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Asheville, NC, USA
Updated March 31, 2016

Blue Ridge Journal
"A Potpourri of Good Sense"
presented by H.Paul Lillebo


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Salute to the F-8 Crusader

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TOPICAL
INDEXES:  
  Education      International     Language  
  & Media
  
  Religion     Science     Society      U.S. Politics  
            Paul's
musical
treat:
New Trix Quartet

Archive:
All essays by topic

Recent essays:
Presidential Candidates 2016
The Press in elections
The flap over voter ID
The Real population problem
Democrat President'l Candidates?
The Georgia Guidestones
Islamist terror & Islamic culture
Unconstitutional amendments
Nationhood & Multiculturalism
Good Friday
NSA, Snowden, national security
Nebulous cosmology
Another Washington disaster
Bye-bye privacy
U.S. states as power centers
Asteroids, meteors, and us
World peace - regional security
A New Year's wish list
Israel and Palestine
No Emancipation Celebration?
Presidential debates again!
The "Roberts trick"
The sins of The Fathers
NC vote on same-sex marriage
Updating the U.S. Constitution
Reforming a moribund Congress
A Civilization built on hot air
The "Occupy Wall St." protests
Arguing about God
The irrational stock exchange
The danger of belief
Obama's asteroid boondoggle
Presidential MQ's
"Don't ask, don't tell"
The Second Coming
Glob. Warm'g - western guilt?
Rot of campaign finance
Health care debacle
Cities in the sea
On human population
Education for democracy
Are 3 gods better than 1?
Stupid is as stupid does
A new economics
Immediate energy solution
A Public Stock Exchange
The Dawkins delusion
Viceroy of the carpenter?
Charisma and Democracy
US missile shield for Europe
Theologians,myth,relig.peace
Eve of Eden
A fable of fools
China's cheap labor
Memorial Day: an addition
Congress & representation
On doing stupid things
The Calendar & diplomacy
Science & Religion
The American President
The spark of life
Liberal & Conservative
Real campaign issues
Evolut'n/Creat'n conundrum
The toy kings of Europe
The disease of militarism
The Supreme Court...
Reps, Dems & coup d'état
On going to Heaven
"Creationism" in school
Mars Madness
Global warming
Yahweh?
Free public transit
Lotto: a new poor tax
EU: the new imperialism

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And just for fun:
Some odd tales

For your mental delectation:
(Click the puzzle to solve it)

The world's current top chess players:
(I'm left out again...)

2700chess.com for more details and full list

Support Bernie
Suggested Related Essays:
"Role of the Press in Elections"
"The Rot of Campaign Financing."

Current essay:

Mindless Campaign, Mindless Media

Where's the beef?

March 2016
Abstract:
A presidential election campaign is the great quadrennial opportunity for a national conversation about our future – about how well we've done and where we've failed; about how we will improve our society as we go forward. The conversation is carried by the candidates for that high office, and is urged forward by "The Press", which is expected to remind the people of our failures and urge the candidates toward solutions. But our Press, print and electronic alike, is completely failing to fulfill its necessary role in a democracy.


Dear friends and readers:
I know I'm not the only one who is filled to the brim with frustration over the inanity of our seemingly interminable American election campaign for president, and the complementary mindlessness of the media coverage of this tragicomedy. Every now and then, when I've forgotten the last time, I'll turn on one of the TV programs that bill themselves as "news and analysis", "election central" or some such – perhaps CNN's program with Wolf Blitzer surrounded by his eight "experts" – actually partisan political hacks – who will "analyze" for us. And they spend a few hours each day covering the election as if it were an athletic event. We hear their invariably onesided prognoses of who will win the next primary election, we hear them recite who's ahead by how many delegates, and which candidate's latest insult might affect the race in the next state.

I am watching Blitzer's gang of eight blathering away over each other about the next milepost – New York state in this case – and about who said what that might offend New Yorkers, and about the unacceptable development of the Republican race and which "white knight" could come charging out of the wings to save the day like a political deus ex machina. They're discussing the amount of money raised and spent, the effectiveness of various mass communication techniques and how advertising costs a lot in New York. In short, the entire useless and disgusting discussion dealt with techniques and results of campaigning, American style – about which plays to make to win the game. Not a word was said about what this election is presumably about: Identifying our national priorites and formulating practical policy proposals related to these priorities during the next four years.

So what should the pundits be discussing, instead of delegates and campaign strategies? How about what I just stated: national priorities and the candidates' plans to deal with these? We have serious issues in this country that the candidates are largely ignoring. Who has heard in this campaign a serious discussion from anyone other than Bernie Sanders of the shameful level of poverty in the U.S. and the crime and incarceration that it invariably breeds? Don't the candidates care? How about debating the miserable standard of K-12 education that has our kids performing among the worst of the industrialized nations. Or the climate change that will have disastrous consequences for those kids unless we wake up and make some drastic changes in the way we use energy – and even if we do there are frighteningly costly improvements that must be done to our coastlines and harbors to prepare for ocean conditions that are already guaranteed to come about. Or our crumbling infrastructure that will require unbudgeted major expenditures over the next decades on our roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads, water lines and sewer pipes, water treatment and wastewater treatment plants, electric grid and generating stations, landfills, and air traffic control facilities, to name some of the more prominent needs. All these and more of our most pressing issues – the stuff we really need to debate and to understand – have been completely ignored by the candidates as well as by those who are paid to comment on and interpret the election.

