Sunday, September 20, 2015

Moron Post Debate Activity

On Friday, September 18th, these thoughts were posted about the September 16 debates and the three entities involved in the election process; the politicians, the press, and the public.

Within a few days after, some elements of each entity were once again able to display their ignorance and ineptitude.

POLITICIANS who need to be muzzled.
Fellow Detroiter Benjamin Solomon Carson told host Chuck Todd on today’s Meet the Press, that, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s wise statement tried to play to the Trump card and matched the unbiased intellect of the GOP poll leader. A few days earlier, Trump was confronted at a New Hampshire town hall meeting by a man who said, ‘We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. We know he’s not even an American. Birth certificate, man!”

He continued, “We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”

Trump again displayed his leadership, responding with a precise, Presidential-like reply,  “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. And a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

With a whiff of innuendo, on Sunday, Trump spoke on NBC and reiterated what Carson had said, stating that a Muslim in the White House is “something that could happen. Some people have said it already happened, frankly.”  That deflection is reminiscent of a former great GOP President’s ways, before Nixon was forced to resign from office.

Not satisfied with trying to lose the Muslim vote, John Kasich wanted to help Trump win the Hispanic electorate over to the GOP, when he spoke at the Shady Canyon Golf Club in Irvine, California. In his awkward way, Kasich made an attempt to show what pobrecitos had contributed to our economy, by blurting out, "A lot of them do jobs that they're willing to do and, uh, that's why in the hotel you leave a little tip,"

Hillary used the GOP verbal missteps to appeal to the Latino community, sending out a tweet in Español, calling Kasich “another product of the Party of Trump.”

THE PRESS should be muffled.                                                                                                                
The same Chuck Todd mentioned earlier, joined many broadcast media professionals  (and their semi-pro cohorts), when he ran to his cliché book and said that after the debate, ‘The air may have been let out of Trump’s balloon.” That balloon has been filled with both Trump’s hot air, as well as the media’s proclivity to Pump Trump up.
Dana Bash, a CNN journalist, joined others of her ilk, by repeatedly describing the GOP opposition likely to be some woman running for the Democratic nomination. She, and others, have an aversion to saying “Bernie Sanders” name, unless they add that he’s a Socialist, emphasizing the “S” word as being his primary qualification.

If you’d like to see more balanced coverage of the candidates during Election 2016, turn to TIME magazine, which not only put Bernie on the cover of its September 28 issue, but also devoted seven pages to an honest story on the man.

SOME PEOPLE should be muzzled and muffled.                                                                                
Take another look at the very negative, anti-Muslim proclamations coming from one of the GOP supporters that went unchallenged by a candidate with a hairy disposition.

Thankfully, that was counter-balanced by the wise observations of a Northern California GOP woman who is a Carly Fiorina supporter. When asked by a reporter, the woman brilliantly responded after watching Carly match her wits against her ten male opponents on the platform.  ”A lot of men seem to like Trump, but when Carly stuck it to The Donald on women — a whoop went up in the crowd.”

She knew the real reason why Carly did so well, “I knew Carly was ready to rock when she appeared wearing a suit of ‘Thatcher blue,’ and she began immediately to channel her inner Maggie.”

Stay tuned to this channel and the mainstream media for more farcical and sometimes misleading comments. Remember, there are less than fourteen months to go before you’ll have to decide which Presidential candidate to vote for. It may likely be the one you believe will do the least amount of harm to our country, while in office.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Winners and Losers, After the CNN Debates

The CNN debates were supposed to show off the qualifications of each candidate, while avoiding disparaging their GOP opponents. This could provide fodder for the Democrats in the general election that is only thirteen-and-one-half months away.

An old English expression befits the high ground to be taken; “Mind your P’s and Q’s.” It essentially means either “mind your manners,” mind your language,” or “be on your best behavior.”

The “P” possibly refers to politicians, the public, and the press. The “Q” factor revolves around the inane questions coming from the press.

If you had nothing better to do on September 16, you might have watched CNN’s self-publicized debates, where all three of those meanings would be violated. According to a countdown timer, which had been on the CNN screen for several days, the first debate will begin in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 36 seconds from now. When it does, I will step away from my computer.

