abuse class. The husband attended his first class and was surprised to see the class packed. In addition to the men there were a few women in the class. A husband and wife team ran the classthat emphasized the convicted citizens must work hard to repair their respective spouses/significant relationship and understand that if that spouse or significant other calls the police they, the convicted mates will go back to jail and serve their entire sentence. The husband in this story is as I indicated a well-educated individual, as was his wife. When he heard the message from the husband/wife team conducting the class he asked this question; if my wife decides that I’m too late getting home from the office and calls the police, the police will arrest me no matter what the circumstances? After him and hawing around they admitted this was a fact, the spouse could call anytime and the convicted spouse would be put in jail. This created a small riot in the class and the participants began to realize they were at the mercy of their spouses and all the implications of that fact. The instructors in the class tried unsuccessfully to calm the class but to no avail. Finally they called the husband out into the hall and told him that if he disrupted the class one more time they would talk to the judge and he would be in jail for the remainder of his sentence.

As you might expect the lesson the husband took away from the class was that he was at the mercy of his wife. Meanwhile the wife received a letter from the state outlining the conditions of the parole for her husband and in particular it indicated the power she had if he became violent, in her opinion.

The tension between husband and wife was palpable and when the conditions of the parole were met they both agreed to get divorced. Here were two well-educated people torn apart by a momentary event and ligament government efforts to put rules in place that will stop domestic violence. What they got was a marriage torn apart, five children becoming “a prize” in court and absolutely no resolution of the issue of domestic violence. As I said at the beginning of this case history I don’t have the answer, do you?

Above my pay grade

One of the least published government actions and possibly one of the most important is the consideration by the FCC of a request by Comcast [sometimes called Kabletown] to acquire Time Warner Cable. We are talking about billions of dollars and more importantly the acquisition of TWC could spell the virtual monopoly of telecasting, Internet access and news/ program content. Note that Comcast owns NBC Universal including local TV stations and national cable services MSNBC and CNBC has not covered this major merger as a news issue supposedly because their parent Comcast does not want this acquisition to become a major news story with the attendant public debate.

The issues are complex and as I say about my pay grade level but I believe “The Economist” covers the issue well in their October 4th-10th 2014 issue. Read the story and draw your own conclusions but do learn about this proposed acquisition and realize it can have a direct affect on you and your family and friends.