The Different Drummer

By Carl J. Petersen

Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.

(D) and (R)

Everybody on the Republican stage is better than Hillary Clinton.”

-Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush stated at a town hall that he does not “want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in their lives.” He then went on to say that the electorate should “elect Trump if you want that.” In the second Republican debate he told Trump that “you can’t just talk about this stuff and insult leaders around the world and expect a good result.” After saying that “if you have intellectual curiosity as a leader, you can grow into the” presidency, he pointed out Trump’s limitations with the qualification of “I’m not sure Mr. Trump has much intellectual curiosity.” Can Bush stand by these criticisms about Trump and still say that his current opponent is more qualified than Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State? In Bush’s mind does adding a (R) after your name give you special super powers that automatically makes you a superior candidate? Most importantly, has a pledge to the RNC to “endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is,” become more important than serving the best interests of the American people?

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The Buck Stops Where?

As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: he kept us safe.

-Jeb Bush

How is it that the party that credits Reagan for getting the hostages in Iran released because it occurred “on the same day and at the same hour” that he was sworn in can also blame Clinton for 9/11 because they allege that he was guilty of “backing off, letting the Taliban go, over and over again.”   While Ben Carson may think that “it’s ridiculous to suggest [Bush] was responsible for” the allowing the events of that day to have occurred, the fact is that W had been in office for almost eight months. This passage of time negates Condoleezza Rice’s excuses that they “were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaida” and “what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton Administration did in the preceding years.” As the threat against the country built during the month of August 2001, the Bush Administration was not scrambling to rework the anti-terrorism apparatus. Instead the President “was on vacation” in Texas and the CIA Director George Tenet was put “on leave Jeb’s assertion that his brother “kept us safe” is the equivalent of maintaining that Ted Kennedy had an excellent driving record if you ignore that one night in Chappaquiddick.

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Who Harvested the Conservative Brain?

Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’”

-Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina seems intent on proving the adage that “a lie told often enough becomes the truth.” During the September 16, Republican debate, she gave a detailed description of a scene from the “highly edited”  videos from the Center for Medical Progress, an organization that sounds like it could be lifted straight out of an Orwellian 1984. Problematically, “the exact scene, exactly as Ms. Fiorina describes it, is not on the videos.” Politifact rated the statement as “Mostly False,” saying that while “Fiorina makes it sound as if the footage shows what Planned Parenthood is alleged to have done...stock footage was added to the video to dramatize its content.” The anti-abortion group that produced the video admits that one of those images was “of a stillborn baby that was made to look like an aborted fetus.” At best, the actual quote cited is poorly paraphrased as the transcript states “this is a really good fetus. It looks like we can procure a lot from it. We’re going to procure a brain.”

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Testing for Religion

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

-The United States Constitution

The members of the Republican party may want the voters to believe that the country was founded as a Christian nation (or if they are feeling generous, a “Judeo-Christian nation”), but this view was not unanimously shared by the Founding Fathers. For example, the Constitution specifically prohibits a religious test for “any office or public trust.” Religious freedom was further expanded with the passage of the First Amendment, which prohibited Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” and building what Thomas Jefferson called “a wall of separation between Church and State.” In 1797 the Senate ratified and President John Adams signed a treaty between the United States and Tripoli that stated “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded in the Christian Religion.”

 

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Emailing It In

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she is ‘sorry’ for using a private email server, going further than ever before to express remorse for the controversy that has rocked her campaign.

-CNN

Ironically, I decided to support President Obama in 2008 based on the assumption that Hillary Clinton was such a magnet for controversy that if she were to become President she would become so bogged down in defending herself that little would get done. I clearly remembered that Bill Clinton’s Presidency was a string of manufactured scandals that resulted in an actual impeachment and, with the exception of a certain encounter just outside the Oval Office, his wife was often included in the scandal du jour. If Democrats were going to regain the Presidency, it was best to do so with a candidate who represented a fresh start and who was free of  scandals.

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Outfoxed

We have to give strength and power back to the police. And you're always going to have mistakes made. And you're always going to have bad apples. But you can't let that stop the fact that police have to regain some control of this tremendous crime wave and killing wave that's happening in this country.

-Donald Trump

When I was born in 1967, there were 2,989.7 crimes committed, including 6.2 murders, for every 100,000 people in the United States. By time I graduated high school in 1985, in the middle of Reagan’s presidency, the crime rate had increased to 5,207.1, including 8.0 murders. As Obama took his second oath of office in 2013, the crime rate stood at 3,098.6 and the murder rate had fallen to 4.5. Nowhere has these crime reductions been more apparent than in New York City where the murder rate fell from 14.5 in 1990 to 3.3 in 2013. On a national scale, improvements in the violent crime rate continued into 2014.

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Lack of Communication

So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?

-Jeb Bush

Apparently, Iraq is not a subject that the Bush family discusses at family gatherings since they cannot seem to learn from their collective experiences. During the first Bush administration’s Gulf War, our quickly advancing troops stopped short of Baghdad because “we were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf.” These concerns were lost on his son as W pushed for a second war in Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein without bothering to plan for its aftermath. The result was an insurgency that “greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus.” In a second declaration of “mission accomplished,”  W signalled the approach of “a successful end” to the war by signing a Status of Forces Agreement that stated that “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.” He said this withdrawal was “possible because of the success of the surge” and left “the next President with a stable foundation for the future.” Almost seven years later, Jeb, rhetorically asks why these troops left. Shouldn’t he just ask his brother the next time they have dinner?

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Firing In A Crowded Theater

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”

-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sadly, the death of two people last week in a shooting at a Louisiana movie theater will not do anything to start a meaningful dialog about gun control in our country. If the 13 people in Binghamton, 13 people in Ft. Hood, three people in Huntsville, eight people in Manchester, six people in Tucson, eight people in Seal Beach, seven people in Oakland, 12 people in Aurora, six people in Oak Creek, six people in Minneapolis, three people in Brookfield, 27 people in Newtown, five people in Santa Monica, 13 people in Washington, D. C., three people in Ft. Hood, seven people in Isla Vista and nine people in Charleston were not enough to spark a discussion about who has access to guns, why should another two lives matter to our politicians? When Obama initially ran for president, the NRA warned that we have never “faced a presidential candidate...with such a deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms,” but as President, Obama has only expanded the rights of gun owners. And the carnage continues…

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Trump Card

Stereotype: “A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.”

-Oxford Dictionaries

Under President Obama, there have been a record number of deportations. He has also employed the largest amount of border patrol agents. These have combined with other factors to drive a zero percent migration rate from Mexico, a trend that some expect to continue into the future. However, none of this is good enough for the xenophobic wing of the Republican party who still see the value of a good  scapegoat - especially one without the power to vote. According to this point of view, we should ignore the hard working people in search of a better life whose labor is exploited by American businessman and instead claim that “they’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bring those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

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Voices Carry

 

It is hard enough to get Americans to fulfill their obligation of voting in elections. In one poll four percent of the respondents would not even take the step of registering to vote because they felt that their “vote wouldn’t make a difference.” Even less of our fellow citizens take a more active role in the democratic process under the assumption that their voice is too small to be heard. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges could not have happened without the grassroots activism that had taken place 28 years ago.

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