That first debate featured the lower tier candidates Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki, each garnering less than one percent in the polls, as well as Rick Santorum, having firmly established himself as the potential GOP nominee with a one percent backing. Jim Gilmore didn’t even gain enough of a following to be invited, and Rick Perry nobly withdrew from the race.

I watched intently for fifteen minutes, trying to better understand the candidates and their positions, and then came back to continue writing this piece. Bobby Jindal repeatedly emphasized that the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders was an avowed Socialist. I hoped that in the second debate, another GOP wannabe would also bring up Bernie Sanders’ name, since the media mainly fail to mention him except to chortle when Hillary’s numbers are declining. Later, Bobby did tie Bernie to Barak, calling Obama another Socialist.

The top tier in the second debate, along with their most recent New Hampshire polling percentages included Trump (27%), Carson (23%), Bush, Rubio, and Huckabee (6% each), Cruz (5%), Fiorina (4%), Kasich and Paul (3% each), Walker (2%) and Christy (1%). At times, they interrupted one another, gnawed at their opponents credentials, and complained that they were portrayed wrong.
Of the fifteen who participated in the two debates as candidates for the nomination of their GOP political party, for the very political office of President of the United States, the two poll leaders, Trump and Carson, emphasized that they have never been elected to a political office. Carly Fiorina, who many pundits declared as the debate winner, was equally proud of her lack of political experience. She also might be the best person to negotiate with Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. After nearly destroying Hewlett-Packard under her leadership, she negotiated a severance package that included $21 million in cash, and $19 million more in stock and pension benefits.

The press derived its name during the early days of printing, when type was set one letter (or one line) at a time and placed into a form. Ink was rolled on the type, a sheet of paper was placed on top of it, and it was pressed down to make an impression on the paper. This was done one sheet at a time, a laborious effort, much like last Wednesday’s debates.

The highlight of one CNN news report on Trump’s earlier rally at a Dallas arena was when an anchor interviewed a Trump supporter who wore an outfit she had designed. The supporter proudly displayed the likeness of Trump on her hat, purse, dress and shoes. The CNN anchor’s most probing question concerned whether Hispanic protestors outside of the rally had tried to prevent her from entering the arena. The Trump supporter couldn’t recall, saying that she was too enthralled by being able to hear her man in person.

Other broadcast media professionals also seem to be incapable of bringing up pertinent discussion points, and most of their questions center around Donald, who deftly ducks talking about his policy programs and any topic of substance.

Ah, the public, aka the voters. These people will eventually decide who will be the President after the November 8, 2016 election, unless there is a repeat of 2000. That’s when the U. S. Supreme Court stopped a recount proposed by the Florida Supreme Court, and handed Florida to Bush by 537 votes. At that time, the Florida Governor was John Ellis Bush, J.E.B., and seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices, were appointed by Republican Presidents.

Before the 2016 election occurs, many Super PACs who are surreptitiously supporting their candidates, will be spending their millions, or billions, to influence the electorate.

The intelligence of the electorate is questionable, since too many voters won’t invest either the time or energy to truly learn about the candidates. The “public” seems to be far more interested in hearing what platitudes each of the candidates profess to support, and what each candidate says that a voter wants to hear.

Many of the voters listen to the candidates espousing generalities, and each candidate, in turn, will alone try to do his or her best to influence the public into believing that they can be the saviors of America.

These two September 16 debates took place in the Ronald Reagan Library.  In that hallowed setting, candidates valiantly tried to connect to Reagan and his ideals, as if that will be the strong tie that binds them to the future of a greater America, and helps get them become the GOP nominee. Oh, how they long for the good olde days of 1980 to 1988 — those glorious Reagan years. 

However, I once heard liberal folk singer Pete Seeger talk about the past, saying, “Those were the good old days that never were.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Above and Beyond the Call

A bold, Associated Press (AP) news headline in the obituaries section of the September 7, 2015 San Jose Mercury News caught my eye. It simply read, “Kuroki, 98, Was WWII hero,” and the sub-headline that followed told a reader more of his story, “Airman with Japanese ancestry overcame rejection.”