One might say, the reason the media don't deal with such issues is that the candidates don't bring them up. But that's completely illogical. It's the very fact that the candidates don't address these issues that should energize the press. The media should be as outraged as a good chunk of the citizenry is over the vacuousness of the campaign, over how there is no serious national conversation about our future. The nation has a right to hear the truth about our problems, and the truth about what it will take to deal with them. If the candidates won't or can't discuss the great issues, the press has an obligation – implied in their press credentials – to not give them a pass, but to force the conversation on them. It's the press' responsibility to ensure that the candidates converse meaningfully with the people.

If the press refuses to carry out that responsibility, our democracy may be on its last legs. What we can do as voters is to express our anger and vote for Bernie Sanders, the only candidate who is both an honest politician and who will fight for the "little guy" – the ordinary citizen who lacks the resources to buy a politician. Bernie can't be and hasn't been bought. All the others can and have.

H. Paul Lillebo

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Previous essay: 
The Presidential Candidates, 2016

America, you've got to be kidding!

Abstract:
In a seemingly endless process – arcane, tedious, unfair, and corrupt – a great country is in the middle of failing to find a suitable candidate for the job of President.

Next previous essay: 
The Responsibility of the Press in the Election

Will it be fair and full information, or the same old celebrity pap?

Abstract:
The press coverage of the current U.S. presidential election campaign suggests that neither print nor electronic news media have deviated from their everyday practice of "celebrity" reporting: reporting that which sells. I argue that the press must have a special and particularly responsible role in elections, beyond their usual profit motive. The Supreme Court, by its skewing of elections toward the well-connected, has made this role crucial.

2016 Election:

May 2, 2016: Nationwide poll shows Trump leads Clinton
The latest Rasmussen Poll has Donald Trump 2% ahead of Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head race. It's the first time in the campaign that Trump has out-pointed Hillary.

Washington ethics watchdog ("FACT") names Hillary Clinton the most corrupt politician of 2015.
It's nice to see someone get the recognition they deserve. On a list of the eight most corrupt politicians of both major parties, Hillary was in a class of her own. She was cited for "overwhelming evidence" of a range of ethics violations and abuses of the public trust, involving the Clinton Foundation, preferential corporate donor treatment as Secretary of State, and campaign violations. Isn't it about time we call a crook a crook?

The DNC's War on Bernie Sanders
The Democratic party is in full war modus against the candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders. DNC Chair Wasserman-Schultz explains in this video that the function of "superdelegates" is to protect the Dem'c party from grass roots movements. Really! That's what she says! She also just reversed Obama's anti-corruption decision of 8 years ago to ban lobbyist donations to the DNC, which in effect means more corporate donations to the Clinton campaign.

Washington Post: Jim Webb on the need for an Independent President
Webb decries the development of extremism and triviality in our elections, and the partisanship threatening to destroy this country's ability to govern itself.


Visit the Hillary Page:
"Thanks for the Memories"

The true Hillary Clinton is not the construct we see running for president of the United States. Indeed, "true" is not a word we are used to associating with Mrs. Clinton. Her 40 years in the public eye call up vivid memories of scandals and lies, incompetence, bribery and other corruption, financial irregularities, felonious friends, and a supremely embarrassing tour in the White House with a supremely embarrassing husband, "Horny" Bill Clinton, who again is a co-applicant to return to the White House.

For some inexplicable reason, a substantial portion of the Democratic Party's voters seem to have excused Bill and Hillary's past outrages, or – if they're young – they may simply be unaware of the real Hillary, who by now has learned to play nice to the public. Many who do remember the 90's find it astounding that the party cannot find an honest, qualified leader as a candidate for the presidency. The above link should help with recalling the nature of the schemes of the former president and his wife, and their unquenchable and unprincipled lust for power.

It's particularly strange to see both the Democratic and and Republican parties offering us family members of recent presidents as candidates. We have 320 million people in this country. The attempt to convince us that the wife, brother, or son of the president would be the best president reeks of corruption, of improper money influence and maintenance of the political power elite. Family dynasties have been customary in some countries, but it's not a custom we ought to adopt in the U.S.  The effort by Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush to seem and sound "progressive" or "renewing" is a sham and a fraud. One can only hope that the American people will, in the end, not allow themselves to be duped by these slick snake-oil hawkers.

NYTimes:
Clinton received TOP SECRET emails on home server

The NY Times reports that at least 22 emails received by Hillary on her home acount contained "Top Secret" information. It can be assumed that her home email account was routinely hacked, and that the Top Secret material fell into the hands of foreign agents. Most gov't employees would already have been indicted for such a security breach.

Poll: Not trusting Hillary

The nationwide Quinnipiac University poll (PDF) sampled eligible voters.

To the question, "Would you say that [candidate] is honest and trustworthy?" – asked about six candidates of both parties, Sanders led the positive responses, while Clinton led the negative responses with 61% "no", and Trump elicited 54% "no" replies.

In an unprompted word association question, the words most often immediately associated with Hillary were 1. "liar", 2. dishonest, and 3. untrustworthy. Most frequently associated with Donald Trump were arrogant, blowhard, and idiot. So it could be an interesting election.

Interesting election footnote:

The Washington Post reported on August 5 that Bill Clinton had a phone call with Donald Trump a couple of weeks before Trump's declaration as a presidential candidate. Aides to both men say that the former president urged Trump to get more involved in politics, and that Trump's ideas could be a valuable addition to the Republican party's discourse. No one says Mr.Clinton urged Trump to run, but he knew Trump was near the moment of decision. Was Clinton sowing the seeds of tumult in the Republican camp? Setting up a perfect foil for his wife's barbs? Dangerous sport, exchanging barbs with Trump.

All text © H. Paul Lillebo