You’re ruining Facebook (and friendships) with political rants (from NY Post)

This is an excellent point and a reason I try to avoid politics when I post to social media. This is also the result of binary political thinking. Something we have seen a lot of this election cycle.

Bye Bye John McLaughlin

I just saw the news on Twitter that John McLaughlin passed away. His show “The McLaughlin Group” was something that ESPN tried to copy with “The Sports Reporters” but were never fully successful.

His show was my first entry into politics and it got me to hear opposing points of view and make up my own mind.

Here is a sample of what the show was like; and yes there was a lot of cross talking that went on.

Here is a parody from SNL:


George Washington on Political Parties

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

How to fix the presidential debates

It doesn’t matter if you are a conservative or liberal, republican or democrat I think you would agree that the debates are broken and need to be fixed. The question is how to go about doing that?  The good folks at Intelligence Squared US have an idea, get back to what the debates are supposed to be about, the issues and seeing if the candidates know them.

This isn’t about the sound bites you hear the candidate make time and again. This is the candidates knowing about a specific issue and being able to talk about it in depth.

I’ve been a big fan of the debates they put on and as I have mentioned before they are always respectful and thought provoking, no matter what opinion you have. If you have not listened to them, I highly recommend you give at least one a listen.

To that end the people at Intelligence Squared have created a a petition to have at least one Oxford style debate this election cycle. With our help they can get some civility back into political discourse.

Why we need someone like John Adams – again

Embed from Getty Images

Happy Independence Day everyone (the original #Brexit you guys). If John Adams had his way we would be celebrating on the second of July instead of the fourth because the second was the day congress approved a resolution declaring independence from Britain.

With the popularity of the musical of Hamiltion I’ve started revisiting the biographies that I have of some of our founding fathers. Heck even my daughter has gotten into the act and is reading American Sphinx, Ellis’ book on Jefferson. Ever since I read Founding Brothers I have been interested in John Adams. Then I read David McCullough’s book and I became an Adams man for life.

Considering the two candidates we have for president this election cycle and how how things have going down hill with the office of the President we can really use someone like Adams again. Yes there were some problems, namely the the Alien and Sedition Acts, but the man did things strictly because he cared for the country. The main example of this is continuing to remain neutral in the face of Federalist demands for America to go to war against the French following the XYZ Affair.

We need someone who can disagree with a point of view but will argue the merits of their case and not start with the ad homonym attacks.  Additionally we need someone who will be able to stand up to their party and tell them “Even though you’re my party this different path is what need to do. It’s the best for America”.

It seems that the politicians these days care more about their party’s politics than about doing what is right for the party. It seems we have become more and more polarized with everything seeing things in terms of black and white with very little gray in between.

Let’s get back to having civil discourse but let’s always keep in mind to do what is right for the country regardless of political affiliation.

Has The President Has Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress?

Has The President Has Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress?

This is an excellent question and it will be debated on June 8th. The Intelligence Squared debate series is excellent. All debaters are allowed to speak and no one gets shut down. They actually debate ideas and not throw ad homonym attacks at each other. Imagine the concept!

As for the topic I think not only has this president usurped the power of congress but the past president has as well.

How to change the primaries for the better

With the primary season about half way through (thankfully) there have been two issues which have bothered me. I believe these three changes would make the primaries more meaningful for those who are running and more importantly for those who are voting.

  1. Closed Primaries – I was amazed to discover how many states didn’t have a true closed primary. Meaning only if you were a registered Democrat or Republican would you be able to vote in the primary. For some reason the state parties (or state governments) believe their primary should be open in some way. This doesn’t work because only the people who have decided to sell identify with a political party should be the ones who decide the fate of the party. There is nothing wrong with considering one’s self independent and not in a party; however if you do then you need to understand you can’t vote in the primaries. I do practice what I’m preaching here. In NYC there is no way to really effect change unless you are a registered Democrat and therefore in spite of my not really having any ideological agreement with the party I am a registered democrat. This also will take care of anyone who just wants to create chaos and vote for the weaker general election candidate.
  2. Early Voting – I am not talking about absentee voting (if you will be away or are in the military). I’m talking about people who are too lazy to go to the polls on Election Day and are able to vote about a month in advance of the state’s primary. This is a silly thing to be because (a) the candidate you voted for might not be in the election any longer (E.G. Marco Rubio) and (b) late breaking news can change the way people think about the existing candidates. If you are voting early you don’t have the benefit of the later information. If we are going to have early voting, maybe the first past the post style needs to be changed to an alternative style

  3. Super or Undeclared Deligates – These deligates are designed to not allow the registered party members their full say in he election. They are allow to vote for who ever they want (usually the front runner) even though the rank and file of the party had other ideas. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is undemocratic and shouldn’t be allowed.
  4. Winner Take All – This is a bonus one because even though I would prefer this style of primary, I see the point a candidate shouldn’t be punished for winning a district but not the entire state. I don’t see a big need to change the way a large number of states award deligate. It’s just a personal preference.

These three changes would make big differences in the how effective primaries are in selecting the candidates for each party. Additionally it would restore fairness to the way primaries are set up.