In San Jose, more readers would continue reading beyond these headlines, than readers in Boynton Beach, Florida or West Bloomfield, Michigan.  San Jose has one of only three Japan Towns left in the country, and is the home of the excellent Japanese American Museum-San Jose. This Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the many contributions Santa Clara Valley’s Japanese-Americans have made, and continue to make to the Valley’s culture. Its many displays also help citizens remember or learn about the wrongs perpetrated against Japanese American citizens during World War II when 120,000 of them living on the West Coast and Alaska, were placed in ten American concentration camps because they looked like the enemy. The U.S. government had gently labeled them as “internment camps.”

Ben Kuroki escaped that illegal incarceration as a farm boy living in Nebraska when World War II broke out, by enlisting in the military. He was a Nisei, a first generation Japanese America, a full citizen of his country. He still wasn’t able to avoid suffering the indignities of other Japanese Americans, and he fought against the prejudices of other Americans, while he was fighting the Nazis as a turret gunner on a B-24.

I first “met” Ben Kuroki when I was in a freshman speech class at Wayne University in Detroit, and chose his speech from a book of notable speeches, as the one to present to the class. It began, “The town I come from is called Hershey, Nebraska. It’s near the Platte River, between Cozad and Ogallala, about twelve miles from North Platte.” I selected it because Kuroki railed against prejudice in a dignified manner. I couldn’t have had even an inkling then that one day I would teach a class at San Jose State on how the media covered the Japanese American Internment, that he had so eloquently written about fifty years before.

In 1996, I drove with my wife-to-be from her home in Montreal to ours in California, and travelled on I-80 into Nebraska. On a whim, I took the exit to the small village of Hershey. Trains ran through the center of town, and two horses were tied up to posts at a Sinclair Gas Station, where regular was selling for $123.9 a gallon.

I wanted to learn more about Ben Kuroki who was born there in 1917, so I went to the local library and the librarian, a woman in her sixties, was able to provide me with an abundance of treasured information. She first told me Ben’s overall story, and then lead me to a collection of newspaper and magazine articles they had on Hershey’s most famous citizen. I delved through them, taking notes on both his military accomplishments and his life. I also discovered that he was living in Southern California, and planned to contact him when I returned home.

During the war, he was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and an Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters. By the war’s end, Ben Kuroki had completed 58 combat missions, and was promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant.

He was a devoted patriot and spoke on the race issue whenever he was asked. On February 4, 1944, he gave this speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. When Kuroki finished, he received a standing ovation from a roomful of business and government leaders. University of California-Berkeley Vice President Monroe Deutsch said that Kuroki’s speech marked the turning point for acceptance of the Nisei back to California after the war. Some Japanese American friends have told me that the acceptance took much longer, and some say full acceptance has yet to come.

Ralph Martin wrote a biography entitled Boy From Nebraska; the Story of Ben Kuroki, with all proceeds helping to fund Kuroki’s speaking tours where he discussed the need for racial equality and against prejudice. In 2007, PBS presented a documentary entitled, Most Honorable Son: Ben Kuroki’s Amazing War Story. He was saluted by Time magazine in their February 7, 1944 issue under the headline “HEROES: Ben Kuroki, American.”

Ben Kuroki went from being written about to doing the writing. He graduated from the University of Nebraska’s Journalism School in 1950, and published a weekly newspaper in Nebraska for a short while, before moving on to Michigan and eventually to California. He retired as the news editor of Ventura Star-Free Press in 1984.

The last time that I “met” Ben Kuroki was after I returned to California in 1996. I called him and we spoke at length on the phone. I told him that I was working with the Japanese American community in San Jose, and would like to come down and interview him for an article. He politely thanked me, but said, “There’s enough been written already.”

Ben Kuroki himself wrote enough about what he believed in, said enough, and did enough, so much so, that in 2005 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Nebraska. Not too bad a life for a farm boy from Nebraska.